He’s been working at the mill 20 years, he was 18 and fresh out of high school when he started. Now, at 38, he’s the old man of the crew and the senior machine operator.
The mill runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They operate three shifts and with the years he’s got in he could work any shift he wants. Most guys would pick the day shift. A couple of guys might pick midnights. Daryl Dixon works swing shift, 3:00pm to 11:00pm.
He likes the hours; they suit his lifestyle. He has his days for hunting and fishing and his late nights for…well his late nights are his own to do whatever he feels like doing. Tonight, he feels like going over to Sapphires after work and catching the last set. It’s nothing new, he’s been showing up at Sapphires every Friday night for the past five years.
It’s hotter than hell this late August night and he’s pretty sure he worked off his morning shower hours ago. But it’s not just dirt and sweat, there’s the undeniable smell of the paper mill itself. That’s okay, home isn’t far from where he’s going and he plans to stop and take a quick shower on the way.
He wouldn’t bother if he were just stopping by the tavern for a couple of cold ones with the guys, but Sapphires is a different story. It’s different for a lot of reasons.
The place is an authentic old school nightclub. When you walk in you’d swear you took a time machine back to 1949. There’s real wood and leather furniture, dark carpet, velvet drapes and the tables all face a stage down at one end of the room.
It’s who will be on stage that has Daryl Dixon interested in looking and smelling his best.
Every Friday night a sultry little blond singer performs at Sapphires, and that girl can really belt out the blues. She also happens to be a genuine pleasure to look at, and the reason he makes it a point to be there every Friday night.
He pulls his pickup in the garage, quickly strips out of his dickie’s and throws them in the hamper by the backdoor. He takes a fast shower and puts on something a little nicer than what he’d typically wear. No ragged t-shirts, no torn jeans. He’s wearing a button up shirt and an untorn, unfaded pair of black jeans.
His hair is still wet when he straps his helmet on, fires up the Triumph and hits the throttle. It must be a million degrees out, but he doesn’t mind. The wind blowing on his still-damp skin feels good.
From the outside the place looks like a lot of other old bars. It’s a standalone concrete building painted solid blue with a few bright yellow stars scattered here and there, and a crescent moon. Kind of corny. There’s a neon sign over the entry door portraying a martini glass complete with olive. The sign has been flickering on and off for as long as Daryl’s been coming here, and probably for 20 years before.
Another neon sign on the roof announces the business name, “Sapphires” in deep neon blue. Just below the name it reads, “We Got the Blues.”
He slows to pull in the lot and his heart is already thumping in anticipation of seeing her. He swings his leg up and off the bike, pulls the helmet off, shakes his head and does his best to comb his hair with his fingers. It’ll do. He stands tall, inhales deeply and heads to the door.
There’s a bouncer sitting on a stool just inside the door. They’ve seen each other every Friday for years and they acknowledge one another tonight like they always do, with a nod of the head. Daryl keeps walking until he gets to a table far in the back corner. The same table where he always sits.
He no sooner takes his seat than she comes walking out from behind the heavy stage curtain, taking her spot for her last set of the evening. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but he could swear she glances his way and gives him a little smile. He hopes so.
Tonight’s the night he’s going to do it. He’s been a dumbass and a chicken shit, but tonight things are going to be different. Tonight’s the night he’ll man up.
As soon as they spot her the crowd begins to applaud, a couple of guys even let out a low whistle. She smiles that million-megawatt smile when she says, “It’s nice to see so many of you have stayed around for the last set. Thanks everyone.” Daryl wonders why anyone would leave.
There’s a little more applause and he can see by the tip jar at the front of the stage, the singer’s had a good evening. Then again, he’s never known Beth, Beth, that’s her name, not to fill the jar. He’s not dumb enough to think it’s just her singing. He knows her beauty and sexy vibe probably bring in as many tips as her voice.
The waitress comes over to his table and asks, “The usual Daryl?” They all know him here.
He smiles, “Yeah, please,” as he hands her a ten and says, “keep the change.” He’s riding his bike so he’s laying off the beer and just having a coke, but he doesn’t want to be an asshole. He knows he’s taking up valuable space in the waitresses’ section.
