I'll Stand By You
Note: This story is dedicated to the memory one of my Best friends named Lucy. She was the one who introduced me to the Walking Dead comics and every Sunday we used to watch the show together.
Nineteen year old Carl Grimes was exhausted. Between Police College and his job at McDonalds, he wanted nothing more than to go home, eat his food and go the bed. Most nineteen year olds would be out partying, but not him, he was calling it a night.
As he drove home in his old beat-up truck that had been a gift from his godfather, Daryl Dixon and his long-time Girlfriend Rosita, he hummed along to the tune of the Pretenders 'I'll Stand By You' it was one of his favourite songs. He had first heard it when he was hanging out with his best friend, Enid Rhee.
He first met Enid when he was thirteen, she had been adopted by his next door neighbours, Glenn and Maggie Rhee, after she lost her parents.
At first Enid had been very quiet and closed off, but after a few weeks she warmed up to Carl and her adopted parents.
Enid and Carl bonded over their love for comics, often having debates over whether Marvel or DC was better. They also bonded over their love for music from the eighties. Enid had introduced him to the song and told him about how when she was younger, her mother would sing her to her when she was scared.
Before he met her he had been going through a rough time after his mother Lori died. Enid pulled him out of that dark place.
All throughout high school, Carl and Enid had been basically joined at the hip. They were in most classes together and nearly always partnered with each other. Carl cheered her on when she joined the chorus and cheered the loudest when she sang the national anthem at the playoff game for their baseball team. He brought her flowers after her lead role in the schools production of Mamma Mia. When she caught her boyfriend, Patrick cheating on her, Carl had kicked the guy's ass and then spent the weekend watching chick flicks with a sad Enid.
When Carl tried out for the school Baseball team, Enid helped him practice his pitching for hours and when he pitched a no-hitter, she cheered so hard, she lost her voice. Enid helped Carl learn how to dance so he wouldn't embarrass himself at their first high school dance. She taught Carl how to play the guitar and they performed at the talent show together every year. Enid had helped an anxious Carl prepare for his first date with Sophia Peletier. Enid had been Carl's date to his father wedding to his step mother Michonne. They went to Prom together. Not because they couldn't find other dates, but because they wanted to go with someone who they would have the most fun with. They had a blast and probably had a lot more fun than many couples who were dating.
They had grown up together, they looked out for each other and even with a few fights and other relationship, they never drifted apart. That was until three months ago when Enid started dating Ron Anderson, the son of Pete Anderson, the local down drunk and wife beater, or at least he had been until he was killed in a shootout with the King County sheriff's department.
Pete had gone to his wife Jesse's hair salon and took her and several other people hostage. The situation ended after a shootout in which three deputies and his father, Sheriff Rick Grimes had been shot.
Carl remember how horrible that day was. He had spent an entire day waiting for his father to get out of surgery. Enid had been by his side the entire time, holding his hand.
When she told him that Ron had asked her out, Carl was very unsure of what to think. Ron seemed like a nice enough guy, but Carl always felt there was something off about him. There was something in his eyes that mad him uneasy.
Of course he never said any of this to Enid. One thing he had learned from being her friend for so long was that telling Enid what she should or shouldn't do never ended well. So he bit his tongue and acted pleasant around Ron.
Ever since she started dating Ron, Enid had been blowing him off many times, which never happened before. She always said she was busy or with Ron and it made him sad. He missed his best friend and he was jealous.
Carl had been aware for a while that his feelings for Enid went beyond those of a friend. He liked her, he possibly even loved her, but she was too important to him to risk losing her friendship if things became awkward or went bad between them.
Carl was pulled from his train of thought when he pulled into the driveway at his house. He still lived at home.
When he pulled in, he noticed that the porch light was on. That was strange considering his Father, Stepmother and six year old sister Judith were away for the night.
Maybe someone left it on by accident. Carl thought as he stepped out of his truck, holding his bag of McDonalds and his large Coke.
As he walked up the steps to the porch, he noticed that someone was sitting on the swing on the porch.
At first he thought it was a stranger, but the closer he got, he realized that the figure was Enid. She was wearing a dark gray hoodie that actually belonged to him. She had stolen it after he outgrew it. She was wearing jeans and yellow vans.
She was shaking slightly.
"Enid what are you doing here?" he asked as he approached her.
She didn't look at him and kept her head to the side, "What can't I visit my best friend?"
Carl got somewhat annoyed at her comment, "Yeah but I didn't realize I was still your best friend, considering how much you've blown me off lately."
Enid didn't say anything, but Carl heard her sniffle. He realized that she was crying and immediately he felt bad for what he just said.
