The air of the diner was stiflingly hot, prompting the redhead to peel off the baggy blue letterman jacket that hung loosely from her shoulders as she entered. She marched straight to the counter and slid onto a stool. The ginger fought hard to keep her gaze down in order to act nonchalant, her eyes steady on the marble top as she wrung her hands under the counter.
‘Come on, Haught. Act natural. You got this. A vanilla milkshake and fries, that’s all’
She repeated in her head as a constant monologue, anxiety building in her throat and sweat congregating on her palms, which she wiped hurriedly on her pale jeans.
“Well, fancy seeing you around. What can I getcha?” A cheery voice sang from over the other side of the counter.
The jocks head shot up almost instantly to take in large, honey eyes and a smile so sweet it could’ve caused her to have a stroke if she focused on it for too long. Which was currently becoming a problem.
“Uh, yeah, hi, Waverly. Hi. It’s been a while, huh?” Nicole spluttered out, her tongue all of a sudden feeling dry in her mouth. This caused the brunette to giggle, leaning forward on the counter against her elbows, and Nicole swore her heart skipped a beat.
“Yeah, haven’t seen you since… What, History, fourth period? That’s a whole 2 hours, Nic.”
Despite her nerves, Nicole grinned and dipped her head, desperately trying to fight the blush that was rising up her cheeks.
“Can I get a-“
“Vanilla milkshake and fries? Already on the way.” The girl in the high-wasted shorts behind the counter waved her hand nonchalantly, leaning forward as she shifted feet, and Nicole held perfect eye-contact with her friend, despite the fact that her amicable cleavage was on perfect display thanks to the undone buttons on her cherry-red blouse. It wasn’t an easy feet, let the track-star tell you that.
“Am I that predictable?” Nicole smiled, fiddling with her fingers. A small, soft hand landed atop her own calloused ones, stilling their incessant actions. The chocolate brown eyes lifted to settle against lighter coloured orbs, shadows casting between the two in a silent dance.
“Not in the slightest.” She breathed, and the redhead swallowed, as the other girl averted her gaze, “You just always smell of vanilla. Well, vanilla dipped donuts… They’re my favourite.”
The bright grin that stretched across Nicole’s face was, to any outsider, full of hope and adoration as she gazed at her classmate, their hands joined on the countertop of Shorty’s Diner, unspoken words whispering in the minimal space between their faces, breath heavy and mingling together in a beautiful moment of tranquility. Which was promptly broken by the shrill of the bell dinging behind Waverly at the large, open window to the kitchen.
“Order up!” Hollered Shorty from behind the frier, amidst a cloud of grease and salt that wafted through the gap. He clattered 4 plates onto the sill, next to the bell, that were piled high with an assortment of burgers and fried something-or-other.
The brunette, head falling, let out a long sigh, before she stood up straight, retracting her hands and leaving Nicole feeling a strange sense of loss at the contact.
“Be right back!” She flashed the redhead her killer-watt smile and soon any disappointment dissipated at the prospect of getting to see that smile again. She watched with wrapped attention as Waverly scooped three plates onto a tray and carried the other with ease from behind the counter and into the moderately-busy diner.
Some upbeat Duran Duran song pumped from the jukebox in the corner, melting in with the mutter of chatter from the patrons and the sizzling of bacon from Shorty. The diner was loud, but quiet enough to be able to carry a conversation, and it was the perfect distance from the local high school for the optimum hangout spot for teenagers once the final bell rang and they could barrel out into the parking lot, eager to smoke, drink, dance and make terrible decisions. It was likely you could find the entire sports team lounging around, chowing down on the moderate food, or the school nerds huddled into one of the booths, working together to complete their bullies homework on time. It was simple, and it was nice. But it wasn’t what had Nicole Haught returning every day after school for a regular snack. No, her reason was the pretty waitress who was also apart of many of her classes.
Waverly Earp was a ray of sun after a storm, always brightening everyone around her with a simple smile, which caused her to be insanely popular with the people of Purgatory. Nicole found it almost impressive that she had managed to make people forget that she was the orphaned sister of local-screw-up Wynonna Earp, that she hid all the pain she inevitably had so well.
