Sleepless, restless, useless, helpless, hopeless... just less
’’What the fuck are ya doin’ in my room?’’, I hear Merle ask. I open my eyes.
’’You were sick’’, I tell him and yarn.
’’And?’’, he asks. I get up and look him worried but I feel still little pissed about the towel he threw in my face last night.
’’And I wanted to see you take the last breathe. But obviously, you didn’t’’, I say and walk out of his room. He follows me in the kitchen.
’’I took care of you, you moron’’, I tell him and throw the towel in the sink. Yes, I know it doesn’t belong there. His face looks weird, like it hurts to look at me.
’’Don’t call me names girl! Ya did it by yourself. I didn’t make you, did I?’’, he asks.
’’Afraid you came crawling and begging me to take care of you?’’, I ask and lift my brow at him. He doesn’t say anything, he just stares me. He does think he has begged me. I lift my hand.
’’No, I took care of you on my own free will’’, I tell him. Then his face looks even weirder. What the fuck is wrong with his face?
’’Why?’’, he asks, ’’Just so ya know, I ain’t banging ya.’’ I just can believe he even said that.
’’Good to know’’, I say, ’’And just so you know, it’s perfectly normal to take care of sick roomie.’’ We stare at each other for a while.
’’I don’t buy that but okay. Thanks’’, he says and leaves me in the kitchen alone. I clime upstairs and fall to the bed and sleep. Baby kicks be just before I fall to sleep.
Things have been better after Merle’s sickness. I can’t say he is nice to me, but he is less.. hostile and less agressive. So, things look good. He went on a scavenge and found shit load of cans from the houses. We don’t have to worry about anything.
’’Sweet cheeks’’, he says to me from the tub. I extend the bottle for him without even looking at him. He is taking a bath in the yard and I’m reading about the birth. It sounds awful. How am I going to do that? Merle grabs the book out of my hands and throws it over the fence.
’’HEY!’’, I yell tat him, ’’I was reading that.’’
’Yeah and ya look like ya gonna retch soon. In my I eyes, I just saved you’’, he tells me. I look the book other side of the fence. Then I look at Merle, but all I see is his white ass.
’’Oh, come on Merle’’, I say and get up. I didn’t want to see his naked white butt.
’’What?’’, he yells after me when I walk inside to take a nap.
Daryl is rolling in his bed. Everything feels hazy and his head is like..
’’Don’t get up.’’ It’s Carol. She pushes Daryl back to the bed.
’’You are sick like a dog’’, she tells Daryl. Daryl tries to get up.
’’Nah, I need to get Raya’’, he tells Carol when she pushes him back to the bed.
’’Not like this, you aren’t’’, she tells Daryl.
’’You just make her sick too. You know it’s dangerous in the last semester to her’’, she tells him. And no, he didn’t know. He relaxes back to the bed.
’’When are ya gonna tell him?’’, Merle asks. We just ate and I’m starting to feel tired again. I’m resting in the chair. Fire is burning and it’s warming me nicely.
’’Tell who and what?’’, I ask eyes closed. I have no idea what is he talking about.
’’When are ya gonna tell Daryl ya love him?’’, he asks and I almost jump out of the chair. I stare him in disbelief. How did he..?
’’I..’’, is all that comes out of my mouth. I stand and stare him.
’’I’m heading to bed’’, I say to back of his head. He is fending the fire. He is not even looking me. I walk out of the room.
’’Merle’’, I shout. I know Merle doesn’t react nicely when I yell at him. But I’m so screwed. I’ve been having contractions all day. I just thought they would go away.
’’Merle!’’, I shout louder. Where is that lazy redneck? I haven’t seen him after his guestion that I almost run out. I’ve stayed in my room. I hear his footsteps. I lift my gaze from the floor.
’’What?’’, he shouts to me.
’’Does the car work?’’, I ask.
’’It might’’, he says to me.
’’You don’t know?’’, I shout to him. He gets visible mad. He points a finger at me. Although things has been good between us, he doesn’t take any shit, ANY SHIT!
’’You listen me sweet cheeks...’’, he says.
’’My water broke’’, I yell loud before he says something that makes me mad or teary.
’’Why the hell didn’t ya say so?’’, he yells back. I feel the contraction come.
’’Oh fuck’’, I say and almost double over. I grunt when the pain comes. I try to breathe. When it’s over, I straighten.
’’We need to go’’, I tell Merle. He is staring me like I’ve grown two heads.
’’I ain’t going nowhere with ya’’, he tells me and his accent seem to thicken. He takes a step back.
’’Merle. Listen to me’’, I say and take a hold of his sleeve before he can escape me, ’’I can’t drive. It’s either you deliver this baby or you take me to the prison. Which is going to be?’’ He turns and rips the sleeve from my grasp.
