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Couldn't Help Falling For You

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Chrissy had insisted no less than five times that morning that Waverly didn't need to help her move in to her new place, but Waverly was not taking no for an answer. Even after two years in the city, she still had the mistrust of it that came from growing up in a small town. Everyone always warned her how dangerous the 'big city' could be and Waverly hadn't believed them enough not to move to one but she was well aware that the crime rates were incredibly high, compared to places like Purgatory.

"My dad already dropped off most of my things yesterday, it's literally just these two boxes left!" Chrissy stated as Waverly picked up one of the boxes that Chrissy had left at her place while she went home for most of the summer, it was far heavier than she had anticipated, and she nearly dropped it before righting herself. Luckily Chrissy didn't notice.

"Nuh-uh, I'm coming. What if this girl is a total psycho?" Waverly widened her eyes, trying to get Chrissy see how worried Waverly was about this whole thing, maybe take on a little worry of her own. Chrissy had been struggling to find somewhere to live before the next semester began and Waverly had offered her a couch in her tiny apartment until she found somewhere, but Chrissy had found her new place the following day. Waverly couldn't help but feel like it was too good to be true.

"She's not a psycho Waves, Nicole's really nice and she's asking for rent I can actually afford." Chrissy shook her head, she knew Waverly had an overactive imagination, but she'd no doubt hoped that Waverly would've been thrilled to have them living so close to each other. They hadn't even lived so close to each other back home.

"See that's what makes me worry, why would someone purposefully ask for so little rent?" It had been bugging Waverly since Chrissy had told her just how cheap it was, she'd be paying even less than Waverly paid for her piece of shit studio apartment. Maybe she was just a little jealous…

"I don't know, maybe she's a good person and she doesn't feel the need to gouge fellow students just because she was unfortunate enough to inherit the money to buy somewhere at the age of twenty-two!" Chrissy was clearly getting agitated and Waverly, put the box back down on the floor since Chrissy wasn't making moves to actually leave, while she processed the information she was just given.

"Oh…did her parents…" Waverly let her words trail off, the implication abundantly clear. Waverly knew that feeling all too well and she cursed herself for thinking badly of someone who had potentially gone through something so similar to herself.

"I don't know," Chrissy said softly, and Waverly nodded. "She just said she bought the place with inheritance. She didn't tell me from who."

"Well you could have told me that part…"

"I didn't even realise you were worried about this, why would I think I needed to justify her decisions to you?" Chrissy sighed as she lifted the other box.

"Right…well I'm still coming." Waverly stated firmly and picked up her box from the floor beside her feet, this time remembering to lift with her knees.

"Fine, let's go! She said she needed to be leaving in half an hour and I don't have my key yet." Chrissy ushered Waverly out of her own apartment, she didn't feel the need to say they would have already been on their way if Chrissy hadn't been so adamant that Waverly didn't need to come with her.

 

Chrissy knocked on the door, awkwardly balancing a box against her hip as Waverly held onto the one she was holding with both of her arms. She wasn't sure what Chrissy had inside but if she had to guess it was rocks or bricks or something else equally ridiculous and heavy. She really needed to start going to the gym again.

The door opened and the Nicole stood in the doorway. An awkward smile curled around the toothbrush hanging out the side of her mouth. A tiny dribble making its way down her chin as her mouth opened.

"Hey!" Chrissy beamed, and Nicole took a couple steps back from the door to let them enter. She ran quickly down the hall, Waverly could hear some spitting and then a steady stream of water before Nicole jogged back through with a clean face and a bright, slightly less lop-sided smile.

"Hey, sorry! My internship starts in like twenty minutes, so I've really got to run but your key is on the table, there's some food your dad left in the fridge and coffee in," Nicole spun around and pointed to a cupboard behind her. "That cupboard. I'll be back around six, if you'll be around."

"My dad really left food for me?" Chrissy was obviously surprised, but Nicole nodded with a sincere smile. "Cool. Oh! This is Waverly, you'll no doubt be seeing a lot of her." Chrissy gestured to Waverly who was just setting down the box, she literally couldn't hold it a second longer. Nicole stepped forward and offered Waverly a hand to shake which she took after a moment because her eyes were too focussed on the small wet patch on the girl's otherwise perfect shirt.

"Nice to meet you, you've got uh…" Waverly gestured with her free hand to Nicole's top and Nicole looked down as she cursed under her breath.

"Shit." Nicole said again, still holding Waverly's hand as she wiped at the shirt, only making it worse. "I'm definitely going to be late." She squeezed Waverly's hand once and released it. Waverly's breath came out staggered as the warmth that had enveloped her hand was lost and her fingers tingled. She quickly shook her head, it was just a handshake…

Nicole turned around and jogged down the hall to where Waverly could only imagine her room was. She heard frantic searching and then Nicole saying goodbye while still inside the room. Waverly's brow furrowed but before she had long to wonder who Nicole was talking to, she was walking back down the hall, slowly doing up the buttons on a fresh shirt. Waverly gulped. Nicole had abs…beautiful, toned abs. Waverly couldn't tear her eyes away.

"Shae's still half asleep so don't be alarmed if you hear someone moving around once I'm out of your hair!" Nicole laughed, and Chrissy joined in, as if the name meant something to her. "I really do have to go though, make yourself at home. Me casa es su casa!" Nicole grabbed a set of keys from a bowl by the door, threw on a light jacket and waved before making her exit.

"Told you she was nice." Chrissy nudged Waverly before leading her through the kitchen to her new room, right across the hall from Nicole's.

 

"Who's Shae?" Waverly asked, keeping her voice low and trying really really hard to sound like she didn't care if Chrissy answered or not. "Does she live here too?"

"Nicole's girlfriend. She has her own place, but she was here when I came to check out the room…and now apparently." Chrissy shrugged like it was no big deal and it totally was except Waverly, inexplicably, felt a sense of loss.

"Girlfriend…so she's uh…" Waverly stammered and immediately questioned what exactly was going on with her. She'd barely been able to form a coherent thought since Nicole walked through, stomach and just a little bit of her bra on display.

"Gay?" Chrissy asked, throwing an amused grin over her shoulder as she placed the box she was carrying down on the bed. "Yeah, she's gay. She figured it was best to let me know right off the bat rather than find out I'm some homophobic asshole down the line." Chrissy laughed, and Waverly just stood nodding her head. Nicole was gay…

"Cool…cool." What did it matter that Nicole liked women? It wasn't like it was putting any images in Waverly's mind, nope. None at all. Anyway, she had a girlfriend…not that it mattered. Waverly was straight. Straighter than straight…right?

"You alright there?" Chrissy quirked an eyebrow at Waverly, who was desperately hoping that her cheeks did not look nearly as warm as they felt.

"Yup. Super. Great. Where's the bathroom?"

"Third door on the…" Chrissy spun around, holding her hands out in front herself, figuring out which direction was which. "Left. No, wait! Right." Waverly nodded and made her way out of the room.

She locked the bathroom door behind her and looked in the mirror. The room was still a little steamy, Nicole had obviously not long got out of the shower and the air still held the fragrance of whatever products she'd been using. Waverly found herself breathing it in deeply. She shook her head, turned on the faucet and splashed some cold water on her face.

"What is wrong with you, Earp?" Waverly muttered to herself. She turned around quickly as someone tried the door, narrowly missing knocking the face and mouth wash sitting beside the sink off and onto the floor. She dried off her face and opened the door to come face to face with Shae.

Shae just looked at her, nodded and slunk past as Waverly exited the bathroom. Eyes fixed firmly ahead of her and not at Shae, who was in nothing but her underwear.

Maybe she should warn Chrissy that Nicole's girlfriend liked to walk around practically naked.

 

Waverly decided it was best not to stick around Chrissy's new place too long after helping her unpack most of her things. She ignored the tiny voice in the back of her head that told her it would be nice to see Nicole again and if she just waited around until after six…

No, she wasn't doing that. She was going home, to her lonely apartment, where she would cook herself a meal for one and settle in with a book for the night. She had a whole month before classes started again, she wanted to at least get a couple books off her to-read list before all she would have time for was required reading.

She definitely did not look at Nicole's Facebook profile, after noticing she and Chrissy had become friends, she certainly didn't think that Nicole's last name was perfectly apt, and she absolutely did not feel a hint of jealousy seeing the words 'In a relationship with Shae Pressman' written there.

 

***

 

Waverly managed to avoid spending time at Chrissy's for all of three days before her friend started to think there was something wrong. Waverly had been making up excuses every time Chrissy asked to hang out, just in case she suggested her new place. Which may or may not have led to Waverly running into Nicole. Which couldn't happen.

Nicole was attractive and the fact that she was interested in women had just intrigued Waverly for a…second. Ok, maybe more than a second but that's all it was, genuine curiosity. Nothing more. Waverly knew that it couldn't be.

Chrissy answered the door, concern evident on her face the moment her eyes met Waverly's.

"We saw each other more when I lived on the other side of the city! Is everything alright?" Chrissy lay a hand on Waverly's shoulder and Waverly nodded, trying hard to force a smile.

"I know, I'm sorry." Waverly followed Chrissy into the apartment, thankful that Nicole didn't seem to be anywhere in her line of sight and sat down on the couch in the adjoining kitchen and living room area. "I've just had a few things on my mind but I'm good, I promise."

"You better be!" Chrissy playfully pushed her. "What's been wrong?"

"It was silly, absolutely nothing to worry about." Waverly smiled and foolishly believed herself, until about five seconds later when Nicole walked through the door. Clad in tight running shorts, nothing but a glorified sports bra covering her top section and her whole body covered in a thin layer of sweat.

"Hey. Waverly, right?" Nicole smiled, and Waverly took a couple seconds to even register her name being said. Why did Waverly find that smile so damn pretty?

"Yep, Waverly. That's me!" Waverly laughed awkwardly, she could see Chrissy's confused look out the corner of her eye. Sometimes it was bad having someone around you that had known you practically your whole life. They knew exactly when something was up.

"Nice to see you again, I'm gonna go get not so sweaty. We still ordering from that new place down the street?" She threw her thumb over her shoulder before looking at Chrissy and waiting for a response. Chrissy, who had somehow not mentioned that Nicole would be joining them for dinner that night.

"Yes! Every time I walk past my mouth waters, we have to try it!" Chrissy clenched her hands into fists and shook them excitedly.

"Great, give me like fifteen minutes!" With that Nicole walked down the hall, pulling off her top as she went, and Waverly had to force her eyes away.

"You didn't mention she'd be joining us tonight…" Waverly tried to sound as casual as possible, she couldn't show that it bothered her in the slightest because it shouldn't. It didn't…except that it did because Waverly had no idea how to handle the thoughts that had popped into her head the second she saw Nicole in her post workout glory.

"Oh yeah, she was supposed to be seeing Shae but then she was busy, so I said Nicole could join us." Chrissy shrugged like it was an easy explanation and it should have been except there was the reminder that Waverly's thoughts were more than just confusing, they were inappropriate. Nicole had a girlfriend. "I mean, as long as it's alright with you?"

"Yeah…totally." Waverly couldn't very well tell Chrissy she didn't want Nicole to have dinner with them, that would only complicate things further or worse, mean that Waverly had to confide in her friend why exactly she felt she couldn't be around Nicole. "No worries at all." Waverly was in fact a bundle of worries, tied together with a string made up of one big worry; why the hell were these thoughts appearing in her head?

Nicole sat on the other couch, after handing her iPad over so they could choose what they wanted to eat. Nicole kindly offered to go pick it up for them, but Chrissy said she wanted to.

"The guy behind the counter smiles at me when I walk past. I need to see if he has any real potential." Chrissy wiggled her eyebrows which caused Nicole to laugh and if it wasn't just the most amazing sound that Waverly had ever heard. A smile broke out on her face until she came to the realisation that that would mean she would be left with Nicole. Alone. She could barely look her in the eye without thinking something wholly inappropriate, how was she supposed to make small talk until Chrissy returned?

 

"So, you're studying history, right?" Nicole asked, after a few beats of silence following Chrissy's departure.

"Yeah?" Waverly's brow furrowed, how did she know that? Was there a chance that Nicole had done a little social media stalking of her own?

"You don't seem too sure about that." Nicole laughed again, and Waverly pushed down the thought that she would do anything and everything to keep hearing that sound.

"I mean yeah…yes, I am. How did you know?" Hope bloomed in Waverly's chest at the thought of Nicole feeling the need to know more about her.

"Chrissy talks a lot." Nicole replied but affectionately, like it was something she enjoyed about her new roommate. Waverly knew exactly how much Chrissy liked to talk, it was something that she enjoyed as well. She could always count on Chrissy for advice and a lot of it, well normally she could. Waverly had never encountered a problem where she felt she couldn't go to Chrissy for help, until now.

"What about you? You've got an internship at the moment, right?" Waverly asked, thinking back to her initial meeting with Nicole and remembering that yes, she had mentioned it then and it was not something that Waverly had learned from her Facebook page.

"Criminal justice and yeah but it's not really what I want to do. I'm working in a law office right now, but I want to go into law enforcement after I graduate." Nicole said proudly. Suddenly Waverly's mind was filled to the brim with images of Nicole in uniform. She cleared her throat, hoping it would clear her mind as well.

"I'm presuming Chrissy told you about her dad then?" Waverly asked, trying to picture Randy Nedley in uniform instead.

"Yeah, we actually talked for nearly an hour when he came to drop off her things." Nicole said with a smile, Waverly loved Chrissy's dad, but she was a little surprised she'd managed to keep him talking for that length of time. Then again, she was surprised at how easily she was conversing with her. She wasn't stumbling over her words like an idiot, she wasn't thinking about how Nicole had looked when she came home from her run...even if she had thought about what she might look like in uniform. Maybe all she needed to do was get to know Nicole, something Nicole seemed to be making very easy and her errand thoughts would just go away. Simple really.

"Lucky it was Chrissy that responded to your need for a roommate then!" Waverly smiled and just as she thought that being friends with Nicole would solve her little problem, she was struck with yet another thought she absolutely should not have had. Waverly was lucky that Chrissy had found this place, otherwise she never would have met Nicole.

"Right?! I had a few total weirdos come to look at the room before her, had to rerun the ad and ask specifically for females." Nicole shuddered for comic effect.

"Well it's a lovely place you have, definitely a lot nicer than where I live." Waverly said a little forlorn, she would love to have a place half as nice as Nicole's. Nicole's face dropped but Waverly waved off her concern. "It's not bad bad, just a little small but it's all I could afford."

"Ah…yeah, guess I'm lucky to have this place even with the way I came about it." Nicole shrugged, and Waverly wanted to know more but Chrissy returned, and Nicole jumped up from the couch to grab plates and utensils, effectively ending their sharing session.

With the TV on in the background and food in front of them, they had a pleasant dinner swapping stories about their time at university. Nicole was funny, really funny and had both Waverly and Chrissy in stitches with stories about her professors. She was about to enter her final year and it was obvious she was glad it was coming to an end, so she could finally get to work on what she really wanted to do.

Nicole's face lit up as she received a text, but Waverly's fell as she announced it was from Shae and that she was coming over after all. Waverly shook the disappointment from her mind quickly, it didn't have to mean Nicole would have to stop hanging out with them. Waverly told herself she'd like to get to know Shae too, but the moment Nicole answered the door to her, off they went to Nicole's room and Waverly simply couldn't shake the disappointment that time.

Nicole wasn't just attractive, she was lovely and warm and so funny that Waverly's cheeks continued to hurt from smiling so much, long after Nicole had retreated to her room with Shae.

She couldn't have thoughts about Nicole, she shouldn't have thoughts about Nicole. She couldn't see her as anything other than a friend and yet the moment she had left her space, Waverly felt the room get a little colder.

She didn't understand what was happening…she was not interested in women and she was not interested in Nicole…no matter what tricks her mind was playing on her. Waverly just wanted to be her friend…right?

Chapter Text

Waverly wasn't sure when she had decided she had an actual crush on Nicole. Probably somewhere between her internet searches for 'Can you be attracted to women even if you're straight?' and 'What if I'm not straight?' in the days following meeting Nicole.

She stopped avoiding hanging out with Chrissy at her new place, partly because she wanted Nicole to do something, anything while she was there that proved she was in any way less than the perfect person that Waverly had started to think of her as.

Waverly had no such luck in the two weeks since Chrissy had moved in. Nicole seemed to have a busy life but whenever she was there, Nicole would stop to chat for a few minutes, even if she was literally on her way out. She'd offer to make coffee for Waverly and Chrissy if she was making some for herself and on more than one occasion, made them each a cup without even asking.

Shae was there more often than not but she didn't seem to have the same drive to get to know Waverly or even Chrissy. She served as a reminder for Waverly though, for why her crush was such a bad idea. Nicole and Shae seemed like a great fit even if that did grate Waverly to no end that her crush would remain unrequited. Not that Waverly even knew what she would do if Nicole had been single and showed any signs of interested. Waverly would get over it, she knew she would. She just had to remind herself that there was no way her crush would turn into something more. It couldn't.

 

"Oh my god Waves, can I please come over?" Chrissy pleaded down the phone to Waverly, who had just settled in for the night with a book she planned to finish before going to sleep. "It's been like this for two days and I can't handle it anymore."

"What? I mean, yeah of course but what's wrong?" Waverly shot up in her bed, panicked and worried about her friend.

"Nicole and Shae are arguing…I have no idea what it's about, but I can't listen to it anymore, I have work in the morning!" Chrissy groaned, and Waverly instantly told her to come over. She held her tongue and didn't ask for more information on Nicole and Shae's fighting, even though she was desperate to know what had happened.

In the morning, Chrissy's good mood after a decent night's sleep was short lived. She had forgotten to pick up her uniform shirt on her way out the apartment, which meant she needed to go back before she could go to work. She begged Waverly to go with her, her reasoning was that it would be less awkward if Nicole and Shae were still fighting and Chrissy wasn't on her own. Waverly wasn't so sure that would be the case. She did not want to hear or see them arguing and she sure as hell didn't want to hear them making up if they'd stopped. She couldn't say no to Chrissy though.

The apartment was quiet when they arrived, and Waverly waited on the couch while Chrissy went to shower and get ready for work. Nicole made her way into the kitchen. She looked tired, sad and if Waverly looked hard enough, heart broken. It didn't make Waverly in the tiniest bit happy that it seemed like Shae wasn't around. Nicole looked miserable.

"Hey." Waverly decided to make herself known since Nicole hadn't seemed to notice her sitting there.

"Hey." Nicole nodded in her direction before starting to look through the cupboards. She took down a couple of mugs and for a moment Waverly thought she was about to make coffee for them both, but she took them and placed them both in a box by the door marked 'Shae'. Nicole quickly left for her room and concern grew in Waverly's chest. She'd known Nicole just over two weeks, but she cared about her and knowing what that box meant, all she wanted to do was check if Nicole was alright.

Nicole returned with a couple t-shirts in hand, a pair of shoes and a garment bag slung over her arm, all bound for the box. As Chrissy left the bathroom, Nicole entered and brought back a hair brush, a bottle of perfume and they found their way into the box as well.

If Nicole and Shae had broken up, it could have only happened in the time since Chrissy arrived at Waverly's and yet Nicole was getting everything Shae out of her place already. Maybe it hurt too much to look at it all.

Nicole sat down on the couch next to Waverly with a heavy sigh and stared at the roof while taking some deep breaths.

"Everything alright?" Waverly wished she'd said something else, of course Nicole wasn't alright. Even if Waverly hadn't known about the arguments, it was painfully clear what Nicole was doing and that only meant one thing.

"Shae broke up with me." Nicole said while she continued to stare upwards, her jaw tightening.

"I'm sorry." Waverly wanted so badly to stretch out a hand to touch Nicole, offer some sort of comfort but they hadn't so much as brushed fingers since their initial handshake and Waverly had no idea how Nicole would respond to it. The instant that Waverly saw what looked like a tear in the corner of Nicole's eye, Waverly didn't care if her comfort surprised Nicole, she leaned over with a gentle hand on her shoulder and hoped that it would help.

"Thanks…she's coming to get her stuff today." Nicole pointed towards the box by the door and sighed again as she looked down to her lap.

"That's…fast?" Waverly winced and tightened her grip on Nicole's shoulder when her eyes closed, and she shook her head. "Sorry…"

"No, you're right it is. I just.."

"Hey, you ready to go?" Chrissy came out of her room, uniform on and ready for work. Waverly removed her hand from Nicole's shoulder and tried to ignore the way Nicole's whole body sagged at the loss of touch. Waverly looked between her best friend and her new friend and nodded, about to get up.

"Could you…" Nicole reached out but let her hand fall as she began to shake her head again.

"What?" Waverly slumped back down on the couch.

"Could you stay? Shae said she'd be here in an hour and I really don't want to be here by myself when she comes to get her stuff." Nicole worried her lip between her teeth, Waverly really didn't know what to do. "It's ok if you're busy…don't worry about it." Nicole shrugged but Waverly was worried. She'd never seen Nicole look anything but her usual happy self since she met her and now she looked so small, so sad. Waverly looked at Chrissy, Nicole probably would have asked her to stay if she didn't have to work but she did, and Waverly couldn't live with herself if she left someone alone like that.

"Yeah, I can stay." She turned and smiled softly at Nicole who instantly, visibly relaxed.

"Ok, I'll be back, Nicole." Chrissy paused on her way out, she watched Nicole and Waverly could see the worry she was feeling herself written all over Chrissy's face. "We can order take-out?"

"Sounds good." Nicole nodded slowly and gave a small wave as Chrissy left.

"Do you want some coffee or tea? Do you drink tea?" Waverly got off the couch and headed for the kitchen cupboards. Taking down two mugs and filling up the kettle.

"Coffee would be great…didn't really sleep that much." Nicole said, made evident by the yawn that followed. Waverly suddenly remembered it was a weekday, so Nicole should have probably been at her internship but looking how she did, maybe it was for the best that she hadn't gone. Waverly checked to see how Nicole drank her coffee, since it was always her making them for Waverly and Chrissy. She set down the mug in front of Nicole who made no move to touch it.

"I know it's probably a stupid question but are you doing alright?" Waverly asked, Nicole hadn't really answered her the first time she'd asked. Even if the answer she did give, essentially equated to no. Waverly just wanted to know if there was anything she could do to make her feel better.

"Not really. Part of me thought she'd change her mind…I didn't think she'd want to just get her things and be done with it. She already took most of her stuff last night." Nicole folded her arms around herself. Waverly couldn't understand how they had gone from a seemingly happy couple to not even a couple so quickly, but it seemed like cutting all ties was what Shae needed. Maybe it would be better for Nicole too.

"It might make things easier…not having things that remind you of her." Waverly suggested although really, she had no idea. She had never experienced true heartbreak. Her last boyfriend was fun, but they definitely weren't a forever kind of deal. She didn't even cry when they broke up, it almost felt like a relief. Maybe this was what it looked like when the person you thought you'd be together forever with left. Waverly was almost glad that she'd never cared about anyone she'd dated like that.

"Maybe…" Nicole leaned forward, arms still folded until she reached for her coffee, she let out a deep sigh after swallowing her mouthful and raised the mug in Waverly's direction. "Thanks for this."

Nicole picked up the TV remote and flicked it on, daytime television was not something Waverly was ever a fan of, but she knew it was mind numbing enough that maybe Nicole would take some comfort in it.

They didn't talk while they sat and watched some cooking programme. Waverly was certain that Nicole just needed someone nearby to help her feel a little better, but she tensed immediately following a knock at the door. Waverly knew she'd made the right decision to stay, Nicole was only going to feel even worse after seeing Shae again.

Nicole took a few deep breaths before going to answer the door, box tucked under her arm. Waverly politely focussed on her phone in hand while they had a brief discussion. She did her best not to eavesdrop over the noise from the TV, but she definitely heard the words 'it's better this way' and 'this was never going to last' coming from Shae, and Waverly felt even worse for Nicole. Clearly, she hadn't seen this coming.

With the door closed, Nicole flopped back down on the couch, a few sniffles and Waverly moved herself closer. Instinctively, she draped an arm around Nicole's shoulders to pull her closer. All thoughts of personal boundaries lost as Nicole's tears fell and she wept on Waverly's shoulder for the next twenty minutes.

"Sorry…god, we barely even know each other." Nicole wiped at her face self-consciously as she pulled back and Waverly tried not to feel disheartened by the words.

"It's ok, nothing to be embarrassed about." Waverly reassured her, she had done her fair share of crying in other people's arms in her life and she knew just how awkward it could feel once they were shed and reality seeped back in.

"Thanks. I don't have very many friends that weren't Shae's first, so I guess…now I don't really have many at all." Nicole bit down on her lip, obviously trying not to cry again and Waverly thought about how awful that must feel. She had no idea how long Shae and Nicole had been together, but she couldn't believe that none of their shared friends would still want to have Nicole in their life, she was great.

"I can hang out today, if you want? I didn't really have anything planned other than grocery shopping and that can definitely be put off another day." Waverly smiled brightly to accompany her offer, even if all Nicole had asked of her was to be there when Shae showed up, Waverly could tell that Nicole still needed someone. Even if it was just someone to sit and watch TV with.

 

Chrissy returned from work to find Waverly still on her couch, Nicole fast asleep with her head on a cushion in Waverly's lap.

"Hey?" Chrissy whispered, closing the door behind her as quietly as she could. "Didn't think you'd still be here."

"She fell asleep like two hours ago and I couldn't bear to move her." Waverly spoke just as softly. Nicole had admitted not long after Waverly suggested she hang out for the day, that her 'didn't get much sleep' actually meant, didn't get any sleep at all. Chrissy rolled her eyes and walked off to her room. Chrissy had always thought that Waverly was sometimes too nice for her own good.

As Chrissy's room door shut, Nicole stirred and looked up at Waverly with a sleepy smile. Waverly smiled back, holding back every urge in her body to tuck the stray hair clinging to the side of Nicole's face behind her ear.

"Sleep well?"

"Mmm." Nicole hummed with a nod before getting up from Waverly's lap and stretching out. Waverly, try as she might, couldn't stop the next thought that came to her; what would it be like to wake up next to Nicole? "What time is it?"

"Hmm? Oh…just after six." Waverly answered, leaning back so Nicole couldn't see how red she knew her face was.

"Are you hungry?" Nicole asked, rolling her neck from one shoulder to the other.

"A little." Waverly lied, she was actually starving, and she was surprised that her stomach rumbling hadn't woken Nicole up sooner.

"Well my treat, for staying with me today. I really appreciate it…I probably would have just cried all day if it wasn't for you." Nicole looked down, scrunching up her face. Waverly really hoped that wasn't true, but Nicole didn't need to thank her for being a decent human being.

"Oh, no. You don't have to do that." Waverly waved a hand in front of her, she was already worried she had overstayed her welcome. She'd literally been there all day.

"Yes, I do. Please, I want to thank you. Not many people would do that for someone who's practically a stranger." Nicole pleaded, and Waverly's conviction started to weaken. She was pretty sure that Nicole was exactly the type of person who would do that for someone else, which is exactly why she deserved for someone to do it for her.

"Well we don't have to be strangers…" The words left Waverly's mouth before she had a chance to stop them. She told herself once again, this was all because she simply wanted to get to know Nicole…be actual friends with her. Nothing more. Even if Shae was out of the picture now.

"That's true." Nicole smiled brightly over at Waverly before reaching for her phone and typing something. Waverly's phone vibrated in her pocket.

+1 new friend request from Nicole Haught

Waverly laughed softly, tapping her finger against her bottom lip as if deep in thought before clicking 'accept'. Nicole shook her head with an amused grin.

"There, now we are officially friends." Nicole winked, and Waverly thought that even heartbroken, Nicole was incredibly charming. There was a confidence that reminded Waverly so much of her own, not quite real but not entirely fabricated either. Waverly realised she was staring a beat too late and Nicole looked back down at her phone with a tiny crease between her brow.

"So, are you stealing my best friend as well as my milk now, Haught?" Chrissy asked as she came out of her room, changed out of her work uniform and sat on the other couch.

"I think we can share both." Nicole looked up from her phone and replied to Chrissy, more than a little cocky. Waverly bit the inside of her cheek to prevent the giant smile that was threatening to take over.

"Do I get a say in this?" Waverly asked, the smile peeking through despite her best efforts to sound offended.

"No." Nicole and Chrissy answered at the same time, both with wide grins on their face as they looked at Waverly.

 

***

Just over a week after Nicole and Shae broke up, Wynonna called Waverly while she was out for a walk. It had been six months since she had talked to her sister over anything other than email and she nearly cried with happiness at the sound of her voice. Wynonna let her know she was coming to the city and to round up Chrissy for one last night on the town before they went back to school.

Excitedly, Waverly called Chrissy straight away, she was just down the street from her place, but she didn't want to just drop by if Chrissy wasn't there. She wasn't sure if her and Nicole had reached that point in their friendship yet. She also wasn't sure if she should be left alone with Nicole again after somewhat obsessively going through her entire social media presence since they'd connected on almost every platform.

Nicole answered Chrissy's phone. Apparently, she'd just popped out to the store and must have forgotten to take it with her. Waverly thought about waiting outside for Chrissy to come back but against her better judgement, she didn't.

"Do you mind if I come up? I'm just outside."

"Of course not, come on up."

When Nicole answered the door, Waverly thought she definitely looked a little happier than the last time they saw each other but there was still a little sadness behind her eyes that Waverly wanted so badly to expel. Chrissy had only gone out about ten minutes before but said she only needed to grab a few things, so Nicole thought she wouldn't be long.

"How are you?" Nicole asked with what looked like a genuine smile as Waverly walked in and set herself up on the couch, she decided that hiding away in Chrissy's room would be far too rude. Even if Waverly was starting to trust herself around Nicole less and less.

"Good, a little bored to be honest. I work at the coffee shop on campus, so I don't get very many shifts during the summer." Waverly huffed, she couldn't wait for school to start again. She needed something to take her mind off the thoughts she was having and maybe a chance to meet some new people, maybe even someone who might grab her attention the same way Nicole had, someone who hadn't just had their heartbroken.

"I knew I recognised you when we first met." Nicole's smile grew as she joined Waverly, taking the seat right beside her.

"You did?" Waverly asked, a little shocked. She had definitely not met Nicole before, she would have remembered.

"Yeah, I'm one of those people who take up a table with my laptop most of the day after ordering just one coffee." Nicole laughed, leaning back on the couch to get more comfortable. Waverly really loved that laugh and she was so glad that Nicole seemed happy enough to actually laugh again.

"I don't think I ever noticed you." Waverly admitted, embarrassed and she wasn't sure why.

"I would usually be one of the first ones there. Pretty sure you used to start just as I was normally leaving." Nicole said, looking at Waverly in a way that made her heart race. In a way that Nicole had never looked at her before.

"What about you? How are you doing?" Waverly asked, after clearing her throat and the thoughts from her mind about what that look meant.

"Better, definitely better but y'know…" Nicole turned her face from Waverly, an expression that she couldn't decipher on it. It didn't look unhappy more…thoughtful.

"Well…my sister is on her way to the city and I was just about to ask Chrissy to join us for a drink tonight. You should come." Waverly's eyes went wide as she realised what she had just done. She couldn't get drunk around Nicole…if one of the stupid number of inappropriate thoughts she usually kept inside while around her managed to make its way out, she would be in trouble. Nicole didn't notice the look of sheer panic on Waverly's face or at the very least didn't visibly acknowledge it.

"That sounds great actually." Nicole beamed, and Waverly tried to forget her worries in favour of giving Nicole something she might desperately need, a night out with friends…and Wynonna. "What's your sister's name?"

"Wynonna, big fans of the ol' W, us Earps." Waverly said playfully and was rewarded with another laugh from Nicole.

"What about Wynonna?" Chrissy asked from the door. Both Waverly and Nicole turned away from each other to look, neither one of them even noticing she had arrived back.

"She'll be here tonight!" Waverly smiled, excitement for the night ahead renewed. Their best nights out were always the ones with Wynonna, unless they ended in a bar fight and narrowly avoiding an arrest but that had only happened once…maybe twice.

"Perfect timing! Haught, you're coming with and we are going to help you forget all about little miss 'has no idea what she's missing'!" Chrissy clapped her hands together after putting down the bags she was carrying.

"Waverly already invited me." Nicole said, smiling warmly at Waverly who returned it, even if she was still incredibly worried about what drunk Waverly might say to Nicole. She knew she had to be on her best behaviour…she couldn't even ask Wynonna not to let her get too drunk or why because she would absolutely make sure the opposite happened just to watch it unfold before her.

Waverly stuck around for a while, her and Chrissy explaining just what to expect from a night on the town with Wynonna just so she had some clue what she was getting herself in for. Part of Waverly hoped she would reconsider, go back on her acceptance of the invite. She didn't though and if anything, looked entirely too excited to meet her sister.

Waverly headed back to her place to meet Wynonna, got all the greetings and catching up out of the way before getting changed and heading back to Chrissy and Nicole's together. Stopping on the way to pick up something to drink. Waverly regretfully didn't know what Nicole liked to drink or else she would have picked something up for her. She really hoped that she liked whiskey, Wynonna would not be pleased if someone couldn't stick to her beginning of the night traditions.

When Nicole opened the door to her for the second time that day, she solemnly nodded to Wynonna without even greeting Waverly.

"Earp."

"I like you already." Wynonna slapped her shoulder and walked passed, greeting Chrissy with a similar motion.

"Earp?" Waverly asked with a raised eyebrow. "Chrissy told you to say that, didn't she?"

"Yeah." Nicole chuckled, ducking her head and looking at Waverly through her eyelashes. Waverly swallowed hard, she wasn't sure how she was going to survive the night. "Hey, again."

"Hey." Waverly smiled bashfully. "Hope you like whiskey cause Wynonna pretty much demands any night with her starts with it."

"Not exactly a fan but maybe you guys can convert me." Nicole replied, looking a tiny bit more panicked. Definitely what Waverly had expected to see when they were telling their stories of nights with her sister. Maybe they had just started to actually seem like true stories to Nicole and not exaggerations. Waverly really wished that some of them were exaggerations.

"You don't have to come out with us, I'd lov-like it…like it if you came but…"

"I need this, and I'm sure I can handle two Earps." Nicole leaned back from the door allowing Waverly to pass.

"We'll see." Waverly smirked, walking into the apartment where Wynonna and Chrissy had already got glasses poured for all four of them on the coffee table.

Nicole sat herself down next to Waverly and picked up a glass, giving it a quick sniff before scrunching up her nose in a way that Waverly found far too adorable. Chrissy raised her glass to get everyone's attention and gave Nicole a sympathetic smile.

"To having a good night and forgetting all about ex's!" She nodded her head towards Nicole before taking a drink.

"Here, here!" Wynonna clinked her glass against Chrissy's as she drank, causing her to miss her mouth just slightly which earned Wynonna a glare.

"Here, here." Nicole repeated, and Waverly was sure she could hear the sadness in her voice, Nicole took a larger sip than even Wynonna would on her first drink. Waverly had to believe that her and Nicole were truly friends now and friends comfort each other, so she squeezed Nicole's knee gently to let her know it was perfectly alright to still be sad about the break-up. She probably should have told Wynonna to go easy on Nicole, at least for tonight.

It didn't take long for Wynonna to get bored by the confines of Nicole's apartment and wanted to take the party out into the world. Everyone was definitely a little tipsy by the time they left, everyone except Waverly. She had managed to keep herself in check, slowly sipping on the first drink that Wynonna had poured for her. She wasn't going to make a fool out of herself, she knew all too well how loose her lips could get after a few too many drinks.

They found their way to Waverly and Chrissy's regular drinking spot of the past year and even managed to wrangle a decent booth despite the fact it was a relatively busy Friday night. Conversation flowed easily throughout the group, Wynonna got to know Nicole a little better and even told her she was sorry about Shae before delving into her stories from her last bout of travelling.

Waverly was always enthralled, she wished she had the backbone to just throw caution to the wind, pack a bag and go where her heart desired like Wynonna had been doing for the last few years. That wasn't her though, she was a planner. She couldn't just hope that she'd find a bed for the night in a strange city or live in a foreign land with next to no money. It took a certain type of person to be able to handle that and Wynonna was definitely that person, not Waverly.

Waverly returned from a trip to the bathroom to a conversation she really wished she hadn't.

"I've never even kissed a girl!" Chrissy said mournfully, throwing her arms out on the table before her and letting her head hit the wood. She almost tipped Nicole's beer bottle over but Nicole managed to save it just before it spilled everywhere.

"Oh, you definitely should, it's great!" Wynonna nudged Chrissy on one side of her and then Nicole on the other before snorting at herself.

"What is happening?" Waverly asked a bewildered looking Nicole as she sat back down.

"I honestly have no idea." She laughed, bringing her rescued beer to her lips. She'd decided that whiskey was definitely not her thing, but Wynonna had applauded her effort.

"Even Waverly has kissed a girl!" Chrissy's head jerked up and she pointed an accusatory finger in Waverly's direction. Waverly's eyes went wide, and she was sure Nicole was smiling at her, but she was more focussed on the shock on Wynonna's face.

"Calm down, it was in high school and it was spin the bottle. I hardly think that counts." Waverly had almost forgotten about that night, she'd kissed Beth Gardner and it was up there with some of the most awkward moments of her life. Everyone watching them, teenage boys talking about it for weeks afterwards and it hadn't even lasted more than a couple seconds.

"Well that depends…" Nicole spoke, licking her lips and Waverly's began to quiver. "Did you enjoy it?"

"No!" Waverly scoffed, not doing a very good job of sounding believable in the slightest and Nicole pursed her lips. Waverly could tell she desperately wanted to say something, what exactly, Waverly had no idea. "Well…not no…I was like fifteen, I barely even knew how to kiss."

"Well we were saying we should hit a gay bar, get Nicole back on the horse. Maybe we could find you an adult lady to kiss? See you if you enjoy it now?" Wynonna wiggled her eyebrows at her sister and Waverly felt herself pale. There was only one adult lady she even had the slightest urge to kiss and that was not happening. Not when Nicole had just been broken up with. Not when Waverly still wasn't sure if her crush even meant something. She'd wanted to know what it would be like to kiss a lot of people, that didn't mean she did it.

"I'm getting another drink, anyone else? No? Ok." Waverly said, far too quickly for anyone to actually answer as she got up from the table to head straight for the crowded bar.

Waverly stood impatiently waiting for the bartender to notice her, she'd been sensible thus far but if her sister and her best friend were going to try and find Nicole someone to get over Shae with, Waverly was not going to stay as sober as she was. She shook her head to herself, it shouldn't have mattered to her if Nicole decided to sleep with someone to get over Shae, but it did. She silently berated herself, she couldn't even figure out what she wanted but knew enough to know that seeing Nicole with someone else was not something she wanted. Not now that she didn't have to see her with Shae. It probably didn't even matter that Waverly was struggling to figure out what her thoughts meant, Nicole probably wouldn't even care when or if she did.

"Hey…" Nicole's voice was soft behind her, just loud enough to be heard over the music playing and she slipped in beside Waverly at the bar. One elbow leaning forward so she could look at Waverly. "I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable back there."

"You didn't." Waverly's reply was flat, and she squared her shoulders. Hoping to look a little less like the kicked puppy she felt like. Of course, Nicole wanted to find someone to get over Shae with, she'd been miserable since they'd broken up and now that she was out of the worst her funk, why shouldn't she want to 'get back on the horse' as Wynonna so eloquently put it.

"Ok…" Nicole said, sounding anything but convinced. "If you don't want to go to a gay bar, we don't have to. I know it's not everyone's thing."

"Do you want to go to find someone to sleep with?" Waverly turned, suddenly feeling a rush of confidence and looked Nicole dead in the eye. The confidence didn't last long though, and she turned back to face the bar, silently counting the number of bottles on the shelves.

"I don't know…your sister seems to think it's a good idea…" Nicole shrugged, turning to look at whatever seemed to be fascinating Waverly so much.

"I think it's too soon." Waverly said, keeping her focus straight ahead. Too soon because Nicole clearly wasn't over Shae if she wasn't that keen on the idea. Too soon because Waverly hadn't figured out what the hell was going on in her head and if Nicole found someone else before she did…Waverly wasn't sure what she would do.

"I think I do, too." Nicole leaned forward onto the bar and put her head in her hands. Waverly's gaze strayed from in front of her to take in Nicole's dejected posture. Waverly's heart sank, Nicole didn't need Waverly telling her what not to do, she needed a friend. Someone to help her through this and not just in the hope that Waverly would figure out what she wanted in the process.

"Then don't, take your time and…find someone new when you're ready." Waverly sighed, about to reach out and put an arm around Nicole's shoulders but the bartender finally came to take her order and the pair of them straightened up. Waverly ordered a beer for both of them, instead of the whiskey she had just been about to order for herself. She pushed the beer in front of Nicole after she'd paid, who received it with a small smile and a nod.

"So gay bar?" Wynonna asked hopefully when Waverly and Nicole returned to their table.

"No…thanks for trying but I think I'm good right here. I'm not all that good at one night stands anyway." Nicole shrugged as Wynonna declared her to be far more boring than expected, taking the sting out of the words with a wink.

Waverly's eyes were glued on Nicole, who was playing with the label on her beer bottle and looking particularly deep in thought. Nicole looked up, as if feeling Waverly's gaze and her lips twitched into a smile. It didn't matter how quickly Waverly figured out what she wanted, if she ever did, Nicole clearly wasn't ready to move on. That gave her time…she just couldn't wait too long.

Chapter Text

The plan was for Waverly not to get too drunk. That plan went pretty well but what she really didn't want to happen was to be left alone for an extended period of time with Nicole, even if she was only a little past tipsy. She just didn't trust herself and yet...

They were sat on the couch in Nicole's apartment, a pizza laid between them and Chrissy and Wynonna curled up asleep on the other couch. The sisters had offered to help get Chrissy up the stairs after she'd got herself particularly wasted. She had been trying to work up the courage to flirt with the bartender she'd had her eye one since before they'd even finished school for the summer and Nicole had invited them in to share her pizza she'd bought on the way home since Chrissy was far too drunk to appreciate it.

Wynonna fell asleep almost as quickly as Chrissy did, she'd been travelling all day, so Waverly wasn't all that surprised. She shouldn't have let her sit down or she should have politely declined Nicole's offer in favour of just getting her home, but she couldn't. Waverly couldn't say no to any offer which involved spending more time around Nicole, she knew that now.

"Do you mind if I ask what happened?" Waverly said carefully. She was insanely curious to find out what had gone wrong for Nicole and Shae, they had seemed so happy together. Had she been as sober as she had planned to be, that curiosity would have just lived inside, never daring to ask the question itching to get out and just hoping that one day Nicole would willingly offer up the information. Nicole had brought up Shae in passing though and Waverly couldn't help herself. "You don't have to…"

"No, it's ok. We wanted different things, always did. I just thought that somewhere along the way maybe she'd changed her mind." Nicole gestured with the slice of pizza in her hand as she spoke. Waverly had to stop herself from finding it funny, they were having a serious conversation.

"So, she didn't want to what? Take the next step or?" Waverly was sure that Nicole's admission that she wasn't good at one-night stands, as well as what Waverly had overheard Shae saying when she came for her things meant that Shae was the one not wanting to get more serious and not the other way around. Nicole seemed like the type to care deeply and want the people she cared deeply for to stick around.

"Pretty much. I asked her to move in with me like six months ago…she was here all the time anyway, I just thought why not make it official, but she said she didn't want to." Nicole shrugged, and Waverly was honestly surprised at how well Nicole was handling talking about it. "Which was fine, she wanted her own space…no big deal, I guess but then I couldn't stop asking her what that meant for our future. I shouldn't have pushed her."

"I don't think you can blame yourself for her breaking up with you." Waverly said plainly, and Nicole looked at her as if she'd just said the most confusing thing in the world. "If you guys wanted different things, then you wanted different things." A warmth settled in Waverly's stomach as she thought that anyone would be lucky to have a future with Nicole by their side and she swallowed hard. She was pretty sure that her crush was developing into something else. Something more.

"I guess…but maybe I should have just been happy with what I had instead of ruining it by trying to force her into something she didn't want." Nicole chastised herself, but all Waverly could think of was how foolish Shae had been. She threw away something great, someone great.

"People should go for what they want." Waverly said, not fully appreciating how useful that advice would be for herself. "You shouldn't have to settle for someone else's version of happiness when you already know what yours looks like. You should find someone that has the same idea of what your future looks like." Waverly's eyes lingered a little too long on Nicole's face, but she couldn't bring herself to look away.

"You're quite insightful when you've had a few drinks, you know that?" Nicole smiled, seeming not to notice Waverly's intense stare. She took a bite from her slice and then threw the rest back into the box. She checked if Waverly wanted any more and after she shook her head, not trusting herself to speak just yet, Nicole closed the lid and slid it onto the coffee table. "Tonight really did help, thanks for inviting me."

"Well, I think Chrissy was always going to invite you anyway…" Waverly teased but the serious look in Nicole's eye made her take pause. "But you're welcome, I like…hanging out with you."

"I like hanging out with me too." Nicole winked which caused Waverly to roll her eyes with a laugh, Nicole really was something. Waverly bit the inside of her cheek for what felt like the millionth time that night, stopping herself from saying something she might regret. "I'm gonna hit the hay, you want to wake her?" Nicole asked pointing at Wynonna who picked that exact moment to start snoring. Waverly thought that she might not have been as asleep as previously thought but if she was pretending to snore there was no chance of Waverly getting her to move.

"Best not to...is it ok if we crash?" Waverly asked as she looked at her sister, she wasn't sure how long she'd be staying, and she wasn't willing to miss out on any time with her by heading home and leaving her there.

"Of course, anytime." Nicole answered, and Waverly looked over with an appreciative smile. "Let me grab some blankets."

***

Waverly woke with a start. It took her a few seconds to get her bearings, remembering where she had gone to sleep and to properly accept the dream she had just woken up from. It was already starting to fade but she could remember the gist of it. Her and Nicole were together, doing things . Things that Waverly had never imagined, before meeting Nicole, that she would ever want to do with a woman. Things that even as they faded from her memory, made her blush. She had really been enjoying her dream.

She could hear hushed voices coming from the kitchen area and she sincerely hoped that she hadn't made any indication of just how much she had been enjoying her dream. She already felt self-conscious that she'd just experienced it in a room with other people, she might die if they had any idea what kind of dream she'd been having.

Wynonna was suddenly towering above her, a mug in each hand and offered one to Waverly after she had pushed herself to sit upright on the couch. She could hear Nicole speaking to Chrissy behind her and Waverly's breathing sped up. She'd only just accepted that her crush on Nicole was becoming something more than that and then she'd literally just had a sex dream about her, while sleeping on her couch, with her just on the other side of the room. Oh god, what if Nicole would be able to tell?

"Waverly." Nicole's voice was close behind her and she almost jumped when a hand was placed onto her shoulder, but she relaxed into it and savoured the touch that felt so much more real than the one she had been thinking of before. "We were thinking about getting some food, want to join?" Waverly leaned back and smiled up at her.

"Yeah." She breathed out wistfully as she focussed far too heavily on Nicole's lips. Lips that she swore she could actually feel against her own a few moments ago in her dream. Lips that she was now absolutely positive she wanted to feel against her own in real life.

"Great." Nicole squeezed her shoulder and walked away, Waverly sighed at the loss of contact as she brought her head forward. She suddenly remembered that Wynonna had been standing there the entire time and now she had a shit eating grin on her face as she blew onto her own mug of coffee.

"What?" Waverly glared at her sister.

"Nothing." Wynonna held up her hand defensively and sauntered away, back to the kitchen.

 

Wynonna somehow managed to keep her mouth shut throughout their entire breakfast together as a group but as soon as they were alone, on their way back to Waverly's apartment, she launched into her line of questioning.

"So, you totally have a crush on Nicole, huh?" Wynonna nudged her the second Nicole and Chrissy were out of earshot.

"Shut up, Wynonna. No, I don't." Waverly tried to deny it but the look on her sister's face was telling a pretty clear story. She did not believe Waverly for a second.

"That's not what I saw!" Wynonna sang, and Waverly groaned, putting her head in her hands as she stopped walking down the street.

"Ok, fine! I might have a little crush…" If she couldn't lie, she could at least tell Wynonna only a half truth. She didn't need her sister knowing that she could barely get Nicole out of her head, even when she was asleep apparently. "It's not like it matters anyway, she probably isn't interested and anyway, she's just gone through a break up."

"Babygirl, I'm pretty sure anyone would have to be blind not to be interested in you!" Wynonna put her arms around her shoulders and guided her forward, they were almost back at her place and all she wanted to do was curl up in bed and get some more sleep…maybe continue a certain dream, but she knew Wynonna was unlikely to let this go. "Were her and Shae serious?"

"Nicole thought they were, think that's why she's been finding it so tough." Waverly replied coolly, she felt so stuck. She wanted to help Nicole get over her breakup, but she didn't want to seem like she was doing it all for her own benefit, so that the moment Nicole was ready to move on she could present herself as an option. That wouldn't be fair on Nicole and that wasn't the type of person Waverly wanted to be.

"That sucks…when did this 'little crush' even start?" Wynonna smirked, and Waverly knew she hadn't been as convincing as she had hoped to be.

"I think the moment I met her…" Waverly admitted, opening the door to her building and rushing up the single flight of stairs to her apartment just so she didn't have to look at Wynonna's face as she absorbed that information.

"So, you've really got it bad?" Wynonna asked when she caught up with Waverly, a sly smile on her face.

