Just Like Her
From my spot in the guard tower, I could see Beth sittin' on a blanket with Carl and Judith. I smiled to my self.
As much as I love and miss Lori, I couldn't see her actin' like Beth does with Carl and Judith, even before the world went to hell. She may be their mother but Beth is every bit their mom.
I turned my attention towards the door when I heard footsteps on the stairs, then Glenn appeared. Without a word we made the shift change. That was becoming a regular thing between me and the others. I could only guess why.
I exited the guard tower, ignoring a few people calling out for me, and headed straight to my family.
I knelt down between Carl and Beth, who were both smilin', and reached for Judith. She was a little fussy but Beth tried to calm her.
"Hey baby girl, daddy wants to hold you," she said, handing her to me.
"What are y'all up to today?" I asked them. They both shrugged.
"I'm gonna help watch some of the kids after story time," Beth said.
Carl smiled, "I'm just gonna hang out with mom and Judy today."
"Alright. Well, have fun." I handed Judith back to Beth and whispered in her ear, "Same time?"
She smiled, "Yep."
I rubbed her belly before leavin'.
I saw the looks from everyone. Daddy literally stopped what he was doin' when Rick came over to us and he continued to watch us for a few minutes after he left.
"Hey Maggie!" I called out and motioned for her when I saw her heading to the guard tower.
She came over, "What'd you need?"
"Why's daddy and everyone watchin' me?"
She looked at Carl then back at me, "I was gonna wait and talk to you and Rick together but they're all watchin' because they've...they've all noticed that you and Rick..um...disappear at the same time. Me and Carl have been doin' our best to keep them occupied but that's not workin' anymore. I realize that y'all have only been back together for a few days but y'all need to cool it for a while. I know y'all want to wait to tell everyone and that itself won't be easy but it's gonna be worse if they walk in on y'all."
"Maggie, it's not like we're doin' anythin'. We're just spendin' some time together, alone."
"They won't see it that way, Bethie. You both know they won't. Are you gonna see him today?"
I nodded, "Yeah. After I put Judith down for a nap later."
"Okay. We'll try to keep everyone busy. Won't we Carl?"
"Yeah," he agreed.
"But Bethie, you need to tell him what I told you."
"I will." She gave me a questioning look, "Maggie, don't worry. I'll tell him."
"Okay, you better."
Just as she was leavin', several kids ran over to us followed by Carol.
She was laughin', "The couldn't wait to come see you so you could sing to them."
They all sat in a circle around us, waitin'.
"Carl, what songs is your mom gonna sing?" One of the little girls asked and it certainly didn't go unnoticed by Carol.
She crossed her arms and stared down at me. Though I could feel her eyes on me, I pretended she wasn't there and I started to sing:
"Make something out of nothing Temporary restoration An original creation, A deadringer for the real thing
High, wide and handsome Taking pennies from a jar In interesting conditions, you discover who you really are Who you really are
Turn an old wagon wheel into a chandelier hanging from a ceiling Move the mirror from the chifforobe into the hall where it's more appealing It's the lack of creature comforts that make you pay a little bit more attention Yes indeed, necessity is the mother of invention Yes indeed, necessity is the mother of invention
Conjure up a mannerism Like planting flowers in the tires Jump off the bandwagon Tendencies that only you'd admire
It's the best of indecisions When you have to re-create It's the worst of any visions When there's chances that you don't take That you don't take
Turn an old wagon wheel into a chandelier hanging from a ceiling Move the mirror from the chifforobe into the hall where it's more appealing It's the lack of creature comforts that make you pay a little bit more attention Yes indeed, necessity is the mother of invention Yes indeed, necessity is the mother of invention"
I sang a few more songs before Sasha told us lunch was ready.
At the tables, daddy was talkin' to Rick and Daryl. By the looks on their faces, it wasn't about anything good.
Carol sat a plate down in front of me and then took a seat beside me so she could hold Judith while I ate.
She looked down at Judith, "So what's this I hear about Carl callin' you mom?"
I shrugged, "He asked if he could. He said the baby's gonna call me mom and I'm like a mom to Judith. I think it's a little weird but it seems to make him happy."
She looked at me and raised her eyebrow, "Beth, you're treading dangerous ground."
"I don't want anything to happen to you and by you letting Carl call you mom, well Beth, that's setting you both up for a heartache. I know he wants you to be with his dad and y'all be a family, and in a way y'all are a family, but that doesn't mean you have to be with Rick."
I quit eating. "I'm gonna go feed Judith," I said before takin' her and walkin' inside.