’’Come on sweet cheeks’’, he yells from the staircase, ’’We ain’t got all day’’. I’m relieved that he is taking me to prison. I take my baby bag. I have all I think the baby and I need. I have written letters if I don’t make it. I’ve named the baby for both genders. The car is ready idling over the fence. I walk to the ladder. There is no ladder on the other side. I sit on the fence. I should’ve thought this better. How am I going to get down? Merle comes to the fence.
’’C´me on. I got ya’’, he says and reach for me. I lean on his shoulders, and he takes a hold of me. Slowly and gently he lefts me down. It’s such a nice thing to do and it’s getting me emotional.
’’Thank you’’, I say to him tears in my eyes.
’’Don’t do that’’, he says to me sharply. I know he hates when I cry.
’’Sorry’’, I tell him and wipe the tears. As I sit in the car, another contraction comes. I breathe as much as I can. Merle drives too fast but I don’t mind.
Daryl is staring the gate while Glenn is holding binoculars on his eyes. He is better now. He is going tomorrow going to get Raya here. They hear a car coming fast. Yellow beat up truck is in our gates. Who the fuck is that?
’’Is that… Merle?’’, I hear Glenn ask. Daryl looks at Glenn. What is Merle doing here? Has something happened to Raya?
’’Open the gate’’, Daryl yells. The gates open and the car drives in. Merle steps out. Daryl runs to him.
’’Is everything alright?’’, Daryl asks Merle and sees Raya doubled over in the seat.
’’Her water broke’’, Merle says.
’’Shit’’, Daryl says and walk to Raya’s door. He opens it and Raya is taking calming breaths. He crouches in front of her. She opens her beautiful brown eyes.
’’Hi’’, she says weakly.
’’Hi there’’, Daryl answers to me, ’’How’re ya doin´?’’ He extends his hands to me and I take a hold of them with my shaky ones. He helps me up. My leg feels powerless. I don’t let go of Daryl’s hands.
’’Alright I ques’’, I say and sound breathless. I see Carol run to us.
’’Raya’’, she says and look at me, ’’It’s time?’’ I nod to her.
’’Oh no’’, I feel another one coming. They’ve been coming more often. I thought that we couldn’t make it in some point while driving. Daryl steps closer and takes a better hold of me. I lean on him and crush his sleeves in my hands. My stomach burns and my thighs. I breathe as much as I can but I can’t suppress the whimper that escapes from me. It lasts so long. I just want it to end. When it’s over, I let shaky breathes.
’’Let’s get you in’’, Carol says to me, ’’ Can you walk?’’ I look at her from Daryl’s chest where I ended up.
’’I think so’’, I tell her.
’’I run in and get everything ready for you’’, Carol says and runs inside. I try to turn back to car but Daryl stops me. I look up at him.
’’I need to take my baby bag’’, I tell him.
’’No’’, he tells me, ’’Merle, the baby bag’’, he yells to his brother. Then he takes me to bridal style and carries me in. I lean my head to his shoulder. I feel emotional again.
’’You know I could’ve walked’’, I sniff to him ’’Thank you’’. He grunts and pushes the door open.
Inside there is cell ready for me. Beth takes the children out. Nobody wants them to hear this. Daryl lowers me to gently to the bed. Maggie, Carol and Hershel waits outside the cell. I see their outlines in the sheets. Daryl takes hold of my hand. I turn to look at him. He nods to me and then leaves. I want to ask him to stay but it’s going to get crowded and I don’t think he wants to see it. Just before he disappeares.
’’Please’’, I whisper and Daryl turns. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. Carol, Maggie and Hershel comes in.
’’You need to go’’, Maggie tells Daryl. He looks me and I can see the conflict in his eyes, but he does like Maggie tells him to. First tear falls when he is outside of the sheet of this cell I’m in. I lay my head in the pillow behind me. Carol comes next to my head.
’’It’s going to be okay’’, she tells me and wipes my hair from my eyes. It’s already damp and clued to my forehead.
’’Hi’’, Maggie says to me.
’’Hi Raya. How are you feeling?’’, Hershel asks before I can answer to Maggie.
’’Fine, I think’’, I tell him.
’’Do you feel the need to push?’’, he asks. I don’t know what he is taking about.
’’I don’t.. I don’t think so’’, I tell him.
’’Good, good’’, he tells me and looks at me, ’’I need to remove you pants to check how long are you. Is that okay?’’ I nod to him. Carol takes a hold of my hand and keeps stroking my hair. I lift my bum to help Maggie pull my pants. Another contraction comes. I try to breath it out like I’ve been practicing. After the contraction, Hershel examines me.
’’Good. You’ve been practicing breathing?’’, he asks.
’’Yeah’’, I tell him.
’’That’s good. Hopefully it will help you. You are almost fully dilated. It won’t take long anymore. Just tell when you feel pressure on your bum and feel the need to push, okay?’’, he says to me.
’’Okay’’, I tell him, ’’So, now we just wait?’’