"Yeah…I really do." Waverly groaned, pushing open the door to her apartment and then flopping down onto her bed. "I don't know what I'm going to do." She mumbled into her pillow.

Wynonna tried her best to give Waverly some actual, practical advice but Waverly had already decided what she was going to do. She wasn't going to do anything. Nicole was her friend and Chrissy's roommate. If she ever told Nicole and she didn't feel the same way, things would only get awkward, more awkward than Waverly felt they already were. Her classes were starting in a couple days, she'd be back to her usual shift routine at the coffee shop and she would have plenty of things to keep her mind off of Nicole.

 

***

It was easy to slip right back into her routine as soon as school started again. She had missed seeing her friends from her classes since most of them had gone home for summer to save money.

Waverly had a hard time going home these days. It wasn't that she didn't miss Purgatory, of course she did, but without Wynonna there it just wasn't the same. Gus had come to the city for a few days near the beginning of summer and tried to convince her to come home for a visit, even if it was just a week but she'd politely refused. She missed Gus dearly but being back in Purgatory only reminded Waverly of all the people that weren't there anymore and how much she missed them too. She promised to call more often as Gus was leaving and she'd done a pretty good job of keeping that promise, she just needed to continue it throughout the semester and her aunt would be happy.

Wynonna left the morning after Waverly's classes started back, said she was going to call in past home before getting back on the road. She left with some final words of encouragement for Waverly going after what she wanted, who she wanted but Waverly's mind was still made up. Nicole needed friends right now and that was what Waverly was going to be. Revealing anything about her growing affection towards Nicole would only complicate things.

It was fairly easy to avoid her newfound feelings during the first week back, catching up with everyone, hearing what they had been up to over summer, sorting out her schedule for the coming semester and working a few shifts at the coffee shop. She'd only had time to see Chrissy for lunch on campus once that week and she had called into the shop as Waverly's final shift of the week began so Waverly hadn't even seen Nicole. She still thought about her though, she tried to stop herself, but she couldn't help wondering what she was up to, if she'd bump into her on campus but that hadn't happened, and Waverly told herself she was ok with that.

Chrissy invited her over for dinner that night as she stood by the counter, but Waverly was working until close and she was positive that by the time she got out, all she would want to do was head home to bed. The first few weeks of school were always the busiest in the shop, no one had any real work to be doing for their classes and it was a great place to catch up with friends who hadn't seen each other for months. Friday nights were unusually quiet until it hit exam time though, most people chose to spend their night drinking things other than coffee and Waverly felt like her shift would never end. At least when there were plenty people coming and going, she didn't notice the passage of time so much.

Half an hour before closing and Waverly began cleaning the coffee machine, in the hopes that no one new would come in and force her to use it again. Her manager was focussed on paper work in the back office, so she wouldn't even notice if Waverly got a jump start on shutting everything down.

With her back to the entrance, scrubbing the edges of the sink and wondering if anyone other than herself ever actually cleaned the damn thing properly, she heard the door open. She silently prayed that it had been the final table of customers leaving but footsteps heading towards to counter told her she wasn't so lucky.

"Hey stranger." Waverly spun around quickly to see Nicole, a bright smile on her face and Waverly dropped the scouring pad she'd been using beside the sink and walked over.

"Hey." Waverly beamed, she hadn't allowed herself to realise how much she'd actually missed seeing Nicole until she was standing right in front of her.

"How have you been? Feel like I haven't seen you weeks!" Nicole said dramatically before adding a soft laugh.

"It's only been a week." Waverly playfully rolled her eyes, smile still shining. A week really wasn't that long but considering they had usually seen each other every few days since they'd met, it was a relatively long time to go without seeing Nicole and Waverly already felt herself becoming happier just being in her presence. It was a problem and Waverly quickly shook the thought from her mind. "What can I get you?"

"Oh no, I'm fine! I was just passing by so thought I'd come and say hey. Plus, you look pretty much ready to close." Nicole pointed to the spotless coffee machine behind Waverly and all the cleaning equipment that she had just been using.

"Technically we're open til nine but I was just getting a head start. My manager is through the back, so I figured she wouldn't notice." Waverly explained, a hint of embarrassment on her cheeks. Nicole nodded before looking down at her watch and smiling.

"I could hang around for you to finish up, walk back together? You live on the way to mine, right?" Nicole put her hands on the counter and leaned forward slightly, looking somewhat hopeful.

"I do…"

"Unless you're going somewhere after work? I realise most people go out on Friday nights." Nicole laughed, gesturing around the almost empty shop surrounding her.

"No, I'm going home. Chrissy invited me over, but I'm pretty beat after this week." Waverly sighed, she'd had such a relaxing summer and jumping straight back into being busy nearly every day had left her exhausted.

"Cool, well I'll grab a seat and let you get on." Nicole hovered for a moment by the till, Waverly was certain she might say something else, but she lightly tapped the counter with her hand before turning and sitting herself down.

Waverly returned to her cleaning and heard the scraping of chairs. Hopeful, she turned around to see the last customers heading out, she threw a thank you towards them with her patented smile and wave. Just a few more minutes and she would be able to turn the sign on the door.

There was a small clatter behind her once she'd returned to her cleaning once again and she turned around to see that Nicole had brought the dirty dishes from the table up to counter.

"Oh, thanks but you really don't have to help!" Waverly waved her hands at Nicole, trying to usher her to sit back down and relax.

"It's ok, I don't mind." Nicole smiled easily, ignoring Waverly's flapping. "You can pass me that spray and a cloth, I'll wipe down these tables for you." Waverly paused, she really shouldn't, and her manager probably would not be pleased if she saw Nicole doing Waverly's job for her, but she did want to get out of there as fast as she could. Nicole's smile grew as she saw Waverly pondering what to do and Waverly decided to give in. She handed Nicole the bottle and a cloth, who took them with a nod and turned to start on the tables.

Waverly picked up the tray of dishes Nicole had brought over and loaded them into the dishwasher, along with everything else still waiting to be cleaned. Once it was emptied and everything was back in its proper place, she skipped over to the door and flipped the sign to closed.

"I just need to sweep then I'm good to go." Waverly beamed, and Nicole handed the spray and cloth back to her.

"Do you need me to wait outside or?" Nicole pointed to the closed sign on the door, but Waverly shook her head.

"I'll just be a couple minutes." It usually took her a lot longer to brush the floors, she was normally more thorough, but she really couldn't wait to be done and she didn't want to keep Nicole waiting any longer than she had to.

Once she'd finished with the seating area and behind the counter, she stored the brush away, told Nicole she'd just be a second and nipped through the back with the bin bags. She stopped by the office on her way back to let her manager know she was leaving, grabbed her bag and jacket, flicked the latch on the door so it would lock behind her and Nicole, and she was free.

"Seems like a nice place to work." Nicole said as they walked off campus in the direction of their respective apartments.

"Yeah, it's pretty good. Perfect location for just coming straight into work after class. How come you were on campus so late?" It was far too early for Nicole to have assignments due any time soon even if she was in her final year, unless she was getting one hell of a head start.

"I met up with Shae…"

"Oh." Waverly's heart sank. She was trying so hard to be Nicole's friend, but she couldn't help the disappointment that hit her at the thought of the two of them reconciling. Waverly knew she should have just been happy for her.

"Yeah…I found a necklace of hers down the back of the couch. Her mom gave it to her, so I figured she'd want it back." Nicole shrugged, and Waverly felt herself relax.

"Are you ok? After seeing her again?" Waverly asked, Nicole hadn't seemed particularly down when she had walked into the coffee shop, but then again, she could have been hiding how she really felt. Maybe the warm smile that she had greeted Waverly with was simply to cover up her pain.

"Yeah actually, it was fine…a lot easier than I thought it would be." Nicole turned her head and gave Waverly a genuine smile.

"That's good, I'm glad." Waverly said honestly and not just because it wasn't them getting back together, she really did just want Nicole to be happy. She had hated seeing her so cut up about Shae leaving her.

"I think she's seeing someone." Nicole's brows pulled together, and she started to scuff her feet a little as they made their way down the street.

"I'm sorry." Waverly wasn't sure what else she could say, she didn't know if Nicole wanted to ever get back together with Shae but surely learning she was seeing someone else wouldn't be easy.

"No, it's…it's ok. I've been thinking I should probably do the same, or at least try to."

"Yeah?" Waverly asked, trying her best to hide the hope in her voice. Nicole just nodded, eyes focussed straight ahead. "Do you think you're ready?"

"I don't know, guess I won't know until I try." Nicole looked at Waverly quickly and then back down at her feet.

A silence descended between them as they continued to walk, Waverly not really knowing what to say. She knew what she wanted to say but whether or not she should, was another story. She desperately wanted to ask Nicole out or at least ask her to hang out, just the two of them but the thought of Nicole rejecting her was too much to bear. Nicole was the first woman Waverly had any interest in, the first person she had any interest in since her last relationship had ended. If she put herself out there and it wasn't reciprocated, Waverly would be crushed.

"This is me." Waverly broke the quiet when they reached her building. "Thanks for walking me home and helping me clean up."

"No problem at all." Nicole smiled and stuffed her hands into her jacket pockets. "Have a good night!"

"Thanks, you too. Goodnight, Nicole"

"Goodnight, Waverly." Nicole nodded, and Waverly felt her stomach drop. She loved the way Nicole said her name.

Chapter Text

Following Nicole's impromptu visit to the coffee shop, it got harder for Waverly to ignore the feelings she was having. Not only had she helped her clean-up, which just reiterated how nice a person she was, Waverly now knew that Nicole wanted to try seeing someone new. It only made that voice inside her head telling her to go for it louder but the other voice, told her that even if Nicole wanted to try seeing someone new, she was still getting over Shae. She still needed friends to get her through that, Waverly couldn't let herself forget it even if it was getting harder.

Waverly hoped she might see Nicole again over the weekend, but she wasn't so lucky, her weekend off work was rudely cancelled. She was called in, thanks to her colleague who was 'really sick' but Waverly had seen her posting all over social media about going out for drinks with the girls, so she was more likely just really hungover. Waverly didn't mind all that much, it was extra money and it meant she had a favour to cash in at some point.

Having missed her chance to see both Chrissy and Nicole over the weekend, Waverly called to see if Chrissy wanted to do dinner or lunch at some point that week and secretly hoped she would pick dinner. Lunch always meant they would meet on campus, dinner would mean she could go over to her place and hopefully she could just casually run into Nicole.

Chrissy picked lunch though, Wednesday, somewhere on campus and although Waverly was a little disappointed she was actually looking forward to it. It was better than eating by herself while trying to figure out how to stay on top of her work for class, which she did most days. She was pretty jealous of the people who didn't need to work to support themselves while going through university, most of them didn't know how easy they had it.

"So, how's living with Nicole? Presume you don't want to murder her yet?" Waverly had realised she hadn't actually ever asked Chrissy this question since she'd moved in, the liking living with Nicole part not the murder part, although she hadn't asked her that either. It seemed like Chrissy was enjoying it, but Waverly wanted to make sure, make sure she wasn't digging herself in deep with someone who might not be around for long. If Chrissy decided she didn't want to live with Nicole anymore, Waverly wasn't sure what would happen to their friendship.

"She's great, seriously! Best roommate ever, there's no arguments about the dishes or the toilet roll!" Chrissy's eyes glazed over for a second and Waverly knew she was thinking about all the arguments she had had with her previous roommates. "She'll steal like a tiny bit of my juice or a bowl of cereal and the next day she'll have bought a brand new one, even if she didn't finish it!" Chrissy laughed, and Waverly fought a smile, that sounded like something Nicole would do.

"Well that is definitely a step up!" Chrissy really seemed to have bad luck with roommates, before Nicole of course. Her first year, she roomed with someone who barely spoke to her but would leave passive aggressive notes all over their room, then pretend like it wasn't her. It drove Chrissy up the wall and she ended up spending most of her time in Waverly's room since her roommate was practically never there. Last year, Chrissy shared an apartment with two girls from one of her classes but they all ended up hating each other by the time it came to move out and Waverly had never heard Chrissy mention them ever again. Waverly was actually scared to bring them up herself so she never really ever found out what had happened.

The two of them had always agreed that it wouldn't be worth risking their friendship to move in together. They knew it could put a strain on the strongest of friendships and they couldn't bear it if they stopped talking to each other.

"Are you working this weekend?" Waverly asked, knowing that the answer was probably going to be yes but still she hoped that for once they would have the weekend off at the same time.

"Yeah, Saturday night." Chrissy groaned, even though Waverly knew she actually quite enjoyed her job. It was a nice restaurant and she made great tips. Waverly had a sneaking suspicion that Chrissy was more annoyed that she wouldn't be able to go out for a few drinks on Friday night and lust after the bartender without actually speaking to him, again.

"Damn, I'm off all weekend." Waverly sighed, she had hoped that she could have suggested dinner with both Chrissy and Nicole's at their place on Saturday night. She didn't actually know if Nicole would have been free to join them, but she couldn't very well ask if Chrissy knew what Nicole was up to over the weekend without a reason behind it.

"You should give Nicole a message, I'm pretty sure she has as few friends as we do!" Chrissy laughed but she probably wasn't wrong and thankfully didn't seem to notice Waverly almost choking on a mouthful of her food at the suggestion. Nicole had mentioned that she didn't have very many friends and while Waverly had been popular all through high school, when she moved away from Purgatory she wasn't so sure she needed that empty validation anymore. That did mean that Chrissy was pretty much her only close friend, she didn't mind though, she'd rather have one person in this city she knew actually cared about her than a hundred superficial friendships any day.

"Yeah…maybe I could." Waverly was still desperate to do that, to ask Nicole to hang out. She had wanted that since she last saw Nicole, but she was still battling with her nerves. Ideally, what she wanted was for Nicole to suggest they hang out, so Waverly knew she wasn't forcing her company on someone who wasn't interested.

Before Chrissy left and headed to her next class she pointed at Waverly and told her to message Nicole. She obviously wanted the pair to get on, they did get on but maybe Chrissy wouldn't have been so encouraging if she knew Waverly was hiding some pretty intense feelings for Nicole.

As Chrissy disappeared from sight, Waverly's self-doubt took a step back as she focussed on the fact that her and Nicole really did get on, so even if Nicole wasn't interested interested, she probably would not say no to spending time alone with her. Waverly didn't have her number though, so she would have to message her online. She didn't quite have the nerve to message her right then and there though, she decided to build up some more courage during her last class and message Nicole before she headed to work.

Waverly Earp:
Hey, how's it going?

Nicole Haught:
Hey : ) pretty good, you?

Waverly Earp:
I'm good, just about to head to work.

Waverly Earp:
Any chance you'll be dropping by tonight? : )

Waverly decided if she was going to ask her to do something that weekend, she wanted to do it in person or at least over a phone call. If Nicole happened to be dropping by the coffee shop that night she could hit two birds with one stone, finally ask Nicole for her number and ask her to hang out.

Nicole Haught:
Not tonight, I've got a date with a mountain of books!

Waverly nearly choked for the second time that day as she read the word date but thankfully her heart rate calmed as she finished reading the message. Even the idea of Nicole potentially going on a date with someone other than her was making her panic that she had missed her chance already and she knew she was going to have to do something soon.

She debated over sending the next message until she was literally walking through the door at the coffee shop. She knew it was flirty, she knew it was more forward than she had ever been with Nicole before, but she also knew she had to push herself if anything was ever going to happen between them.

Waverly Earp:
Lucky books ; )

Nicole didn't reply right away like she had with the previous messages. She had read it, Waverly could see that but no reply. Waverly had to start work, so she shoved her phone into her bag and hoped that she hadn't just made a huge mistake.

By the time she left work, she'd almost forgotten about the message she had sent just before starting her shift but as she looked out her phone from her bag she remembered…and she had a reply. Two replies.

Nicole Haught:
Right?! If only they knew!

Nicole Haught:
How was work? : )

Waverly typed back quickly, and they had a brief back and forth about how their evenings had been. It was easy to talk to Nicole, no matter what they were talking about, but she still couldn't work up the nerve to ask her for her number. She still had a couple of days, she just had to hope that Nicole didn't already have plans or make new ones in the time it took for Waverly to get out of her own head.

Thursday came and went, Waverly still didn't get the nerve to ask Nicole for her number.

All the way through her shift on Friday night, Waverly gave herself a talking to in her head. Encouraging herself to just do it already, stop waiting around for Nicole to suggest something. She would message her after she had finished work, if Nicole didn't already have plans for Saturday night she would suggest they do something together. Something that could read as simply platonic, but Waverly hoped she would be able to figure out where she stood with Nicole if she ever wanted to suggest something a little less platonic like dinner or drinks. Just the two of them.

"Fancy meeting you here." Nicole said with a smile as she walked through the door into the empty coffee shop, five minutes before Waverly was due to close. Her manager once again focussed on the weeks paperwork in the office, so she already had the place spotless. It had been for the last half hour as Waverly worked out her nerves scrubbing all the visible surfaces clean.

"Hey!" Waverly grinned as Nicole walked up to the counter. "No date tonight?" Waverly teased, and it looked like it took a few seconds for Nicole to figure out what she was talking about. Waverly tensed at the thought of her remembering their conversation a few days prior more fondly than Nicole.

"Oh." Nicole laughed as she got it and Waverly relaxed. "No, not tonight. Just had to return them to the library actually, don't think it's going to work out between us!" Nicole gave a sombre shake of her as she leaned against the counter in front of Waverly.

"What a shame." Waverly said trying really hard to keep a straight face.

"You headed home after this?" Nicole got rid of her faux seriousness and brightened as she asked.

"I am, yeah. You?"

"Yeah." Nicole nodded as Waverly tried to fight the smile on her face, but she couldn't. Nicole had stopped by and was going to walk her home. Again.

Nicole took a seat after looking around, no doubt checking to see if there was anything she could help tidy up, but Waverly was more than ready for it hit nine o'clock, so she could get out of there.

Waverly tried not to read into Nicole showing up too much, she was on her way back from the library, so it wasn't like she had walked all the way to campus just to see Waverly, but she had thought to call in and see if she was walking home. That meant that Waverly was at least somewhere in Nicole's mind, whether it was as a friend or something more, that was what Waverly had to figure out.

"What do you want to do after you graduate? I don't think I've ever asked you." Nicole asked as they headed out the shop and onto the street, Nicole holding to door open for Waverly.

"I'm not totally sure, maybe teach. My teachers had a big impact on me at school and I'd love to be able to do that for someone else some day!" Waverly had a few ideas of what she wanted to do but teaching was the one she always circled back to.

"Yeah?" Nicole turned to look at her, almost like she was trying to picture it. "That's really cool."

"How long have you known you wanted to be a cop?"

"Probably since I was a kid, never really saw it as an actual option til I was a teenager though. Everywhere I lived growing up it was always male officers, it wasn't until I started high school that I started to really see women doing the job." Waverly listened, totally enthralled as Nicole talked animatedly about a time she saw a female police officer take down a guy twice her size who was harassing a woman on the street.

Nicole admitted that she wanted to be that police officer as soon as she saw it go down in front of her. She looked a little embarrassed after she had finished her story and Waverly asked her what was wrong.

"Nothing, I just…I've never told anyone that before." Nicole ducked her head as they came to a stop outside of Waverly's apartment before looking back up with a smile. "Maybe see you over the weekend?"

"Yeah, I'm not working so…" Waverly had her question on the tip of her tongue, she knew she wanted to ask Nicole for her number, but she was a little taken aback by the revelation that Nicole had never shared the reason why she wanted to become a police officer with anyone else before. Not even Shae.

"Cool…" Nicole nodded, and Waverly watched far too closely as her tongue darted out to wet her lips. Waverly took a step forward into Nicole's space and held her arms out for a hug. She suddenly realised as she made the motion, that in all their time hanging out they had never hugged each other as a greeting or as a goodbye. Nicole had cried on her shoulder, had slept on a cushion in her lap but they had never hugged. Maybe Nicole wasn't a hugger.

Nicole stepped a little closer to Waverly before Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole. Nicole's long arms stretched over Waverly's shoulders and for just a second, Waverly rested her head against Nicole's neck. It didn't last long but Waverly was sure that it was the best hug she'd ever experienced, and she pulled back a little red in the face as she realised she could have stayed like that for so much longer.

"Goodnight, Nicole."

"Goodnight, Waverly." Nicole smiled as she walked away, and Waverly cursed under her breath at not having asked for her number, again.

Waverly made her way up to her apartment and lay down on her bed. Although she wasn't sure how she was supposed to sleep when all she could think about was how right it had felt to be held in Nicole's arms. She didn't know if she could keep doing this to herself. There was something telling her that her and Nicole were getting somewhere, a tiny hopeful voice in the back of her mind and god did she wanted to listen, but she knew she couldn't give it too much attention, just in case. For tonight though, she was going to let herself listen and let herself hope.

Chapter Text

Waverly didn't particularly like answering strange numbers calling her phone but considering Wynonna's proclivity for losing hers, more often than not she felt compelled to answer them just in case. So, when her phone rang early Saturday afternoon and she didn't recognise the number she picked it up, prepared to chastise Wynonna for losing yet another phone.

"Hello?" Waverly answered, waiting for the inevitable 'So babygirl…here's the thing…'.

"Hey, Waverly. Hope you don't mind, I asked Chrissy for your number." This was definitely a better outcome than Waverly had been prepared for. Why hadn't she thought to ask Chrissy for Nicole's number?

"Hi, Nicole. No, that's totally ok. What's up?" Waverly was already smiling like an idiot and she stopped herself before realising that Nicole couldn't actually see her and she could smile to her hearts content.

"I'm having a couple people over for a movie night tonight and I was wondering if you wanted to come?" Waverly knew Chrissy was working, which meant that Nicole wanted to spend some real time with her, not just a walk home from work and not just by extension of her friendship with Chrissy.

"Sure, that sounds great." Waverly replied, back to smiling like an idiot and a hum of excitement in her stomach.

"I meant to invite you last night, but I wasn't sure if you'd want to come…" Nicole sounded suddenly unsure and Waverly grew concerned.

"Why wouldn't I?" Did Nicole not believe her when she had said she liked spending time with her? She'd even told Nicole that she wasn't working that weekend, not exactly in the hope that Nicole might suggest they do something, but it had definitely been in the back of Waverly's mind when she had said it.

"I don't know, I mean I know you're friends with Chrissy not me really…but I like spending time with you." Nicole practically whispered that last part and Waverly could feel herself blushing.

"Nicole, you're my friend. Not just Chrissy's roommate, ok?" Waverly said pretending to be stern.

"Ok…ok!" Nicole sounded like she'd just been given into trouble, but she let out a light chuckle immediately after so Waverly knew she had taken how Waverly had spoken with the humour it was intended with.

"Good, glad we could clear that up." Waverly joined in with Nicole's laughter.

"So, Jeremy and Rosita are coming over around seven but feel free to come over whenever you want."

"Cool, need me to bring anything?" She'd yet to hear Nicole talk about these people but she was sure that anyone friends with Nicole, she was likely to get along with too.

"I've got the snacks covered but if you want to bring something to drink then feel free." Waverly told her she might bring a bottle of wine but didn't add that it would definitely be to share. It was certainly easier for Waverly to be around Nicole, but she still wasn't totally comfortable getting drunk around her and especially not if she was meeting some of her friends. She did wonder where these friends had been when Nicole was going through the worst of her break-up though. Maybe they had been home for summer like a lot of people and maybe now they were trying to make up for it.

Waverly managed to stay home until just after six, then she couldn't wait a minute longer and she headed over to Nicole's. She had said Waverly was welcome to come over at any time and maybe Waverly wanted a little time with Nicole before her friends arrived.

"Hope you don't mind I'm a little early?" Waverly asked as Nicole opened the door to her.

"Not at all, come on in!" The living room was set up with a few bowls, popcorn, chips, dips. There was even some music playing quietly in the background, something Waverly didn't recognise, an acoustic guitar and a soft voice. She was liking it, whatever it was.

"This is nice." Waverly said, hopefully making it clear she was referring to the music.

"It was my dad's favourite singer." Nicole smiled, and Waverly took note of the past tense used. "James Taylor, he does a really nice version of You've Got A Friend."

"As in the Toy Story song?" Waverly asked, amused.

"No." Nicole shook her head with a laugh. "Here, I'll put it on." She went over to where her phone was plugged in and switched the song. As soon as he started singing, Waverly recognised it. It was a lovely version. Waverly hadn't put much thought into what kind of music Nicole liked but it definitely seemed to fit.

"Oh, I love this song. Did you ever watch Gilmore Girls?" Waverly asked as she sat down on the couch, feeling herself relax at every note plucked on the guitar.

"Yeah, I had a total crush on Paris when I was younger." Nicole admitted as her cheeks grew red.

"Really?!" Waverly couldn't help but smile at that, it wouldn't be who she would have thought Nicole would have liked.

"Yeah, I really liked her 'take no shit' attitude." Nicole sat down next to Waverly. "And she was super smart, so…"

"Ah, so you like smart girls?" Waverly flashed her a playful grin, she thought that was good information to have.

"Definitely." Nicole nodded, reaching forward for a handful of popcorn. "Mmm, sorry! Did you want something to drink?" Nicole asked, covering her mouth to hide her chewing.

"I brought some wine so, just a glass, but I can get it." Waverly got up from her seat just as someone knocked on the door. Nicole jumped up right after her to go answer it. Nicole's friends were prompt. Still, Waverly was happy with the short time she'd managed to spend with Nicole before they got there. She'd learned something new about her. "Do you want a glass?"

"Only if it's white, not really a fan of red wine." Nicole spoke over her shoulder as she walked to the door. Waverly smiled to herself, she'd made the right choice. She got down two wine glasses and then another two just in case Nicole's friends wanted some as well but put them back as she noticed the six pack of beer in the woman's hand as she entered the apartment.

Nicole hugged her guests and they followed her to the couches as Waverly made her way back. They chose to sit on one together and the woman, presumably Rosita instantly put her legs up on the guy, Jeremy's lap. Waverly wondered if maybe they were a couple and suddenly she felt a little odd. Had Nicole invited her over to a night with a couple? Maybe she had invited Waverly just so she didn't have to feel like a third wheel?

"This is Waverly." Nicole introduced her as she rounded the couch and set the glasses she was holding down on the coffee table. Jeremy reached over to shake her hand, introducing himself and Rosita did the same, steadying herself by grabbing onto Jeremy's arm as she stretched herself over him to reach Waverly.

"Nice to meet you." Waverly said as she opened the bottle of wine, she felt a little dry in the throat. "So are you two…" Waverly gestured between them with her free hand as she poured wine into the glasses for her and Nicole. They looked at each other before laughing hysterically, like Waverly had just said the funniest things they'd ever heard.

"Absolutely not!" Rosita said after she had recovered from her laughter. "Jeremy here's in the same club as Nicole." Rosita affectionately patted Jeremy on the cheek until he shoved her away with a chuckle.

"Oh." Waverly laughed at herself, she'd got herself all worked up over nothing.

"They are abnormally close, don't worry about it." Nicole leaned over to Waverly and spoke in a fake whisper while shooting a smirk over to the two on the other couch. She picked up her glass after thanking Waverly for the wine. "So, what are we watching?"

They had a quick debate over what movie to watch, Waverly not putting in any suggestions as she really was happy to watch whatever they all wanted and finally the three of them decided on something. Nicole got off the couch to turn off the music and to use the bathroom before they got started.

"Nicole said you and Chrissy have been really great since Shae broke up with her." Rosita offered Waverly a smile before a look of regret took over her. "Me and Jer felt awful that we weren't here when it happened."

"It was nothing, Nicole's really easy to hang out with." Waverly said and although that hadn't been true in the beginning, it really was the truth now. A smile graced her lips as she thought over her more recent interactions with Nicole, it must have lasted a little too long because Jeremy and Rosita shared a look before turning back to Waverly and agreeing with her. "So…" Waverly cleared her throat, hoping that their shared look didn't mean what she thought it did. "How do you know Nicole?"

"We roomed together our first year." Rosita answered, thankfully taking the change of subject in her stride. "Me and Jeremy study bio-chem together so we just sort of started hanging out as a group."

"So, you're not friends with Shae then?" Waverly remembered what Nicole had said about not having very many friends that weren't Shae's first and maybe these two were who she had been talking about.

"No." Jeremy said a little gruffly before he seemed to realise how that sounded. "I mean, not really. We knew her, of course, through Nicole but not exactly the biggest fans…especially now." Jeremy reached for one of the beers Rosita had brought with her and opened it. Waverly looked to Rosita to see how she would answer.

"Yeah, Nicole's an in it for the long-haul type of person. Shae was never looking for that, but she stayed with her anyway…" Rosita sighed, it seemed like she had tried to get Nicole to see the relationship for what it was before and she no doubt felt bad that Nicole had ended up getting hurt instead of walking away when Shae made her hesitation clear by declining Nicole's suggestion of moving in together.

"Why did she stay?" Waverly had been wondering this herself since Nicole had told her about Shae's aversion to take their future seriously. Surely Nicole had plenty of dating options, she was beautiful, kind and everything that Waverly wanted. There had to be other girls out there who saw that too.

"You know as much as we do!" Rosita shrugged and turned her head as the lock from the bathroom opened. "Maybe she'll tell you one day." Rosita spoke more quietly as she raised her eyebrows and Waverly tried not to think of what she meant by that.

They barely watched the movie, instead they talked while it played in the background, but Waverly thought she actually preferred it that way. She was learning so much about Nicole, what she was like when she first came to study and all the antics the three of them used to get up to. If Waverly really thought she even had any hope of not liking Nicole the more she got to know her, she was being proved wrong every single instance they spent time together.

Nicole looked suitably embarrassed by a particular story from when she had got incredibly drunk and Rosita had had to stop her from trying to steal one of the campus security golf carts they ride around in. Literally having to drag her away kicking and screaming apparently.

"And you want to be a cop?" Waverly laughed, utterly surprised by hearing that Nicole had a bit of a wild side. She seemed so level headed, so perfectly suited to becoming a police officer.

"In my defence…" Nicole started and then sagged back against the couch, cheeks burning. "Ok, I have no excuse…I was young and foolish, but I would never do that now!"

They hadn't noticed that the movie had stopped playing long ago and were only alerted to the amount of time that had passed when Chrissy arrived back from work. She introduced herself to the two she had never met before and then excused herself to get changed.

Rosita and Jeremy said they had better get going but thanked Nicole and Waverly for a great evening. Nicole got up to walk them out and Waverly decided to repay Nicole for helping her tidy up at work the week before. She took the now empty bowls and all the empty beer cans into the kitchen.

"Waverly, it's ok. You don't have to do that." Nicole called over to her after shutting the door behind Rosita and Jeremy.

"It's no problem." Waverly smiled over her shoulder, rising out the cans before putting them in the recycling and loading the bowls into the dishwasher.

Nicole sat back down and poured the rest of the wine, splitting it between their glasses which made Waverly smile. Nicole clearly didn't want Waverly to leave yet or she just knew that Waverly wasn't quite ready for the night to be over.

On her way back to the couch, Waverly decided to plug her phone into the speakers that Nicole had been using earlier. She pressed play on what she had been listening to last and only when she was just about to sit down did she realise where she had found the artist. It had been during her rather extensive internet research into her feelings for Nicole.

"Ria Mae?" Nicole asked with an inquisitive smile as she handed Waverly her glass before she sat back down.

"Yeah." Waverly ducked her head and chewed on her lip. It was ridiculous to think that Nicole would somehow know how she had found her but still Waverly felt a little nervous.

"She's great, I went to see her play last year." Nicole twisted herself round so she was sitting facing Waverly, one leg tucked under the other and Waverly made the same motion, so they were face to face. It felt intimate, they had sat this close on the couch before, closer even but Waverly was sure she wasn't imagining the slight change in atmosphere between them. Or at least, she hoped she wasn't imagining it.

"I've never been to a concert before." Waverly admitted, a little embarrassed but comfortable enough to share that information with Nicole. Growing up in a small town, it just wasn't an option without a full day and night trip and then just not finding the time or the right people to go with when she had moved. Whenever she had wanted to go to a show, there wasn't anyone who wanted to go with her and it was far too intimidating to go to her first ever concert all on her own.

"Well, we will absolutely have to fix that!" Nicole said softly, not a hint of judgement in her voice but there was something there as she stretched her arm along the back of the sofa towards Waverly. Waverly's breathing sped up. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Nicole's fingers inching closer to where her own hand was resting. "Live music is the best, you can really feel it."

Nicole was watching her closely and Waverly couldn't tear her eyes away from Nicole's lips as her tongue peeked out to wet them. Nicole's fingers brushed softly against her own and Waverly was sure that Nicole was going to say something, something that might finally let her know she wasn't alone in her feelings.

"Did they leave?" Chrissy voice coming from behind them broke the moment and Nicole pulled her hand back to rest in her lap. She hummed a confirmation to Chrissy before grabbing her glass and taking a long drink. Chrissy sat down on the other couch. "Something wrong?"

Waverly turned her head and saw that the question was directed at her and she realised how odd it must have looked. Waverly just staring at Nicole while she drank.

"No." Waverly shook her head and turned herself around on the couch, so she was facing each of them equally as Nicole finished the rest of her glass quickly.

"I'm going to head to bed, goodnight guys." Nicole got up, barely sparing a glance in Waverly's direction and her chest ached.

"Goodnight." Chrissy called over her shoulder and Waverly's eyes followed Nicole as she walked away, willing her to look back. When she finally did, she offered Waverly the smallest of smiles before ducking into the hallway.

Waverly swallowed hard, she didn't know if she could stay there any longer, but when Chrissy started talking about how Nicole had seen Waverly more than she had the last couple days, Waverly felt like she had to hang around.

 

The following day, Waverly woke up in her apartment with a sense of longing she wasn't sure she'd ever experienced before. She had been flirted with before, of course, but no one and Waverly really was sure about this, no one had ever made Waverly feel the way Nicole had made her feel with just a simple look and the lightest of touch.

That also meant that Waverly had never really experienced what had happened after before either. Nicole pulling away and how empty that had made her feel. Logically, she knew why she had pulled away. Chrissy being in the room was not exactly what Waverly pictured when she thought about anything happening with Nicole, so she was sure that Nicole felt the same way. She just didn't understand why Nicole had left the room in such a hurry.

Maybe she should have told Chrissy what had been going on with her, maybe Chrissy would have left them to it once she'd noticed they were alone. Waverly just had no idea how to tell her. It wasn't just that Waverly would have to tell her she had feelings for her roommate, Waverly would have to tell Chrissy that she had feelings for a woman. Wynonna had barely batted an eye when Waverly had confirmed her suspicions and had even encouraged her to go after what she wanted. Waverly didn't think that Chrissy would mind exactly, she just knew it would come as a surprise and she didn't know if she was quite ready to explain it just yet.

Waverly sat on her bed, legs crossed and phone in her hand. Her thumb hovered over Nicole's number for what felt like hours. She needed confirmation that she wasn't imagining things but every time she almost pressed down, she chickened out. She couldn't do that over the phone, she needed to look Nicole in the eye so there wasn't a shadow of a doubt.

What she did instead, she wasn't proud of and Chrissy would no doubt be pretty pissed if she ever found out that she'd used her as an excuse just to see Nicole, but she called Chrissy anyway. She really had seemed bummed out that they hadn't had much time to spend together recently and so it really was the perfect excuse. She could spend some time with Chrissy and see Nicole, and hope that there would be a moment when they would be alone.

But Nicole wasn't there when she arrived, or she at least wasn't in the living room where she spent most of her time at home. Waverly knew she shouldn't ask about Nicole as soon as she got there so enjoyed Chrissy's company for as long as she could hold back the question she wanted to ask.

"So, where's Nicole?" Waverly finally asked after nearly an hour, she knew it was unlikely that she was still hiding away in her room. She always came out to say hello when Waverly was there, so she definitely would have done that by now.

"I don't know actually, she went out super early this morning and she's not come back yet." Chrissy shrugged, Nicole hadn't mentioned any plans for that morning the night before and Waverly had to try hard to wipe the confusion from her face. It wasn't like Nicole told her everything, maybe she had some errands to run.

"Oh, ok. I just wanted to thank her again for inviting me over last night." Waverly lied easily.

"I'm really glad she seems to be doing better, breakups are the worst!" Chrissy groaned, and Waverly recalled all of Chrissy's moping around after her breakups even when she was the one who had ended it. Was it weird that she'd never felt that way after any of her own? She'd never really been that broken up about any of the few relationships she'd had coming to an end.

"Yeah…she told me last week she thinks Shae is seeing someone, but she seemed alright about it."

"That sucks but maybe now she'll start thinking about moving on too." Chrissy looked hopeful and Waverly wondered what Chrissy would have to say if Nicole decided to move on with Waverly.

"Yeah…maybe." Waverly would have to tell Chrissy eventually, it wasn't like it would be very easy keeping it a secret from her but maybe for a little while…Waverly would have to actually know where it was going first.

"Do you want to go out for lunch? I don't really have anything in."

"Sure." Waverly couldn't very well just say no because she wanted to be there when Nicole got back, and she was actually hungry. Her mind had been so preoccupied that morning, she hadn't eaten breakfast and now at the mention of food her stomach started reminding her how empty it was.

Chrissy got her things together and they headed out, just as they opened the door to her building, Nicole came into view. Instantly Waverly was smiling but Nicole barely looked at her as she said hello and Waverly's face fell. Chrissy told her they were just going to grab some food if she wanted to join but she declined.

"I already ate. Have a good time." Nicole looked like she was trying so hard not to look at Waverly and suddenly Waverly wasn't so hungry. She thought she might actually be sick. What had happened since the night before?

Waverly followed Chrissy as she moved off, her feet propelling her forwards, but she didn't even feel like she was in her own body. Chrissy told her she needed to try some place just around the corner, but she was sure she was on the verge of tears. A tiny bubble of anger and confusion with Nicole started to rise in her chest as Chrissy listed off all the great options from the menu.

Waverly hadn't done anything, bar send a single mildly flirty message that easily could have been taken as friendly banter, she'd been perfectly respectful to Nicole while she was getting over her break up. Nicole was the one that had invited her over, she was the one that had initiated whatever it was that had happened between them for those few moments before Chrissy came in and now she was the one avoiding Waverly? That wasn't fair, and it didn't make any sense.

"I think I left my phone at your place. How about you grab us a table and I'll be right back?" Waverly said just as Chrissy opened the door to the café.

"Here, take my keys." Chrissy tossed them to her and she thanked her before turning around and heading back. She wouldn't use them, she didn't want to pounce on Nicole even if she was a little pissed off at her.

Waverly marched up the two flights of stairs with purpose. She knocked on the door, a little more forcefully than she had intended, and Nicole answered it quickly.

"Oh. Hey, Waverly." Nicole spoke, eyes meeting for a second before she looked down at her feet.

Chapter Text

Nicole knew she'd made the right decision in choosing Chrissy to live with her, even before she met her dad and found out he was a cop and a wealth of information, that had told her to call her anytime she had a question about her future career aspirations. It just felt right, especially after the few terrible potential roommates she had met with before.

Shae had made a bit of a show and dance when Nicole said she wanted to get someone to move into her spare room, not that she really had a say in the matter. Shae had turned down Nicole's offer months ago and she didn't seem to have changed her mind.

Nicole had grown bored of living alone and if Shae didn't want to live with her, she wanted to find someone who did. Nicole didn't actually need someone to move in, she could afford to pay her bills on her own with the money she had inherited when her parents passed away, but she just didn't like how quiet the place was on nights that Shae didn't stay over and was too busy for Nicole to spend the night at her place.

 

Nicole didn't have many friends of her own besides Jeremy and Rosita. Shae for whatever reason, didn't seem to like it when Nicole spent time with her friends without her and Nicole had always found it odd. Shouldn't your girlfriend want you to get along with her friends? But she rarely questioned it, Shae was an only child and she was used to her things being her things. Nicole never pointed out that she was an only child too…

She had started seeing Shae casually during her first year at school and her time became pretty stretched after they became an item officially. She didn't have that much time to cultivate new friendships as well as maintain her grades, but she could always count on Rosita and Jeremy. Even if they weren't the biggest fans of Shae's.

Now however, she had an opportunity to create a new friendship and a live-in one at that. Chrissy was lovely and funny, and she seemed to have no problem with treating Nicole as a friend straight off the bat.

Nicole was going to be a great roommate, she'd get to know Chrissy's friends and make them feel as welcome as she could too.

Chrissy only seemed to have one good friend though. Waverly, studying history, impossibly smart according to Chrissy and apparently the best friend she could have hoped for growing up. It sounded like they'd had a great childhood and Nicole was certainly a little jealous. She'd moved around so much she'd lost contact with everyone she had gone to elementary and high school with, six schools in total before she was barely seventeen.

She never begrudged her parents for picking up roots every few years, she got to see more of her beautiful country than most people her age had the opportunity to but now she was settled, she didn't think she'd ever want to move again.

Waverly was really nice, familiar somehow, but Nicole couldn't figure out exactly why and Nicole wanted her to feel as welcome as Chrissy was in her home. She made a habit of getting them coffee, sometimes she'd hear them come in and purposefully act like she was getting herself one just so she could offer them as well.

Shae thought it was silly, voicing the thought more often than Nicole cared for that it seemed like she was desperate for them to like her and if she was being honest, she was a little bit. Not that she'd ever tell her girlfriend that. Shae had always found it so easy to make friends, it was almost effortless. She was charismatic, and people tended to gravitate towards her. Nicole knew that, she had felt that pull herself obviously, but Shae never seemed to understand that Nicole didn't find it quite so easy to make friends.

Shae never said that she didn't like Chrissy or Waverly, but she certainly didn't make any effort to get to know them either. It bothered Nicole immensely, Chrissy had signed an open-ended lease with her, so she could stay for as long or as short a time as she wanted. She had two years left at university and if she liked living with Nicole, which Nicole hoped she did, she could stay until then and maybe even after if she didn't move back home or somewhere else to look for a job. So, Nicole felt like Shae should at least try and get to know the person she was living with and someone who seemed to spend most of her free time at Nicole's apartment as well.

After two weeks of keeping her feelings to herself they spilled out and her and Shae had probably the worst fight of their relationship. It only ended when Shae announced she was either going to go back to her apartment to sleep or they could stop arguing and go to bed together. Nicole didn't want her to leave and so she dropped it, but it didn't mean she was over it. She stewed all day until it came out once again over dinner.

 

"Can you not just make an effort?" It was the exact same argument and Shae keeping the exact same apathetic attitude. Nicole had considered cancelling their dinner plans for fear of continuing the argument from the night before and Shae threatening to leave again, but Nicole couldn't let it go. She didn't want to let it go.

"I say 'hey', what more do you want?" Shae dropped her fork onto the table and groaned, tiny specs of pasta sauce flicking over the table top.

"I want you to act like the person I might be living with for some time isn't just a piece of the furniture." Nicole was glad that Chrissy seemed to have headed out for the night, she didn't want to upset her by her overhearing things that Shae was saying. Nicole felt guilty that Shae was saying them even with her gone. Not that it was Nicole's fault that Shae was being rude.

"I don't say 'hey' to your furniture, Nicole…are you actually still mad about this?"

"Yes." That wasn't strictly true, she was more mad about what it said about Shae and she was mad that she was starting to understand more and more where Rosita had been coming from when she had said she just hoped Nicole wouldn't get hurt staying with Shae. "Chrissy might be here for a couple years…don't you want to get to know her…since you'll be around too?" Nicole hadn't been brave enough to bring that up the night before, she wasn't even sure she felt brave enough to bring it up now but she felt like she had to.

"Nicole…" Nicole hated it when Shae used that voice, she was going to say something she knew would hurt Nicole's feelings, but she was going to say it anyway. Nicole had heard Shae's reasoning time and time again, she didn't like to plan, she didn't want to feel like she was being tied down, blah blah blah. Her and Shae were in a relationship and they weren't dating anyone else so as far as Nicole saw it, Shae was already 'tied down'. Why couldn't she just realise that that didn't have to be a bad thing?

"I know you didn't want to move in with me when I asked before but…"

"Nicole we've talked about this, I love spending time with you, but I just don't like planning ahead like that…I don't know what's going to happen in a year…or two." Shae was softening her voice and It was making Nicole panic.

"We're good together, doesn't that matter? Shouldn't that matter?"

"It does matter but then you talk about things you want to do in four, five years' time and you always want to know how I'm going to fit into it…" Shae gripped the bridge of her nose and sighed. "Nicole, I just don't…I don't know if I see that future…with you, with anyone."

"So, what is the point then?" Nicole's own fork landed on the table as Nicole threw her hands up in frustration. She instantly regretted her outburst as soon as Shae's face fell.

"I don't know…maybe there isn't one. Maybe we should stop this." Shae's shoulders sagged, and Nicole felt like she'd been stabbed in the chest. A tiny part of Nicole hoped that Shae had simply meant the argument but the look on Shae's face told her what she already knew. 'This' really meant 'us'.

Nicole felt like she was watching herself from above as she followed Shae around the apartment, picking up things that she had left about the place before she left, and Nicole was alone. She couldn't even bring herself to beg Shae to stay, to talk it out. Maybe she just knew it wouldn't make a difference. Once Shae had made her mind up about something, there wasn't much that could change it.

She didn't sleep, she couldn't sleep. Not until she had uttered the words 'Shae broke up with me' to someone who had no reason to be as nice as she was being, except maybe that she was simply a good person. She couldn't sleep until after Shae had come, taken the rest of her things that she couldn't carry or had forgotten about the night before and confirmed that it was truly over.

'Better this way' she said, as if that made everything alright. 'Never going to last' as if Nicole had known this was always coming and maybe she did, and she had wilfully ignored it but that didn't mean it didn't hurt like hell. Only then did her body fully resign itself to how exhausted she was.

She may have only slept for two hours but it was the best nap she'd ever had. She felt a little better, lighter. Like maybe this wasn't the worst thing to happen to her in years.

That was until Waverly looked at her, really looked at her and Nicole felt her stomach drop. Like the first time her dad had convinced her to go on a rollercoaster with him even though she was terrified, and it had been the most exhilarating few minutes of her life. She couldn't let Waverly see, so she stared down at her phone and hoped her face didn't betray her.

Shae had only just left.

 

Rosita felt awful, Jeremy too. Even though Nicole knew they wanted to tell her, 'We told you so', they didn't, and Nicole loved them for it. They had told her so and she had been stupid not to listen to them, to think that Shae would change, to think that she could change her.

They called her every day for a week, always offering to come back early and check on her but she was doing better. Chrissy was helping any way she could and Waverly too but in a different, far more complicated way and then she remembered.

She had seen Waverly before. Quite a few times actually and she found herself staring just like she had on more than one occasion in the coffee shop. Nicole wondered how on earth she hadn't realised who she was before. Nicole had always thought she was beautiful. Waverly was beautiful, but Nicole had quickly realised that she was so much more than that too.

 

They took her out and she met Wynonna, the polar opposite of Waverly and yet similar in a way she couldn't quite put her finger on. She had a great time and she really didn't think about Shae for most of the night. She even thought that her and Waverly were really hitting it off apart from a few moments of awkwardness when Nicole had maybe been a little too brave. She simply couldn't help herself when it was revealed that Waverly may not have been quite as straight as Nicole had first presumed.

But Waverly seemed uncomfortable and then even more so when the suggestion of a gay bar came up and she practically sprinted to the bar. Maybe she was as straight as Nicole had first thought.

Nicole tried to make it right, tried to assure Waverly that she was more than happy to spend the night not trying to get over Shae at a gay bar because she was…she also really wasn't sure that she was actually ready for that. It seemed to help and whatever had been bothering Waverly seemed to have passed by the time they sat back down at their table. Nicole spent the rest of their time in the bar ignoring the voice in her head telling her that she probably would be ready to move on, if the right person came along.

Nicole ended up oversharing a little about Shae, alcohol did that to her, but Waverly took it in her stride and even gave some pretty insightful advice. Nicole didn't miss the way that Waverly stared at her though, she couldn't tell if she was just a little too drunk or just a little too hopeful because she was sure that Waverly's eyes darted to her lips more than a few times while they spoke. Nicole was getting used to Shae not being around, but wasn't it too fast, too soon to be thinking about someone else? To be that hopeful?

She didn't admit to how much she enjoyed spending time with Waverly when Waverly had admitted that she liked spending time with her, instead she decided to be stupid and cocky in a way that only confirmed to herself exactly how she was feeling for Waverly and she ran away. Well, not ran away but she removed herself from the situation, stating she was ready for bed when in fact she could have stayed there and talked to Waverly until the sun came up and it still wouldn't have been enough time. She did enjoy spending time with Waverly, far too much and she fell asleep with a smile on her face at the thought of Waverly waking up in her apartment. Maybe she could suggest they go out for breakfast? Make sure that she got to spend even more time with her.

 

A week of not seeing Waverly felt like an eternity. She tried not to ask Chrissy where she had got to, she was pretty sure the answer was going to be busy with school starting up again because of course she was, everyone was but when Chrissy mentioned one morning if Nicole wanted to have dinner with her and Waverly that night if she was free, she was ecstatic. The feeling lasted almost all day until she got home and found Shae's necklace in the couch as she was cleaning and then almost immediately after Chrissy said that Waverly couldn't make it after all since she had to work.

As if rubbing salt in the wounds would help, Nicole messaged Shae. She told her she had found her necklace and that she could drop it off if she wanted. It was a gift from her mother and she knew it meant a lot to Shae but really, Nicole just wanted it gone. She didn't need another reminder that her thoughts had all too easily latched onto someone new.

