If anyone saw how I exited his room, they would have thought I was drunk. I walked away not really knowing where I was going. I have had enough. Even though I felt slightly bad for the things I told him I wasn’t regretting one word. In the few days that I have been living here, he has broken my heart more times than he has in all the years we have been together. That has always been the main cause of our fights. Even when he was right he had to be cruel and hurtful about it. It was never easy to talk to him when he was pissed off. When we used to fight, he would leave and wouldn’t come back for hours. We didn’t fight often, but when we did it was rough. I was always left by myself to pick up the pieces. I should have gotten used to it by now, but it is just hard. Why does he have to be like that?
Before I realised what was happening and where I was going I found myself outside. It was late. It must have been about 1 am. Having a watch would be a luxury nowadays. Mine stopped working a couple of months ago, but I was still wearing it for some reason. There were only a few people outside and only three guards by the main gate. I had to get out of here. I felt like a prisoner. Like I couldn’t breathe.
I knew I was taking a huge risk by trying to sneak out of the Sanctuary. I was debating whether I wanted to go to Hilltop or to Alexandria. I needed to see and talk to Maggie. Whenever I had a problem I would always go to her and it was so weird that she wasn’t close to me anymore. But I also wanted to see Daryl, I missed him. We had a weird yet close bond. I couldn’t go to Sherry. She wouldn’t understand. In some way, she still thinks we’re in the past. But we are not. I thought that me and him could exist in the same place without any problems and maybe someday we would work things out. That is not going to happen, though. It will never be the same again. I need to get out.
Sneaking out of the Sanctuary without drawing any attention to myself was easier than I thought. The guards were pretty good at keeping everything out but not at keeping everything in. Good for me I guess. I decided I wanted to go to Alexandria. I wanted to see Daryl. I am not sure how long it takes to walk to Alexandria but probably about 2 hours. Maybe more. I am not going to stop, I have to go. I need to see him. He is the only one who can help me.
I haven’t been outside in three days but it felt more than that. I then realised that I only had one pocket knife with me. It wasn’t exactly my choice of weapon but it was better than nothing. A gun would draw attention and it would be easier for Negan to find me. Because there is no way that he wouldn’t figure out I was gone. Maybe not tonight but tomorrow he would know something is wrong. I don’t think he is going to try to talk to me tonight. It was the first time that I was so harsh towards him. I even threw my wedding ring at him. My finger kept moving over the spot where my ring used to be. I haven’t taken it off in ten years. It felt odd.
I kept walking and walking. It was quiet. I didn’t come across any walkers so far. That was good. My head was fuzzy and I didn’t have the physical energy to fight anything right now. It was cold and I was dressed only in jeans, a T-shirt and a very light jacket. I was never a fan of the cold. I always preferred a warm weather and the beach. Cold beverages and short summer clothes. Negan on the other hand always liked the cold. He liked Christmas and the snow. Coats and scarves and gloves. We didn’t even have that in common. I shook my head trying to get all of these thoughts out of my head. It wasn’t really helping the situation.
But the memories pushed through and it was painful. I have spent so many years with him. Despite the bad memories, which were a lot, we had a lot of great memories also. I have gotten used to it ever since the apocalypse started. It is easier to consider him dead. But now that I know he is alive it’s all messed up. I had imagined it differently. That we would find each other and that everything would be like they used to be.
I am dumber than I thought I am. I laughed to myself. How can I be so stupid? You can’t control him, you stupid girl. You never could. He never listened to you. To anything you ever said. He never needed you. He will let go of you like it’s nothing. He might not even look for me. Perhaps he will think it is going to be easier this way. To just let me go. I will go back to staying in Alexandria. When he comes to collect our stuff from us, I will stay inside or I will go on a run that day. I would be able to visit Maggie whenever I want. I will not be able to see Sherry and Dwight as often though and I can’t leave them now that I have found them. They will understand though. They have to. They will have to visit me there.
