I Hold On
Glass Bottles and Rusty Cans
"I'm sorry I kicked you in your knee. I'm guessin' with the boots I'm wearin' it must of really hurt."
Ellie spoke suddenly since Shane was handing out apologies like it was no big deal, she figured she'd do the same. After helping in finishing packing up the green Hyundai for gun practice with the man, she turned to him.
"Ain't no biggy. I would'a done the same thing in your situation."
The woman smiled back when he gave her a big close mouthed smile. She began to think when he wasn't being such a judgmental prick, Shane could be a nice guy.
"So you ready to roll and show me what you got girl? I'm sure that feisty attitude o' yours could come in handy if you can learn to focus it into somethin' other than bein' defensive and mouthy."
Ellie rolled her eyes and snorted, reaching out defiantly and prodded his chest with her index finger.
"Oh I'll show you somethin' alright. I'll be the sharpest shot at this little 'gun practice' of yours, you'll see. I'll be the one helpin' you scout out that neighborhood too. I can't guarantee we'll find that little girl but you can bet your ass I'll be the best damn back up you ever had."
The redhead noticed how big Shane's eyes got while raising a brow at her, like he was surprised at her words. He then became all smug, grinning from ear to ear as he took the hand that was poking his chest and carefully put it back at her side, the smile she wore never leaving his face.
"We'll see 'bout that sweetheart. Now get in. We're burnin' daylight jus' standin' 'round here."
He motioned for her to get in the passengers side and a wide smirk grew on her lips.
"Well as soon as you let go of my hand, I will."
She glanced down at her right hand which Shane was still holding and then back up at him, meeting his eyes in a smoldering gaze. The sexual tension although very little between them was still noticeable in that moment and when he let go, he used the same hand to rub the back of his head.
"Sorry 'bout that red. Now that your all nice and clean I couldn't help but notice how soft and girly them hands of yours are. You sure you're fit to be usin' a gun? Maybe you should stay back here and help Carol with the laundry?"
Shane suggested, quickly bypassing the fact he had just been manhandling her hand. Again Ellie rolled her eyes and headed for the front seat just as Shane went over to get into the drivers side.
"There ain't a chance in hell you'll catch me doin' laundry. I already told you, I'm gonna show you I mean business today and that's that."
"I'll believe it when I see it."
Shane just shook his head and with that a smile still on his face as Ellie got in the passengers side and slid into the seat, shutting the door behind her and bucking up as if she was going on a road trip. Shane slid in beside her, the console the only thing keeping them apart. He fixated his gaze on her for a minute, brown eyes giving off a gleam of something the woman didn't really understand but before long the man was starting up the vehicle and driving off down the road to where they'd be having their gun practice. The whole ride there which didn't last more than five minutes, neither one of them said anything. Ellie had her head leaned against one hand as she stared out the window, watching the thinning trees and fertile rolling farmland of Hershel's farm as they passed it by.
Eventually Shane took a right turn up into the back of the edge of that same stretch of land where a long old dark brown wooden fence with glass bottles and old cans on it faced the woods. As soon as he pulled up and parked, Ellie unbuckled and got out, heading to the back of the Hyundai to help get the guns and ammo out.
"Whoa there red, let me handle the cargo."
Ellie spun around and rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest just as he popped the trunk and went ahead and lifted it up, immediately reaching inside to grab the bag of guns and threw it over his shoulder.
"What? Still don't trust me?"
"Nah, it ain't that. Don't want you pullin' somethin' before practice. You'll be needin' all your strength and focus to impress me. You can go ahead and grab that other bag though. It's only got the boxes of ammo in it. That shouldn't be too heavy for you to lift."
The man gave her a wink and turned his back to her, walking towards the makeshift range where pretty much everything was set up and ready to go. The woman scowled to herself a bit, not liking being belittled. So with slight irritation, snatched up the lighter bag from the back and shut the hatch with a loud thud. She could hear Shane chuckling to himself as she sprinted to catch up with him right as he set the bag of guns down next to one of the wooden posts. She followed his lead and placed her bag next to his, putting a smile on her face in order to not show him how peeved she was about his earlier comment.
