Playing With Fire

Chapter Thirty-Two


Daryl didn’t say much about where we were goin’ and I didn’t care enough to ask. I was thinkin’ more about what would happen once we actually got there. I knew better than to think they’d all magically change their minds and bring out the damn welcome wagon. Harlow wasn’t worried about any of this at all which I supposed made sense, considerin’ she hadn’t been around when I’d done basically everythin’ I could to make myself the fuckin’ asshole of the group. Probably best she hadn’t been there, actually.

We followed the stream until it brought us out close to the road. It was quiet and empty, but that didn’t mean a damn thing. I felt on edge, waitin’ to hear the squeal of tires as the Governor came flyin’ down the road ready to kill us all. “Probably a bad idea to stay on the road like this. We should keep to the trees.” I finally said.

“We need to find a car, though, or it’s gonna be one helluva walk.” Daryl grunted. “This place ain’t exactly in the neighborhood.”

“Maybe not, but I ain’t standin’ by the road around waitin’ for the Governor and his fleet of morons to catch up to us.” I shot back.

“There’s gotta be a town close by. Let’s just get back in the trees, and keep the road close by.” Harlow stepped in between us. I was surprised when Daryl was noddin’ with her in agreement. He was usually stubborn as hell ‘bout most everythin’. We headed back into the woods a little ways and kept goin’.

“You know, you two look less alike than I thought you would.” She was suddenly sayin’ from in front of me.

“Course we don’t. I’m much better lookin’ than Darlina up there.” I grinned. Harlow looked over her shoulder and shot me a look that made it pretty damn clear I needed to shut my mouth.

“Than how the hell did you know I was Merle’s brother without neither of us sayin’ it?” Daryl asked quietly, from in front of our lil’ misfit group.

I watched as she shrugged. “I didn’t say you didn’t look alike at all. You both have that country, redneck thing going on. Like a bunch of backwoods badasses.”

I snorted. “A buncha backwoods what now, darlin’?”

Daryl peered at both of us. “You both keep yammerin’ like that, ain’t gonna be hard for anyone to find us.” He muttered.

I rolled my eyes, knowin’ once upon a time I might’ve been annoyed but I was pretty damn happy to have both Daryl and Harlow even if it meant only for a short while. Who knew what the hell would happen once we got to where we were goin’.

There was a long moment of silence before Harlow was suddenly talkin’ under her breath. “Jesus, you both talk to same too. Like grumpy old men.”

At that I threw back my head, lettin’ out a loud laugh. One more look from Daryl, though, and I quieted down. Just grinnin’ ear to ear instead. Harlow didn’t say another a word, and even though I couldn’t see her face, I thought maybe she might be smilin’ too. We kept hikin’ even as the sun started to rise in the sky. It was humid in no time, but I was damn glad we had at least the shade from the trees otherwise all three of us would be roastin’.

“Think I see somethin’ up ahead. Buildings.” Daryl said, slowin’ to a stop. I crouched down at the edge of the trees, lookin’ out through the branches. Sure enough, I saw a row of a brick buildings, scattered around a crumblin’ concrete street.

“Looks like there’s some cars. Could all be abandoned. Either not working or out of gas.” Harlow commented quietly.

“Only one way to find out.” I added.

“We should split up.” Harlow suddenly said. My eyebrows shot up in surprise.

“You sure that’s a good idea, sugar? Cause doesn’t sound very smart to me.” I answered.

“Nah, she’s right. We have a better chance at findin’ somethin’ that works if we’re all lookin’. Waste of time to move together.” Daryl suddenly stood up, grabbin’ his crossbow off his back and holdin’ it in his hands.

Harlow was pressin’ a gun in my hand. “Just in case. And stop looking at me like that.”

“Like what?” I asked defensively, flippin’ the safety off.

She rolled her eyes. “Like you think I should hang back, let the men have all the fun.”

“Woman, did those words ever leave my mouth?” I grumbled. Even though she was half right and I was just thinkin’ maybe it’d be better if she stuck with me.

