Wondrous by SBK
“Are we deer yet?” Three and a half year old Judith Grimes asks for the sixth time at her father’s dismay.
Rick Grimes closes his eyes and drops the map to his thighs as he tries to conjure up enough patience to quietly and politely ignore his daughter. He takes a deep breath, opens his eyes, and looks over to his wife in the driver’s seat. “Don’t say it.”
“Say what?” She asks innocently.
“I know you want to but just…..don’t,” he requests quietly.
She only smiles as she keeps her eyes on the road. He wanted to take a short cut to Oceanside, trying his best to make their drive as pleasant as possible as Judy was impatient and Carl was sulking because Rick decided this would be a true family getaway and Carl’s girlfriend, Enid, would be left behind for a change. She opens her mouth to speak only to hear their son grunt yet again. Here it comes………
“I still don’t understand why Enid couldn’t come with us. We’ve all been to Oceanside before and she likes the beach just like we do,” Carl complains yet again.
Rick rattles the map, his frustration evident. “It’s only a couple of days Carl. This will be Judith’s first time at the beach so I wanted it to be a family thang. You’ll be alright without her and she’ll be alright without you. Besides, the four of us haven’t had a real family vacation and this will have to do.”
Michonne looks in the rearview mirror, sympathizing as she sees Carl’s morose expression.
“I bet you wouldn’t leave Mom behind for a couple of days,” Carl whispers.
Rick turns to look back at his son. “What was that?”
“Are we deer yet?”
This time, Carl is the one to sigh the loudest and say, “Judith please. Stop being such a baby. You’ll be the first to know when we get there ok?”
“I’m no a baby. You a baby,” the little one returns defiantly.
“Yeah whatever you say…..ba—by.” Carl sticks his tongue out at his little sister, knowing that would get a rise out of her.
As soon as the two start fussing, Rick puts the map aside and moves to the rear of the RV to referee.
Michonne shakes her head and tries to contain her laughter as the three members of her immediate family are slightly on edge. The word baby is thrown around again and she can’t help it as she visualizes a cute and cuddly baby Andre when he was first born. The memories of him used to pain her so severely that she would do almost anything to keep them at bay. Nowadays, she welcomes them, holding on to one of the happiest moments of her life. She takes a deep breath and watches her family in the mirror once again before returning her eyes to the road. She remembers meeting Judith for the first time and how that pain and despair has transformed into so much love she feels her heart will burst from it.
A thought hits her and she frowns as she tries to remember her last cycle. Over a year ago, a missed cycle was the norm due to irregular meals and a slight bout of malnutrition but that is not the case now. Alexandria is thriving like never before. They’re growing crops, raising livestock….things are good for them now. Hence this variation of a family vacation. They’ve visited Oceanside other times but never the four of them and they never stayed overnight. Time has brought change to all of the communities. OS has been able to maintain a certain spread of the beachfront and they’ve come back to enjoy it at their leisure for a change.
Rick returns, dropping back into his seat with a soft thump. “Please tell me we only have a few more miles. I’m ready to let Judy loose on the beach so she can run until she passes out.” He laughs but notices immediately that his wife is not laughing with him. He looks over and takes in the deep, thoughtful scowl on her face. “What’s wrong?”
Michonne’s features relax as she glances his way briefly. She tightens her grip on the steering wheel, checks on the kids once again, and whispers, “I think I’m….late.”
Rick shakes the map, giving it his attention and asks absently, “Late for what?”
She rolls her eyes heavenward before giving him a quick peek. He is engrossed in the map once again. “Rrrriiiiicccckkkkk……” she draws his name out long and slow, connecting with his eyes once he looks up at her.
The expression on his face is blank so she kindly places a hand on her belly and watches as his eyes grow wide with understanding.
The map drops to his lap with a sound crinkle. He tilts his head, then glances back at the kids, thankful they seem to be entertaining each other instead of aggravating each other. “Are you….sure?”
She gives a negative shake of her head. “No but I think we should be sure. I can get a test from Denise once we get home.”
“You’re gonna make me wait?”
“We’re on vacation remember?”
“Well maybe we should head back…..” He goes silent as she whips her head in his direction so fast that her hair bats her in the face. “Maybe not.”
She pauses for just a moment. “I’m probably not anyway. I was just sharing because I couldn’t remember the last time I had my cycle and….”
“You can’t remember? It’s been that long?” Rick asks excitedly.
“It’s gonna be fine Rick. We’ll enjoy our time here at Oceanside and deal with the rest later.” She smiles at him as she brings the vehicle to a stop, puts it in park and yells at the kids, “We’re here!!!!”
Cyndie, Rachel, and several others open the gates and walk out to meet them.
Michonne, Carl, and Judith exit the RV together as Rick takes several deep breaths before following behind them.
The family spends several minutes getting reacquainted with the Oceanside group before Judith announces that she is ready to see the beach. Carl had been relaying stories to her so her excitement is at an all-time high.
Rachel and Cyndie gather toy shovels and plastic buckets just for Judith and lead the way. Carl joins them as Rick and Michonne follow at a slower pace.
She grabs her husband’s hand and kisses it. “Would you relax please? I promise everything is going to be ok.”
“I’m positive Rick. Have I ever steered you wrong?”
He takes a moment to consider her words. A smile plays around his mouth as he answers, “No. You haven’t.”
“And you still trust me?”
“Of course I do.”
“So whatever we find out when we get back home is going to be fine either way because it’s me and you…..together.”
He squeezes her hand. “Me and you.”
They arrive at the beach and watch closely as Carl and Rachel put down a couple of walkers before dragging them off to a designated area and returning to help Judith find some clams.
Their daughter giggles quietly as she kicks off her shoes and curls her toes in the sand. Seeing the wondrous expression on her face warms their hearts and makes them glad they made the decision to do this.
“Looks like she’s having fun,” Rick suggests as his wife nods.
Cyndie walks over to them. “Hey. You two can take a walk if you want since this is a vacation and such. Carl and I can handle things….or rather Carl and Rachel. I’ll take care of Judith.”
“Thanks but this is a family vacation. Y’all are welcome to stay but I’m ready to get some sand under my feet,” Rick announces. He removes his boots and his socks and joins Judith to dig up some sand, searching for clams.
Michonne smiles and does the same, giving Carl a stern look and a smile once the nearly grown young man joins them.
Cyndie and Rachel smile as they move off to give the family some alone time. Although they both know that Rick, Michonne, Carl, and Judith can handle anything that comes their way, they linger around on the beach at a distance watching the family quietly.