Finger on the Trigger

Alone Again


Beth-

I was awake before anyone else. I was sittin' up on the bed waitin' for the sun to come up. I hardly slept last night because of what Maggie said and then what happened with Rick. I wasn't ready for that with him, Zach or anyone else for that matter. I was gonna have to talk to them both. I just had to figure out how to do that.

I jumped a little when I felt Rick's hand touch my back, "Are you alright, Beth?"

I knew he couldn't see me but I couldn't say anything so I simply nodded my head.

He sat up next to me and put his arms around me, "Beth, is somethin' wrong with you or the baby?"

"No," my voice broke.

"Then, what's wrong?"

I shrugged his arms off me and stood up, "I...I just need to get some air."

He grabbed my arm, "Beth."

"Let go of me, Rick."

He let go and stood up too but I hurried out of the cell block.

I went around to the side of the prison, out of sight of the guard towers but close enough I could still be heard if somethin' happened.

I slid down the wall and started cryin'. I was thankful it was still dark.

I jumped when I felt someone touch my head.

"Whoa, Beth! I ain't gonna hurt ya."

"What'd you want, Daryl?"

"I wanna know why the fuck you're over here by yourself."

I shook my head, "Just wanted to get some air and be alone."

He slid down the wall next to me and leaned his head back, "Wanna tell me what's wrong?"

"Nope."

"Aight then," he pulled out a cigarette and lit it.

Neither of us said anything until the sun started coming up.

"Daryl?"

"Yeah."

"Do you trust Zach?"

"What?" He coughed and looked at me.

"Do you trust Zach?"

"He do somethin' to ya? He hurt ya? 'Cause I'll beat 'is ass if he did."

I waved my hand, "No, no. I just wanted to know if you trusted him. Maggie told me she doesn't."

"She ain't the only one who don't."

"Are you one of the ones who don't?"

He gave a slight nod.

"Why?"

He shrugged, "Cain't really say why. Jus' don't."

"Who else doesn't trust him? Besides you and Maggie."

"Carl an' Merle."

I pursed my lips together and looked straight ahead.

He stood up and held out his hand, "C'mon kid. Ya better get back inside 'fore they start lookin' for ya."

I followed him inside where Carol was tryin' to fix breakfast but was havin' a hard time with Judith.

"Oh Beth, can you please take her. She won't eat or settle down for anyone."

"Sure," I smiled and took the bottle and Judith from her and sat down at a table by myself.

I gave her the bottle and gently rocked her as I started to sing:

"Carrying the weight on the end of a limb You're just waiting for somebody to pick you up again Shaded by a tree, can't live up to a rose All you ever wanted was a sunny place to grow

Pretty little thing, sometimes you gotta look up And let the world see all the beauty that you're made of 'Cause the way you hang your head nobody can tell You're my Virginia Bluebell My Virginia Bluebell

Even through a stone a flower can bloom You just need a little push, Spring is coming soon Umbrella in the rain, let it roll off your back Weather what you can, realize what you have"

When she had finished her bottle, I took her to my cell. She still wasn't asleep so I rocked her again until she was.

I had just layed her down when Maggie came in.

"She is so precious," she whispered.

"Yeah, she is," I smiled and sat down on the bed.

I picked up my brush and started to run it through my hair when Maggie grabbed my wrist, "Well look at you! You did a little more than think about what I said last night," she whispered with a grin.

I groaned, "What are you talkin' 'bout?"

"The hickey on your neck. You didn't have that when I was in your cell last night."

I was mortified and I could feel my face turn red. I hadn't realized it was there. But I immediately covered it with my hair.

"So?" Maggie asked, tearing me away from my embarrassment.

"So, what?"

"So...are you and Rick...together?"

"No, Maggie. We're not and we're not gonna be."

"Well why not?"

"God, Maggie! Can you please drop it?"

"I'm not gonna drop it, Beth. I want you to be happy."

"Please stop. I don't feel that way about him and I never will. I want to be with Zach and nothin's gonna change that."

"Well, I don't believe that. You're different around Rick, you're happy and comfortable. Almost like you love him too. I know you're not in love with Zach. But, if you really want to be with him, then you need to tell Rick he can't stay in your cell anymore. It's not fair to him."

"What?"

"Make your choice, Beth. Zach or Rick? But if you choose Zach you will have to make things right with Rick and I'm guessin' it won't be easy on him after last night."

I groaned when Maggie left.

"What's wrong, sweetie?" Carol asked, coming into my cell.