“No, but I knew you were thinking it. Now let’s get a car and get the hell out of here.” She pushed herself off the ground and quietly started makin’ her way towards the crowd of buildings.

Daryl looked at me, and I saw the smile threatenin’ to pull up the corners of his mouth. “I kinda like her. Sure ain’t afraid to give you orders…she’s got you pretty whipped.”

I pushed him and he ‘bout nearly fell over. “You got no room to talk, considerin’ you was all followin’ that little Charlie around like a god damn love struck school girl.” I gave him a grin as his face fell and turned a dark red. I brushed past him and headed after Harlow before he could come up with somethin’ to say back. Lord, I’d missed this sorta bickerin’.

I could hear Daryl’s quiet footsteps behind me, my eyes lookin’ everywhere I could. A few walkers were staggerin’ through the streets, but I was willin’ to bet my ass there were even more of ‘em held up inside any one of those buildings. I watched for a second as Harlow tried the handle of a rusted green Honda. I heard her curse under her breath before joggin’ down the street to the next one.

“I’m gonna try the next street over.” Daryl muttered behind me, sprintin’ off in another direction.

I went for a mini van, scoffin’ at the sticker of the stick figure family on the back window. This had been a soccer mom van for sure. The door opened easily and I stuck my head inside, flippin’ the visor down. I grinned when a key fell onto the seat. I hoisted myself inside and tried to start the engine. It didn’t even try to turn over, no whinin’ or clickin’ or anything. I smacked my palm on the steerin’ wheel. “Son of a bitch.” I mumbled before slidin’ back out.

Just in time for a walker to start crossin’ the street, headed right for me. I waited for it to get closer before jabbin’ my knife through its forehead. It crumpled to the ground and was still, and I wiped the thick, black gunky blood onto the seat cushion of the van. I was getting’ ready to jog across the street to try another when I heard it. The loud high pitched squealin’ of a car alarm. My muscles froze as my pulse started to jump. I couldn’t tell where it was comin’ from, soundin’ like it was ricochetin’ off all of the buildings. I looked around for Harlow. My pulse sped up even more when I couldn’t see her.

“God damn it!” I took a few steps back as I heard the shufflin’ of feet comin’ from in front of me. Walkers started slowy pourin’ out of the door of an old, run down bakery. I turned on my heel and ran in the opposite direction. Out of the corner of my eye I could see more corpses stirrin’. Bodies on the ground that I had thought were just dead bodies were startin’ to get up, move around, draggin’ themselves across the ground.

A red SUV suddenly squealed to a stop in front of me. The passenger side door pushed open and I saw Harlow leanin’ across the center consul. “Get in, Dixon!”

I didn’t think twice, climbin’ up inside as we sped off. “Where the hell is Daryl?” I asked, keepin’ my hand on the dash as we tore through the streets.

The tires squealed as we took a sharp turn and I felt my stomach drop when I saw Daryl standin’ on the hood of a work van, firin’ arrows into a crowd of at least a dozen walkers. His mouth was set into a hard line, the back of his shirt soaked through with sweat.

“Jesus.” Harlow breathed. Before I could stop her, she was throwin’ open the door of the SUV and leanin’ outta it with her gun. She started firin’ off rounds and the walkers dropped one by one. I stared at her dumbly for a second before followin’ her lead and openin’ the door to fire off rounds. The ones that we hadn’t hit started turnin’ around, headed towards us. “What the hell are you waiting for? Come on!” She yelled. I heard her gun clickin’ as she ran out of bullets and she tossed it into the back seat.

Daryl took a runnin’ jump off the roof of the car, just barely clearin’ the pack of walkers. He stumbled towards the car, pullin’ open the door and divin’ into the backseat. I’d just closed my own door when we jerked forward as Harlow slammed her foot down on the accelerator. We barreled into a walker, blood splatterin’ the windshields. The woman looked as calm as ever as she turned on the wipers and the dark, old blood smeared across the glass.

“God damn car alarm!” I heard Daryl exclaimed from the backseat. I turned to look at him. He was sprawled on his back, his crossbow on the floor as he tried to catch his breath.

