I hate when plot bunnies get ya, but here is a new story. It is Pre-Walking dead (before outbreak) it will end three years after the outbreak. So, it might be a longer story. It will not be everyone's cup of tea but polite criticism is always welcome. Thank you and please review.

Why?

Why when you're seventeen, do parents and everyone else walking think you can't use your brain enough to make a logical decision. I was nearly out of school with high honors, I have had all advanced classes and straight A's since starting my schooling. But mom and her partner Karen now think I have finally jumped off the deep end after years of trying to maintain such perfection.

But why did I do it? For them I like to think, to show people that two women can raise a child and do just as good or better than a man and woman.

But then things started to change it started to happen about two months ago.

*Flashback*

I stood with Mabel and Addy while we waited for the gym teacher to unlock the doors, "here comes white trash," was whispered since neither had the gull or nerve to say such a thing to the group of boys that are heading our way.

I remark, "This again, Mabel, we asked you as friends to stop this while we're around. Not all of us have the riches your daddy does," but it was so ingrained in her to be a snot.

But Mabel brushed it off like most things in life, "You both are well off though, then they're trash. Smoking, drinking, and all sorts of bad things," she had a point they do smoke, and yes they do get in trouble more than average in town or school. The leader was Merle Dixon he was an ass no matter the occasion, he was dumber than a box of rocks as to why he was held back and in the same grade as his younger brother Daryl who was in my grade even though we had a single class together, gym. We stand close to the doors gossiping about them, it wasn't right in the least, but their pa was known to be a drunk, and their maw ran off long ago or that was the rumor.

Merle chuckled, "Hey girlies," we aren't his type, but he likes to mess with anything that is female and has a pulse. His voice was rasping, like an old man, even though his face was young.

I snapped, "Move along Dixon no one here to take advantage of," my tone more fruity and pleasant.

His eyes are narrow and dangerous, "oh, you too good to slum it," it wasn't an actual question, he messed with Addy, so that made us enemies.

Mabel took her chance, "Yes," while I stated in truth. "No,"

I sighed as Mabel paled she done pissed them off, "She might think that, and she was raised to, but myself no. I think you're a pig you treat girls like points, you drink, you smoke and act like a jackass," honesty was always best but sometimes keeping a calm demeanor was best because he looked teed off.

"Ain't gonna take no lip from you, with your dike maws," he did not just bring my mother's into this. I was seldom irate, but he crossed the line, "At least I have a mother you bastard,"

The halls are silent now with students stopping to look at the fight happening, but everything was cut off as Coach Smith walked out looking even more ill-mannered than before.

His eyes traveled to Merle," You causin problems, Dixon?"

"No, sir,"

Coach raised his brow, "Girls, go right on in and get dressed,"

Like that we can escape from the rejects, several ropes hang from circular disks that have been anchored to the ceiling. I looked up I hated heights, I look at Addy who was scuffing the gym floor with her black keds, "Rope climbing," her face was mine, utter disbelief.

"Now class, I am gonna pair ya'll up for the next three days your partner will either be the reason you fail or succeed. Now girls on one side and boys on the other," his voice ended on a high note as he grabbed Merle placing him with Jackie who didn't look very fazed at this revelation.

Coach's voice broke my internal debate, "Dixon you will pair with, Sawyer," when his last name and my first name was mentioned it was like the air tensed up, but Daryl Dixon just stood next to me not saying a word as the rest got paired.

"Get to it; you have three days to hit the bell with a low time,"

I let out a frustrated groan, "Hey, you will get it," I have never really heard him talk...his voice is coarse like a fragmented rock in a hessian sack, moving and grinding against each other, somehow it compliments his ruddy complexion and raised veins. He wipes brown hair from his head while he fixes me in a stern gaze. His eyes were like a bright lake reflecting the lush green trees and bright blue sky if you looked closer at that lake you could see around shallow crevice filled with entirely transparent water.

I was shocked he was exceptionally good looking, his face was thin, but his features fit so perfectly. He seemed to have had a bad night's sleep, but his lips turned into a hard line. "We live in the Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia; I know how to climb a rope. I hate heights; I don't think I would make it to the roof," once again my voice was high pitched in fear.

