[AUTHOR'S NOTE: To everyone who read my first story "Getting Closer" in the last year, I am sorry, I have been too chicken to read reviews until today. Thank you all for your kind words! This story is sort of a continuation of that story, but not really. It is only Carol's point of view this time.]

SCENE: The prison courtyard.

TIME: Just before the beginning of Season 4

CHAPTER 1

For what seemed like the millionth time, Carol took a deep breath and sighed as she covertly watched Daryl's fine ass bend over. She felt the familiar warmth rush through her body and knew that it must be that time of month… ovulating again. She wished she wasn't such a slave to her hormones, but she had been this way since she was 14, and at 44 it didn't seem to be any less of a problem. At least for the last 13 years she had a convenient source of relief for her one week a month of unbearable sexual tensions. Despite his many (and deep!) problems, she couldn't fault her late husband Ed's willingness to always be hot and ready.

It had been nearly a year since their daughter Sophia's death, and Carol was making a new life for herself, regaining the confidence she had lost from Ed's constant verbal and sometimes physical abuse. She was ready for a new man in her bed, but there were "slim pickins" at their home in the prison. She knew which man she wanted, but he resisted all her flirtations, driving her crazy in more ways than one.

Carol sighed and turned away after Daryl stood up and went in the opposite direction. She silently argued with herself: "Get a grip on yourself, woman! You can handle this… you don't need a man." Even as she thought this, she knew it wasn't true. Sure, masturbation was fun, but…! She wanted a man! She wanted THAT man!

Once again she went through the list of men in their little community. Most were too old, too young, or already taken. Briefly she wished that Shane was still alive, thinking "Now he was mighty fine to look at!" but she knew that he would never have truly wanted Carol, that he would have always been thinking of Lori. And for a half-second she thought "That's okay, he can think of whoever he wants, as long as it's me he's fucking!" She giggled out loud, then covered her mouth and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed. She didn't want to have to try to explain that train of thought to anyone!

She glanced at her watch and realized she needed to cook breakfast, then prepare for "Story Time" in the prison library. At first, after losing Sophia, it had been very difficult for her to spend time with other children, but as her pain became easier to bear, she saw it as a way to honor her daughter. By teaching other children how to protect themselves, she would save them from Sophia's horrible fate. She knew that Sophia would have been happy to see her mother's confidence blooming.

An hour later, while finishing the breakfast meat, she saw Daryl again, and the flush returned to her skin. She took him out for a look at the herd piled up on the fence, and on a silly impulse, she called him "Pookie" and batted her eyelashes at him. He looked at her with amusement and nudged her shoulder, but did not flirt back as she had hoped. She cursed silently, "Damn it, I know he cares about me, why can't he lust for me? Even a little bit?"