Part 65 - Bonding session

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"I'm sorry you had to see that... Back at the house" Rick broke the silence, I hadn't talked to anyone for a while, Rick was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with my silence. I looked forward at Michonne and Carl who had walked ahead a bit, I presume only to give us some space to talk. I decided to reply. "I understand... You were protecting us" my tone was low and innocent, to be frank, what had happened, had scared the hell out of me. "Exactly, but I want you to know that it was only to protect you, you know I'd never hurt you?" Rick replied in a soft, comforting tone. I knew he would never hurt me, I had just never seen Rick kill a person before, plenty of walkers, but never a person. I turned towards his and met his battered face, his sea blue eyes still as intoxicating as always. I took me a moment to realise that I hadn't replied to his question so I just nodded. "So are we good?" He asked. Again I just nodded with a smile. Rick laced his hand into mine and expressed a grin upon his face, which was nice, I hadn't seen him smile for a long time, I almost forgot what it looked like.

We didn't know where we were heading but we knew we had to keep on going in hopes of finding the others no matter how long that might take.

Four days later -------

We hadn't found anywhere to stay the night so we had to camp somewhere outside we found an abandoned truck which was big enough for all four of us. Rick had made a little fire and was sat outside, he was talking to Michonne. I looked over to the truck to see Carl in the back, I decided to go and see him, he's been through a lot in the last week, he's only a kid, he needs support, his dad nearly died, he needs to know that there's people here he can talk to. I approached the drivers door of the large blue pickup and clambered in, shutting the door behind me. "Watcha reading?" I asked as I approached Carl as he was reading one of his comic books. He glanced up at me as I sat myself down in the seat. "Oh just one of my comics" he continued reading, which caused a brief silence. "Any good?" I questioned trying to think of things to say without making it more awkward. "Yeah its alright I guess" he continued reading again. "Look..." I began, my gaze never leaving him "I know these past couple of weeks have been rough... On... All of us..." I continued, but this time my eyes moved to Rick and Michonne, then to Carl again. "I just want you to know that I'm here, if you wanna talk, I know I'm not your mum and I don't want you to think that I'm trying to replace her because I'm not..." I paused "I don't want you to feel like you're alone in all this" I finished, Carl gazed up at me as though he was about to argue, but he didn't. "Thanks Jess... I appreciate that" he smiled, I hadn't seen him smile in weeks, it was a breath of fresh air.

I turned around in my seat to face forward, Rick looked distressed, something wasn't right... I looked around to see men approaching us from the bushes in all different directions, they had guns, big guns. I swivelled back around to face Carl. "Get down!" I whisper shouted "Cover yourself up" I asked handing him the dark blanket I had found a few weeks ago, it was small but it was sufficient for Carl's tiny frame. "Don't leave the car... Whatever you hear, don't come out... Everything will be okay... I promise" I pleaded, just as I had finished, the car door was yanked open and I was pulled from the car by a large, hairy man. "Get off me!" I growled, he shook me up and held a cold steel blade to my throat. He began to whisper in my ear repeatedly, "Shhh baby shhh" ugh I was repulsed by this man, I began to struggle.

"Listen, it was me... It was just me." Rick pleaded, I glanced over to him, he had his hands up in surrender as there was a barrel of a gun to his head, what did he mean it was him? I stared at the man who had a gun to his head, oh god... It was the man from the house... I knew exactly why they were here for. "79See, now that's right... That's not some damn lie." The man replied, pushing the gun closer to Ricks forehead. "Look, we can settle this. We're reasonable men... First, we're gonna beat Daryl to death. Then we'll have the girls...Then I'm gonna shoot you and then we'll be square." The man continued, he had a cocky aura about him, the type of guy who shoots and asks questions later.

"Let them go!" I yelled, still struggling to get free. "Stop your squirming!" The large hairy man snarled. I never got a close look at the man, all I knew was, he was large and hairy. "Let them go!" I screamed for the second time, this time as I struggled I heel stomped the man in the foot. "Fucking bitch!" He kicked my knees out and lowered me on to the ground, his large form on top of me, preventing my petite body from moving an inch. He began to make kissing noises at me. Before I knew it, the sound of a gun shot rang through the ominous atmosphere. I looked towards the sound, Rick had pushed the man away from him who had the gun to his head, the gun had gone off in his hand. Another man walked over to Rick and pulled yet another gun on him "I got him Joe!" He yelled, I assume Joe was the guy who we saw on the bed, who had a gun on Rick before. Joe began to laugh "No!... Hes mine... Oh, it's gonna be so much worse now!" Rick stood up and went for him.

My attention turned back to the large, hairy man, who began to touch me, play with my hair and continued to make noises. "Let's see what you got baby" he moaned, I could hear his belt clink, oh no, not this! He got off me and lifted my legs up, he was about to pin my arms down but I managed to hook my legs around his neck, my knees crushing his throat. "Fucking whore!" He choked out before he sliced one of my legs open with the knife he had. "Ahh!" I wailed in pain, drawing my legs back. The large, hairy man pulled me up and put the knife to my throat for the second time that night. I was facing Rick and Joe now "What the hell are you gonna do now, sport?" Joe sarcastically remarked to Rick walking up to him. This is what shocked me, something I never knew rick could be capable of. Rick lunged for Joe and tore out part of his throat with his teeth. As though he was a walker with a conscience. Joe fell to his knees and collapsed. Michonne who had been held at gun point also, managed to get the gun and kill the man. It hadn't even occurred to me that when Joe mentioned Daryl, he meant our Daryl, Daryl Dixon.

Rick approached me, the large man pressed the knife closer to my throat. "Let her go" he asked calmly, his eyes never never leaving the large mans cold stare. "I'll kill her!" He threatened. "I'll I'll kill him!" Michonne held the gun at the mans head. Rick raised his arm, stopping Michonne from shooting. "He's mine" he demanded, his tone low and angry, his eyes slicing through the large man, like a lion eyeing its pray. Rick was going to tear him apart. The large man let me go, I ran towards Michonne, only to see Carl peering behind the bonnet of the car. I ran towards him and scooped him up. Rick began to slice through the large mans torso repeatedly with malice, and hatred. I covered Carl's ears and turned him away from his fathers outburst, he didn't need to see that. Michonne just stood there, watching in disgust. Daryl approached me and Carl and wrapped his arms around me, as though he were protecting me like I was with Carl.

The sounds of steel through flesh stopped, all was silent. I let go of Carl and Daryl did to me. Rick walked to the side of the car and sat down, where he remained for the rest of the night. Daryl went and sat next to him, though Rick didn't speak a word. Michonne herded Carl, herself and I back into the truck for the night. Tonight was going to be a long one.

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