Ones Step Closer
I was the first one to pull back from our kiss. I had initiated it though I'm not sure why. That one kiss with Rick was so different from the one with Zach.
"You alright?" Rick asked. He had one hand holding himself up off my body and the other on my cheek.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
He leaned his forehead on mine and moved his hand from my cheek down to my stomach. Right when he touched my stomach, we both felt a kick and he jumped up.
We were both smiling. "I think that's the first time I've actually felt the baby kick like that," I said.
He helped me sit up before kneeling on the floor in front of me. This time he put both hands on my stomach and kissed it. "Hey baby, it's daddy," he whispered, "don't be too hard on your mama."
I laughed a little and put my hands on his, "We should probably go help the others out." He nodded and stood up then helped me off the bed. We started to walk out of the cell but stopped. He put his hand on my cheek again and pulled me in for another kiss.
We both walked out of the cell with huge smiles.
It was time for supper and we had all gathered in the common room. I took my usual spot next to daddy and Carl and across from Maggie.
"Why are you smilin' like that?" Maggie asked.
I shrugged, "Like what?"
She glared at me, "Did you and Zach...you know...?"
"Well somethin's makin' you smile like that and I wanna know what it is. So tell me."
"Nothin' happened, honest. I'm just happy. That's it."
"It's just her hormones, Maggie." Carol said, sittin' next to her. Carol stared at me and then looked at Zach, who wasn't smilin' at all, "Bethie, when you're done eating, can you help me with Judith."
I smiled, "yes ma'am."
When we were finished I followed Carol to her cell where Judith had been stayin'.
I looked over at her, "She's sleepin'. What'd you need me to help you with?"
"I know she's sleepin'. I just wanted to talk to you in private." She patted the bed next to her and I sat down.
"Is somethin' wrong, Carol?"
"Well, that depends. What happened earlier?"
"Huh? What'd you mean?"
"Beth, I'm not blind. From the smile you've had, I'm guessing it had nothin' to do with Zach because he still seems pretty pissed about Rick. Which brings me to my next point. I saw you go to talk to Rick when they got back earlier. I assumed it was because of his altercation with Zach but I know it wasn't."
"It was about Zach. Rick had no right to do what he did and I told him that."
She shook her head, "yeah, you may have told him that but I know somethin' else happened."
"Carol, nothin' happened. We talked."
"Really? Because from the smiles the two of y'all have had all evening, I'd be willin' to bet somethin' more than talkin' happened between y'all. Did he say or do anything to you?"
"He apologized for what he did and as for us smiling, he felt the baby kick. And I mean really kick. It wasn't like the little movements I've felt before. It was a real kick, ya know."
She smiled, "I know," she reached out and tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear, "I know exactly how that feels. The first time you feel it that powerful, it's amazing. If that's all that happened then I guess I shouldn't worry. But be careful, Beth. You're with Zach."
I swallowed hard, after that kiss with Rick, I had totally forgotten about bein' with Zach. "Yes Carol, you shouldn't worry and I know I'm with Zach. It...it was just havin' that happen with Rick was nice. The baby hasn't moved like that for anyone else, not even me."
"He obviously knows his daddy's voice and when he touches you," she put her hand on my stomach, "I'm guessing Rick will be doin' more of that now."
"Probably, but I'm fine with it. You and Carl are always touchin' my belly tryin' to feel the baby move. I have no problem with Rick doin' that too."
"Alright. But you need to go tell Hershel and Maggie before they jump to conclusions."
"I'll go talk to them now."
Thankfully Maggie and daddy were together in the common room. I walked up behind Maggie, wrapped my arms around her neck and put my chin on her shoulder, "You really wanna know why I've been smilin'?"
"Yes, Beth. I want to know."
I sat down across from her and daddy and smiled.
"I was smilin' 'cause of Rick."
Daddy and Maggie's eyes widened.
"Because of Rick?" Daddy asked.
"Yeah but before you get mad, let me finish." They just stared at me so I continued, "After y'all got back from the run, Zach told me what happened between him and Rick so I went to talk to Rick. While we were talkin', he touched my stomach and...and the baby kicked. It's like he knew who Rick was. It wasn't like the little kicks I've felt, this one was...it was a...a powerful kick, it was the first time he did that and it felt nice. He's only done that for Rick," I knew it sounded crazy but I was happy about that and they didn't need to know what else happened.
They both smiled and daddy grabbed my hands, "You have every right to be happy and excited about that. Believe me, I know what that feels like and I'm glad you and Rick experienced that. Y'all have many more firsts to get through with this child and they'll all be as exciting as this was."
Maggie smiled too and moved to sit next to me. She put her arms around my shoulders and kissed my head. "I'm so happy for you, Bethie. Daddy's right, you should be excited about that. Do you think he'll kick like that for Aunt Maggie?"
I laughed a little, "Maybe but like I've said, he's only done that for Rick. But you can try."
She held her hands on my belly for a little bit but didn't feel anything. "Well, I guess he's gonna be just as stubborn as his mama and daddy," she said.
"Y'all do know it could be a girl, right?" Glenn asked as he sat down next to Maggie.
"We know," I said, "but still, we can it him or her 'til we know for sure." I stood up, "Well, I'm gonna get to bed. I'll see y'all in the mornin'."
We said our goodnights and I made my way back to my cell and changed clothes. It felt good to be out of jeans.
I was about to lay down when someone knocked on the bars.
"Can I come in?" Maggie asked.