“You ‘bout got us all killed.” I spat at him.

He gave me a hard glare. “But I didn’t, did I? How the hell was I supposed to know it’d go off? Damn thing didn’t even have an off switch.”

“Give it a rest, both of you.” Harlow suddenly snapped. “Let’s just be glad we’re alive and we got a car with a half tank of gas. Now how the hell do I get to his place?”

Daryl and I both quieted down. I sighed, lookin’ out the windshield as I leaned back against the seat. He muttered some directions to her and she nodded, easin’ up just barely on the gas pedal as we shot down the roadway.

“It’s kinda sexy when you get all control freak like that, sugar.” I said quietly, a smirk on my lips.

I could see her fightin’ a smile, but it finally won out. “Wouldn’t have to be if you two didn’t act like a bunch of twelve-year-old boys.” She took her eyes off the road for a second to give me a grin.

I heard Daryl groan in the backseat. “For the freakin’ love of god, can you two stop that shit? Before I get sick all over this damn backseat?”

“Shut up, Darlina.”

“Be nice.” Harlow murmured.

My smirk grew, but I kept quiet and left my eyes on the road. After a few minutes, Harlow started fiddlin’ with the radio but nothin’ was comin’ in but static. She sighed and switched it off. Most of the stations had been quiet for months, even the emergency broadcast quittin’ which said that we were basically all on our own. No government anymore. No nothin’. I finally let my eye close as we drove, but didn’t feel the urge to sleep even though I had been up the entire night. Must’ve been too amped up still after everything that had happened. Harlow and Daryl were quiet, too, except when I would hear him mutter more directions to her every once in a while.

I lost track of time, but sometime later, Daryl announced we were gettin’ close. “Can’t miss the place.” He said quietly.

I straightened up in my seat, lookin’ out the window. I didn’t see anythin’ for a little while, just trees and fields. The second somethin’ did come into view, though, I knew without a doubt this was the place we were headed.

“A prison? Seriously?” Harlow asked, her voice full of disbelief.

“Probably the safest place you could be durin’ a zombie apocalypse.” I commented. “Food, medical supplies, bathrooms, not to mention the fortified walls and fencin’ for miles. Place looks like a god damn castle.”

We drove up the gravel driveway, rollin’ to a stop in front of a chain link gate. Daryl jumped outta the car, walkin’ up to the fence to meet the woman on the other side. I recognized the short, gray hair. Carol was her name. I remembered her dick of a husband and wondered if he was still hangin’ around. I hoped not. I watched as her eyes looked back the car, lookin’ a little uncertain before noddin’ and undoin’ the chain around the gate. A second later, Daryl was climbin’ back into the car as the gate was pulled open.

“Drive up to the back of the prison. We can just park the car there.” He said calmly. Harlow nodded and began to inch the car forward. “Best let me do all the talkin’ when we get inside. Don’t know how the others will react when they see ya’.”

“Just try and make sure no one pulls a gun on me.” I muttered. Wouldn’t be surprised if one of ‘em tried to shoot me.

“Just don’t talk.” Daryl said before gettin’ outta the car and slammin’ the door shut behind him.

I turned to Harlow. “You ready, princess?”

“As I’ll ever be.” She leaned across the seat and gave me a swift kiss on the lips before hoppin’ out.

I helped her grab the few belongings we had before we made our way to the cellblock door. It was huge and I wondered how the hell they’d managed to take control. Place must’ve been overrun by walkers. Doubted there was a free for all jailbreak when things got bad. Guards probably just abandoned the place and took off.

“I don’t know if I’ve been inside a prison before.” Harlow was suddenly sayin’.

My eyebrows shot up. “Really? Well, don’t you worry…I’ve been in and outta the brink plenty of times for both of us.”

Daryl snorted, pushin’ open the heavy metal door.

“You’re so charming, Merle.” Harlow sighed.