I sat down on my bed and gave Judith her bottle. I was a little disappointed about the talk I was gonna have to have with Rick. I didn't want to do it but Maggie was right.
After I finished feeding Judith, I bounced her for a little bit before I bathed and changed her. She was ready for her nap. I wanted to wait to put her down until Rick came in but I wasn't sure how long he'd be. So I started singin':
"My father had skin like leather hands like steel from a lifetime spent in the cotton fields though he'd come home tired and dirty almost every night he found the strength to smile at me and hold my mama tight while that old transistor radio would play the opry out in the hall I'd sit and watch their shadows glide across the wall
and they'd dance to a dixie lullaby picture of love beneath the southern sky oh my what a beautiful life just like a dixie lullaby
I left home at 18 in a hand me down Chevrolet packed my mamas goodness and my old mans stubborn ways it was college, work, and love then the babies came the youngest ones got his grandaddy's name and in the early morning hours when my children could not sleep I'd rock them in my arms to a gentle beat
and I'd sing them a dixie lullaby hush baby don't you start to cry oh my what a beautiful life just like a dixie lullaby
my father was a mountain of a man that was the description that I gave the morning that we laid him in his grave there with my mama by his side, we said our last goodbye to a man we thought would never die as I stood there in the fields of Amazing Grace oh how the tears ran down my face
and I sang him a dixie lullaby we'll meet again, by and by oh my what a beautiful life just like a dixie lullaby
oh my what a beautiful life just like a dixie lullaby"
The day after I gave Beth the necklace I had walked into her cell to check on her and Judith. She had just laid her down when I walked in. I pulled her against me and we both smiled as I leaned down to kiss her.
I was about to lay her down on the bed when we heard someone gasp.
We both looked over to see Maggie standin' in the doorway. She grinned and shook her head, "Don't mind me. I didn't mean to interrupt y'all," she said, "I just came to bring y'all somethin' to eat."
I took the two plates from her and put them down, "Thank you."
"Next time, make sure the curtain is closed or find somewhere where no one will walk in on y'all," she said before leaving.
Three days later and we've set up different times and places so we can be alone.
Just being able to talk to her and hold her without anyone interrupting us was worth the sneakin' around.
I could hear her singin' when I entered the cell block and when I got to her cell I saw she was still holdin' Judith. She looked up at me and smiled.
I walked up behind her when she put Judith in her crib. I put my arms around her and my head on her shoulder.
"I wish things were different and the world wasn't messed up. I wish it was the way it used to be," she whispered.
"I don't. "
She turned in my arms and kissed me, "Why not?"
"I'm not sayin' I like how messed up things are but if none of this had happened, I wouldn't have you, Judith, the baby or anyone else in our family."
We sat down on the bed and I held her for a little while before she pulled away and looked at me, "I talked to Maggie earlier," she looked down, "She said we need to cool it for a while because everyone has noticed when we're not around."
"Come here, baby."
She leaned back into my arms, "I don't wanna do that."
"I know. I hate to do that too but I think she's right, baby. I've seen the way they look at me. Like they're waitin' for me to slip up and hurt you." I kissed her head, "We just have to do that for a few days. It's not like we won't get to see each other. We'll still get some time to ourselves at night when I get off watch."
She pulled away again, "If you say so." She grinned and lied back on the bed.
I pulled her shirt up over her stomach and kissed it, "I can't wait 'til he gets here. I bet he looks just like his mama."
"I hope he does. I don't like to think about who else he could look like," she said.
I put my hand on her stomach and leaned up to kiss her. She pulled me closer and moaned as our kiss deepened.
She giggled and closed her eyes when I moved down to her neck.
I brought my hand up and pulled the top of her shirt out of the way as I kissed my way to her breasts then I moved my hand back down to her stomach and rubbed it.
"Rick!" Someone called out from the common room.
"Fuck!" I whispered against her skin.
Her arms fell to her sides and she opened her eyes.
"I'm sorry, baby," I whispered.
She kissed me, "It's okay. You better go before they come in here."
I nodded and kissed her forehead, "I'll see you tonight."
"So," Maggie was leanin' against the cell door after Rick had left, "I thought y'all weren't doin' anythin'."
"Your face is red, Bethie." She smirked and walked over to the bed.
She stopped and brushed my hair away from my neck, "I'll be right back. Stay here," she said.
When she returned, she handed me a small bag. "It's makeup. Just use it to cover up the hickeys."
"You don't have to thank me, that's what sisters are for."
"Yeah, I guess so."