Shae was on campus and a tiny flicker of hope bloomed in Nicole's chest. She could see Waverly that night after all, she could just casually stop by and see her at the coffee shop. That wouldn't seem weird right? Waverly knew Nicole liked to go there…maybe she could even invite her round the next night when she had Rosita and Jeremy coming over. Nicole worried though, that it might be weird for Waverly if Chrissy wasn't there…they had spent time together without her, but it had always been because Chrissy had been there at first or Waverly had arrived to see her before Chrissy actually got home. Waverly would probably be busy anyway…so what was the harm in asking?

Shae had a date. She was so happy to have her necklace back because she had a date and she wanted to wear it. Nicole thought it would hurt, worse than when Shae left, when she found out that she was seeing someone else, but strangely it didn't. It was like something clicked into place and all the guilt she had been feeling about moving on too quickly evaporated almost as quickly as it had settled in the first place.

She practically skipped all the way to Waverly's work, the biggest smile on her face and she was going to do it. She was going to ask Waverly to come over the next night and hope that she didn't already have big plans for her weekend.

But she didn't because Waverly questioned if she was ready to try seeing someone else and she panicked. She said she didn't know but she did. What she didn't know was if the person she wanted to try with, felt the same. Sure, Waverly's eyes had lingered on her lips a few times and she had seemed genuinely pleased to see Nicole that night but the biggest question of all was, was Waverly even interested in women?

Chrissy had never mentioned any ex's in Waverly's life and considering how much Chrissy liked to talk, that was frustrating. She couldn't get a read on her and while Nicole's 'gaydar' was not exactly infallible she did fancy herself as a pretty good detective when it came to someone's sexuality. With Waverly though, her judgement was clouded. Her 'gaydar' had quickly turned into a 'please god, be gay-dar'.

Nicole thought about messaging Waverly almost every day that followed. She had missed her chance to invite her over that Saturday night, but Rosita and Jeremy were going to come over again the following Saturday to watch a movie and now she had days to work up the nerve to do it. She just needed more time with her, she needed to figure her out.

Waverly messaged her first though and she was so excited she replied instantly. Waverly asked if she was going to stop by the coffee shop and Nicole debated whether or not she should just rush through the work she needed to do that night just so she could see her again, but she couldn't. She couldn't just drop everything for someone she wasn't even sure felt the same way even if she was desperate to find out what possible chance she stood.

Waverly flirted with her. Just a little but Nicole was positive Waverly was flirting, and she nearly dropped her phone. She couldn't think of a reply for a solid five minutes and when Waverly didn't read her message right away, Nicole knew she had to have started her shift. When she did reply a few hours later and they ended up having a back and forth about their evenings, Nicole felt happier than she had in weeks. It was so simple, just reading about Waverly's shift but it felt like Nicole could read Waverly's messages about anything and they would still bring a smile to her face.

Nicole didn't care anymore if she seemed desperate to see Waverly, she was, so she held off on returning her books to the library until Friday night when she knew Waverly was going to be working. She was so glad she did, the smile that she was greeted with was worth all the late fees in the world. The hope that had steadily been growing in Nicole flourished exponentially. She was pretty sure that no one had ever smiled at her quite like that before.

Nicole felt so comfortable talking to Waverly, so comfortable in fact that she shared something with her that she had never shared with anyone, not even Shae.

She had always dreamed of joining the police but that day, when she saw that woman who needed protecting and the only person who was brave enough to step in and help was a female police officer changed her life. There were so many people just ignoring what was happening in front of them, acting like it wasn't a big deal but it was. That woman was scared but Nicole was only a teenager, what could she do? If all the grown men passing by the scene looked too terrified to do anything then there probably wasn't anything that she could do. The moment she saw the police officer step up to him though, she knew what she could do. She could become just like her.

Nicole saw the surprise in Waverly's eye and the smile that it produced when she admitted that Waverly was the one and only person to ever hear that story. Nicole was pretty sure that she'd do anything to keep Waverly smiling like that. She was a goner, she knew that now.

Nicole was just working up the courage to ask Waverly if she wanted to come over the next night, her nervous habit of licking her lips making an appearance and Waverly was staring again. She took a step forward and for a split second, Nicole thought she might actually have been about to kiss her, but she spread her arms wide for a hug. The first real intimate contact they had shared that wasn't Waverly comforting Nicole and even if it wasn't what Nicole was thinking might have been about to happen, it was magnificent.

Waverly's breath against the skin of her neck, her unbelievably soft hair brushing against Nicole's jaw and her heart thudded in her chest at how perfectly Waverly fit against her. She forgot all about her plans to invite Waverly over the next night as she soaked in the moment.

For a split second, Nicole feared that Waverly had heard just how erratic her heart had gone at the touch when she pulled back with a beautiful blush on her cheeks but maybe, just maybe, Waverly had felt it too. How right it had been.

She walked the rest of the way home with a smile on her face and when she finally remembered that she hadn't asked Waverly what she wanted to, she made herself a promise. She was going to ask Waverly the next day. She would ask Chrissy for her number before she left for work and she would call her and ask her. No matter what.

The next morning, as she asked Chrissy for Waverly's number, a hint of doubt stuck in Nicole's chest. Waverly had never offered it to her before but then Waverly scolded her playfully, for thinking of them as less than friends when Nicole had let her worry show in her words and her confidence grew. She could do this, she could be charming, and she could figure out if she ever had a chance, while also getting the opinion of her best friends in the process. It was perfect. Now more than ever she knew she had to trust Rosita, she'd warned her about Shae from the start but part of Nicole knew that Rosita was going to love Waverly. How could she not?

She let Rosita in on the secret, but she couldn't risk telling Jeremy what with his predisposition to blurt things out at the worst possible moment. Rosita was practically giddy with excitement and promised to be on her best behaviour, she'd only embarrass Nicole if she thought Waverly liked her.

Which she did, and Nicole couldn't even be mad, Rosita could read people like a book, if she thought that Waverly liked her then she was probably hopefully right.

Nicole didn't want Waverly to leave, their brief time alone before Rosita and Jeremy had arrived was not enough and when Waverly put on some music of her own, Nicole knew she didn't want the night to be over either.

She shifted herself closer, inching herself into Waverly's space and Waverly didn't seem put off. If anything, she looked like she was waiting, excitedly Nicole hoped and just when she felt like she was ready to find out exactly where she stood with her, Chrissy came back from her room. Nicole had almost forgotten that she had come home, too focussed on Waverly and she realised she might be making a colossal mistake.

Waverly was Chrissy's best friend. If there was even the slightest chance that making a move was going to make things awkward, Nicole couldn't risk it. She couldn't risk losing Chrissy as a roommate, Chrissy would choose Waverly over Nicole any day and Nicole knew that. Nicole also knew that she would rather have Waverly in her life as a friend than not at all.

So, she ran away again. She finished her wine and she fled to her room and lay awake until she heard Waverly leave and tried not to think about how Waverly had been looking at her. Was it confusion? Hurt? Disgust?

Sometime in-between getting out of bed and getting out of the shower, Nicole decided that what she had seen on Waverly's face had been shock. Shock that Nicole would ever think it was ok for her to touch Waverly like that.

She walked into the kitchen and stared at the couch in the living room until she couldn't replay the moment in her head any longer. She grabbed her jacket, her keys and went out. She went to all the places that usually made her feel happy, but it didn't work.

People watching in the park felt pointless, her coffee from her favourite spot tasted far more bitter than normal and she couldn't even get past one bite of the bagel she had ordered. She felt like an idiot, Waverly was her friend and she had been so hopeful that she had ignored that. Ignored the fact that Waverly was also probably straight and not at all interested. Waverly could have anyone she wanted so why would she want Nicole?

She wasn't ready to go home yet but she couldn't bear to just wander around aimlessly anymore. The second she saw Chrissy and Waverly opening the door to her building she thought about running away yet again, maybe they hadn't seen her yet, but they had. Nicole couldn't even look at her, the guilt about moving on too fast that had disappeared the instant Nicole found out Shae was dating again was replaced with an even worse guilt of making Waverly feel awkward.

She said she'd already eaten, lying through her teeth because she didn't think she could handle being around Waverly even with Chrissy there as a buffer. She ran up the stairs and crumpled onto her couch. She wasn't going to cry, she felt like it, but she wouldn't allow herself the relief. She'd done this to herself and now she had to stew in it.

The thudding against the door shocked her upright and she dragged herself over to the door as quickly as she could.

"Oh." Nicole's chest tightened so quickly she wasn't even sure how the next words managed to escape her mouth. "Hey, Waverly."

Chapter Text

"What's going on, Nicole?" Waverly crossed her arms and kept her chin up even though she was feeling totally and completely rejected. She couldn't wrap her head around the sudden cold shoulder she was getting.

"Nothin'…I just…" Nicole shook her head, still not looking at Waverly and Waverly took a step forward. Nicole immediately took a step back and Waverly took another forward. "Waverly…"

"What, Nicole? You won't even look at me."

"I can't…" Nicole's voice was so quiet, and Waverly's anger faded away. She reached out her hand and placed it gently on Nicole's arm. Nicole took in a staggered breath.

"You can't what, Nicole?" Waverly wasn't sure she wanted Nicole to answer her question, but she needed to know.

"I shouldn't have done that last night, you're Chrissy's best friend and I just…it was stupid and I'm sorry." Nicole sighed, and Waverly dropped her hand from Nicole's arm, she was positive she was going to cry. Nicole regretted it. Regretted it before it had even happened.

"You're sorry?" Waverly's voice was threatening to crack but she held herself together, just.

"Yes." Nicole looked up and finally into her eyes for more than a second. "I shouldn't have put you in that position, you're my friend and I totally read the situation wrong so I'm sorry."

Waverly laughed at that, actually laughed because not only was Nicole so completely and utterly wrong, she was so unbelievably nice that she would actually feel this awful about herself because she thought she'd put Waverly in a position she wasn't comfortable with.

No. Waverly was absolutely not having that.

"Hey…" Waverly reached out again as Nicole began shaking her head at Waverly's laughter. "Nicole…" Waverly ran her hand up Nicole's arm, slowly passing by her shoulder and stopping just where it met her neck. She could feel the strength in Nicole's pulse and she ran a thumb gently across her skin as Nicole's eyes widened.

"Wav-"

"It's ok." Waverly hushed her and pushed herself up towards Nicole. Nicole let out the smallest of gasps just before Waverly connected their lips and instantly Nicole was accepting Waverly's attempt to try and deepen it. Taking Waverly with her as she walked backwards and into the apartment.

Waverly brought her other hand up to Nicole's neck before reaching up with both into Nicole's loose hair and arms wrapped strong around Waverly's waist, pulling her even closer. It was happening, it was actually happening and if Waverly thought it had been a rush just having Nicole just barely touching her, it had absolutely nothing on kissing her. She walked them backwards, the open apartment door completely forgotten as they landed on one of the couches. Waverly wasn't even sure which one, she was totally and completely absorbed in the feel of Nicole's lips against her own.

Nothing Waverly had ever experienced had anything on this, not her first kiss, not a single kiss before this and she couldn't quite believe it. She pulled back just a little, Nicole's lips chasing hers before she opened her eyes. Waverly ran her thumb along Nicole's cheek and shook her head in disbelief, if she had known that it would feel like that to kiss Nicole, she wasn't sure she would have been able to hold herself back for so long.

"You absolutely did not read it wrong." Waverly smiled down at her, and Nicole let out something that sounded halfway between a sob and a laugh.

"Sorry." The corners of Nicole's eyes creased, and Waverly could see she was fighting a smile that probably would have made her melt even more than she already was.

"Don't apologise. I could have made it clearer, I guess but I didn't want to rush you…after Shae." Waverly said quietly, and Nicole nodded in understanding. Waverly only then noticing how their bodies were flush against one another. She didn't want to move, the feeling of Nicole's arms wrapped around her, keeping her in place was potentially the most comforting feeling she'd ever experienced but she had to. Chrissy might wonder what was taking her so long, Chrissy could absolutely not interrupt this moment. "I need to get back, I told Chrissy I forgot my phone up here." Waverly blushed, and Nicole nodded before coaxing her back in for another kiss. Waverly had just been about to do the exact same thing because she knew there was absolutely no way she was going to leave after just one.

"Ok…" Nicole sighed as she pulled back. "but can we talk? Soon?" Her eyes shone with hope and Waverly began nodding enthusiastically.

"Definitely! You've got my number." She wanted to talk now, she wanted to tell Nicole exactly how she felt about her, but she didn't want it to be rushed.

"I do…"

"Good." Waverly knew she had to get moving but she didn't want to leave the embrace. She groaned just a little and moved back in for one more kiss before she really had to go. They rose from the couch together, a lingering hand grasping at Nicole's until they made it to the still wide-open door. "Bye…"

"Bye." Nicole watched her as she left, Waverly knew because every time she looked over her shoulder as she walked away, Nicole was still smiling after her, leaning against the doorway and Waverly blushed crimson the whole way down the stairs and along the street.

 

Getting through lunch with Chrissy without grinning like an idiot was harder than Waverly thought it would be. Especially when she received a text from Nicole.

Nicole:
Did that really just happen? I wasn't dreaming, right?

Waverly hid her smile as best she could while she replied but Chrissy was too busy talking about how good her food was to even notice.

Waverly elected not to head back upstairs with Chrissy after they had eaten, not because she didn't want to see Nicole but because she wasn't sure she could see her again without kissing her immediately. She did want to speak to Nicole though, they needed to talk so before she made it back to her place she fired off a text.

Waverly:
Can we go somewhere? Not your apartment?

Nicole:
Sure, where'd you have in mind?

Waverly sent Nicole an address, a small coffee shop she hadn't been to in months but it was one of her favourites and far enough away that she didn't think running into Chrissy, if she decided she needed a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, was even a remote possibility.

"Well this is embarrassing…" Nicole's voice came from behind her.

"What? Why?" Waverly asked panicking as she turned around to look at her.

"I've already been here today, I was totally moping in the corner over there after I'd convinced myself you didn't like me." Nicole said with a clipped laugh as she pointed through the window to the tables inside. Waverly pushed herself forward, into Nicole's space and took her hand slowly. Nicole's eyes focussed on the movement and a smile slowly appeared on her face.

"I like you…" Waverly said quietly, she couldn't quite believe it was the first time she'd said it out loud. Nicole eyes shot up to look at her and Nicole licked her lips slowly. God, Waverly wanted to kiss her again.

"Can I kiss you?" Nicole tilted her head to the side, somewhat like a puppy and Waverly grinned at how cute an action it was. She nodded with an excited giggle, and Nicole cupped her face delicately as she moved in, agonisingly slow and their lips met in a short gentle kiss.

Waverly took a firmer grip on the hand she was still holding and pulled Nicole inside. They needed to talk and if they continued kissing, that was never going to happen. They joined the short queue to order their drinks and then found a table once they'd picked them up from the end of the bar.

"Can I ask you something?" Nicole looked over the small table to her and Waverly nodded. "Am I the first person you've liked that's not a guy?"

"Um…" Waverly laughed a little nervously, she didn't know how best to answer that. She didn't want Nicole to think that she was just some sort of experiment, but she also wasn't sure about revealing how little she actually knew what she was doing in this situation.

"Sorry! That sounded so egotistical, didn't it?" Nicole looked down at her coffee and Waverly could see her starting to mentally berate herself.

"No, no! You are... I was pretty terrified at first." Waverly had thought back on that a lot, she could see that was what her denial was, fear. She'd been attracted to Nicole the second she laid eyes on her, but she just hadn't wanted to admit that to herself because of what it would mean. She was terrified of admitting that she wasn't actually as straight as she had thought she was. There were still fears in Waverly's mind though, this was all so new for her. "Might still be the teensiest bit scared." Waverly held her finger and thumb together, just barely touching and Nicole's face softened. She reached over the table and took Waverly's hand.

"Hey…" Waverly dropped her eyes and kept them focussed on the table as Nicole spoke until Nicole squeezed her hand. She looked up and Nicole was smiling at her softly. "We can take this slow, ok? No pressure."

"Ok…I don't know when I'll be ready to tell Chrissy." Waverly took a deep breath, she wasn't sure how Nicole would react to that.

"That's perfectly fine." Nicole nodded and squeezed her hand again before letting go.

"Yeah?"

"Of course, this is new for you…I've been out since I was sixteen, but I remember what it was like. It's normal to be a little scared." Nicole gave her a serious look and Waverly knew she understood. Chrissy was her best friend, they told each other everything but Waverly wasn't looking forward to how this might change things.

"Ok…I really do like you. A lot, actually." Waverly might have been more scared of that fact, how much she liked Nicole and not the fact that she liked a woman.

"I like you a lot actually, too." Nicole's smile was near blinding and Waverly's fear started to subside. Waverly could see it, the way that Nicole looked at her was how she imagined she looked at Nicole.

"So last night…" Waverly gave her a mischievous smile. After getting the initial conversation out of the way, there was something she really wanted to know.

"Uh huh?" Nicole's face was telling her she knew exactly where this was going.

"What would have happened if Chrissy hadn't walked in?" Waverly was feeling brave, even sitting in a public place she felt safe with Nicole. Like she could ask her anything.

"Well…" Nicole leaned forward in her seat, like she was just about to share a secret with Waverly. She lightly touched her fingers to Waverly's, exactly how she had done the night before only this time she interlaced their fingers and gently ran her thumb along Waverly's index finger and goosebumps erupted on Waverly's skin. It was the slightest touch, but it was everything. Waverly didn't know how she would survive if Nicole touched her somewhere else. "I would have asked if you had a good time with Jeremy and Rosita…"

"I did." Waverly smiled and then bit down on her lower lip. The way Nicole was looking at her, it was enchanting.

"Good…and then I would have moved closer." Nicole said while pointing to the table to illustrate the only reason she wasn't doing so right then. "I would have tucked a strand of that ridiculously soft hair behind your ear." Nicole reached forward with her free hand, her arm just long enough to stretch over the table and brushed the hair back and over her ear as Waverly blushed.

"And then?" Waverly asked, her breathing starting to pick up.

"I would have kissed you." Nicole said evenly, sitting back in her chair and releasing Waverly's hand with a satisfied smirk. She knew exactly what she was doing to Waverly.

"Goddammit Chrissy." Waverly muttered as she slunk back in her seat and followed it with a groan. She would have loved that. She would have been putty in Nicole's hands in an instant.

"Maybe I could take you out one night this week?" Nicole asked hopefully, and Waverly sat up straight again. That was definitely something she wanted.

"I'm working every evening until Thursday…so Thursday?" If Waverly had known that a date with Nicole was on the cards, she would have asked for less hours. She still had that favour to cash in but sadly that particular colleague was off all week. Just her luck.

"Thursday works for me." Nicole grinned, and her dimples appeared, Waverly was sure she was going to melt every single time she saw them.

They descended into an easy conversation after that, the things they needed to get out in the open well and truly out. It shocked Waverly just how easy it was to talk to Nicole after they had kissed, there wasn't a hint of awkwardness. She stopped restraining herself with her lingering looks and touched Nicole when she wanted to, every time she wanted to.

Nicole walked her home after a few hours spent in the coffee shop, their hands fitting together perfectly, and Waverly found herself looking down at them every once and a while as they walked. She thought she might be nervous for people to look at her, judge her but she was so happy that if people were doing that, she didn't even notice.

"I would invite you up, but I haven't had a chance to clean in a couple days." Waverly was acutely aware of how many pairs of her underwear were sitting out in the open drying and she wasn't sure her and Nicole were quite there yet.

"That's ok, taking things slow, right?" Nicole smiled down at her, their bodies close together as they stood outside Waverly's building.

"Right." Waverly smiled back, leaning up to press a light kiss to Nicole's lips. She didn't think it would be so hard to take things slow, she just wanted to take Nicole upstairs and never stop kissing her.

"I'll see you soon." Nicole gently squeezed her hip and Waverly nodded but didn't pull away. They stood on the street a little while longer, just holding on to one another and sharing the occasional kiss in between stating that they really should go. Waverly had never felt this before with anyone. The controllable desire to just be near Nicole and now that she could, kiss her.

"Ok, bye." Waverly sighed, turning around, pausing and then turning back to kiss her one final time before Nicole left. Nicole blushed as she walked away, turning her head to look back at her a few times as she did so.

When Waverly got upstairs, her first thought was to call Wynonna. Let her know that she'd done it, she'd gone after what she wanted and that it had actually worked out. Wynonna was so happy for her and of course had a million inappropriate questions that made Waverly groan. She didn't really care though, nothing could bring her down. She had a date with Nicole in just a few short days. She just had absolutely no idea how she was supposed to wait until Thursday.

Chapter Text

If Waverly had thought it was difficult to focus in class the next day, focussing at work in the evening was damn near impossible. Almost all her thoughts were consumed by Nicole. What it had been like to kiss her, what their date was going to be like, if she'd invite her upstairs afterwards, if she wanted to do more than just kiss her.

Nicole seemed perfectly happy taking things slow and Waverly was not completely opposed to that idea but part of her just wanted to get it over with, so she could stop worrying about it. Not that she didn't actually want to, she definitely did but she just didn't know what she was supposed to do, what if she was bad at it? What if she wasn't able to make Nicole feel the way she desperately wanted to make her feel?

In her research online a couple weeks back, she had found a few hits about what two women could do in bed together, but she had been too nervous to actually click through and read them. As if somehow people would know what she'd been looking at. Now she regretted it and she'd have to go looking for them again.

It was a busy night in the coffee shop, some people obviously still needing caffeine to help get them through after a weekend of partying and Waverly wished she could simply make them all disappear. Tell them the coffee machine was broken or they'd run out of milk. She wanted to get home and get herself acquainted with things Nicole might like, with things she might like.

The only upside of working on Monday evenings was that she usually worked with her supervisor who she always had fun with. It did help to pass the time a little quicker. He liked working the till and Waverly liked making coffees, so they worked well as a team, but he was a stickler for keeping the option for more customers open right until the very last second which meant Waverly could not get the head start on the cleaning like she normally would.

With her eyes glued to the clock and her hands poised to start cleaning the coffee machine, she heard a familiar voice that frankly, made her entire restless day worth it.

"Hey, can I get a cappuccino to go?" Nicole was definitely speaking loudly so that Waverly would hear her, and she turned around with a smile on her face as Nicole pretended not to notice her standing there but the tiny grin she was trying to suppress gave her away.

"That'll be $3.20."

"It's ok, it's on me." Waverly rushed over and dipped into her tip jar, handing her supervisor the money as Nicole finally looked at her with the full-blown grin she'd been attempting to hide. He took the money and when Waverly didn't make a move to actually go and make the coffee, he sighed and turned around to make it himself.

"Hey." Nicole beamed, readjusting the strap of the bag on her shoulder.

"Hey, you going to make a habit of this?" Waverly asked, not that she was complaining at all.

"Only when there's a pretty girl working." Nicole winked, and Waverly shook her head. How was she not supposed to fall for Nicole?

"Oh, well Jessica works pretty much every day from twelve until six so…" Waverly shrugged as she tried really hard not to smile and ruin her attempt at humour.

"I'll make sure to keep a note of that." Nicole let out a hearty chuckle. "Can I walk you home?"

"Yeah." Waverly blushed at the look of pure hope in Nicole's eyes. No one had ever made this kind of effort for her before and she really wasn't sure how to handle it. It made her feel so cared for and they hadn't even been on a real date yet. She leaned in closer, so she couldn't be heard over the milk steamer. "He's going to make sure everything is spotless before I can head out though, so it might take a little longer than the times before."

"That's alright. I've just been to the library, so I've got a book I can read if he doesn't mind me sitting here."

"Go head, just don't spill anything on the floor once it's cleaned!" Waverly's supervisor spoke over her shoulder as he handed Nicole her takeaway cup.

"Wouldn't dream of it!" Nicole lifted the cup, said thanks and sat down in the corner before taking out her book from the messenger bag she'd been carrying. Waverly only realised she was staring at Nicole when her supervisor cleared his throat behind her and she jumped into action.

He took pity on Waverly after ten minutes and told her she could leave if she took out all the trash before she did. She thanked him profusely and did as she was asked. She stood at the edge of the table Nicole had set herself up at, putting her jacket on and Nicole smiled up at her before she closed her book and they headed out. Nicole held the door open for her and they took a few steps outside before Nicole, who was still working on her coffee, moved it to her other hand and Waverly threaded their fingers together.

"So, coffee this late a normal thing for you?" Waverly was curious if Nicole coming by had more to do with her or the caffeinated offerings of her place of work.

"I have some reading I need to do tonight and I couldn't really sleep last night…" It wasn't something that really should have made Nicole smile, but she was, and Waverly thought she might know why.

"Oh, something on your mind?" Waverly beamed up at her, she had been a little restless the night before as well.

"You could say that, yeah." Nicole squeezed her hand. "You're ok with this? Holding hands on campus? I know it's kinda dark but…"

"Yeah, I am." Waverly wasn't sure that she would be, but she really was. It felt normal…right. She had kissed Nicole in the middle of the street a couple of times now but there was more chance of people she knew seeing them walking through campus even if it was late. As long as it wasn't Chrissy before she got the chance to tell her, she really didn't mind.

They talked about their respective days as they walked and when Waverly admitted she'd been more than a little distracted throughout her day, Nicole revealed she really had been too. It was a relief to know she wasn't the only one.

"Is it bad that I really want to invite you upstairs?" Waverly played with the edge of Nicole's bag as they stood outside her building.

"No, I would love to come up, but I really do have reading I need to do." Nicole leaned closer, both hands now free since she'd finished her coffee and thrown the empty cup in the trash. She pulled Waverly closer by her hips and they moved in sync to connect their lips.

"Will I see you tomorrow? Same time, same place?" Waverly smiled but Nicole didn't return it. She was only joking but Nicole's reaction made her realise how much she really would have liked that to happen.

"I wish I could, but I have plans with Rosita tomorrow night. We made them a while back, sorry." Nicole really did look regretful, but Waverly didn't want her feeling bad.

"Don't worry about it, seriously." Waverly played with the hairs on the back on Nicole's neck and from the serene look on her face, it was definitely something Nicole liked.

"How about Wednesday? I can definitely do Wednesday." Nicole tiled her head in that adorable way again and Waverly bit down on her lower lip to suppress her smile. Nicole was making it really hard not to just drag her upstairs and make her forget about all the work she needed to do.

"That would be nice." Waverly let her grin shine as she moved in to kiss her again.

 

***

 

Even though it had only happened those three times, Waverly missed having Nicole there to walk her home after her shift the next night. Not lingering on the street outside her apartment, not feeling that rush of everything Nicole filling her senses after a long day.

Just as she was about to push open her door, she decided she'd call Chrissy instead. Neither of them had class until late the next morning, so she didn't need to get an early night and the research that she had wanted to get done went pretty well the night before after she'd managed to get some work done for a few classes. Maybe it was a good thing she hadn't seen Nicole that day, she might not have been able to stop herself from suggesting Nicole came upstairs and stay the night. Now that she had a vague idea of things Nicole might like, she wanted to put her research to good use.

Chrissy was more than happy to give up on her reading for the night when Waverly suggested she head over so she went straight there to spend some quality time with her best friend.

Or it would have been quality time with her if Nicole and Rosita hadn't been sitting in the living room when Chrissy opened the door to Waverly. An opened bottle of wine sitting on the coffee table and the pair of them laughing hysterically at whatever was playing on the TV. Waverly hadn't even thought about how Nicole's plans with Rosita might have involved being in her apartment.

For a moment, Waverly almost hoped that Chrissy would suggest hanging out in her room, but she noticed the two empty glasses sitting on the table and realised Chrissy was more than ready to join them. Waverly said a hesitant 'hey' around the room and Nicole beamed up at her, her head tilting to the side and her eyes a little glazed over. Waverly was pretty sure that Nicole was a little tipsy.

"They are working on bottle number two so if we have any hope of finding this funny I think we need to catch up." Chrissy said softly in her ear before brushing past her, confirming Waverly's suspicions and setting herself up on the couch beside Rosita. Rosita winked at her as she stood awkwardly before finally she gave in. She sat on the other couch, beside an inebriated Nicole, who Waverly hoped was a damn sight better at holding her tongue while drunk than Waverly was.

"What exactly are we watching?" Waverly asked as she set her bag down on the floor, trying to pretend she didn't notice Nicole not so subtly looking at her as she took her jacket off.

"Sharknado…it's ridiculous!" Rosita grinned at Waverly and then burst out laughing when she turned back to the screen as a guy literally chopped a shark in half using a chainsaw. Waverly had heard of the movie, but she had never actually watched it and she wasn't sure if she should be concerned with Rosita's reaction or not.

"It's bizarre." Chrissy groaned, filling up the two empty glasses on the table and then passing one over to Waverly.

"Why exactly are you watching this?" Waverly questioned, a smile on her face as she watched Nicole giggling away at the sheer absurdity of the movie playing in front of them.

"Tradition." Rosita shrugged, and Nicole's face suddenly took on a despondent look until Rosita reached over to her and rubbed her knee. Rosita's eyes bounced between them, before landing back on Nicole, who gave her a subtle shake of her head. Waverly wasn't sure what was going on.

She slowly sipped on her wine, trying to understand why anyone would willingly put themselves through watching such a terrible movie but as Rosita and Nicole, and eventually Chrissy and Waverly started to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, Waverly thought she was beginning to get it. It was corny and ridiculously over the top but if you were drunk, was probably very entertaining.

Rosita leaned over and clicked off the table lamp, throwing yet another wink in Waverly's direction as the room was plunged in darkness except for the brightness coming from the screen. Nicole had been moving herself closer to Waverly throughout the movie and Rosita must have noticed. Waverly kept a close eye on where Chrissy's attention was and when she was sure that she had been sucked in by the movie, Waverly stretched her pinkie out and linked it with Nicole's. Waverly instantly saw the corners of Nicole's lips twitch into a smile.

When Chrissy got up to use the bathroom, Nicole pulled her hand away but the second they heard the door close, she leaned in close to Waverly.

"Hey." She smiled, and Waverly couldn't help but return it before moving in and quickly capturing her lips. She was pretty confident that Rosita already knew about them and even if she didn't, Waverly wasn't nearly as concerned about her as she was about Chrissy.

Waverly was still curious as to what this tradition Rosita had mentioned was, but she didn't think she had enough time before Chrissy would be back, so she simply savoured the moment while she could. Nicole's hand running softly down her cheek and her lip movements a little more clumsy than usual from the wine Nicole had consumed but even in her altered state of mind, Nicole pulled back and sat a respectable distance away before Chrissy came back.

Once the bizarre experience of the movie was over, Rosita finished her wine and Nicole stood to hug her goodbye. Rosita whispered something in her ear and Nicole nodded while Chrissy flicked on the lamp again.

"Oh, we are going for drinks on Friday. You two in?" Rosita looked at Waverly and then Chrissy, they shared a quick look which they both understood as a positive reaction to the question.

"Sure."
"Yeah." They said at the same time.

"Great, see you guys then!" Rosita threw a wave around the room before heading out.

"I might head to bed, reading from a laptop screen all evening has well and truly fried my eyes." Chrissy rubbed at her eyes as she got up from the couch.

"I told you, you need to blink more when you're looking at a screen…"

"I remember, Waves." Chrissy smiled kindly as she interrupted her, and Waverly laughed sheepishly. It wasn't the first time that Waverly had given her a hard time for her bad reading habits and it was probably not going to be the last. "Goodnight."

"Night, Chrissy." Nicole said, watching her until she was safely in her room before turning to Waverly with a mischievous grin. She got back on the couch, pulling Waverly into her as she giggled before Waverly realised if they were going to do this, she had to be quiet. With the light back on and Nicole properly looking at her, Waverly could see there was definitely something bothering her. She was smiling but it wasn't quite reaching her eyes like it normally would.

"Something wrong?" Waverly cupped her cheek and ran her thumb back and forth delicately over her soft skin.

"Not wrong exactly just…today's a bit...it's a tough day for me." Nicole sighed, still keeping Waverly close though, so she wasn't shutting herself off from Waverly, which she worried might happen when she asked. "Rosita said I should tell you." Waverly quickly guessed that was what the whisper had been about.

"Do you want to tell me?"

"Can we talk about it tomorrow? I'll tell you everything." Nicole's eyes turned down for a moment before she looked Waverly dead on. "I kind of missed you today. I don't want to waste this when I didn't think I'd get to see you tonight." Nicole's smile was back, a little brighter this time and Waverly was sure that she could wait for the explanation. Especially if Nicole didn't feel like talking about it right then.

"Yeah, ok…I missed you too." Waverly said truthfully and left a soft kiss on Nicole's lips before continuing. "It was kinda lonely walking home without you. Is that ridiculous? You've literally only done it three times and I've walked home from there a million times by myself." Waverly ran her fingers along the length of Nicole's jaw as a dopey, wine-fuelled grin broke out on her face.

"I'll walk you home every night from now on, if you want?" Nicole mumbled against her lips. Waverly was sure it was the wine making her say such sweet things, but she had to imagine those thoughts were already somewhere in Nicole's mind.

"I might hold you to that when you're sober!" Waverly leaned in closer, pressing their lips together fully.

"Please do." Nicole giggled and then a short yawn escaped her lips. "Mmm, sorry."

"It's ok, you got classes tomorrow morning?" Waverly was given a short nod in reply as another yawn took hold of Nicole. "You should head to bed."

"Fine." Nicole threw her head back onto the couch with a smile.

"You're super cute when you're drunk." Waverly giggled as she pulled Nicole's head back up.

"Not all the time?" Nicole pouted, and Waverly snuggled in closer to her. She wanted to take advantage of the last few moments together before she made sure that Nicole got a good night's sleep.

"My mistake, definitely cute all the time." Waverly poked Nicole's protruding bottom lip. "Come on, bed time." She hauled Nicole off the couch and Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly's waist while she pressed her lips to the side of Waverly's head.

"I'm really looking forward to Thursday." Nicole hummed, and Waverly could hear the smile in her voice.

"Me too. Are you going to tell me where we're going?" Waverly asked as she looked up and Nicole shook her head with a massive grin. Waverly rolled her eyes, she thought she might have better luck with drunk Nicole spilling the secret. Nicole bit her lip and Waverly was sure she wanted to say something. "What?"

"Nothin'…I just…I wish you could stay." Nicole let out a deep breath and Waverly's face fell. She wanted that too.

"Nicole…" She really hoped that keeping things from Chrissy wasn't hurting Nicole in anyway but maybe it was.

Nicole seemed proud of who she was, Waverly just wasn't exactly there yet. Not to mention the fact that they hadn't actually gone out on an official date yet. Telling Chrissy before she was ready or worse, Chrissy finding out because Waverly had stayed over was not what she wanted. She needed to think about what she wanted to say, how she wanted to say it. Chrissy might not be overly happy about Waverly dating her roommate…things could potentially get messy between her and Nicole but for some reason, Waverly wasn't worried about that. She had a really good feeling about Nicole…the best feeling. She just needed to figure out how to put that feeling into words so Chrissy didn't worry about making things

"Just to sleep…but I get it, Chrissy would know." Nicole shrugged, and Waverly pushed herself further into their embrace.

"I'll tell her soon. I just need a little time." Waverly spoke against Nicole's chest, taking in her scent before she had to leave her again.

"It's ok, when you're ready." Nicole stuck a finger under Waverly's chin to get her to look up and when she did, she saw what looked like a genuinely accepting smile on her face. "I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Yeah, goodnight." Waverly leaned up and pressed a quick goodbye kiss to her lips. Waverly thought it should feel scary that the way they were talking, it seemed like they already knew that their date was going to be the first of many, but it didn't. Not in the slightest.

Chapter Text

Waverly got worried when Nicole didn't arrive before she closed up the shop for the night. She knew Nicole was a little drunk the night before, but she couldn't be so hungover that she wouldn't at least let her know she wasn't going to come like she said she would.

She said goodbye to her manager and headed out, already composing a text to Nicole asking if everything was alright. She had said the day before was a tough day for her and Waverly thought she had an idea of what that might have meant.

"Hey." Nicole called over. She was standing just outside the shop, looking a little sheepish.

"Hey." Waverly's brow furrowed as she took in the sight. Nicole was there, and it looked like she'd been there for a while, so why hadn't she come inside? "Everything ok?"

"Yeah…just a little embarrassed." Nicole looked down at the pavement.

"Why?" Waverly took the few steps forward to close the gap between them.

"I didn't expect to see you last night and it's usually the one night I let myself get more drunk than I usually would…especially in front of someone I've just started dating." Nicole rubbed the back of her neck, avoiding eye contact until Waverly took the hand dangling by her side.

"You were fine, Nicole." Waverly assured her with a smile. "You said we'd talk about it tonight but if you don't want to now, it's ok." Waverly didn't know if Nicole would have agreed to talk about it while sober and she didn't want to put any pressure on her.

"I do…" Nicole squeezed her hand gently and they started walking. "So, I'm sure Chrissy mentioned that I inherited money to buy my place?" Nicole looked at her and Waverly nodded. "My parents passed away a few years ago in an accident." Waverly tightened her hold on Nicole's hand; she'd sadly been right in her thinking and she really wished she hadn't been.

"And last night?" Waverly already knew the answer before Nicole said it. She and Wynonna had a similar tradition, albeit theirs included a lot more fire and burning of things.

"Last night was four years since it happened. When I got to school here I was still kind of processing and Rosita was amazing. She lost her mom when she was younger, so she helped me a lot and we would get drunk, watch the most terrible movies, and make fun of them. We kind of made a tradition out of it, every year on the anniversaries we'd be there for each other."

"It's really great you've got each other." Waverly leaned in closer to Nicole as they walked; she wasn't sure what she would have done without Wynonna after their parents died. It wasn't something that Waverly liked to talk about but since Nicole shared with her, she felt it was only right to let Nicole in. "I don't have my parents anymore either." Nicole turned her head and looked down at Waverly, letting go of her hand and wrapping her arm around Waverly's shoulders.

"It's tough, huh?" Nicole kissed the top of her head as she nodded. It had been a long time, but she still missed them. "I'm glad Rosita told me to tell you."

"Me too." Waverly looked up at her and smiled. They were almost at her apartment and Waverly was finally going to ask her to come up. Not for anything serious, she'd decided earlier that if that was going to happen any time soon, she wanted to at least wait until after their date. Especially now that it was so close. "Do you want to come up? Maybe…stay the night?"

"I could…I don't really have anything to sleep in though." Nicole looked down at her jeans and shirt combination with a furrowed brow.

"I'm sure I have something that will fit you, come on." Waverly led her upstairs, she was confident from Nicole's response that she knew what Waverly was offering but she had to be sure. "Full disclosure, my offer is the same one you offered last night. Actual sleep."

"I guessed." Nicole smiled genuinely as they stood outside her door. No pressure and once again, Waverly felt safe. "And no Chrissy." Nicole added.

"And no Chrissy." Waverly nodded as she pushed open the door.

They sat on her usually annoyingly small couch, but for them it felt just right. They talked about the plans for Friday night with Rosita. Nicole told her that Chrissy had suggested the same bar they had gone to with Wynonna, and Nicole liked the sound of heading there again. She was sure Rosita would be happy with it too. Waverly couldn't help but point out why Chrissy had picked that place; they employed a certain bartender that she never seemed to have the guts to talk to. Nicole thought it was funny and decided that they should definitely go there.

It didn't take long for their conversation to die out and their mouths turned to another purpose. Waverly was very much regretting her offer of actual sleep as their kisses grew deeper, more heated than any that they had shared before. No need to keep things public- friendly, and no need to be wary of Chrissy, had Waverly straddling Nicole in no time. Her heavy breaths drew smiles and equally staggered breathing from Nicole. Waverly could feel herself getting far too into it, but how could she not? Nicole's hands were at her back, urging her closer and Waverly's hands were making some explorations of their own.

"Waverly…maybe we should…" Nicole pulled back and cupped Waverly's flushed cheek. "I don't want to rush this…"

"Sorry…" Waverly ducked her head, retracting her hand from where it had found its way up and under Nicole's top just a little. "Yeah…right, uh…actual sleep." Waverly shook her head, trying to rid herself of the thoughts of just how impossibly soft Nicole's skin was and how much she wanted to explore.

"Don't apologise that was…great." Nicole swallowed heavily as she bit down onto her bottom lip. The arousal that Waverly felt herself had definitely taken hold of Nicole too. Waverly didn't know how she had managed to pull back, Nicole was certainly a stronger person than her.

Waverly eventually got herself off of Nicole and found some slightly larger than her usual pyjamas for Nicole to wear. While Nicole slipped off to the bathroom to get changed, Waverly changed into her own pyjamas and climbed into bed. Nicole came out with her day clothes neatly folded into a pile and placed them on a chair before joining her.

It felt odd for a moment, Waverly had never shared a bed with someone she'd wanted to sleep with without actually having done so, but as Nicole guided her in to snuggle the weirdness passed, and it felt nothing but right.

"Do you snore?" Nicole teased. "'Cause that could be a deal breaker here."

"No!" Waverly lightly slapped her chest and Nicole started to laugh before wrapping her arms more securely around her.

"I'm kidding, not sure there could be any deal breakers with you." Nicole added a kiss to the top of Waverly's head with her compliment.

"Are you always this sweet with the ladies?"

"Honestly?" Nicole asked, and Waverly tilted her head up and gave a slight nod. She really wanted to know this. "Not really, there's just something about you." Nicole looked absolutely sincere as she spoke, and Waverly buried her face into Nicole's chest to hide her crimson cheeks.

"I think there's something about you too." Waverly mumbled with a grin into Nicole's top. She definitely knew there was, and she wasn't entirely sure what it was yet, but she was sure she would find out.

Waverly fell asleep faster than she ever had before. Usually her thoughts going a million miles an hour kept her awake unless she was totally exhausted, but Nicole's presence seemed to calm that. In recent weeks her thoughts were always preoccupied with what the hell she was going to do about her feelings for Nicole but now she didn't have to worry about that, she knew exactly what she was going to do. She was going to make Nicole her girlfriend…if that was what Nicole wanted too.

When she did wake up the next morning, she wasn't quite ready to get out of bed or Nicole's arms but a minute or so later, her alarm started going off. She'd almost forgotten she actually had classes she needed to attend that day and couldn't actually spend all day surrounded by the warmth and comfort that Nicole's embrace provided.

Nicole groaned and pulled Waverly in closer for a moment before releasing to allow her to shut off the awful noise. Nicole had mentioned she had a couple of classes that day too, but not until later, so she had time to head home and get changed. They managed a quick breakfast together before Waverly had to get going, just enough time for some cereal, but Nicole promised to showcase her cooking skills to Waverly soon.

They parted ways with a quick kiss and a promise that they'd see each other later that night for their first official date. Waverly couldn't wipe the grin off her face all day if she tried. Her excitement for the evening ahead helped the day pass quickly; she even enjoyed her ancient languages seminar in the afternoon when normally she got a little bored because she was so far ahead of the other students.

As she made her way home, she began typing out a text message to Nicole just to confirm what time she'd be arriving at Waverly's that evening when someone grabbed her from behind and she nearly dropped her phone. She spun around and saw Chrissy smiling at her, obviously very proud that she'd nearly made Waverly crap her pants.

"Hey!" Waverly swatted at her playfully. "I nearly dropped my phone!"

"Sorry!" Chrissy chuckled before she looped their arms and started walking them off campus. It left Waverly with one hand to finish her message to Nicole, but Chrissy was too close, so she shoved it back into her pocket. "Sooo, Haught didn't come home last night!" Chrissy wiggled her eyebrows and Waverly really hoped her eyes didn't bug out as much as she felt they did. "She got back this morning with a total love-sick grin on her face. She's definitely getting laid!"

"Oh, that's…good for her." Waverly stuttered, trying to sound genuinely happy for their shared friend but not too happy.

"Think she got back together with Shae?"

"No." Waverly said, a little too quickly and at Chrissy's raised eyebrow, hastily continued. "I mean, she said Shae was seeing someone new right? ...said she wanted to give that a go as well? Maybe she did…"

"Hmm, yeah. I really hope it works out for her, she looked really happy." Chrissy sighed, and Waverly couldn't help but smile. Maybe it would be alright telling Chrissy after all, maybe she wouldn't care, especially if she just wanted both Waverly and Nicole to be happy. Just as she was about to say something, Chrissy started to talk again. "What are you doing tonight? We need a game plan for Friday night. I am going to talk to green eyes, even if it kills me!"

"Oh…I can't tonight." Waverly grimaced, she knew she really should just tell Chrissy. "Sorry, I've got plans."

"Fine but can you at least come over earlier than Rosita, so we can make me feel good about myself? If I don't talk to him on Friday, that's it! I'm giving up!" Chrissy said dramatically, Waverly knew she probably wasn't being serious. It was the third or fourth time she had heard those exact words come out of Chrissy's mouth.

"Deal." Waverly laughed, and the rest of their way she debated telling Chrissy about her date with Nicole. Chrissy continued to speak and ask about her day, leaving Waverly no chance to bring it up naturally. Waverly knew she should have just told her when she said she had plans for that night.

Once she was upstairs she finished typing out the message she had started for Nicole and got a reply almost instantly.

Nicole:
I'll be there 7.30 : )

Waverly:
Is there a dress code for what this date is going to consist of? Like should I dress up/down?

Nicole:
Um…wear socks.

Waverly:
Socks?

Nicole:
Yes.

Nicole:
Sorry, I just really want to keep it a surprise

Waverly:
I like it. I'm intrigued!

Nicole:
Great! I'll see you soon : )

 

"Socks?" Waverly said out loud to herself, standing in the middle of her apartment. She turned and looked at all of her shoes. If Nicole wanted her to wear socks that meant she couldn't wear the heels she had been thinking about wearing so she was slightly closer to Nicole's lips. She decided instead to wear the Chucks that Wynonna had got her for her birthday a few years back. They were still in pretty good condition and she worked the rest of her outfit around them choosing highwaisted jeans and a light blue top which she threw a loose-fitting jacket over. It was comfortable but she also looked good so no matter what Nicole had planned, she hoped it would be suitable.

Waverly had never had anyone take her out like this before, have it be a surprise. Nicole was proving to be more than Waverly ever thought she would be and they were only just getting started.

She sat for the last half hour before Nicole's arrival trying to stop herself from being nervous, telling herself that she didn't need to be nervous. She knew Nicole liked her and she knew she liked Nicole. She knew they got on, she knew they could hold a conversation and she knew that she felt more comfortable with Nicole than anyone she had ever known for such a relatively short amount of time.

When the knock on her door came just before half seven, she jumped up and almost pulled the door off its hinges with how eager she was to see the person standing on the other side. They shared a quick kiss in greeting and then got on their way, with Nicole taking the lead since Waverly had no clue which way they were actually headed.

Waverly nearly squealed with excitement as they walked up to a building that she had been meaning to check out since it had opened. It was a bowling alley, but it also had a full bar area inside where DJs played on the weekends, a corner full of arcade games and even some ping pong tables. It was the perfect idea for a first date and Waverly was incredibly grateful that Nicole had told her about wearing socks.

"So, I don't actually know if you like to bowl but I booked us a lane just in case, they do food here too which is actually the only reason I came here before and it's not the usual greasy stuff like most bowling alleys." Nicole looked nervous about her choice, but Waverly knew an easy way to calm those fears.

"I love bowling! It's perfect." Waverly stood up a little on her toes and pressed a soft kiss to Nicole's cheek.

Nicole left the choice up to Waverly whether they ate first or had a go at bowling. she'd booked a lane for two hours just in case Waverly wasn't ready to go for it straight away. Waverly was though, she couldn't wait. She hadn't been bowling since she was a kid.

 

"I swear I used to be better at this…" Nicole pouted as she made her way back to Waverly who was standing ready to pick up a ball for her go. Nicole's ball had gone into the gutter for the third time in as many shots.

"When was the last time you went bowling?" Waverly caught her arm and pulled her into a side hug as Nicole continued to sulk.

"Like ten years ago." Nicole's pout was seriously adorable. "I thought it'd be like riding a bike!"

"How about I give you some tips on your next turn?" Waverly teased as she picked up her ball and walked over to the end of their lane, swinging her hips as she went. As soon as she released the ball she knew it would be a good shot. Nicole came up behind her, hands on her waist as they both watched it take down all the pins bar one.

"Ok, I think I've found my deal breaker! You're better than I am at bowling. That's it, date over." Nicole giggled as she pressed her lips to the side of Waverly's neck. Waverly turned around and looped her arms around Nicole's neck, Nicole's arms wrapping around her waist. She pulled Nicole down into a short but fiery kiss before pulling back and waiting for Nicole's eyes to open again.

"This date isn't over until I officially beat you!" Waverly winked, got herself out of Nicole's embrace and hip-checked her as she picked up her ball to hopefully knock down the single pin still standing.

Waverly ended up winning the game, of course, but she did manage to improve Nicole's aim by the end of it. She also earned herself a gentle slap to her rear for suggesting that Nicole ask an attendant for the bumpers that kids use.

After returning their shoes, they settled into the bar area for some food. There really was an extensive menu and both Nicole and Waverly found it difficult to choose. Finally, they decided to get two dishes they both thought looked good, so they could share.

"Chrissy said you came home this morning looking very pleased with yourself." Waverly smiled across the table at Nicole while they ate. Nicole gave a little shrug while she finished chewing.

"I was." She smiled, once her mouth was empty. "Probably the best night sleep I've had since…" Nicole frowned, and Waverly quickly figured out what Nicole was going to say. Since Shae.