I smiled a little, followin’ the two of ‘em inside. It was dark and I had to blink a few times before my eyes finally started to adjust. The first thing I thought was that it was just a whole lot of concrete and steel and not much else. A little bit more heavy duty than any jail where I’d had a stay. Bein’ locked up in a serious joint like this probably wasn’t the highlight of anybody’s life.

I heard the door swing open again behind us and looked over my shoulder as Carol slipped inside. She met my eyes for a quick second before bypassing the three of us and walkin’ further into the room. I adjusted the strap of the bag I was carryin’ on my shoulder, bracin’ myself for whatever was about to happen next.

“Daryl’s back!” She called out.

Daryl’s face was like stone as he motioned for us to follow him further in the room. No doubt he was also preparin’ himself for the shit storm that may or may not have been about to happen. I sighed and we rounded the next corner. A small little cafeteria like room came into view. A few round plastic tables with low chair were scattered around. I recognized Officer Friendly right away, along with Asian kid and T-Dog. And that short haired chick that’d been helpin’ us on the run back at Woodbury. Everyone else, though, was new. I wondered for a minute if this was everyone that was left from the old group. Damn, that was a whole lot of life lost.

The officer was already gettin’ outta his damn chair. “Daryl!” He said, soundin’ relieved. Until he saw me hoverin’ in the background. He froze, his face suddenly guarded. I found Glenn behind him and the look he was wearin’ was almost downright murderous. “You brought your brother.”

“I couldn’t leave him behind. Not now.” Daryl was sayin’ slowly.

“He can’t be here. He don’t belong with us anymore. Not after the shit he pulled in Atlanta. You know that better than anyone, Rick.” T-Dog stood up from his chair, the legs scrapin’ loudly against the cement floor.

“That was a long time ago. Things are different since then. He’s different.” Daryl spat.

I was bitin’ my tongue, tryin’ to do what Daryl said and keep my mouth shut in case I only made things worth. I hated standin’ here, though, pretendin’ like I wasn’t in the room while they all sat around and chit chatted about what a dick I used to be. And still was, at least a little bit.

“How can you know that? Honestly, Daryl, this is the first time you’ve seen him in months.” Officer Friendly said quietly. Rick, I think his name was. Not like it really mattered all that much anyways, but I supposed if I was gonna try and stay with these people I should try to act like I know all their names.

“I know he’s different.” Harlow was suddenly sayin’. She took a step forward as every pair eyes in the room landed on her. “I’ve been with him since he got left behind in Atlanta. I can promise you he’s different than the man I met that day.”

“Who are you again?” Rick was askin’, lookin’ between the two of us. Probably wonderin’ how the hell a woman like that had somehow ended up with a son of bitch like me.

“My name’s Harlow. Merle and I were together before we both got picked up by the Governor.” She explained.

“Okay, but how the hell do we know we can trust you? We ain’t never met you before and we’ve seen firsthand what some of those Woodbury folks are like. How do we know you ain’t gonna be spyin’ for their leader?” T-Dog spoke up, arms crossed over his chest.

“Because I know better than all of you what he’s capable of. I’ve seen it and I don’t want anything to do with him or that place ever again.” Harlow snapped. I could tell she was gettin’ agitated by the way her hands curled up into fists and the way her cheeks was startin’ to turn pinkish. She took a deep breath. “Listen, we don’t have anywhere else to go and all things considered, Merle and Daryl are family.”

“And I can keep myself in line. Plus, I think ya’ll could use another man around here. If the Governor does decide to come after ya’…well, wouldn’t ya’ll rather have me on your side than his?” I grunted, sweepin’ my eyes across the room.

It got quiet for a minute before Rick cleared his throat. Carol stepped forward and put a hand on his arm. “You really think he’ll try to find us?”

“I think we’d be foolish not to think that. He sent one of his men after me not even a full two hours after letting me walk out the front gates. If he has any idea of where to find us, he’ll come.” I recognized the harsh, whisper like voice of Michonne and looked around, finally spottin’ her seated a table in the back of the room with her sword across her lap.