By now others were starting to show up including Rick, Lori, Andrea, T-Dog, Jimmy, Beth, Patricia and even a little boy Ellie didn't recognize. He was wearing a sheriff's hat and a gray t-shirt with a wolfs paw print on it along with a pair of jeans and worn out sneakers. She noticed that the boy seemed to be following Rick around and she thought that maybe that boy could have been the 'Carl' Rick said he had to go check up on last night. But it was only a guess. Looking around a bit, she noticed her sister and Carol hadn't come along, not that she suspected they would have. In Ariel's condition, she shouldn't really be moving around and consciously the eldest Lavelle was thankful Carol had stayed behind to watch over Ariel.
"You jus' gonna stand there and look all doe eyed starin' out into space or you gonna come and get your guns 'fore I hand 'em out to someone else?"
Shane's voice made her snap her head over to him from where she had been looking. He had his lips turned up into a devious grin and was holding out both of her Winchester pistols to her, offering her to come and get them. She held back from rolling her eyes before heading over to him, shuffling her feet along the dead grass. When she went to take a hold of her guns, he pulled them back, making her reach out farther to attempt to grab them which in turn made him pull back even more.
"You want 'em?"
"Well if I'm gonna 'practice', then duh."
"Alright. Gimme the four rules for gun safety and they are all yours."
Ellie wasn't appreciating that he was suddenly in a playful mood or turning this into a game but with a long aggravated sigh, she went ahead and decided to play along. At least this was better than him treating her like she was some kind of spy.
"All guns are always loaded, be sure of your target and it's surroundin's, never let the muzzle cover anythin' you are not willin' to destroy and keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned with the target."
She spoke in a monotone voice like those rules had been beaten in her head over a thousand times, and they had. If anything, her father was very strict and thorough when it had come to teaching the girls everything they could possibly learn about how to handle a gun safely. Looking back now, Ellie was glad her father had been so relentless on teaching them otherwise she was sure she wouldn't have remembered a damn thing. Now that the end of the world was upon them, she would admit having firearms know how was in fact pretty handy.
With a nod of approval and a slight smirk, Shane finally handed her guns over to her. The cold plated steel felt nice in her hands. It was as if having the weapons proved to be a sedative to calm her nerves, which anyway you looked at it, was odd.
"I loaded both of 'em with about ten bullets each. It's all we can spare for now so don't miss. Now let's go red. I wanna see if you're just all talk or you actually got the skill to back up that mouth of yours."
Shane nudged her left side lightly with his elbow, effectively making her give him a slight glare and head over to the range where others were lining up with guns of various types and sides in their hands. Most of them had a pistols of some sort and were already being taught how to shoot by the skilled guidance Rick and T-Dog. Ellie noticed she was the only one among them with two guns. It didn't make her nervous or anything. No, she felt more privileged and even felt a little prideful. She wasn't here to learn how to aim and shoot. She was here to show off her skills and put Shane in his place.
She could see Shane just out of the corner of her eye on her right side watching her precisely. His face was stern and fixated and he didn't say a word. He only waited and watched. Carefully she checked both of her guns to make sure they were in fact loaded. Once she saw that they were, she made sure the safety was off on either one and went ahead and got into position, standing in front of the part of the fence that was adjacent with a tall green wine bottle that still had the faded white label on it. The glass container was about thirty or so feet away which was child's play for her really. So when she went ahead and aimed her sights with two controlled hands, she pulled both triggers simultaneously. Moments later, two equally loud shots echoed out across the field, both more dignified and particular than the other gunshots going off around her. Over a hundred pieces of glass flew back in all directions taking on the glint of the summer sun. It appeared as though tiny green and white flecks were flying through the air.
"Damn girl. Didn't think you had it in you."
Her green eyes flickered to Shane and she couldn't help but let a cocky grin spread over her face as she lowered her guns at her sides. The startled expression he wore was priceless.
"Told you I could shoot."
Her voice gave away how self confident she was so it was no wonder his own frame of mind changed in an instant; he just couldn't let her win.
"But that ain't nothin'. You think you're so hot, try shootin' that can out there."
Ellie peered over to where he was pointing to. Out in the field, just before the treeline was an old rusted can with a severe dent in it, propped up on the center of a stump.