"It's ok, I am well aware that you were with her before me." Waverly smiled, trying to lessen any worries Nicole had about bringing her up.

"I know, I guess it's just a bit weird to bring up an ex on a first date." Nicole shook her head, as if trying to get Shae out of her mind. It wasn't a big deal though; she and Shae had been together for a long time and Waverly was under no impressions that Nicole would simply forget all about her as soon as they got together.

"Well, I think it was the best night sleep I've had in a long time too. Maybe we could do it again…tonight?" Waverly was suddenly feeling nervous. She wanted Nicole to stay and she wanted to spend a lot less time sleeping but she was still worried about that. Nicole's hand reached over the table to stop Waverly's fidgeting with her napkin.

"We can do exactly what we did last night, ok? I really meant it when I said we don't need to rush this, Waves." Nicole smiled, and Waverly thought the one she sent back might actually be blinding. Nicole had called her Waves.

"You called me Waves."

"Oh. Is that…is that ok? Chrissy calls you it all the time and I always thought it sounded really nice." Nicole had started to blush, and Waverly squeezed her hand to bring her attention back.

"It's totally ok, it's only really people from back home that call me that now but if you like it, feel free." Waverly hoped that Nicole would use it all the time, the way it sounded falling from her lips was lovely. Nicole nodded, and Waverly released her hand, so they could continue eating.

By the time they'd finished their meal, splitting a dessert between them, it was getting pretty late and a rowdier crowd had started to fill up the bar. They knew it'd be best to head off if they wanted to continue talking in relative peace.

"So, as first dates go, what's the verdict?" Nicole asked as they walked down the street, hand in hand again, heading back in the direction of Waverly's apartment.

"Probably my favourite first date I've been on actually." Waverly said honestly. She normally found it difficult to find common conversational ground with the guys she had been out with at first. None of them were as easy to talk to as Nicole was.

"Yeah?" Nicole smiled over to her and Waverly nodded. "Me too. My first date with Shae was super awkward."

"Really?"

"Yeah, I totally forgot to book a table on a weekend and we had to wait for like half an hour." Nicole groaned. "We barely talked the whole time we were waiting and then it was even more awkward when we actually sat down to eat."

"But you must have gone out again after that? I mean, obviously…" Waverly was surprised at how little she cared that Nicole had brought Shae up again, she was happy that Nicole felt comfortable enough to share it with her. It was definitely not usual first date territory but there wasn't much about their night that had felt like a first date.

"Yeah, we kind of just got drunk to deal with the awkwardness and then I woke up in her bed the next morning…guess the rest is history."

"Oh…" Waverly hadn't expected that. That didn't exactly make her feel happy.

"That's another reason why I'm perfectly happy to take this slow." Nicole stopped them walking and moved to stand in front of Waverly, she took her other hand and rubbed her thumbs across both of Waverly's. "I want it to happen when it's right and not just because you think it needs to happen, or to get rid of any awkwardness."

"Right…but if we both wanted to?" Waverly took her bottom lip between her teeth. Hearing Nicole be so concerned about Waverly's comfort level was making her want to even more than she already did.

"Than that would be fine too." Nicole let go of one of her hands and moved to tuck a strand of hair behind Waverly's ear. "I'm falling for you pretty hard, Waverly Earp so I'm not really worried that this is going to be anything similar to what I've had before." Nicole stared deep into her eyes and Waverly swallowed hard. How was Nicole able to be so confident when she was laying her heart on the line like that?

A smile tugged at the corners of Waverly's mouth and she let it come. "I feel like I've really been missing out on what feelings can actually do to someone."

"What do you mean?"

"I've dated people for months and none of them ever made me feel the way you do just by doing something as simple as that." Waverly pointed her eyes towards where Nicole was gently running her finger along the edge of Waverly's ear. "Maybe I've been dating the wrong people all along."

Waverly had thought quite a bit about that. All her breakups had seemed to feel like she was escaping something even though she was usually the one being broken up with. She had been able to open up physically to the guys she had slept with but the idea of opening up emotionally just didn't sit right with her. Now, with Nicole, she wanted to lay herself totally bare. She wanted Nicole to know her deepest, darkest secrets and it didn't even scare her. Maybe she should have been dating women all along...or maybe Nicole was just special.

Waverly reached up and ran a thumb across Nicole's cheek, before stretching up and kissing her with as much fire as she could muster. She realised she really hadn't ever felt so comfortable with someone before, even after she'd slept with them and that alone calmed her fears of the unknown.

"I want you to stay tonight." Waverly said breathlessly as they pulled apart. Her eyes hopefully giving her true desires away.

"Are you sure?" Nicole bit down on her lip and Waverly could see just how much she wanted this, wanted Waverly. Waverly couldn't help but wonder how long she had wanted her.

"I'm sure."

 

It started out slow, Nicole checking in with Waverly about everything that was happening.

Before she removed Waverly's top, before she removed her own, before she even reached for Waverly's bra clasp. Waverly felt silly that she had been so nervous, of course Nicole was going to make sure that anything that happened, Waverly was totally comfortable with and she would never think badly of Waverly for not knowing what to do. Waverly felt safe enough to ask what to do when the time came, what Nicole wanted her to do.

It did start slow and Waverly had been telling the truth but the way Nicole made her feel with such innocent touches had absolutely nothing on how it felt to have her fingers brushing along the bare skin of her torso, or the feeling of Nicole's tongue against her skin. She wanted more, she needed more and she knew that she could ask for it. So, she did.

Nicole still took her time, visiting every sensitive spot on Waverly's body like she had a freakin' map before she finally finally delved into her. It was all moans and gasps until there was only silence, because Waverly came with someone inside of her. Something that had never happened before, and it took her completely by surprise. Waverly's body went slack and with her heart still pounding in her chest she whispered the word:

"How?"

"How, what baby?"

"How are you so good at that?" Waverly laughed, pulling Nicole's face inches from her own and searching for answers to questions she hadn't even asked. How had it taken so long for Waverly to find Nicole? How had they only just had their first date and yet Waverly felt like she had known Nicole her entire life? How would she ever have forgiven herself if she hadn't got over her fear and admitted to herself that Nicole was who she wanted?

"Well, I do have a little practice." Nicole laughed before connecting their lips in a toothy grin.

"Right. Right." Waverly agreed but her head was still in a haze. How had someone just made her feel so good on their first try when people she had been with for months on end couldn't seem to? Nicole was attentive, beyond attentive and it was amazing to be on the receiving end of that for a change.

"Are you still with me?" Nicole asked, peppering kisses to the underside of her jaw.

"Yeah…yeah." Waverly sighed. "Just give me a sec. That really was…wow!"

"There's plenty more 'wow' to come." Nicole pushed herself up, so she was hovering over Waverly, a look in her eye that told Waverly she really wasn't lying, and Waverly knew she had absolutely made the right decision in inviting her back for more than just actual sleep.

Chapter Text

"Do we have to go to class today?" Waverly groaned as she reached over and snoozed her alarm for the third time that morning. She wasn't sure what time they actually fell asleep; it had not been early enough, but it had definitely been worth it.

"I don't know about you, but I do. I have a proposal meeting for my final written assessment to prepare for." Nicole tightened her hold on Waverly anyway, laying a few kisses on her cheek and Waverly could already feel herself melting into it.

"Fine." Waverly threw back the covers and both of them tensed up as the cool air hit them. Waverly winced. "Sorry!"

"Please don't ever do that again!" Nicole laughed manoeuvring Waverly on top of her as a shield against the cold. Waverly let out a soft sigh at the contact of their skin and Nicole beamed up at her. "Are you going to come around tonight before we head out? Rosita's coming over."

"I am but Chrissy wants to talk strategy." Waverly rolled her eyes, and Nicole looked confused. "She wants to actually talk to the bartender tonight. She said this is the last time she's going to try and then she's giving up."

"Really?" Nicole laughed, jostling Waverly as she tried not to giggle herself.

"Yeah, so I will be there to inflate her ego and then maybe she will finally ask for his number. I don't really believe this is the last time she's going to try but if she believes that, it might actually encourage her to just do it!"

"It's going to be hard not to kiss you all night, it was like torture the last time." Nicole leaned up to press their lips together. The way Nicole kissed her was so tender and yet Waverly could feel the heat and the hunger behind it, she felt it herself and it was definitely going to be absolute torture not being able to touch Nicole all night.

"I'm sorry." Waverly's face fell as she pulled back.

"You really don't have to apologize, seriously. Absolutely no pressure for when you want to tell her." Nicole said sincerely but Waverly still felt a little guilty.

"You're sure?"

"Totally sure." Nicole replied firmly, Waverly knew she'd have to tell Chrissy soon. She hadn't fully appreciated it before but the way they were both talking, this really felt like something that was going to last. There wouldn't be any need to actually tell Chrissy if this was just some fling.

"I told Wynonna." Waverly said with a proud smile. If there was even the slightest worry in Nicole's mind that Waverly not telling Chrissy meant she wasn't serious about this, she needed to quash it.

"You did?" Nicole beamed, and Waverly nodded happily in response. "What did you say?"

"That you're amazing... and that you're dynamite in the sack." Waverly winked.

"No, you didn't." Nicole rolled her eyes, but Waverly could see the blush starting to colour Nicole's cheeks. Waverly would not have been lying if she had said that, Nicole really was…something.

"No, I didn't…but I did say you were amazing." Waverly kissed the side of Nicole's mouth.

"And what did you say we…are?" Nicole asked, looking a little nervous.

"Well, I figured that was a conversation we still needed to have…"

"Yeah…so if I asked you to be my girlfriend that would be…" Nicole trailed off, pursing her lips.

"More than ok." Waverly lay her head down on Nicole's chest to hide just how embarrassingly wide her smile was. She'd been so nervous about asking Nicole that very question and Nicole had just made it so much easier. She wanted nothing more than to be able to call Nicole her girlfriend and to be Nicole's girlfriend in return.

"Will you?" Waverly could hear the smile in Nicole's voice and she looked up to be rewarded with her dimples on full display.

"Yes. Absolutely!" Waverly moved to kiss her as Nicole ran her hands up Waverly's back.

Waverly's alarm, obnoxious and far too loud after being snoozed so many times started going off again and she regretfully pulled back just as their lips made contact. Waverly groaned in its general direction as she slowly removed herself from Nicole and got up to stand by the side of the bed, slapping her hand down on the alarm clock.

Once the noise was finally silenced Waverly turned back towards the bed to see Nicole looking at her, wetting her lips and Waverly looked down at herself. She knew she was naked in the bed but suddenly standing in the daylight she knew Nicole could see everything, all at once. She thought she should feel exposed, but she didn't, not with the way Nicole was looking at her. Like there wasn't even a single imperfection.

"You are so beautiful, Waves." Nicole edged herself to the side of the bed and slung her legs over the side. Waverly took a step forward and stood in between her parted knees, just the tiniest bit frustrated that Nicole still had underwear on her lower half. She wanted to see Nicole, all of her.

"Says you." Waverly smiled, leaning down and smoothing out Nicole's bed hair. Nicole ran her hands slowly up Waverly's legs, coming to rest on her hips. Every sensation from the night before coursed through her body and for a moment her knees went a little shaky. Nicole tightened her grip with a knowing grin, and Waverly had to resist every urge in her body telling her to push Nicole back down on the bed and pick up where they left off. "I had an amazing time last night."

"Me too."

"Might be a little hard to get you back here tonight, huh?" Waverly wasn't sure how it could possibly work out. Chrissy would definitely notice them leaving together and then Nicole missing from their apartment would no doubt raise a few questions.

Waverly wanted it so badly though, she hadn't even been able to put her research into use yet. Nicole was hands down the least selfish lover she'd ever been with but with each moment of pleasure that Waverly received, all she wanted was to be able to give it right back. Waverly knew that Nicole could sense that she was nervous the previous night but now, looking down at Nicole sitting on the edge of her bed, the nerves were gone. The next time Waverly had Nicole all to herself, she was going to show her just how unafraid she was.

"Yeah, probably not going to happen." Nicole said mournfully. "I'll still get to see you though, so that's something!" Waverly hummed in agreement, while it would have been amazing to spend another night with Nicole straightaway she was sure she could handle just spending time around her. She couldn't do this whole sneaking around thing much longer though. Waverly had to get over her fears and speak to Chrissy soon; maybe she could meet her for coffee on Monday between classes and tell her then.

 


Waverly let Nicole shower first, as she still needed to go home and grab her things before she could head to class, so joining her when Nicole really needed to leave was simply not an option, no matter how much Waverly thought she would enjoy that. They said their goodbyes before Waverly jumped in after her. She couldn't daydream about the night before for too long under the stream of hot water, since she was already running a bit behind her usual schedule, but that didn't stop her from enjoying it for a little bit.

She messaged Chrissy after her last class to see when she wanted Waverly to head over and since 'ASAP' was the reply that came through almost immediately after, Waverly knew that Chrissy was already freaking out about what to wear.

She dumped off her laptop, changed and headed over. Chrissy had promised to make Waverly dinner in exchange for her help and they strategized over pasta. Waverly made the helpful suggestion of forgoing the garlic in the sauce that Chrissy would normally have used. She might have thought Chrissy was being a bit overdramatic about this bartender, but she wasn't not going to help her in any way she could.

As they finished up their meal, Waverly could hear Nicole's laugh from behind the door and a grin appeared on her face at just the thought of seeing her girlfriend . Nicole came in with Rosita in tow and said "hey", as they shared a look that let the other know just how much they wanted to greet each other properly. This night really was going to be complete and utter torture.

Chrissy dragged Waverly off to her room to finalise her outfit choice as Waverly threw a longing glance over her shoulder to where Nicole had settled on the couch. Chrissy had multiple selections already laid out on her bed and thankfully it wasn't as hard as Waverly thought it might be to get her to commit to one. Waverly excused herself before Chrissy started changing, if she was only going to get a few minutes to kiss Nicole that night, she was damn sure going to make the most of it.

Nicole was taking a beer out of the fridge when Waverly found her and practically launched herself at her, lips first.

"Hey." Waverly smiled as they pulled apart.

"Hey." Nicole repeated before moving in quickly for another kiss.

"Hey." Rosita parroted from the couch and they both turned to see her grinning over the back of it. Nicole flipped her off and Rosita pretended to be offended.

"Want a beer?" Nicole opened the fridge again and pulled out another as Waverly thanked her. She opened both bottles in her hand and gave one to Waverly with a kiss to her cheek, before leading her over to the couch.

"Don't worry Waverly, I am sworn to secrecy until you've had a chance to tell Chrissy." Rosita tipped her beer in Waverly's direction as she thanked her and promised that she really was getting there.

"She'd already left for class this morning by the time I got back here so fair warning, there might be some questioning when she joins us." Nicole looked to Waverly and she was sure she could handle that. As long as it was out of the way before she'd had a chance to consume a few drinks, she was positive she'd be able to control her face from giving too much away.

There was questioning…and a lot of it. So much so that Nicole actually looked like she was getting a little annoyed by it, but she kept her cool and told Chrissy that yes, she was seeing someone but since it was so new she didn't want to jinx it by saying too much. Finally, Chrissy let it go and they were able to relax. Waverly took a little longer to relax than everyone else though; she was really starting to feel bad about lying to her friend. Her tentative plans to tell Chrissy on Monday became solid and she was going to follow through with it no matter how scared she was. Nicole was amazing and Waverly knew she shouldn't be afraid to tell anyone that fact.

By the time they all left the apartment, Waverly was agonizingly close to just telling Chrissy right there and then so that she didn't have to hold herself back from taking Nicole's hand on the short walk to the bar. As if Rosita could sense it, she leaned in to Waverly's ear.

"Don't worry, I've got you," she said quickly and quietly before taking Chrissy's arm and walking her forward a few steps as Waverly heard her asking all about Chrissy's classes. It was obvious to most people that all you had to do was ask Chrissy a single question and she'd talk your ear off. As the two in front walked forward, Waverly slowed down and took a hold of Nicole's hand. Nicole looked down at their fingers intertwining with joy before looking back up to Waverly.

"I'm going to tell her on Monday, no more sneaking around." Waverly leaned in close and placed a quick kiss on Nicole's cheek, not missing how much Nicole lit up at Waverly's statement.

They reluctantly let go of each other just before they got to the bar. The place was a little quieter than the last time they were there, and they found themselves a booth while Chrissy and Rosita went to get everyone a drink. Waverly gave Chrissy an encouraging smile as she went up to the bar since her bartender was actually working. Waverly really hoped that Chrissy had it in her to speak to him this time and not just to place her drinks order.

It actually seemed like the bartender hadn't paid Chrissy much attention in the past because he was far too busy dealing with customers, but with the bar half empty and two other people manning the bar, he and Chrissy were getting along famously. She spent more time up at the bar speaking to him than at their table but none of them seemed to mind. Waverly was delighted that after so long, Chrissy had managed to actually get a real conversation going with him.

"Holy shit." Chrissy blushed as she came back over and sat with them. "I can't believe I actually spoke to him."

"Finally!" Waverly laughed and clinked her beer against Chrissy's glass.

"Did you get his number?" Rosita questioned, she had been adamant that there was a mutual attraction and had said as much to Chrissy.

"Not yet, I'm building up to it…" Chrissy glanced back over to the bar and Waverly's eyes followed. He was leaning back against the bar keeping a close tab on their table.

"He clearly likes you, what's the hold up?" Nicole teased, and Waverly placed a hand on her thigh underneath the table. Nicole jumped a little until Waverly widened her eyes, begging her to be cool.

"You're right!" Chrissy downed the rest of her drink and strode off to the bar, a woman on a mission.

Waverly watched closely as she handed over her phone and he typed into it. Chrissy leaned against the bar, licked her lips and he leaned closer, saying something and Waverly wished she was as good a lip reader as she used to be. He quickly pulled away and said something else that made Chrissy smile and duck her head before he disappeared. Chrissy stayed put at the bar though, looking over to their table and winking. Waverly raised her eyebrow to question what was going on, but Chrissy quickly turned back to the bar as he reappeared, jacket in hand. Chrissy motioned over to their table and for a moment, Waverly thought he might be coming to join them for a drink, but he started to put on his jacket and Chrissy practically skipped over.

"So…I'm gonna go…" Chrissy blushed again as she grabbed her jacket. "Don't wait up!" She sang over her shoulder as she waved goodnight them all.

"Does she do that a lot?" Rosita asked with a laugh as Chrissy took the guy's arm and left the bar.

"Not really." Waverly giggled as she shook her head. Waverly was all for it though, Chrissy could always do with a little more fun in her life and it meant with Chrissy gone, Nicole and Waverly could leave together, no questions asked. Not that she was about to abruptly end their night with Rosita just because she could, she was still having fun.

Nicole slung her arm over Waverly's shoulder and pulled her closer as the night progressed. Waverly allowed herself to get a little boozy, the fear of saying something while drunk in front of Nicole and keeping her hands off of her in front of Chrissy were no longer issues she needed to worry about.

An hour or so after Chrissy had left, Waverly sent her a message just double checking she was alright. She got a reply not long after saying she was totally safe, his place wasn't too far from the bar, but she was probably (definitely) going to be spending the night there. Waverly sent back her usual, play it safe text though she knew Chrissy was always prepared in that department even if her plans for the night hadn't exactly been what had transpired.

Chrissy:
Yes, MOM! JK, of course I will ;) Love you xx

Waverly showed Nicole all of Chrissy's messages while Rosita was in the bathroom and gave her a hopeful smile. She had been fine with not spending the night with Nicole when she thought it wasn't an option but now that it was…she had to spend the night with her. She was desperate to show Nicole even a fraction of the attention that she had given Waverly the night before, it had been almost exclusively what she had been thinking about all day. She'd even managed to walk into the wrong lecture theatre for the first time since her first week on campus.

"Well, I hate to love you and leave you, but I have work tomorrow." Rosita announced glumly as she looked at the time upon her return from the bathroom. "We'll need to do this more often!"

"Yeah, definitely!" Waverly agreed, she already liked Rosita after their first encounter but spending even more time in her company had just confirmed that. Rosita gestured for Waverly to give her a hug goodbye and Waverly quickly got to her feet to oblige. That was good, Rosita liked her.

"So…" Nicole gave Waverly a flirtatious smile after Rosita's departure, pulling Waverly in closer and everyone else in the bar around them faded into nothing. Waverly bit down on her lower lip as she wrapped her arms around Nicole's neck. "How about we get out of here?"

 


Waverly wasn't entirely sure how she had ended up in Nicole's bed; after they left the bar it was a bit of a frenzy. She had stopped to kiss Nicole on the street and somehow, they decided that getting to Waverly's place was simply going to take longer than either of them could handle.

She definitely wasn't complaining though; Nicole's bed certainly was a lot comfier than her own and the promise of Nicole cooking breakfast in the morning was definitely a bonus. Chrissy had confirmed she was going to stay at the bartender's place, sending Waverly an 'I'm still alive' text before Waverly tossed her phone in a random direction and let her focus return solely to Nicole. If Chrissy came home in the morning before Waverly left, it would be easy enough to say that Waverly had simply stayed over on the couch. It wasn't like it would be the first time that had happened.

 

Nicole slowly and deliberately removed pieces of Waverly's clothing and Waverly almost forgot all about her plans for the next time she had Nicole all to herself. It wasn't until Nicole's breath was lingering between her thighs that it came back to her.

"Wait!" Waverly said a little too forcefully and Nicole pulled back immediately with a look of pure guilt.

"Oh god, I'm sorry! Did you just want to sleep?" Nicole clambered up the bed until she was eye level with Waverly, who couldn't help but smile at the concern written all over Nicole's face. Waverly shook her head and placed her hand on Nicole's cheek, whose brow furrowed in confusion.

"No…no, I just wanted to…" Waverly steeled herself, her fears trying their hardest to break through, but she took one final deep breath as she locked eyes with Nicole. "I want to touch you tonight…"

"Oh." Nicole's eyebrows raised almost comically, and Waverly had to lean forward to kiss her. It was quick, Waverly wouldn't allow herself to deepen it until she knew Nicole actually wanted Waverly to do what she'd suggested.

"Is that…can I?" Waverly's breath was coming out quicker, her hands begging to move towards Nicole and at the brilliant smile that graced her features, Waverly allowed them to. Nicole had already rid herself of her top, but Waverly's fingers found their way to her jeans and quickly popped the button before Nicole shimmied them off her legs, eyes never leaving Waverly's.

"Are you sure? You know you don't have to just 'cause I…" Her words were cut off by a quiet inhalation as Waverly's hand found its way into Nicole's underwear. Waverly let out a small gasp of her own as her fingers met with Nicole's eagerness, she had never felt so incredibly wanted in her entire life. She was already addicted to the feeling of Nicole, warm and craving under her touch. Nicole's eyes fluttered shut as she breathed a heavy, "Waves…" from between her lips and Waverly moved in to meet her mouth.

"I want to." Waverly assured Nicole as her fingers continued to slowly but surely put her almost ridiculous amount of research and daydreaming into practice. "I want you …god, I've wanted to touch you for so long."

"Jesus…" Nicole's head fell down against the pillow as Waverly hit a particularly sensitive spot that made her hips jerk forward, chasing the feeling and Waverly was all too eager to give in.

"How am I doing?" Waverly asked, a smug little grin on her face as Nicole's breathing slowly sped up while Waverly's fingers did the same.

"You're doing great." Nicole's eyes flicked open and a hand behind Waverly's head pulled her down and onto Nicole's lips. This was exactly what Waverly had wanted and as their lips continued to move, Waverly let her instincts kick in. Drawing inspiration from every touch that Nicole had delivered to her, she pushed herself further into Nicole until her fingers were agonisingly close to Nicole's entrance, if the sharp intake of breath through Nicole's nose was anything to go by. She let her finger ask the question, not wanting to break apart from the kiss for even a second to speak and Nicole nodded.

As Waverly entered her, Nicole's hands pulled her closer until their bodies were almost flush, but she pulled back from Waverly's lips and her eyes asked a wordless question of their own. Waverly nodded, pleaded and Nicole's hand moved from her back, to her thigh and then sunk between their bodies into Waverly's thoroughly ruined underwear. She didn't even care that she'd probably have to throw them out come morning.

Waverly didn't think she'd ever seen a more beautiful sight in all her life; watching as Nicole came undone was heaven. The fact that it had been her doing simply made it even more incredible. She didn't get to enjoy it for nearly long enough though since Nicole hadn't let her own pleasure distract her from her purpose and Waverly fell apart a few seconds after. Waverly collapsed onto Nicole and arms surrounded her, pulling her as close as possible before Nicole delivered a tender kiss to the side of her head.

Waverly wasn't sure that she was satisfied falling asleep after experiencing Nicole just once, but the lack of a good night's sleep the day before and the intensity of the moment they'd just shared clung to her and she could feel herself edging further and further from consciousness.

"Sleep baby." Nicole sighed wistfully, no doubt feeling the heaviness that had started to take over Waverly's body as it hugged into her. Waverly drifted off, completely content, wrapped up in Nicole's arms and she was sure that every single moment she spent with Nicole was only giving her more confidence to speak to Chrissy when Monday came around. She could do it, Chrissy would be pleased for her no matter what because Waverly was positive she had never been this happy in her life, and Chrissy wouldn't be able to not see that.

Chapter Text

Waverly woke up absolutely desperate to pee, but she was so unbelievably comfy in Nicole's embrace that she thought about holding it in for just a little longer. Then Nicole squeezed her sides as she cuddled into her and there was no more waiting. She apologized softly as she untangled herself from Nicole's arms, and Nicole let out a sleepy groan.

"Come back." Nicole stretched her arm out in a grabbing motion towards Waverly, eyes still closed, before letting her arm drop down with a thud when she came back empty.

"I need to pee!" Waverly giggled, looking around for something she could put on to help combat the abrupt change in temperature she was experiencing. She danced around for a few seconds, bladder screaming at her, until she found Nicole's t-shirt that she'd thrown to the floor the night before.

"No…don't put clothes on." Nicole gave her a sleepy smile while she looked at her with one eye open.

"I'll be right back, and I promise I'll take it off again." Waverly blew Nicole a kiss as she made her way to the door.

"What if I want to take it off?" Nicole asked, propping herself up on her elbow as her eyes trailed down Waverly's bare legs. Waverly just laughed as she slipped out the room and closed the door behind her before she made it to the bathroom just in time. She flushed, washed her hands and had a quick rinse with some mouthwash before opening the door again.

"Oh. Shit." Waverly said before snapping her mouth shut. Chrissy was standing right in front of her, hand still outstretched as if she was about to turn the handle on the door to the bathroom.

"Hey…" Chrissy looked exactly how Waverly expected her to look that morning, although she had presumed it would have been several hours later than that exact moment. "Did you stay here last night? Wait…isn't that Nicole's shirt?" Chrissy looked at what Waverly was wearing, and she pulled it down a little, silently cursing herself for not wearing anything but underwear on her bottom half.

"Um…" Waverly was a deer caught in the headlights. She hadn't been awake nearly long enough to try and come up with a reasonable explanation and Chrissy was just staring at her, waiting for one. Waverly's eyes betrayed her as they flicked towards Nicole's bedroom door, and Waverly knew she'd blown it.

"Oh my god." Chrissy whispered as her eyes went wide and Waverly could practically see her putting the pieces together. "You slept with Nicole ?" Waverly's head slumped down and her chin hit her chest as she realised that lying now was simply not an option. She really hadn't wanted Chrissy to find out this way, she wanted to actually speak to her about it.

"I was going to tell you…" Waverly said quietly, and Chrissy slapped her arm twice in quick succession. "Ow! What the hell?" Waverly's head shot up expecting to see Chrissy angry, especially since she had just hit her, but instead she had the biggest smile on her face.

"We're going to talk about this!" Chrissy pointed a finger in her face, almost touching her nose as she wobbled a little on her feet. "But I'm pretty sure I'm still drunk, I need to pee, and I've only had a few hours sleep. Later?"

"Um…" Waverly was at a loss for words again. Chrissy pulled her arm and dragged her out of the bathroom, quickly switching their positions and Waverly found her voice. "Ok…later."

"Ok. Back you go!" Chrissy nodded her head in the direction of Nicole's bedroom and winked as she closed the bathroom door. Waverly's feet took her to Nicole's door of their own accord and she opened it before standing with her back against it once she had closed it behind her.

"Chrissy is back."

"Ok." Nicole mumbled before her eyes shot open and she sat up. "Oh…"

"Yeah…" Waverly was still stuck against the door. Nicole looked at her for a moment before rushing over, grabbing a t-shirt off the top of her dresser and pulling it on as she made her way to Waverly.

"Are you ok?" Nicole cupped her cheek and Waverly nodded. She was ok, she was just surprised. She really didn't think Chrissy would be back so early. It was barely seven in the morning and Chrissy was never up this early, let alone when she'd been drinking the night before. "What happened?"

"I think she's ok with it…" Waverly nearly laughed as she remembered Chrissy's wink as she told her to get back into Nicole's room. "She's ok with it, we still need to talk but yeah…"

"That's good." Nicole leaned down and placed her lips to Waverly's. Waverly didn't respond though, and Nicole pulled back. "This is good, right?"

"Yeah…sorry. It's good." Waverly pulled Nicole back in and kissed her properly. "My head's just a little…" Waverly shook her head wildly in a circle and Nicole smiled down at her. "I just had this speech planned out in my head." Waverly pouted, and Nicole's smile simply grew. Waverly hadn't got too far into her planning of the speech, but she knew a lot of what she wanted to say. She'd thought she had the rest of this day and the next to put it into some sort of coherent order.

"And she totally ruined it?" Nicole teased, squeezing her sides.

"Just a little bit." Waverly giggled as Nicole's fingers tickled her. She wrapped her arms around Nicole's neck and Nicole lifted her up, pushing her against the back of the door. Waverly bit down on her lip, as she felt the muscles in Nicole's back move with the motion.

"Do you have to talk to her now?" Nicole asked as she lay kisses down Waverly's neck. Waverly shook her head and Nicole carried her to the bed. They would probably have a good couple of hours if Chrissy wanted to get some more sleep.

 

Watching Nicole move around her kitchen as she cooked breakfast for them both was making her swoon, even more than normal. Nicole had forced her to sit at the table and forbade her from helping. Nicole made them French toast, veggie bacon since it was all she had in the fridge and poured them each a glass of orange juice before setting it up in front of Waverly. As soon as she took a bite, Waverly let out a moan that sounded scarily close to one she had made the night before.

"Good?" Nicole laughed around a bite of her own food.

"So good! Why have you let us order take out so many times when you can cook like this?!" Waverly couldn't believe that Nicole had been hiding her incredible skills the whole time she'd known her.

"Well I only really cook on special occasions or for special people." Nicole smiled over the table to Waverly and she knew Nicole meant it. She couldn't quite get over how quickly this all felt so right with Nicole.

"Is this a normal thing in lesbian relationships?" Waverly asked before taking another bite of food, she had heard the stereotypes of course but she was curious if this was something Nicole had felt before. The sheer rightness of it all, happening so fast.

"What do you mean?"

"Well I've never felt this way about someone after having only been on a single official date with them." Waverly blushed, she was sure Nicole knew how she felt about her, but it was still a little daunting to be quite so blunt about it.

"Oh…I'm not sure, not for me anyway. I mean I only had one girlfriend before Shae and I didn't feel like this…with either of them so quickly." Nicole ducked her head and smiled down at her plate. "Compared to how easy it is to be around you, I feel like I might have been forcing something that wasn't really there."

"Well I can definitely relate to that." Waverly sighed mournfully, and Nicole raised an eyebrow as she put some more food in her mouth. "The guys I've dated, I don't think I was all that happy when I was with them." Nicole looked a little sad at this revelation, but Waverly quickly clarified that it wasn't that she was unhappy when she was with them, she just wasn't happy the way she was with Nicole.

She knew it had only been a week since anything had happened between them, and mere days since the word "girlfriends" had been used but Waverly had such a good feeling about Nicole. She just had to get the conversation with Chrissy over with and there wouldn't have to be any more sneaking around, no more pretending they weren't crazy about each other. If this was how it felt when they were just getting started, she couldn't wait to see what was in store for them.

Just as they had finished eating, Chrissy came through from her room. She looked pretty dishevelled and gave them both a look Waverly couldn't decipher. Nicole stood up from her chair, placed a quick kiss to Waverly's head and told her she'd leave them to it. As much as Waverly wanted to have Nicole there, she knew it was important to do it on her own. She would probably have to do this sort of thing a lot now that she was dating Nicole. There was only one person she was more nervous to tell than Chrissy and that was Gus. That was a worry for another day though…right now, she was more concerned that Chrissy hadn't said a word since she came into the kitchen.

"Chrissy?" Waverly said hesitantly. Chrissy held up a finger as she poured herself some coffee, took a sip and then sat down in the seat Nicole had been occupying before. Waverly could tell Chrissy was hungover and she wondered just how much she had drunk once she had left the bar. Maybe it wasn't the best time to be getting into this conversation.

"So…you're actually here?"

"Yes…" Waverly wasn't sure where Chrissy was going with this.

"I thought I might have dreamt it…" Chrissy shook her head and took another, larger sip of her coffee.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you."

"How long has this been going on?" Chrissy raised an eyebrow at Waverly and Waverly took a deep breath before answering.

"About a week." Waverly wrung her hands in her lap as she waited for Chrissy to take that information in. This had been what she was dreading the most, that Chrissy would not only put the pieces together about where Nicole had been those two nights when she hadn't come home but also the fact that they had both been lying to her.

"Ok…oh." Chrissy's face fell. "She was at your place the other night?"

"Yeah…"

"When Wynonna suggested you do a little experimentation I didn't think you'd take it seriously!" Chrissy gave a short laugh as she took another drink from coffee. Was that all she thought this was? A little fun? It was fun obviously, but it was more than that.

"I'm not experimenting Chrissy, I really like Nicole. We're dating."

"Oh." Chrissy set down her coffee and looked Waverly straight in the eye. "Are you gay now?"

"I don't know about now. I'm starting to think I might not have ever really been interested in the guys I've dated." Waverly sighed, she had come across a few things in her research about people unknowingly forcing themselves to just be straight because they just didn't consider the alternative an option, and she couldn't quite bring herself to admit it at the time, but it made a lot of sense if she applied it to herself.

Her small town existence had told her there was a specific way her life should go; she'd grow up, find a man, get married, start a family and be happy. It had never really sat right with her and she could never quite figure out why, but she was pretty sure she knew why now. If she pictured that life but with Nicole instead, it didn't feel hollow. It felt like everything Waverly had ever wanted but couldn't put into words. "But yeah…I think I am."

"Well…congratulations? What are you supposed to say in situations like this?" Chrissy leaned forward and asked with a smile. Waverly burst out laughing. She knew Chrissy would make her feel even more ok about all of this, she shouldn't have been so worried about it.

"I don't know. You're the first person I've said that to…I mean, I've kind of hinted at it with Nicole but she's not trying to get me to label myself or anything." Waverly noticed the way Chrissy's smile turned warmer as Waverly said Nicole's name. No doubt Waverly had that dopey grin on her face again, the same one she always had when she thought about Nicole.

"Well I'm honoured." Chrissy did a tiny bow in her seat and Waverly laughed again. "I can't believe you thought Nicole was a psycho before you'd even met her and now you're dating!" Chrissy cackled, and Waverly shushed her. She had yet to share that little piece of information with Nicole…maybe she wouldn't need to mention it. Ever.

"You're totally ok with me dating your roommate then?" Waverly worried her lip, she needed to be absolutely sure.

"I don't see why not, as long as it doesn't mean whenever you're here it's just to see Nicole." Chrissy laughed, but Waverly could see there was a seriousness to what she said. She didn't want to feel like an afterthought and Waverly didn't want her to feel that way either.

"That won't happen and if you feel like it is, please tell me! I don't want to upset you, ok?" Waverly reached over the table and took Chrissy's hand, who nodded and gripped Waverly's hand tighter. "So, what happened with Mr Bartender?"

Chrissy told Waverly all about her night, she really seemed to like him, and he sounded like a genuinely nice guy. They really had just planned to go back to his place and talk, get to know each other better, but Chrissy had spent so long thinking about him that when she finally had him alone she wasn't going to waste it. Chrissy couldn't wait to see him again and from what she told Waverly, it seemed like he felt the same.

"Can I come back into my kitchen yet?" Nicole popped her head around the corner with a smirk and Waverly blushed, she hadn't realised how long they had been talking and Nicole all too kindly had given them space to do so.

Chrissy stood up from her seat, taking her coffee with her and said she needed to do some work for class. Waverly thought it might be a lie but if she was happy to let Nicole and Waverly have some time alone, she wouldn't complain. Nicole came over and sat in the chair next to Waverly, pulling her seat closer with her foot around one of the legs.

"How'd it go?"

"Good, although I think she thought this might have been a super casual thing until I told her we were actually dating." Waverly knocked their knees together lightly as she took hold of one of Nicole's hands, playing with her fingers as she spoke. Waverly didn't want to use the word experiment; she didn't want Nicole to have a single doubt about what she and Waverly were doing.

As much as she might have wanted to spend the day with Nicole, she really had been neglecting her school work, even if she had been doing "research" that had been highly educational. She was going to have to force herself to leave now that she and Chrissy had talked. "I'm gonna have to go, I have so much reading to do!"

"Me too." Nicole's shoulders slumped, and Waverly ran a hand through her hair, she wished she had been more prepared for spending the night. She could have taken her laptop and a few books, and they could have studied together all day. "I'm really not looking forward to my meeting with my advisor!"

"You can practice with me if you want?" Waverly offered, still running her hand through Nicole's soft curls and she decided that maybe it was for the best she didn't have her study materials with her, she would definitely get distracted. "Just let me know when you want me, and I'll be here!" Waverly did have a few shifts coming up that week at the coffee shop,, but she also still had that favour to cash in.

"And what if I always want you?" Nicole grinned and moved closer to Waverly, holding back just an inch from her lips and Waverly surged forward. It was a little awkward since they were both sitting down but no less intense and Waverly knew she really had to get going or else she would never want to leave.

Waverly eventually managed to gather up her things, she found her phone which had somehow ended up underneath Nicole's bed in their whirlwind the night before. Just as she was about to kiss Nicole goodbye her phone started ringing in her hand. Gus' name lit up the screen and Waverly felt a quick surge of guilt, she hadn't called her in over a week.

"Sup." Wynonna's voice came down the line when Waverly answered.

"Hey, I didn't realise you were still in Purgatory, why are you using Gus' phone?" Waverly asked and then before Wynonna had a chance to answer, Waverly had a pretty decent idea why. "Don't tell me, you lost yours again?"

"As if…I left it at Shorty's last night and Gus won't drive me to pick it up until later." Wynonna groaned, and Waverly was about to laugh but a thought struck her, Wynonna had her own mode of transportation…or at least she used to.

"What happened to your bike?"

"Well…here's the thing babygirl..."

"Wynonna!" Waverly interrupted before her sister could tell her whatever half-baked explanation she had come up with. "How do you lose a motorcycle?!" Waverly didn't realise she was yelling until Nicole took a step back with wide eyes and Waverly laid a hand on her chest in apology before mouthing 'sorry'.

"I didn't lose it lose it!" Wynonna sighed. "I know where it is, I just…made a bad call on a hand of poker and now it doesn't belong to me."

"Wynonna…" Waverly groaned, she could not believe that Wynonna was considered a legal adult sometimes.

"I already got chewed out by Gus, ok? I don't need you to rub my face in it too!" Wynonna huffed, and Waverly could practically see the pout her sister would no doubt be wearing.

"I'm sorry…so what are going to do?" That bike was everything to Wynonna, she'd saved up every penny she had since she was sixteen to buy it and she'd been using it to travel around the States since she got back from Europe. Wynonna wouldn't take losing her bike lying down and that worried Waverly.

"Stay in Purgatory for a while I guess, until I can win it or steal it back." Wynonna really didn't sound happy about that and Waverly couldn't blame her. Like Waverly, Wynonna had left Purgatory for a reason, and staying longer than she had to would not be something she wanted.

"Wynonna, please just tell me it wasn't one of Bobo's guys you lost it to!" Waverly pleaded, Wynonna had had too many close calls with Purgatory's resident asshole already, she didn't need to add anymore to that list.

"Ok, I won't tell you that..."

"Wynonna…he already hates you! If you try and steal something from one of his guys, even if it was yours to begin with, he might actually kill you!" Waverly was yelling again, and Nicole's eyes widened even further. Waverly realised that sooner or later she was going to have to explain her sister's complicated relationship with their hometown and its resident asshole, but it was far too long a story to get into at that moment.

"Fine!" Wynonna yelled back.

"Promise me! Promise me you are not going to do something stupid!" Waverly fisted Nicole's shirt into her hand as her mind started to run through all the horrible things that Bobo or his guys might do to her sister if she got caught trying to steal her bike back; she really couldn't handle worrying about Wynonna on top of school.

"Jeez, fine! I won't try and steal MY bike back!" Wynonna relented, and Waverly hoped it wasn't going to become a broken promise. If anything happened to Wynonna…

"Thank you!" Waverly sighed and laid her head on Nicole's shoulder, whose arms wrapped around Waverly's waist. She knew that Nicole was concerned. "You're going to go crazy staying in Purgatory…"

"I already am…could I come and stay with you in a few weeks?" Wynonna pleaded, and Waverly couldn't say no. She knew how little Wynonna liked spending time at home and Gus would no doubt already be going mad having her around. She wasn't sure who she was doing a bigger favour, her aunt or her sister.

Wynonna told her she'd call her in a few days from her own phone and arrange when she'd come to the city. After hanging up, she clarified what Nicole had probably already guessed, Wynonna would be coming back soon.

"You don't look particularly excited about that…" Nicole half smiled as Waverly lay her head back down on Nicole's shoulder. She wasn't not excited for Wynonna to come but she just knew what it would mean.

"I'll have to entertain her, and probably won't get to see you as much." Waverly grumbled, and Nicole let out a soft chuckle.

"I like your sister, she can hang out with us." Nicole kissed the top of her head and Waverly sighed. If only it were that simple.

"You liked my sister before we started dating, I'm not sure you'll like her so much when she gives you the third degree." Waverly leaned back to look Nicole in the eye as she laughed, Waverly didn't think she would be laughing when Wynonna arrived. She definitely liked Nicole and she was positive that Wynonna was happy for her but that wouldn't stop her from grilling Nicole to within an inch of her patience. "I'll see you soon ok, call me?"

"I will." Nicole leaned down for a quick kiss and Waverly called out to say goodbye to Chrissy before she left. Chrissy's head popped out the door and she said "bye" before heading into the kitchen. Waverly was pretty sure that Chrissy was about to give Nicole a grilling of her own.

Chapter Text

"See that wasn't so hard was it?" Waverly rubbed Nicole's thigh. She had been visibly nervous about going over what she had to cover in her meeting with her advisor, but after running through it, Waverly was sure that Nicole felt confident that she could present a comprehensive plan for her thesis.

"No, I guess not." Nicole smiled, covering Waverly's hand on her thigh with her own. "If I can get through it with someone as distracting as you sitting beside me, I'm sure I can handle my sixty-two-year-old professor!" Nicole laughed as Waverly ducked her head, she had admittedly gotten a little handsy during their study session. Waverly just found Nicole's intelligence and her deep interest in her subject matter incredibly alluring.

"I should hope so!" Waverly moved herself, so she could straddle Nicole on the couch. Nicole had insisted that she dive straight into her presentation for fear of getting hopelessly distracted if they started anything else, but now Waverly wanted to greet Nicole for real. Nicole dropped her papers to the floor and brought her hands up to rest on Waverly's hips as Waverly started to move slowly on top of her.

Waverly leaned down and captured Nicole's lips, grinding down a little harder, already desperate to feel more. Waverly had never been so insatiable with anyone before; there was barely a moment when she was with Nicole that she didn't wish they could be exploring each other. Nicole moved them slowly but confidently, until Waverly found herself lying on her back with Nicole settled between her legs, pushing further down and earning a low moan from Waverly as she wrapped her legs firmly around Nicole.

"Stay with me tonight…" Nicole's breath hit the side of Waverly's neck as she spoke softly into her ear and Waverly hummed, pulling Nicole closer still. Waverly hadn't planned on staying the night again, but she wasn't sure she could bring herself to leave if things continued to head in the direction that they appeared to be going. Nicole's warm hands made their way up underneath her top, her lips insistent but always gentle as their mouths moved against each other like they'd been doing this together for years. She nodded and pulled Nicole into a deep kiss just as the door to the apartment opened behind them and Waverly groaned as quietly as possible.

"We definitely need to come up with some ground rules." Chrissy said matter of factly, as she walked into the apartment past them and over to the kitchen.

"Sorry." Nicole whispered to Waverly before she pulled back, taking her wandering hands with her. Waverly propped herself up onto her elbows, so she could just see Chrissy over the back of the couch. "Sorry, Chrissy. I thought you were working til late."

"It was quiet, so they let me off early." Chrissy shrugged, still not fully looking in their direction. She put down the carton of orange juice in her hand and looked at them both. Waverly offered her a hesitant smile and Chrissy's face softened. It wasn't the first time she'd walked in to find things getting a little hot and heavy in the living room and Waverly had been genuinely apologetic about it. Nicole was just so…she couldn't help herself. Especially when she didn't think Chrissy would be walking in and interrupting them. "Can we just maybe make the communal spaces somewhere I don't see my oldest friend with a hand up her shirt?" Chrissy quirked an eyebrow and looked at them each in turn.

"I think that's fair." Nicole nodded but when Chrissy turned around to put some things into the fridge, Nicole snaked her hand back up Waverly's top and tickled her causing her to yelp and thrash her legs. Nicole came crashing down on top of her.

"Guys. Seriously!" Chrissy's shrill tone told Waverly she was about two seconds away from storming off to her room, so she composed herself and pushed Nicole off of her.

"Sorry, sorry! We'll make this a no-go zone…unless you're definitely not here." Waverly whispered the last part and Nicole snorted.

"What was that?" Chrissy asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Nothing!" Waverly sang as she stood up from the couch and readjusted her top; you could barely tell what they'd been up to mere moments before.

 

When Waverly woke up the next morning she found a note on Nicole's pillow. She'd gone to the library early to focus on her meeting and didn't want to wake her up when she looked so peaceful. Waverly still had some time before she needed to head to class herself, so she headed into the kitchen and found Chrissy reading something on her phone with a plate of toast in front of her.

"Morning!" Waverly chirped as she poured herself a cup of coffee from the machine.

"Morning." Chrissy's reply felt flat, not nearly as cheerful as Waverly's greeting had been.

"Everything alright?" Waverly sat down at the table and looked at her friend.

"Yeah…" Chrissy looked up from her phone and then back down as she shook her head. "I just…don't you think this is all a little fast?"

"What?"

"You've stayed here every night this week…" Chrissy set her phone down and locked eyes with Waverly.

"So?" Waverly sat back in her chair. She was not appreciating this start to her day in the slightest.

"I'm not saying Nicole doesn't like you, I mean it's pretty obvious that she does but don't you think she might just be using you a little bit to get over Shae?" Waverly couldn't believe what she was hearing, and that Chrissy didn't seem to have any problem with saying it.

"Chrissy…" Waverly warned, she did not want to get into an argument over Nicole. She knew Nicole wasn't using her... or at least she thought she did. Chrissy had spent more time with Nicole, maybe Nicole had said something that made Chrissy think this. Uncertainty crept into Waverly's mind. "Did she say something to you?"

"No, I'm just saying…she was single for what-- three, maybe four weeks? And now you guys are acting like you've been together for months!" Chrissy rolled her eyes and Waverly could feel anger burning in her chest. Nicole hadn't said anything, Chrissy was just assuming that Waverly didn't mean as much to Nicole as Nicole meant to Waverly. "I'm just looking out for you Waverly, I don't want you to be a rebound thing! I can see how much you like her!"

"What do you think Nicole is going to do? Sleep with me and then just go back to Shae or something?" Waverly's anger was obvious in her voice; she couldn't stop it. Chrissy held up her hands and rolled her eyes again, as if what she had just said shouldn't have earned such a strong reaction from Waverly. "You don't think that's a really horrible thing to say?" Waverly snapped, "That I'm being used?"

"Christ! Ok, Waves. I was just trying to look out for you!"

"You don't need to look out for me when it comes to my girlfriend, ok?" Waverly stood up from her seat and breathed heavily through her nose. She didn't want to get angry with Chrissy, she clearly thought she was doing the right thing, but it wasn't fair to Nicole. Nicole, who had been nothing but absolutely amazing to Waverly from the moment they took that step beyond just friends.

"So, you're not just dating now, you guys are girlfriends? Already?" Chrissy seemed to balk at the idea, and Waverly's heart hurt. Waverly could have told Chrissy that they were girlfriends before Waverly had even worked up the courage to tell her, but she didn't feel the need. She didn't understand why her friend-- her best friend-- couldn't just be happy for her.

"Yes, do you have a problem with that?" Waverly's patience was wearing thin, and at Chrissy's obviously forced head shake, Waverly walked back through to Nicole's room to get her things. She was done talking to Chrissy and she definitely didn't feel like having breakfast anymore. She got dressed and headed out, not pausing to say goodbye to Chrissy on her way out the door. She was teary eyed and distracted half way down the first set of stairs when she nearly collided with Nicole, who was on her way up.

"Woah…" Nicole laughed, but she quickly saw that Waverly did not look in the mood and furrowed her brow. Waverly was sure she looked a sight, she couldn't remember the last time she had a disagreement with Chrissy. "What's wrong? Did you not get my note?"

