It seemed like Carol had finally stopped bugging Daryl and me. She hadn’t spoken to me in days, only glaring at me every once in a while. It was great, really. I felt happier that way, without having to listen to her all the time. I just didn’t get why she all of a sudden left me alone. I mean, yes, I had been pretty mean to her, but it seemed as though she changed her behavior in a very little time. It somehow bothered me not knowing what had made her stop. I hadn’t really said anything out of the ordinary. I asked Daryl, but he hadn’t either. Yet, it seemed like he knew something. There was something he wasn’t telling me and I intended to find out what. But instead of asking Daryl himself I decided to ask Carol. It felt weird looking for her after all this time of avoiding her. The others at the prison seemed to think the same thing, because the few people I asked, if they knew where Carol was, all looked at me like I was crazy, which I guess I was. Anyway, after asking around I was told that Carol was outside with Rick and Daryl. I felt the anger start to bubble up inside me, but I smiled at Glenn and Maggie who told me. I hurried outside, but just as I got outside, I ran into Carol.
“Oh, hi,” she said, shyly, which was very unlike her. “Daryl is out by the fences. They’re still trying to figure out how the walkers got in.” Even after almost a month, we still hadn’t figure out what happened and it drove Rick crazy. He spent every moment he was awake trying to figure it out.
“Yeah, I know. I wasn’t looking for him, actually, I was looking for you,” I told her, which surprised her. “I just want to ask you something.” She nodded and asked me what I wanted to ask her. “I just wanted to ask you why you don’t bug me anymore.”
Carol smiled slightly. “I guess I’ve realized how happy you and Daryl actually are together,” she said, letting out a sigh, “and if the world hadn’t been like this, I would probably have tried harder. Or, I probably wouldn’t because I would still be married to Ed and Sophia would still be alive,” she chuckled, “but you get what I mean, right?” I smiled at her and nodded. I still didn’t believe her. I didn’t believe that she would suddenly realize that, so I asked her if that really was the reason. Again, she let out a sigh. “Okay, that’s only half of the reason.”
“Why don’t you just tell me, Carol?” I groaned, beginning to get annoyed because no one seemed to want to tell me the truth anymore.
“Why don’t you ask Mason?” she said.
“What do you mean?” I asked her.
“Just do it, okay?” She then walked right past me and back towards the prison. I stood there, completely dumbfounded. What did she even mean by that? “Oh, by the way,” I heard her say. I turned around to see that she was right in front of me. “I believe this belongs to you.” She handed me the picture that I had taken from Ashton’s pocket.
“W-Where did you get this?” I asked her.
“It was in your pocket,” she said, “and I hope that that,” she pointed at me at me and Luke in the picture, “is over.” I nodded and told her of course it was over. “Good. I don’t want to see Daryl heartbroken because of you.” With that, she went into the prison, leaving me even more dumbfounded than before. I shook my head, went out to the prison yard, and sat down in the grass. I looked at the picture in my hands. I missed Luke, I had to admit that. He was my best friend after all. I felt tears begin to form in my eyes, thinking about all the things Luke and I had been through together.
“Maybe I should forgive him,” I thought to myself. I did love him, after all. We went through some fucked up stuff together in those 17 years of being best friends, but we were always there for each other. Luke always made me feel better about myself, and I guess the other way around as well. But that’s what best friend do, right?
After a few minutes of just sitting there, thinking, someone sat down beside me. “Hey Maddie,” I heard Mason say, “Carol told me you wanted to talk to me.” I nodded. “Okay, about what?” I looked up from the picture and looked at him instead.
“She told me ask you why she doesn’t bother Daryl and me anymore,” I told him. He let out a heavy sigh and buried his face in his hands. “Mason? What did you do now?” I asked.
He looked at me. “A couple of days ago, Carol came to me and asked me if I knew where Daryl was. She was acting weird and I got suspicious, but told her that he was in the guard tower, anyway. I decided to follow her to make sure she didn’t do anything she’d regret. When I got to the tower Rick was outside, and he told me that Carol wanted to talk to Daryl alone, so I went up there and she was getting touchy with Daryl and showed her that picture,” he pointed at the picture, “I told her to leave you alone and that you and Daryl are happy together,” he said. “I didn’t want you to find out.
I smiled at him. “Thank you, Mason. I know how you feel about Daryl and me, so it means a lot what you did,” I say.
“I just want you to be happy, especially now,” he said, also smiling now.
I didn’t know what I had done to deserve a brother like Mason. He had always been like that, really. He was usually supportive, even when he didn’t exactly like it. Like the time when I dyed my hair blonde without his permission, or the time I was going to my friend Olivia’s party and I wore a short, tight, black dress that showed a lot of skin. I think he only let me wear the dress because he was crushing on Olivia and I threatened him and told him that he couldn’t go if he made me wear something else.
“I have to admit that I was a bit freaked out to begin with. Before she was always near me or Daryl, saying some weird shit, so it’s weird that it’s suddenly so quiet,” I said, making Mason giggle.
“Yeah, it’s also kind of nice not having to listen to your bickering all the time, ya know,” he replied, making me giggle as well. I looked up to see Rick and Daryl. They were still down by the fences. It looked like they were arguing, which was new. Daryl had told me that he didn’t get why Rick just gave up on finding out what happened, but it wasn’t that easy for Rick. “I think I’ll just go and check out what’s going on,” I told Mason, nodding towards the two – probably – arguing men. I stood up and walked down there, and as I got closer, their voices got louder. I was right; they were arguing.
“Hey! Chill, guys,” I said, rolling my eyes. They stopped their bickering and looked at me. “What the hell is going on?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer – or so I thought.
“Carol was the one who opened the gates that night,” Rick said, “She brought everyone in danger, and we can’t have someone like that here.”
“I don’t see why you’re arguing. She opened the gates and she’s actually not that much of a team player. I’m actually close to thinking that Merle is more of a team player that Carol is. Honestly, I think you’re right, Rick,”
“Are ya being serious?” Daryl asked ma angrily.
“Uh, yes,” I told him, “Carol has been harassing us – especially me - since she found out about us! Now this? Why do you still want her here?” He didn’t answer. I felt my heart drop, along with my jaw. “Y-You have feeling for her, don’t you?” I ask him, tears forming in my eyes for the second time that day.
“She was the first person to really accept me in the group. She’s actually done a lot for me,” he mumbled.
“And I haven’t?” I asked him in disbelief.
“I didn’t mean it like that. You don’t get it,” he said, turning to walk back to the prison, but I grabbed his arm.
“Just tell me one thing; have you ever – even just for a second – considered leaving me for her?” I asked him. He stayed quiet. “Are you being serious right now, Daryl?” Still, nothing. I let go off his arm and he walked back to the prison, leaving me there with Rick. “I can’t believe it,” I said, the tears finally escaping my eyes. For the first time I was doubting if Daryl loved me. I could literally feel my heart breaking, and it hurt. Badly.