Title: Take a Bath
Flavor: The Walking Dead
Characters: Carol Peletier & Daryl Dixon
Rating: T turned to M in chapter 3
Chapter 2 Word Count: 1700
Synopsis: Missing shower scene at the CDC.
Daryl Dixon was the last one to leave the big table at the CDC kitchen. The party was over after Shane killed the carefree mood with his questions and everyone got up. No one noted that the redneck opened the liquor cabinet to snag another bottle. But he needed to hurry so not to miss Jenner as he showed the group their sleeping quarters.
Daryl snatched a room between the Grimes' family and Jacqui. The couch looked more than comfortable. Not only would the white linen guarantee him the best sleep for weeks. There also wouldn't be dreams interrupted by watch duty or hours sleeping with one eye open because of strange noise coming out of the woods. The office also included a big desk with swivel chair beside a few shelves and cupboards. Daryl plopped his ass onto the chair, feeling the soft leather and twirled around a few times.
Dizziness slowed Daryl down. He placed the bottle with the copper-colored liqueur onto the desk. Maybe he shouldn't open it yet. The red wine had him in a good mood and he didn't want to cross the border between tipsy funny into ugly drunken. He was curious and got up to open the second door of the room and found a small bathroom. Daryl was stunned. This must be the office of one of the bosses. He had never met someone with an office with an ensuite. Okay, he also didn't know many people with office jobs.
I could hang here for a while.
He kicked off his shoes and stripped off his grey pants, dancing from one foot to the other. Daryl had washed this morning at the lake. Even after the very sweaty day with a long drive and fighting with walkers he could smell the rose scent from his hair. But no one – even Daryl Dixon would refuse a hot shower during the end of the world. With a big grin on his lips Daryl opened the water tap – and nothing happened. The smile died. Daryl tried it again, no water. He switched on the basin tap and flushed the toilette. They worked but the shower was dead. He couldn't find any hidden buttons or valves.
In a snit, Daryl gave in. He slipped again into his pants and pulled the sweated-strained undershirt over his head. With one of the big towels over his shoulder he stepped barefoot into the narrow hall. Looking right and left – all offices were occupied. Daryl was a bit unsure about his next steps as the door two down from to his office opened and the two brats ran down the hall. Their hair was wet and they already carried jammies. Daryl assumed that the Grimes' boy and Carol's daughter – Sophia were heading for the recreation room.
The tap-tap of the flip-flops still echoed down the hall as Daryl knocked at Carol's room. He carefully opened the door and abruptly stopped in the doorframe. He had a perfect view of the almost naked figure of the woman. Carol stood in front of the big mirror of the bathroom and soft light danced around her. She only wore tiny panties and was pulling a grey chemise over her head. Daryl devoured skin, skin, skin – every body part another shade of tanned skin. Her arms and neck were bronze, the legs a little lighter and the rest which had been covered from the sun shone like milk beside the blue and yellow bruises.
"Did you forget something angel?"
"Fuck," Daryl turned around, facing the door and slammed it shut.
"Daryl?" Carol shouted excited. She reached for the yellow bath robe and slipped it on.
"I didn't mean..." Daryl gasped. Carol spoke at the same moment, "You know the claustrophobia. I wanted as much space as possible."
"I saw the kids," Daryl went confused on, peeking over his shoulder. Carol got closer, standing behind a desk. The thin material of the gown hardly covered her curves. The folded arms in front of her breast didn't make it easier for him to get back under control.
"Yes, Lori and Rick wanted to spend a little time alone." Carol raised her eyebrow, smirking dryly. "You know. So I took Carl and let him shower here. The children are now off to the rec room to see if they can find a few games. I wanted to take a quick shower and then follow them. Maybe there are a few interesting books. Here is only science literature." Carol pointed toward the bookshelf.
"I'm really sorry," Daryl said. He poked around the small office. The room had the same dimension as his own room. Also the furniture was the same but was arranged in a different way. Daryl stepped closer the bookshelf. The spines of the books were labeled with the names of infectious diseases like Malaria, Lassa and Ebola.
