As Nicole lay in bed she felt her heart thud through her chest. It had never felt like this before. That was the thought constantly running through her head. She had kissed a girl, and god did she feel complete! She remembered everything her friends had said about their first kisses with their boyfriends remembering her few kisses with boys as nothing more than sloppy and gross. This was something entirely new, she had kissed someone, someone amazing. And when she did she felt her world shift. She was gay and that was scary but she had kissed her best friend. “Shit.” She said to her empty room. “I'm fucked.”
FIVE YEARS LATER
As she stood in front of the mirror Nicole couldn't help but feel confident. She was everything she wanted to be. She looks back thinking of the struggles in high school, her homophobic parents and eventually leaving across the country for college. Nicole was stronger, top of her class in forensics about to graduate college, she had multiple job offers and beautiful girls pawning after the infamous Haughtbody. She looked good doing it too. she unbuttons the top two buttons on her flannel and spins the SnapBack around on her head. “You're so gay” she says quietly to herself.
Just then she hears the front door to her apartment slam. “Wynonna I swear to god!!” She shrieked from the bathroom. “You better not be drunk!!” She said with a sigh, the booming laugh coming through the other room told her that her suspicions were correct, to be fair when wasn't her roommate drunk? Wynonna was ultimately her best friend, they had been roommates since freshman year. They were both a mess when they got to school, Wynonna had some traumatic event as a child. She never talked much about it, all she knew was that she was taken from her family, or her little sister at least, at the age of 6 and sent to a group home. Wynonna hadn't been home since and it was a subject Nicole never brought up.
The two had a mutual agreement, Nicole doesn't bring up Wynonna’s upbringing and Wynonna doesn't bring up the girl that got away, her first love, first heartbreak, and the reason her parents moved her multiple states away from her hometown halfway through her senior year of high school. Wynonna knew more than anyone else about this subject and that wasn't even much but it had been five years and as Nicole constantly told herself, she didn't care anymore, she had everything she wanted regardless if her fear of commitment was stronger than whatever Wynonna had been drinking.
“Wyn!” She yelled as she walked into the living room of the small two bedroom apartment. The only response she got was a “shhhhh” from the crumpled ball on the couch that was Wynonna Erickson. She was wearing her usual crop top and jeans. Wynonna seemed to have had a crazy weekend and Nicole didn't blame her, that's how she escaped. “Got a hangover do ya?” She said tiptoeing towards the face down brunette. She got a quiet “hmph” from the pillow as she leaned down next to her ear. “WYNONNA WAKE UP!” She yelled straight into her ear. Wynonna jumped smacking Nicole over the head as she did. “Why do you have to be such a shit ticket Nic!!” Nicole laughed loudly. “You love me! Now c’mon I'm getting you breakfast so I can tell you all about this chick at the party last night.” Wynonna gives her a small grunt in response as she walks to the kitchen throwing five or six Advil pills into her hand before dry swallowing them. Nicole grabs her jacket and throws Wynonna hers and as they walk out the door Nicole hears Wynonna mutter under her breath, “crazy gays always ruining my sleep schedule.”
“So a blonde?” Wynonna said suspiciously as she sipped her coffee. Nicole shrugged her shoulders indifferently. They had been going to this coffee shop for the past four years. It had started halfway through freshman year when there had been some girl drama and Wynonna had quickly said, “c’mon haught stuff I know this perfect coffee and tea place to spill the tea.” It was a great little shop that always made the coffee just right. Wynonna and Nicole would always stand by their opinion that Shorty’s had the best coffee in Seattle. It was a small little shop decorated with wood interiors that always made you feel at home amongst the numerous college students cramming for final exams that would take place over the next week.
Wynonna sighs loudly “Nicky I get the whole badass future cop, lesbian lone wolf vibe but we both know you have the heart of a puppy dog.” Nicole glared at her halfheartedly. “I just don't feel a connection to them.” Wynonna laughs loudly attracting the attention of a few students. “You have no connection? Yet you've had sex with how many girls?” Nicole chuckles under her breath, “in the last month even!” Wynonna says pointing at Nicole accusingly. Nicole was seen as the campus flirt, the girl you don't mess with because she'll just break your heart. She isn't proud of it but she wasn't letting anyone into her heart again. Wynonna was the same way. It's another reason why they worked.