Nicole didn’t know how it happened, really. One minute the redhead was just a regular girl of 6, scuffing her knees in the local playground, and being scolded by her mama for grass stains on her dungarees, and the next she knew she was extremely different and a lot in trouble for it. She didn’t like boys the way she liked girls. Well, more specifically, she didn’t like boys the way she liked Waverly Earp. It was wrong. Wrong in every way. Because girls weren’t supposed to like girls. She wasn’t supposed to like Waverly Earp. She was supposed to graduate high school, marry some one-time jock and pump out a few babies, living in a tiny house in a tiny suburb in a tiny town until she died peacefully in her sleep of old age. But that dream, that path that everyone was meant to fill, seemed more like a nightmare. And soon, Waverly was flashing that sweet smile and her whole world was flipped upside down.
But she couldn’t tell her.
She couldn’t tell anyone.
The redhead shook herself back into reality, muttering under her breath about her own stupidity, and her eyes subconsciously found Waverly again. She was setting down the final plate down in front of the group of football players that had managed to crawl their way into one booth. Her stomach lurched at the sight of Champ Hardy’s hand holding onto her wrist so he could talk to her without her standing back up. Really, she had no place to be jealous. Champ was the kind of guy Waverly should be ending up with. Good-looking, rich and popular, and definitely interested - if the wandering of his eyes was anything to go by.
Nicole swallowed and gritted her teeth, turning back to the counter just as Wynonna approached, setting down a vanilla milkshake in front of her. She, too, was glaring at the scene in the corner of the diner.
“Hey, Wynonna.” Nicole mumbled as she sipped the frothy liquid through the cheap red plastic of the straw
“That guy’s real scum. What’s his name? Chester? Charlie?” She replied, her eyes not leaving him.
“Champ. Quarterback. You’re right, real ass.” She answered, glancing over and feeling like vomiting at the sight of Waverly giggling at something he said.
“Well, whoever he is, I get real bad vibes from him. Real floozy-like. Don’t want him anywhere near my kid sister.” The brunette spat, fixing the white apron tied around her waist a little too aggressively.
“Take a chill pill’, dude. Waverly can handle herself with him.” Despite the confidence that laced her words, Nicole felt like she was mostly assuring herself. Waverly was incredibly intelligent, sharper then a whip, surely she knew better then to hang around the likes of Champ. She just had to remember that… even if their conversation seemed to be dragging on for a little too long for her liking.
“Hey, Haught, I’m not sure I like the look on his face…”
“You don’t like his face, full stop.” Nicole was forcing herself to not look back, staring lasers into the bubbles of her milkshake and anxiously awaiting her fries.
“That’s true but… Oh hell no, Haught, cover me!” With that, the oldest Earp stormed off, leaving a bewildered Nicole to glance over towards the table. Champ had not let go of the waitresses arm, and continued to attempt grabs at her ass, egged on by the laughter of his buddies.
The redhead was on her feet in seconds, catching Waverly easily as Wynonna tugged her away and shoved him roughly, sending him toppling backwards.
An uproar erupted from the group and Champ staggered backwards before snarling as menacingly as possible and regrouping with his friends, advancing towards the older brunette.
“Wynonna!” Nicole heard Waverly cry behind her, but before she could assess the situation properly and effectively to try and calculate the most peaceful way out of the predicament, her fist was cracking against one of their jaws, who just so happened to be Champ, and promptly stinging like a bitch.
“Jesus.” Nicole murmured in almost disbelief of her actions, and the next thing she knew she was ducking a punch and bolting out the door, having no time to even finish her milkshake. She could hear the pounding of feet behind her as she raced through the parking lot, sliding over the bonnet of the car to reach the sidewalk quicker.
“Get back here, you bitch!” The ginger heard what was most likely Champ holler after her as she weaved through the people on the street. But no way was she going to follow his order. Completely going against any rule her mother had taught her, she rushed into the road, narrowly avoiding cars that honked at her as they skidded to a stop. Blood and adrenaline coursed through her body, and she couldn’t stop the smile that stretched her features at the exhilaration she felt. Even as she tripped on the curb and scabbed her knee, even as she snagged her favourite shirt agains the fence she was scaling, and even as her lungs screamed at her stop her incessant running, she only thought, ‘so worth it’.
Nicole was awoken the next morning by a rapping at her door. She lifted her head groggily from where it had face planted into her pillow the night before, to glance briefly at the closed wood. It didn’t sound like her mother, but in this state she wasn’t really paying attention.
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll be up in a minute, ma.” She grumbled, her throat croaking, as she stuck her face back into her mound of comfort. She heard the door creak open but ignored it, she really wasn’t in the mood for a lecture right now. However, instead of the nagging tone of her mother she had been expecting, she heard a stifled giggle and a sweet, familiar voice.