Yes, this is the way it should be. I am not leaving Alexandria ever again. He has to understand. After what happened tonight he will. He is not going to be difficult about it and he will be free to be with Megan or any of his sluts he wants. This is the right way.
Before I could realise it, I was in front of the walls of Alexandria. Someone was on watch duty but I couldn’t understand who exactly. As I got closer I realised it was Abraham.
“Hold it right there. Who are you and what do you want?” he asked. He didn’t recognise me. It was dark. I am not blaming him.
“Abe, it’s me. Liz. Can you please open up?”
He lowered his gun as he was obviously confused about what I was doing here.
“Shit Liz. What are you doing here? You alright? Come on. I’m opening up right now.” he said and did, in fact, open the doors. The minute I stepped inside I felt some kind of safety. I felt like I was home but not quite. I approached him and I wasn’t expecting him to hug me but he did. I missed him too. I missed everyone.
“We were so worried about you, Liz. How are you? Did he hurt you?”. As much as I loved Abraham I wasn’t about to open up to him about this. Not right now anyway.
“I am fine, Abe. Don’t worry. I am okay. Can we talk later? I need to see Daryl. I have to talk to him.” He smiled at me.
“Of course you do sweetheart. Go on. He should be in his room. His wound wasn’t that serious but he is not quite alright yet. I am sure he would be glad to see you.”
“Thank you, Abraham. Can you please not tell everyone I am here? I want to speak to Daryl tonight.”
“Sure thing. I’ll see you in the morning.”
He hugged me goodnight and moved back to the watch tower. I walked to the house Daryl lived in hoping that I wouldn’t come across anyone else tonight. I was tired. I tiptoed inside the house heading straight to his room. I knocked but got no answer. So I decided to walk in any way. He was spread out on the bed. His shoulder was in bandages and he looked so pale. He must have lost a lot of blood. The doctor from the Hilltop would have probably wanted to keep him there for a few days, but knowing Daryl he definitely refused.
He was fast asleep but did not look like he was in any pain. I felt a little bad for wanting to wake him up, but this is the reason why I ran away. I need to talk to him. I closed the door behind me and moved closer to the bed. I placed gently my hand on his forehead to check for a fever but he wasn’t warm. That’s a good sign, I guess. His hair was getting longer and longer. You could barely see his eyes anymore. He really needed a haircut.
“Liz? What are ya doing here?” he asked me sitting up. He was surprised to see me of course.
“Hey,” I said placing my hand on his cheek. God, I missed him. “Yes. I’m here. How are you? Are you in any pain?”
“Nah, I’m fine. It hurt like a bitch when the doctor tried to take the bullet out. And I lost a lot of blood. But I am fine now. I saw Maggie and Glenn the first day we stayed at Hilltop, they’re all right.”
“Why didn’t you stay there as well? The doctor could have taken better care of you.”
“I can’t stay there, Liz. What if that psycho decides to hit us? I need to be here.”
“Who is the psycho?”
“What, are ya fucking kidding me? That asshole ya call your husband. Speaking of whom, how are ya here? Did he just let ya go?” Oh right, Negan’s the psycho.
“No.” I paused. He is probably going to get mad at me. “Actually, he doesn’t even know I’m here. I ran off in the middle of the night. I have no idea how I didn’t get caught.” Even though, the reason I came here is to speak to him, all of a sudden I didn’t know where to begin.
“Ya realise that he is gonna come looking for ya right?” he seemed worried rather than mad.
“Yes, I know that Daryl. But you don’t understand. I had to get away.”
“Ya had to? Why? What happened over there?”
“Everything is different. For a split second, I really thought that things could go back to normal, somehow. But that can’t happen. It’s clear now. We have both changed so much. But I can never win with that man. The man I fell in love with and dreamed about building a life with is gone.”
“Did he hurt ya?” he seemed like his temper was rising.
I took his hand in mine and looked into his eyes, even though I could barely see them with his hair all over. He always worried about me so much. And he always took care of me. Whenever I couldn’t take care of myself. He taught me everything about surviving.
