I Hold On
Meetings and Greetings
"Your sister always been like that?"
Shane asked as he and Ellie made there way over to the fire that Lori was burning in order to start cooking up breakfast for the others. While the man wasn't really keen on seeing her face to face or having a conversation with her but wanted to at the same time, he figured he'd at least introduce Ellie to her. So far the redhead had only met Rick, Andrea, himself and Carol but there were so many more she had to meet.
"No. She wasn't always so... Suicidal."
He could tell the woman beside him was getting a bit upset over the whole thing and wondered why the younger sister had even contemplated suicide. Sure the world had gone to shit and while the conditions they were living in weren't very favorable, Ariel still had her sister and that was at least something.
"Well hopefully spendin' time with the girls will cheer her up. It must have been hard jus' you two on the road alone this whole time."
His eyes cut Ellie a glance to see how solemn she still looked. Her green eyes were fixated on the ground as they just traipsed along, not really in a hurry to meet up with Lori who was now only a few feet away.
"Well it wasn't exactly easy I'll tell you that."
They had left Ariel alone with Andrea and Carol along with the food he had saved for her in hopes she'd lighten up and Shane being Shane thought since Andrea had lost her own sister a couple weeks back at their first camp, she could bond with the young adult or some shit. Not to mention Carol hadn't been in the brightest or light hearted of moods these days because Sophia was still missing. Which reminded him that he and Rick had made plans to go looking for the little girl yet again today. While Shane firmly believed that after the first forty eight hours of Sophia's disappearance it was time to just call it quits since she was now in the lowest percentile of being found, he just went along with Rick's call. Trying to keep a grasp on humanity and hope was what was driving his best friend now a days and Shane wasn't going to try and take that from him, no matter how stupid he thought Rick was for doing so.
"This one of the girls Rick was telling me about?"
Shane noticed how Lori's brown eyes cut into him like a knife when the two approached her. She wasn't even looking at Ellie who was just standing by him aimlessly and awkwardly looking around. If the woman next to him couldn't sense the tension in the air between the two former lovers, he'd be surprised.
"Yeah, this is the older 'tween the two. Her name's Ellie. Ellie, this is Lori, Rick's wife."
He turned to Ellie who immediately peered up from the ground meeting Lori's eyes, her saddened features shifting into something he'd consider to be more humble or friendly.
"Oh, it's nice to meet you."
Ellie extended a hand slowly and Lori shook it out of simple courtesy.
"Likewise. So my husband told me that Shane found you takin' water from one of Hershel's wells. Where are you and your sister originally from?"
"That's sure a long ways away from here."
"Well we were up at Georgia State college when everything went down. We just barely made it out alive. The place got overrun. This is the first place we've seen in a long while that appears to be safe. You and your group are really lucky."
"We have my husband to thank for that. He convinced the land owner and his family for us so we could stay here for a little while. Rick's the leader of our group and I'm not sayin' this because he's my husband or anything but he's been doing a fine job of keeping all of us safe."
"It's settled then. You really are lucky."
The man listened to the conversation, obvious to when Lori digged in some jabs against him. Ellie didn't even seem to notice though and if she did, she wasn't giving herself away. Shane felt a bit of anger well up inside him, starting in his gut and then moving upward. It felt like hot bile in the back of his throat but instead of being able to spit it out he had to stand there and take it. So while he silently stewed with the morning sun beating down on his back he tuned out the woman as they chatted until he was sure he couldn't take any more.
"I think it's time we go and have you meet some of the other members of our lil' group don't you Ellie? I'm sure Lori here has a lot of things to do like cookin' and cleanin' up."
Ellie was about to say something like a 'goodbye' or 'talk to you later' to Lori before she left but Shane was quick to take her by the arm and pull her away, not even giving Lori the satisfaction of a deadly gaze. When they were far enough away, he felt Ellie pull away from him and he turned to her, her green eyes full of confusion and slight anger as they met his dark brown ones.
"What in the hell was that all about?"
The man rubbed his head slowly and then shook it, playing it off like he hadn't an idea in the world as to what the woman was talking about.
"What d'you mean?"
He could see a fire light up in those green eyes of hers as she got close to him, his eyes going a bit wide as she pulled him even closer to her by the front of his black shirt. He could smell the walker blood and sweat on her and tried not to make a face as the pungent odor invaded his nose. He didn't suppose now would be a good time to mention personal space.
"I mean what in the hell was that? First you tell me you want me to meet everyone in your group and then a couple minutes later after meetin' Lori and gettin' into a good conversation, you abruptly pull me away without even lettin' me say another word. The last thing I need is someone else thinkin' I'm rude or shady."