Rick looked at her long and hard before finally lookin’ back at the three of us. “Merle and Michonne might be right.” He finally said. “Whether we like it or not, Merle and Harlow have inside information on the Governor and how he works. If there’s at least one reason for them to stay, I think we can count that.”

“Rick, no!” Glenn suddenly shouted. He stood abruptly, his chair flyin’ out and clatterin’ to the floor. The short haired girl was wrappin’ her arms around his shoulders, holdin’ him back and tryin’ to steady him at the same time. Still looked too weak to even stand, but I was willin’ to bet he’d take a swing at me if he had the chance.

“We won’t be any trouble. We’ll help out any way we can.” Harlow tried again, soundin’ earnest.

“Girl used to be a paramedic. Can’t tell me that ain’t useful.” I drawled. They couldn’t refuse that. From the looks of it, they were a ragtag bunch as it was. I watched as Rick and Carol shared looks with an older guy at a table by Glenn. Another face I didn’t recognize.

“I’m just asking you to give us a chance. Daryl and I can both keep an eye on Merle. If you still don’t like it in a few days, we’ll go.”

I snorted under my breath, but I was pretty sure no one heard except Daryl who shot me a warning glare. Like he’d be actin’ any differently if we were at a meetin’ where everyone was talkin’ about how they were gonna basically babysit him, completely oblivious to the fact that he’s a full grown man. A part of me just wanted to turn and storm out right there. I didn’t need this shit. I didn’t give a damn if these people trusted me or not. That was all fine and dandy considerin’ I didn’t trust any of ‘em either. The only reason I stayed put and tried to behave myself was because I could tell this was somethin’ Harlow really wanted. Whether it was so we had a safe place to hide out or for me and Daryl, I couldn’t say for sure. I heard a door creakin’ up and looked across the room to see Charlie skiddin’ to a halt, trailin’ a kid behind her. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. There was somethin’ about him, though.

“We should take a vote on it.” Rick’s voice drew me back into the conversation. “All in favor of giving Merle a chance, raise your hand.”

I watched, surprised as hell, when more than half the hands in the room slowly went up. Hell, even Officer Friendly’s kid had his hand up. I couldn’t stop the grin that was suddenly slidin’ into place on my face. Looks like we’d be stayin’ after all. I glanced over at my brother to see if he was feelin’ as good about this as I was, but rolled my eyes when I saw he was too busy exchangin’ googly eyes with his girl.

“Really, Charlie?” The Asian kid had turned on her, and I was surprised I didn’t see any god damn steam comin’ outta his ears. Didn’t really get why the kid was gettin’ so bent outta shape about me. I didn’t remember ever layin’ a hand on him, or really even talkin’ to him at all.

Charlie’s eyes slowly met mine from across the room. “Glenn, you have to understand…Merle is Daryl’s brother. I’ve known him since I was a kid.” She was sayin’. “I know he can be…extreme, but I also know he has some good in him. Let’s give him a chance. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

I couldn’t tell why I was so surprised to hear the words comin’ outta her mouth. I always thought she kind pegged me as a drunk, waste of space when she was a kid. She only came around the house once in a while, but I always remember givin’ her a hard time. I wondered if she understood now that the only reason I bugged her like that was because I liked her. She was good for Daryl. Even back then, she was. I nodded my head at her in thanks, but she had already looked away.

Glenn was suddenly limpin’ away, headin’ deeper into the prison with his girl and T-Dog on his heels. Couldn’t say I was sad to see him go. Looks like he’d have to get over himself and get used to seein’ me around a lot more.

I caught the tail end of Rick sayin’ he’d set us up with some rooms. I was about to open my mouth and comment that two was too many, but Harlow beat me to it. “Just one room.” She said, an amused smile on her lips.

I felt myself grinnin’, feelin’ the shock almost rollin’ off of everyone in the room. Course they were surprised. Hell, even I was still surprised sometimes. Here I was, a loud mouthed, no good, dirty redneck and Harlow was the polar opposite…beautiful, smart, and not even remotely the type of person I think anyone reckoned would end up with me. That made me feel pretty damn good, not to mention a little bit cocky. Bet even Officer Friendly was wishin’ he was me right now.