I completely went off and started ramblin', "I'm sick of everyone tellin' me what to do. I got people in one ear tellin' me I'm happy with Zach and stay away from Rick while those in my other ear are tellin' me I'm happy with Rick and to stay away from Zach." I stood up, "Doesn't anyone care about what I want? Do y'all think I'm so stupid that I can't decide who I want to be with without y'all interfering?"

Carol stepped closer to me, "oh my God, Beth. Has Rick tried somethin' with you? Has he hurt you?"

"God, no. Why do y'all think he's gonna try somethin' or hurt me? Huh? What has he done that's given you reason to believe that?"

"Beth, Rick is messed up. He's a good man and a good leader but he's not all there, if you know what I mean. He disappears occasionally. We've found him down in the boiler room talkin' to Lori."

"You think I don't know that?"

"He's told me he sees her and talks to her. It's just his way of dealin' with it. We all have our own ways of coping and that's his. Besides, you shouldn't be judging him. If I remember correctly, you kinda lost it after Sophia. You took it out on everyone, especially Rick and Daryl when they did nothin' but try to help you. I'm not judging him because my way of coping was to slit my wrists. Nobody's perfect and I certainly don't expect him or anyone else to be and neither should you."

"I know, Beth. Believe me, I completely understand but you need to be smart about this. You're about to have a baby so you need to stop acting like a foolish kid and deal with the hand you've been dealt. This isn't high school, there's no time or place for silly crushes and I'm sure that's all it is with Rick. You're acting like every girl does when she loses her virginity to someone she can't be with. Now, I don't know and I really don't want to know how or when or why you let Rick be your first but it happened and it's time for you to grow up. Zach is good for you."

"Carol, I don't have a crush on Rick or anythin' like that. I'm not sayin' I want to be with Rick but I'd appreciate it if y'all would quit pushin' me to Zach. Yes, he's a good friend and I like hangin' out with him but I'm not sure I want anythin' more than that." I sat down and put my head in my hands.

I felt a tear fall. How could I do this? I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about either one of them but that didn't mean I wanted someone to tell me how I felt.

"I'm sorry, Beth. I didn't mean to upset you." Carol turned to leave, "if you need anything, I'll be outside."

After she left, I wiped my eyes and checked on Judith before leavin' my cell.

When I got outside I just stood there and looked around. I saw Carl and a few other kids playin' with a soccer ball but when he saw me he dropped it and ran over.

"Hey Beth, can I ask ya somethin'?"

"Yeah. But have you seen daddy?"

He looked down, "Yeah. He's helpin' my dad with the garden."

"Oh," I said lookin' out at them. I was slightly disappointed daddy wasn't alone. I turned back to Carl, "What'd wanna ask me?"

He looked around before lookin' at me. "It's about Judith and the baby. I know you're not Judith's mom but I'm sure she's gonna call you mom and I know the baby will call you mom 'cause, well, you are his mom but..." he stopped when he saw Zach walking towards us and shook his head, "Nevermind." Then he ran off in the opposite direction.

"What'd he want?" Zach asked, throwing his arm around my shoulder.

"I'm not sure."

I suddenly felt uncomfortable around him so I moved his arm and started walkin' towards daddy and Rick without sayin' anything to him.

"Hey! What the hell was that?"

I shrugged, "I just need to talk to my daddy. Alone! I'll catch up with you later."

He just glared at me and threw his hands up, "Fine! Whatever," then he walked off.

I hurried down to daddy and Rick. They both smiled at me and I sat down next to daddy.

"Somethin' bothering you, Bethie?" Daddy asked.

"No sir. Just thought I'd keep y'all company since Judith's asleep and there's really nothin' else for me to do."

Daddy smiled, "How are you feelin' today? Any discomfort, pain or anything?"

"No sir."

He studied my face as if he thought I was lyin'. "Well that's good, Bethie. But you should be inside instead of out here. You're gettin' closer to the end so we gotta keep an eye on you and keep you as close to the prison as possible."

"Yes sir," I nodded and tried to stand up.

Rick chuckled and set down his shovel, "Here," he held out his hand and wrapped his arm around my waist, "I'm gonna go check on Carl and Judith. I'll get her back inside." He told daddy.


Rick-

"You sure you're alright?" I asked her as we made our way up to the prison.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

I saw her grit her teeth, "Shit. You're not fine. Are you in labor?"

"No," she squeezed my hand and stopped walkin'.

"Beth? What's wrong?" Carol said, running to us. She looked at Beth then yelled for Maggie and Glenn to come over.

"Glenn, go get Hershel. Maggie, I'll need you to help me examine her. Rick, get her inside."

Once she was inside, Carol and Maggie took over and helped her into a cell.

Glenn and Hershel came in followed by most everyone else. They were all anxiously awaiting for Carol or Maggie to give us the news on Beth.

