Each of us froze in our spots as the whisper reached our ears. As quiet as it was, we heard it, like we were waiting for it. Carl was the first to run towards the living room and too his father who had managed to push himself off the couch and move himself forward a few feet.
Carl knelt down beside his father, "Dad?" He whispers in the same broken tone that his father used.
Rick reaches up and touches Carl's hair, this small form of real contact with his father causes him to break down and melt into his fathers side.
"Carl.." Rick stutters again pawing to find his sons tear soaked cheeks, "I'm here.."
I look up at Will who is smiling just as large as I am. Rick is going to be okay, better than okay, he's going to live. It warms my heart to see some things go the way they need to go. A child needs their parents, it's a vital part of growing up.
You need that one person who will piss you off to the point of madness, but will sacrifice their life for you. And that person is a mom or dad, and I can't even begin to explain how happy I feel that Carl will keep his father, even if it's only for another week.
"Let's leave them be.." I whisper as Will nods back at me and we slowly and silently walk to the kitchen. I sit down in a chair and stare at Will who sits across from me.
"It's weird to feel happy for a change.." He states staring so intensely into my eyes that it's impossible to look away.
When I was little I loved eye contact, I would be sure to make it with everyone. Whether it be a teacher or an old lady walking down the street I would make it a point to look at them and smile, because it makes someone feel important. The only thing people need sometimes is to feel appreciated, when you are having a bad day and someone smiles at you just cause, it makes a difference. Human relations is something us as homosapiens need to live, its a gift really, having someone look at you like Will is looking at me, would make your heart melt.
"Can I do something?" I ask slowly getting up from my seat.
"The world is your oyster and what you do is your choice." He replies in that wise tone of voice his eyes now linger over my body as I move closer.
"There aren't many things that I have a choice with anymore.." I say slowly inching forward, the words roll off my tongue as I begin to make a decision that might affect me in many ways.
I wrap my legs around his waist as I slide down onto his lap and put my arms around his neck. His body is warm against mine and I very carefully lower my lips to his, his eyes sparkle and begin to close as our lips finally touch.
After a few seconds of bliss I pull away, "But sometimes having a choice is worth it.”
"I can second that." Will laughs.
We just sit there like that for a while, me on his lap, him with his arm around my waist now. And stare. It’s like seeing something in a whole new way. This whole world is new and different and it’s and you have to re-adjust. Though, at this moment I felt like a teenager. A girl who had a silly schoolgirl crush on a boy who I thought was out of my league.
Then I removed myself from his lap and took his hand and walked into the living room where Carl was sitting next to his father. Rick had managed to get himself back onto the couch. Miracles do happen.
I look down at Carl and give him a small nod, and begin to walk upstairs. On a different night, I would invite him to come and sleep upstairs in a bed. I knew what the answer would be tonight though. No. He wants to stay with his father. If I could have just one night.. One more time to stay up late and talk to my Dad and Mom, I would give up anything. Even though I don’t have much to give.
Now it’s the smallest things that mean the most. You hold each tightly and never let go to your loved ones. Without them, what do you have?
I don’t know Rick, Carl, Daryl, or any of them all that much. I feel a connection with them anyhow, a connection that tells me I would risk my life for them and they for me. You have to have people, the ones who are able to do it on their own, only have tricked themselves into a false security self reliability.
During the end of the world, the only way is other people. Hell, sometimes your death will be at the hands of others. On another occasion it may be the only reason you’re here.
The sun creeps in through the cracks in the blinds and for a moment I think I need to wake up and get ready for school. Only if. I turn to my side to see Will sprawled out across the bed, he has most of the blankets. Thank God that I’m warm blooded. I glance at the battery operated clock that ticks slowly in the corner.
When I was a normal kid who wasn’t fighting re-animated corpses I would dread waking up anywhere before noon on the weekend. All I wanted to do was curl up in my blankets and dream. I loved to dream. Though, I didn’t do much of it anymore.
The question now is, get up and do important things, or curl up next to Will. They both sound so tempting. Ha. No. Time to cuddle. I hear footsteps downstairs and figure Carl and Rick are awake. 2 sets of footsteps.. Well I take that as a good sign.
I wrap my arms around Will and snuggle into his back. He’s so warm, I love it. My eyes start to get heavy once more and I don’t find it to hard to get lulled back to sleep by the gentle sound of his breath. Oh goodness, I sound so cheesy.
Right before sleep takes my body over again there’s loud knock at the door downstairs. Fuck. I swing out of bed on instinct and so does Will we grab our guns and head down stairs as quick as we can.