’’Unfortunately, yes’’, he says and gets up. Maggie gets up too.
’’I’ll stay with you’’, Carol says to me. Maggie and Hershel go out. Carol hums and strokes my hair. She is there every with contraction. She keeps encourages me to breathe. Before I know it, the time comes to push. Carol yells them to come. The pressure is horrible. I push and push every time contraction comes. And finally the baby comes out. They clean it and it starts to cry. Carol helps me to better position.
’’You have a beautiful baby girl’’, Maggie says and gives the baby to me, ’’Congratulations’’. I take the baby.
’’Thank you’’, I say but stare at the baby. She is beautiful. Little bit dark hair covers his head. Everyone leaves me saying they come back soon. I can’t concentrate on anything else than the little bundle in my arms.
’’Hi there little one’’, I tell the baby. She is making little noises. She opens slowly her eyes.
’’I’m your momma’’, I tell her.
’’Knock, knock’’, I hear Daryl say other side of the sheet. I smile.
’’Come in’’, I tell him. He is almost the last one to come see the baby. He sits in the bed near me.
’’How´re ya feelin´?’’, he asks. He doesn’t look me. He just stares the baby.
’’As good as I can’’, I tell him, ’’You want her?’’
’’Hell yeah’’, he tells. I give her to Daryl and he gets up.
’’Hi there’’, he says and walks with her, ’’Does she have a name yet?’’ They look so good together.
’’Yes’’, I tell him. But I don’t say it.
’’Well.. do I need to guess it?’’, he asks.
’’No, it’s Nova Kaylee’’, I tell him. I looked at the names from some book that had meaning of the names. Nova means new and Kaylee means pure. I thought about it. They sounded good together. It’s not her fault where she comes from and I don’t blame her. That’s fitting. Daryl turns to look at me.
’’That’s beautiful name’’, he says, ’’Nova and Ass Kicker are goin´ to have lots of fun together’’.
’’I thought it was a joke but you really call her Ass Kicker’’, I laugh.
’’Hell yeah’’, he answers. He sits next to me and gives my baby back. He looks around the cell.
’’What are ya goin´ to do now?’’, he asks. I cover myself and l help Nova to eat. Then I turn to look at him. He is tense.
’’I should probably ask Rick if I can stay here’’, I say. I can see Daryl visibly relax.
’’The gate house was never long term solution. I should’ve come earlier’’, I tell him, ’’I think I scared bejeesus out of your brother’’. He laughs.
’’Yeah. He said he needs somethin´ strong after that ride’’, Daryl says.
’’I didn’t scream that much’’, I tell him.
’’Maybe not but the fingerprints...’’, he says making me laugh.
’’Ya should rest’’, he says but doesn’t get up.
’’Is Merle going to come see the baby?’’, I ask.
’’Baby’s ain’t really his thing’’, he says.
’’That’s where you’re wrong little brother’’, I hear Merle say other side the sheet before he enters.
’’Move over’’, Merle says and pushes Daryl out of the way.
’’Where is that little hellraiser?’’, Merle asks. I take the sleeping baby of my chest and cover myself. Merle takes it from my hands. He gets up like Daryl had done. He sways with her.
’’So what’s it called?’’, Merle asks.
’’Merle it’s not it. It’s her. She is Nova’’, I tell him.
’’Well Nova I’m your Uncle Merle. I will teach ya lots of shit when ya aren’t old enough’’, he tells her. I shake my head. Me and Merle didn’t always see eye to eye, but we made it work in the end. I love him in platonic way. I wipe the tear away.
’’I leave before ya leak more’’, he says and gives the baby to Daryl. Merle leaves without saying anything else. Nova is sleeping. It’s been big day for her.
’’Your brother is something else’’, I say to Daryl and move closer. I lean my chin on his shoulder. Nova is sleeping happily in Daryl’s arms.
’’Ya guys have a problem’’, Merle tells Daryl outside. Daryl looks around the yard. Raya and Nova fell asleep while Daryl was still there. He tucked them in and left.
’’Whadda ya mean?’’, Daryl asks his brother and follows him walking near the fence.
’’When we waited for you guys open the gate I saw them’’, he tells Daryl
’’Ya saw what?’’, Daryl asks. He is getting annoyed that his brother isn’t going to the point already.
’’The heads’’, Merle says and turns to his brother.
’’What the hell are ya talking about?’’
’’The heads at the gate’’, Merle tells Daryl.
’’There ain’t no bloody heads at the gate’’, Daryl says and is agitated already.
’’Go see. It’s not a good sign. I know who has brought them here’’, Merle says. Daryl leaves Merle to stand alone and walks to the gate. He tells Maggie to open it. There they are. Dead heads snapping at him.
’’He is coming for ya’’, Merle says next to him. Daryl turns to look at his brother. He has no idea what this mean but his gut says he doesn’t like it.
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