One month later.

"Now rise those hands up level alright?"

Darling stood in the trailer her and Budd were currently renting off the highway in shorts and a faded T-shirt. That beautiful red hair of hers was tied back, her face clean of makeup, shinny, and making her look at least five or years younger than she actually was. Budd, who's hair was beginning to take on some length of it's own was tucked behind his ears as he stood only wearing jeans. The two circled around the tiny area that served as the living room and kitchen. Both barefoot, stepping on the shaggy caramel colored carpet circling around, fists up looking like they were ready to fight. They had headed South West in the state, and found an area Budd suspected they wouldn't be disturbed.

Both had found work at the My Oh My Club, a little pit of a strip joint down the highway in town. The owner, Larry an asshole who owned several businesses had instantly taken to Darling saying he didn't have a natural red head yet work for him and asked with a fox like grin if she could prove if she really was a real red head in his office out back. Instantly Budd tensed, but Darling kept cool smiling, touching his arm before leaning forward in her chair and batting those knock out eyelashes of hers before smiling.

"Of course, take a look at these eyebrows."

Larry had gotten a huge kick out of her and said she could be added to the rotation. He would check her gig out later tonight, and discussed her cut as well as benefits or lack of them. He then took his attention over to Budd who sat in a plain white T-shirt and jeans.

"You're a big fella, you part of the package deal?"

"Well, I was looking to see if you have a spot as a bouncer or security."

"You ever work in a club before?"

Budd slid over a folder full of fake documents including social security cards, IDS, and a list of fake numbers and businesses they had worked at that Budd knew for certain would check out. Instantly Larry took it, not looking very interested as his eyes scanned over them and leaned back in his chair.

"How tall are you?"


"I don't want any shit at my clubs. It's usually really low key, just locals that wanna see the titty show. I got eleven girls, now twelve counting Darling. My rules are simple. No touching, no grabbing, no slapping. Some jerk gets too drunk and tries to get all hands with one of my girls you give a warning first, he don't listen you toss his ass outside, he still wanna fight you give him a few pushes or whacks and make sure he stays down. I usually just need two men each night so you'll be on a rotation as well. You keep calm, you stay back and watch. If one of the fellas wants a private dance we take them to the side room. You always and I mean always stay right outside the curtain. If they shout your name it only means trouble, you get in you get them out got it?"

Budd nodded before Larry looked at the two of them and grinned.

"You two come as a pair, you married or something?"

Even though the two weren't, they had faked on the IDS Budd had made up that they were. They were currently using the last name Grant, and that they had been married going on two years. Budd shifted in his seat sitting up and nodded.

"Yep, Darling is my wife."

"Says here you worked up state together at a few clubs so you know the way things go. I like nights here to go smoothy without any hassle. You stay on my good side we won't have a problem. Understand?"

Darling and Budd nodded before Larry nodded.

"All right, you two start tomorrow. You won't always have the same nights on and you listen to me now. I don't know you from Adam but you lose your temper because some local drunks are taking about your wife's pussy or tits and cause a problem you're out. Understand?"

Budd nodded.

"Okay, I'll see you two around eight. Darling, Rocket will show you the ropes around back and give you a closet to keep your stuff. Your time cards are outside the kitchen, punch in and punch out starting tomorrow good?"

Both nodded again before they shook Larry's hands and instantly Larry grinned at Darling.

"You sure are a sweet thing ain't you? Maybe you'll have to show off those talents of yours tomorrow by giving me a free dance?"

Darling laughed tapping him a wink as Budd focused on not losing it and took her hand. Together the two went out into the parking-lot at dusk and got in. Instantly Budd turned and laughed shaking his head at Darling.

"Man, what an asshole."

"Not the best of places but it will do."

"Listen Darling, you don't have to do this...there are other places, other jobs."

"It's fine, if we both do this I won't have to wait tables. Besides it's a place we can be together."

"That's the only reason I'm even agreeing we should take this shit gig, we can keep an eye on each other."

Smiling, Darling leaned in close, her hand going down to the crotch of his jeans before gently giving him a squeeze. Clutching the steering-wheel, Budd stiffened a moan before smiling.

"Damnit woman you are gonna ruin me..."