Enid turned to face him, "Can I stay here? Please?"
When Carl saw her face, he nearly dropped the food he was carrying.
Her normally pale face was currently red, and there was a hand impression on one of her cheeks. She had a cut on her lip and her left eye was swollen, the skin around it black and blue.
A multitude of different emotions appeared. Sadness, love, concern and anger, but he would sort through them later. Right now he needed to make sure Enid was okay.
He looked at her, "Let's get inside before you freeze," he opened the door for her and once she was inside, he followed suite, locking the door behind him.
"What happened?" he asked gently as he walked in from the kitchen, carrying a small icepack.
Enid was sitting cross legged on the couch, eating his fries. Normally he would have been annoyed, but right now he had more important concerns than whether or not he got any fries.
She looked at him, "I fell," her voice was weak and Carl's heart hurt at the weakness in her voice.
He raised an eyebrow and sat down beside her, "You didn't fall Enid, so what really happened?" she didn't respond, she just grabbed the icepack and placed it on her cheek, "Enid it's me, its Carl your best friend, you can trust me…just please tell me what happened.
She looked at him, tears welling in her pale blue eyes, "Ron happened." She whispered and then the tears fell and she leaned into Carl's chest, sobbing and shaking.
Anger surged through Carl's body, he wanted nothing more than to beat the living hell out of Ron, but looking at his best friend, he knew that right now she needed him and he wasn't going to leave her like this. He would let the law deal with Ron.
For several long minutes, Carl held Enid and traced soothing circles on her back, trying his best to comfort his best friend.
After several minutes she stopped crying and pulled away from Carl, however she interlaced her fingers with his.
"Enid what happened?"
Enid inhaled deeply and looked at him hesitantly, but seeing the look in his eyes, a look of pure concern and caring in his deep blue eyes, it made her feel safe and she felt his thumb tracing soothing patters on her soft hand.
She felt safe with Carl and she knew that he wouldn't hurt her like Ron had.
"I went to his place after class and he was drunk…he's been doing that a lot lately." Her breath hitched and she blinked back tears, "As soon as I walked in the door, he accused me of being useless, of not caring for him, for dressing like a slut…I was wearing what I'm wearing now, He called me names and then…he tried to have sex with me…I told him before I wasn't ready and I tried to get him off of me and that's-that's when he hit me…he slapped me and then pulled me to the ground by my hair," she felt Carl squeeze her hand and somehow found the strength to continue, "I got back up and he punched me in the eye and then he kicked my shin and I fell…I hit my lip off the table in the hall…It's just…I mean he's called me names in the past and he tripped me once and pushed me before, but this wasn't just because of the alcohol…I think he genuinely wanted to hurt me."
"He won't hurt you Enid. I won't ever let him hurt you again. I promise," his voice was genuine and he rubbed her shoulder.
"He told me that if I told anyone…he would make me regret it," her voice cracked and fresh tears fell down her cheeks, "I didn't know where else to go…Glenn and Maggie are gone for the weekend and I…I needed you."
He pulled her into a hug, his heart breaking for what she had just been through, what she been dealing with for the past couple months, "I'm right here Enid and I'm not going anywhere…you're safe okay?
She nodded against his shoulder, "I'm sorry I've been blowing you off, it's just that Ron didn't like me hanging out with you and he would get mad whenever I tried to…that's why I've been so distant lately. I was scared of what he might do." Her tears dripped down onto his shirt, "I'm so sorry."
He pulled her back so that she was looking right at him, "You have nothing to be sorry for okay? I'm here Enid."
"It's all my fault," she said and Carl wanted to cry. In the years he had known Enid, he had never seen her this broken before.
"Enid listen to me! None of this was your fault okay." His voice was soft yet serious, "This is on him, and I promise you tomorrow when my dad gets home you…we will talk to him and let him handle Ron."
"But what if-What if he come after me or you or your family or my family?" she was panicking and Carl place his hand on her shoulders.
"He won't my dad will make sure of that."
"I don't want him to think I'm weak."
"He won't, Enid he cares about you and he'll think you're brave for standing up against Ron."
"I want to press charges against him…I want him to go to jail or at least probation or something, I don't want him to do this to someone else."
Carl had a look of admiration on his face, Enid was so brave, even after everything she had just been through, her heart was still pure and she was in a way undefeated.
He pulled her into another hug, "You are so brave Enid and so strong," He whispered.
She sniffled against his shoulder, "I don't feel like it…I feel weak." She started crying again and Carl just held her and let her cry.
It had been over an hour, the tv was playing some movie in the background but neither of them were paying attention, the food was cold and the coke was flat. But Carl didn't care, all he cared about was the girl whose head was resting on his shoulder. All he cared about was Enid.