That beautiful warm smile is still on the singer’s lips when she tells the crowd, “Thanks again guys. I have a couple of requests I couldn’t get to last set so, if you don’t mind, I’ll do those first.” As if anyone would complain when the guitarist starts jamming and she breaks into, “The Thrill is Gone.”
In her years of performing Beth’s learned how to appear to be looking right at each and every audience member, but once Daryl Dixon walks in she only has eyes for him. She tried denying that to herself, but finally gave in to the truth.
He’s sitting at his usual table in the back corner, not even bothering to try and disguise the fact he’s staring at her. She doesn’t mind at all; she just wishes he’d finally ask her…
Daryl never takes his eyes off her once the entire set, and occasionally he catches her looking his way, but shit, she’s looking a lot of ways. This bar full of people are here to see her and she’s here to entertain them, and she’s real good at making everyone in the joint feel like she’s singing just to them.
Forty-five minutes after it begins, her set ends. She thanks the appreciative crowd, many of whom step to the stage to stuff a few more bucks in her jar. The bartender hollers out “last call,” and Beth goes from table to table thanking the patrons and saying things like, “Drive safe now” and “Thank you for coming out tonight” and “I hope you enjoyed the show.”
She finally starts walking toward his table and he stands as she approaches. She smiles, “Hey Daryl.”
He smiles back, “Hey Beth, nice show.”
“Thank you, it was a good crowd and that always helps.”
Then he asks, “Can I give ya a ride home?” Quickly adding, “If ya got your car I could bring ya by ta get it in the mornin’.”
In the morning, huh? She looks him square in the eye while she thinks about his offer, then responds, “It so happens I took an Uber, so yes, I’d appreciate a ride. I do need to go back to the dressing room and change.”
“I’ll wait for ya right here.”
She looks good to him dressed just like she is, but he gets it. Stage clothes. The dress is slinky, not much more than a slip really. She has a little scarf thing tied around her neck and she’s wearing plenty of makeup and jewelry, like she’s going to some Hollywood premiere or something.
He doesn’t give a fuck what she wears, she’s letting him take her home and right now that’s all he cares about.
The bouncer and the bartender finally get the last of the customers out the door and it’s just a minute or two later she reappears. He can’t help smiling at the change. She’s gone from glamour to casual in ten minutes flat. She’s wearing a pair of tightfitting jeans that hit about mid-calf, cowboy boots and a snug yellow t-shirt. She’s tamed her full curls into a ponytail, and the whole package is just so damn cute.
He extends his hand to her, she takes it, and he asks, “Ready ta ride?”
“Yes, I guess I am.”
He escorts her out the door and over to the bike and her reaction is, “Oh, your motorcycle.” Then she smiles and says, “I’m glad I changed my clothes.”
He shrugs, “It seemed like a good night ta bring the bike. It’s hotter than hell.”
She asks, “Can we ride around a little while? It is hot out and the thought of wind blowing in my face sounds wonderful.”
“Sure, let’s do this.” He gets the helmet that’s bungeed to the rear of the seat and as he hands it to her explains, “I brought this one just in case ya said yes.”
“You’re a regular Boy Scout, always prepared. Thank you.”
He tugs his own helmet on and they mount the bike. She’s not at all shy about wrapping her arms around him, and that has him smiling as he hits the throttle and they’re off.
They ride around aimlessly enjoying the night air for about thirty minutes, but dammit, he didn’t come to ride. Hopefully she’s had her fill because he wants to get her behind closed doors.
He pulls in his driveway, hits the button on the opener and half-walks half-rides the bike in. She slides off and he wastes no time following suit. As he’s pulling off his helmet he asks, “Did ya have fun?”
She questions, “I did, but I thought you offered to give me a ride home, as in my home.”
He shrugs and tries to make light of it, “Yeah, I’ll take ya home, just like I said I would. I just thought maybe we could have a drink first. Whatever ya like, beer, wine, whiskey. I run a full bar.”
She studies him a minute before responding, “Well, I guess a glass of wine wouldn’t kill me.”
He rests his hand on her low back as he leads her through the door, “Cool, let’s do this.”