Carl was the last one to come running in.

"Is the baby here?"

"No," I told him, "Carol and Maggie are with her now."

We waited for a while longer before Maggie came in.

"She's fine but she's not havin' the baby yet. Carol thinks it's just Braxton Hicks. But daddy, she wants to talk to you."

I looked at Carl and patted his shoulder, "You look a little disappointed."

"So," he shrugged, "you're not?"

"Maybe a little but it's for the best. If the baby came this soon he'd probably need a lot of medical attention and that's somethin' we can't give him."

He leaned his arms and head on the table.

"Did you get a chance to ask Beth what you asked me last night?"

He shook his head, "Nope. I was gonna but Zach came over."

I patted his back when I seen Hershel, Maggie and Carol come in, "I'm gonna go see her. When I'm done, you come in and ask her. Alright?" He nodded again.

I was about to go into the cell block when someone came up behind me.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Where do you think you're goin'? If anyone's goin to see Beth it's me, her boyfriend. Not the old man that knocked her up," Zach spoke up, gaining the attention of everyone in the room.

I turned around and got close to him, "Listen boy, that's my baby, not yours. And I'm sure as hell not gonna let some little punk tell me I can't see the mother of child." I started to turn around when he hit me. We fought but when I finally threw him to the floor, I didn't think twice about what I did next as I slammed his head into it once. Before I could do it again, Daryl and Merle were pullin' me off him and Tyreese and Maggie carried him outside.

Carol walked over to me and grabbed my face, "Have a seat so I can get you cleaned up before you go in there."

I complied.


Beth-

"What happened to your face?" I asked Rick when he sat down on the bed.

"Nothin' you need to worry about."

He brushed a strand of hair out of my face and put his forehead on mine, "You scared me."

"Scared you? I scared me. I didn't know what the hell was happenin'."

He put his hand on my belly and leaned down to kiss it, "You can't be scarin' me and your mama." He looked up at me, "You feelin' any better?"

"Yeah. I was okay 'til we started walkin' back up here, then it just hit me."

He stood up, "Scoot up a little."

When I did, he sat down on the bed behind me and started rubbin' my back and neck. I closed my eyes.

Maybe Maggie was right about me and Rick. He certainly treated me differently than Zach did. And unlike Zach, he did make me feel safe and I am happier and more comfortable around him than I am with Zach. Even his touch was different. Rick's was tender and strong, whereas Zach's was harsh and shaky.

I had relaxed so much I didn't notice that Rick had stopped rubbin' my back and had pulled me back against his chest.

"I'm sorry about last night," I whispered.

He kissed my head, "You have nothin' to be sorry about."

"Yes, I do. I liked what we did and I wanted that but...but I've never...when Shane did that to me, I had never done anythin' before. That was my first time and I don't even count that 'cause I didn't want it."

"It's alright, Bethie."

My eyes filled with tears, "No it's not. I'm pregnant and I've never done anythin' willingly."

He gently gripped my chin and turned my head towards him, "Beth, baby. You don't ever have to think about what he did or what anyone else did. I'm never gonna make you do somethin' you don't want to and if Zach or anyone else tries to make you do somethin', I'll kill 'em."

He wiped my tears away and lightly kissed my lips.

No, Beth. Don't even think that! You can't be with either of them. Especially if you don't know how you feel. It's not right to lead them on. You're just gonna get hurt!


-The Next Day-

Beth-

After yesterday I've been confined to the inside of the prison while everyone else was outside.

Since I had nothin' to do, I told Carol to leave the dishes from breakfast and I'd wash them. Judith was fussy by the time I finished so I picked her up, "Well Judy, it's just me and you. What should we do today?"

She squirmed in my arms and I couldn't help but laugh.

Despite being here as long as we have, the prison is still a creepy place. Especially when you're alone with just a baby.

I had been told to rest as much as possible but I was bored. I held Judith closer to me and began to pace the cell block. I did the only thing that kept me occupied. Sing.

"I'm not in the hall of fame I'm not on the wall of shame I guess you'll find me in between somewhere

things go right and things go wrong sometimes you hear me sing a song but you'll always find me in my mama's prayers

sure as the skies will turn dark at the end of the day the angels must count on what she's gonna say and I know I'm at least one of five other names when I'm down and think nobody cares I remember that I'm in my mama's prayers

not everybody has a mom and no one does for very long and I used to think "well, lord that's just not fair." but I believe the words are for always and they won't end with today's and I'm grateful to be in my mama's prayers

sure as the skies will turn dark at the end of the day the angels must count on what she's gonna say and I know I'm at least one of five other names when I'm down and think nobody cares I remember that I'm in my mama's prayers

I don't always know what to believe and I don't always know everything I need but faithfully my name is called each night by quilted bedside and the devil may come seek me on a dare he'll be up against my mama's prayers

when I'm down and think nobody cares I remember that I'm in my mama's prayers"

"That was absolutely beautiful, Bethie."