"I got it." Waverly's voice was flat, and she instantly felt bad, she wasn't angry at Nicole. Nicole, whose first concern was that Waverly was upset because she had left and maybe Waverly didn't know why. "I just…had a bit of a fight with Chrissy."

"What? Why?" Nicole put her hands on Waverly's shoulders and looked at her with such genuine concern that Waverly's emotions got the better of her and she crumbled onto the step above her feet in tears.

She had so much more to say to Chrissy, but she had been too frustrated to carry it on. She shouldn't have to justify anything that she and Nicole were doing. Chrissy only saw them when they were together around her, she didn't know what they felt for each other, didn't know how they were when they were alone. She thought she was looking out for Waverly but now all she had done was put a fear into her head that she didn't have before. What if Nicole really was just using her to get over Shae? Deep down Waverly knew that wasn't what was happening, she knew Nicole cared about her, but it didn't stop forcing her to consider, what if...?

"Baby, what happened?" Nicole sat down on the step beside her and wrapped an arm over her shoulders. Waverly managed to control her tears and look up at Nicole, whom she remembered had a meeting in less than an hour.

"What are you doing home? What about your meeting?" Waverly wiped her face as Nicole looked on, seemingly more concerned that Waverly had just avoided her question than the fact she was potentially going to be late.

"I forgot some of my notes. Seriously Waves, what happened?" Nicole tipped Waverly's chin up and held her face in one hand. Waverly wanted to explain everything but there just wasn't enough time.

"We can talk about it later, it's fine." Waverly shook her head a little with a wan smile, it wasn't fine, but she could pretend it was until Nicole got her meeting over and done with. Nicole didn't look happy about it, but Waverly wasn't going to give her a choice. "You don't have time."

"Fine." Nicole sighed and stood up from the step as Waverly's eyes followed. "But I'm walking you home, just give me a minute." Nicole ran up the rest of the stairs as Waverly stood and tried to clear the mist from her eyes. She wondered how Chrissy would be when Nicole walked in; part of Waverly worried that she would be totally alright, and that Waverly was the only one hurt by their confrontation.

Nicole came running back down the stairs soon after and took Waverly's hand. She tried to keep up a conversation as they walked but Waverly was finding it difficult. She just couldn't understand why Chrissy was giving her such a hard time when Waverly was obviously happy. It wasn't like Waverly had planned to stay the night so often since Chrissy found out, but when Waverly was with Nicole it felt like she was making up for lost time. Not just in the sense that Waverly had wanted Nicole for weeks before she finally actually got to kiss her; she felt like she was making up for all the past relationships that simply hadn't felt the way it did with Nicole.

"When do you finish classes today?" Nicole sighed, as they stood outside Waverly's building. It was obvious she was thinking about her meeting, but she just didn't want to leave Waverly.

"Four." Waverly replied, still trying to wrap her head around Chrissy's words. Nicole wouldn't be treating Waverly this way if she didn't mean anything to her.

"And you're not working tonight, right?" Nicole asked, and Waverly shook her head. "Ok, I'll meet you outside the coffee shop just after four and we can go to your place to talk. If you want?" Waverly definitely wanted that, and she nodded. Nicole looked concerned that Waverly wasn't using actual words to respond, and she didn't want Nicole stressing out during her meeting, so she knew she needed to speak up.

"Yeah, I'd like that. I'll see you there." Waverly leaned up, planning to kiss Nicole's cheek, but she suddenly needed more. She needed to remind herself how wrong Chrissy was. She knew that even if things were progressing faster with Nicole than anyone she'd ever been with, it didn't mean that it was too fast. She reached up with both hands and held Nicole's face as she kissed her hard. Nicole seemed a little shocked at first, but she went with it all the same, pulling Waverly closer and deepening the kiss. Waverly pulled back needing to catch her breath, and lay her head on Nicole's chest.

"I really have to go, Waves but I'll see you later."

"Yeah, ok…bye." Waverly pressed a final brush of her lips to Nicole's. "Good luck with your advisor," she added. Nicole smiled and squeezed her tight before pulling back completely and turning to leave.

 

Waverly's final class of the day ended early, so she nipped into her work to grab herself and Nicole drinks before Nicole arrived. She needed to do something to keep her mind occupied, since the fear that Chrissy had planted in her mind had only got worse as the day went on. Jessica was working, and she gave Waverly a warm smile as she saw her enter. They didn't work together nearly as much as they used to, but they had always got on well and seeing a friendly face gave Waverly a reprieve from her spiralling thoughts.

Waverly ordered a cappuccino for Nicole and a vanilla latte for herself. She still had a few minutes before Nicole would show up and it wasn't too busy in the shop, so Waverly had time to catch up with Jessica while she waited.

"So, who's the cappuccino for?" Jessica asked, causing Waverly a moment of mild panic. Should she tell Jessica about Nicole? That she had a girlfriend now? She considered Jessica a friend, but only really in the way that she was friendlier with Jessica than most of the other people she worked with.

"Uh, Nicole. She's um…" Jessica's brows knitted with concern at Waverly's obvious floundering and Waverly made a decision. She wasn't going to hide who she was with--she didn't want to. "My girlfriend."

"Oh." Jessica looked surprised, not bad surprised, Waverly thought but just likely not expecting Waverly to say that. "I didn't know you were…"

"Yeah…sort of a new development." Waverly gave a short laugh and Jessica smiled at her before her eyes were drawn to the door as someone walked in.

"Gorgeous redhead by any chance?" Jessica leaned over to Waverly, who quickly turned her head to see Nicole walking over to them. Waverly looked back at Jessica with a hint of a blush on her cheeks and nodded.

Nicole didn't rush in to hold her like she normally would, clearly not wanting to push Waverly into anything while in her place of work, but Waverly took a step towards her. She wrapped an arm around Nicole's waist before leaning up and kissing her just on the corner of her mouth as it curled up into a smile.

Waverly introduced them, proudly calling Nicole her girlfriend once again and Nicole smiled down at her with such affection that she nearly forgot her earlier apprehension about their impending talk. Nicole headed off to the sugar station while Waverly said her goodbyes to Jessica, promising that they would catch up properly soon before she and Nicole headed out.

Waverly still wanted to explain to Nicole what had happened between her and Chrissy, but she didn't want to make things awkward for the pair since they were living under the same roof. She decided she was going to leave out certain details about the things Chrissy had said. Nicole didn't need to know that Chrissy was worried Nicole was using her. It would no doubt only serve to upset Nicole and while Waverly was pissed off that Chrissy had even had that thought, it was something she and her friend would have to talk about and deal with together.

Nicole didn't ask Waverly what had happened until they were settled in at Waverly's place.

"Chrissy thinks we're moving too fast. She thinks that it's too soon to be calling each other 'girlfriend' and for me to be staying over so much," Waverly huffed out. Nicole blew a slow breath out through tight lips as she ran a hand through her hair. She didn't say anything for a while and Waverly started to worry.

"Do you?" Nicole finally asked hesitantly, and Waverly let herself breathe again.

"No." Waverly shook her head firmly. She really didn't. "Do you?"

"Not really no, I mean it probably should feel fast right? But it doesn't…" Nicole said with a smile before she shook her head.

"With Shae…" Waverly started and forced herself to continue before she lost her nerve. She didn't want to dwell on what Chrissy had said anymore but she couldn't help still feeling scared that maybe Nicole was moving on so fast because she simply missed having someone and that anyone would be getting the same treatment Waverly was. "How long were you dating before you were officially girlfriends?"

"Um…" Nicole looked up and seemed to be doing some math in her head. "I dunno, like a few months I guess, but we weren't actually exclusive at first. It was just a casual thing for a while." That calmed Waverly a lot more than she thought it would. She and Nicole were far from casual and surely that had to mean something.

"So, you were seeing other people?" Waverly asked, looking for clarification and Nicole nodded. Waverly was sure of the answer to her next question, but she had to ask it anyway. "But you don't want to see other people now? While you're with me?"

"No, I wouldn't have asked you to be my girlfriend if I did." Nicole said without hesitation, but something flickered across her eyes and she reached forward, cupping Waverly's cheek. "Do you?"

"No, I don't want anyone else." Waverly leaned into Nicole's touch and Nicole let out a sigh that sounded a lot like relief. "That's why I don't think this is too fast. I'm sure about you, Nicole. More sure than I've been about anyone." Waverly couldn't help but smile as she said that; actually saying it out loud felt equal parts amazing and terrifying.

"Really?"

"Yeah…" Waverly nodded, and Nicole grinned as she moved forward and pressed their lips together. Waverly pulled back quickly though, and Nicole looked at her; she had more to say and Nicole urged her on with a nod. Waverly huffed, she really didn't know how to say what she wanted to say without it coming off badly, so she figured just getting on with it before she chickened out was the best plan. "I'm not a rebound thing though, right? Like you're not just using me to get over Shae? And I really really don't mean to be accusing you of anything like that but my head is kind of running away with itself here and I just need…"

"Hey…" Nicole ran her thumb down Waverly's cheek until she calmed down from her nervous ramble. "Remember when I said I recognised you?"

"Yeah…" Waverly said, uncertain with where Nicole was going. Nicole took a few deep breaths, it seemed like something Nicole had been wanting to tell her and Waverly waited patiently.

"I'd always thought you were beautiful and I think the only reason I didn't put two and two together when we properly met was because if I did, then I think I would have felt something…while I was still with Shae." Nicole looked down at her hands and Waverly took a hold of them. "The day I remembered that I'd seen you before, realised who you were…I really felt something. Not just because I thought you were beautiful but because I'd gotten to know you, gotten to know how amazing you are." Nicole sighed, and Waverly's eyes widened. She remembered that day, the way Nicole looked at her. She hadn't imagined it at all.

"Nicole…" Waverly gently squeezed her hands, she had guessed that Nicole had been feeling something for her for a while before they had actually admitted it to each other, but she hadn't realised it had happened so soon after Shae had left. Waverly knew that had to have made Nicole feel guilty, even if Shae was the one to end things between them.

"I was totally freaked that it was way too fast, so I didn't act on it...kept not acting on it until I couldn't not act on it anymore. So, no…you're not a rebound thing! I think I would have fallen for you no matter what." Nicole lifted her gaze and found Waverly's, the implication of her words settling in Waverly's chest. "I always thought that Shae was right for me because we had a good time together but there wasn't this…" Nicole gestured between them. "There's something more here, Waverly and I don't know if you feel it, but I do and that is kind of scary-- but in the best possible way!"

"I feel it." Waverly moved herself into Nicole's space and cuddled into her side. She did feel it, whatever it was. She had a sneaking suspicion that she knew what it was becoming but it was definitely too early to be sure of that, even if she was sure it would come. They had plenty of time to figure it out together and the last thing Waverly wanted to do was rush something so meaningful. Waverly had never felt that way for anyone, but she was certain that if anyone deserved to hold her heart in such a way, it was Nicole.

Chapter Text

Two weeks.

Two weeks during which Waverly hadn’t spoken to Chrissy, and two weeks that had Nicole feeling like she was walking on eggshells when she was in her own home. She hadn’t wanted this, to cause a rift between Chrissy and Waverly. They were best friends, almost more like sisters if Nicole had to guess.

The shovel talk that Chrissy had given Nicole after she found out about them had been pretty terrifying and Nicole knew that only someone who cared deeply for Waverly would have been able to deliver it. Nicole didn’t doubt for a second that Chrissy would absolutely follow through on her threats if Nicole ever hurt Waverly. She had only managed to not break out into a sweat as Chrissy levelled her with a glare because she knew in her heart that she would never do anything that could cause Waverly pain.

Waverly promised that she was going to sort things out with Chrissy, and she tried. She went to speak with her while Nicole waited in her room but apparently it had only made things worse. Waverly came through, told Nicole she had to go home, and left after the briefest kiss goodbye. Nicole wanted to follow after her, make sure everything was alright, but Waverly said she needed a night to herself. She was angry, and she didn’t want to take that out on Nicole. So, against her better judgement Nicole let her be.

The next day when Nicole showed up at Waverly’s door, her girlfriend was crying, and Nicole wished she hadn’t listened to her. She didn’t care if Waverly took her anger out on her if it meant she hadn’t been alone and upset about fighting with her oldest friend. Nicole had wanted to share how well her advisors meeting had gone, since they hadn’t got around to discussing it yet. She’d hoped that by the next day Waverly might have been in a better frame of mind to celebrate with her but upon seeing her tear stained cheeks, she was certain that Waverly was far too preoccupied to care about something that probably only mattered to Nicole.

Waverly seemed a little more at ease the following day and Nicole got around to telling her how impressed her advisor had been with the work she presented and incredibly keen to see where Nicole would end up taking her thesis. Waverly had apologised profusely for not asking about it, surprising Nicole with a whole load of follow up questions.

Nicole already knew just how extraordinary Waverly was, but the sheer elation she exhibited when she learned of Nicole’s good news truly cemented that fact. For a solid hour Waverly didn’t look like she was dwelling on the situation with Chrissy in the slightest, and Nicole was happy to have her attention on something else. She only wished it could of lasted longer, but Nicole saw a hint of sadness darkening Waverly’s features as their conversation tapered off.

As much as Nicole didn’t particularly want to be used as a distraction in that way, she simply couldn’t bear it if Waverly withdrew deeper into her thoughts and ultimately Nicole could see the part of Waverly that made her doubt and question had prevailed. With a gentle caress of her nose against Waverly’s cheek, Nicole made her offering clear; she was there if Waverly wanted to forget for a while. Waverly drew a shaky breath and placed her hand on Nicole’s cheek, gratefully accepting what Nicole was willinging giving.

 

In the days that followed, Chrissy was downright miserable. Nicole would watch her pick up her phone and then put it back down before picking it up again and dialling a number other than the one Nicole knew she was originally planning to call.

Waverly pretended that she wasn’t missing Chrissy anymore, but Nicole could tell she was. She didn’t want to stay at Nicole’s in case she ran into her and although Nicole was happy to spend the night at Waverly’s when they wanted to be together, she did miss sleeping in her own bed with Waverly by her side.

Nicole had been struggling with what to do, she knew she had to ask someone for advice and after the first week of Waverly and Chrissy not talking to each other, Nicole caved and told Rosita what was going on.

When Nicole had first told Rosita about her blossoming relationship with Waverly, she knew she would be excited, but she hadn’t quite expected her to be so excited. She kept wanting to know exactly how things were going, something she had never done when Nicole was with Shae.

Nicole kept her updated in the first two weeks of their relationship but after Waverly’s fight with Chrissy, Nicole was scared to even mention it to her friend. She really wanted Rosita to like Waverly and she worried that this would only interfere with that.

She needed help though and she couldn’t ask Waverly or Chrissy so whatever Rosita decided it meant, Nicole would just have to deal with it and hope that it didn’t taint her best friend’s view of her girlfriend from that point forward.

“I just don’t know what to do, this is horrible.” Nicole clung to her phone as she sat on a bench just outside her lecture hall. She’d hoped that she would be able to speak to Rosita in person, but Rosita was stuck in the lab for the rest of the day, monitoring whatever experiment she was currently working on. “I didn’t want to make a move in the first place because I was terrified that I would totally screw up my friendship with both of them if I was wrong, and now I’ve got a girlfriend who refuses to be within ten feet of my roommate, who also just happens to be her oldest friend, because of our relationship!”

“Nicole, I’m sure this is just some silly thing that they’ll get over…even if it has been a week.” Rosita didn’t sound convinced of what she was saying, and Nicole was trying desperately to hold back tears while she was in a public place.

“Is this my fault?”

“No, absolutely not!” Rosita stated firmly, and Nicole nodded to herself, trying to believe it. “Waverly makes her own decisions and if Chrissy thinks you guys are moving too fast then that is because of decisions you have both made together!”

“Do you think we are?” Nicole needed to know. It wasn’t like Rosita to hold things back from Nicole but maybe she was just trying to be nice after seeing how hurt she was after Shae left.

“Nicole…”

“Be honest with me, I can take it. I’m not going to stop speaking to you!” Nicole tried to laugh but the tears she was still trying to hold back made it sound more like a sob.

“I see the way you look at her…the way you talk about her. This is something big, we both know that.”

“Yeah…” Nicole did know that, and relief washed over her at hearing someone else say the same.

“So…whatever! Move as fast as you like! Ask her to marry you tonight, for all I care!” Rosita laughed at herself.

“Rosita!” Nicole blushed furiously.

“I’m kidding. Don’t do that. That’d be totally insane! But Nicole, she’s important to you so don’t you dare start blaming yourself because, the fighting with Chrissy thing aside, you make Waverly happy .”

Rosita was right, Waverly was happy, but Nicole knew she would be happier if she and Chrissy were friends again. Nicole wanted Waverly to be as happy as she could be and both Waverly and Chrissy obviously wanted to fix things but neither one of them was even willing to be in the same room as the other. Nicole had a sneaking suspicion as to why.

When they actually saw each other they would cave; they both knew it about themselves but probably didn’t realise the other was feeling the exact same way.

Nicole came up with a plan. She was sure it would work, she just needed one more person to make sure it did. Wynonna.

Nicole hoped that Wynonna could help get Waverly and Chrissy to see sense. She knew Waverly had told her sister that she and Chrissy weren’t speaking but she wasn’t sure how much Wynonna actually knew about why.

Nicole offered to meet Wynonna at the bus station, since Waverly would be in class the day that Wynonna was due to arrive back in the city. Nicole was more than a little nervous. Waverly had warned her that Wynonna might not be so friendly now that they were dating but she couldn’t find it in herself to care right then. She had a plan she needed to make work. She had to sort things between Chrissy and Waverly because they sure as hell weren’t going to do it themselves.

“Hey Haughtshit!” Wynonna winked as she sauntered up to Nicole. Nicole wondered to herself if Wynonna had spent the whole journey thinking up that nickname.

“Hi Wynonna, how was the trip?”

“Come on, Nicole.” Wynonna gave her a strange look. “I know you came to meet me without Waverly for a reason, and it wasn’t to find out how my four hours on a shitty bus was.”

“Sorry.” Nicole looked down at her feet, but Wynonna clapped her on the shoulder.

“No stress, Red. What the hell happened between them anyway? They haven’t fought since they were like twelve!”

Nicole and Wynonna started walking while she explained what Waverly had told her. Chrissy thinking they were moving too fast, Waverly taking a day to calm down about it before going to speak to her again, trying to come to some sort of agreement but Chrissy apparently telling Waverly that she hadn’t changed her mind.

Nicole told Wynonna that she thought that Chrissy was simply being protective of Waverly, so she couldn’t hold it against her roommate. She knew how it looked from the outside, with Nicole getting over Shae and moving on to Waverly so soon after, but Nicole knew Waverly wasn’t just some rebound. She’d felt powerless to stop the feelings that had quickly developed for Waverly from taking root in her heart. Waverly was becoming everything to Nicole and that did scare her but not enough to keep Waverly at a distance. Not enough to pretend that Nicole didn’t care for her the way she did. It felt like the two of them coming together was inevitable.

She wanted to explain that to Chrissy, but Waverly begged her not to get involved, she didn’t want Nicole and Chrissy falling out and Chrissy deciding to move out. This only confirmed to Nicole that Waverly was not ‘done’ with Chrissy the way she had insisted after their second argument. She wanted her close by so that when she decided to speak to her again, she knew where to find her. Nicole just couldn’t handle the waiting anymore, and she wanted to feel at peace in her own home again. She wanted that for Waverly too.

“Really, they’re both just being stubborn, I don’t think either of them wants to be the one to apologise first!” Nicole sighed, and Wynonna raised an eyebrow at her.

“You think Waverly needs to apologise?” Wynonna asked incredulously. “Seems to me like Chrissy is the one who needs to apologise!”

“They both need to apologise. I don’t agree with what Chrissy said but I get where she’s coming from…” Nicole’s shoulders slumped, and Wynonna’s face softened. Nicole had a feeling that had Wynonna been around to see Waverly and Nicole together then she might have had the same concerns as Chrissy. They loved Waverly and in comparison they barely knew Nicole; it wasn’t unreasonable for Chrissy to not wholly trust her intentions.

“I really hope you haven’t said that to my sister. I think I’m the only person she would ever forgive for saying that!” Wynonna laughed, and Nicole shook her head, she wouldn’t dream of telling Waverly she thought Chrissy had a point, not until this had all blown over. “Waverly finally picked a smart one, I like it! So, what’s the plan? Lock them in a room together? Don’t let them out until they both apologise?”

“I’m not sure that’s the best idea.” Nicole chuckled, and Wynonna rolled her eyes. “I was thinking more like dinner at my place, Waverly thinks Chrissy is working tonight and Chrissy thinks you guys are spending the evening together.” It was a good plan, Nicole had thought a lot about it and all she needed was for Wynonna to be the missing piece to her puzzle for it to work. Otherwise she would have done it a week ago, when she first realised quite how stubborn her girlfriend could be.

“Ambush! I love it!” Wynonna said gleefully, and Nicole groaned. That definitely was not the reaction she’d been hoping for.

“This isn’t an ambush, if Waverly wants to leave we shouldn’t stop her and same goes for Chrissy! I don’t want to force them into apologising, but I can’t keep being stuck in the middle between my girlfriend and my roommate. It’s exhausting and I’m hoping we can just give them both the push they need to see how ridiculous this is!” Nicole already had enough stress this year with finishing school, she didn’t want to add this on top of that for any longer.

“Mmm--about that. We will be talking about this girlfriend thing but it can wait until after we sort these two idiots out!” Wynonna gave her a pointed look and Nicole nodded. She knew she wasn’t going to get off lightly, but part of Nicole had really hoped that Wynonna might not have the reaction Waverly thought she would to Nicole now that they were together.

Nicole left Wynonna off at Waverly’s just as Waverly was arriving back from class. Setting the plan in motion, she asked Waverly to come over for dinner and while there was a little hesitation, Nicole insisted she wasn’t going to cook a meal for three people in Waverly’s tiny kitchen. Waverly really did believe that Chrissy was working all evening and Nicole promised they could be gone before she got back.

Nicole really didn’t like all the lying, but she couldn’t see any other way around it. She had tried to tell Waverly that Chrissy missed her, and she had tried to tell Chrissy the same about Waverly but both of them simply didn’t believe her.

Nicole headed back to her place to put the final touches on the plan. Chrissy needed to think it was just the two of them having dinner, Nicole said she wanted to have a night where they could forget all the awkwardness for a while and get back to just being friends again. Nicole just hoped she didn’t offer to help out too much or she would definitely notice there was far too much food for just the two of them.

Thankfully Nicole only had to say once that she was happy for Chrissy not to help and she set herself up in front of the TV. Nicole was getting more and more nervous the closer it got to Waverly and Wynonna’s arrival time. She really hoped that neither of them would end up hating her for forcing them to see each other but she couldn’t handle them pretending to hate each other any longer. They cared about each other, that’s why Chrissy was being protective and that’s exactly why it hurt Waverly so much to hear what Chrissy had said.

The knock at the door had Chrissy on her feet and as soon as it opened she heard a groan from both of them and then Wynonna immediately telling them both to shut up. Maybe Nicole wouldn’t be the only one they were both pissed off at.

“Wynonna, I’m going home.” Waverly snapped angrily, and Nicole looked over to see her with her arms crossed and a sour face. Nicole prayed that she hadn’t just completely ruined her relationship.

“No, you’re not. You’re going to talk to each other, now!” Nicole watched as Wynonna pushed Waverly into the apartment. Waverly glared at Nicole, who had a sinking feeling that her plan was maybe not the best.

“What’s going on?” Chrissy folded her arms and glowered angrily at everyone.

“What’s going on is you two are going to stop acting like children!” Wynonna slammed the door shut behind her and stood firm as she and Nicole watched Waverly and Chrissy avoiding eye contact with each other.

“Says you, Wynonna.” Waverly quipped, and Chrissy laughed before she could stop herself.

“See, you already have something you agree on.” Wynonna looked between the pair and Nicole turned down the stove; they probably wouldn’t be eating for a while. Chrissy and Waverly stood still, both trying to not look at each other but Nicole could tell they both wanted to. Nicole could see the exact moment that Chrissy’s resolve broke.

“I’m sorry.” Chrissy mumbled a few deep breaths after, and Waverly looked at her properly for the first time since she entered the apartment.

“What?” Waverly said, she sounded like she was trying to go for mocking, but it came out a little too timid. She clearly hadn’t thought Chrissy would be the one to break first.

“I’m sorry.” Chrissy huffed out and threw her arms down by her side. “I shouldn’t have meddled in your relationship. It’s your relationship and I’m sorry!”

“Th-thank you.” Waverly relaxed her posture, but a blush came over her and Nicole couldn’t figure out why. “I’m sorry I called you a bitch.”

Nicole leaned back against the counter; Waverly had not shared that particular piece of information with her. Waverly, obviously remembering that, turned to Nicole and twisted her face into a grimace. Nicole just gave her a shrug, Waverly didn’t have to tell her everything, but it might have helped Nicole understand why the whole not speaking to each other thing carried on for as long as it did.

“So, you guys good? Can we eat?” Wynonna asked, sounding more than a little fed up. Waverly and Chrissy smiled and nodded back to her.

“We’re good.” Waverly moved forward and held her arms out for Chrissy to move in for a hug if she wanted, which she did. Nicole felt all the tension from the past two weeks leave her. That was until Waverly ended the hug and started a slow walk towards her.

“Sorry.” Nicole stated, foreseeing a negative reaction but Waverly shook her head. She took ahold of Nicole hands and wrapped them around herself.

“I’m not mad…I know this has been really awkward for you.” Waverly laid her head on Nicole’s chest and Nicole breathed out a heavy sigh of relief.

Nicole rested her chin on the top of Waverly’s head as she tightened her arms around Waverly’s waist.

“You know this wasn’t your fault, right?” Waverly leaned back and looked up at her. Nicole did know that…now, thanks to Rosita but it was nice to hear Waverly say so too. She had felt responsible, and just wanted Chrissy and Waverly to be friends again. Nicole nodded and pulled Waverly back into her. “What are we having?”

“Risotto.” Nicole turned back to the stove to check on it as Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole from behind.

Nicole’s fondness for Waverly grew every time she did little things like that, being so casual about showing her affection. Shae had never been particularly physically affectionate, and Nicole hadn’t minded that exactly, but it was amazing to have someone now who was. Waverly found any excuse to touch her and now that she felt comfortable being open about the fact she and Nicole were together, their physical closeness had only increased, no matter where they were.

Dinner went surprisingly smoothly, a lot smoother than Nicole had imagined it would considering Waverly and Chrissy hadn’t spoken to each other in two weeks. It was like none of it even happened. Wynonna regaled the table with tales of what had been going on in Purgatory and promised Waverly that she had stayed away from the guy she lost her bike to. Wynonna was a fantastic storyteller and even though Nicole had no idea who the people were that Wynonna was talking about, she found herself entertained all the same. She hoped that she’d get to see Purgatory one day...when Waverly was ready for that of course.

Nicole wasn’t sure when Wynonna’s “little talk” was going to come but she really hoped that it wouldn’t happen that night. She was just starting to feel relaxed in her own apartment again. Thankfully it didn’t, but only because Waverly suggested that she and Wynonna head back to her apartment not long after they had eaten. Nicole didn’t want her to go but she had known that when Wynonna came to stay it would mean Waverly would stay at her own place, at least the first night.

“Waves said you don’t have classes tomorrow afternoon…” Wynonna said, putting on her jacket as Waverly nipped off to use the bathroom.

“That’s right…” Nicole answered, already knowing where Wynonna was going. Normally she was glad to have her Friday afternoons free, but she wasn’t so sure about that now.

“How about we go for a drink?”

“Ok…” Nicole started to get nervous; she liked Wynonna and she really wanted Wynonna to still like her. She’d never met anyone quite as enigmatic as Wynonna before and that was not filling her with confidence. Neither was the idea of day drinking with someone who, if Nicole had to guess, was rather adept at that.

“Good, come by Waves’ apartment tomorrow like two, or three, or four…and we’ll go to a bar.” Wynonna gave Nicole’s shoulder a slap, just short of gentle and Nicole felt arms snake around her waist.

“What’s this?” Waverly asked, leaning her head against Nicole’s arm and looking at her sister.

“Your sister is taking me out for a drink tomorrow afternoon.” Nicole tried not to let her nervousness show but the tiny smile on Wynonna’s face told her it was not working.

“Ok, Haught. Taking you out implies I’m paying. We will be paying for our own drinks, got it?” Wynonna pointed at her and Nicole held her hands up with a firm nod. She turned to face Waverly and cupped her cheek as Waverly smiled brightly upwards.

Waverly informed her that she was off work that Saturday and Nicole knew exactly what she was suggesting. They’d already talked about Waverly getting a spare key to her place to give to Wynonna so Waverly didn’t need to stay with her all the time, and Nicole hoped that meant Waverly would be picking it up the next day. Nicole leaned down and placed a chaste kiss to Waverly’s lips before they left, not wanting to give Wynonna any more reason to make their conversation the next day more threatening than Nicole already feared it would be. Waverly whispered a quick warning not to let Wynonna get her too drunk before she left.

 

Nicole took Wynonna’s vague suggestion of a meeting time to mean she probably didn’t know when she would actually be awake and a text from Waverly confirmed that while Nicole got herself some lunch. Nicole decided if she aimed for three in the afternoon it would be the best decision.

Nicole got up the flight of stairs in Waverly’s building and found a note taped to the door.

Nicole, I left without you. Meet me at the bar.

Nicole groaned as she scrunched up the note and stuck it into her jeans. This was off to a great start. Nicole assumed Wynonna meant the bar that they had gone to the first night they met and if Wynonna wasn’t there she wasn’t going to go looking for her.

If Wynonna had just got Nicole’s number from Waverly’s phone, she wouldn’t have had to walk all the way back past her own apartment to get to the bar. Wynonna alternatively could have just come straight to Nicole’s apartment to find her considering she’d been there on more than one occasion.

Nicole walked into the bar and saw Chrissy’s bartender friend, whom she now knew as Ben. He’d walked half asleep into Nicole’s kitchen one morning the previous week. Nicole was drinking her morning coffee and nearly choked. She hadn’t realised that Chrissy had invited him over the night before and she was really not used to random men just walking into her kitchen while she was still in her pyjamas.

They shared a quick wave before Nicole glanced around the bar looking for Wynonna, who was nowhere to be seen. Nicole was just about to walk out and call Waverly to tell her that her sister was either really trying to piss Nicole off or she had actually gone missing when Wynonna walked out of the bathroom, glass of whiskey in hand.

“Ugh, finally!” Wynonna groaned, and Nicole couldn’t help the sarcastic laugh that escaped her. “What time do you call this?” Nicole frowned down at her watch; it wasn’t even four o’clock yet.

“Wynonna, you said two or three or four. Wasn’t very specific…plus I had to walk all the way back here after walking to Waverly’s. My apartment is literally five minutes from here, remember?” Nicole took a deep breath and tried not to let Wynonna’s little stunt frustrate her too much, she needed Wynonna to like her.

“Oh. Yeah, sorry.” Wynonna shrugged, not looking sorry in the slightest. “You look like you could use a drink?”

Nicole nodded her head and Wynonna smiled at her, wiggling her glass in her direction.

“Just a beer is fine.” Nicole said, slowly making her way over to the bar. She was absolutely not getting a whiskey.

“Barkeep! A beer!” Wynonna announced, setting herself on a stool. Ben rolled his eyes and fished a bottle out of the fridge behind him before placing it on the bar for Nicole as she sat down beside Wynonna. Wynonna shook her glass at Ben; he turned around to take down a bottle of whiskey and refilled her glass. Wynonna was clearly not a tipper and Ben had obviously discovered this already or else Nicole was sure he would have been making more of an effort while serving her.

“Thanks, Ben.” She tipped her beer in his direction while he asked about Chrissy. Nicole said she was good, but he should call her. She knew Chrissy hadn’t heard from him in a few days and he looked down at his feet before agreeing that he should. She paid him for both of their drinks and told him to keep the change, she was not going to be a lousy tipper. Nicole turned on her stool to face Wynonna, who didn’t turn her body to face Nicole, but she at least turned her head. “So…”

“So…you’re dating my sister.”

“I am.” Nicole smiled, it made her unbelievably happy to be able to say that.

“And that’s cool and all I just, y’know…I have to do this.” Wynonna set her drink down and turned to face Nicole fully. “I like you, you seem like a genuinely good person which is…pretty perfect for Waverly-- but if you hurt her…” Wynonna’s eyed hardened and Nicole swallowed hard. This was more like what Waverly had been describing when she told Nicole how Wynonna might act.

“I love that you’re protective of her, but you don’t have anything to worry about, ok?” Nicole held her hand over her heart and hoped Wynonna did not see it as an empty gesture. She meant every word. “I’m not going to hurt her, I’d never want to do anything to hurt her.”

“She really cares about you…I’ve never seen her like this about anyone.” Wynonna’s eyes widened, and she picked up her glass as she broke eye contact with Nicole. “Shit…I don’t know if I was supposed to tell you that.”

“She’s already told me as much, don’t worry.” Nicole laughed. Wynonna might have been protective, but she maybe wasn’t the best at keeping secrets. “For what it’s worth, I feel the same.”

“Good. Good.” Wynonna said, mostly to herself before turning back to Nicole. “I am sorry I had to do this but it’s not like dad is around to give you ‘the talk’ and you haven’t met Gus yet.” Nicole smiled at Wynonna saying ‘yet’ like she knew it was coming. Nicole really hoped it was.

She knew Waverly hadn’t found the right time to tell Gus about them, and Nicole was more than alright with that. It was scary, and she knew if her parents were still around she would want them to meet Waverly, but worrying that they wouldn’t like her might just have kept her from telling them. While she wouldn’t actually want anyone to give Waverly ‘the talk’, Nicole really did miss having someone who was that protective of her.

“I’m glad Waverly has people looking out for her. You, Chrissy.” Nicole bit down on her lip, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer to the question she was about to ask. “You don’t feel the same as Chrissy then? You don’t think we’re moving too fast?”

“I really don’t do relationships so for me this would be like light speed, but I trust Waverly’s judgement more than my own. If she’s happy, I’m happy and she’s happy so…” Wynonna downed her drink and waved Ben over for another. Nicole wondered how long she’d already been in the bar before Nicole had arrived, if it had been long and Wynonna was keeping a solid pace, she was holding her booze a lot better than Nicole could ever hope to.

Nicole had agreed with herself that if Wynonna wanted to continue hanging out after saying what she felt needed to be said, she’d have a couple of beers with her. Waverly loved her sister to pieces and Nicole wanted to get to know her better, she was pretty sure that having a few drinks along with her was the best way to do that.

Nicole knew she was a sucker for bending to Waverly’s will whenever she exploited that adorable pout of hers, but what she didn’t foresee was how effective Wynonna’s pout would be on her too. Her couple of beers turned into four and Wynonna managed to find a liquor Nicole didn’t hate. Ben kept the shots coming until he decided that they’d both had more than enough and as Nicole struggled to come up with a reason why he should keep pouring, she decided he was probably right.

Nicole wasn’t sure exactly how much time she had passed with Wynonna but when Waverly stormed into the bar looking less than impressed, she knew it had to have been a lot longer than she estimated. As she looked around the bar at the number of people she was sure had not been there when she arrived, she blurrily realised the sun had gone down outside and she was probably in a lot of trouble with the tiny ball of fury barrelling towards her.

Chapter Text

“Hey, baby!” Nicole smiled brightly while sliding less than gracefully off her barstool She made her way with some difficulty over to where Waverly had planted her feet. Waverly held her hand up in front of her to stop Nicole from pulling her into a hug. She was not in the mood. She’d been worried sick imagining the kind of trouble Wynonna could get Nicole into. Eventually she’d had Chrissy call her bartender to find out if Nicole and Wynonna were at his work.

She’d happily sat for an hour or so after her classes had finished, waiting for one of them to get in touch to say how their ‘drink’ had gone but when she didn’t hear from either of them she’d taken herself over to Nicole’s place. Chrissy said that Nicole hadn’t been home, and Waverly did not want to be the kind of girlfriend that demanded to know where Nicole was at all times, but she was starting to worry that she hadn’t heard from her.

She thought Nicole would have wanted to talk about her chat with Wynonna. When it hit nine o’clock and she still hadn’t heard anything she tried calling Nicole a few times but each time it went straight to voicemail, and Waverly was forced to ask Chrissy for the favour.

“Don’t ‘hey baby’ me! Have you been here all evening? I tried to call you!” Waverly scolded, trying very hard to ignore the infuriating yet adorable pout on Nicole’s face.

“I think we’re in trouble.” Nicole was obviously convinced that she was whispering but she most certainly was not. Wynonna laughed at her attempt before moving over to where the pair stood, Waverly with her arms folded tightly across her chest.

“Sorry, Waves. Red here is a bit of a lightweight.” Wynonna draped an arm around Nicole’s shoulder as Nicole’s mouth dropped open; she whipped her head around to glare at Wynonna, seemingly completely aghast at the accusation.

“Doesn’t explain why she ignored my calls…” Waverly grumbled, looking at the back of Nicole’s head and waiting for her to turn back and look at her.

“Oh...” Wynonna blinked at Waverly, clearly trying to pretend she wasn’t nearly as drunk as Nicole. The way she was using Nicole to stay steady, however, was a dead giveaway. “I may have dunked her phone into a pitcher of beer…and left it there.”

“You did!” Nicole gasped as if she had only just remembered, and turned back to Waverly. “She did do that, y’know I’d never ignore you!” Nicole’s pout was now out in full force and Waverly was powerless to stay mad at her, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be mad at Wynonna. Nicole stretched her hand beseechingly towards Waverly and she relented, taking a step forward and pulling Nicole away from Wynonna and into her arms instead.

“Why on earth did you do that?” Waverly demanded of Wynonna, who was now teetering on the edge of falling over. Nicole rested her head on Waverly’s shoulder, mumbling ‘sorry’ over and over again. Waverly shushed her with a hand running gently through her hair; it wasn’t her fault Wynonna made ridiculous decisions while she was drinking.

“She was gonna answer her phone.” Wynonna shrugged like it was the easiest answer in the world. “We were havin’ fun! She would have left if she answered.”

“I wanted to answer it. Promise.” Nicole lifted her head and kissed Waverly’s cheek a little sloppily. This was not what Waverly had imagined she’d be dealing with when she suggested they spend the night together following Nicole’s chat with Wynonna.

“I know, baby.” Waverly wrapped her arm tighter around Nicole. “I’m gonna take you home, ok?”

“Aw, come on!” Wynonna protested, but Nicole was happily trailing Waverly towards the door.

“Wynonna, you owe Nicole a new phone.” Waverly said flatly, not turning around to look at her. “I’m staying at Nicole’s, you didn’t manage to lose the key I gave you, did you?”

“No.” Wynonna scoffed before she thankfully started to follow them towards the exit. Waverly did not like the idea of leaving Wynonna alone at the bar in her current state.

“Good. I’ll find you a cab,” Waverly said with a resigned sigh.

Just before they left they heard Chrissy’s bartender friend calling Nicole’s name. He jogged over holding Nicole’s phone, regretfully telling her he thought her phone was toast even though he had tried to dry it out. Waverly took it from him and stuck it into her back pocket.

By the time Waverly poured Wynonna into a cab and then practically carried her girlfriend back home, Nicole definitely looked ready for bed. Her eyes were drooping and her words were coming out even less coherently. Waverly was going to murder her sister if she ever thought about pulling a stunt like that again, but she did have to admit that she was glad they seemed to have had a good time together.

“Staying?” Nicole slurred as Waverly set her down on the edge of the bed. With that endearing mix between a pout and a tipsy smile on her face, there was no way Waverly would have been able to say no to her.

“Yes, I’m staying.” Waverly sighed, and Nicole hummed with a look of pure tranquillity.

“I like Wynonna,” Nicole yawned as she lay her head down on her pillow, still fully clothed. Waverly rolled her eyes, she could at least have taken her shoes off.

“Well I think she likes you too.” Waverly struggled to untie Nicole’s shoelaces while Nicole shuffled her feet around, like it was some sort of game. Waverly laid a hand on her ankles and Nicole stopped with a giggle.

“Think Gus will like me?” Nicole’s eyes drifted closed as Waverly finally got her shoes off and lay down beside her. She stroked a finger down Nicole’s cheek and hoped that Nicole would remember this conversation in the morning.

“You want to meet Gus?” Waverly couldn’t stop her smile. She hadn’t told Gus about Nicole yet, but she had seriously been thinking about it, and she wanted Gus to meet her. She’d never wanted Gus to meet anyone before.

Nicole nodded silently into her pillow, throwing an arm a little haphazardly across Waverly and pulling her close. “I’d really like that.”

Waverly kissed Nicole’s cheek and Nicole’s smile grew impossibly wider. Waverly wasn’t quite ready for bed yet as it was still relatively early, but she decided she would lie with Nicole until she fell asleep. It didn’t take long before Nicole was out cold; she didn’t even notice Waverly getting out of the bed.

Nicole was unquestionably going to feel terrible in the morning, so Waverly picked up Nicole’s keys from the bowl by the door where she had dropped them and went out to get some things for breakfast. She decided to add some painkillers to her basket as she walked around the store just in case Nicole didn’t have any at home.

Waverly took her time going through the aisles, Nicole’s confession of wanting to meet Gus running through her mind. She wasn’t sure when she would be ready for that; it was a big step and one that she did not want to take lightly. If Gus didn’t like Nicole or didn’t like that Waverly was with her then that would be a real problem. She loved her aunt, but Gus had always drummed it into Waverly’s mind that she deserved the best in everything, and that included her love life. Waverly was sure that she would be hard pressed to find anyone that was a step up from Nicole, she just hoped that Gus would see that too when they eventually met.

After putting everything she had bought away in the kitchen she slipped back into bed, noticing that while she was out Nicole had obviously woken up, taken off her clothes and gotten back under the covers in just her underwear. Waverly was ecstatic that she hadn’t had to wrestle with Nicole to get that job done. It had been hard enough just getting her shoes off.

“Where’d you go?” Nicole mumbled, pulling Waverly closer and kissing her forehead. She sounded half-asleep, but she definitely seemed a little more sober.

“Went to the store. Got you some things for breakfast.” Waverly hadn’t thought she would be ready for sleep but being held in Nicole’s arms made her so relaxed she quickly felt herself drifting off. Nicole’s mumble of ‘you’re the best’ was the last thing she heard before falling asleep.

 

Waverly woke up to Nicole stubbing her toe on her dresser and cursing under her breath. Waverly had to stifle her laughter as she sat up in bed to ask Nicole if she was alright and saw Nicole clutching her toe with one hand while holding her head with the other. She looked over at Waverly and sighed, dropping her hands to her side and her head down to her chest. Waverly had not been wrong about the hangover.

“Sorry…” Nicole said, her shoulders hunched over as she lifted her eyes pitifully to look at Waverly. “Didn’t want to wake you up.”

“It’s ok, how are you feeling?” Waverly didn’t really need the answer, but Nicole shook her head slowly anyway, squeezing her eyes shut as Waverly put on the light so Nicole wouldn’t do anymore damage to herself.

“I think I might actually hate your sister…is that going to be a problem?” Nicole said followed by a short laugh.

“You were pretty sure you liked her last night.” Waverly smirked, and Nicole groaned. She shuffled her way over to Waverly on the bed and leaned down to press a soft kiss to the top of her head. “I’ll make sure she buys you a new phone though.”

“No, it’s fine. I’ve got insurance on it.” Nicole shook her head and cupped Waverly’s cheek; the feeling of her thumb smoothing down her skin made Waverly even more pissed at her sister. She’d had grand plans for her night with Nicole, plans that definitely did not include putting her drunk girlfriend to bed. And now Nicole did not seem like she was in the mood for some morning lovemaking in her current hungover state, to make up for what they had missed out on the night before.

Waverly followed Nicole out into the kitchen, got her to sit at the table and got her a glass of water and a couple of the painkillers she had picked up. She started up the coffee machine, knowing that caffeine would be mandatory.

Waverly had bought multiple breakfast options and she ran through them for Nicole to pick from. Nicole’s face remained neutral the whole time Waverly spoke, as she alternated between looking in the fridge and at Nicole. Waverly worried that she’d made all the wrong choices. She knew she herself tended to have a particular craving when she had been drinking the night before and she had hoped her assumption of excessive carbs would have been correct.

“Baby…” Nicole sighed, and Waverly closed the fridge. “I’m sorry, I just don’t think I can eat anything yet.” Waverly shook her head and walked over to where Nicole had sat down at the table, running her hand around her shoulders and sitting down on her knee.

“It’s ok, we’ll eat later.” Waverly could survive on coffee for a little while. “Snuggle on the couch and watch mindless TV?”

“You read my mind.” Nicole kissed Waverly’s cheek and hugged her closer before they moved themselves over to get more comfortable with a cup of coffee for each of them on the table beside them.

Nicole let out a little whimper every now and again as Waverly scrolled through the channels, apparently not able to get fully comfortable until Waverly had picked something and laid down, so Nicole could wrap herself around her. Although Waverly thought she was adorable, she decided she was absolutely not going to let Wynonna highjack Nicole for another drinking escapade for a good while…or ever again.

“Did you mean what you said?” Waverly asked as a commercial break interrupted the re-runs of “Friends” they had decided to watch.

“About Wynonna? No, I was only kidding. I hate this hangover, but I don’t hate her.”

“No…last night.” Waverly pushed herself up, so she could get a better look at Nicole. “About Gus?”

“Oh…” Nicole’s cheeks started to redden, and Waverly thought maybe her girlfriend had forgotten all about what she’d said the night before. “Yeah, I did. When you’re ready for that, of course,” she added hastily.

“Good.” Waverly leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to Nicole’s cheek. Hearing sober Nicole confirming what drunk Nicole had said made Waverly want to be even more ready to introduce her to Gus, but she knew it wouldn’t be easy. She knew she would get there eventually, and hoped that Nicole would still want to meet her when the time came.

After the pair had settled back into their embrace, with Waverly’s attention barely straying from Nicole to eye the television for more than a few seconds, Chrissy came through and smiled down at them both. Waverly had been genuinely worried after their falling out that Chrissy would never be totally comfortable with their relationship, but as her eyes caught Chrissy’s, she gave Waverly the smallest nod that let her know her friend really was happy for her. They still needed to have the conversation confirming that, something both of them had clearly been avoiding since their reconciliation but Waverly felt ready for it now and she hoped Chrissy was too.

“Wynonna?” Chrissy asked, giving Nicole a knowing look, and Waverly confirmed while Nicole buried her face into Waverly’s neck with a groan. “Just so you know, she’s coming over, she texted me a little while ago.” Chrissy lay down on the other couch, putting her hands behind her head and looking very pleased with herself. No doubt she was glad that for once, Wynonna coming to town hadn’t resulted in an awful hangover for herself.

Waverly wasn’t sure that she particularly wanted to see her sister, as she would undoubtedly be feeling peachy thanks to her apparent inability to ever truly be affected by a hangover... and that would likely only serve to make Nicole feel even worse than she already did.

Sure enough, Wynonna looked like she’d had the best night’s sleep of her life, followed by a full spa treatment, and she was raring to take on the new day. She shoved Chrissy over on the couch and looked over at Nicole with an amused smirk on her face.

“Don’t even start!” Waverly pointed at Wynonna, who snapped her mouth shut with a guilty look. Waverly tucked herself back into position next to Nicole, who looked like she was feeling even more sorry for herself than before.

Waverly loved finding out new things about Nicole and, much like she had discovered earlier that day that Nicole couldn’t eat a thing in the morning after a night of heavy drinking, she discovered that Nicole was a firm believer in naps when she was feeling particularly hungover. She slunk off to her bed and Waverly thought about joining her, but when Wynonna announced she was going to head out to grab some coffee down the street, Waverly realised that then was as good a time as any to put her and Chrissy’s disagreement to bed once and for all.

As soon as Wynonna had left them alone, Waverly could practically feel Chrissy stiffen uncomfortably from across the room as if she knew what was coming or planned on doing the exact same thing as Waverly. They had spent time alone the night before, but with Waverly worried about Nicole’s whereabouts, it had obviously not been the right time to get into it.

“Chrissy…”
“I’m sorry,” They blurted out at the exact same time and both ended up laughing at how in sync they were, had almost always been since they became friends. Chrissy gestured for Waverly to go first.

“Thank you,” Waverly said first, in response to Chrissy apologising again. She knew she needed to do the same. “And I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have called you a bitch. I know you thought you were looking out for me.”

“I-“ Chrissy started but at Waverly’s pointed look, withdrew from what Waverly had no doubt would be a defence of her words. Waverly was sure that Chrissy’s intentions were good and even if the doubt that she’d placed in Waverly’s mind was eased by Nicole, she’d still placed it there.

“I get it, Chrissy...I do. But me and Nicole…it’s good, it’s real. Ok?”

“I know…” Chrissy sighed and pushed herself off of the couch to sit beside Waverly. She slung an arm around her shoulder and pulled Waverly in close. “I’d just never seen you like this with anyone and it worried me, I couldn’t bear the thought of someone taking advantage of you. But I can see now that I was wrong.”

“She’s not taking advantage of me, I promise.” Waverly laid her head on Chrissy’s shoulder, grateful for her concern and the clearer air between them.

She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t shared how long she’d had feelings for Nicole with Chrissy before. Before their argument there wasn’t much time to discuss how Waverly and Nicole’s relationship was progressing, but if they were now in the middle of a heartfelt talk, Waverly felt like she might as well get it all out in the open. “I was attracted to Nicole the minute I met her, y’know?”

