“You’re alive.” The two gasped out in union. A scream erupted over the storm clouds and Deidre pulled away quickly, just to have herself pulled back by her arched elbows.
“Where are you going? What’s going on?” Carl asked briefly. The girlish screams were coming rapidly now and Deidre wriggled and twisted trying to get out of Carl’s grip.
“Deidre, stop!” Carl snapped louder.
“Let me go!” She panted, jerking away and breaking from Carl’s grasp. Deidre jetted forward again, only to be pulled back a second time by her backpack.
“Deidre, stop! You’re going to get yourself killed out there!” Carl snapped. Julie jogged up and soothed, “ It’s raining and you’re hysterical. Dee, please relax.” Deidre strained against the grip on her arms and she sobbed out, “Angel! Jules, you hear her! She’s going to die without me! She can’t protect herself!” Julie placed her hands on Deidre’s face.
“She has Markie and god forbid if your mother doesn’t start shaping up, Angel will.” Deidre strained against Carl’s grasp weakly once more, before slowly sinking to her knees. Her hands hit the mud on the ground in front of her as she bawled. Carl gripped her shoulders and let her sob as a voice called out, “Everything ok, Carl? Whose there?”
“Two girls!” Carl cried back. Shuffling was automatically heard and Carl nudged Deidre softly and murmured, “Hey, hey, breathe, ok.” Deidre forced a watery smile and gave a watery laugh noticing the cowboy hat atop the young teen’s head.
“What?” Carl asked, and then officially noticed Julie standing silently.
“I’m Carl,” He laughed. She gave a short wave and stated, “I’m Julie.”
“What’s going on here?” A gruff voice snapped, stepping from the shadows of the trees. Not even turning around to see the person, Carl calmly said, “As I said, it’s only two girls from my school.”
“Friends with them?” The person asked and Deidre laughed as Carl rolled his eyes.
“No, Shane, I’m just here in the mud with a complete stranger. Where’s Dad?”
Shane spoke up gruffly, “Back with your mom.” Deidre could see that he lowered the object in his hand. Carl stood up and held his hand out to Deidre, laughing towards Shane, “I’m taking them back to the camp.” After pulling her up, he said to Julie, “Come on Jules,”
Still holding Deidre’s hand-who in turn held onto Julie-Carl dragged the two through the downpour, the mud that was on them washed away. The silence was almost unbearable and Deidre almost cheered with happiness as Julie suggested, “So… you two know each other?”
“Yup! We’ve grown up together.” Carl laughed quietly.
“And I’m finally going to meet your dad,” Deidre teased, the tears from moments ago, gone. Carl snubbed that comment and closed in on a bright light, saying, “Almost there!”
“Good, ‘cause I’m freezing my ass off!” Deidre muttered. In response, Julie softly hummed, “What ass?” Carl smirked slightly, feeling Deidre’s grip on his hand tighten. He pulled her in, her small frame fitting like a perfect puzzle piece to his lanky one and he laughed, “Leave my girl alone,” Julie giggled as Deidre blushed, pleased that the darkness hid her red face.
“Here we are,” Carl said, opening the door. Before he could even enter the house they arrived at, two small bodies quickly engulfed him.
“Carl! Thank God you’re ok,” A familiar voice to Deidre cried. A softer, girlier voice breathed, “Carl, I was so worried!” Julie coughed quietly, the owner of the first voice popping her head up.
“Hi Lori,” Deidre quickly spoke, causing Lori Grimes to push her son away and gasp, “Deidre? Oh my God! You and your friend are soaked, come on. Come on!” Lori motioned quickly to the inside of the house and Julie happily obliged, Deidre being forced to follow. They quickly pulled through some rooms until Lori stopped and ushered them in.
“Thank you.” Julie sighed. Lori nodded and Deidre said, “That’s Julie, Mrs. Grimes.” A soft cloth playfully batted Deidre in the face as Lori giggled, “Don’t call me that Little Miss! You make me feel old.” After a few moments, two bundles were tossed up onto the bed.