He opens the fridge and grabs a bottle of Bud for himself and a bottle of Chardonnay off the door. He holds it up and asks, “This one okay?”
He pops the cork and pours her a glass, and raising his beer bottle to her says, “Here’s to pretty women who sing the blues.”
His hand is on her back again as he leads her to the living room, “Let’s get comfortable.”
His place is nice, not big and certainly not fancy, just homey and comfortable, and like him, it’s all man. Everything is brown, the furniture, the area rug, yes, it could use a feminine touch. They settle into the sofa, and she doesn’t shy away, she sits close.
They’re thigh to thigh and he likes the feel of her hip against his. They each take a couple of sips and he wonders what he’s waiting for, “Lemme put some music on.”
“That sounds nice.”
It’s not the blues or pop or country, it’s soft jazz with a real sexy vibe. He comes back to her, takes her glass and sets it on the coffee table, then reaches his hand out to her. She takes it and he helps her to her feet, and smiles as his arm wraps around her waist and he draws her close.
Whatever they’re doing isn’t exactly dancing, they’re holding onto each other and swaying with the music, but it’s not dancing. It doesn’t matter what you call it, they’re both enjoying it.
His hand slowly glides up her back and softly caresses her neck, and then suddenly he’s pulling the band from her ponytail. Her curls fall and he runs a hand through them, whispering, “I dig these curls,” and then his lips are on hers.
The kiss is sweet and tender and when he draws away, he closes his eyes a moment and pulls her into a hug. She moves her head to rest on his chest while he runs his open palm softly over her pretty blonde hair and whispers, “I don’t even know how ta explain how happy I am you’re here tonight.”
She pulls away from his embrace just enough to look into his eyes and say, “If that’s true then show me how happy you are Daryl, make love to me.”
He’s surprised she’d ask him that. He wonders if he heard her right. He cradles her face in his hands asking, “Ya sure?”
“I asked you didn’t I? Don’t tell me you’re going to say ‘no.’”
He smiles at her, “I ain’t gonna say no to you Beth. Never.” With those words he holds her tighter, kissing her with the perfect blend of tenderness and uninhibited passion.
He whispers, “Not here,” picks her up in his arms and carries her to his room. He reaches for the wall switch, flips the light on and mumbles, “Nah, too much,” and turns the dimmer until the room is only softly illuminated. Much more romantic.
He’s so careful with her, so gentle as he lays her on the big bed, but the look in his eyes is pure fire. He smiles as he asks one more time, “Ya sure?”
She smiles back, how can she complain about a man being so thoughtful? But her tone is emphatic when she answers, “Yes. Please. Don’t make me wait.”
He kind of thinks he might be blushing, but hey, that’s a greenlight he didn’t expect to get, and he becomes a little more aggressive. Not rough, and he’s certainly not in a hurry, he plans to touch every part of her with his hands and his mouth, and that’s going to take him a while.
He kneels on the floor beside the bed. Now they’re face to face and she feels a loving hand slide inside her yellow t-shirt, he smiles and questions, “What happened? Ya lose your bra?”
She teases back, “I didn’t think I was going to need one so I didn’t bother.”
He shakes his head, “You’re sumthin’ else girl.”
She strokes his cheek and says, “I want to be everything you need me to be Daryl.”
He looks at the beautiful woman lying in his bed and whispers, “Ya are,” and his lips are once again on hers, his tongue sliding slowly into her mouth.
He takes his lips from hers long enough to look in her eyes when he lifts the hem of her shirt, sliding the fabric up to expose her breasts. She doesn’t seem at all shy or embarrassed and that’s his sign that things are good with them.
The only sounds in the room are her moans as his fingers begin to tease her nipples, while he sucks and kisses the pale white skin of her tummy. Her body begins to squirm a little and she whispers, “It feels so good Daryl.” No words ever sounded better to him.
He wastes no time slipping her shirt off, then his own and kisses her so hard it almost hurts, almost. Mostly everything just feels so hot, then he whispers, “You’re perfect.” And she knows that’s a lot from a man like him.
He begins at the slope of her neck, moving slowly across her shoulder as he kisses and flicks his tongue along her skin, making his way back to her breasts. He does what he does not just for his own pleasure, but to make her temperature rise and she responds by rubbing and caressing the damaged skin of his back.