“No. Not like that. Don’t worry. He is just trying to push me away. He doesn’t want to let me in. His whole demeanour has changed. It’s like I am trying to understand him but he doesn’t want me to. And he is confusing me all the time.” I can still remember how he kissed me that time.
“Do ya still love him? He is a dangerous man Liz.” I realised I was still holding his hand.
“Of course I do, Daryl. He is my husband. I’ve spent nearly 10 years with him. But I can’t see him as the man you do.”
He pulled his hand away from mine and stood up. He started pacing back and forth. “Don’t ya see that he would have killed one of us if ya weren’t there that night? That is all that kept him from killing us.”
“I get that, but he didn’t. He did not kill any of us.”
“And what if ya had stayed back that day? And what if ya had stayed back that day? How would ya have felt when ya would have figured out later that your precious husband killed someone ya love?”
“But that didn’t happen, alright? I have enough on my plate as it is.”
“I am just trying to prove to ya that he is not the man ya think he is. And he is going to figure out ya left. Sooner or later. What happens when he comes here? What if he’s willing to kill to get to ya?”
“He knows that if he hurts someone I love I will not go back to him. Ever. He is going to try to take me back to the Sanctuary by force. But that’s it.”
I looked at him and he seemed so distressed. He also looked ready. Daryl was always ready to face whatever threat came upon him. And he did consider Negan a threat. How couldn’t he? But he wasn’t a threat to me.
“Listen. I am really tired. I walked here all the way from the Sanctuary. Can I stay here tonight, please? If you don’t want me to, I can leave.”
“No. Don’t. Of course, you can stay. Come here.” he said approaching me. He lied on the bed and I snuggled close to him while he put his arms around me. I haven’t felt this safe ever since I left Alexandria. Daryl had the same scent. It hasn’t really been that long but it felt like too long.
“Thank you, Daryl. For everything.”
“Go to sleep angel.” he said kissing my forehead as I drifted off to sleep.
I woke up the next morning with a major fucking headache. It was 9 am. My watch still worked miraculously. I haven’t fucking slept in, in a long time. The light was peeking through the blinds. I dreamed about Liz. Nothing unusual. I always seem to dream about Liz. I hurt her a lot. It has gotten out of hand. She needs to be safe. Her life can’t be in danger because of me. But we can’t go on like this. I am going to keep hurting her and that is the last thing I want. She can’t stay here anymore. But I also don’t want to let her out of my sight ever again. How can I be certain that she will be okay? Should I depend on Daryl to keep her safe? No, fuck him. I don’t want him anywhere near her. She can’t leave. But she also can’t stay here like this. I should just talk to her and see how everything is going to work out.
I finally decided to get up but my head felt heavier than it ever did. I didn’t even get drunk last night. As I got up I heard something falling on the floor from my bed. It was the rings. I forgot I fell asleep with our wedding rings in my hand. I still remember the day I proposed to her. She was so surprised, even though I am sure she knew I was planning it for two weeks. She told me it was one of the best days of her life. And I swore that I would never hurt her like this. So much for keeping my word.
After I got dressed, since I wasn’t really hungry, I decided to go find her. She should be in her room. Knowing Liz, she is probably going to ignore me and act like I am not there. She used to do that all the time back in the day. As I was about to knock on her door Dwight ran towards me, almost knocking me down.
“What the hell Dwight?”
“We have a problem.” he told me. Great. What the fuck happened now?
I woke up from a loud noise coming from inside the room. I instantly got up from the bed out of habit. Apparently, it was Daryl who bumped on some furniture. I opened my eyes and looked at him. He was really trying not to wake me but it was in vain. I giggled and he heard me. He had an apologetic look on his face.
“Hey.” I told him stretching out on the bed. I haven’t slept so peacefully since I left Alexandria.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to wake ya.” he said.
“Oh, it’s okay. Don’t worry. I shouldn’t be sleeping for so long again.”
“Again? Ya never sleep in!” he sat at the edge of the bed.