He shook his head yet again and pushed her away from him gently, pulling her hand off his shirt, requiring his own breathing space.
"Look, it ain't like that. We jus' ain't got time to be talkin' all day. I do have things I gotta do, things I gotta get done. It's all fine and dandy you're minglin' with everyone and gettin' along but I ain't got time to babysit and listen to your meet and greets. 'Sides, who else thinks your rude and shady? So far it seems to me that Andrea and Carol like ya and Rick ain't said more than two words 'bout you and Ariel bein' here."
Shane tried his best to cover up what was really going on by putting on his cop fissade and bullshit impatience charade. It was bad enough it seemed he had been put in charge of watching over the two newcomers with Rick's mind all over the missing Sophia case and a steadily recovering Carl, but now he had to work on keeping his personal life and secrets from Ellie too. Just then she gave him another glare.
"Oh, so I'm some baby you have to 'babysit' now huh? I'll have you know I'm old enough to take care of myself. And you're the one who said I couldn't be trusted, or did I hear you wrong? So before you go playin' the 'bored chaperone' jus' remember I could have hot wired that car of yours last night and stole any and all of your supplies I could get my hands on but I didn't."
She had crossed her arms over her chest, her green eyes still fierce and full of a stubborn defiance Shane swore he had only ever seen in himself. With a long sigh he put his hands up in defense, not wanting to rile her up more than she already was.
"Listen, I didn't mean it like that okay? I'm sorry. Jus' calm down and make these next introductions short and sweet and maybe I can get you and your sister into that house over there and get ya'll a quick hot shower. Alright red?"
By her body language going from rigid to calm, he figured his apology had settled her down, either that or the mention of a hot shower was enough to make her cool her temper.
"Fine. Let's get this over with then. And stop callin' me 'red'. Ellie will do just fine thank you."
His brown eyes focused on the still lingering stubbornness her green ones held in them and at the thought he felt a small smile crack over his lips.
"Fine. Let's git a move on."
With that he had the redhead follow him over to where the old white truck was parked just by one of the bigger oak trees, the shade it provided making it a great place to hang out and come up with plans for the day. The truck had been Otis's but now that he was gone it was more or less something that just took up space on Hershel's property. This is where Dale, Glenn, T-Dog, Jimmy and Rick all were, going over a map of the surrounding area and making their next plans on where to look for Sophia next. The moment Shane brought Ellie over within a few couple feet of the group, they all stopped what they were doing and looked up. The first to speak was Dale of course. That old man always had to be the friendliest of the bunch.
"This one of the newest survivors to be joinin' our group?"
The older man asked, smiling politely as Shane inwardly rolled his eyes. He didn't need Ellie thinking that she and her sister had a permanent spot in their group. He could have slapped the old man for saying such a thing or told him off but he didn't. Instead he just nodded and stayed quiet, hoping the redhead would wrap things up and be quick like they had discussed. Shane could deal with Lori, but he was beginning to think Dale was onto him about a lot of things. Like the fact he had killed Otis. He knew Rick wouldn't believe the old coot in a million years if he decided to talk but the fact that Dale was constantly watching Shane with those old weary eyes of his just down right pissed him off.
"Hi, I'm Ellie. I just wanted to formally thank you all for takin' us in. It's been a rough two weeks out there on our own. My sister Ariel is over at the picnic table with Carol and Andrea. She twisted her ankle pretty bad last night so it's hard for her to get around. Other than that I think she'll be fine."
He watched as she shook everyone's hand except for Rick's and gave a seemingly charming smile.
"It's nice to meet you Ellie. I'm Dale. This is Glenn, T-Dog and Jimmy. Rick told us that Shane had had a run in with a couple of girls last night. We didn't expect to meet anymore hardened survivors like us but it's nice to know we aren't alone and we're glad to help."
Shane toned out the babble like he had with Lori but this time he didn't have to pull Ellie away from it all because she wrapped it up herself in just under a few minutes.
"Well it was nice meetin' you all but really, I should go check in on my sister and see how she's doin."
Dale kept smiling and nodded which made Shane only want to hit him more.
"Alright, but if you need anythin' don't be afraid to come talk to one of us. We don't bite. Well,
Shane does but other than that we're all pretty harmless."
Shane cut daggers at Dale, not liking the old man's remark and watched Ellie nod and wave to them all and head off back to check up on Ariel like she said she was going to. The once deputy turned to the once sheriff and let out a sigh once Ellie was gone, noting how Dale, Glenn and T-Dog slipped away just leaving him, Rick and Jimmy.
"So man, what's the plan for today?"
He spoke, referring to their plans on attempting to locate Sophia for the fourth day in a row, not knowing that today would indeed be one hell of a day.
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