And there, standing in the flesh hugging Carl and Rick was Michonne. Will held his arm out in front of me as a protective stance. I pushed him away and ran to Michonne who engulfed me in a hug. We really don’t know each other that well, but it’s just nice to see familiar face that isn’t trying to eat yours.
“How’d you find us..” I ask slowly taking in her face.
“I just followed the obvious tracks you guys left.” She chuckles taking the three of us in. Then, I’m guessing Will caught her eye, because she glances over at him with a glare that could kill.
“Sup.” Will gave her the nod and came to stand beside me. Michonne raises an eyebrow in obvious confusion.
“Will, Michonne. Bad ass with a sword. Michonne, Will. The low-life who still lives in his parents house.” I laugh and bumping into his side.
She nods and takes his hand in hers and they gave each other a formal hand shake. How charming.
“I’m glad to see you alive.” I remark happily.
“Same goes for all of you.” She replies glancing around Will’s living room.
I was so happy to see her alive. Though, I can’t help but have this feeling in my gut that she’ll want to leave this place I’m already beginning to love. She’s not the type who’ll want to stay in one place and not move. Unless she thinks it’s safe. And let’s face it, this place is not safe.
“Meantime, I have some cans of food I’ve been saving. Celebratory brunch?” I ask looking wide eyed at all of them
“I’d like that.” Rick comments
“Me too.” Carl agrees as Michonne nods in my direction.
Will puts an arm on me and I watch as Rick tenses up, but I give him a small smile that tells him it is all okay. In this short time he’s becoming like my father. It’s a feeling I can’t afford.
As we were all eating our canned corn at the freshly cleaned dinner table, it was oddly silent. You think there’d be lots of talk. Yet, it was as if everyone was in deep, deep thought. Then, exactly as I was predicting it, Rick said it.
“It’s not safe here, we have to leave.” Rick says firmly holding the spoon of corn down by his bowl.
“I agree. We are in a rural area and walkers, or worse, other people could come through at any given moment.” Michonne adds.
“It’s best to move on, look for the others.” Carl put in, adding to the adult conversation.
My heart was plummeting into my stomach, dropping lower and lower. Will wouldn’t want to leave this place and there was no way I could get them to stay. My spoon fell from my hand and clanked loudly as it hit the table.
Everyone looked to me, and I looked up at them with tears in my eyes, “I won’t go.”
“Are you sure, Annabel?” Rick asks as he stands on the front porch and swings a backpack around his shoulder.
“No, but I need to stay.” I reply shaking my head as another tear rolls down my cheek.
“We are heading west, and if you want to catch up in a few days I’m sure you’ll be able too.” Michonne adds coming and throwing her arms around me.
She pulls away, but comes back for seconds, “You don’t have to do this.” She whispers.
“But I do.” I whisper back and she pulls away giving me a small smile.
Carl comes next, and he takes my hand and shakes it, with a firm grip. Like a man. “Thanks for everything Annabel.”
Rick comes up to me last, pausing for a moment to just stare at me. “You’re a good person. You know that right?” I nod, more tears falling. He comes in for a hug, finally, “Be safe, don’t waste anymore tears. See ya’ round’.”
With that final goodbye the three of them take off down the street.
Later that night I lay on the couch in the dark living room with Will by my side. It’s been pretty quiet and I don’t blame him. I think he’s surprised I stayed for him. There’s just something about him that makes my heart ache, it make me want to throw up but smile all at the same time. I don’t even know him all that well, but I know enough.
“You didn’t have to do that Ann.” He says abruptly.
“Yes I did.” I turn myself so I am facing him. I don’t even care that he called me that. I’m just so exhausted.
“You didn’t even ask me, Annabel.”
“Would you of gone?” I ask forcefully.
“Exactly.” I say and it gets silent once more.
We sit there like that for a while. In the dark as the crickets churp outside and the wind howls ever so slightly. I curl up into his side and rest my head on his shoulder. His arm drapes around me and the sound of his heart calms me to sleep.
I don’t know how long I was out, 2 minutes or 2 hours. Will has fallen asleep too, but we are both alerted by the sounds of think country accents outside the front door.
Will shakes me lightly, although I’m already awake. He presses a figure to his lips as he guides me by my wrist to the closet. I really think it’s a bad thing to lock ourselves in somewhere with no exit. I’m just too even think.
The next thing we hear is the door being kicked open, and a bunch of different voices pour in. I count at least 6. Shit. This is bad, real bad. We are outnumbered, out gunned, I should of left with them. We both should of.
My heart pounds quick and I pray that they can’t hear it. Will squeezes my hand tighter and he breaths quick, but not loud. There’s shuffling around the living room, that’s when the doorknob to the closet begins to turn.