“Well that’s obviously a lie.” Her head shot up to take in the image that was Waverly Earp, standing by the doorway to her bedroom, dressed in tight jeans and a colourful, striped shirt. Her usual, bedazzled denim jacket hung loose on her shoulders, glittering and colourful in the little light that shone through the blinds of Nicole’s bedroom.
“Waves! W-what are you doing here!?” Nicole sat bolt upright, kicking covers off of herself in the process.
“I came to return your jacket. It looks like you might need it.” She chuckled, gesturing to Nicole’s sleepwear of only a bright red sports bra and blue sweatpants combo, “You do look pretty ace though.”
The redhead, so shocked that she had forgotten this tiny detail of basically not wearing a shirt, stumbled backwards until she fell off the other side of the bed. Luckily, this is where she found a baggy white tee that she quickly pulled on. The motion had her jerking upright into a flustered, bed-headed standing position.
“Oh! Right! Um… Thanks. Sorry about the mess.” Nicole mumbled, scratching at the back of her neck. Waverly shrugged and rounded the bed towards her. The redhead felt her breath catch in her throat as she neared.
‘Every fucking time’ She cursed the way the brunette made her react simply by being close.
“I like your room, by the way. It’s very… you.” Waverly smiled, her eyes casting over the sports trophy’s on the shelf in the corner and the dozens of cassettes that spilled over the brim of a shoebox on the desk.
“Thanks.” The ginger replied in a breath, her eyes meeting pools flecked with gold and green and grey.
The cool material of the jacket was refreshingly cold against her hot skin, the folded material slipping easily into her hands as she stared into those eyes. Those eyes she loved so much. Those eyes that appeared to be getting closer…
“Nicole, Sweetheart, why don’t you invite Waverly to stay for breakfast?” The hollering of her mother upstairs made both of them jump and turn towards the doorway. A second passed before Nicole, a sly grin on her face that folded her cheeks into dimples, turned towards her friend.
“Do you want to stay for Breakfast? I can drive you to school after?” She shrugged one shoulder, and a brilliant smile stretched across Waverly’s face.
“I’d love to.”
The drive to school in Nicole’s mom’s green Ford Escort was unlike any other drive she had ever taken in the bucket of bolts. She was finding it hard to be concerned at the rattling from under the hood when she had Waverly Earp giggling beside her. The minutes stretched into hours, every tape that Waverly picked from the glove compartment was marvellous in every which-way. She found herself enjoying ‘Take On Me’ despite the fact that she found the song over-hyped and over-played.
But - ‘Its totally groovy, Nicole!’ - so she would endure it and nod along.
That was until Waverly reached to the radio and twisted the nob to quieten Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’, and for some reason she felt a lump forming in her throat.
“Yeah?” Nicole answered, cringing at the crack in her voice. Why did she already know what was coming?
“Why did you punch Champ in the face? I’ve never seen you lose your cool like that.” Waver mumbled, and the redheaded track-star glanced briefly at the girl beside her on the bench.
“Eh, you know. It was either me or Wynonna.” She attempted to play it off, but, of course, Waverly saw right through, however she appeared to not have a retaliation and just decided to leave it.
“True. Well, I’ll let you off this time but you’re banned from Shorty’s for a week.” She warned, and the ginger’s head shot to stare, eyes open wide, at her passenger.
The brunette appeared to think for a minute, a finger coming up to twist curls thoughtfully in the locks of her side-pony.
“No, you’re right, I know how you need Vanilla milkshakes to live. Okay, but you have to buy my lunch today.”
“Deal.” The redhead grinned, and used the hand not gripping the steering wheel to reach over and shake Waverly’s hand. As soon as soft skin touched her palm, she knew that was a bad idea, as a bolt of electricity sent goosebumps down her arm. In this moment, Nicole had never been more grateful for her letterman jacket.
They shook once; a gentle, up and down motion, but, when Nicole expected to let go, Waverly just hung on to her hand.
They joined hands fell onto the dash, a flush shooting up Nicole’s neck, and she dared not to glance over in her friends direction for fear of meeting her eyes.
She was so focused on breathing that she barely noticed the way Waverly began to play with her limp fingers.
Oh god. This was going to be a long day.
She didn’t even notice the small smirk growing on Waverly’s lips as she watched her crush squirm under her touch.