This is a spin-off, or companion piece if you will, to my other Marol story, Plum Crisp. It can be read as a stand alone story but Plum Crisp will give you the lead-in as to how Merle and Carol came to be "bumping uglies". Rated M for Dixon mouth and allusions to sex. No smut sorry, you'll have to go to Plum Crisp for that!

Obviously I don't own The Walking Dead blah blah blah.

DAY ONE

"Jesus no wonder your husband beat you!" As soon as the words were out of Merle's mouth he regretted them. The stricken look on Carol's face only made things worse. But they were in the thick of an argument, his dander was up and he wasn't about to resile from what he'd said.

Carol went swiftly from shock to anger, her jaw firming and her blue eyes flashing. She straightened her back and squared up to him. Had to give the woman some credit for that. He knew he was an intimidating asshole, hell he used that as one of his tricks to get things done. There weren't many folk that had the guts to stand up to him, let alone a woman who'd been used to getting knocked around by a guy who'd been around his size, although not in as good shape, even if he did say so himself.

"You do not get to talk to me like that. You do NOT disrespect me like that," she laid down the law angrily but firmly. But Merle was too pissed off his own self to be willing to kowtow to her like a twelve year old getting told-off for calling his mother a bitch. Her trying to tell him what to do just inflamed him further. He ignored the little voice in the back of his head (it sounded a lot like Daryl) telling him not to be such a jerk, and that other little voice that sounded a lot like himself, warning him he was going to regret this, to just walk away. The rage overcame him, he opened his mouth and out tumbled the nastiness.

"Woman I'll talk to you any way I damn well please. Ain't nuthin you can do about it."

Carol's mouth opened in shock. She stood for a moment in stunned surprise, then closed her mouth swiftly. When she took a step closer to him, he was surprised at the urge that came over him to step back. But he stood his ground and stared down at her, jaw thrust forward pugnaciously; Dixons didn't back down. Specially not to a jumped-up piece of ass that was trying to boss him around.

"Is that what you think?" Carol hissed softly. Her eyes ran over him in an assessing manner that he didn't like one bit, and she shook her head and snorted softly. "Is – that – what – you – think?" Her lips curled a little in distaste. Merle could tell she was thinking real fast, and then she nodded her head once or twice. "Right. Riiiight."

Swiftly she turned on her heel and walked away.

Merle stared after her in surprise. There'd been nothing yielding or retreating about that walk-off, and he wasn't ready to quit rowing yet. He still had plenty of bile to spill. But he wasn't about to go running after some piece of skirt.

"Woman you get back here!" he shouted to her back.

Carol kept on moving away, fast and calm, and her arm came up to flip him the bird.

Once she'd turned the corner and was out of sight, he said, "Well, HELL, BITCH!" and kicked the wall a few times, grunting and growling as he did so. It didn't do much to relieve his tension, but the anger slowly subsided.

He had a feeling he was gonna regret this.

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At dinner that night Merle had his first indication of how things were going to be; just what Carol could "do about it".

It was the norm for Carol to dish up the meat and hand the plates down person to person. Then, unless it was one of the times when food was scarce, everyone would help themselves to the remaining fare set out on the table.

Daryl was at one end of the table, and his plate was passed down via Carl and Merle. When Carol handed the next plate to Carl to pass down, Carl initially went to hand it on, then paused and asked, "Is this for Merle?"

"Yes, of course," Carol nodded towards Merle, busying herself with another plate, "he's next."

Carl looked a little uncertain, and hesitated, not passing on the plate as instructed. "Umm… you forgot to cut his meat up." Carl didn't like to draw attention to Merle's inability to do that himself, but usually Carol had the plate with the meat already diced, to accommodate Merle's lack of a right hand.

"No, I didn't forget," Carol said mildly, and held out Carl's own plate to him. He had little choice but to pass on the plate to Merle and take his own, slices of venison piled high.

Merle didn't look at Carol as he took the plate from Carl, and placed it in front of him. He picked up his fork in a backhanded fist and stabbed it firmly, pointedly, into the top slice of meat, then lifted it to his mouth and started chewing off part of the slice. He was aware the tips of his ears were turning pink. He knew Daryl hadn't missed the exchange, and Officer Friendly had shot a close look at Carol with those goddam all-seeing blue eyes, then a look at him, and then silently, with an odd small smile, had started serving up the vegetables.

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To be continued…

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