“Yeah, but I should be up. Thank you for letting me spend the night. I needed it.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Even though this was great I knew that it wasn’t going to last long. Any time now he is going to be here and I am going to go back to reality.
“Stay here with me.” Daryl said.
“What?” I asked confused.
“Stay here. With me. When he comes, say that ya want to stay with me. Talk to him. Make him understand. Stay here with us. Not just for me, for Rick, for Carl and Judith and for Maggie and Glenn. She is going to need ya when the time comes. And ya and I both know that he ain’t gonna let ya visit whenever ya want. Just stay.”
“I want to. I really do. But it’s not that simple Daryl. I can’t just cut him out of my life and move on. And I have friends back there too. Friends from before everything went to shit that was with him this entire time. I just found them. I can’t just leave them.”
“You don’t get it, do ya? He is never gonna stop. He is gonna keep it up this way till he wins this thing. And I am not about to let ya get hurt. But I also can’t keep doing this, Liz. So you gotta make a choice.”
“What are you talking about? There is no choice to be made.” I was pacing like he was last night.
“Like hell, there isn’t. That bastard is only gonna keep hurting ya. He has a bunch of whores that he fucks whenever he feels like it. If it was me, I would’ve left everything to be with ya. And he doesn’t even give a fuck. How can ya be so blind to stay with him, huh?”
“You are pushing it too far and if you-“
“Liz? So it’s true? You are here?” it was Rick, but he didn’t seem happy to see me. He looked rather mad actually.
“Yes. I am.”
“Well, I am sorry if I am interrupting something between the two of you, and I am really happy to see that you’re alright, but he is here. He is looking for you and he is pissed as hell.”
“Oh my God. Is he threatening someone?”
“No. Not yet. But I am not going to take any chances. I am sorry Liz, but you need to come down and talk to him.”
“Yes, I’ll be right down.” I replied. He gave me a soft smile as he left the room. I was following close behind Rick when Daryl grabbed my hand turning me around to look at him.
“I asked ya a question. So?”
“You are not serious now, are you? I can’t just stay in here and refuse to see him. Who knows what he is going to do then?”
“He is gonna suck it up. He is gonna figure out that he was an asshole who wasted his chances with ya.”
“But he didn’t.” I said pulling my hand from his. I can’t just leave Negan. I know that Daryl wouldn’t understand me and that he wouldn’t be as willing to help me next time. But if I didn’t try to fix things with Negan I knew I would regret it.
“I have to try. I have to.” I told him, but he already looked like he wasn’t interested anymore. “I am sorry.” I said and exited the house.
Rick was walking me to the gates but he was silent. I was almost scared to talk to him but I had to know what was going on in his head. We have been through so much. I have been with them ever since that little camp we had. Before the farm and everything.
“Do you hate me? Because I know that you hate him. You all do. And I don’t exactly blame you.”
He stopped in his tracks and looked at me like I insulted him or something.
“Don’t you ever say that again. You and I have been through hell and back. We’ve changed and we’ve grown. You have been there for me when Lori died. And you have basically raised Judith and helped Carl out when I couldn’t. How could I be mad at you? But I can’t take any chances with him. He is dangerous. He is worse than anything we’ve ever dealt with. He might be your husband, but to us, he is nothing more than a man who wants to kill us. I don’t have anything else to say.”
“I get it. Don’t worry. Kiss little Judith for me, will you? And Carl too?”
We smiled at each other and continued walking. As we were approaching I could see Negan. He was alone. There was no one else with him. He was so mad. It was obvious. He found me really soon. I was expecting him here by noon.
“Thank you for bringing her.” He told Rick, not even looking at me once.
“Sure. Just make sure she is alright.”
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” he looked so defensive, ready to fight.
“I’m just saying that if she left in the middle of the night to come here, she probably wasn’t comfortable there. Don’t you think?”
“Ha. Yeah? You think so? Nah. My wife just likes to play fucking games with me, doesn’t she?” he asked, this time, looking directly at me.
