Decending Into Chaos - Part I
I stared into the woods as the sun came up and rubbed my face. What the fuck happened last night? The past three days have been crazy. I shouldn't have let things go as far as they did with her. I should've stopped it.
"Rick, are you okay?"
I turned around, "Yeah, I'm fine."
"Well, it's my turn for watch."
I nodded to her and started to leave but she put her hand on my shoulder, "Rick, tell me the truth, what's goin' on between you and Beth?"
"Nothin's goin' on between us, Carol."
"I don't believe you. I've seen the way you look at her and I don't wanna see either of you get hurt. She's carrying your baby but if it's more than that, you need to be careful."
I left the guard tower and instead of goin' inside, I walked around surveying the prison. It seemed secure enough but so had Hershel's farm. It wasn't as ideal as the farm had been but it was better than being on the road. At least here we had beds, fences and it provided a little security. And most importantly, Beth had a safe place to give birth and didn't have to spend her pregnancy on the move like Lori had. Carl, Judy and the baby would have a safe home.
It's been three days since we told everyone the baby is Rick's and things have hardly changed between Rick and I, if anything has, we've gotten a little closer. One thing that I know has changed though is that I've found myself watchin' Rick. I was curious about what Maggie had said. Was he actually seein' things? Did he really talk to people who weren't there? At first I thought maybe she was tryin' to scare me but then I remembered he told me he had seen Lori. I had thought it was just that one time though. It had me worried. But I wasn't the only one watchin' him.
"What'd you think he's doin' out there?" Carl asked as I walked up beside him.
"I'm not sure," I shrugged, "but whatever he's doin', it's probably best to leave him to it."
We both stood there silently for a while watching Rick disappear into the woods.
"I'm not mad at ya, ya know?"
"I'm not mad at you, Beth. I kinda hope it's a boy."
I laughed, "Why's that?"
He looked at me, "So Judith will have two brothers to protect her and I've always wanted a brother."
"And what if it's a girl?"
"I don't know. I wouldn't mind another sister. I'll help take care of them both."
"You're a good big brother. You know that, right?" I smiled.
He looked down and didn't say anything.
"Come on, you can help me with Judy."
I looked out towards the creek and there she was. I had to see her, to touch her again, so I followed.
Just as soon as I approached where she had stood, she was further away and then gone. I called her name but she wouldn't stop, se just kept on movin'.
"Rick." I stopped, she was callin' me.
"Lori? Where are you?"
"Rick." I heard it again.
"Lori," I called out as quietly as I could. She was there. She smiled and I reached for her but she was gone again. "Lori!" I yelled a little louder.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, "Rick, what the hell're you doin' out here?"
I faced him, "I got...things...stuff out here. What're you doin here?"
"Me an' Merle got some things we need to tell y'all."
I gave him a quick nod and we headed towards the prison.
Once inside we gathered everyone up. Daryl began to tell us what they'd learned.
"The Governor is plannin' to attack the prison."
Everyone had their questions.
"When will they come?"
"How'd you know?"
"Not sure when but soon. We were watchin' 'em. Overhead their plan. Seems they're pissed we came in and got Maggie and Glenn. We heard 'im tell people we were tryin' to take Woodbury from 'em. We're here to help. But Rick, I gotta talk to you alone," Daryl said.
We had all gathered in the common room to discuss what had to be done. It was decided that everyone would take watch shifts instead of just the few that had been doin' it. And there were discussions about Merle stayin'.
"I can take watch with Carl," I offered.
"No Beth." Maggie said. "You're not goin' on watch."
I looked at daddy and Carol, "let me go, please. That way someone else can get some rest. That's basically all I've been doin' lately. Someone else should have their turn to rest."
"That's not a good idea, Bethie. You need to be where we know you're safe."
"I'll be with her," Carl told them. They just stared.
"It's not a good idea, even if Carl is with you."
Rick walked back in after talkin' to Daryl "what's goin' on?"
"Beth wants to go on watch with Carl," daddy told him.