She came in and quietly sat down on the bed. She kept her eyes on me like she was tryin' to read my mind.
"Bethie, I know the truth," she finaly said.
I was actually confused. What was she talkin' about?
"What'd you mean?" I asked.
She took a deep breath, "I know Rick isn't really the baby's father and I know who is. It took me a while but when I finally got over bein' mad, I figured it out." She looked down, "That night at the farm, when Rick found Shane hittin' you, he did more than that, didn't he?"
She put up her hand to stop me, "Beth, I'm thankful you have Rick. He saved you that night and he's willin' to be there for you. He's a good man. And Beth, I'm not gonna tell anyone, especially daddy. He doesn't need to know what Shane did, it'll just hurt him worse. As far as I'm concerned, Rick is the baby's father and that's all that matters."
"Thank you, Maggie but seriously, please don't tell anyone. It's bad enough Daryl knows."
"No need to thank me. I'd do anythin' for you and I kinda figured Daryl knew since he helped Rick with Shane that night."
She moved closer to me and lowered her voice so only I could hear, "This may not be the appropriate time to say this but I actually want you and Rick to be together, Bethie. And please don't take this the wrong way but I don't like Zach very much. I was glad Rick hit him because I've been wantin' to do that since you started goin' out with him. There's somethin' about him I don't trust. I see the way he looks at you, there's somethin' that isn't right about it. It's completely different than the way I see Rick lookin' at you. That man, he may not be willin' to admit it but he loves you. We all see it, that's why daddy and Carol are so worried."
"Maggie, why are you tellin' me this?" I groaned.
"Because I want you to be happy. We've all talked about you and Rick bein' together," I started to interrupt her but she stopped me, "we're not gossipin' about y'all or anythin' like that but as it stands, Carl and I are the only ones that want y'all to be together. Carol and daddy are totally against it, Daryl and Glenn are on the fence but neither of them thinks it's a good idea for y'all to be together, Sasha and Tyreese said they were stayin' out of it but that you're a little young and then Merle, well he just hates Rick so his opinion doesn't really count."
"Wait a minute, why the hell were y'all talkin' 'bout us in the first place?"
She sighed, "Daddy and Carol are worried about you bein' with someone like Rick, someone that much older than you." She paused, the look on my face must've been amusing because Maggie started to laugh and she patted my leg, "Get some sleep, Bethie and think about what I said. Carl and I have your back."
I layed down on my side when she left and stared at the wall.
What the hell just happened? Maggie had been so pissed when she found out I was pregnant and then when we told her it was Rick's she wanted to kill him, now she's giving me her approval. Was she messin' with me?
What started out as a shitty day ended up bein' pretty damn good and it was only gonna get better when my watch shift ends and I get to be next to Beth.
"Hey dad," Carl said comin' into the guard tower.
"Hey, you're supposed to be in bed."
"I know. But I wanted to talk to you."
"Beth, Judy and the baby."
"Okay, well go ahead and say what's on your mind."
"Well...," he started, "I miss mom and...and Judith never had the chance to know her. The only mom Judith's known is Beth." He looked at me with tears in his eyes, "I love mom but...well...the baby's gonna call Beth "Mama" because she is his or her mom and Judith's only known her..." He stopped and stared up at the sky.
I put my hands on his shoulder, "Beth can't replace your mom. No one can."
"I know that but I...can I call Beth, mom?"
"Wow," I rubbed my face, "Carl, that's really up to you. You don't have to call her that. But you'd better talk to her first. It's not my decision."
"I want to call her mom. I love her like a mom and if the baby and Judith are gonna call her that, why can't I? We're a family now, right?"
"Yeah Carl, we're a family," I crossed my arms and leaned back against the wall. "If that's what you want, then you need to ask her, not me."
He looked down and nodded, "I'll talk to her tomorrow. But...but what if she says I can't?"
"I don't know. Just talk to her and see what she says."
He grinned, "Thanks dad."
"Now go to bed."
My shift lasted longer than I wanted it to but when it was over, I hurried to Beth's cell.
I thought she'd be asleep but when I climbed in beside her, she rolled over and faced me.
"Hey baby girl," I whispered. Even through the dim moonlight, I could see her smile. I cupped her face in my hands and gently kissed her.
She sighed, "Rick, Maggie knows."
"She knows what?"
"About Shane, what he did. She's not gonna tell anyone though."
"She may not tell anyone but she's gonna kill me."
Beth leaned up on her elbow, "Trust me, she's not gonna kill you. She said you're the baby's father and that's all that matters." She laid her head on my chest and I wrapped my arms around her.
We laid there like that for a while before she spoke again, "Rick?"
"What happened earlier? I mean that kiss. I know I kissed you first but what was that?"
I closed my eyes, God I wish she wouldn't ask that because I'm not sure what it was. "I don't know, Bethie."
"Well, what was it to you?"
Fuck! "It was somethin' I've been wantin' to do for a while now."
"Really?" She smiled up at me.
She raised up and kissed me like before but this time she put her arms around my neck and pulled me closer. I felt her shiver as she opened her mouth to receive my tongue.
I slowly broke the kiss and moved to her neck.
She stopped me before I could go any further.
"I'm sorry, Rick. I can't do this," she started to cry, "I'm so sorry."
"No baby, don't ever be sorry. I'm not gonna make you do anything you don't want to."
I wiped the tears from her cheeks, "Thank you," she whispered.
I didn't care that she stopped me. It was enough just to have her in my arms. I'd be happy if that was all we did and nothin' more.