“Can we just go?” I asked not looking in his eyes. I simply couldn’t.
“Yes, we fucking can. Get in the fucking car.”
I walked slowly behind him. It seemed like from the very thing I was running away from, I couldn’t get away. Why can’t things be easy and simple for once? I took a look and him and he seems angry and lost in his thoughts. As if he can’t see straight, he also looks out of it. His hair is a mess, in comparison to his usual well combed and slicked back hair.
I got in the car, putting on my seatbelt and turn to look out the window. I hope he is not up for a chat right now. I know I am not. He starts the car and drives away from Alexandria. I see Rick standing in front of the gates, while Eugene is closing them. How long till I see them again? His knuckles are white from how tight he is holding on to the steering wheel. He is mad and I am all over the place. We shouldn’t talk about this. Now is not the time. But he stops the car in the middle of nowhere and gets out. Great.
“What the hell were you thinking Liz?” he yells at me. “Something could’ve happened. You could have fucking died. What if a fucking herd had come your way?”
“I can take care of myself.” I responded standing my ground.
“Oh, I am sorry. You would have fucking protected yourself with that fucking pocket knife of yours?” He said reaching inside my pocket, takes it in his hand and throws it on the ground.
“Yes. With that fucking pocket knife of mine. It protected me just fine when you weren’t there didn’t it?” I asked ironically. He stares me and runs his hand across his face. God, it’s going to be one of those fights.
“Do you want to fucking go there, Liz? Really? What do you want me to say? That I am sorry? I fucking am. There you fucking have it. I didn’t mean to lose you that day. It fucking broke me. I went back for you countless of times. I searched the entire fucking area, again and again. What else do you fucking want me to do about it?”
“I don’t want you to say anything Negan. I want you to do something. Except make me feel like shit. Because ever since I’ve been back that’s all you do. You’ve hurt me more in those few days than you’ve hurt me our whole life together. Do you know that?”
“I do. I fucking do. And do you think I fucking enjoy it? That I am having fun breaking your heart all the time? I swore that I would never fucking do that. Ever, in my life.”
“You did. And yet?”
“And yet I am breaking my fucking promise to keep you safe-“
“To keep me safe? So, do you really believe that the whole reason you’re doing this is to protect me? Really? How, Negan? How are you protecting me by forcing me to run away from you?”
“Forcing you? Really doll? No, I didn’t fucking force you. You chose to put your life in danger. You made me come after you.”
“You didn’t have to.” I whispered.
“What did you say?” he asked but I didn’t answer. I turned away from him, struggling not to cry. He grabbed my arm and turned me around to look at him. It was the first time that his eyes looked hurt. “Tell me what the fuck you just said.”
“I was just thinking that maybe it would be better if-“
“If what, Liz?”
“If things just went back to normal.”
“What the fuck is normal to you? Is going back to them normal to you? Or do you just want to be with that redneck asshole?” he was overly jealous once again.
“So what if she wants to be? Are ya gonna force her to stay with ya? Is that what ya gonna do? Some man ya are.” Daryl said slowly approaching with his gun raised. In a matter of seconds, Negan raised his gun as well.
“Daryl what are you doing here? Please just go.”
“Nah. I don’t think so, Liz. That’s enough.”
“Is that so, boy? What are you gonna do about it?” They were both getting too close to each other and I was in the middle.
“I’m gonna take her away from ya. What have ya done to deserve her?” Negan burst out laughing.
“You do know that she’s my wife, right?”
“It probably doesn’t mean much to ya, since ya got dozens of those right?” Ouch, that hurt. But Negan wasn’t laughing anymore.
“It’s none of your fucking business. Now, why don’t you turn the fuck around and go back where you came from? As you can see we were having a fucking conversation here.”
“Yeah, and ya asked her if she wanted to come back with us. With me. She didn’t give ya an answer did she?”
“Daryl please stop.”
“No. Why don’t ya tell him what ya told me yesterday night?”