“What? Really?” Chrissy turned her head and Waverly lifted hers, just an inch, to nod shyly before she placed it back on Chrissy’s shoulder.

“I didn’t realise it at first…and I am sorry I didn’t tell you but-“

“You were scared?” Chrissy offered, sounding only slightly hurt by the idea of Waverly being afraid to tell her about it.

“Terrified,” Waverly admitted, and Chrissy squeezed her closer into her side. Waverly laughed to herself before she continued. “You interrupted us actually, before we got together. That night Rosita and Jeremy were over, she was totally going to kiss me after they left and you totally ruined the moment!”

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” Chrissy laughed, and Waverly couldn’t stop herself from joining in. She wished she could go back, do it all differently and tell Chrissy about her feelings from the start.

“Don’t worry about it…I quite like how our first kiss happened in the end,” Waverly sighed wistfully, remembering the exact moment her lips had met Nicole’s for the first time. She didn’t particularly like that Nicole had beaten herself up for most of that day, thinking that she’d overstepped, or how humiliated she’d felt when Nicole hadn’t even looked at her until Waverly practically launched herself at her, but the end result had absolutely been worth it.

She could feel Chrissy’s eyes on her, begging her to elaborate. “That day I said I’d left my phone here when we went out for lunch...that might have been a lie.”

Waverly Earp, you crafty fox!” Chrissy gasped, and Waverly grinned up at her.

Waverly was over the moon that she didn’t need to pretend not to miss Chrissy any longer, even though she was pretty sure that Nicole hadn’t bought into that for a second. Nicole wouldn’t have planned what had practically amounted to an intervention otherwise. She was even happier though that Chrissy had come around to the idea that what she and Nicole had was real. It wasn’t a rebound for Nicole and it certainly wasn’t simply an experiment for Waverly.

Even with the stress the past two weeks had caused Nicole, Waverly hadn’t doubted her for a second. Not that Waverly would have blamed her if she’d decided it was too much to handle but she hadn’t, and Waverly was surprised they made it through something like that so soon into their relationship. She had a strong feeling that, assuming Wynonna kept the drunken shenanigans to a minimum, there wouldn’t be much they couldn’t make it through together.

Chapter Text

The past few months had been the happiest Waverly could remember. School was going as well as ever, she’d secured herself a small promotion at work and things with Nicole were beyond incredible. She’d known from the moment she had kissed Nicole that a relationship with her was going to be different to any she had been in before; she had never felt such unbridled passion before. She wondered sometimes if it would wane as time passed and they became more familiar with one another, but amazingly it hadn’t. If anything, it had only grown stronger.

She was itching to tell Nicole how she felt about her, how she truly felt about her, but she had never told anyone she loved them before. She had never loved anyone before, not like this.

There were only a few weeks of school left before the holidays and Waverly still hadn’t decided what she was going to do during her time off. Wynonna was back in Purgatory, working at Shorty’s until she could save up enough money to try and buy back her bike. She desperately wanted to get back on the road, but she would be stuck in town over Christmas for the first time in years.

Wynonna and Gus wanted Waverly to come back, but Nicole would be staying in the city. She didn’t have any extended family that she spoke to who she could join for the festivities and Waverly didn’t want her to be alone. Waverly thought it would be quite nice actually, just the two of them celebrating Christmas. They could exchange gifts and spend the day watching old Christmas movies, not having to worry about school or work and just being together. Waverly felt like by then, she would be ready to tell Nicole exactly how she felt and she hoped it would make a lovely bonus Christmas gift.

“Waves, my dad is wondering if you’re coming to the Christmas party this year?” Chrissy walked into the kitchen where Waverly and Nicole were preparing dinner.

The Purgatory Police Department Christmas party was technically a staff and family only event, but Gus had gotten an invitation for as long as Waverly could remember, and Waverly had gone along too ever since she and Chrissy had become friends. Every year the department did a lottery to see which officers would have to work the night of the party, and each time Waverly sent up a silent prayer that Lonnie and his two left feet would not be attending. She was far too nice to refuse when he asked for a dance, but her poor toes always hated her for it the next morning.

“Oh…um. I don’t know.” Waverly turned away from the vegetables she was dicing to face Chrissy. She hadn’t talked with Nicole about her plans yet, she’d only fully decided that morning that she couldn’t bring herself to leave Nicole alone over Christmas.

“Ok, well they are doing a sit-down dinner this year, so he needs to know numbers for plates.” Chrissy shrugged and looked back down at the phone in her hand, typing away.

“I’m not sure that I’ll be back for Christmas this year. I might stay here…with Nicole.” Waverly glanced at Nicole, who smiled down into the pot she was stirring.

“Oh, ok…does Gus know that?” Chrissy frowned a little as Waverly shook her head. Waverly still hadn’t told Gus about Nicole. She had been meaning to for months, but whenever she spoke with Gus it just felt like the wrong time. Chrissy kept telling her to get it over with, that Gus would be happy for her. Nicole was far too understanding to put any kind of pressure on Waverly to tell Gus about them before she was ready, so Chrissy clearly felt like she had to be the voice of reason.

“As much as I would love it if you stayed, maybe you should be with your family on Christmas.” Nicole looked over to Waverly and Waverly moved to her side, wrapping her arms around Nicole’s waist. Her girlfriend never stopped surprising her with how thoughtful she was, accepting being alone over the holidays just so Waverly could spend time with her family. At that moment Waverly desperately wanted to say those three words to Nicole, but...not yet. Not in front of Chrissy for the first time.

“Maybe Nicole could come too? I’m sure you’d love Purgatory!” Chrissy chuckled, and Waverly froze. She hadn’t even thought about that.

“Huh…would you want to do that?” Waverly looked questioningly at Nicole and saw that she was smiling even more now. It was kind of the perfect solution; she could tell Gus and Gus could meet Nicole at the same time.

“Would you want me to come?”

“Yeah…I would!” Waverly beamed up at her. She really did. “I guess I’ll call Gus later.”

Gus was thrilled when Waverly confirmed that she would be coming for Christmas. Waverly didn’t tell her about Nicole yet, as she definitely wanted it to be in person now. She had a couple of weeks to prepare herself, but she knew she didn’t need to be scared about Gus finding out she was with a woman. Like Chrissy had said, Gus wouldn’t care but that was not what had Waverly so hesitant about telling Gus about Nicole. Waverly had never told Gus about anyone she was dating since she’d left Purgatory, she’d never needed to when she was still living there considering how quickly information spread in their little town, but now Waverly had someone important in her life and she wanted Nicole to meet the only family she had left besides Wynonna.

 

A few weeks passed and the three of them were driving to Purgatory. Nicole had rented a car for the trip and Waverly was growing progressively more nervous as their journey came closer to its end. Far too many worries were floating around inside her head.

What if Gus didn’t like Nicole? What if Nicole didn’t like Gus? What if Wynonna made the whole introduction way more awkward than it needed to be? Waverly drummed her fingers anxiously against the center console, as Nicole assessed her surreptitiously from the driver’s seat.

After dropping Chrissy off at her childhood home, they headed towards Waverly’s. She called Wynonna on their way to make sure that Gus was in and in a good mood. Wynonna confirmed that she was, and was looking forward to her arrival. Waverly took a hold of Nicole’s hand. For the past week she had been certain that she was ready to introduce Nicole to Gus, but now just literal minutes away from the real scenario she felt completely on edge.

“It’s ok to be nervous, baby. I’ve been watching you tap a hole in that console for miles.” Nicole squeezed Waverly’s hand in a reassuring gesture, and Waverly tried to calm down.

“I just want her to like you. I’ve never really introduced anyone to her before,” Waverly said shyly. She knew that Nicole was both apprehensive and excited to meet Gus. Waverly didn’t want to scare her unnecessarily by adding any more pressure to the situation.

“I’m sure she’ll love me, I’m very charming,” Nicole winked as she pulled up outside, letting go of Waverly’s hand so she could park the car. Waverly couldn’t help but feel encouraged by Nicole’s confidence and she leaned over for a kiss, the final motivation that she needed to be able to do this.

They headed in, Waverly taking off her shoes and Nicole following her lead before leaving their bags by the bottom of the stairs. They found Wynonna and Gus lounging in the living room. Gus was up from her seat immediately, her arms out ready to pull Waverly into a hug. As she did so Waverly could sense her aunt eyeing Nicole, who was standing behind her.

“Who’s your friend?” Gus asked with a smile as she pulled back from the hug. She held her hand out to Nicole who took it, offering a bashful ‘hi’. Waverly smirked inwardly; Nicole’s brash confidence of mere moments ago seemed to have evaporated. Waverly squared her shoulders; she could be brave for both of them.

“This is Nicole…my girlfriend.” Waverly bit down nervously on her bottom lip but it didn’t stop her from smiling. Gus’ welcoming face faltered for just a second before she dropped Nicole’s hand and pulled her into a hug, much to the surprise of everyone in the room. Waverly shot a quick look to Wynonna who gave her a reassuring nod before Gus pulled back to get a good look at Nicole. Nicole stood awkwardly, a lopsided grin on her face as Gus’ hands remained firmly gripped onto her arms.

“She must really like you, she’s never brought anyone home before.” Gus squeezed Nicole’s arms and Waverly moved to lean into her side as Gus let go.

“I really do.” Waverly confirmed, smiling softly up at Nicole. She could feel Nicole start to relax as Gus ushered them in to sit down.

It was the usual catch up conversation with Gus that Waverly normally had when she came back to Purgatory, but this time Gus had plenty of questions for Nicole too. She didn’t miss the look that Gus gave her when Nicole mentioned she wanted to become a police officer, but Waverly elected to ignore it for now. They discussed plans for the coming week; Nicole offered to help Gus with any of the food preparations if she needed it and Waverly boasted about what an amazing cook she was.

Wynonna was surprisingly quiet throughout the evening, keeping her commentary to a minimum. Waverly hoped that was due to Wynonna recognizing how important this moment was for Waverly. Wynonna excused herself relatively early since she had the opening shift at Shorty’s the next day and Gus followed soon after.

After a moment of basking in how easy it had all been, Waverly collected their bags and led Nicole upstairs to her old bedroom. It felt oddly rebellious having her girlfriend in her childhood room, and it was definitely giving Waverly some ideas. She had never been brave enough to sneak anyone up to her room the way Wynonna had been in her high school years but now that she had Nicole in there, Waverly thought it might be a moment where she could compensate for a missed opportunity.

“So teenage Waverly was super into horses, huh?” Nicole teased as she took in all the posters and pictures adorning the walls. Gus had never changed her room, or Wynonna’s for that matter, no matter how long they’d been away.

“Shush,” Waverly laughed as she wrapped her arms around Nicole’s waist, linking her hands over Nicole’s stomach. “My uncle kept horses when I was little.”

“When did you start living with them?” Nicole asked, avoiding the real question of when Waverly’s parents had passed away.

Waverly had told Nicole certain things, that her parents had died when she was young, and her eldest sister too but Nicole could always see how tense the conversation made Waverly. Nicole never pressed her to go into more detail, but she wanted to be able to; she wanted Nicole to know everything about her. Still, even after all this time it was hard to talk about the details.

“I was six, Wynonna was nearly twelve,” Waverly said, as Nicole turned and wrapped her arms around her.

“Waves, you don’t need to tell me anything more,” Nicole insisted gently, but the conversation had been put off long enough.

Nicole talked to Waverly about her own parents all the time, what they had been like, how they would have loved her. Nicole was lucky enough to have countless pleasant memories of them to overshadow the negative, but Waverly just didn’t have that. She barely remembered what her parents even looked like. Even now she thought the only reason her very few happy memories had faces at all was because of the photographs she had seen of them all as a family. They seemed happy but Waverly wished she could remember more of those times instead of the one terribly vivid memory she had of them.

“Me and Wynonna saw it happen…we couldn’t do anything to help,” Waverly said quietly, as Nicole tightened her hold. Waverly knew that Nicole had to have guessed it was not a pleasant story from Waverly’s reluctance to talk about it, but she wasn’t sure if Nicole could ever have guessed how unpleasant. “My daddy was a police officer…” Waverly began, watching as Nicole’s eyebrows pulled together.

This was the other reason why Waverly hadn’t told Nicole. Nicole wanted that to be her life and Waverly never wanted her to feel bad about that because of the pain her father’s job had brought her. Nicole knew as well as Waverly, it was always a possibility, getting hurt on the job…her father did too. He had just never imagined that he’d bring trouble into his own home.

“The guy that Wynonna lost her bike to, he works for a guy called Bobo. Him and his idiot gang have this idea that they own this town, but it used to be a lot worse. Bobo’s small potatoes compared to the guys who really used to run Purgatory. My dad tried to bring them down but it…” Waverly closed her eyes, the only crystal-clear memories of her parents playing through her mind. Nicole ran a comforting hand down Waverly’s cheek and reassured her she was there. “It didn’t work, they came to our home and it ended badly…really badly.”

The last time that Waverly had said any of it out loud had been to Chrissy. She had heard things, rumours about what had happened just like everyone else in Waverly’s class. Chrissy was the only person, before Nicole, that Waverly wanted to hear the truth from her own mouth. “My mom hid us in a cupboard with her when they arrived, but Willa ran out when she heard daddy shouting and mama ran after her. She must have spooked them or something because guns just went off everywhere and then there was silence. Wynonna called for help when we went out to look...but by the time help came, it was too late for any of them.”

Waverly wanted so badly to cry, it had taken her years to get the images out of her mind every single time she had closed her eyes, but she had managed somehow. She managed to feel safe again, living with Gus and Curtis and she found she could sleep through the night without the nightmares of that horrible night. Something about being in this house, the house where she did feel safe had eased the pain of saying it aloud once more.

“That’s…awful, baby.” Nicole swallowed hard and pulled Waverly closer. “I’m so sorry that you had to go through that.” Nicole just held her for a while, peppering gentle kisses to the side of her head as Waverly took comfort in the fact she had finally been able to tell Nicole the worst thing that had ever happened to her.

“I’m glad I was able to tell you and I really am happy that you’re here.” Waverly leaned back and looked up at Nicole. She simply could not hold in her feelings anymore.

“Nicole…” Waverly held her breath. “I love you.” Nicole smiled radiantly at Waverly’s words, and Waverly couldn’t believe she had waited so long to tell her.

“I love you, too.” Nicole leaned down and pulled Waverly into a searing kiss. Nicole kept her eyes closed for a moment after their lips had parted, she seemed to be soaking in the moment. When she opened them and met Waverly’s, Waverly reached up and ran a hand slowly down Nicole’s cheek, letting her finger dip into the pronounced dimple before slowly tracing Nicole’s bottom lip.

“I figured,” Waverly smirked and Nicole let out a small chuckle. “You’ve had this look in your eye since I made you those phenomenal muffins. It was those wasn’t it? That’s why you love me?” Waverly joked, needing to clear the heaviness from the air. Her heart felt lighter but the stifling weight of her worst memory still lingered.

“Definitely the muffins,” Nicole laughed perceiving Waverly’s need to lighten the mood. “I am definitely with you just for your baking skills.”

“I knew it!” Waverly grinned and started pulling Nicole towards her bed, undoing her belt as they went. She hadn’t forgotten what she had been thinking about before things took a more serious turn.

“Should we really be doing this here?” Nicole turned her head, checking to see if the door was shut behind them, but Waverly knew it was. She had made sure of it.

“Oh? You don’t want to?” Waverly quickly pulled her hands away and smirked as Nicole let out a tiny groan. Waverly leaned up and breathed softly into Nicole’s ear. “Gus is a heavy sleeper.”

“She better be.” Nicole laughed as she lowered Waverly onto the bed.

Chapter Text

Nicole cleaned up nice. Really freakin’ nice, and Waverly was having a hard time concentrating on anyone else at the Purgatory Police Department’s annual Christmas party.

Chrissy and Nicole were standing at the bar and Waverly was supposed to be talking to Sheriff Nedley but she kept getting distracted by Nicole’s long legs and that perfect butt in her tight fitting dress trousers. It had been hard enough not to stare at her during the dinner but with that over now and Nicole up and walking about, it was damn near impossible. Waverly was just glad that Lonnie had in fact been one of the unlucky officers who had to work that night, as there was absolutely no way she would have been able to protect her feet while her mind was focussed elsewhere the entire time.

“So nice of you two to invite Nicole to town for the holidays, is she staying at Gus’ with you?” Nedley asked and Waverly smiled to herself. She had asked Chrissy not to say anything to her dad about her and Nicole, not until Waverly had told Gus, and she was glad to know that Chrissy had kept that promise. Now that Gus knew, Waverly didn’t have to keep her a secret from anyone anymore.

“Nicole and I actually started seeing each other…so yes, she’s staying with us.”

“Oh well…that’s good. Good for you.” Nedley didn’t really seem like he knew what to say and Waverly tried very hard to suppress her laughter.

“Thanks.” Waverly’s eyes strayed once again to Nicole as she made her way over with their drinks. Waverly accepted her drink with a kiss to Nicole’s cheek. Nicole wrapped an arm around Waverly’s waist and gazed down at her, smitten.

“Finished your application for the academy yet?” Nedley cleared his throat and Nicole’s head snapped up to look at him.

“Yes, sir. I’ll be starting just after graduation if I get in.” Waverly smiled, as if Nicole wasn’t going to get in. Waverly was so proud of Nicole for following her dream; she was also happy that her dream wouldn’t be taking her away from the city before Waverly had finished her own degree. After Nicole finished her training it was all a bit up in the air, she could get a job in a lot of different places. Nicole was hopeful that she would be able to remain where she was, but there was always a chance she wouldn’t actually get a job there. Waverly already decided that she’d follow her anywhere, anyhow.

“Good to hear, I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting accepted.” Nedley gave a sharp nod and headed off to mingle with the other guests. As Waverly turned to face Nicole, beaming up at her, Nicole leaned in for a proper kiss, but suddenly hesitated and checked in.

“Are you ok with this? Being all out and proud in your hometown?” Nicole’s self-control was commendable, Waverly could see the want in her eyes, the need to feel Waverly’s lips against her own. The fact that she cared more about Waverly’s comfort level made Waverly love her impossibly more.

“Now that Gus knows, I don’t care who else does. I’m proud to call you mine.” Waverly reached up and fiddled with Nicole’s collar. Thumbing over her shoulder she said, “I’m pretty sure the only person here who actually cares is Champ over there.”

“Who?” Nicole’s brows knitted together as she looked over Waverly’s head. Waverly nodded her head towards a grumpy looking young guy eyeballing them from the end of the bar . He’d had a sour face on since Waverly arrived but didn’t go over to speak to him. Waverly had hoped that maybe this year the party wouldn’t be catered by the company he worked for. Clearly, he had gotten used to Waverly’s attention when she came home for Christmas but that would not be happening this year.

“Why would he care?”

“We used to date in high school. He usually tries to get me to remember the ‘good ol’ days’ when I’m back in town.” Waverly airquoted, while rolling her eyes.

The previous year, Waverly had been lonely and bored without Wynonna in town and with Chrissy busy catching up with her dad. After a few too many drinks at Shorty’s she had somehow managed to convince herself that Champ was not the same guy she had been with in high school. That he’d somehow matured... but that had not been the case. He was still the same self-centred person he’d always been.

“Oh...ok.” Nicole laughed uneasily. Waverly leaned up and pressed a soft kiss to her lips, she smoothed down her tie and then met her eyes. She knew that Nicole had taken a big step in trusting her after Shae’s unwillingness to commit to anything long term. Waverly needed Nicole to understand that she was in this, for as long as Nicole wanted her to be.

“I love you Nicole, and I don’t want anyone else…maybe ever.” Waverly worried her lip; even if she was pretty sure Nicole felt the same way, it was actually kind of terrifying to articulate just how far gone Waverly was for her.

In between work and school and Nicole, Waverly hadn’t all that much time to think what being with Nicole really meant about who she was. Not that it bothered her, or seemingly Nicole, that she hadn’t decided to use a particular label when referring to herself. She had accepted that she was attracted to women, not just Nicole but women in general and she knew that that had been the case for some time, but she simply hadn’t paid attention to it because it had been easier not to.

She had also recognized that while none of her previous relationships with men had worked out or been anything even remotely close to what she had with Nicole, she had definitely been attracted to them physically. In the end, they simply hadn’t been compatible on a deeper level, but Waverly was becoming more certain every day that there wasn’t anyone else out there that would be as well-suited to her as Nicole was-- regardless of gender.

“Waves…” Nicole smiled widely and tightened her hold round Waverly’s waist.

“This isn’t a proposal!” Waverly leaned back quickly, and Nicole let out an amused chuckle.

“I didn’t think it was.” Nicole pulled Waverly back in, and she leaned her head on Nicole’s chest with a sigh. “Even for us, that would be a little soon,” she continued wryly.

“Yeah…” Waverly smiled into the fabric of Nicole’s shirt. It would definitely be too soon, but the idea hadn’t scared Nicole and that was promising.

“Maybe we could try living together first? You do already get along with my roommate.” Nicole pressed a gentle kiss to Waverly’s hair.

Waverly knew this was a big deal. Shae had turned Nicole down when she had offered this, and while Nicole said she hadn’t minded, Waverly knew that she did. It had filled her with doubts about Shae’s commitment to her.

“My lease is up in August, but I could see if I could get out of it early. My landlord likes me.”

“Everyone likes you, baby.”

“But you love me?” Waverly looked up at her with a massive grin.

“Yes. I love you.” Nicole grinned right back. Waverly would never get tired of hearing that, she closed her eyes and savoured it before Nicole whispered in her ear that they should probably go and save Chrissy.

When Waverly opened her eyes, she saw exactly what Nicole meant. Chrissy was surrounded by the younger guests, all of the officer’s kids who looked up to Chrissy as the Sheriff’s daughter. Waverly knew full well that Chrissy really didn’t like the attention. Especially from kids who were up well past their bedtime and as such were a little more hyper than usual.

After rescuing Chrissy from the hoard of preteens, they found themselves some seats at a table and had a short conversation about school with some of the other guests. Waverly proudly introduced Nicole to everyone they spoke to as her girlfriend and got nothing but well wishes and acceptance from them all. As much as Waverly didn’t love coming back to Purgatory, she still loved the people who made up the town.

The tone of the party changed abruptly as Waverly heard Nedley cursing loudly and she turned to see him walking towards Gus with a scowl on his face and his phone to his ear. Nicole quietly asked Waverly what was wrong as Waverly gripped her hand more tightly.

“I just have a bad feeling about that phone call…” Waverly watched as Nedley put his hand on Gus in a comforting manner and Gus brought her hand up to her mouth in shock. The only person of significance in their life who was not at the party was Wynonna, and Waverly pulled Nicole with her as she ran over to where the Sheriff was speaking with Gus.

“She’s refusing to go to the hospital, maybe you can convince her.” Waverly caught the tail end of what Nedley had been saying and demanded to know what had happened. “There’s been a bit of a commotion over at Shorty’s…I have no doubt your sister was the instigator.” Nedley huffed out and Gus swiftly smacked his arm, much to the dismay of the Sheriff and Waverly’s surprise.

“She’s not been in a lick of trouble since she got back here, Randy!” Gus chastised, probably the only person in town who would ever dream of scolding Sheriff Randy Nedley.

“Well, my officer on the scene seems to think she was the one that started all the trouble.” Nedley countered, rubbing at his arm, although it was unlikely that anything other than his pride had actually been hurt.

Gus announced that she was going to head to Shorty’s and asked Waverly if she was coming too, Waverly nodded immediately and Nicole joined them without question.

The three of them drove to Shorty’s to find Wynonna struggling with a moustached man who was trying to hold a towel to her head. The police had shut down the bar following the apparent melee. Tables and chairs were overturned, and broken glass littered the floor. Waverly had never seen the place look such a mess in her life.

“Doc will you just…” Wynonna slapped the man’s hand away and he relented, dropping the towel onto the bar. Waverly could finally see the nasty gash across her sister’s forehead.

“What the hell happened?” Waverly rushed over to her sister to inspect the wound; she was positive Wynonna was going to need stitches.

“Carl,” Doc replied, and Waverly glared at Wynonna.

“You said you wouldn’t do anything stupid...you promised me!” Waverly yelled more out of worry than anger, but she was livid that Wynonna thought that getting into an altercation in her place of work was in any way a good idea, even if she did have the night off. Shorty was not going to be pleased that the police shut his place down for the night and he’d lost out on business. Wynonna really needed this job if she had any hopes of getting out of Purgatory again.

“Yeah well, stupid Carl came in talking about all the ‘improvements’ he’s made to my bike and I just couldn’t help myself,” Wynonna said sarcastically and then winced as Waverly touched her head. Waverly’s finger came away with a fair amount of blood on it.

“He started it, not Wynonna,” Doc spoke up again and Wynonna rolled her eyes but nodded.

“You need stitches, we’re going to the hospital,” Waverly said firmly. She wasn’t asking; she didn’t care if Wynonna didn’t want to go. Nicole had stayed near the entrance, obviously not wanting to get in the way but if she had to help Waverly drag Wynonna into Gus’ car then that was how it was going to go.

“I’m fine!” Wynonna huffed, and Waverly inhaled what she hoped was a deep, calming breath. She did not want to have a fight with her sister after such a pleasant evening but Wynonna always did like to test the limits of her patience.

“Wynonna…in your condition…” Doc said softly, and Waverly frowned.

“Another word out of you and we are gonna have a problem, John Henry.” Wynonna hissed at him over Waverly’s shoulder. Waverly looked behind her as he held up his hands in surrender. She didn’t know what was going on and Wynonna wouldn’t look at her.

“Wynonna…” Waverly began, but Wynonna quickly interrupted.

“Fine. We’ll go to the hospital. You’re staying here.” She pointed at Doc, who nodded and cast his eyes downward.

Wynonna didn’t talk much in the car and avoided Waverly’s searching looks. Waverly played nervously with Nicole’s hand the whole way there. She was mad at her sister but there was something going on, she could feel it. She had never heard of this John Henry before…. Doc? was it..., but he sure seemed very concerned about Wynonna’s condition. Why had he said that? That was something people tended to say when someone was… no.... Wynonna would have told her.

The way Wynonna was avoiding eye contact or conversation had Waverly wondering if maybe Wynonna might not tell her something like that.

Waverly forced her way into the examination room when Wynonna’s name was eventually called. In the waiting room, Wynonna had kept her head down and avoided answering anyone’s questions about what happened. The only question she answered was from the nurse, asking for her name.

“Waverly, I can get a few stitches without you holding my hand.” Wynonna said grumpily, shifting around noisily on the paper covered table. “Shouldn’t you be saving Nicole from all of Gus’ questions that she couldn’t ask in front of you?”

“Nicole can handle herself just fine.” Waverly sat down beside Wynonna. “I know there’s something you’re not telling me.” Wynonna stiffened beside her as Waverly gently took her hand.

“Waves…”

“You don’t have to tell me if you’re not ready but I’m here, ok?” Waverly watched as Wynonna’s resolved slowly crumbled.

“I’m so screwed…” Wynonna buried her face in her hands wincing as her hand made contact with the cut on her head. “I can’t do this. Doc said he’s in this with me, but we barely know each other and I… fuck Waverly, I’m not ready to be a mom.” Wynonna burst into tears and threw her arms around Waverly. Waverly held on tight and ran a hand through her hair until she calmed down. She didn’t know what else to do; part of her had hoped she might have guessed wrong. Motherhood wasn’t something that Waverly recalled Wynonna ever wanting.

“Does Gus know?” Waverly asked, once Wynonna seemed to have composed herself a little.

“No…not yet.” Wynonna pulled back and wiped at her face, thankfully her cut had stopped the worst of its bleeding. Waverly realised that Gus would have been furious if she knew that Wynonna was pregnant and had gotten involved in a stupid bar fight, of course she couldn’t have known yet.

“What the hell were you playing at getting in a fight when you’re pregnant?!” Waverly slapped Wynonna’s arm just as the doctor opened the door to the room.

“Do you need a minute?”

“No, no sorry. My sister is just an idiot!” Waverly said, more to Wynonna than the doctor and Wynonna had the decency to at least look like she agreed with her. She was lucky that the only damage seemed to be to her forehead or else Waverly would have demanded that Wynonna tell the doctor about her pregnancy. As it was, she decided to let her sister decide what she wanted to share. She could see the fear in Wynonna’s eyes and having to talk it through with a doctor would likely only terrify her even more; it was no doubt the reason she had been so hesitant to come to the hospital in the first place.

The doctor cleaned Wynonna’s wound and proceeded with the stitches. Waverly had so many questions for Wynonna. How far along was she? How long had she known? Why in the hell did she think that stupid Carl was worth more than protecting the life that she had growing inside of her? Even if Carl did start it, Wynonna should never have risen to his bait. But Wynonna didn’t bring up her pregnancy, leaving all of her questions unanswered.

The doctor quickly vacated the room once she had finished with Wynonna’s stitches; she no doubt felt the tension in the air. Waverly wanted so badly to ask all the questions that were still filling her mind, but she knew Wynonna wasn’t ready to have all of that thrown at her, so she settled on an easy one.

“So…how long have you known Doc?”

“We hooked up a couple times after I started working at Shorty’s…just super casual but now he wants to really give it a chance, give us a chance.” Wynonna said mockingly, adding an exaggerated roll of her eyes.

“And that’s bad?” Granted, Waverly did not know this guy, maybe he wasn’t exactly father material but taking that step to try and give it a go, give them a go was at least somewhat grown up.

“He’s not going to stay Waverly... he says he is, but he won’t. Why would he?”

“Why wouldn’t he? He didn’t need to tell you he was in this with you…” Waverly laid a comforting hand on Wynonna’s arm, she looked like she was at least considering Waverly’s words.. “All I’m saying is give him a chance, if you barely know him then you can’t write him off before you do.” Wynonna shrugged but Waverly could see that she had taken it in.

Wynonna stood from the exam table and put her jacket back on, and they exited the room. Waverly knew she’d got as much out of Wynonna as she would for the time being and she would need to give her some space if she wanted to know the answers to the rest of her questions. She had some time though, they would still be in town for another few days.

As they got to the waiting area, Gus and Nicole were deep in conversation, both with big smiles on their faces and Waverly wished she could bask in that scene for just a little longer but Gus spotted them and jumped to her feet. She inspected Wynonna’s forehead as Wynonna’s shoulders slumped and Waverly knew she had to convince Wynonna to tell Gus about the pregnancy sooner rather than later. Gus would want to know; she would want to be there for her.

“That’s definitely going to scar.” Gus tutted.

“Dudes dig scars,” Wynonna quipped, and Gus rolled her eyes. “Can we go home now?”

They piled into Gus’ truck and by the time they got back to the house, Waverly had realised how difficult it was going to be to not tell Nicole. She would know something was bothering her. Wynonna hadn’t asked her to keep it from Nicole, but that was no doubt a given until Wynonna had the chance to tell Gus. Waverly knew she wasn’t exactly the best person to give advice about being open and honest with their aunt, but this was different. Wynonna was living with Gus, she wouldn’t be able to keep a secret this big for long.

Waverly grabbed a hold of Wynonna’s arm before they got into the house, motioning for Nicole to follow Gus inside.

“You need to tell Gus.” Waverly looked her sister dead in the eye and tried to convey how important this was. Waverly knew Gus would be supportive and Wynonna was going to need someone once Waverly was back at school.

“I don’t need to do anything!”

“Wynonna…please. This isn’t something you can just ignore and hope it goes away. If you’re…if you’re going through with this, you should tell her and tell her soon. She’d want to help you,” Waverly pleaded, she needed Wynonna to understand that she didn’t have to do this alone.

Wynonna’s face fell as Waverly spoke and suddenly Waverly realized that Wynonna was afraid that Gus would be disappointed in her.. She wanted help, she needed support, but she was afraid of not getting it. The same way she was afraid that Doc was just going to abandon her even when he said he wouldn’t.

“What if she tells me I shouldn’t go through with it?” Wynonna spoke so quietly that it broke Waverly’s heart. Wynonna might not have felt ready for this, but she seemed to have made up her mind on what she was going to do.

“She stood up for you today, slapped Nedley’s arm in front of the whole Christmas party.” Waverly smiled and pulled Wynonna into a hug. “She might not agree with all the choices you’ve made in your life, but she’s never once stopped you from doing something you wanted to do.”

“Ok…ok. I’ll tell her.” Wynonna squeezed onto Waverly tightly before she pulled back and they walked into the house together, Waverly with a supportive hand on her back.

Gus and Nicole were sitting in the living room, both eyeing them questioningly, and Waverly motioned for Nicole to come with her as Wynonna sat down on the coffee table in front of Gus.

Nicole quietly checked in with Waverly as they headed upstairs. If Wynonna was going to tell Gus about her pregnancy, Waverly hoped it would be ok to tell Nicole too. Nicole was going to be staying in the house for a few more days and Waverly just couldn’t keep a secret like this from her, not to mention that it would be hard for her not to overhear anything. Waverly was sure that Gus would have just as many questions as she did, if not more.

Once they made it to her room, Waverly pulled Nicole down to sit next to her on the bed. She could see her anxiety manifesting itself in the crease between Nicole’s eyebrows; she had to be concerned that something was going on. Waverly smiled, a real, joyous smile and Nicole seemed to relax but there was still a question burning behind her eyes. There were plenty of things Waverly was worried a pregnancy would mean for Wynonna but for a moment she wanted to simply be happy about the news.

“Wynonna’s pregnant.” Saying it out loud to Nicole made it feel all the more real and her smile grew. Wynonna was going to be a mom.

Chapter Text

Waverly had to stay in Purgatory, at least for a little while. She had some time before school started back and she wanted to be there for Wynonna while she could. Waverly hated watching Nicole and Chrissy drive away, but it felt like the right thing to do. Even if she and Nicole had to spend their first New Years Eve as a couple apart, Nicole understood.

“I saw the baby yesterday!” Waverly smiled down at her phone as she FaceTimed with Nicole. It wasn’t the same as seeing her in person or being able to share a kiss at midnight, but it would have to do. “It’s like this tiny little peanut but I’m sure it’s going to be the cutest thing!”

“How’s Wynonna doing?” Nicole asked, looking genuinely concerned, and Waverly loved her for it. It was comforting knowing that Wynonna had more people in her corner than just Waverly and Gus.

“She’s alright, still freaking out a bit and the morning sickness sounds like a bitch.” Waverly had heard her throwing up the past three mornings and then all Wynonna could stomach until the late afternoon was dry toast. “She’s spent the past two nights researching everything that could possibly go wrong in a pregnancy and she’s dying for a whiskey to help her actually get some sleep, but she’s being good. Oh and I met Doc properly, he really seems like a good guy.”

“And are they trying to make it work?”

“Sort of…Wynonna is being difficult about it but he’s trying his best.” Waverly was gently trying to convince Wynonna to take Doc to the many medical appointments that she had scheduled over the coming months, but Wynonna just wasn’t ready for that yet.

“Auntie Waverly…” Nicole grinned, and Waverly rolled her eyes at Nicole’s dreamy tone. “You’re going to be such a cool aunt!”

“Damn straight!” Waverly giggled, she really couldn’t wait. She loved kids, she always had and hoped that she’d have her own one day. Wynonna on the other hand... it had never really seemed like something she was dying to do. “I think Wynonna always thought that “cool aunt” would be her job.”

“She’ll make a cool aunt one day too.” Nicole smiled and then seemed to realise what she had just said. “I mean…y’know, if that’s…uh…”

“Nicole…” Waverly laughed at how adorably embarrassed she seemed, and Nicole hung her head shyly.

“Yeah...?”

“She will.”

“Yeah?” Nicole’s head shot up and she smiled into Waverly’s eyes, a beautiful, hopeful smile.

“Yeah…” Waverly bit down on her lip. “I mean, if that’s something that appeals to you? One day!” Waverly quickly added.

“It might…” It was hard to tell through the screen, but Waverly was sure Nicole was blushing.

“I miss you,” Waverly said sadly, they had had such a wonderful time together in Purgatory and even with Wynonna there this year Waverly still felt like her hometown was missing something now that Nicole had left.

“I miss you too, when do you get back?”

“Sunday, just booked my bus.” Nicole had offered to rent a car again to come and pick her up, but Waverly told her that wasn’t necessary, the bus was bearable. Waverly had started to think about getting her own car though, if she was going to be making the journey regularly she didn’t want to have to deal with the bus that often. “Part of me wishes I could stay longer but I’ll be back, Wynonna made me promise to be here when she gives birth or else she’s rescinding all aunt privileges.”

“I’m sure she wouldn’t dare do that!” Nicole laughed, and although Waverly agreed, she wanted to be there. She wanted to meet her niece or nephew as soon as she possibly could.

They spoke for the next half hour, until Nicole started to yawn, and Waverly noticed how tired she looked. Despite the fact they hadn’t even made it to midnight, Waverly suggested they say goodnight. Part of her had hoped that Nicole would’ve taken Rosita up on her offer of the party she was hosting but Nicole insisted she never really celebrated New Years Eve anyway. Waverly wished her a Happy New Year regardless as she blew a kiss at her screen and promised to call the next day.

Waverly fell asleep slowly, she missed having Nicole’s arms around her and she couldn’t wait until they could have that every night. She still needed to speak to her landlord about getting out of her lease early; she didn’t think it would be too hard, but she would probably have to wait until he found someone else to move in.

Waverly and Chrissy had never planned to live together, but after the whole not-speaking-for-two-weeks debacle, Waverly was back to staying in Nicole’s bed most nights. It turned out to be a lot of fun being able to see Chrissy more often. With school work and part time jobs, Chrissy seeing Ben more often and Waverly and Nicole needing their private time, the free time they had where they could plan to hang out had become less frequent. When Waverly stayed over though, they always had time to at least have breakfast in the morning together to catch up.

 

Waverly woke up the next morning to Gus and Wynonna having a shouting match downstairs. She pulled herself out of bed and headed down to see what the hell was going on. What a great way to start off the new year…

Apparently, Gus had the audacity to suggest turning the guest bedroom into a nursery…Waverly wasn’t exactly sure why that had gotten Wynonna so worked up but she sure as hell was not about to say she thought it might just be the hormones.

Wynonna stormed out the house and stalked over to Gus’ truck, she pulled at the handle a few times until she accepted that it was indeed locked and dropped her head against the window. Gus and Waverly looked on for a few seconds before Gus fished the keys out of her pocket and handed them to Waverly.

Waverly put her boots on over her pajama bottoms and walked out through the light dusting of snow to her sister, unlocking the truck door for her. Wynonna didn’t say anything as she got into the truck and Waverly climbed into the passenger seat, not handing over the keys just yet. Waverly didn’t particularly want to go for a drive in her pajamas.

“What’s got you so upset about Gus turning that room into a nursery?” Wynonna stared stonily out the windshield, and Waverly laid her hand on Wynonna’s thigh. “Please…talk to me.”

“Everyone is being so nice to me…it’s like I’m dying or something and people feel bad for me.” Wynonna’s head slumped forward onto the steering wheel. Waverly moved her hand to rub at Wynonna’s back, a sad, understanding smile tugging at her lips. Wynonna was not used to this. She pushed everyone away, everyone except Waverly and the idea that people might genuinely care about her must have seemed entirely foreign.

“People are being nice because they’re excited for you!”

“They’re excited to see how badly I fuck this kid up!” Wynonna said self-deprecatingly, and Waverly sighed. She didn’t know exactly when Wynonna started to think so badly of herself, but she hated it. Wynonna was one of the few people that Waverly actually looked up to. Sure, she made questionable life choices from time to time and Waverly sometimes had to remind her to think before she acted but she was her big sister, her only sister now, and Wynonna had always been there for her.

“Wynonna…you know that’s not true,” Waverly said firmly as Wynonna leaned back against the headrest and turned to look at her.

“What if I do though?”

“You won’t.”

“But what if I do?” Wynonna groaned, and Waverly took a deep breath, she had to get Wynonna to snap out of it.
“Well, I’m not going to let that happen, or Gus. Doc seems like he’s ready for this and…you’re really not as stupid as you think you are.” Waverly sighed, she may have only spent a short time with the father of Wynonna’s baby, but he genuinely did seem like he was all in. Waverly knew that he’d been reading up on what the baby needed at this stage, as well as all the vitamins that Wynonna should be getting but he seemed a little scared of actually telling Wynonna that and Waverly couldn’t blame him.

“You’re going to be in the city…”

“I’m thinking about getting a car, so I can come back and visit more often.”

“You can’t afford that!” Wynonna looked at her and shook her head. She wasn’t wrong.

“Well…I’m thinking of moving in with Nicole,” Waverly replied slowly. She certainly hadn’t been thinking of the financial benefits when she agreed to live with Nicole, but it would definitely be a perk not having to spend so much of her pay every month on rent. She and Nicole still needed to talk about Waverly’s contribution but if Chrissy was paying so little for rent then she didn’t doubt that what Nicole would ask from her would be similar.

“So, you guys are like super serious?” It was clear Wynonna was trying to tease Waverly, but the hint of a smile gave her true feelings on the matter away.

“I love her,” Waverly nodded with a massive grin. She hadn’t told anyone else that yet and she was glad the first person she did was Wynonna. “I’ve never loved anyone, not like this. Obviously, I love you and Gus and Chrissy but…this is…” She let out a sigh, gesturing abstractly, she didn’t even know how to put it into words.

“I’m happy for you, babygirl.” Wynonna smiled and pulled her into an awkward hug.The parking brake dug into Waverly’s side, but she couldn’t find it in her to care.

“And I’m happy for you; you can do this Wynonna…” Waverly pulled back and cupped Wynonna’s cheek in her hand. “You are going to be a great mom!” Waverly nodded decisively and handed over the keys to the truck. Wynonna took them and seemed to be pondering sticking them in the ignition for a moment before she got out of the truck and started back towards the house.

Waverly followed, relieved, and watched as Wynonna pulled Gus into a hug and whispered a quiet “sorry” to her as soon as they were inside. Gus just accepted the hug and nodded. Waverly worried how things were going to go once she left; Wynonna had never been the best at opening up to Gus, but she would have to learn.

 

All too soon, Waverly was on her way out of Purgatory heading back to the city with only two days to spare before school started back. Nicole met her at the bus station and suggested they go out for dinner somewhere nice as a “welcome back, I missed you date” and despite the fact that all Waverly really wanted to do was spend the night with Nicole somewhere completely alone, she did actually like the idea of going out to eat. The sandwich she’d bought for her bus journey had left a lot to be desired.

Waverly brought up her plans to buy a car as they waited for their food and Nicole thought it was a great idea. Waverly told her that she obviously would have to save up for a while, especially if it took longer than expected to get out of her lease but that hopefully before the baby was actually born she could make it happen.

“I talked to Chrissy about you moving in…” Nicole smiled, taking a hold of Waverly’s hand over the table and weaving their fingers together.

“And?” Waverly asked hopefully; she didn’t foresee any objection written on Nicole’s face, but she wanted to be sure.

“She actually thinks it’s a great idea!”

“Doesn’t think it’s too fast?” Waverly said with a smirk and Nicole laughed as she shook her head. At least now they could joke about the “little disagreement” from few months back.

Nicole abruptly stopped running her thumb over Waverly’s wrist. Her eyes bugged out for a moment at something over Waverly’s shoulder before she looked back at Waverly with an unreadable expression.

“What?”

“Shae just walked in,” Nicole said quietly. Waverly tried to turn around to look but Nicole pulled at her hand and she stopped. “Don’t.”

“What? Why not?” Waverly asked, confused at Nicole’s reaction.

“It looks like something’s wrong…” Nicole released Waverly’s hand and she did her best casual glance around the room until she located an upset looking Shae, thankfully not looking in their direction. The man at the front of the restaurant handed a bag to her and she turned around to leave. Nicole quickly stood up from the table. “I’m gonna…”

“Nic-“

“I just want to check she’s alright, I’ll be right back, ok?” Nicole leaned down and pressed a kiss to Waverly’s forehead before hurrying through the restaurant and leaving a very confused Waverly at their table.

Waverly watched through the window as Nicole caught up to Shae and gently tapped her on the shoulder, They spoke for a few moments before Shae flung herself into Nicole’s arms, nearly dropping the bag of food she had just picked up in the process. Nicole looked stiff for a second before she relaxed and put her arms around Shae.

Waverly chewed on her lip nervously. She had never really been a jealous person before and she knew that what she and Nicole had was special, but she couldn’t help but feel a little put out that the girl that had broken Nicole’s heart was now hugging her in the middle of the street, seeking comfort for whatever had her so upset.

They stayed like that for a little while before Shae pulled back, wiping at her face with her free hand and shaking her head. Waverly continued to watch as Nicole put a hand on Shae’s shoulder and squeezed gently before hugging her again and walking back inside with a concerned look on her face.

“Nicole…is she…is she ok?” Waverly wasn’t sure if she was actually worried about Shae, but she was definitely worried about the fact Nicole had just walked out on their dinner to check up on her ex-girlfriend. Nicole just wasn’t the kind of person who could see a friend looking that upset and not do anything about it. It was just who she was, and Waverly guiltily shook the unexpected anger she had felt about the whole situation from her head.

“She will be…I think. She got stood up.” Nicole pulled her seat back out and sat down.

“Oh.”

“Yeah…apparently not the first time it’s happened with this girl.” Nicole looked chagrined. “I’m sorry I went to speak to her, I just…”

“You couldn’t ignore it, I get it. It’s ok, you’re such a good person, Nicole. It’s one of the first things I liked about you.” Waverly took Nicole’s hand, earning a wry smile.

They enjoyed their dinner, sticking to more comfortable topics of discussion before they headed back to Waverly’s place. She wanted to check on it since she hadn’t been there in a couple weeks but when she opened the door her breath caught in her throat. She turned to look at Nicole and knew instantly that she must have taken the spare key she left with Chrissy after Wynonna headed back to Purgatory. The place was spotless, even all of the laundry that Waverly had left and planned to do when she got back was done, and fresh flowers were sitting in a vase on her small table in the kitchenette.

“Nicole…” Waverly pulled Nicole into a hard kiss before taking Nicole’s hand and walking her over to the couch. “Thank you so much. I really was not looking forward to getting this all done before classes started.”

“No big deal.” Nicole shrugged and if Waverly hadn’t already been head over heels in love with her, she was now.

“It is, baby! Thank you!” Waverly moved herself so she was straddling Nicole, her hands delicately placed on either side of her face as she smiled at her. She had missed Nicole terribly and she couldn’t wait to show her how much.

Waverly leaned forward, and the kisses started slow and tender, but quickly became frantic. Nicole’s grip on her thighs strengthened, urging her closer before her dexterous fingers found the top edge of Waverly’s waistband.

Nicole’s hands were always so warm and soft, and the way her fingers danced across Waverly’s skin always felt like the first time, but Waverly knew more now than she did then. She’d learned-- and learned quickly-- what Nicole liked, something that had proven a lot easier than Waverly thought it would be, simply by how vocal Nicole was whenever Waverly touched her.

She never told Waverly what to do, or at least that was what it felt like. It was always quiet utterances of “just a little harder, baby” or “do that again”. Waverly had needed that; it had helped her immensely in the beginning but now she knew exactly how to bring Nicole pleasure.

She knew how best to coax her own name from Nicole’s lips, how to get it to tumble out like Nicole had forgotten every other word in the English language, and that was all she wanted for tonight. To let Nicole know how grateful she was to have her in her life, how much she appreciated that Nicole was so supportive when Waverly wanted to stay with Wynonna over the holidays, how thankful she was for such beautiful gifts like her clean apartment waiting for her arrival home. Waverly wanted to show Nicole that she knew that Nicole loved her like no one had ever loved her before.

The heat between them was growing and as much as Waverly really liked this position, it did more for her than it did for Nicole, so she slowly removed herself. Eyes fixed on Nicole’s, she pulled her over to the bed, freshly made by Nicole’s loving hands. As she got closer she realised that they were new sheets and she looked wide-eyed at Nicole, who ducked her head with a shy smile.

“I love you,” Waverly said simply, and as Nicole’s confirmation of her own love fell from her lips, Waverly guided her down onto the bed and climbed on top of her. “Don’t move,” she ordered lowly, punctuating each word with a kiss.

Resting her weight lightly on Nicole’s hips, Waverly pulled her own top up and over her head, her long hair flowing over her shoulders. She tipped her head back and ran her hands through her hair, reaching around herself so that her bra soon followed the shirt onto the floor. Nicole watched, totally entranced. Nicole always looked at her like every time was the first time she was seeing Waverly.

Waverly somehow found the patience to undress Nicole at a teasingly slow pace, undoing button after button and placing hot kisses on each portion of newly uncovered skin as she went, slowly traversing the entire distance up to Nicole’s collarbone until she finally met Nicole’s lips again.

Nicole was clearly itching to move her hands from their position on Waverly’s thighs, to touch and hold. Waverly could tell it was taking every ounce of self-control for Nicole to hold still and cede control to Waverly. Waverly wanted Nicole to understand that tonight it was all about her, and she was not going to stop until Nicole simply couldn’t hold back any longer. Until then, Waverly was calling the shots and she didn’t plan to waste a second of her time.

Waverly’s hands drifted to the waistband of Nicole’s pants and Nicole’s eager hands left Waverly’s thighs to undo the button, no doubt desperate to be free of her clothing.

“Uh-uh.” Waverly shook her head and grinned against Nicole’s mouth. She heard Nicole’s palms hit the bedsheet before a quiet groan vibrated against her lips.