Now a few weeks later they had gotten used to their schedules at the club. Three nights out of the five Budd and Darling worked the same nights. The ones they weren't one of them would simply take the truck into town or Budd would drive and drop her off at the club. Still, he wanted to make sure she could defend herself against any asshole even if Larry claimed he walked her to the truck every night after closing. The club was okay, the money wasn't the best, and all of the girls were well past the age they should be getting paid to take their clothes off. Still, Budd night after night would stand back in the shadows of the red lights, arms crossed keeping an eye on things and watch Darling perform.

Unlike the other girls who were drugged out of their minds and clumsy, she had a certain grace about her. She would wear a thin lace teddy, slowly teasing the few drunks who sat cat calling from the tables, before dipping and clutching onto the pole. Swinging her legs, she would stare down at them with sleepy eyes before slowly lowering the straps and... Budd would get lost watching her, almost as if he was under a spell. The trailer they were renting wasn't the greatest, but Darling had made certain it was kept neat, and cozy. They would listen to their combined record collection, make drinks on their nights off, and lay back talking for hours about nothing. Sometimes they dragged out lawn chairs and shared a few drinks underneath the stars. Most early mornings after coming home from work they would shower together, then collapse in bed.

They kept to themselves, and was slowly making a life of their own. Tonight they were opening practicing self defense. Budd had chosen the location of the trailer perfectly with the hills and the valleys around them. Often on mornings they would go out for target practice, where Darling was showing improvement. Budd really couldn't believe how comfortable he felt living in such a simple way. They didn't have much, but still they had each other. A few nights ago after having sex, the two laid sweating in each other's arms when Budd asked if she was really what she wanted? He had told her about his past, about all the terrible things he had done? Did she really want to keep working these jobs, being poor, and living in this trailer with him? Laying there she simply smiled, rubbed the side of his face and said none of that mattered.

She was certain there was a reason their paths crossed. With that, Budd slept soundly for the first time in months. Tonight as they practiced self defense, Budd and Darling continued to circle each other. More than once Budd had all ready seen the eyes of all the locals staring at her as she stripped on stage. More than once he had to make fists, controlling his anger as he watched them all lick their lips and whistle. He knew he had to stay calm. He remembered his temper was something he had been able to control for years now. Something he rarely lost. It was Bill who always had the temper that seemed dangerous. It knew all those years of training under those monks in Japan didn't mean squat if you lost your cool. That's what happened with Bea, Bill had lost his cool. Looking at Darling, he watched as she swung for him and he ducked their blows.

Carefully he instructed her on if someone tried putting their arm around her throat how to latch on and throw their weight against her. As he showed her, the two fell backwards onto the carpet, Darling on top of Budd. Both laughing, Darling laid on top of him.

"Oh my God I'm sorry!"

Laughing, Budd stared up at her.

"That's one way to knock a man off his feet."

Darling smiled laying on top of him, her slender fingers drumming against his chest. Staring up at her, he gently rubbed her sides before he smiled.

"We really outta get married, or at least get rings..."

Darling smiled.

"I don't need no ring, you know that."

Budd then smiled.

"Say, I got an idea..."

That night the two drove into town to the local tattoo pallor. Together the two got each other's names tattooed on each other. Budd on his chest above his heart, and Darling underneath her left breast. Both of them were a few beers deep and ended up stumbling out holding onto each other laughing. That night the two arrived back to the trailer, stumbling and franticly undressing. In the bed they shared, Budd tugged off Darling's shorts as he unbuckled his jeans and yanked down the zipper. Slowly he laid on top of her, kissing her stomach, breasts, and throat before finding her lips. Hovering above her, hiked up on his arms, he continued to tease and nip her before he laid all his weight down.

There he parted her thighs and entered her, stiff and direct. Darling stiffened, moaning and clutching onto his arched shoulder bladed as he continued to dully thrust into her. Each thrust made the full sized bed they shared creak, as he contained to moan. Ten or so minutes later he found himself coming close. His thrusts had found a rhythm, and were becoming more drawn out and far apart. Lifting his head, he moaned as he climaxed strongly inside of her and collapsed upon her breasts. Laying there, panting, and exhausted he waited before lifting his head and smiling down at her.

"I love you my Darling..."

"And I love you..."

