“Rick, you’ve asked me that at least a dozen times now.”
I still haven’t gotten a convincing answer, Michonne,” he implored. His blue eyes
seemed to glow preternaturally in the low light of his bedroom. Their bedroom, she realized with a start.
sooner we do this, the sooner it will be over with,” she lowered
herself nervously to the bed, layers of tulle and lace gathering beneath
her. She would never have chosen such a garish dress for herself.
Unfortunately, her input had mattered little when it came to the subject
of her wedding. The man in front of her, her husband, had been vetted
and selected with careful consideration. Both his parents and hers were
in complete agreement as to their compatibility. She had only met him a
handful of times before, on trades and group runs. They’d never
exchanged more than a few words at a time.
“We don’t have
to do anything,” his twang was unfamiliar to her ears, but oddly
comforting nonetheless. He sat beside her, his tuxedo clad leg brushing
“Except get married,” she did not mean to say it, but the words slipped from her lips before she could stop them.
Surprisingly, he laughed, the mirth evident on his face. “Crazy world, ain’t it?”
was inclined to agree. Still, insulting the man she was meant to spend
her life with did not seem like the best option. “I didn’t mean to
“No offense taken,” he assured her, loosening his tie. He
had tanned, calloused hands, the hands of a man who was used to working
outside. The sight of them was reassuring. Perhaps he would not mind
her callouses. “My parents said they used to do things like this in some
places in the world, even before the turn.” He continued, studying the
tie that was now draped across his lap.
“Apparently, it was
effective,” Michonne smiled gently at him. “Otherwise, why continue it?”
She fiddled nervously with her own fingers, suddenly wanting to be rid
of the dress, back with the familiar weight of her katana swung across
“We have to repopulate the world. I guess it takes some
coercing,” Rick chuckled wryly to himself. “Still, they could have given
us a moment.”
“Sometimes we don’t get a moment, not in this
world.” Michonne did not know why, but she was echoing the argument her
mother had used against her when this plan had been announced.
guess that’s true,” Rick looked thoughtful. “Still, we don’t have to get
started on it tonight. Not if you don’t want to.” Michonne studied him.
She’d never much looked at him in their limited interactions before
now. There was little time to focus on anything but survival when you
were outside of the walls of any settlement. Rick had always handled
himself confidently on the road. She saw now that his confidence
extended beyond just work.
“Would you want to?” Michonne
questioned him, amused by his seeming lack of nerves. She was impressed,
truth be told. He was handling the situation with a grace she admired.
She imagined he could have had his pick of Alexandrian women. Now, he
was hers. He did not seem bothered by it.
Rick shrugged, a slight
blush creeping up his lightly stubbled cheeks. He’d been clean shaven
this morning when they said their vows. All four communities had shown
up, bells on. It wasn’t every day that the communities intermarried, and
certainly not two people who were so prominent. Still, prestige had not
earned Michonne the right to pick her own partner. She’d been paired
with a fighter as strong as she was, at least according to her parents.
Rick was a survivor. Now, they would start a new generation of
“It wouldn’t be so bad,” he grinned lightly at her, his
eyes raking teasingly over her. She flushed beneath her dark skin, but
couldn’t help her amusement.
“This is nice.” Michonne’s quiet compliment cut through the otherwise
quiet morning. She was walking stealthily beside him, her feet scarcely
making a sound as they traipsed through what would soon be their
“It was part of the project that created Alexandria.
Took a few weeks to clear it out. In a month or two, we had a proper
wall up,” he gestured behind them to the steel plates shutting out the
outside world. Michonne took them in calmly, her large brown eyes
inspecting her surroundings carefully. She was an interesting woman,
Rick was sure of that. He’d seen her before, gone on runs with her even.
She was always quiet, calculating, careful, almost studious. On the
road, he had never seen her smile or heard her laugh. He’d heard her
laugh last night. He also had heard her gasping in pleasure.
wife. It was a strange reality to confront in the light of day. Like
waking up in a dream, he was sure he’d imagined the night before. She
was so shy, so tentative, nervous even. It caught him off-guard. The
Michonne he knew was always sure of herself.
Then again, he didn’t really know her. At least, not outside of the Biblical sense.
one is ours?” her voice startled him from his musings. He turned to
look at her. She was staring back expectantly. He took a moment to
observe her, her long, dark lashes, her round nose, her full,
heart-shaped mouth. Her dark hair was pulled back in a simple ponytail.
The effect was just as pretty as her elaborate updo had been for their
wedding. She was beautiful and she was married to him.
“I thought I
would ask you to pick,” he nodded in the direction of the large houses.
“I figured maybe you should get a say.” He meant it as a joke, but
instantly regretted it. Michonne had not picked him. He had been chosen for her. It was a daunting thought.
smiled at him, the corners of her mouth lifting prettily. “Can we pick
together?” she adjusted the katana strung across her back. Rick felt
himself touch his Colt Python almost instinctively.
that,” he reached for her hand before he could think better of it. He
had dated a girl once before, a pretty, waifish brunette. She hadn’t
been cut out for this world, and he couldn’t save her, but he did learn
everything he knew about romance from the experience. She had told him
that he was too touchy, always kissing or hugging on her when they were
alone. He wondered if his wife would feel the same.
Her slim, dark
hand tensed for just a moment at his touch, then she relaxed, lacing
her fingers around his. “Lead the way,” she instructed.
strolled through the street in silence, listening carefully for any sign
of walkers. Michonne’s eyes stayed on a constant swivel, bouncing from
the houses to the yards between them.
“Do you like any of them?”
he wished he had something better to say than these simple questions,
but the woman who was now his wife robbed him of his ability to be
clever. He had never found the confidence to say more than a few words
to her all those times before. That did not stop him from jumping at the
opportunity when his parents began to mention picking a partner for
him. Their system may have been antiquated, but following his parents’
orders had kept him alive this long.
“The blue one is pretty,” her
girlish comment brought a smile to his face. He had hoped she would
pick that one. Glenn and Daryl had helped him paint it before it
occurred to Rick that he should ask his wife what she thought.
“We can go look at it. Just give me a second to clear it out,” he released her hand, reaching instead for his gun.
fingers clutching his arm made him pause. For a moment, he thought she
might have been frightened, but her resolved expression soon dispelled
that myth. “Together,” she said simply.
He held the door open for
her, watching her draw her sword. From the foyer, to the kitchen, to the
living room, they quickly canvased the downstairs. When they reached
the upstairs bedrooms, Rick felt his heart begin to race.
you think?” he watched her circle the bed in the master bedroom, trying
and failing miserably to not think of their first night together. All
her uncertainty had vanished once he pressed his lips to hers last
night. He could still feel her fingers in his hair, her legs wrapped
around his waist, the heat of her, pulling and clutching at him until he
felt like he might die of pleasure. Her gasps and moans still rung in
“It has a good vantage point,” she went to the window,
peering out. “You can see almost all of the community from here. That
could come in handy.” She gazed back at him, then looked quickly away.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked quietly.
“Like what?” Rick was certain that he was drooling a bit, but he could not help it.
she found the courage to look up again, the hint of a blush beneath her
coppery cheeks. “Even before the wedding, you would look at me.” She
turned to face him, waiting expectantly.
Rick felt his own cheeks coloring. “You’re beautiful.”