Waverly was enjoying this, and she wondered just how long she could tease before Nicole’s self-control snapped entirely.

The jeans and underwear eventually found their way to the floor and Waverly eyed Nicole’s hands, fisted tightly into the new sheets. She gently wrapped a hand around each of Nicole’s wrists. Waverly could see a mixture of hope and lust shining in Nicole’s eyes as she loosened her hold on the fabric, and Waverly tried her best to keep a straight face lest she give away her plan. She swept Nicole’s hands up her sides, achingly close to her breasts before pushing them forward and pinning them above Nicole’s head. Nicole took in a sharp breath through her nose, but her eyes closed and the corner of her lip twitched into the hint of a smile.

“This ok?” Waverly bumped her nose gently against Nicole’s, she was certain that it was, but she needed to make sure. Nicole nodded dumbly, opening her eyes to meet Waverly’s.

Waverly kissed Nicole softly before she started to follow the path she had taken earlier, this time in reverse but just as agonisingly slow, not once breaking eye contact with Nicole. Waverly could see that the muscles in Nicole’s arms were pulled tight and she couldn’t help but smile at how much Nicole was just aching to touch her.

The further Waverly got, the heavier Nicole’s breaths became, and she savoured the way Nicole’s bottom lip had found its way between her teeth. One of Nicole’s hands shifted to wrap around the edge of the headboard, and the other hand slid down her stomach as she surveyed Waverly through lowered lids.

Waverly maintained her eye contact with Nicole until her chin hit tight curls. Nicole’s chest was practically heaving, and Waverly stopped her journey to place a series of open mouthed kisses against the soft skin that was so close and yet so far from where Nicole wanted her. She knew it was torture well before Nicole let out a strangled groan.

“Waves…” Nicole begged.

“Y’know…” Waverly lifted her head, she waited for Nicole to look her in the eye again before she continued with a devilish smirk. “patience is a virtue.”

“Screw virtue.” Nicole sighed as she threw her head back against the bed. “ Please baby.”

Waverly could see in the way Nicole’s jaw had tensed that at any moment she was going to do her best to take control of the situation, and as much as it was fun to slowly drive Nicole crazy with desire, she didn’t want to lose control before she’d taken Nicole over the edge. Waverly’s placed her lips back onto Nicole, but this time she didn’t linger. As her tongue ran a slow path through where Nicole desperately needed her, she felt fingers slide into her hair.

For a split second she thought about stopping, telling Nicole to put her hands back and to lie still, but the sensation of fingers working against her scalp as she tasted Nicole deepened Waverly’s efforts until Nicole was exactly where Waverly had wanted to take her. Waverly almost came herself hearing her name falling brokenly from Nicole’s mouth between desperate gasps for air, before Nicole took a firmer grasp of Waverly’s hair and her back arched off the bed.

“Shit, oh shit…” Nicole panted as her muscles relaxed and Waverly made her way back up Nicole’s body with a satisfied smirk. She settled between Nicole’s legs and Nicole let out a moan as Waverly’s hips pressed into her, still far too sensitive.

Waverly began to pepper kisses along Nicole’s jaw, giving her time to get her breathing back to normal but Nicole pulled her up and brought their lips together in a fervent kiss. She couldn’t believe it had been nearly two weeks since they’d been in each others arms; it felt like so much longer.

“I missed you.” Waverly broke the kiss to speak against Nicole’s lips before reconnecting them fully. Nicole let out a hum of agreement as she pulled Waverly closer, then quickly flipped their positions.

“I missed you too,” Nicole said softly as she hovered above her. “So much.”

“Show me.” Waverly knew she ran the risk of having Nicole tease just as badly as she had but the wide grin that spread across Nicole’s face at Waverly’s request told her that was not about to happen.

“With pleasure.”

Chapter Text

Ever since Nicole had asked Waverly to move in, she barely spent any time at her own apartment. Her clothes had slowly been making their way into the wardrobe that Nicole had reorganised so there was enough space for both of their things but everything else still had to be moved. Now, thanks to her positively stellar track record with her landlord and even going so far as to post flyers for him around campus advertising her apartment for rent, she’d managed to get out of her lease after two months.

It wasn’t as fun as she thought it might be, packing up her entire life to move in with Nicole, simply because it was overshadowed by the fact they had to move it all without a car. Gus had offered to come to the city with her truck to help, but then Wynonna had an appointment and Doc couldn’t get out of work, so Waverly insisted that Gus be there for Wynonna, especially when Waverly herself couldn’t be.

Waverly found it hard, being away from Wynonna. They spoke more on the phone than they ever had before, and Wynonna would send her ridiculous baby questions in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep. Waverly would wake up to all sorts of panicked texts, and she’d gently remind Wynonna that the likelihood of the baby being born with too many, or not enough toes was pretty slim.

Waverly had suggested to Nicole that she might rent a car for the move, but Nicole kept avoiding the subject when Waverly brought it up. Maybe she thought it was silly to rent a car for something that would literally take less than an hour.

She was just about ready to start lugging boxes and suitcases, waiting for Chrissy and Nicole to show up to help when there was a knock at the door. Waverly opened it to find Nicole alone. For a moment she was extremely pissed off that Chrissy had flaked on them when she had promised to help, but Nicole’s wide smile made her think that there was a reason she shouldn’t be mad. Nicole took her hand and gently tugged at her as she asked her to come downstairs, but Waverly stood still, confused as to why Nicole didn’t think getting started on the move was their first point of order.

“Waverly…just come with me? Please?” Nicole was still smiling, and Waverly let herself be guided down the stairs after receiving a persuasive kiss from Nicole.

Just before they got to the main door for her building, Nicole asked her to close her eyes. She huffed but did it anyway; she wasn’t really in the mood to play games, she just wanted to get her stuff and start moving. The earlier they got it all finished, the more time she would have to unpack and then bask in the bliss of officially sharing an apartment with Nicole.

“Ok…open them.” Nicole said from behind her, as she wrapped an arm around Waverly’s waist and rested her chin on her shoulder. Waverly slowly opened her eyes to see a small, bright red Jeep sitting on the street right outside her building and Nicole’s hand in front of her face dangling a set of keys.

“Nicole…what is this?” Waverly couldn’t blink, she couldn’t even breathe. Nicole had not done what she thought she’d done...had she?

“Yours.” Nicole whispered and kissed her cheek. Waverly turned sharply to look at her with the same wide eyes that had been taking in the car in front of her.

“Nicole…you did not buy me a car…”

“I did...” Nicole bit her lip, starting to look slightly worried and Waverly couldn’t blame her. Waverly probably did not look pleased.

“Why?” Waverly asked in disbelief as Nicole shrugged. Waverly knew Nicole had money, but she didn’t realise Nicole would be willing to spend it quite like this…on her. “You don’t even have your own car.”

“I’ve never needed one but now you do.” Nicole smiled, folding the keys into Waverly’s hand, but Waverly tried to push them back into Nicole’s.

“I can’t accept this…” Waverly shook her head, she’d never been given a gift that was worth more than probably a hundred dollars and now she didn’t even want to know how much money Nicole had spent. Waverly turned around to face the car again; it really was beautiful, but she just couldn’t.

“Yes, you can.” Nicole insisted. She held her shoulders and turned her back around, cupping Waverly’s face in her hands and smiling brightly. “Listen, don’t think about the money…it’s second hand so not terribly expensive and I can afford it, ok?”

“But it’s your money from…” Waverly gazed downward, this was money from Nicole’s parents. Money that was no doubt supposed to last her a long time since her parents wouldn’t be around to help her in the future if she needed them to.

Waverly wasn’t used to this; she’d not wanted for anything growing up but there was never much extra and she was only at school thanks to an academic scholarship. Nicole had even tried to tell Waverly that she didn’t need to pay rent when she moved in, just help pay for groceries and household essentials but Waverly wasn’t having that. She said she would pay the same as Chrissy but then Nicole refused that too. Chrissy’s rent covered all the utilities so if Waverly paid the same then Nicole would be making money off of them.

Waverly had eventually come up with a solution that she hoped would keep everyone happy, she would split what Chrissy paid right down the middle, that way both of them could contribute to the bills and save some money at the same time.

“Baby, it’s ok. I don’t need to worry about money, so you shouldn’t either. Please take it…I want you to be able to go and see Wynonna and the baby whenever you want.” Nicole put the keys in her hand again and this time Waverly took them. She really didn’t know how to feel about it, it was the nicest gift she’d ever been given but she felt so unbelievably guilty that Nicole had spent what had to be a lot of money on a car for Waverly when she should be saving it for things for herself.

Waverly did have to admit that it made it easier moving all of her belongings. Instead of the planned two or three trips she thought they’d have to make, they only needed to do one. She quickly realised how much she had missed driving, even if it was such a short trip by car. As fun as the Jeep was, however, Waverly just couldn’t get over the feeling that the gift was too much.

Chrissy was waiting outside with a massive grin on her face when Waverly and Nicole pulled up. Waverly narrowed her eyes, Chrissy had to have known about it.

“Isn’t it gorgeous?” Chrissy said, stroking her hand across the shiny red body as they stepped out the car, and Waverly wondered just how long she might have known about it. Nicole had probably sworn her to secrecy, but she was surprised that Chrissy hadn’t told Nicole that it might make Waverly uncomfortable to be gifted a car like this.

“Yeah…” Waverly forced a smile. She waited until Nicole had taken a box from the trunk and headed upstairs, while subtly holding Chrissy back by her sleeve. “Did you know about this?”

“Found out this morning…pretty amazing, right? Wish someone would buy me a car!” Chrissy laughed, clearly missing the tone of Waverly’s voice.

“How much do you think she spent on it?” Waverly asked hesitantly; she really didn’t want to think about it. She’d thought about buying herself a Jeep someday if she ever had the money and she remembered how much they were new. She was sure that just because this one was second hand, it wouldn’t have been that much less.

“Who cares? Look at it!”

“I care!” Waverly yelled without thinking before she composed herself. “I care…she shouldn’t be spending her inheritance on me! It’s not meant for me…it’s meant for her.” Waverly slumped against the side of the car and ran a hand through her hair. She couldn’t keep it, it wasn’t fair to Nicole. “I have to tell her I can’t keep it.”

“Great…” Chrissy said after studying Waverly’s face, no doubt checking to see if she was actually being serious. “Can you at least wait until I go out with Ben this evening? I do not want to be around for that!”

“Do you think she’ll be upset?” Waverly grimaced, of course Nicole was going to be upset. At the very least she was going to be confused.

“I just know how excited she was to give it to you…so I’m guessing you giving it back is not going to make her quite as excited.” Chrissy was right, the look on Nicole’s face told Waverly that she thought she’d done a really nice thing and she had, the nicest thing but that didn’t change how uncomfortable Waverly felt about it.

Waverly agreed she wouldn’t bring it up until Chrissy was out of the apartment. It wouldn’t be fair for Chrissy to have to deal with a conversation that Waverly wasn’t certain would go well, on their first official day all living together. Waverly knew she had to get her thoughts in order, she did not want to offend Nicole or upset her but there was probably no getting around that completely.

Waverly decided to unpack and organize in the meantime. Her things fit perfectly in Nicole’s room, the reorganising of her wardrobe and dresser had really made a difference and Nicole proudly announced that she’d even donated some of her old clothes. It wasn’t much of a surprise to Waverly that Nicole never wore half of the articles of clothing that she owned considering she seemed to wear pretty much the same outfit every day except for little changes here and there.

Nicole had even bought a second bedside table, so Waverly would have one on her side and Waverly couldn’t help but think to herself that that was a far more appropriate gift for this stage of their relationship. They might have been moving in together, but it wasn’t like they were married or even engaged, getting your partner a car was something that people did when they were at that stage in life, right?

By the time that everything was unpacked and had found its new home, Waverly didn’t know if she had the energy to talk to Nicole about the car, but she couldn’t put it off. Chrissy had gone out not long after they had dinner together and Waverly and Nicole were lying down on their bed. Nicole’s arm was around Waverly’s shoulders and a movie was playing in the background that Waverly wasn’t really paying attention to. She couldn’t, her mind had been far too busy trying to figure out how she wanted to word things with Nicole.

“Nicole…” Waverly took a deep breath and before Nicole could respond, carried on. “I think you need to bring the car back…I really don’t think I can keep it.” Nicole pulled away from Waverly and quickly sat up with her back against the headboard.

“You hate it, don’t you? I knew red was a risky colour to go for…”

“No! No, I love it…it’s the nicest thing anyone has ever bought me but that’s the problem.” Waverly pushed herself up, so she and Nicole were as close to eye level as they could get.

“Waverly…”

“No, Nicole-- listen. Please.” Waverly took Nicole’s hands in her own. She really didn’t want to hurt Nicole’s feelings or make her think she didn’t want the car, she did want it. It would make her life so much easier, but she simply couldn’t accept it. “This is money that your parents left you, for you! You shouldn’t be spending it on things for me.” Nicole cast her eyes down before closing them and Waverly worried that even with all her planning, she had still said something that had upset her.

“I shouldn’t even have this money…” Nicole shook her head, her voice small. “They were supposed to spend it, well most of it anyway! They’d sold their house, they were going to travel the world, see all the things they had always wanted to see. Buy a small place when they were too old to keep travelling…” Waverly could see tears slowly dropping from Nicole’s closed eyes and she pulled Nicole into her.

“Baby…” Waverly ran her hand up and down Nicole’s back, she shouldn’t have brought them up. She knew it was always a gamble bringing up Nicole’s parents, much like it was when someone brought up her own. Some days it could be totally fine, others it wasn’t so easy to think about them without getting emotional. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“It’s ok.” Nicole pulled back to wipe at her eyes, and with a quivering lip she continued. “I have more money than I ever thought I’d have because their lives ended too soon, so I want to spend it on things that make me happy. Seeing you happy makes me happy so I just thought that…” Nicole shook her head again and the fresh tears started to fall.

“Nicole…I just feel guilty when I know how much it must have cost you.”

“It cost me money but it’s worth so much more than that. It means you can go and see Wynonna and the baby whenever you want. I know that will make you happy.” Nicole said firmly, and Waverly couldn’t argue with that. Nicole laid a hand on Waverly’s cheek, staring deeply into her eyes. “I would spend every single dollar I have if it meant you would always be happy.”

“Nicole…” Waverly’s breath caught in her throat as she realised that she would do the exact same thing for Nicole. The money she had to her name wouldn’t buy much at all but the sentiment was the same. “I love you,” Waverly said... needed to say in that moment. She turned her face, so she could place a tender kiss to the palm of Nicole’s hand and Nicole smiled, a dazzling smile that made Waverly almost forget that Nicole had literally just been crying.

“I love you too, so please…keep the car. If it makes you feel better about it, you could pay the insurance from now on?”

“Yeah…I actually think that might make me feel a little better about it.” Waverly hadn’t even thought about all that, of course Nicole was going to be happy to cover that as well. Waverly pulled Nicole back down onto the bed with her and they cuddled into each other, even closer than they were before. “Just…no more extravagant gifts for a while, ok? I don’t want people to think you’re some sort of sugar momma!”

“Ok…” Nicole laughed and placed a quick kiss to the side of Waverly’s head. “But...what if it was something for both of us? Like a vacation?”

“Tell me you haven’t booked anything!” Waverly nuzzled into Nicole’s neck with a laugh. Before today, Waverly wouldn’t have ever thought Nicole would do something like that but now she wasn’t so sure.

“I haven’t, I promise! I have been thinking about it though…after I’m through my training and you’ve graduated. I thought it would be nice to get away somewhere before real life has to begin.”

“Ok…” Waverly smiled into Nicole’s neck.

“Ok?”

“Yeah…I’d really like that.” Waverly placed a kiss on Nicole’s collarbone and relished the way that Nicole’s whole body relaxed at the action. She ran her fingertips over Nicole’s shoulders and down her arms, sighing blissfully.

Waverly couldn’t describe how happy it made her that they were planning ahead. She hadn’t a single doubt that they were really doing this and that a year from now, they would still be together. Waverly meant what she had said back in Purgatory; she honestly didn’t see herself ever finding someone who made her feel the way Nicole did.

More importantly, she never wanted to.

Chapter Text

Waverly spent the next few months driving back and forth from Purgatory whenever she could. Even with the little rent she was paying, Waverly still needed to work a few shifts at the coffee shop and she still needed to put the work into her classes if she wanted to maintain her stellar GPA. Some days she still felt a little guilty about the car, but when her drive was literally half the amount of time she would have had to spend on a bus doing the same journey, she was incredibly grateful.

Nicole joined Waverly on a couple of her visits when the work for her final year wasn’t taking up too much of her time, and got to know Wynonna and Gus even better. It was strange for Waverly to think back on how scared she had been to introduce Nicole to Gus; they got on like a house on fire and Wynonna enjoyed reminding Waverly that that might not always be a good thing.

Waverly eventually discovered the truth in that sentiment after arriving back to the house after taking Wynonna to a doctor’s appointment. Gus had every single one of Waverly’s year books out on the coffee table and Nicole had an enormous grin on her face as she went through the one from her first year at high school.

“Gus!” Waverly yelled, embarrassed, as she walked into the living room and snatched the book out of Nicole’s hands. Wynonna followed behind, a little slower and relaxed into a chair. She kicked her shoes off and into the middle of the room while Gus looked on silently. The days of her complaining about Wynonna’s bad habits were clearly long gone.

“Hey!” Nicole laughed as she stood up and grabbed for the book that Waverly was now holding away at arm’s length. “Don’t make me tickle you!”

“You wouldn’t dare!” Waverly started retreating from Nicole, brandishing the book in front of herself like a weapon.

“But baby, you looked so cute in high school!” Nicole held her hands in front of her in a praying motion.

“Just wait until the one for the following year…did she ever tell you she was a cheerleader?” Wynonna cackled from her chair and Waverly stopped to glare at her. She thought Nicole might use Waverly’s distraction to her advantage but when Waverly turned back to look at her, she was frozen in place.

“You were a…cheerleader?” Nicole gulped, and Wynonna’s laughter started all over again. Waverly assessed her girlfriend. Was that lust in her eyes?

“Aaand that’s my cue to start dinner…” Gus slapped her knees as she got up from the couch and shot Waverly a smile as she left the room.

“Just for like two years…” Waverly lowered the book and put it down with the rest on the table, she smirked and took a few steps forward into Nicole’s space. Sliding her hand around the back of Nicole’s neck she asked, “Why? Did you have a thing for cheerleaders?”

Aaand I’m going to go help Gus with dinner…” Wynonna pushed herself off her chair, a little harder than it used to be considering her growing belly, leaving Waverly alone with Nicole.

“Baby, I’m pretty sure cheerleaders are everybody’s thing.” Nicole said seriously, closing the rest of the distance between them and smoothing her hands down Waverly’s sides.

“I’ll have to remember that.” Waverly gave a devilish smile and Nicole shook her head as she licked her lips. Waverly lunged forward to capture them but after a few moments Nicole’s hands felt a little too eager for Gus’ living room so Waverly regretfully pulled back. Nicole’s cheeks were flushed and Waverly grinned.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all if Nicole saw her cheerleading squad photos from the yearbook, Waverly mused, she was pretty sure her old uniform was somewhere in Gus’ attic. She pulled Nicole down onto the couch with her and opened up the book Wynonna had been referring to. Carefully, she watched Nicole’s reaction as she wondered just how embarrassing it would be to ask Gus to help her look for it.

 

Waverly managed her time as best she could until her end of year exam preparation and assignments really started to pile up and she had to cut down her visits to Purgatory. Wynonna understood of course, she knew how much school meant to Waverly, but Waverly just wished there was a way for her to be in two places at once. To make things worse, Wynonna’s due date and Nicole’s graduation were literally days apart.

Waverly was constantly worrying that she would end up missing one of them, she didn’t want to miss either, but Nicole told her if she had to choose, then obviously she would go to Purgatory for Wynonna. Waverly did not agree that the decision was so easy. Even though Chrissy had promised that she would be there, and Nicole would have Rosita and Jeremy as well, Waverly knew Nicole’s graduation was a big deal and she wanted to be there.

Nicole, even if she was surrounded by her friends, wouldn’t have her family there and Waverly painfully remembered how hard her high school graduation had been without her own. Seeing everyone celebrating with their parents, how proud they all looked for their children. It meant the world that Waverly had Gus by her side, but she hadn’t missed her parents as much as she had that day for a long time.

Waverly had had her bag packed for the past week, just in case she needed to head to Purgatory on short notice. She called in the morning before Nicole even woke up to start getting ready for her graduation and Wynonna told her she had not gone into labour during the night and if she had, Waverly would have been called. No matter the time of day.

“Go, babygirl! Enjoy Nicole’s day!” Wynonna ordered her over the phone and so she did.

Waverly, Chrissy, Rosita and Jeremy all cheered Nicole on as she received her diploma and Waverly couldn’t have been prouder. Nicole had already been accepted into the police academy, which Waverly never had a single doubt about actually happening and she was so excited that Nicole was one step closer to her dream.

The group hung around in the marquee they had set up in the quad for graduates and their friends and family. Waverly had been so busy congratulating Nicole and enjoying the atmosphere that she hadn’t noticed her phone ringing non-stop in her purse until she pulled it out for Chrissy to take a picture of them together. Gus had been blowing her up, as she scrolled to see just how many calls she had missed another came through and she answered straight away.

“Waverly, thank god! Wynonna’s in the hospital, she told me not to come and speak to her again until I’d managed to reach you!” Gus sounded panicked and Waverly felt awful. She could only imagine what Wynonna would be like during contractions.

“Crap! I’m so sorry, baby’s coming?”

“Baby’s coming!” Gus confirmed, excitement coming through. “She’s just come in, so she’s probably got a good few hours yet, but I promised her I’d let you know!”

“Ok, I’m coming! I’ll be there, tell her I’m on my way!” Waverly hung up the phone. Wynonna was having her baby. She was so happy despite the fact she had a couple hours to drive before she would get there, and she might still manage to miss the birth.

Nicole and Chrissy looked to her expectantly, smiles on both of their faces.

“It’s happening! I’m so proud of you baby, but I have to go!” Waverly leaned up to press a kiss to Nicole’s lips and suddenly realised she’d had a few glasses of champagne in their celebration. She hadn’t even been thinking, Rosita just handed them over and she took them. “Crap. I’ve been drinking! I can’t drive!”

“I’ll drive,” Nicole said without hesitation and Waverly tried to tell her no, she should celebrate her graduation, but Nicole was adamant that it wouldn’t be much of a celebration without Waverly.

Waverly was a nervous wreck the whole way; it was a good thing she didn’t end up driving because she probably would have got into an accident. When they finally arrived at the hospital, Waverly walked faster than she ever had before. Really it was more of a jog, but she remembered the time she had come to the hospital as a teenager and was quickly told off for running in the hallway. She didn’t have time to get into an argument with a nurse this time, Gus had called her again less than half an hour ago to find out where she was, she had sounded sure it was getting close.

Waverly burst through the door to Wynonna screaming at Doc, whose hand looked like it had gone a very worrying shade of purple from lack of circulation. Wynonna’s face softened the instant she saw Waverly.

“You made it!” Wynonna laughed and for a moment her face actually looked peaceful before twisting in pain, expletives falling from her lips. Waverly ran to her side, almost knocking Gus over in the process.

“I wouldn’t have missed it!” Waverly kissed the side of Wynonna’s head and noticed Nicole hadn’t come in after her. She wanted to check on her, make sure she was alright waiting in the hallway but right at that moment the doctor started telling Wynonna she needed to push. After that, all Waverly could focus on was the blinding pain in the hand Wynonna was squeezing like her life depended on it. She locked eyes with Doc who gave her a sympathetic nod until a scream from Wynonna brought them back to reality where Wynonna was obviously in more pain than both of them combined.

“This is bullshit!” Wynonna yelled as she followed the doctor’s instructions and pushed. She let go of Doc’s hand and pointed square in the doctor’s face. “You told me the drugs would help! You lied to me!”

“Come on, Wynonna. You can do this.” Doc took Wynonna’s hand again, trying to take her attention off of the poor man standing between her legs. He had seized the opportunity to swap hands and Waverly was definitely jealous.

“Where’s your stupid flask Doc?” Wynonna sobbed as she let her head fall back onto the pillow behind her. She sounded exhausted and Waverly wished there was something, anything she could do to make this easier for her. “I need a drink!”

“You need to push Miss Earp.” The doctor said bluntly and Waverly eyed her sister, hoping she really was too exhausted to throw an insult his way.

“Ok...ok.” Wynonna took a deep breath as she forced her head back up, she squeezed Waverly’s hand impossibly tighter and let her scream fill the room as she began to push once again.

There were tears in everyone’s eyes as it was announced that Wynonna had given birth to a little girl. Doc stared down at Wynonna and the baby with such love that Waverly couldn’t believe Wynonna ever doubted he would stay. Waverly gave her sister a side hug and whispered into her ear that they would all give them a moment before she went out into the hallway to check on Nicole.

Nicole jumped up expectantly as soon as Waverly and Gus exited the room. She had such an excited smile on her face, Waverly took her hand and told her the good news. Waverly couldn’t hold back her massive grin; she had a niece. A beautiful little niece and Nicole looked just as wonderfully happy as she did.

Nicole kept a hold of Waverly’s hand as they sat down on the plastic chairs just outside of Wynonna’s room, tracing soft patterns across her forearm as they gave the new parents some space.

“Did she tell you what they might choose for a name if it was a girl?” Nicole spoke softly into Waverly’s ear as they leaned against each other, the early start for Nicole’s graduation and panicked drive to Purgatory seemingly catching up to both of them.

“No.” Waverly shook her head, Wynonna had said she was keeping it as a surprise but Waverly was pretty sure she just hadn’t come up with anything. Wynonna was always a last minute kind of person. Seeing the look in both Doc and Wynonna’s eyes as they looked down at their daughter though, Waverly knew they would pick the perfect name.

“I’ve always really liked Rebecca for a girl.” Nicole pressed her lips softly to Waverly’s forehead as Waverly’s lips curled up into a smile. Did Nicole mean for if they ever had a daughter?

Waverly didn’t have a chance to question her before Doc came to the door and asked them all if they’d like to come back in.

“We’ve decided on a name,” He announced as they all followed him into the room. “Everyone, meet Alice Michelle Earp.”

Waverly choked back a sob as she heard the name, her mother’s name, and Gus wrapped an arm around her shoulders. It was the perfect name.

“Alice was Doc’s mom’s name and well Michelle…y’know…” Wynonna said as she cradled Alice into her while fighting back tears of her own. Nicole looked questioningly at Waverly, who leaned closer to explain.

“Michelle was our mom’s name.” Waverly said quietly as she wiped a few tears from her cheeks and Nicole gave her a sad smile.

“It’s a beautiful name.” Nicole said firmly, taking a moment to rest her cheek on the top of Waverly’s head. Wynonna asked if Waverly wanted to hold Alice and she rushed over eagerly.

After what felt like not enough time at all, visiting hours were over and Nicole, Waverly and Gus had to leave the hospital. Waverly asked Nicole if she wanted to drive back to the city, but Nicole had decided that if Waverly was staying then so was she. She had some time before she needed to get back and even if they didn’t exactly prepare to spend a few days away, it would be nice to be able to spend more time with Wynonna and Alice.

Waverly lay awake long after Nicole had fallen asleep, texting back and forth with Wynonna. Both she and Alice were perfectly healthy, and they would be leaving the hospital in the morning following no complications. Waverly couldn’t get the image of Wynonna out of her head; she looked so happy holding Alice, the happiest Waverly had seen her in a long time. Maybe ever.

Waverly finally put her phone down and attempted to sleep. Unconsciously, she held Nicole closer as thoughts raced through her mind. She didn’t even realise how tightly she was holding on until Nicole stirred.

“Mmm, you wake up, baby?”

“Still awake, not managed to get to sleep yet…” Waverly wriggled down so her head was level with Nicole’s and trailed a finger down Nicole’s cheek as her lips turned up into a sleepy smile.

“Big brain of yours thinking away?” Nicole opened her eyes just a little but the light from the lamp stunned her and she hissed, shutting them again quickly. Waverly reached over to turn it off before snuggling back into Nicole.

“Yeah…just a little. It’s ok, go back to sleep.” Waverly kissed the side of Nicole mouth as she nodded, and Waverly quickly felt her breathing pattern slip back into peaceful slumber.

It didn’t matter how Alice came to be, if Doc and Wynonna would make it work long term or if they ended up as friends. That little girl was going to be completely surrounded by love and Waverly wished she could be there for that and not just while she was in town visiting when she could. She felt that it would be selfish to ask that of Nicole though, to upend her life and give up her dream of being a big city cop to move to the middle of nowhere with Waverly. Waverly didn’t know if she could risk losing Nicole by asking her if that was something she would do.

Sleep eluded Waverly for hours as she tried to reconcile all of her desires.

 

Waverly woke from the worst night of sleep she’d ever had in Nicole’s arms to her phone ringing from the bedside table. Nicole murmured something incoherent before she grabbed the phone and unceremoniously dropped it onto Waverly’s chest.

“Thank you,” Waverly chuckled as Nicole buried her face deeper into the pillow and groaned a reply that was equally as incomprehensible. Waverly smiled as she slid her finger across the screen to answer the call, even on very little sleep Nicole could still make Waverly feel ridiculously happy just by being her early-morning-hating self.

“Hey babygirl, did I wake you?”

“Yeah, but it’s fine. Everything ok?” Waverly sat up straighter in the bed, Doc was supposed to be picking up Wynonna from the hospital that morning and if Wynonna was calling maybe something had happened to stop her getting out so soon.

“Yes, everything is fine. No need to panic!” Wynonna sighed and Waverly frowned. She was not “panicking”, she was rightfully concerned that her sister, who had literally just given birth, called her at seven AM. “I just thought I should warn you that we’re on our way. Y’know...in case you and Haught-stuff are using the empty house to your advantage. Nothing like a screaming newborn to ruin the mood.”

“Gus is here, the house is not empty.” Waverly rolled her eyes, choosing not to remind her sister that she had just woken up.

“She’s practically deaf these days anyway. Same difference.” Wynonna chuckled and Waverly wondered if whatever drugs they’d given her sister at the hospital were potentially still in her system or she’d somehow managed to sweet talk her way into more. “This is your fifteen minute warning! Tell Nicole to put pants on!”

“Nicole is in pajamas, Wynonna!” Waverly said louder than necessary as Wynonna hung up on her.

“What am I in?” Nicole mumbled beside her, eyes still closed and a very attractive line of drool on her cheek.

“Nothing, baby. Go back to sleep.” Waverly leaned down and pressed a quick kiss to Nicole’s cheek before getting out of bed, she knew there was no way she would be getting back to sleep now and coffee was going to be needed if she had any hope of making it through the day.

Waverly stood by the bed and watched Nicole returning to sleep before making her way downstairs to the kitchen. As she looked down at her girlfriend’s peaceful form she sighed sadly. She had accepted during her night of fretful sleep that her desire to spend more time in Purgatory was only going to get stronger but losing Nicole because of that simply was not an option. She didn’t want to miss out on any time with her new niece but she was going to whether she liked it or not.

Gus was already making breakfast when Waverly got down to the kitchen, humming along to the radio with a radiant smile on her face. Gus was clearly looking forward to Wynonna’s return with Alice and Waverly couldn’t help but join in the excitement as she helped her aunt set the table. She waited until Doc’s car pulled up outside before waking Nicole for breakfast, she figured one of them should be well rested.

As the pair came downstairs together, Doc was placing a quick kiss to Wynonna’s lips and then to Alice’s forehead before slipping out the front door and back into his car.

“He’s not staying for breakfast?” Waverly asked with a furrowed brow, surely her sister wouldn’t have forgotten to ask him to stay. She moved to stand next to Wynonna, her eyes falling onto Alice wrapped up snug in a blanket as Nicole’s arm snaked around her waist.

“He was up all night and he’s got to work later.” Wynonna shrugged but Waverly could see the slight sadness in her eyes at the statement. “I told him to go home and sleep, we’ve got this right?”

“Right.” Waverly nodded and Wynonna beamed.

Despite Wynonna’s warning of a screaming newborn, Alice slept right through their breakfast in the basket that Gus had bought for Wynonna. Waverly had tried to offer some money towards it but Gus wasn’t having it, she wanted to be able to help Wynonna in any way she could and since Wynonna was too proud to accept actual cash, gifts like that were all Gus could give her.

Nicole offered to do the dishes after everyone had finished eating since she’d slept right through the preparation of the meal and when Wynonna said she was going to get Alice settled in her room, Waverly quickly followed. She needed some time alone to speak with her sister.

“She’s beautiful, Wynonna. You did great!” Waverly bumped her shoulder into Wynonna’s as they both grinned down at Alice sleeping like an angel in her cot.

“She really is...I think she’s the best thing I’ve ever done.” Wynonna said and as Waverly noted the seriousness with which her sister had spoken, she wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her in close.

“I wish I wasn’t going to be so far away all the time.”

“Well...you don’t have to be?” Wynonna looked at her and Waverly quickly looked away. She worried this might happen. “What about after you graduate? I know coming back to Purgatory probably wasn’t on your list of goals but have you ever thought about it?”

“I can’t.” Waverly shook her head, not brave enough to look Wynonna in the eye. “I can’t lose Nicole...she’d never want to move here, be a small town cop. She’s better than that.”

“Did she say that?”

“No...she doesn’t have to.” Waverly lay her head on Wynonna’s shoulder and sighed. “It’s Purgatory. Could you honestly tell me you’d still be here if it weren’t for Alice?”

“Probably not.” Wynonna turned to pull Waverly into a full embrace, dropping a kiss to her forehead like she always did when Waverly needed it. Waverly knew they wouldn’t be having this conversation at all if it weren’t for Alice.

“I’m happy with Nicole, happiest I’ve ever been. I can’t risk that, I won’t but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss you and Alice like crazy.”

Alice had only just arrived and yet Waverly knew that to be the truth, but it was a choice that Waverly had to make. She believed she had a real future with Nicole, one where she was as happy as she was right now and if that meant continuing with only brief trips to Purgatory when she could, then that was what she would do. Wynonna wasn’t going anywhere for the time being, so Alice wouldn’t be either.

“Just…” Wynonna started and then stopped whatever she had been about to say with a shake of her head. She took a step back from Waverly and turned away.

“What?” Waverly’s eyebrows pulled together, it wasn’t like Wynonna to hold her tongue.

“I just hope you’re doing this because you want to and not just because you think Nicole wouldn’t ever think about moving here.” Wynonna gripped the edge of the cot and let out a sigh. “I don’t really have a choice about staying...and I’m ok with that now but you do. I just want you to make the right choice for you.”

“Nicole’s the best thing to ever happen to me…”

“I know but also...you’re the best, ok? You’ll never know what her answer will be unless you talk to her about it. She’d probably follow you anywhere, babygirl.” Wynonna turned to face her with a gentle smile and Waverly nodded before pulling her sister in for a hug.

Chapter Text

Nicole had always known that being a police officer was her calling. She was ecstatic to finally be working towards her goal in the academy but she discovered rather quickly that she’d really been spoiled by her time at university, especially in her final year. She’d had a lot of work to do of course, but she had less actual class time and she’d been able to set her own schedule for the most part.

Now she had the strictest schedule she’d ever experienced in her life. It wasn’t so much that she hated all of the structure, it was just a big adjustment. Her parents had always been pretty laid back with her daily schedule while she was in high school, trusting her to do her homework when she needed to, never forcing her to get involved with any extracurricular activities unless she really wanted to. Then once she was in charge of her own time management at university, everything seemed to work out without much effort on her part and she’d get everything done before assignments were due without needing to set a precise timetable for her studies.

She could not be so cavalier about the academy. Nicole was surprised to discover that the police academy was one of the hardest things she had ever done. A paramilitary environment that drilled “attention to detail” into every facet of the training. The recruits did everything as a group because in the field they would need to be able to operate seamlessly as a unit.

Every day Nicole had to be fully prepped and ready before 0700 hours, earlier than she would ever want to get up of her own free will. If her uniform wasn’t pressed and neat, with her boots spit-shined and all of her gear in place, the entire class of recruits would suffer the consequences. Nicole wasn’t going to let a lazy morning in bed or a late night watching television keep her from her dream.

There was one saving grace to her arduous day in, day out at the academy and that was making a new friend. Dolls was former military and one of her follow recruits, and they’d struck up a friendship on their first day. Nicole was walking home, both physically and mentally exhausted with her mind still reeling when she discovered that Dolls took the same route. Now they walked together every day and he’d regale her with stories of all the ways the academy was far less extreme than the military training he’d gone through. Nicole was pretty sure he was embellishing most of his stories, but it helped her to realise that things could always be a lot harder. She just had to push herself until it all became as easy as breathing...at least she hoped it would.

Dolls was an interesting man, and during their walks together they had a lot of time to get to know each other. After a long day, Nicole just wanted to get home so their walks gave her time to get to know him without having to give up on any time with Waverly, and considering that most of her evenings were spent studying before she climbed into bed, totally spent, she wanted to make sure that what little time she did have with her girlfriend during the week wasn’t taken away.

About four weeks in, right before their long day began, Dolls suggested they grab something to eat on their way home. Waverly had said that she and Chrissy were going to eat together that night but that they’d wait for Nicole if she wanted to join them. She sent a quick text letting Waverly know she’d be home a little later than planned and to go ahead without her.

It turned out to be the perfect evening for a relaxing dinner out. That day the academy recruits had been offered the excruciating option of finding out exactly what it was like to be tasered. Nicole knew that even though the taser ride was optional there was no way she wasn’t going to do it. Dolls gave her the pep talk she needed to grit her teeth and get on with it, and afterwards she offered to pay for his meal as a thank you. Nicole wasn’t going to lie, getting tasered was one of the most painful things she had ever experienced, but now she knew not only how much pain she could handle and still perform, but also how minimal the aftereffects were. Still, she wasn’t looking forward to pepper spray day...

“How long were you in Afghanistan?” Nicole asked while loudly slurping up a mouthful of noodles; her eating etiquette was well and truly out the window as her stomach demanded food after their particularly gruelling day.

“Two tours, military helped me pay for school and I could have left after one, but I stuck around for a while. Then when I got back, I couldn’t imagine leaving again so I found something my skills might actually be useful for here.” It was the most Nicole had ever heard him speak about himself; he would usually talk about his friends in the army or his former superiors and Nicole was glad that he was opening up to her.

“You got family here then?” Nicole asked, not wanting him to stop sharing.

“Few hours away, I’ve been living in the city for the last year or so though. You?”

“Uh..no.” Nicole gave a small shake of her head, she should have guessed this question would come after her own. “No family anymore but I’ve got a…Waverly.” Nicole laughed to herself, it was hard explaining that you considered your girlfriend of a little over a year your family but that’s exactly what Waverly felt like now. “She’s my girlfriend but we live together and…”

“She’ll be family soon enough?” Dolls smiled, and Nicole was sure it was the first time she’d seen it look so genuine. She’d never had a problem being open about her sexuality, but it always felt good when someone responded so positively straight off the bat to finding out.

“Yeah…I hope so. One day.”

When Nicole finally made it home, all she wanted to do was curl up on the sofa, cuddle with Waverly and pretend for a little while that she didn’t have a whole bunch of homework due for the next day.

As she opened the door to their apartment though, Chrissy and Waverly seemed to be locked into a very heated discussion about something. Nicole couldn’t quite figure out what it was they were actually talking about, probably because they were so deep into it. The pair were so engrossed that they didn’t seem to notice Nicole coming in and Waverly jumped as Nicole leaned down to press her lips to Waverly’s head. Chrissy smiled at her as she did so and only partially looked like Nicole had just saved her from whatever it was they’d been discussing.

“Hey,” Waverly leaned back with a bright smile and Nicole moved forward to kiss her quickly on the lips, with a relieved sigh. “Have a good day?” Nicole wasn’t sure about going into the details but Chrissy’s pleading eyes convinced her.

“It was alright…we all got tasered today.” Nicole let out a quiet laugh as she sat down, and Waverly’s eyes bugged out. “Don’t worry, all part of the training!”

“That’s…horrible! Why would you even need to do that?” Waverly lifted her legs to rest Nicole’s lap once she had got herself comfortable on the couch.

“So we know what it feels like, I just hope we don’t have to get shot so we know what that feels like before it happens for real.” Nicole laughed again but Waverly stiffened, and Nicole suddenly realised what she had said. Her tired brain had let her words tumble out without a second thought. She and Dolls had joked about it over dinner, but she knew it was not something she should have said in front of Waverly. “Shit, baby…I was just kidding.”

“I know…” Waverly’s eyes closed, and she shook her head as she pulled her legs off from Nicole. “I’m gonna…go have a shower.”

“Waves…” Nicole called after her as Waverly retreated down the hall and Nicole buried her head in her hands as she let out a quiet groan.

How could she be so insensitive? That was probably the worst thing that she could have ever said to Waverly about her training and she suddenly realised that it had come off the back of her sharing actual details of what she’d done that day at the academy for the first time. She felt a hand on her shoulder and Nicole snapped her head up to see Chrissy giving her a concerned look.

“She told you?” Chrissy sighed as Nicole nodded, letting her head slump down once again.

“That was so stupid, I’m just so tired and I wasn’t even thinking. Shit…I need to go apologise.” Nicole tried to stand up, but Chrissy used the hand still on her shoulder to force her back down. “What?”

“Just…give her a couple minutes, ok? She’ll listen better once she’s had time to think.” Chrissy squeezed her shoulder and Nicole groaned again. She had been so careful not to tell Waverly things that might scare her that she’d basically not told her anything about the academy at all. She’d told her about her fellow recruits, about Dolls, but not a thing about what they were actually learning.

“I can’t believe I just said that to her…” Nicole had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, guilt and anger at herself swirling into one horrible sensation. “She’s going to hate me for making her even think about that happening!”

“She’s not going to be mad…she’s always going to worry about you. There’s not much you can do to change that. My mom worried about my dad so much it drove him crazy!” Chrissy let out a short, clipped laugh and squeezed Nicole’s shoulder again.

“But I-”

“Nicole…I’ve spent my entire life with my dad as a police officer, do you really think I haven’t ever talked about that or my fears for his safety with my best friend?” Chrissy gave her a pointed look and Nicole sighed and nodded; of course Chrissy had talked with Waverly about it but that didn’t mean that Nicole should make light of something that had to be a very real fear for her.

“Just with everything that happened with her dad…” Nicole brought her hands up to her eyes as she squeezed them shut, she tried to get the image of Waverly’s face right after her stupid joke out her mind, but it wouldn’t budge.

“I know and when she told me what happened, what really happened, I stopped talking to her about it…”

Nicole shot a worried look at Chrissy; she was only confirming what Nicole had feared but Chrissy smiled and carried on.

But …then I started again because Waverly realised straight away what I was doing, and she told me I didn’t have to walk on eggshells around her.”

“Yeah?” Nicole asked hesitantly, she really hoped Chrissy wasn’t just trying to make her feel less guilty.

“Yes.” Chrissy confirmed with a firm nod. “Something awful happened and yes, it was because her dad was a cop, but she knows that kind of stuff doesn’t happen every day. This is going to be your life, Nicole. Do you really want to not be able to talk to Waverly about any of it for the rest of it?” Chrissy smiled, and Nicole couldn’t stop the one that spread across her own face at Chrissy’s implication. Chrissy rolled her eyes and moved back onto the couch. “It’s pretty obvious you guys are heading for that.”

“Yeah?” Nicole smirked, she was pretty sure of it too.

“Shut up and go speak to the future Mrs. Haught.” Chrissy waved her off and Nicole stood from the couch. “Oh, and Nicole?”

“Hmm?”

“Know you can always speak to me about this stuff, ok? I might have been Waverly’s friend first but I’m yours too.”

“Thank you.” Nicole smiled before heading off to check if Waverly was still in the shower.

Waverly was still in the bathroom so Nicole sat on their bed and waited for her to get out. She knew it was stupid of her to keep things about the academy from Waverly, but she hadn’t even fully realised how much she was keeping from her until that moment.

She should have been speaking to her about everything from the beginning, so she knew what Waverly would be comfortable knowing and if there was anything she didn’t want Nicole to share with her just yet or until she grew more comfortable with the idea of Nicole becoming a police officer.

Waverly took one step into their room and stopped, she looked at Nicole for a beat and then continued, heading straight over to the dresser to grab something to wear.

“Waves…”

“Nicole, it’s ok.” Waverly’s voice was small and when she turned around the smile on her face looked totally forced. Nicole was up on her feet and had her arms around her in a second. “I know it was just a joke.”

“Doesn’t make it ok…” Nicole held her tight and Waverly leaned into her, her forced smile fading as she closed her eyes and latched onto Nicole’s arms like she couldn’t bear it if Nicole pulled away. “The first time I actually shared something about what I’m doing everyday shouldn’t have included a joke about something I’m sure worries you. I’m sorry.”

“Have you been avoiding telling me things on purpose?” Waverly’s question wasn’t accusatory, more genuinely inquisitive and while Nicole knew she hadn’t made a fully conscious decision to do that in the beginning, it had simply happened that way. She didn’t want to scare Waverly away.

“Not at first but…yeah. I think so.” Nicole replied quietly, and Waverly twisted herself in Nicole’s arms, so her head could lay on Nicole’s chest. “I guess I just didn’t want to worry you.”

“I’m going to worry about you…but if you talk to me about it, what you’re learning and preferably what you’re learning to keep yourself safe, it’ll probably help me worry less.” Waverly lifted her head and looked into Nicole’s eyes, she held her gaze as she lifted a hand to cup Nicole’s cheek. “I want to know everything that matters to you.” Waverly let her hand trail down Nicole’s neck and across her shoulder until she reached the emblem on the side of Nicole’s shirtsleeve. “ This matters to you.” Her fingers traced it slowly and Nicole nodded in understanding. She couldn’t speak just yet. She was pretty damn sure if she did, she would have said that Waverly mattered more.

She had wanted to be a police officer for as long as she could remember. Maybe the real reason she hadn’t been telling Waverly everything was because if Waverly decided one day that she wasn’t ok with it, Nicole would give up on her dream in a heartbeat. If it meant that Waverly felt safe, if it meant that Waverly didn’t worry about the same thing that had happened to most of her family happening to Nicole, if Waverly asked her to, she would leave it all behind and find something else to do with her life.

“So, you’ll speak to me about it?” Waverly looked at her expectantly and Nicole nodded again.

She told her everything she that she thought Waverly might be interested to hear about as Waverly got dressed into some comfortable clothing. She told her the good and the not so good that she and her fellow recruits were being taught in an effort to keep them vigilant when they eventually made it out onto the streets after the academy.

She continued as Waverly dried her hair with a towel and braided it in the mirror. Waverly stopped Nicole a few times to ask questions, and she wished she really had just done this from the beginning, it felt amazing to be sharing with Waverly.

They curled up in bed once Nicole slipped out of her uniform and Waverly rubbed soft patterns into her exposed stomach as Nicole explained all about what she still had to learn and then what she would continue to learn when she was actually on the job.

“Just…” Waverly whispered as they were both right on the edge of sleep, Nicole hummed to let her know she was still awake and Waverly should continue with what she was going to say. “Just promise me you’re always going to be careful.”

“I promise.” Nicole couldn’t promise that nothing bad would ever happen to her while she was working but she also couldn’t promise that nothing bad would happen just walking down the street one day. What she could promise was that she would do everything within her power to stay safe.

“I think I’d die if anything ever happened to you.” Waverly held on impossibly tight to Nicole and Nicole could feel the tell-tale burn of tears in her eyes. No one had ever made her feel as important as Waverly did and she knew that if anything happened to Waverly, she wouldn’t be able to handle it either.

“Same goes for me.” Nicole pressed a kiss to Waverly’s temple and settled in for the night. She had work she desperately needed to do but she couldn’t bring herself to leave Waverly’s strong embrace. She was going to have to get up ridiculously early to get it all done before she had to be in the next morning but right now, she couldn’t care less. She knew it would be worth it.

The following morning, groggy as all hell, Nicole made her way to the academy after getting up in just enough time to get her work done before she had to leave. A few minute’s walk from her destination her phone started buzzing in her pocket and she really hoped she hadn’t forgotten something in her bleary-eyed state that Waverly had found once she’d woken up for the day.

As she checked the caller ID, one part of Nicole realised she had been expecting this call and the other thought that maybe Nedley was simply being polite when he’d said he would call to check up on how she was doing at the academy.

“Good morning, sir,” Nicole answered, hoping she sounded a little more awake than she felt.

“Morning, you have time to talk?” Nedley asked and Nicole pulled her phone back from her ear to check the time, she did but she would definitely have to make it quicker than she would have liked.

She rattled off how everything was going, how she hadn’t expected there to be so much written work on top of all the physical training but that she was enjoying it nonetheless.

“You put any thought into where you’d like to go once you’re finished?”

“Does anywhere that wants me count?” Nicole laughed, and she heard Nedley give a soft chuckle in return. “But honestly, I’ll be happy wherever…as long as Waverly is with me.”

“Well that was going to be my next question.” Nedley said and when he didn’t continue Nicole realised he was waiting for some kind of response from her.

“Yes, sir?”

“I know she left Purgatory as soon as she could but with Wynonna and the baby, maybe she might think about moving back.” As he spoke, Nicole’s hand gripped the phone tightly as she listened, she had been thinking about that as well. She didn’t want to keep Waverly away from her family if she ended up getting a job even further away from them, she worried often that she wouldn’t be enough to keep Waverly happy.