The scars don’t shock her. With a man like him, well…for her the scars are just another part of who this man is and they don’t detract from the manliness of his muscled body.
For him her acceptance is a turn on.
His hands seem to be everywhere, his fingers playing with her breasts and softly pinching at her nipples. She’s squirming from both the pleasure and the little bit of delicious pain, and a slight shiver goes through her, raising goosebumps on her skin.
His lips are still traveling along her body but he mumbles the question, “Cold?”
She assures him, “No, it’s gotten plenty warm in here.”
He feels himself smile as he licks his way to her nipple, kissing one and then the other before taking a breast in his mouth. Everything he does feels so good it makes her crave more of his touch, and her fingers twine in his hair pulling him closer.
He backs away from her, gets to his feet and all she can do is watch in anticipation as his hands go to his belt buckle. When the belt is loosened he bends to slip his boots and socks off. Then comes the good part. He slides the jeans over his slim hips and lets them drop to the floor.
He’s standing there in nothing but his boxer briefs, and the way this man fills them out they’re not hiding much. Just when she’s thinking how hot he is, he says, “I never thought a woman like you would go for a man like me.”
“I never just looked at a man and knew right away he was the one I wanted. Not until I looked at you Daryl Dixon. Now kiss me, please.”
“Whatever ya want.”
He does as he’s told, but then he moves on. He’s got to finish what he started. He slides her cowboy boots off, leans in and kisses her breast, while he’s loosening the button on her jeans. He slides the zipper down and before she has time to think about what’s happening, her jeans are on the floor next to his.
All that’s left are her pretty pink panties. He runs his hand slowly along her body and lays down next to her, his lips are on hers when his fingers slip inside the waistband of her panties.
She lets out a little gasp in expectation of what will happen next, and her hand caresses his cheek, “I want you Daryl Dixon, I have every night since the first night I saw you.”
He kisses her tenderly and whispers, “I’m never gonna want no one but you, Beth,” as he slips her panties off.
He begins kissing her so deeply and so hungrily it takes her breath away. Then he slows his pace as he teasingly kisses his way over her chin, along her throat and down her chest, while his fingers play with the soft curls of her mound.
She feels herself becoming more and more aroused and the more she responds to his touching the more touching he does. She feels the dampness between her legs spread and she doesn’t fight the need, she moves her body closer into his. A moment later his hand is cupping her, applying just a little pressure as her hips rise up seeking more from him.
Never has anyone made her feel the things he makes her feel. It’s as if her skin is so hot and so sensitized that his every touch makes a warm little shock wave flow through her, and the more he touches her the more she wants him to touch her.
A low growling noise comes from somewhere deep in his chest and his leg slides between hers as his fingers slips inside her.
She lets out a little yelp and he stops, she hurries to tell him, “Don’t stop. It’s good. So good.” That’s what he needed to hear and he doesn’t miss a beat. His fingers continue moving inside her while his lips, his tongue and his teeth tease her breasts.
It’s not long before his thumb finds that sensitive little bump and he begins to touch and rub it, and the more he teases the more feverish she gets. Soon Beth feels a desperate need as again her hips rise, seeking him.
Her skin’s on fire and yet a powerful shiver goes through her and he encourages, “Let yourself go Beth.”
Those words were all she needed to hear and she feels a hot rush electrify her whole body as she calls to him, “Daryl, Daryl.”.
Her body’s still quivering when he whispers in her ear, “I’m right here Beth, right here. I’ll be here as long as ya want me ta be.”
He gently kisses her ear, her neck and her throat while softly, slowly rubbing his open hand along the curve of her body, giving her a moment to catch her breath. The trouble is he’s so ready for her. It’s not long until his hand is back between her legs and his mouth is once again on her breast.
She can’t quite believe this could be happening again, and so soon. But it is. His touch has her fully aroused and aching for him.
He senses it and draws his mouth from her breast just long enough to kiss her hard and full on the lips. His fingers are working some kind of magic inside her, and he slowly begins kissing and nibbling his way down her body.