"I was stupid," Enid said with a sigh and looked at Carl, "I thought that if I dated Ron it might make you jealous, I don't know what I was thinking…you've never liked me as more than just a friend.
Carl let out a huff of laughter, "Enid, the only reason I dated Lizzie last year is because I thought it might make you jealous," he looked adoringly at her, despite her bruises and cut lip, she still looked beautiful in his eyes, "Enid I've have feeling for you since-well I don't know when, I just figured that you didn't feel the same and I didn't want to risk our friendship." A realization hit him, "Oh crap."
"I just realized that if I had told you than maybe you wouldn't have gotten with Ron and then maybe-"
Enid shook her head, "Carl don't blame yourself, this wasn't your fault and is wasn't… it wasn't mine either," she said slowly.
"It's going to be okay Enid."
Enid looked at Carl, looked at his lips and thought about how safe she'd always felt with him. They liked each other and she had waited to damn long for this.
She tilted her head to the side and slowly started to close the gap between her and Carl.
Carl seemed to get what she was doing and leaned his head towards hers. Their lips got closer and closer and then-
"Wait," Enid pulled her head back.
"What's wrong?" Carl asked, genuine concern in his voice.
"I can't do this," she saw the somewhat hurt look on his face, "Not that I don't want to its just that after tonight…I don't think I'm ready for a relationship right now…I'm sorry," She whispered.
He rubbed the top of her hand with his fingers, "Don't be sorry Enid, we'll just take things really slow and we won't start anything until you're ready, okay."
She nodded and hugged him, "Thank you Carl, for everything," she whispered against his shoulder.
"It's what best friend are for."
They stayed in the embrace until Enid let out a yawn.
"Tired?" Carl asked.
"You can stay in my room and I'll take the couch, come on," before she could do anything her picked her up, one arm under her legs and the other on her back and she wrapped her arms around his neck.
As he carried her towards the spare room, she leaned her head back against her chest and sighed. She felt so safe with Carl.
Enid looked around at Carl's room. Aside from a few minor changes it hadn't changed much since they were thirteen, they use to spend a lot of time in here, reading comics, playing video games and studying.
Carl had lent her an old t-shirt and some sweat pants and she had changed into them. They smelled like him and it soothed her nerves. Despite what Carl said, she was still nervous about Ron coming after her
She let out a yawn and laid down on the bed, she squirmed around and got under the covers. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Enid squirmed and cried out as she slept.
She could see Ron standing over her, attacking her and calling her names. She watched in horror as he raised his fist once again
"I warned you," He said, an evil grin on his face, "and now you're gonna pay." He slammed his fist down into her face
Enid shot up in the bed, crying out as tears trickled down her face and clung to her long eyelashes.
The door burst open and Carl ran in, he was dressed in boxer and a t-shirt and he was holding a baseball bat. When he saw Enid he set the bat down and ran over to the bed.
He sat on the edge of the bed, "Enid what's wrong?"
She was crying and shaking and found it hard to speak, "He was here, Ron…he was here and he was beating me and he wouldn't stop." She was sobbing and Carl pulled her into an embrace.
"It's okay Enid, it was just a dream, it wasn't real, I'm here Enid and I'm not letting anything happen to you."
She just cried into his chest for several more minutes until the sobs turned into the occasional hiccup and she looked up at him, her eyes still wet.
"Will you stay with me? I just don't feel safe by myself."
"Yeah I'll stay with you."
Enid slid over and Carl got in the bed beside her. He hesitantly wrapped his arms around her tiny waist, "Is this okay?"
She nodded, "Yeah."
She let out a content sigh, "Thank you Carl…for everything."
She felt his lips on the back of her head, "You're my best friend Enid, and I'm always going to be here for you."
She felt her lips twitch and form a slight smile.
Carl started to sing in a quiet voice and when Enid recognized the song, a few tears fell from her eyes.
Carl was singing "I'll Stand By You," it was a song her mother used to sing to her when she was little and had a bad dream or was scared.
As she closed her eyes, she listened to the lyrics.
The past couple months with Ron had been hell. It was going to be a while before she healed, not just physically but emotionally as well.
The lyrics brought her peace of mind, Carl would stand by her, this may be her darkest hour but Carl was with her and he wouldn't let anybody hurt her, and even though it might be a while before they could start a relationship, Carl wasn't going to desert her. He would never desert her. He was here and he wasn't going to let anybody hurt her. For the first time in weeks, she felt completely safe.
She drifted off to a peaceful sleep, feeling safe and secure in Carl's arms as he sang to her.