“Change into that and meet me back in the living room.” Lori called, exiting the room. Julie yanked her shirt over her head, successfully showing her dark blue, 36 C bra to Deidre who shook, teeth chattering. Julie pulled the shirt tossed onto the bed over her chubby frame and turned to Deidre.
“Start changing, Dee!” As an afterthought, Julie added, “You know what I’m going to miss the most?” Deidre pried her tank top over her head and grabbed the tight dark green, long-sleeved shirt that was thrown on the bed trying to hide her A-cups.
“What?” Deidre asked, pulling the shirt over her head and shimming out of her shorts.
“Victoria’s Secret.” Julie sighed, taking her shorts off too. The two girls slid into the jeans that had been laid on the bed.
Deidre ran a hand through her sopping wet ponytail, pulling them out of it. She started to braid her hair as Julie gathered their clothes.
“Ready to go out?” Julie announced.
“Yeah,” Deidre mumbled, her hair fully braided. The two quietly exited the room and headed towards a light filled room. Deidre peeked over the corner seeing people sitting in a circle across the large room. She silently counted eleven people, only two she knew. Julie walked out of the hallway and awkwardly coughed while Deidre followed behind her.
“Hi girls,” Lori announced loudly, causing everyone’s gaze to flick to the two. Deidre blushed and looked down, her eyes meeting Carl’s. He smiled warmly and as she walked by, he grabbed her hand and pulled her down.
“You ok now?” He whispered, a smirk dancing across his baby faced features.
“I guess, I should be. I mean, if I didn’t bump into you or let you stop me, Julie and I would be dead by now.” Deidre laughed softly. Carl rolled his eyes and was about to respond when a female with a thick southern accent cut in, “What’s your guys’ story?”
“That’s Maggie,” Carl muttered quietly. Julie started explaining about the two getting lost in the woods as Carl continued, “The blond next to her is Andrea, then the guy next to her is Daryl. The old man next to him is Dale, and then the other guy is Maggie’s dad, Hershel. The Asian looking one is Glenn and next to him is Shane. Back to Maggie, moms on the other side of her, next to dad-Rick- and the blond girl, Beth, Maggie’s sister. One person, Carol, is in the kitchen right now.”
“Shush!” The blond girl on the other side of Carl hissed quietly, in tune to what Julie was saying.
“An that’s Sophia, “Carl said under his breath. One man-Rick stood up, “Welcome to our group,”
“Thanks,” I spoke up. “I’m Deidre Thatcher, that’s Julie Douglas.” The group seemed to dispatch after that, everyone going to check the area.
“That was awkward, you could’ve spoke up!” Julie laughed to Deidre after Lori left. Deidre leaned against Carl, his arm over her shoulder like they sat before the apocalypse.
“So, what did you mean that you let me stop you?” Carl asked to Deidre while Sophia laughed quietly. Untangling herself from Carl’s arm, Deidre pulled away teasing, ”You know what I mean!” Julie rested her head on Deidre’s shoulder, a yawn brushing past her lips.
“I’m Sophia,” Sophia said to Julie, standing up. “You two must be tired, come on, you can stay in my room.”
Carl faked a pout and he said, “I’ll go back to the barn, see ‘ya!” As Sophia led the two down the hallway they had went down before, she spoke, “Deidre, I heard Carl point out who was who, so I assume that you remember the name Hershel.”
“Well, this is his farm, so if anything happens tell him or Rick, ok?”
“Ok,” Deidre smiled softly. Sophia opened a door and said, “You guys can stay here, and I’m just going to help my mom in the kitchen. Rest well!” Then she left.
“That was easier than expected.” Julie hummed. Deidre nodded, a yawn escaping her mouth.
“See you in a few hours,” Deidre mumbled, as she settled into a comfortable area. Her eyes closed automatically and her breathing evened out.
“You fall asleep quick,” Julie whispered. She then proceeded to do the same thing Dee did.