"Oh,"

I just pinched the rope between my feet reaching up with my hands to pull up on the rope, and then repeat over and over showing them I was not a debutante. The sweat beaded my forehead as I moved up the rope. Then it went downhill fast when I glanced down into his grave eyes seeing how far I had indeed reached; he saw the panic rising. He shouted up, "DON'T LOOK DOWN, SWEET PEA," but it was done even as his words hit me, the genuine concern he was showing knowing his brother would bully him to all tarnation.

My hands slipped with that my body went right after, fear gripped me the fall was short, it was a jumbled fall. Warm, tense arms half caught me, then we rolled on the gym floor, but I never felt pain or the cold floor. But my small, loud cries of shock must have filled the gym than it was over, no pain. My green eyes are opening slowly as if I could avoid the looks and laughing, but with one swift yank Coach helped me from the floor.

"Nice Dixon, you at least aren't a waste like your brother. Now why did you slip you looked to be doing the best out of the girls?" his voice was switched to more sympathetic when he spoke to us girls.

I retorted, "Scared of heights," the garbled words nearly whispered in the smelly gym. It was always odd a mix of males stank and floral or vanilla perfume.

He grumbled, "Well sure Dixon here will be able to help you out,"

Daryl just stared; his lip had a small cut that a small line of blood oozed from but it was nothing worth cryin over. I sighed, "Thank you, for not letting me tumble to the floor. I would have been hurt something awful," he just shrugged like it was nothing, but hell it was something.

He was silent more often than not, so I tried again as he dropped back down to the floor in record time. "Sorry, we have not been introduced. I am Sawyer Hawthorne," my biggest smile was in place as I held my small hand out which he just looked at like I had some catchable disease. So, with my hand slowly retracting he took it firmly, not shaking it as most folks do. I looked sharply up as he took my hand in his. They felt like sandpaper or perhaps stone, rough and unfinished. It suited him, I thought, looking into his deep eyes, cheeks reddening. His hands were warm in my own as he brought them up to his lips, my nerves tingling at the harsh comfort of contact.

He kissed the back of my hand, a thing my Grandpaw did to Meemaw, a thing gentleman did in the cinema. "Each of us must confront our fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it," he saw the shock register on my face before I could hide it. A small smile played on his lips; I guess he gets that a lot. It was not what he said though; his words were like vanilla pudding, sweet in their ordinary sort of way, it was the richness of his tones – luxurious and warm.

I smiled, "There is more to you, Daryl Dixon," and not gonna lie, I wanted to see more of it.

"Meet me at the old Miller place at nine tonight," then he walked away due to the end of the class whistle from Coach.

It was dark as my mother's finally stopped jabbering on the front porch, two mint juleps later they are watching something on the television. "Mama, I am going for a walk. That peach cobbler is going to go to my thighs," I joked, but her face turned serious.

She stood, "You havin troubles at school?" her question was said in a soft tone. Mama may leave us in this world, but her voice never does. Sometimes her voice is soft as a kitten and as radiant as a sunset. She can speak with kindness, but never hesitates to say, "Do the right thing!" Her every inflection, and every atonement is still audible. She still commands, corrects, and commends.

I gasped, "No mama,"

And she left it at that, saying nothing more as I pulled the light gray chunky sweater over the tank top, the heat made everything sticky. The fireflies danced around lighting a path as I walked through the dense forest towards the Miller ruins. I never knew what happened, but the house was in such a burned state, the land was going to be sold since it was good farming land. John Keegan owns most land around the Miller place, and if I was correct, Will Dixon was his top farm hand and hired gun.

I shouldn't be lost in thoughts since it was dark but here, I was lost in the dark until a deep raspy voice brought me right out of it. "Sawyer,"

I could only see his outline, but I knew his voice. "Daryl?" now to find out why he asked me here.

"You came,"

"Yeah, ya asked. But why?" this was new, he never put him self out there with anything but a fight or backing his ugly older brother.

He just moved closer taking my hand "Want to show ya somethin,"