I could usually sleep through the night but not now. All I could do was lie here and think about Beth even though she was lyin' next to me.
I'm not sure why I'm sleepin' in her bed after seein' her and Zach yesterday but when I finished my watch shift, this is the first place I went. I wanted to see her and be next to her.
"Rick, are you awake?" She asked sleepily.
"Yeah baby, I'm awake. You need somethin'?"
"Mmhmm, my back hurts. Can you please rub it for me?"
"Sure, roll over."
I sat up when she rolled over and I started rubbin' her back. I continued until I thought she was asleep, then I leaned down and placed a small kiss on her cheek before layin' back down.
I looked at my watch, 4:00 a.m., "Fuck!" I whispered to myself, remembering that in a few hours I was goin' on a run and hadn't gotten any sleep. And to make things worse, Maggie had successfully talked Zach into comin' with us.
When Maggie, Glenn, Rick and Zach left for the run, I sought out Carol.
"Carol, can I talk to you about somethin'?" I asked when I found her.
"Sure sweetie. What's on your mind?"
"Oh, is everything alright?"
I shook my head, "Yes ma'am. I guess it is."
"Well, I...um...I know I don't love him or anythin' like that and...and...um..."
"And what, sweetie?"
"I don't know how I feel. I'm just kinda confused about it."
"What do you mean?"
"I think we might have jumped in to the whole relationship thing too soon and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about him."
"Are you happy with Zach?"
"Yeah, I am. I like spendin' time with him and everythin' but like I said, I know I don't love him."
"Bethie, talk to him. Tell him how you feel. Maybe y'all just need to slow things down a little and see where it goes from there. You may not love him now but who knows, you may love him eventually. Just take your time, talk to him about this. Okay?"
"We've gotten everything that was on list and we still have some room in the car, maybe we shouldn't grab whatever else we may need while we can," Glenn suggested.
"Aright, we'll split up and only take what we can carry. We can come back later for more if we need to," I told all of them.
We all split up to search the rest of the store. Maggie and Glenn took off towards the baby section, I took the camping section and Zach went to the groceries.
About 20 minutes later, Maggie and Glenn met me at the car.
"Where's Zach?" Maggie asked.
I shrugged, "Haven't seen 'im."
"Maggie, load everything in the car. Rick and I will go look for him," Glenn told her and she agreed.
We walked back into the store.
"You take the left side and I'll take the right," I said.
After a few minutes, I found Zach.
I crossed my arms when I saw him and what he was lookin' at, "Boy, you really think you need that shit?" I asked, makin' him jump a little.
"Uh...um...yes sir, I do."
"You really think you need condoms?"
"Well yeah, Beth and I are..."
I uncrossed my arms and took a step closer to him, "You and Beth are what?" I clenched my fists and jaw.
"Well...uh...I know she's...she's pregnant but...but I'd still rather have 'em..."
"I'm tellin' you right now, you ain't gonna touch her so you can just put those back."
"Mr. Grimes, with all due respect. This ain't none of your business. Beth and I are both adults. We can do whatever or whoever we want to."
I got in his face, "You will NOT touch her as long as she's fuckin' pregnant or any other time! If you do, I'll shoot you on sight! Do I make myself clear?!"
He backed up and started laughin', "You got a thing for her or somethin'? She's a little too young for you, ain't she?"
I grabbed the collar of his shirt and lifted him a little, "She's pregnant with MY child. You will NOT touch her." I drew back and punched him just as Glenn was approaching us. He grabbed my arm, "Rick, stop! Y'all can settle this when we get back to the prison but not now. We gotta go."
The whole ride back to the prison was silent except for the occasional chuckle from Maggie.
When we pulled through the gate, everyone was waitin' and rushed to the car. I saw Beth walkin' towards me but I moved past her and headed into the prison. Before I went inside I heard her gasp when she saw Zach.
"Oh my God, Zach. What happened to your face?"
Maggie was smiling, "Yeah Zach, go ahead and tell my sister what happened."
He grabbed my arm and pulled me to the side, "Mr. Grimes is the father?" He asked incredulously.
"Why the hell didn't you tell me?"
"Because it wasn't any of your business."
"None of my business?" He pointed to his face, "Does this look like it's none of my business? That psycho punched me when he saw me gettin' condoms for us..."
I stepped away from him, "Condoms? Seriously? We hardly know each other, Zach, and I'm...I'm not ready for that."
"I understand. But I thought maybe when you are ready, after you have the kid, we could."
I nodded my head, "So, Rick punched you?"
"Yeah, seems like he's jealous or some shit."
"I'll be right back," I headed in the direction Rick had gone.
It may seem crazy but I had been down in the boiler room for a while talkin' to Lori. I had shit to work out and she was the only I could talk to. I know she's not really there but I had to go see her.
When I walked back inside the cell block, Carol stopped me and pulled me into one of the cells, "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, yeah. I'm fine."
"You don't look it," she said, "you look like you've been hit by a freight train."
I rubbed my face, "I feel like I have."
She crossed her arms, "It wouldn't have anything to do with Beth and what you did to Zach, would it?"
I looked at her but didn't say anything. What was I supposed to say? Yeah, it's because of Beth, I'm a grown ass man and I'm jealous of her bein' with Zach? I couldn't say that to anyone. They may all be alright with the current situation but if anyone found out how I felt about her, they'd surely kill me.
"I'm not even gonna pretend to know what happened between you and her, how you managed to get her pregnant or what you feel for her but she's found someone closer to her own age, Rick. Give her this, let her be happy with him while she can."
"I'm not gonna stop her from bein' happy, no matter how much I love her." Fuck! I shouldn't have said that.
Carol took a step back and covered her mouth with one hand and her heart with the other. "You love her?" She whispered.
"Shit," I took a step closer to her, "that's not what I meant, Carol."
"Yes it is, Rick. You love her. Does she know?"
"Carol, she's the mother of my child."
"That's not answering my question. Does she know how you feel?"
I shook my head, "No. She doesn't. Hell, I didn't even know for sure 'til I saw her with Zach."
"I saw her in her cell with Zach and then...and then what happened on the run."
"I suggest you keep that to yourself. She doesn't need to know how you feel. She's happy, Rick. If you truly love her, don't get in her way," she walked to the doorway to leave, "You will need to apologize to both her and Zach for what you did though."
I nodded and sat down on the bunk. I sat there for a few minutes before Beth came in. She didn't say anything, just leaned against the bars and stared at me.
"Beth, I'm sorry for what I did. I just..."
She put her hand up, "Shut up, Rick." She pushed herself away from the bars and sat down next to me on the bed, "I don't agree with what you did, you shouldn't have done it. You had no right to say that to him. What I do is none of your business. If I want to be with Zach or anyone else, I will and you can't stop it," she paused and looked down, "But thank you."
I nodded, "I'm sorry. I'm just lookin' out for you."
She was silent for a minute, "Can I ask you somethin'?"
"Yeah, go ahead."
She turned to face me, "Did you and Andrea ever, you know...um...do anythin'?"
"She told me about you and her but what she said y'all did, role playin' or whatever...Did you really do that? Did you really call her by mine and Lori's names when y'all were together?"
"Beth, please let me explain..."
She shook her head, "No, you don't have to. I don't wanna know. I don't wanna know why or anythin' else."
"But I...it was somethin' I shouldn't have done. I don't know why I did it."
"No Rick, you do. You know why you did it."
Before I could get the words out, her lips were on mine. I was shocked but I didn't pull away from her, instead, I wrapped my arms around her, pulled her closer to me and then eased her back on the bed as our kiss deepened.