He joined everyone in staring at us, "You're not goin'."
"No Beth!" He growled angrily and stepped closer, "you're not goin'."
Daryl pulled him away from me, "Rick, Carl won't let anythin' happen to Beth. I'll keep an eye on 'em."
Rick seemed to calm down a bit but he was still mad, "Fine. But don't let 'em outta your sight." And he turned to leave.
"Rick, you need to stay in here and help us decide what to do," daddy told him.
"I can't. I've got...stuff," then he was gone again. I think we were all worried about him.
A little while later, Carl and I were assigned the afternoon shift with Daryl keepin' a close eye on us.
I guess you could say I underestimated how boring it was to be on watch. We had been in the guard tower for four hours and so far nothin' had happened. Not that I wanted anything to happen, I just hadn't expected this and my back was beginning to hurt.
"Hey Daryl, you mind stayin' with Carl? I'm gonna go inside for a few minutes, I'll be right back."
He gave a nod and walked out onto the walkway.
When I entered the cell block I heard Judith cryin' but when I got to my cell, Rick was already with her tryin' to calm her down.
"You want me to try?" I asked, standing in the doorway.
"No, I need to do this."
I sat down next to them and couldn't help fidgeting.
"Bethie, you're supposed to be on watch. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. Just bored and uncomfortable is all."
"Uncomfortable? Is somethin' wrong?"
"No, my back hurts a little but from what Carol had told me, it's normal."
I watched as he continued to try to calm Judith but it wasn't workin' and he looked frustrated.
"Maybe she's hungry."
"No, just fed her."
"Hmm...," I moved back on the bed until I was against the wall, "hand her to me."
Once she was in my arms, Rick leaned back besides me and I started singin'.
"Here I walk, an empty shell even though It's hard to tell this lonesome hand It's taken it's toll and I just don't know how far it can go Well come down and watch your first step Don't do anything you might regret Cause you're much too innocent to suffer It wasn't all sunny days Picking through your memories Oh the rain came down and you covered me in velvet Oh you covered me in velvet
Another turn, another cautious step Will we ever learn just how lonesome can get You caught me running, running away And I just don't know how long I can stay Well come down and watch your first step Don't do anything you might regret Cause you're much too innocent to suffer And it wasn't all sunny days Picking through your memories Oh the rain came down and you covered me in velvet Oh you covered me in velvet"
The whole time I was singin', Rick's eyes were closed. When I finished, he opened his eyes and stared at me and Judith, I felt uneasy at first, he touched my cheek. Then he leaned in and gently pressed his lips to mine. When he pulled back, he jumped up, "Shit. I'm sorry, Beth. I...I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry." He left.
I was more than a little confused by what had just happened. He kissed me. But why did he say he was sorry and then leave? Him runnin' out on things was beginning to become a habit and it was starting to irritate me.
Fuck! Why the fuck did I do that? I wanted to but I shouldn't have. Fuck, Rick! It's not right. It's one thing to be the father to her child and another to be with her. I was kickin' myself for what I had done. I know I scared her and she probably won't come around me. Damn it!
"Hey dad, have you seen Beth?"
"Yeah, she's in her cell with Judith. What'd you need?"
"Nothin', just worried. She said she'd come back but she hasn't."
"Dad, I..I don't want her to end up like mom."
I put my hands on his shoulders, "Carl, I promise you nothin' and I mean nothin' will happen to Beth or the baby. We're family and we'll protect her. She's safe."
"I know but..."
"No, no buts. Don't even think about anythin' like that."
He looked down and nodded then looked back up, "Have y'all talked about names yet?"
"No, we haven't. Why?"
"I don't know. I was thinkin' 'bout names."
"Well, why don't you go talk to Beth about names. She's got a book full of 'em. I'm sure she'd be glad to let you help name your brother or sister."
"Okay." He smiled.
Shit, I knew why he was happy, he had told me he wanted things to be normal, like we all do, but he wanted us to be more like a family. The whole thing; a dad, a mom and kids. I know he misses Lori, so do I, but we can't be the kind of family he wants. I'm sure I fucked things up good with Beth.