Nicole looks down at her hands in shame. “They aren't the same.” Wynonna nods in understanding. Sometimes Nicole thinks she had someone who broke her too. They go quiet sipping their coffee and Wynonna begins fidgeting with the key necklace around her neck. Nicole had picked this up as one of her nervous habits. She usually did it when she wanted to talk about something “Wyn what's on your mind?” Nicole asks punching her in the shoulder hoping to lighten the mood a bit. The usual sass master seemed at a loss for words and it was scaring Nicole, she had known her for four years and she had never once been quiet. “It doesn't matter, we can deal with it later. Right now we both have some tests to take as some kick ass future deputy's and a party tonight.” Nicole sighed, this is why their friendship worked they both hid their feelings and pushed them down. Part of her wished they could both just spill their feelings but she knew well that they had to keep some parts of themselves locked away. She couldn't judge Wynonna because she did the same thing. “Sure thing. Let's go kick some ass and take some names.” They both bump fists before leaving the coffee shop ready for the day.
The party was electric. That was the only word Nicole could think of that would fit. It was almost entirely seniors and their last hurrah before graduation. Nicole had always loved the parties, her and Wynonna had been going together since they met, nothing better than free booze for two avid drinkers. That's what they called themselves because alcoholics seemed to extreme but perhaps it was the right word.The second the duo stepped into the crowded frat house things went wild, they were both glad to see their reputations succeed them. Party girls, not the stupid ones fawning over a guy named chad but smart ones, top of their class, and honestly people hung around them determined to solve the mystery that was the roommates.
They headed straight for the booze table grabbing drinks before Wynonna leaned to whisper into Nicole's ear. “Forget her for the night lone wolf. She who shall not be named isn't here girl. Live your life” Nicole winced. She was used to the girl being referred to as that, probably because she never told Wynonna her name nor did she want to. She still held her with reverence even after all these years of heartbreak. Or maybe she was scared hearing her name again would send her into a fresh wave of heartbreak. She didn't want Wynonna to see that so she nodded and took a shot filling herself with the determination to find someone else, to forget the girl that haunted her dreams.
Wynonna ran off to the party waving her arms in the air to the music grabbing the attention of so many onlookers.“She isn't the best at comfort but damn can she party.” Nicole thought to herself with a laugh. She aimlessly walked to the stairs overlooking the party watching the chaos ensue quickly finding a few things that were at every university of Washington party. Wynonna dancing with some football player. She's mighty quick. The football guys doing keg stands and a few band kids in control of the music laughing to themselves in the corner. She leaned against the railing closing her eyes to fully take in the music that was so loud she felt her bones shake on every beat. She was so focused on the music she didn't even feel the hand lightly on her shoulder until a raspy voice whispered in her ear. “I hear you can show a girl a good time?” Nicole instantly put on her charm before turning around to see another one of her best friends, Emily laughing wildly.
“Happy graduation Haught pocket, glad to see you have the charm and the smolder at the ready for the first girl that whispers into your ear.” She says in between laughs. Nicole rolls her eyes smiling at her friend. She is sorry to see her go soon, and she didn’t usually take a liking to that many people but Emily was far too nice not to be friends with. It was always nice to have a friend around who was normal, and not completely broken.“There are a few underclassman here eyeing you.” She said punching her lightly on the shoulder. “Isn't there always?” She said cockily. She was used to it, it was almost comical at this point. Girls who think they had her all figured out. Girls who wanted to experiment, girls who were sick of their boyfriends. She didn't mind. Many rumors had made their way around about the great Nicole Haught, she let the rumors make there way around. They were never right. Her personal favorite was that she was a secret agent from another country and that's why she was so secretive. She had laughed for twenty minutes when Emily told her about that one.
“Come on Nicky let's go get hammered.” Emily said with mock enthusiasm. Nicole laughs feeling the tension in her chest alleviate as she puts herself farther and farther away from the girl in her head. “Well if we want to catch up with Wyn we are going to have to hurry. Nobody throws them back like an Erickson so I hear.” She said bounding down the stairs. The second she hit the bottom step she grabbed a shot from another student's hand and threw it down without even blinking. She wouldn't think of the girl tonight. Never again. She hated her for what she did and she didn't deserve a place in her mind she thought viciously. She could feel rage pumping through her veins and by god if she wasn't going to let it fuel her tonight.
They danced, they drank, they flirted, and they drank even more. Wynonna had gives her a small little salute around three AM meaning she got a guy and would see her tomorrow morning. Nicole nodded smiling wildly. She really was sad to see college go, she could feel the nostalgia in the air. And as if the universe could feel her good mood she felt her phone buzz in her back pocket.
Evil Step Mother: Will you be coming home this summer?
She turned her phone on silent not ready for the countless texts that were sure to come. She tried to push the annoyance away telling herself to enjoy the night. She had moved on from her family four years ago, something she had needed. They hated her and all she wanted was to love them. Angrily she threw down another shot. Then across the room she noticed a beautiful brunette she had never seen. “Why the hell not” she thinks before taking a minute to put on the charm she was well known for.