She sat down, "Can I tell you somethin' and you not tell anyone?"
"Maggie, of course you can."
"Okay. Don't freak out..."
"Oh my God! You're pregnant!" I squealed.
"Well then what is it?"
"Glenn wants kids."
"Yeah. He said if you and Rick can raise kids here, than so can we but he wants to wait to try until after you have the baby."
"Because Rick has told us that after you have the baby and recover from it, he wants to start training you. He wants to do it in case somethin' happens to him, you'll be able to defend yourself and the kids."
"What does that have to do with you and Glenn havin' a baby?"
"If I were to get pregnant, I'm not completely sold on the idea yet though, but if I were, we'd need someone to take my place in defending the prison. And that someone would be you...you're the only one we all trust."
"Oh," I looked at the door, "why did they need Rick?"
"We're havin' trouble with the fence. The walkers are gettin' too heavy in a few spots and it's gonna cause the fence to cave if we don't fix it."
"Maggie, can I ask you somethin'?"
"What's with Carol? I mean, I know she's lookin' out for me but why is she tryin' to keep me from Rick?"
"I'm not sure. The only time she's tried to talk to me about you and Rick is to get me to change my mind about y'all."
"Hmm. Okay," I got up and headed out of the cell.
"Where are you goin'?"
"I'm goin' to help Sarah. She's teaching some of the older kids and she wanted me to help with the younger ones."
"Alright but don't pick any of them up. We don't need you to hurt yourself."
"Yes ma'am," I said and rolled my eyes.
-Later that Day-
I had gone down to the showers and when I returned Judith was on the bed giggling while Carl made funny faces.
Though I still found it weird for him to call me that, it was startin' to grow on me.
"Hey back. What're you doin'?"
"Dad asked me to come talk to you. He said to tell you that him and Daryl are gonna be pullin' doubles for the next few nights so he won't get to see you and Judy much."
I was disappointed but I knew there had to be a good reason for it and if no one else was gonna tell me why, Carl would.
I sat down and took Judith's hand, "Why are they doin' that? Is somethin' wrong?"
He looked at Judith and shrugged, "I'm not sure but I heard dad and Daryl talkin' about The Governor. That's all I know."
I patted his leg, "You better get to bed. You're gonna have Judith all day tomorrow."
"Goodnight Judy," he kissed her. "Goodnight mom," he hugged me and kissed my cheek.
Carl had just left and I was about to pick up Judith when daddy walked in.
"Bethie, did he just call you mom?"
He shook his head and sat down in a chair. "Are you feelin' well, Bethie?"
"Carol will perform your exam tomorrow with Sasha's help. If you need anything or feel like anything's wrong or any discomfort, at all, you need to tell them or someone."
"I will but honestly I don't feel like anythin's wrong or any discomfort."
"Alright, just scream if you need me."
I was listening for everyone to go to bed. When I thought they had, I quietly left my cell and was headed towards the common room when I heard whispers. They were comin' from the first cell. I stopped to listen.
"I'm worried about her," I heard daddy say.
"I'm worried about her too," Carol said.
What are they worried about?
Carol sighed, "I read those books. But if that's what's wrong, how do we make that choice? I'm not sure I can."
"Then don't." Daddy said, "You said before you had concerns about the baby, let's just pray nothin's wrong. If we need to..."
"If you need to, what?" I asked steppin' into the cell with them, "What? What's wrong with..." I couldn't even say it. Was there somethin' wrong? Was it me or the baby?
They both just stared at me, horrified.
Nobody said anything. I looked in Carol's eyes, "What's wrong with me and the baby? What is it y'all may have to do?"
Daddy grasped one of my hands while Carol took the other.
"Bethie, you were beaten really bad," she said, "I'm actually surprised you've made it this far. Have you felt the baby move lately? In the last day or two?"
"I've felt little things but nothin' big. Why?"
Daddy squeezed my hand, "There's a chance the baby may have to be delivered by c-section."
"And there's a chance I could end up like Lori?"
They both nodded silently.
"So the choice you said you'd have to make, it'd be me or the baby?"
"Yeah," Carol said, "I know what needs to be done if you need a c-section but there's a lot that we can't control."
"Choose him." I said.
"What?" They asked in unison.
"I said, choose him. That's the choice you make, if you have to."
"It's not that simple, Bethie. We could lose both of you," daddy said.
I finally stood up and returned to my cell without sayin' anything.
They had just told me the baby or myself may not make it. Sometimes I wish I had of been strong enough to end it back at the farm.