What the fuck am I gonna do about this?!
"Rick," Carol called as she approached me.
Fuck! I shook my head, can't people go five minutes without wantin' somethin' from me.
"I need to talk to you."
"No, not here. I need to talk to you alone."
"Okay." We walked around to where the cars were parked, it was the only place that wasn't occupied. "What'd you wanna talk about?"
"You and Beth."
"Damn it Carol, I've already told you nothin's goin' on, nothin'."
"And I've already told you that I don't believe you and I don't wanna see either of you get hurt."
"Why the hell don't you believe me?"
"I don't believe you because of what I've heard."
"You don't fuckin' believe me because of somethin' you've heard?"
"Yeah, because I've caught you asleep while on watch, twice and both times I've heard you sayin' Beth's name in your sleep. And it's not just that, you've fallen asleep while on watch and you walk around here in...in some kind of daze."
"It's not what you think, Carol. I'm fine."
She crossed her arms, "You don't want to know what I think and I'm sure you don't wanna know what the others would think if they heard you. And you're not fine. Passing out while on watch isn't exactly "fine". So tell me what's goin' on and I won't mention it to the others."
Damn it, I rubbed my face in my hands.
"I've been havin' dreams about Beth...about losing her the way I lost Lori. She dies in my dreams just like Lori did and there's nothin' I can do to stop it..but it's not just her, I see Lori there too, tellin' me it's my fault. That I killed her and Beth and...and the baby. I can't lose her...them, I can't lose them."
"Oh my God. Rick, I'm sorry I pushed the subject. I'm takin' you off watch for a few days. With the Governor gettin' ready to attack us, you need to be rested and not worrying about anything else. Go spend time with Beth and the kids. We have Daryl back, he can cover things for a while and with Merle here too, he can help out. I'm sure I can get someone to pull double shifts. Just go rest and be with your family. They'll need you...they do need you."
"No, I'm fine."
"I won't back down from this, now go to them." She stared at me for a while and I knew she wasn't bluffin'.
I waited a while before goin' back into the prison. I wasn't sure I could face Beth and Carl but I had to.
When I entered the cell block, I could hear them talkin' and laughin' before I had even reached her cell.
"I like Alice for a girl." I heard Beth say.
"Alice? Like Alice in Wonderland?" Carl laughed.
"Yes. It's one of my favorites."
I looked in at them, it's like they had completely forgotten about everything outside these walls. That's all I wanted for them, for everyone here.
"I like Alice," I said.
Beth stuck her tongue out at Carl and they both laughed again.
"What about boy names?" I asked before I sat down.
"I like Cody and Beth likes Shawn. Which one do you like?"
"Hmm...tough choice. I'm not sure."
The night went on like this without any interruptions. It felt like everything was normal. Carl was actin' like a doting big brother and Beth seemed extremely happy with being a mom.
At dinner Carol asked for the others to take double shifts and then everyone split up and either went to bed or watch. I couldn't sleep, every time I did I had the same dreams and I couldn't face them tonight, not after everything had been so perfect.
I walked around a bit, I wasn't on watch but I had to keep busy. Even it that meant checkin' up on everyone else.
I was standing on the catwalk when she walked up behind me and put her arms around my waist. It wasn't her touch I wanted but someone else's, someone I couldn't have but I guess you could say I was desperate. I needed a woman's touch but not hers.
"We're not doin' this anymore," I told her.
"Why not? I'm already here and we both want it."
I turned around and shook my head, "No, it has to end here. I don't want you."
"I've played along with what you wanted, Rick. I've let you pretend that I was her now it's my turn to have something I want and I want you to want me. Not her...I'm not her...I'm not either one of them, so tonight...please don't call me Lori or Beth."
"It was a fuckin' mistake. I don't want you, Andrea, I never have. What we did was a mistake, it should've never happened." I walked away but she was clearly pissed.
"You'll regret this, Rick."