She walked up to the lonely brunette who honestly looked a little uncomfortable in this aspect. “You know parties are supposed to be fun right?” She looked at her with a megawatt smile, Nicole only thought that it wasn't as bright as she who shall not be named’s smile. The girl looked at her intently “Nicole Haught.” She said seriously. “Yes ma’am that's me” the girl gives her a devilish grin. “Sorry hon straight as an arrow.” Nicole chuckle before leaning down to the girl’s ear, “don't worry I am too” she said with a wink chuckling lightly as she did, dancing as she stepped back to the party. She would get that girl.
There was a girl on her chest, and a pounding in her head. This was not an unusual morning for Nicole Haught. She glanced down and the brown hair cascading across her bare chest. She slowly moved away throwing on boxers and a sports bra before moving to the kitchen to make breakfast. She may have commitment issues but she isn't a bad person. She was proud of herself for at least that, she never left in the middle of the night unless they asked her to and she always made breakfast. Plus Nicole loved to cuddle.
Just as she finished some scrambled eggs and bacon the girl from last night walks through the door. “Good morning Ally, how was your very straight night?” She said with a wink. The girl only shook her head before sitting at the table. “So you told me very little about yourself last night, breakfast and chat?” Ally smiled sweetly and Nicole tried to will the butterflies to go through her stomach but they wouldn't, why couldn't she just like someone damn it!
“Well there isn't much to know” Ally said shyly. Nicole shook her head. “There is always. You seem like a wonderful person to me. Come on tell me about yourself?” She said flashing the full force of her eyes. “Well i'm a nursing major.” Nicole shakes her head “your major isn't you.” The girl nods her head accepting it. “How about you, nobody knows what's up with you?” Nicole nods silently, this was true and she liked it that way. But she was graduating in a week why the hell not. “What do you want to know?” She said putting on her devilish grin. “Are you serious!?” Ally said in surprise. Nicole nodded slowly. Trying to will herself to have feelings for this girl.
“Well ummm.. why haven't you seriously dated anyone?” Nicole laughs because of course this is the first question, it's the same one she asks herself everyday “that one is tough but I guess i'm afraid of getting hurt.” Ally takes this into consideration “so you've been hurt before?” Nicole shrugs her shoulders “haven't we all?” Subconsciously defending herself trying to seem nonchalant. Ally looks at her in confusion, “She hurt you bad.” She said her tone serious. “How did..she...I mean yeah.” Nicole clears her threat quickly. “Yes she did.” Nicole barely whispered out. “Is that your only question?” Ally shook her head. “Why go into law enforcement?” Nicole sighs, damn this girl. “I never had any power growing up, no power over right and wrong so usually things went wrong, I want to help others so they don't have to feel that.” Ally stares into her eyes “how noble” Nicole scoffs “cowardly.” She says acid dripping from her words. She ran away and there was no denying that. They stay for a second in silence and Nicole hangs her head low.
“NICOLE MARIE HAUGHHHHHHT!!!!” She heard from the hall. “Shit.” She said loudly. “Ally it might be best if you leave. My roommate is about to cause some havoc.” Ally smiles kissing Nicole lightly on the lips. “I don't know if I'll ever see you again Ms. Haught but if I don't, you're better than heartbreak. And good luck with your roommate” She grabs her stuff and leaves through the door just as a fuming Wynonna enters not even giving a second glance to the girl leaving. Wynonna holds up a letter as she stomps towards her. “What the fuck Haught?” Nicole looks at her in confusion before she realizes that it's her draft letter. The U.S. Marines. She sighs loudly she had meant to tell her about it.
“You're going to get yourself killed!!!” Wynonna screams slamming the door behind her. “Maybe that's what you want huh??” Wynonna screams angrily throwing the letter on the table. “You ruined it Haught.” Haught looks at her wide eyed and scoffed “ruined what Wyn?” Wynonna grabs the bridge of her nose in frustration. “I need your help. I….I want to find my sister, and you're the best in the class...and my best friend and I wanted to I don't know road trip or some shit and find my little sis. But you have to run off and hide again!” Wynonna watches as Nicole's eyes fill with rage her own eyes are lined with rage induced tears. “Bad choice of words, i'm sorry.” Nicole sighs because of course she knows she is running, and of course she knows that Wynonna doesn't know when to stop talking. “Wynonna I'll have a few months before I have to go to basics. I've been meaning to tell you.” Wynonna closes her eyes obviously trying to calm herself.
Nicole stands up walking over, placing her hands on her best friend's shoulders she looks her in the eyes. “Let's find your little sister Wyn.” Wynonna instantly crushes her in a hug.Nicole doesn't mind, she knows it is what Wynonna needs. Of course she will help and she knows plenty of people who can get them started in the search. All Nicole needs is a name. “What's her name Wyn?” She mutters into her best friend’s shoulder. Wynonna hesitates before breathing out three words. “Waverly. Waverly Earp.”