As Daryl looked up again his eyes finally met Carol's. He hadn't heard her come closer. His mouth was dry and he was sweating despite the air-condition. He hadn't even zipped his pants before he stepped into the hallway. Carol wore all but nothing and they were many feet below ground level in a high tech lab. To make the whole situation even more ridiculous, he awkwardly explained his invasion of her space. "The shower in my room isn't working."
"So we meet again for washing?" Carol chuckled, and relaxed.
"Twice in one day."
"Where will this end?" She laughed even more. It was a sound Daryl could get used to and hoped to hear more often.
"Do you wanna go first?"
"Oh no, take your time. I'll wait and dig a little deeper into Dengue Fever." Daryl reached for a book and pulled an interested face.
Carol walked to her still folded camp bed to get the brand new pajamas which lay on top of blankets, pillows and linen.
"Leave the door open, if it makes you feel better," Daryl suggested and made himself comfortable in the swivel chair, turning his back toward the bathroom and sticking his nose into the weighty tome. Carol should be sure he wouldn't sneak a peek when she got undressed. Undressed, fuck his mouth was really dry.
"The claustrophobia isn't that bad. But when Carl and Sophia left and I was alone here I started to get this tight feeling build up," Carol explained, and slipped out of the bath robe and her panties.
"Just don't think about how deep we're under the ground."
"That's not helping, Daryl." Carol returned with a dry tone to her voice. She stepped into the shower and moaned as hot water ran down her aching body. "So good." The soft jet massaged her shoulders and head. Fluffy foam washed away sweat and dirt. But the biggest joy was to move a sharp razor blade over legs and armpits. The satin feeling of her skin was magical and Carol couldn't wait to snuggle into the fresh bedding and feel the smooth sheets. She knew it wouldn't last for long but at least for one night she could imagine everything was normal again. Little joys, she chuckled.
"Saw your bruises healed some." Carol barely heard Daryl speak from the other room as she toweled her hair. Her hands ran automatically to the ugly marks over belly and breasts, dabbing water drops with the fabric. She had nearly forgotten that the angry man was next door. But she really enjoyed seeing this new and gentle side of him.
"Yes, slowly," she replied, but felt a lump in her throat. She slipped into the white pajamas with the grey dots. "In a week or two they'll be gone." Carol stepped out of the dimly lit bathroom back into the brightly lit office. Daryl was caught examining family photos on a side board but he turned his head in her direction as a fresh scent of soap and woman hit him. Their eyes met and they shared a moment of understanding before he nodded.
"Yours also looked impressive."
"Atlanta." He rubbed his ribs.
"So the trip wasn't as easy as Rick told us."
"Na," he shook his head. A full minute of silence passed before Daryl came back to the topic. "Wanna talk about it?"
Carol took a deep breath "Not yet...maybe later." She reached for her small gold cross, the earrings and the wedding band. The ring slipped smoothly on her finger. She didn't know why she still wore the symbol of her marriage but it also didn't feel right not wearing it.
"Oh, you set up the beds."
"Yeah, Dengue Fever wasn't as fascinating as I thought. Wanted to be a little useful while I was being a nuisance."
Carol smiled and ran her hands over the cover and pillow. "You didn't bug me and it was nice having someone to talk to and not be alone."
With lowered eyes Daryl entered the bathroom but didn't close the door. He couldn't wait to feel the hot water on his body. But before getting out of his clothes, he peeked over his shoulder to see if the woman was watching, then he entered the modern shower of glass and metal.
For endless minutes he stood under the jet and let the water wash away all pain of the last weeks. Maybe they had found a new home here down under the ground. At least he hoped they could stay long enough for everyone in the group to take a break and regain their strength.
Daryl treated himself another long moment under the hot water before he switched off the shower.
"I'm going to the rec room to check in on the kids."
"All right." As he heard the door clunked shut Daryl stepped back into the office. He wasn't very keen about putting on his dirty clothes but he also didn't plan on whizzing through the hall with only a towel around his hips. But as if by magic a new white tank top and blue sweat pants lay on the desk. On top of the folded clothes rested a toothbrush. This woman really knows what a guy needs even before he knows himself, he thought astonished, and got dressed with a thankful smile on his lips.