Chapter 18

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Carl stared at me and I stared right back at him with an eyebrow raised.

"What was that?" I questioned, both hands on my hips. Carl shrugged his shoulders and set Judith down against the tree trunk before standing up to face me. He sighed and dug his hands into the pockets of his flannel.

"Well..?"

Carl's eyes fell to the ground and his shoulders slumped downwards.

"I panicked." Carl whispered almost inaudibly. His eyes never met mine and he sighed again.

"What do you mean you panicked?" I asked, not hiding the irritation in my voice. Who was he to just run off? I can't be in the company of a child. This is survival, not a game.

"You nearly died. It was like I was imagining my life without you in it." Carl's eyes glossed over and I immediately felt guilty. I sighed and ran a hand through my knotted ponytail.

"I-I'm sorry. I-"

Carl cut me off.
"It's so stupid. I haven't even kissed you but I really really like you, Lauren. As soon as you waltzed into my life with my little sister in your arms, there was something about you. I just couldn't get you out of head."

I smiled even though I was completely speechless. I couldn't deny I had feelings for Carl, because I do. It's so stupid in the middle of an apocalypse but I can't deny it. But I was reluctant, we just met eachother a few weeks ago. Even though that's a long time to see someone all day long. I was nervous, to say the least.

"I-I'm sorry for freaking out.. I just couldn't imagine a world without you in it. This is extremely sappy and cheesy but I don't care." Carl finished, still not meeting my eyes. I stared at him, shock being the first emotion I was able to feel.

"Please say something." He pleaded, finally tearing his gaze from the ground beneath him.

"I-I feel-"

Carl didn't want to wait for me to finish. He placed one of his hands in the small of my back and the other caressed my cheek. My eyes fluttered shut at his touch and I'm pretty sure he could hear my heart beat.

I opened my eyes and I was staring directly into Carl's bright blue eyes. It was like he was studing every inch of my face. I bit my lip and stared back at Carl.

Just kiss me already.

Carl leaned in and eliminated the remaining space between us. His pink lips were soft and welcoming. I felt my cheeks heat up and my lips curved into a smile. Time seemed to stop and my pulse quickened.

Carl pulled away and I immediatly felt sad at the loss of his warmth. My heart began to pound and I was left in a daze, completely lost for words.

"Took you long enough." I laughed nervously, letting out a short cough. Carl's lips curved into a smile and I blushed madly.

"W-We should probably find somewhere to stay." I coughed again, my eyes darting from side to side, desperatly trying to avoid awkward eye contact. Carl re-connected our lips for a quick kiss, leaving me at a loss of breath for the second time in the day.

"Now we can go." Carl chuckled and I picked up Judith. Carl intertwined our dirt-caked fingers and I smiled, leaning against him. Carl and I practically strolled through the forest.

I found it amusing how in the middle of all this shit, I was able to find something that made me happy, made me feel contented. That feeling was long gone, locked away deep inside of me. He smiled so carelessly, he was weighed down by his past, but he was able to see through the cracks in the darkness that surrounded him. I knew that if I stuck around him long enough, I'd be able to smile like that too.

Judith gurgled happily and I smiled. It was finally falling into place and the only missing piece now was somewhere to live. Somewhere to call our own.

"Lauren, what's that there?" Carl asked, pointing to what seemed to be a wall in the distance. I picked up my pace and jogged towards the structure. I found a small bungalo type house. It was perfect for the time being. Small and easily guarded.

The fences around the outside were intact, which would help in keeping Walkers away from us, though there wasn't much around here anyway. I practically jumped for joy. There was a small garden, overgrown with wild flowers which added to the beauty of the house.

"Carl! It's perfect!" I exclaimed and jumped the fence. Carl wasn't far behind. He laughed at me as I ran around the house, taking in the area. It was perfect for us. I thought I could never be happy, but I was certainly shown different.

He made me happy.

Carl coming into my life was a complete accident and I wouldn't change a thing. Judith is my light, I can finally feel what it's like to have a family and I couldn't wish for anything more. Carl pushed open the wooden door of the house and checked round inside. A few minutes later he retourned with a huge smile, declaring it was all clear.

I stepped into the house, taking in everything around me. There was a nursery for Judith and the cabinets were stocked with about a months supply of food, even baby food. I don't remember feeling so contented before and it was all because of an accidental meeting with a group of amazing people. They may no longer be here, but Carl and Judith are.

That's all I need.

OMFG FINALLY THE LARL SHIP HAS SAILED AND EVERYTHING IS CUTE AND PERFECT!

Next two chapters are going to be nice ones, then the evil shit unfolds! Yay me!

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