"You put that out there on purpose!"
Her eyes radiated that warning green flame when she turned to face him. His deep brown eyes were mischievous.
"Now I don't believe I know what you're talkin' 'bout red. I mean, I had no idea you'd be so lethal with a gun."
She could tell just by the way he pivoted his body away from her and how hard he was trying to keep that damned smug smile of his to himself, that he had in fact placed that aluminum can way out by the trees deliberately.
"What? You paralyzed with fear? You took an easy shot and now that you have a target that's far out of your reach I'm thinkin' you're gettin' cold feet."
His pompous nature was irking her something fierce. The way he stood there, smirk on his lips and hands on his hips is what got her going. Not to mention the way his chocolate brown eyes were rubbernecking her, taking in every move she was making made her feel just a bit self conscious. It didn't sit right with her that he thought himself superior to her. So without a word she put both pistols up into position and took the shot without really focusing. Her left trigger finger went off before the right, the bullet that shot out of the gun barely nicking the top of the can but not enough to knock it over. The next bullet which came from the gun in her right hand missed the can by a few inches and buried itself deep within the stump, causing splinters of wood to spread out amongst the hot Georgia air. Beads of sweat were pouring down her forehead and she wiped it off with the inside of her right arm before sighing at Shane's deep laugh.
"That ain't gonna do it. Shit, the target wasn't even movin'. You gotta focus. You said you had been trained to shoot but I'm just not seein' it. Don't be discouraged though. I'm sure you'll hit the target eventually."
She felt Shane pat her shoulder gently and turned to watch him as he walked along the line of people learning to shoot, leaving her by herself. Ellie shook her head and took a deep breath. She mentally cursed at the fact she had let him rattle her. Usually she could hit a target no problem, no matter how far out it was. At times like this she wished she had Ariel's keen sense of focus. Now that girl knew how to shoot. Her sister could be as frazzled and as distracted as a house wife tending to her four bickering children and still never miss a target, always hitting it dead center. Their father swore the younger of the two would make a deadly sniper in the military some day should she have chose to.
Shaking her thoughts away just as a few gunshots rang out around her, the redhead went back to concentrating on that damn rusted can. Instead of using both Winchester's this time around, she decided to favor the one on the right and holstered the other one by sticking it carefully into the front of her blue jean shorts. Raising the handgun up she kept it level with her intended target. Her hands were steady and unmoving. Her mind was clear of any thoughts now that Shane wasn't around running his mouth off. Ellie took a deep breath, feeling the air fill her lungs before she held it in, made sure her aim was on key and fired. No sooner did she pull back on the trigger did a bullet come whizzing out at approximately eight hundred and thirty miles per hour. It made a clean hole through the can which now layed on it's side behind the stump and the bullet had gone into the bark of the tree directly behind it. The woman then felt a big sneer of a grin come across her face and she exhaled the breath she had been holding in.
"There you go red, knew you could do it."
Shane's voice made Ellie jump like a scared rabbit and no sooner did she spin around did she see his own grin plastered on his face.
"Looks like you may jus' have a spot as my back up after all."
He licked his lips unintentionally and ran a hand over his head, still grinning at her.
"You really think so?"
Ellie continued on smiling and held her firearm by her side, surprised to hear him say something like that.
"Well sure. Right after the advanced class."
The woman let out a long groan and shook her head, clearly giving him a look of displeasure. It was bad enough she had to go through this 'practice'.
"Are you serious? I don't need more practice. I'm a fine shot on my own."
Her voice was serious but Shane just chuckled and patted her arm in a friendly manner.
"Somethin' tells me after missin' that can the first two times you could use a bit more guidance. And besides, it'll be just me and you this time. One on one. No one around to distract you or mess up your focus."
He gave her a wink and she practically glared at him, his right hand still resting on her right shoulder. The thought of being alone with him didn't exactly make her feel any better, but she assumed it would just be the two of them out scouting for Sophia anyways. Maybe this one on one 'advanced class' would actually help put him in his place and get him off her ass about knowing how to shoot, or maybe there was another reason he wanted her out here alone with him. From the sly look he was giving her, something told her he was planning on teaching her a lot more than proper aim. Or was that all in her imagination too?
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