I turned to see daddy and Carol standin' at the cell block entrance.

I smiled and looked down at Judith, "Thank you, daddy. Are y'all here to keep me company?"

Daddy shook his head, "I'm not. I'm goin' back out to the garden but I believe Carol is."

I gave daddy a kiss on the cheek before he went back outside.

Carol was sittin' at one of the tables. She smiled, "Give your arms a rest, Bethie. Bring her to me."

I placed Judith in her arms and sat down.

She smiled again, "You're already such a good mother."

"Thanks. I'm sorry about yellin' at you yesterday. I didn't mean to."

"It's alright, sweetheart. I know you didn't mean to. My temper was worse than yours when I was pregnant with Sophia."

I leaned against the table and rested my head in my hands, "Carol, what happened yesterday?"

"What'd you mean?"

"Rick's face and I heard some noises in here but I couldn't tell what it was."

"Oh, well, Rick was on his way to check on you when Zach stopped him. They exchanged a few words then some punches. Daryl and Merle pulled Rick off of him after he slammed his head into the floor."

I was completely lost for words.

"That's why Zach hasn't been in here to see you. Daryl and Maggie have him confined to his cell block." She lowered her eyes, "I've seen his type before. His temper and the way he reacted to Rick. It's not good, Beth. I may have made a mistake in thinkin' he was good for you." Everything changed about her when she spoke of her husband but nothin' changed more than her voice and eyes.

I looked at her questioningly but didn't say anything.

"His eyes," she began but her voice cracked and her eyes were hazy, "looked just like my husband's did. I'm not sayin' he's anything like him but that switch is definitely there and I don't think it'd take much for you to flip it."

"Oh," was all I managed.

"Here, she's asleep. You should go put her down and take a nap as well. It won't be long before you won't be gettin' much sleep and you'll wish you could. So do it while you can."

"Yes ma'am."


Rick-

It was time for lunch when Hershel and I made our way up to the prison. Sasha and Maggie were helping Carol.

I looked around, "Where's Carl?"

"He's inside with Judith while Beth rests," Carol said.

"Alright. I'm gonna go check on 'em."

I walked in to find Carl and Judith in the common room. "Lunch is almost ready," I told him and took Judith before he ran out.

I carried her into Beth's cell and laid her in her crib. I smiled to myself when I saw Beth asleep.

I sat down next to her. When I kissed her temple, she started to wake.

She looked up at me and put her head in my lap.

"Lunch should be ready. You wanna go eat?" I asked her but she didn't respond.

"You feelin' alright, Beth?"

"No," she mumbled.

"What's wrong, baby?"

She rolled over onto her back, "Everythin'."

I started to gently rub her belly.

"Rick?"

"Yeah?"

"When are y'all goin' on another run?"

"I don't know. In few days probably. Why? You need somethin'?"

"Yeah, I need some bigger pants."

I laughed.

"It's not funny, Rick. These may be maternity jeans but they're too tight and it's uncomfortable."

"Alright. We'll see if we can find you some on the next run. But if they're uncomfortable, why don't you just wear one of those dresses Maggie picked up for you?"

"A dress? Seriously? That's not really a good idea. I'd rather have pants in case somethin' happens."

"Beth, nothin's gonna happen. Just wear one for a few days 'til we can get you somethin' else."

She nodded, "Okay. Can you help me up, please?"

"Yeah," I stood and helped her up. As soon as she was up, she headed for the door.

"Where you goin'?"

"To get somethin' to eat."

"Beth, what's wrong?"

"Nothin'." She rolled her eyes and started to leave.

"Beth," I grabbed her arm, "sit down and tell me what the hell's wrong."

She sighed and sat down but didn't say anything.

"Beth?"

She sighed again and closed her eyes, "I can't do this anymore."

"Do what?"

"Whatever this is," she motioned between us, "I don't even wanna be with Zach, let alone anyone else. I really just want to be by myself."

"What are you sayin'?"

She stood up, "You can move back into your cell. I don't need you to stay in here anymore. I'm perfectly fine with bein' alone."

I sat there starin' at the wall, "Fuck, Rick! You scared her. You moved too fast. Hell, forget movin' too fast, she doesn't feel the same about you. Just move on, same as you did when you lost Lori." I berated myself.


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