She said tucking his hair back. That night the two fell asleep again in each other's arms. Budd stirred awake by another dream of the chapel. He didn't tell Darling, but the dreams for some odd reason had come back and wouldn't seem to let up. Tonight he had dreamed of circling around Beatrix, beating the shit out of her before she fell to the ground. The moment her body hit the floor, his eyes flew open. He was laying in the darkness with Darling, listening to her breath. Eyeing the partly open closet he saw the old golf bag that had been there when they moved in. He remembered them bringing in their stuff from the truck and Darling sitting indian style on the bed before seeing his sword. Reading the lettering on the blade she raised an eyebrow before holding it up.

"This the sword you were talking about?" Budd sighed as he was hanging up his shirts. Nodding, almost with guilty eyes he took it.

"Yeah...Bill had this made for me on my 18th birthday."

"It's beautiful..."

"Yeah and useless..."

He tossed it into the golf bag and that's where it stayed. Looking at it, he felt instant disgust. As long as he lived, he swore he would never use that sword again. Ever. The next morning... Budd was awoken to the sounds of dry heaving and gagging. Raising an eyebrow, Budd opened his eyes and saw that it was early morning. Thin sunlight was coming in through the curtains Darling had hung above their bed. Feeling all ready the wonderful result of a hangover creeping up, his head pounded as he sat up and rubbed his stubble covered face. Looking at the tangled up sheets he saw Darling was missing and most likely puking next door in the bathroom. Sighing, he scooted off to the edge of the bed and pulled his jeans up. Standing, he rubbed his temples. Instantly he felt the booze talking back to him and cracked his neck. Hearing another violent dry heave, he sighed his heart going out to Darling. He would make them some breakfast to soak up the booze, and get her some aspirin to settle her stomach.

Looking down at his fresh tender tattoo, he smiled and walked down the narrow hallway. Looking into the bathroom, he saw Darling had just flushed and was splashing cold water on her face. Walking over, he kissed her shoulder blade.

"You okay honey?"

Darling sighed.

"Yeah I'm okay, guess I don't hold my booze that well."

Chuckling, he kissed her earlobe.

"Go lay down on the couch, I'll make breakfast." "I'm okay..."


Wrapping his hands around her waist, he lifted her up making her giggle as he started kissing her neck.

Three days later...

Budd returned home work, tired, and his head pounding. It hadn't exactly been the easiest night, but he was sure happy to see the trailer when he pulled up knowing Darling would be waiting for him inside. Tonight she had the night off since she still hadn't been feeling that well. She had promised him she would swing by the town clinic, and figured she had caught a bug. He had gone by the highway store near route 9 and had gotten some tea bags, and canned soup hoping it would settle her stomach. Getting out of the truck, carrying the brown paper bag, he climbed the metal steps and opened the door.

"Darling, you awake?"

He saw her sitting at the tiny table in the kitchen, her head down. Crying. Instantly he dropped the bag and hurried over.

"Darling? What's the matter?"

He squared down beside her, forcing her to look up. Her eyes were raw, and her skin pale. Looking at him, fresh tears rolled down her cheeks.

"I fucked up Budd."

Budd stared at her with concerned eyes as he made her look at him.

"What's the matter?"

Darling slid over something to Budd as she put her face in her hands and continued to cry. Looking, Budd saw it was a plastic strip. A pregnancy test. Lifting it, he stared down and saw it was blue.

"You're pregnant?"

Darling refused to look at him. Staring at the plastic test, instantly he thought back at Bea, laying pregnant on the chapel floor bleeding. Another horrible image came back to him, of Bill and Elle telling him about the abortion. About the baby, and what had happened. For a split second everything started to swim and slowly come back into focus. Lifting his eyes he looked at Darling who was a complete wreck. Wiping her eyes she shook her head.

"I'm sorry, I'll take care of it. I can't believe it..."

"Take care of it?"

Tears continued to spill from Darling's hazel eyes as she sniffled. That's when Budd warmly smiled. Chuckling, he reached up and cupped the side of her face.

"Honey, this is wonderful news."

"No it isn't!"

"Yes it is. We're gonna have a baby!"

Darling froze.

"You aren't mad?"

Budd laughed before standing, gathering her up in his arms he held her tight, trying to sooth her and gently kissed the top of her head.

"Shhhh, it's all right. I'm not mad. I'm happy...we're gonna have a baby honey...a baby..." He softly whispered, all the while looking down at the pregnancy test and never feeling more terrified before in his entire life.