Charlie suddenly stepped forward, holdin’ her hand out to Harlow and breakin’ the awkward, unexpected silence that had fallen over the entire room. I felt Daryl’s hand on my arm, pullin’ me away from the rest of the group.

“Don’t mess this up, Merle.” He said, crossbow hangin’ at his side. “Harlow and I stuck our necks out for ya’. So just…just try not to fuck things up, huh?”

I rolled my eyes. “I ain’t gonna do a damn thing to embarrass ya’ or whatever it is you’re all worried about.”

“You better not, ‘cause I stuck up for you plenty of times back in Atlanta only for you to turn around and screw it all to hell.” He added in a low voice.

“Like I told ya’ before. Things were different back then. I promise, I’ll be on my best behavior. Just don’t be hoverin’ over me all the time like you’re my god damn mama.” I scoffed, shakin’ my head.

Daryl gave me a hard stare. “Fine.” He finally said before lettin’ out a sigh and shiftin’ his weight from one foot to the other. “I’m glad you ain’t dead.”

I felt my eyes widen a little, not expectin’ to hear those words come outta his mouth. I wondered what the hell I was supposed to say to that before finally a grin pulled up one corner of my mouth. “Good, ‘cause I plan on hangin’ around and buggin’ the shit outta ya’ for a lot longer.”

He grinned back and I nodded behind him when I saw Charlie finally makin’ her way over, lookin’ all doe eyed and so sickeningly adorable. I felt someone tuggin’ on my arm and looked over to see Harlow.

She gave me a small smile. “Come on, let’s see if we can find someone to clean you up.” I followed after her as she led me over to one of the tables and I took a seat. Rick’s little boy was sittin’ across from me, starin’ wide eyed. I couldn’t tell if he was afraid of me or what. Carol had also made her way over, givin’ Harlow a kind smile.

“You wouldn’t happen to have any first aid stuff lying around, would you?” Harlow asked.

Carol nodded. “Sure thing, just give me a minute to grab it.”

Harlow thanked her before pullin’ out the chair next to me and sinkin’ down. She caught sight of the little kid and grinned at him. “Hi. What’s your name, kiddo?”

“Carl.” He said quietly, fidgetin’ in his chair. He looked like he had more to say, but Carol was back and settin’ down a white first aid box on the table. Carl suddenly stood up and took off into the other room.

“I think he has a crush on you.” I murmured, givin’ her a smirk.

She rolled her eyes. “Little too young for me, don’t you think?”

Before I could say anythin’ else, she started cleanin’ up my busted jaw from when Martinez had hit me with the butt of his gun. I watched the look of concentration on her face, noticin’ the way her lips were puckered just a little bit, and her forehead creased as her eyebrows furrowed together, and once again caught myself thinkin’ she was the prettiest thing I’d ever saw.

“So, you used to be a doctor?”

I glanced up to see the old man hobblin’ over to us on a pair of crutches. Harlow’s fingers curled around my chin, jerkin’ my head back down to face her. “Quit moving.” She muttered, cleanin’ a cut above my eyebrow now. She paused for a second to give the old man a smile. “Not exactly. Just a paramedic.”

“Still counts. I used to be a veterinarian myself. My name’s Hershel by the way.” He smiled at her before turnin’ to me and it wasn’t hard to miss the uneasiness in his eyes. “You look like your brother. He’s a good man. I hope I can say the same about you.”

I could feel Harlow’s eye on me, beggin’ me without words to play nice. “Guess we’ll see.” I finally said. I looked down at his missin’ leg. “How’d ya’ lose it?”

“Walker bite.” He answered.

I felt my eyes widened and Harlow stopped what she was doin’, turnin’ around to stare at him. “You gotta be shittin’ me.” I shook my head. “I’ll be damned…”

“You’re tellin’ me. I thought I was a dead man.” He was chucklin’ under his breath. One lucky son of a bitch.