She’s lost in the heat and it’s as if her body has a mind of its own. Or maybe it’s just that her body is lost to him. Just as that thought comes, his mouth is between her legs and his tongue is inside her.
She grabs at his hair, her fingers grasping the soft dark strands and she pleads, “Daryl, it feels so good but I want you. I want to feel you inside me.”
He looks up just long enough to smile, “Soon.”
She doesn’t have the will to argue because whatever he’s doing with his lips, his tongue, his fingers, even his nose, all of it feels way too good to beg him to stop. But then he does.
The boxers glide over his hips and when she sees him so big and hard she can’t help smiling. Daryl Dixon is all man, all the time.
He’s up on his knees between her legs when he reaches for something in the night table, and she watches eagerly as he rolls the condom on, smiling, “No turnin’ back now.”
She only smiles as he teases her with his tip, stroking it back and forth along her swollen lips, and just as she’s whispering, “Please Daryl, please,” he enters her.
It doesn’t take them long to get into each other’s rhythm as their hips began to move together, and soon he senses it, she needs more. He does too. His strokes began to quicken and he’s thrusting deeper into her. While his hips maintain the steady rhythm his eyes are never off her sweet face. The backs of his fingers lightly graze along her cheek and he says the words again, “You’re perfect.”
Her fingers began to grasp and lightly claw the scar-covered skin of his back and he flinches, she gets it, but to her his body is flawless. She tells him, “You’re perfect, Daryl.” He can’t think clearly enough to argue.
His strokes became faster and increasingly harder and deeper, and he smiles when her slim legs wrap around him. It’s like she’s trying to pull him deeper, and her hands desperately grasp his back and his arms, and when she whimpers, “Oh Daryl,” he’s convinced he’s the world’s luckiest man.
They both sense what’s happening, they’re on the edge of ecstasy and he hoarsely whispers, ” I never knew anythin’ could feel this good.” His mouth is nestled in the curve of her neck and he sucks at the warm damp skin.
Her breathing is ragged and she feels like she’ll never get enough air, and then it begins to happen again. Her skin is on fire and his feels hot to her too. She begins to quiver and she can hear a desperate moaning coming from somewhere deep within her. She begs, “Please please…”
His strong hands pull her hips closer and he thrusts into her so deeply she’s startled, then his movements quicken and she can feel his pelvic bone rubbing against her oh-so-sensitive little bump. The feeling is so intense her body begins to shudder and shake and feels herself let go, and he lets go too.
A moment later he rolls on his back, taking her with him. She’s laying on top of him breathless and spent, and he’s still inside her. He has her face gently clutched in his powerful hands when he asks, “Hungry?”
She smiles back, “You know I am.”
“How bout I cook us up some bacon n eggs?”
He slips on his boxers and she grabs a t-shirt from his drawer and he smiles, “Hop on, I’ll piggyback ya to the kitchen.”
It’s not like him to be so playful, “Are you serious?”
“Yep, a serious piggyback ride.”
She’s sitting at the breakfast bar with a fresh glass of wine and he’s sipping on a bottle of beer as he lays the stripes of bacon in the pan. He stops, unable to keep this up another minute. He slides the pan off the burner and looks over at her knowing how lucky he is she came home with him tonight. He wasn’t sure she ever would again.
He hated the misery he went through this week, and worst of all he knows he brought it on himself.
“I was a dick Beth. You said what ya want, and the crazy thing is, it’s what I want too. I guess I was just scared and I fucked everythin’ up. But girl, ya gotta know I love ya. I do want this with you forever. We can get married any time ya want. I’m ready.”
“I do want that with you Daryl, I really do. But not if it’s forced. I love you, but are you sure?”
He knows his head can be a little thick, but he gets it now, “I love you too Beth, I know I don’t say that enough. I’ll try’n do better. Anyway, um, will ya, I mean if ya want, well whaddya think about us gettin’ married?”
“Daryl Dixon that’s the most romantic proposal a girl could ask for, and I’m ready to say yes, if we’re sure we want the same things.”
He walks over to her, caressing her elbow and nudging her to stand. Once she’s on her feet his arms wrap around her and he promises, “Yeah, I want it all. The marriage, the baby, the puppy, the whole damn thing, but only if I can have it with you.”