“Oh, what did you tell him last night baby?” Negan said placing a hand on my waist, obviously to make Daryl jealous. This wasn’t going to end well; I am sure of it.
“Nothing. Let’s just go.”
“No, we’re not going anywhere sweetheart. What did you tell him last night?”
“She told me she wants to get away from ya as soon as possible. Why don’t ya get it? She can’t stand ya anymore. She came to me crying. Ya hurt her enough. Why don’t ya just let her go? I asked her last night if she wanted to stay with me. And she said yes. All she worried about was the friends that she will leave behind. Not ya. She doesn’t worry about ya. She’s over ya. Why the hell don’t ya just let her go?”
Negan wasn’t obviously wanting to hear all of this and I didn’t want him to. I want to be away from him but I can’t leave him. But things can’t go on like this.
“She would never leave me again. Not now that I just found her. Ain’t that right?”
“Of course she would. Do ya think that she is going to stick around after everything ya did to her?”
“Why don’t you shut your hole for one minute you piece of shit? I am talking to my wife right now.”
“Ya have nothing to say to her. Don’t ya ever think if she wants to listen?”
“Take a fucking walk asshole and leave us alone.”
“Nah that ain’t gonna happen. I am not leaving without her.”
“Well, you’re gonna have to because she won’t be coming with you, no matter what you say.”
“Can both of you please stop?” I yelled but they were too caught up in their anger to notice me.
“Come on Liz. We’re going home.” Negan said grabbing my arm forceful without letting Daryl out of his sight.
“Can’t ya see you’re hurting her? Let her go.”
“She’ll be fine. Won’t you doll?”
“Maybe ya haven’t heard me but you won’t walk away with her. She’s coming back with me.”
“Really? Over my dead body, you’ll take Liz away from me. I’ll kill you if I have to.”
“So be it.”
They both raised his guns and before I could realise it, he shot him. He fell to the ground and all I could see was blood. My knees got weak and I fell next to him holding his hand. We’ve been through so much together. He can’t die now after everything. His face got pale immediately.
I looked up at him not believing that he could do this to me. I looked at him through tears.
[Michonne runs her fingertips delicately down the back of Judith’s head.]
Michonne: “How is she?”
[Rick gently pats Judith’s back.]
Rick: “She’s okay. She’ll be okay. And Sasha?”
[Michonne sighs, exasperated.]
Michonne: “She’s been better.” Rick: “Yeah. Thank you for helping to keep her together.” Michonne: That’s what we do.“ Rick: "It is.”
[Looks at her, concerned]
Rick: “How are you?” Michonne: “I’ve been, better, too. We just gotta get there.” Rick: “And we will. But Michonne… If it doesn’t work out–” Michonne: “Then we’ll keep looking.”
[Rick glances at her worriedly, fearing she’s chasing a dream. Still he nods, willing to chase it with her.]
Rick: “Yeah.” ……
[Sasha slows down, lingering, wanting to wait for Abraham.]
Sasha: “I’m sorry.”
[She gestures to his arm.]
Sasha: “You were right. I was…reckless.” Abraham: Understatement of the flipping year.” Sasha: “I’m sure you’ll keep.” Abraham: "Oh, I will. And you were wrong, by the way. Well, sort of. Us being lumped together like this–stuck for life and all. Maybe it doesn’t make us friends. In fact, I’m thinking it makes us more than that. We fight together, protect each other… I had friends who wouldn’t loan me ham for a burger if I asked ‘em.” Sasha: “Sounds like you had shitty friends.” Abraham: “Yeah well, relationships are a bit better these says, in spite of circumstances. All of the convoluted shit has been stripped away. We’re with you, Sasha. Don’t forget that.”
[Sasha stares at him for a beat, then forges ahead, Abraham staring after her.]
‘Everything we’ve done, we’ve done together. We got here together, and
we’re still here. Things have happened, but it’s always worked out for
us, ‘cause it’s always been all of us. That’s how I know. ‘Cause as long
as it’s all of us, we can do anything.’