“Found a room for the two of you, when you’re ready.” Carol was back, standin’ next to Hershel. I hadn’t seen hide or hair of her husband yet. Wondered what the hell happened to him. Hadn’t seen her little girl, either though. I knew I couldn’t exactly ask where the two of ‘em where, but my gut was tellin’ me I already knew.

Harlow closed up the kit and pushed it aside. “Sounds good. Neither of us have slept all night.”

Hershel had already hobbled off on his crutches and I got to my feet, followin’ after Harlow and Carol as we headed back into the cell block. The first couple of cells had blankets hangin’ over the doors. I caught glimpses of the insides, belongings thrown all over the place. Looked like they had all been hunkerin’ down here for a while. We stopped at the last cell at the end of the corridor.

“Got you whatever extra blankets I could find. You need anything else, you just holler.” Carol said quietly. Still had that meekness to her, but somethin’ about her was different. Wasn’t nearly as timid and weak as she had been the last time I saw her.

“Thanks.” Harlow said, placin’ a hand on her arm before disappearin’ into the cell. I lowered myself onto the bed, lookin’ around the blank, cement walls.

“Cozy.” I said sarcastically, givin’ her a grin.

She had her arms crossed over her chest as she sat down next to me. “It gives me the creeps.”

“Ain’t nothin’ to be scared of in here. This is probably one of the nicer cells I’ve been in.” I said, scootin’ back and leanin’ against the wall.

“Hearing about your prison escapades does nothing to turn me on.” She said, wrinklin’ her nose. I let out a laugh, grabbin’ her waist and pullin’ her back next to me. She leaned into my side, restin’ her head on my shoulder. I shifted, wrappin’ my arm around her and trailin’ my fingers up and down her arm.

“You think he’ll find us here.” She finally said, lookin’ up at me. I knew without even havin’ to guess that she meant the Governor.

I let out a sigh, shruggin’ my shoulders. “I dunno, sugar. I know he’ll keep lookin’ as long as he can.” She frowned slightly and I pulled her legs across me so she was almost sittin’ on my lap. “Hey, princess. Don’t worry about a damn thing. I already told ya’, I ain’t gonna let anythin’ happen to ya’.” I murmured, pressin’ my lips to her temple.

She closed her eyes, leanin’ in to me. “I know, I know…I’m not so much worried about me as I am about you.” She finally admitted. “He thinks you betrayed him.”

I scoffed, shakin’ my head. “Woman, don’t waste your time worryin’ about me. We both know Dixons were made to be tough as shit. I don’t want you wastin’ your damn time bein’ all worried. You got that?”

She gave me a look before finally noddin. “I’ll try, but can’t make any promises.”

I wrapped my arms around her waist, buryin’ my face into her neck. “Maybe I could take your mind off it for a while, huh?” I said into her skin, slowly kissin’ her down to her collarbone.

I felt her shiver before tiltin’ my head back and meetin’ her lips in a kiss. Her lips moved against mine slowly and I pulled her even closer, slidin’ my hand up the back of her shirt. She pressed herself against me and I groaned against her mouth. She suddenly pulled away, lookin’ over at the cell door. She was chewin’ on her lower lip and it was drivin’ me crazy in the worst way.

“Merle, we don’t even have a real door.” She said quietly, perkin’ a single eyebrow.

“So?” I asked, kissin’ the bottom of her jaw.

“So,” She began pushin’ me away gently. “Not now. Later maybe, but not now.”

I gave her frustrated scowl. “You’re a god damn tease, sugar. You know that?”

She grinned and kissed me hard on the mouth before pullin’ away. “You like it.”

“Yeah, yeah. Least let me hold ya’ for a little while. Or is even that too scandalous for ya’?” I shifted back against the wall again, pullin’ her into my chest where she curled up and draped her arm around my middle. I felt her laughin’, her shoulders shakin’.

“No, I think this might be okay.” I heard her mumble.

The corners of my lips turned up in a smile as I closed my eyes, feelin’ her warm breath against my neck and wonderin’ if maybe, if I was lucky, everythin’ would be alright now.

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