“Yeah…maybe.” Nicole tried to keep the tightness in her throat out of her voice.

“Well, I just might have a job for you if she does.”

“Sir?” Nicole stopped right outside the academy front doors.

“Obviously we’d have to see how the rest of your training goes but what I’ve heard sounds good.” Nedley sounded genuine and Nicole wondered if his first call might have been to one of her superiors; she hadn’t exactly given much indication to how she was actually fairing compared to the other recruits, just that she was enjoying it. “You’d be a great asset to this town.”

“T-thank you…” Nicole stuttered before clearing her throat. “Thank you, sir.”

“We’ll speak soon. Have a good day, Nicole.”

“You too…bye.” Nicole hung up the phone as she pushed through the doors and darted towards the locker rooms, a smile on her face and a newfound energy for the day ahead.

Chapter Text

Waverly was in Purgatory for a long weekend. She’d hoped that Nicole might get a break from all the work she had but Nicole had regretfully informed her that she just didn’t have the time to take the whole weekend off and she knew she wouldn’t get any work done if she went with her. Nicole was loving the academy, but it really was taking up a lot of her time and when she did come home to Waverly, she was exhausted. Waverly could feel the stress she was under like it was her own, and she hoped that getting away from the city for a weekend would help her relax.

She was sat cross-legged on her childhood bed, a smile on her face as Nicole sleepily explained what they had been up to that day.

“So, I can now confidently take you down if you ever pull a knife on me!” Nicole laughed, her head settled on her pillow and her phone at an odd angle. It was getting late and Waverly thought that Nicole might actually fall asleep during their video chat; she’d obviously had a long day no doubt followed by a couple hours of reading.

“Well, I can safely say I don’t think that will ever happen, baby,” Waverly giggled, and Nicole let out a fake sigh of relief. They just looked at each other for a moment, Waverly had only left that morning but it still felt like they’d barely seen each other all week and now Waverly had disappeared for the whole weekend.

“How’s everyone in Purgatory?” Nicole asked, no doubt needing to fill the silence that had descended between them, before they started talking about how much they missed each other again. Waverly knew Nicole didn’t want her to feel bad for going to Purgatory as often as she could, but it was hard not to keep bringing it up.

“Everyone is doing great, asking about you, and Wynonna and Alice are moving in with Doc tomorrow.” This had been the main reason for Waverly’s visit, she wanted to be around to help. It wasn’t like Wynonna had a lot of belongings but juggling Alice and a move was going to be difficult without an extra pair of hands. Waverly was ecstatic for her sister, she’d finally seemed to realise that Doc really wasn’t going anywhere and stopped fighting the obvious connection the two of them had.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to help…”

“Don’t worry about it, I wouldn’t have let you help even if you were here. You deserve at least a little time to relax! Although, I do have to say I am loving the workout schedule they’ve put you on!” Waverly winked, she’d been taken in by Nicole’s abs the first time she’d ever laid eyes on her but now…her body was getting damn near ridiculous. She’d taken to giving Nicole massages after a long day of training and it seemed like every time she did she found a new muscle to focus her attention on.

“I think I’m going to be able to swing taking a Saturday and Sunday off from my homework just before you go back to school, I was thinking we could go to Purgatory for a couple days.” Nicole was still smiling at Waverly’s previous comment and clearly trying to hide how much it had made her blush. Waverly loved the idea of Nicole joining her in Purgatory again and agreed instantly.

She knew Nicole was just as smitten with Alice as she was, constantly asking for pictures whenever Waverly had been sent new ones or when Waverly was visiting, and she’d even asked Wynonna to send some to her directly as well. Nicole was quickly becoming part of the family. Waverly knew Nicole and Gus would exchange texts every now and then and she and Wynonna seemed to have some sort of awful pun war going on in-between the pictures of Alice being sent. Waverly loved it.

As her summer break drew to a close, and she and Nicole travelled to Purgatory, Waverly couldn’t help but feel sad for all the time she was going to lose out on spending with her sister and niece. She knew her final year was going to take up a lot of her attention and there was no way she would be able to visit as much as she had the previous semester. She was just glad they managed to visit together one more time before Waverly’s life got too hectic.

The day they arrived, they all had dinner altogether at Gus’ and Nicole could barely take her eyes off Alice the entire time. Wynonna eventually handed her over and let Nicole hold her while she tried to eat with one hand, Nicole was in awe the whole time Alice was in her arms.

Nicole wanted to know everything about what it was like to be a mother. She asked Wynonna loads of questions: how often did she need feeding? How long would she sleep during the night? What did Wynonna do if she didn’t stop crying? Wynonna answered them all as best she could, Doc stepping in when Wynonna wasn’t able to and Waverly marvelled all through dinner at how much like a couple her and Doc were now compared to a few months previous.

“Nicole’s got some seriously broody eyes going on.” Wynonna smirked as she and Waverly did the dishes while Gus, Doc and Nicole all fussed over Alice in the living room.

“Well Alice is super cute.” Waverly shrugged, she had to admit that spending all this time around her had made Waverly think about children more herself.

“You guys talked about kids? Do you even want kids?”

“I mean, it’s come up…and yeah, I think I do.”

“Well, Nicole definitely does!” Wynonna wiggled her eyebrows and Waverly tried really hard not roll her eyes. Her sister was being supportive, even if it was in her own way.

“Nicole definitely does, what?” Nicole asked from behind them and they both shot round to see her leaning against the doorway, Alice in her arms and Waverly couldn’t help but stare. It definitely looked right.

“Definitely wants to put a baby in my little sister,” Wynonna said coolly, and Waverly instantly turned bright red. Nicole took a step forward with a chuckle, handing over Alice to Wynonna’s outstretched hands.

“Doc said she’s hungry,” Nicole said, obviously deciding not to respond to Wynonna’s comment. Wynonna left the room to feed Alice but not before turning and winking at Waverly from behind Nicole. “Would it be bad if she was telling the truth?” Nicole closed the gap between her and Waverly, settling her hands onto Waverly’s waist with a nervous smile.

“No…” Waverly replied, suddenly feeling extremely shy. “I mean, we did say…someday…maybe.”

“Yeah…” Nicole said dreamily as she leaned in to press her lips to Waverly’s softly. “Someday.”

“You’d really want that? With me?”

“I want everything with you, Waves.” Nicole held her gaze and Waverly smiled, she wanted that too. “Whatever you’ll give me.”

“Everything.” Waverly nodded as she draped her arms around Nicole’s neck.

 

Nicole drove them back to the city in the Jeep, since Waverly had driven them there. Waverly tried to hide her tears as they passed the ‘Now Leaving Purgatory’ sign but she was sure Nicole noticed. For the first time since she left to go to school, she was going to miss it more than she wanted to even think about. It had been getting harder to leave every time she visited but having Nicole there with her, with her family made it even more difficult not to think about what life would be like if they didn’t have to go.

Waverly was still rather subdued when they got home, she could feel Nicole’s eyes on her, but she wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. It was their last night when neither of them would have to get up early the next morning for the next week and Waverly didn’t want to waste it by being sad.

Waverly opened the door to their apartment and promptly heard a scream on the other side.

“Close the door!” Chrissy screamed again before Waverly even had a chance to get it open more than an inch. She did as she was instructed, throwing a grin over her shoulder to Nicole who was already laughing, and Waverly instantly forgot about her earlier melancholy.

“Did you tell her when we would be back?” Waverly asked Nicole, and she shook her head, not able to speak over her fit of laughter. Waverly hadn’t told Chrissy they were on their way back either.

“Ok! You can come in!” Chrissy voice was a little further away and Waverly imagined she was calling from the doorway to her room. She pushed open the door fully and saw the bottle of wine on the table, two glasses and a movie playing on the TV that had definitely not been watched.

Nicole took Waverly’s bag and went through to their room her shoulders still shaking with silent laughter as Waverly watched her go. She turned off the TV and went to check what they had in the way of ingredients for dinner.

As Waverly cooked, Nicole sat at the table and worked on her theory portion of her training. Waverly would call out random police codes she had memorised for this exact reason and Nicole would test herself to see if she could get them correct. It was a good system and Waverly was even learning quite a bit herself.

Chrissy emerged from her room, sometime later, followed closely by Ben. They shared a quick kiss by the door before he waved at Waverly and Nicole, both of them giving him an over enthusiastic grin as he left.

“Sorry…” Chrissy blushed as she took the seat next to Nicole. “I didn’t think you’d be back until tonight.”

“Didn’t we have a rule about the living room?” Waverly asked with the shit eating grin still firmly planted on her face. The rule had changed slightly since Waverly had moved in, there was no way that it wasn’t going to happen at some point and so they came up with an agreement. This was the first time that Chrissy had been the one on the other side though and Waverly was incredibly pleased.

“Yes.” Chrissy hung her head. “I’ll do the dishes for the next week! Y’know, this agreement isn’t really fair considering you guys get to split the work and create twice as many as me!”

“It was your idea!” Nicole reminded her, and Waverly couldn’t help the giggle that escaped her lips.

“Whatever.” Chrissy scoffed. “How’s everybody back home?” Chrissy sat down next to Nicole and Waverly let out a soft sigh. She hadn’t considered Purgatory home for a while now, this was her home, Nicole was her home but now…Purgatory felt like home again too.

Waverly told Chrissy all about their weekend and showed her some new photos she had of Alice while Nicole took over at the stove. Chrissy gushed as she swiped through them all. When she reached a picture that Gus had taken of Waverly, Nicole and Alice she looked up at Waverly with a different kind of smile on her face. The photo wasn’t posed, Gus had just managed to capture a moment of pure joy from both of them as Alice was gurgling away and Waverly couldn’t stop herself from thinking about a time when they might share that joy looking at their own child.

“I’m really happy for you.” Chrissy said quietly as she nudged Waverly’s shoulder with her own. Waverly looked at her and then over to Nicole, Chrissy probably didn’t think Nicole was paying attention, but she was looking back at Waverly with a shy smile.

“Thanks.” Waverly nudged Chrissy back and asked if she wanted to join them for dinner.

Nicole talked about how adorable Alice was while she slept the whole time they ate, and Waverly watched how excited she got as she spoke. Obviously, it was way too soon to be thinking seriously about kids but just having the knowledge that Nicole wanted kids with her was making her almost wish she could fast forward a few years, to when it wouldn’t be such a crazy idea.

 

A few weeks into the semester and Waverly was taking her studies more seriously than ever before. She wanted to stay on top of everything so on the few occasions she’d actually be able to go and visit Purgatory she wouldn’t feel guilty for neglecting her work.

She was spending a lot more time in the library; she used to prefer studying at home when she could but now living with two other people it meant that there were a lot of disruptions or where Nicole was concerned, a lot of distractions. Not that Waverly really minded when Nicole would sneak up behind her while she was working and kiss her neck or wrap her arms around her, but it almost always ended in Waverly abandoning what she was doing.

She got back from the library quite late one night, hoping Nicole would still be up since she didn’t have to be in the next day. She was pleasantly surprised to find both Nicole and Rosita in the living room when she opened the door to the apartment. She said a quick hello before heading to their room to dump off her bag but when she returned to the living room, it seemed like she was interrupting something personal between the two friends.

“I’m really sorry Nicole, you know I would be here if I could.” Rosita had her arms around Nicole and Waverly was concerned at how upset her girlfriend seemed to be. “We’ll still talk all the time and you can come and visit, both of you, whenever you want!”

“I know, it just sucks. I’m really going to miss you.” Nicole tightened her hold on Rosita and Waverly stayed where she was in the hallway, she didn’t want to intrude.

“I’m gonna have to go, I’ve got so much to do and no time to actually do it!” Rosita pulled back from the hug and grabbed her bag as she stood. “I’ll see you tomorrow though, right?”

“Yeah…I’ll see you then.” Nicole sighed and leaned back onto the couch as Rosita left. Waverly walked over, quickly getting into position beside Nicole. She stayed quiet while Waverly hugged into her, gripping onto her tightly.

“What’s wrong?”

“Rosita’s moving, she got a job in B.C.” Nicole voice was shaking, and Waverly pulled her closer. That was pretty far away, and she didn’t doubt that Nicole was devastated. “She leaves on Monday so she’s having a small going away thing at her place tomorrow night…if you want to go.”

“Yeah, of course.” Waverly leaned closer and pressed a quick kiss to Nicole’s cheek, she leaned into it and Waverly could feel her jaw tense. Rosita was leaving on Monday…and the anniversary of Nicole’s parents death was on Wednesday. That had to be what Rosita was apologising for. “Baby, I’m really sorry she’s not going to be here this year.”

“It’s fine…” Nicole sniffled and when Waverly looked at her again, she could see a few tears making their way down her cheeks. “It’s a stupid tradition anyway.”

“Hey…no, it’s not.” Waverly wiped at the tears and Nicole began shaking her head. “Me and you, we can pick the most ridiculous, stupidest movie on the planet and we’ll keep it going, ok?”

“Ok…” Nicole took in a staggered breath and Waverly just kept holding onto her. After a while in each others arms, Waverly suggested that they head to bed. It was late and even if Nicole didn’t need to be up early the next day she would no doubt still go for a run and do her work out before Waverly even needed to head back to the library. Nicole’s dedication to her training was incredible and she just hoped that Nicole’s superiors were paying attention.

 

Waverly arrived at Rosita’s going away party a few hours after Nicole. She’d set herself deadlines for exactly where she wanted to be with her thesis by specific dates, and no matter how much she wanted a night off, she was sticking to it.

She knew it was going to be a difficult night for Nicole, closely followed by another when Nicole had to make it through the anniversary of losing her parents without Rosita there so Waverly was surprised when she found Nicole in the kitchen and saw that she wasn’t actually drinking. Waverly had been mentally preparing herself in the library all afternoon for dealing with a drunk girlfriend that evening.

Nicole was deep in conversation with someone Waverly didn’t recognise so she quietly slid in beside her and smiled to herself when Nicole didn’t break the conversation to place a quick kiss to the top of her head in greeting. Waverly listened happily while the two chatted about old times and Waverly surmised that this guy was someone Nicole had classes with at some point while at university. He introduced himself to Waverly once his and Nicole’s conversation came to a natural end and gave Nicole a quick wink as he wandered off to find where his own girlfriend had disappeared to.

“Hi. How was the library?” Nicole asked as she leaned in for a proper hello kiss.

“Good, I hit my word count target for this weekend.” Waverly beamed and Nicole leaned back in to press another quick peck to her lips. Nicole definitely hadn’t been drinking at all, all Waverly could taste was root beer on her lips. “Not drinking tonight?”

“No.” Nicole shook her head with a tight lipped smile. “Figured this was going to be hard enough to deal with, didn’t want to add a hangover tomorrow on top.”

Waverly gave Nicole a sympathetic nod and wrapped an arm around her waist. She would have been more than happy to help Nicole deal with her hangover in the morning but if she wanted to be sensible, Waverly certainly wasn’t going to complain.

Waverly had spotted Rosita when she’d arrived and she guided Nicole through the apartment to find her. She wanted to wish her luck for her move and in her new job. She also wanted to make sure that Nicole didn’t avoid her all night and regret not spending this time with her later. It was going to be hard, Waverly knew that, but she knew Nicole would be kicking herself if she didn’t soak up as much time as she could with her best friend before she was gone.

As the night drew to a close and people started to filter out of the party, Rosita begged Nicole to have at least one drink with her before they headed home. Waverly shot Nicole a look that said a single drink couldn’t hurt and Nicole accepted the beer thrust into her hand by Jeremy.

“To Rosita!” Jeremy beamed as he lifted his glass and the few remaining guests followed suit. “For being a super genius and making even me look dumb half the time, we’re all going to miss you!”

“To Rosita!” Everyone cheered as they toasted.

Waverly kept a close eye on Nicole while she took a drink from her own glass and she saw Nicole take the smallest sip of her beer after the forced smile slipped from her face. She moved over to the couch where Nicole had found a seat and took her hand, lacing their fingers together and giving it a squeeze. She was just about to ask if Nicole wanted to head off when Jeremy dragged Rosita over and the pair of them sat down on the floor in front of Waverly and Nicole with wide grins.

“What?” Nicole asked nervously when neither Rosita or Jeremy said anything and just continued to stare at them.

“I’m gonna kick everyone else out and we are going to watch a movie, just like old times.” Rosita, definitely a little drunk, bounced in her position on the floor and Waverly felt Nicole squeeze her hand a little harder.

“You don’t have to do that, enjoy your party!” Nicole shook her head but Rosita leaned forward and braced herself on Nicole’s knees.

This is what I want to enjoy! My favorite people and a movie, one last time.” Rosita’s face turned serious and Nicole pulled her hand out of Waverly’s to wrap Rosita in a tight hug.

Jeremy jumped up from the floor and threw his arms around the two women before he motioned for Waverly to join in the group hug. She felt a little weird joining in when the three of them had been friends for a lot longer than she’d even known any of them but as Jeremy continued to insist she relented and leaned into Nicole to place a quick kiss to her cheek as she put her arms around the three friends.

Rosita quickly ushered everyone else out of her place, thanking them all for coming and insisting that she didn’t need their help to tidy up because that’s why Nicole, Waverly and Jeremy were hanging back. They all settled on the sofa, a bit squished seeing as it was meant for three but Waverly didn’t mind that she was basically half sitting on Nicole. As Nicole’s hand settled on her hip and she slipped her thumb under the fabric of Waverly’s top to gently run it over her skin, it was clear she didn’t either.

Rosita started suggesting absolutely awful movies for them to watch and Waverly quickly realised what she was doing, she was trying to make up for the night she was going to miss with Nicole and the smile that appeared on Nicole’s face told her she knew exactly what Rosita was doing too. Waverly relaxed further into Nicole and Jeremy remained unusually quiet as they let Nicole and Rosita debate which movie would provide the most cringeworthy moments.

Waverly had worried that when it came to their tradition, she wouldn’t be able to give Nicole what she had been used to with Rosita but as she watched the two of them pass the remote back and forth she knew that this was exactly what Nicole had needed before Rosita moved city. Even if it wasn’t on the exact day that they’d been doing so for years, Nicole would have one more night with her best friend and Waverly was positive that when the anniversary did come around, Nicole would be glad Rosita had decided this was how she wanted to spend their last night together.

Chapter Text

“I can’t believe you get to graduate twice before I’ve even finished my degree!” Waverly smiled at Nicole through the mirror in their room, watching her adjust her uniform for the umpteenth time. She didn’t need to be fussing over it so much, Nicole looked incredible and Waverly could definitely get used to seeing her dressed like that.

“Just a few more months!” Nicole turned and wrapped her arms around Waverly.

Her own graduation couldn’t come soon enough. The past few months had been gruelling, she was more than ready to leave university, deadlines and exams far behind. Nicole had been unbelievably supportive; even with her own stress she was able to get Waverly to relax and stop worrying that all the work she was producing was actually awful. Her professors were constantly telling her she was doing great but the same words coming from Nicole somehow just meant more.

“My passport just arrived…” Waverly beamed up at Nicole, it was the reason she had come back into their room after she was dressed and ready to go, but then she saw Nicole putting on her uniform for the ceremony and all other thoughts went out the window. Nicole grinned back at her, pulling her even closer.

“And you’re sure you’re happy to go away for so long?” Nicole’s face turned serious. They had planned every portion of their trip now, mainly because whenever either of them had a free moment they were looking up places they wanted to see, and they would be gone a whole month. The longest Waverly would have gone without seeing Wynonna, Alice or Gus since Alice was born. It would be hard, but Waverly was so excited to go travelling with Nicole.

“Yeah, definitely.” Waverly was going to video chat with Wynonna whenever she could, not that Alice would really understand what was going on and her sister had kindly reminded her that Alice wouldn’t even notice Waverly wasn’t around.

Nicole pressed a quick kiss to Waverly’s forehead before she turned back to the mirror, checking once again for any imperfections in her attire. It was clear Nicole was nervous, Waverly had felt it from the moment they woke up and the way Nicole was obsessively checking her uniform since she’d put it on only confirmed that. She hadn’t been nearly this nervous before her university graduation but Waverly surmised that that was because this meant so much more to her.

“You look great, baby.” Waverly moved to stand beside her and wrapped her arm around Nicole’s waist as she took in the sight of both of them in the mirror. Nicole looked handsome as ever and Waverly wasn’t sure what she was going to do when Nicole put on her hat. She wanted to remember this day, how happy Nicole looked despite her nerves. “We should get Chrissy to take a picture of us.”

Waverly squeezed Nicole’s hip before she slipped out the room and down the hall to Chrissy’s room, she knocked gently on the door and waited for Chrissy to answer. After hearing a noise she hoped was Chrissy telling her to come in she pushed open the door to see her sitting on her bed with her laptop balancing on her knees. It did not look particularly comfortable.

“You’re going to wreck your back,” Waverly sighed as she leaned against the door and Chrissy rolled her eyes.

“Yeah well I work better this way, what’s up?” Chrissy’s eyes left her laptop screen for the first time since Waverly opened her door. The small crease between her eyebrows all the evidence Waverly needed to know Chrissy had been staring at it for hours today already.

“Will you come take a photo of me and Nicole before we have to leave?” Waverly smiled sweetly, she knew she wasn’t asking much but Chrissy had been close to a full-blown melt down the past few days thanks to school work.

“Of course.” Chrissy’s face softened and she pushed her laptop away and jumped off the bed. She looped her arm through Waverly’s and they made their way into the living room as Waverly called out for Nicole. As Nicole came into view, she popped her uniform hat on top of her head and shot a quick wink in Waverly’s direction. Chrissy let out a low whistle. “Damn, Haught.”

“Thanks.” Nicole chuckled as she ducked her head, no doubt trying to hide the hints of a blush that Waverly caught colouring her cheeks.

Chrissy ushered them together after Waverly handed over her phone for the photo. Waverly couldn’t stop smiling up at Nicole as they stood next to each other, she’d never worn so much as a baseball hat around Waverly before but Waverly was certainly going to suggest she start making hats a regular part of her wardrobe.

“Waves,” Chrissy said softly and Waverly snapped her head round to face her. She whispered an apology as Nicole pulled her closer and she put on her best smile for the picture. She didn’t need to see it to know she’d want it framed.

 

Waverly watched with the biggest smile on her face as all of the recruits graduated. Nicole still had a good few months of training on the job but she was finally, officially a police officer and Waverly couldn’t be prouder. Hopefully after her probationary period was over, she would be offered a permanent job within the same precinct. It wasn’t guaranteed however, and Waverly hoped that their vacation wasn’t going to hurt her chances. Nicole had told her not to worry so much, that she’d find a job, and everything would work out fine. Waverly felt like Nicole wasn’t telling her something though, she didn’t want to push her to tell her something if she wasn’t ready, so Waverly brushed it off. If Nicole wanted to tell her what had been on her mind, she would eventually.

Her mind went, for the millionth time recently, to what she would do with herself after her own graduation. She had finally decided that she wanted to teach, she just needed to figure out what age group. She kept switching back and forth between high school and elementary. The younger years would be far more involved, being a single class’ teacher for a whole year and that appealed to her but then her teenage years were where she started to figure out who she was, what she cared about and the things she was truly interested in and that really had been down to some amazing teachers.

She knew she should probably decide before she had to graduate in just a few short months but part of her had the urge not to plan ahead for a change. She wanted to go head first into her trip with Nicole with an open mind and endless possibilities. She could decide what she wanted to do for the rest of her life once she came back to reality and besides, there wasn’t much point in planning until she knew where Nicole was going to get a job. She’d looked into multiple teaching programs, some that would take her a year before she was qualified and others that would take a little longer but she hadn’t allowed herself to get set on any single one, not until she knew where Nicole was going to be.

Nicole had made some great friends while going through the academy and they all went out to celebrate their accomplishment. After Rosita left, Waverly had encouraged Nicole to make an effort with the people she spent most of her time with. Waverly had only ever met Dolls before that day but she found herself getting along with all of Nicole’s classmates and their respective partners, so conversation flowed easily as they toasted to the newly qualified police officers in the crowded bar. It seemed the staff were more than used to their bar being the site of celebrations after the academy graduations and had even hung up a congratulatory banner, the year on the end added using two sheets of paper taped to decoration.

Dolls playfully forced Nicole into making a quick speech since she was the top of their class and Waverly couldn’t stop her smile as she announced that finally being able to say she was a police officer meant it was one of the best days of her life. The bar erupted into cheers and hollering, people buying Nicole drinks and when she had clearly had enough of all the attention she found Waverly at a table with Dolls and a few others, slipping into the empty seat beside her.

“Have I told you how proud of you I am yet?” Waverly beamed as Nicole wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

“Not in the last half an hour or so.” Nicole winked, and Waverly leaned in close.

“I am so proud of you and I cannot wait to get you home and out of that uniform.” Waverly smirked as she saw Nicole swallow hard. Nicole lifted up one of the drinks she had been bought, downed it and stood up, holding her hand out for Waverly to take. Waverly shook her head with a laugh, she was more than willing to wait until the end of the night, but Nicole seemed like she had other ideas.

“Come on, Chrissy is staying at Ben’s tonight.” Nicole gave her a sly grin and Waverly jumped up from her seat.

“How’d you know that?” Waverly asked; she was sure that Chrissy hadn’t mentioned it when she’d taken their picture earlier.

“I asked her to.”

 


“This is going to be a problem you know…” Waverly moaned as Nicole pushed her up against the door to their apartment, they’d barely been able to get inside without ripping each other’s clothes off. Thankfully, their neighbor was just leaving as they got to their apartment and they realised just how bad an idea it would be to get things started before they were behind closed doors.

“What is?” Nicole asked, lifting her lips from Waverly’s neck just long enough to ask.

“You. This uniform. I don’t know how I’m supposed to let you leave every morning.” Waverly knew this was the dress uniform, but she wasn’t sure that Nicole’s everyday police attire was going to be any easier to resist.

Nicole’s hands were making quick work of the zip on Waverly’s skirt and Waverly moaned again as Nicole’s hand met the bare skin of her thigh and pushed the skirt down to the floor. She wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck and was lifted from the ground easily. She locked her ankles at Nicole’s back as she was carried through to their room, Nicole kicking the door open and lowering Waverly slowly down onto the bed.

Waverly leaned up on her elbows as Nicole undid the far too many buttons of her shirt and threw it over the back of a chair. Her fingers started to work at her pants, but Waverly sprung forward and stopped them.

“Wait!” Waverly panted, proud of her self-control but knowing it wouldn’t have lasted a moment longer if Nicole had made it out of those dress pants. Nicole dropped her hands to her sides and stared down at Waverly confused. “Close your eyes.”

“What?” Nicole laughed, tipping her head to the side, and Waverly nodded, bringing her lip between her teeth. She’d been saving this for a special occasion and she wasn’t sure there would be a better time than now.

“Please...I promise it’ll be worth it.” Waverly couldn’t help the smug grin that spread across her lips and Nicole narrowed her eyes but didn’t quite close them. “Nicole…”

“Fine!” Nicole shook her head with a smile as she closed her eyes obediently.

Waverly leapt up from the bed and took Nicole’s hands to guide her onto the edge of the mattress. She placed a quick kiss to Nicole’s lips before stepping back towards the closet as she removed her top.

“No peeking.”

“No promises.” Nicole chuckled as she made herself comfortable.

“Don’t make me find a blindfold!” Waverly checked over her shoulder once she’d turned to face the closet doors and saw a smirk fixed firmly on Nicole’s face. A blindfold might not have been a bad idea…

Waverly reached into the bottom of the closet and into the bag she’d taken back from Purgatory on her last trip. It had taken a while to work out an appropriate excuse to tell Gus about why exactly Waverly needed to take this back to the city. She wasn’t entirely sure her aunt had bought it but hopefully, whatever reaction Nicole had would make up for the awkwardness with Gus.

She checked on Nicole once more before she pulled out the blue and white uniform from the bag and quickly put it on. She’d double checked before leaving Purgatory that it did still fit and she was so glad her prediction had been correct.

She stepped over to the dresser where Nicole’s iPod was connected to a small speaker and pressed play, hoping to god that whatever song that came on would actually fit the mood she was aiming for. Luckily a fast beat and a pounding bass line started to play from the speaker and Waverly nodded triumphantly to herself.

“Waves…what are you doing?” Nicole asked nervously over the music, and Waverly quickly smoothed over the ‘Blue Devils’ emblem on her chest, straightened out the skirt and pulled her hair out of the braid she’d tied it in that morning, fanning it out so the waves sat neatly across her shoulders.

“Just a little...congratulatory present.” Waverly smiled to herself as Nicole blew a heavy breath out of her nose while her tongue peeked out to wet her lips. She could see Nicole’s eyes beginning to peek open but with a quick tut from Waverly, they were squeezed tight again.

She walked back towards the bed and gently nudged Nicole to spread her legs wide enough for her to stand between them. Waverly reached down for Nicole’s hands and placed one on either side of her hips. Nicole’s brow furrowed as her fingers slid along the material and Waverly leaned in close enough to Nicole’s lips that she’d just be able to feel Waverly’s against her own.

“Open them.” Waverly grinned as she pecked Nicole’s lips and leaned back to take in her reaction. Nicole slowly opened her eyes and her grip tightened on Waverly’s hips as her gaze travelled up the length of Waverly’s body, mouth agape.

Waverly took a few steps back, giving herself some room before she started her improvised routine. She wasn’t used to doing this without pom-poms but she hadn’t managed to find those up in Gus’ attic, unfortunately. Waverly began her cheer, flexing and strutting with her long hair arcing behind her. A knowing smirk fixed itself onto her lips as Nicole looked on slack-jawed, her eyes following every single movement that Waverly’s body made, as though in slow motion.

Waverly ended the routine with a flurry and kick before she allowed herself sometime to get her breath back a little. She had expected some sort of verbal confirmation that she’d made the right decision but the look apparently stuck on Nicole’s face was more than enough. Still, as Nicole swallowed hard in what looked like preparation to speak, Waverly was eager to know what she’d say.

“Waves… wow!” Nicole sighed as she met Waverly’s eyes.

“Yeah?” Nicole ducked her head as she moved to stand between Nicole’s legs again and Nicole’s hands settled back on to Waverly’s hips.

“Yeah…” Nicole nodded with an eager smile as her hands trailed down to the backs of Waverly’s legs. She pulled them forward, one at a time, until Waverly was settled in her lap. “God, I love you.” Nicole beamed before they both moved in to crash their lips together.

Waverly couldn’t stop herself from grinding down into Nicole as the kiss continued and Nicole’s hands splayed wide against her back pulled her closer. Nicole moaned as Waverly took her lip between teeth and pulled. Nicole's grip grew more solid at her back and without warning, Nicole had stood and was placing Waverly back down onto the bed. Her hands returned to the top of her pants as their lips broke apart and this time Waverly threw her self-control out the window and helped Nicole undo the button.

Nicole’s pants were finally undone and Nicole quickly stepped out of them before hovering over Waverly as she began to push herself up the bed, but Nicole held onto her thighs, holding her in place. Waverly’s eyes were glued to Nicole’s as she laid herself down between Waverly’s legs, kissing each of her thighs softly before she gripped the material of Waverly’s underwear and pulled them off in a swift motion. She knew when Nicole got that look in her eye, there was only one thing she wanted, and Waverly was not about to deny her.

Waverly knew she was wet, she had been since the moment they left the bar but she would never get tired of seeing Nicole’s expression shift to one of both need and love from knowing just how much Waverly wanted her. Desire burned behind Nicole’s eyes as they remained locked onto Waverly’s until she buried herself beneath the uniform skirt and Waverly let her head fall backwards onto the bed with a gasp.

Waverly had forgotten just how scratchy the polyester skirt could be and she had definitely never worn it without any underwear on before so as much as she was enjoying Nicole’s attention, she needed her to take it off. Waverly unzipped the side and Nicole’s face appeared from under the skirt at the movement.

“Off?” Nicole tucked her fingers into the waistband ready to help remove it.

“Off!” Waverly nodded breathlessly and Nicole obliged, throwing it over her shoulder before moving back in to finish what she’d started.

It didn’t take long before Waverly was clutching onto Nicole’s hair for dear life and screaming out her name. With no Chrissy to disturb, she let herself be as loud as she pleased and it seemed to spur Nicole on, urging a second orgasm out of Waverly almost as quickly as the first had come before Waverly coaxed her up the bed so she could meet her lips again.

“You did so great today, baby.” Waverly sighed between kisses.

“At the graduation or…?” Nicole smirked and Waverly pushed at her shoulder with a roll of her eyes.

“Shut up, you know what I meant.” Waverly giggled at Nicole before pushing her again, this time to lie flat and Waverly moved to sit on top of her. Her legs were a little shaky after Nicole’s enthusiastic attention, and Nicole had to help Waverly steady herself with a knee on either side of Nicole’s hips.

“I do. Thank you.” Nicole grinned up at her as she ran her hands along Waverly’s thighs. Waverly was positive it wouldn’t be long before she could go all over again. Nicole’s touch prompted a flurry of goosebumps across her entire body but she was determined to show Nicole just how proud of her she was before then.

 

“I know I said this was one of the best days of my life earlier, but do you want to know what the absolute best day was?” Nicole spoke softly into Waverly’s hair as they lay entwined, both still coming down from their high.

“What?”

“The day you kissed me.” Nicole placed her lips to the side of Waverly’s head and Waverly melted into Nicole even more than she already had. “I was so sure that you didn’t feel the same way and the world just seemed so… dull but then you kissed me and I…I can’t even explain it, it was like everything just made sense. Why I just knew Chrissy was the right choice for a roommate, why things hadn’t worked out with Shae.”

“Like fate?” Waverly lifted her gaze to meet Nicole’s adoring one.

“Yeah…” Nicole nodded and let out a heavy sigh as she pulled Waverly closer. “I didn’t think I believed in it, not really but then there you were.”

“I felt terrible, y’know?” Waverly said with a frown and Nicole rightfully looked confused, so Waverly quickly continued. “I felt awful that I wanted you so badly and you were just getting over her…I tried so hard just to be your friend, help you get past it and not think about how that might mean we could get together but I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t help falling for you and your stupid, gorgeous face.”

“Well I’m glad you like this stupid, gorgeous face…I’m pretty fond of yours as well.” Nicole moved in to capture her lips with a grin but when Nicole pulled back her face was serious. “I really love you, Waverly.”

“I really love you, too.” Waverly grinned but Nicole’s face remained unsmiling. “What? What is it?”

“I’ve never loved anyone like this, you know that right?”

“I know…” Waverly nodded and cupped Nicole’s cheek in her hand. “You know I feel the same way?”

“Yeah…I do.” Nicole finally broke out into a smile and Waverly lay her head onto Nicole’s chest, the steady beat of her heart lulling her into contented sleep.

Chapter Text

Nicole wasn’t sure exactly when she had decided that she was going to ask Waverly to marry her. She wasn’t even sure that there was one particular day or specific thing that had cemented the idea into place. She was pretty sure though, if she hadn’t already decided, the moment she saw Waverly standing in their living room, in the beautifully simple dress that she had picked out for her graduation, she would have known right then and there that Waverly was the one.

“How does it look?” Waverly did a little half twirl and the smile that Nicole already had on her face grew considerably. Waverly was so ridiculously adorable.

“You look perfect, baby.”

“Yeah?” Waverly blushed, looking down at herself and then back to Nicole for confirmation.

“Yes.” Nicole nodded and rose from her place on the couch to wrap her arms around Waverly’s middle. “I’m proud of you.”

Waverly had done amazingly well considering how preoccupied her mind had been with Wynonna and Alice, in addition to her studies. She had put in longer hours than Nicole had in her final year, had research scattered all over their apartment and in the end received the highest grade she could. Not that Nicole ever had a single doubt about that happening. Waverly was brilliant.

“Thank you. You look pretty damn good too,” Waverly smirked, and Nicole pulled her closer guiding Waverly’s hands, which were resting on the small of her back, just a little bit lower and encouraging a squeeze. Nicole had not forgotten Waverly’s confession of how much she enjoyed seeing her in a fitted suit and who was she to deny her amazing girlfriend a treat on such a momentous day?

If it was possible, Waverly’s blush got more pronounced and she buried her face in Nicole’s chest before jerking her head back with a worried look. “Has my phone gone off?”

“Not since they said they were on their way.” Waverly had left her phone on the coffee table while she got ready, if Wynonna or Gus called, Nicole was supposed to answer it, but nothing had come through yet. “They’ll be here.” Nicole assured her.

She knew that they had a fairly long drive with Alice in the car and if they had to stop for whatever reason then they would definitely be cutting it close. Just as Nicole could see the worry building in Waverly’s eyes, her phone rang, and Waverly launched herself across the room to answer it.

As Waverly answered whichever of them had called to hopefully let her know they were only a short while away, Chrissy emerged from her room. She was pulling her heels on as she came and nearly toppled over until Ben appeared behind her and steadied her. Once she’d firmly got her feet on the ground she turned around and fixed his tie, tucked his shirt in and placed a quick kiss to his cheek before she looked like she’d realised she had forgotten something and rushed straight back into her room. Ben walked over to stand next to Nicole, readjusting the tie that Chrissy had probably accidently done just a little too tight.

“You’re sure he’s going to like me?”

“Yes, stop worrying!” Nicole gently patted his shoulder with a smile. Ben was going to be meeting Chrissy’s dad for the first time and to say that he was terrified was an understatement. Nicole had had the pleasure of really getting to know Nedley and while the man was clearly protective of his only daughter, he trusted her. If Ben was who she wanted to be with then Nedley would surely agree that there had to be something good about him.

“Just don’t tell him what we were up to last night and you’ll be fine,” Chrissy giggled as she returned from her room, phone in her hand. Poor Ben groaned as he looked at Nicole with a look of pure desperation. Nicole could only laugh, Chrissy clearly was not concerned about introducing him to her dad, so Ben probably had nothing to worry about. “Look, it’s going to be fine! He’s going to question you for like five minutes and then you just offer to buy him a drink and you’ll be best friends!”

“I just wish I could have met him before I have to sit next to him in silence for however long the graduations are going to last for!” Despite the fact that he and Chrissy had been seeing each other for almost as long as Nicole and Waverly, their relationship had only become fairly serious in the last six months or so. Chrissy wasn’t interested in the potential of seeing other people and she gave him a choice, be exclusive or be nothing at all. Nicole thought it had been incredibly brave considering how much Chrissy seemed to care about him, but she’d obviously had enough of keeping it casual.

“Yeah, well he’s a busy man. Sheriff can’t just up and leave town whenever he wants! My graduation is the first time he’s left Purgatory in the past year!” Chrissy said, almost like she didn’t belief it herself, but Nicole did. Nedley was dedicated to the job, more so than any police officer she had met throughout her training, at the academy and now that she was actually working out of a precinct. Maybe it was a small-town cop thing, but Nicole really did admire it and if she was being honest, she might have considered it her new aspiration; to be that committed to the job.

“I know, I know…you’re sitting next to me, right?” Ben looked to Nicole with those desperate eyes again and she nodded.

“Yup, Chrissy’s dad, then you, then me, then Wynonna and Alice, then Doc and then Gus.” Nicole rattled off the order from memory, Waverly had made sure she knew exactly where everyone was seated so she knew exactly where to look for them as she walked across the stage.

“Ah! I can’t wait to give Alice a big hug!” Chrissy yelled excitedly, Waverly shushing her as she continued giving directions to who Nicole was now sure was Gus on the phone. Nicole wasn’t in the least bit surprised that Wynonna had forgotten where Nicole’s apartment was.

Nicole really hoped that she would be able to get a moment alone with Wynonna and Gus before they headed back to Purgatory. She had to tell them about her plans. They only had a week before they left for their trip and Nicole had to tell them before she would be with Waverly pretty much every moment of the day for a month. She couldn’t just wait and see if she had the opportunity for a private phone call and she did not want to ask Waverly to marry her without giving them a heads-up beforehand. She felt it was the right thing to do.

She would somehow have to do it while Ben was otherwise occupied; she liked him, but she couldn’t trust him not to say anything to Chrissy and she definitely did not trust Chrissy not to say anything to Waverly. She barely trusted Wynonna not to ruin the surprise but that was a risk she had to take.

With the job offer from Nedley now a sure thing, Waverly had to know that Nicole was serious about them, about their future, before she brought it up. Part of Nicole knew that Waverly would follow her anywhere, but Nicole didn’t want to be anywhere that Waverly wasn’t happy to go. She also knew that Waverly would probably be hesitant for Nicole to accept the job, in case it wasn’t what Nicole actually wanted.

Nicole just wanted Waverly, and working under Nedley would actually be a bonus, if Waverly actually wanted to move home that is. Asking Waverly if she wanted to get married was the biggest commitment that Nicole could make to her and she knew that when she told Waverly after that, that the job was hers if she wanted it, Waverly would know it was a choice Nicole wanted to make. One that would make both of them happy.

 

It was strange being on the other side of graduations, in fact Nicole had to admit that it was actually a little boring. At least at her own she knew more than two people graduating and she’d had the constant mix of buzzing excitement and nerves. One of her worst fears was tripping as she walked across a stage in full view of everyone below and she had somehow managed to get through two graduation ceremonies without that happening.

The only slightly entertaining thing going on as she listened to names of people she didn’t know and patiently waited for Waverly’s name to be called was that Alice was clearly just as bored as she was. She pestered anyone within arm’s reach for attention. Playing with Nicole’s sleeves, pulling on her mom’s hair, grabbing onto Doc’s moustache as she was passed between them all, hoping to keep her slightly amused but it only seemed to be making things worse.

Nicole tried to keep Alice’s attention as best she could while she sat on her knee, but she was simply so used to being able to waddle around now that she was mobile that sitting down for such an extended period of time was never going to keep her happy. Nicole wished she’d brought a pair of headphones with her and she could keep her occupied by letting her watch Netflix or something on her phone. Wynonna had tried to tell Waverly that maybe it wasn’t the best idea for her to come along and that she could find someone willing to look after her for the day, but Waverly insisted.

Nicole could see the frustration building in Wynonna’s eyes and she was pretty sure that any minute, Wynonna would get up and walk out with Alice, so Nicole leaned over and spoke as quietly as she could. She let her know that Waverly would be up soon, she’d memorised the order and they were just about to announce the History degrees.

Thankfully, upon hearing her aunt’s name, Alice turned her attention towards the stage and watched while Waverly received her diploma. As soon as she had walked off the stage, after giving them all a quick enthusiastic wave, Alice was straight back to fussing and Wynonna stood to take her out. Nicole was sure that Waverly couldn’t see them from where she was seated so she figured it was the perfect time to get a moment alone with Wynonna.

“You bored too?” Wynonna laughed to Nicole, as she put Alice down and she started shuffling around in a circle, thoroughly entertained by it the way only a soon-to-be one year old could be.

“Uh, well…a little bit but I actually wanted to talk to you about something…” Nicole began nervously licking her lips and immediately regretted it as her tongue hit a cracked spot. She knew she’d forgotten to bring something, chapstick.

“Ok…shoot.”

“So…I’m not exactly asking for permission here ‘cause I don’t really think that Waverly would really be happy about that but-”

“Holy shit.” Wynonna’s eyes blew wide open and she quickly glanced down at Alice making sure she hadn’t just heard her. She was picking up more and more of what people were saying around her. Luckily it seemed she was far too engrossed in her ability to move around freely again after all the time spent inside. “You’re proposing?”

“Yeah…” Nicole smiled at the only other person in the world who knew about her plans. “I just wanted to let you know and obviously ask that you not say anything to Waverly!”

“Think she’ll say yes?” Wynonna smirked, and Nicole rolled her eyes.

Was she really ready to have this woman as her sister-in-law? If that meant she had Waverly as her wife, she was actually pretty sure she’d deal with anything, including the never-ending teasing from Wynonna.

“I’m kidding, of course she will, and my lips are sealed!” Wynonna drew her fingers across her mouth and threw away an imaginary key.

“I want to speak to Gus as well, so if we could maybe make that happen before you guys head off that would be great.” Nicole stuffed her suddenly clammy hands into her pockets.

She was far more nervous to tell Gus than Wynonna. She knew Gus liked her, they got on well, but Gus was the closest thing Waverly had to a mother and she had to know that she had her approval before going through with it.

Nicole managed to get back inside without causing too much of a disturbance and found her seat again, just in time to see Chrissy walk across the stage. Ben and Nedley both cheered, almost competitively and Nicole figured that they were going to get on just fine.

By the time that Waverly found Nicole outside amongst the crowds, Nicole still hadn’t managed to get a moment alone with Gus. She’d almost immediately started up a conversation with Nedley once they were out of the hall and Nicole was pretty sure they were talking about Ben, if the casual glances their way were anything to go by.

Luckily Chrissy found him almost as soon as Waverly found her, and she looked like she was trying her best to calm him down. The two of them were going to go out for a celebratory meal with her dad and Nicole hoped that by the end of it, Ben would be feeling a little more confident about where he stood with Nedley.

Waverly didn’t want to do anything like that, all she wanted was for her family to come back to their apartment, so they could spend some quality time together, specifically with Alice before they would be gone for so long. They were going to miss her birthday, but Waverly had begged Wynonna to let her give her niece the present she and Nicole had picked out together earlier.

Once Waverly was distracted with showing Alice her gift, Wynonna nodded towards Gus making everyone a drink in the kitchen and Nicole took potentially the last opportunity she would get to speak to her. They would be leaving to get back on the road in no time.

“Gus, could you…” Nicole nodded her head towards the hallway and Gus followed as Nicole walked slowly out of Waverly’s earshot.

“Everything alright?” Gus asked, her expression becoming concerned.

“Yes, everything’s fine…great actually! I just…I wanted to let you know that I’m planning on asking Waverly to marry me.” Nicole watched, her breath held in her throat as Gus’ face broke out into a bright smile and she dragged Nicole into a crushing hug that forced the air out of her lungs.

“Nicole…” Gus pulled back, allowing Nicole to breathe again, and looked at her. Almost in the exact same appraising way that she had the first time they had met. “I’m really happy you two found each other.”

“Me too.” Nicole blushed, looking down at her feet. “I know we haven’t been together all that long compared to most people but she’s it for me…”

“I’m certain she feels the same way, dear.” Gus stated firmly, giving Nicole’s arms a quick squeeze.

“What’s going on?” Waverly’s voice at the end of the hall had them both jumping and looking up at her in an instant.

“Nothing…just…uh, showing Gus where the bathroom is.” Nicole lied, opening the bathroom door behind her and flicking the light on.

“Yes…thank you.” Gus said, slipping past Nicole and shutting the door behind her. Waverly was still staring at her and Nicole quickly made her way down the hall while trying to calm her racing heart.

“Alice just asked for you…” Waverly grinned as Nicole got closer, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her back towards the living room. Nicole shot Wynonna a quick glare and she did at least look a little sorry. She probably had tried to stop Waverly from peering down the hallway but what exactly was Wynonna supposed to do if she really wanted to? Tackle her?

“Did you really say Nicole?” Nicole asked as she sat down on the couch, holding her hand out for Alice to give her a high five. She jumped up from her position on the floor and slapped her little hand down onto Nicole’s palm. She knew she couldn’t have actually said her name properly, she’d only recently began using words like ‘ma’ and ‘da’ but even the thought of her trying made Nicole feel amazing.

“Well she said ‘Nic’ but that’s close enough, right?” Doc smiled affectionately between his daughter and Nicole as she lifted Alice up to sit on her knee.

Nicole loved Waverly and she loved her family, she could hardly wait to officially become a part of it. She felt a lot better now that she’d managed to tell both Wynonna and Gus about her plans and both of them had been more than supportive.

She had the ring, she had her plan all thought out in her head, she didn’t have a single doubt about what Waverly’s answer would be and now all she had to do was wait until that perfect moment. A big part of her wanted to just do it now, make it official but she knew her patience would pay off.

Chapter Text

Waverly and Nicole stood in line, just about to get on the first plane that Waverly had ever been on in her life. Despite her ridiculous nerves, she had never been more excited for anything in her entire life.

She’d graduated, Nicole had finished her training and both of them could pretend for just a little while that this was all there was. Just the two of them and all the places they were going to see.

Waverly knew that Nicole didn’t actually have to worry about money but the fact that they were heading off for a whole month when she probably should have been looking for a job made her a little anxious. Nicole had told her once again not to fret though and as she took her first step onto the plane she decided to let it all go, at least until they got home.

As soon as they were settled in their seats, Waverly’s excitement started to get a little harder to prioritise over her nerves. She started running through everything she had learned about planes, the accident rates, how often planes actually went down or suffered catastrophic failure mid-flight, how often they had to make emergency landings, why turbulence was a thing and why it was not always something to be afraid of. She had made the fatal mistake of clicking onto a video of someone’s particularly awful turbulence experience and now that was all she could picture in her head.

“Baby…” Nicole’s hand found hers and she quickly realised just how tense she was, her hands were balled into fists, but she slowly loosened them to take Nicole’s hand properly within hers.

“Sorry…just a little nervous.” Waverly gave Nicole what she hoped was a smile but the worried look on Nicole’s face told her it didn’t quite come off as one. Nicole released her hand and pulled Waverly closer, it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable position for either of them considering the arm rest in between them but it helped Waverly to calm down.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of, your first time flying is bound to be nerve wracking.” Nicole kissed the top of her head in reassurance. “Plenty of people get nervous, even if they’ve flown loads of times.”

“I know…”

“I don’t really like take off but once we’re in the air, I love it. Looking out the window, seeing the world pass by underneath.” Nicole smiled down at her.

“Oh, I took the window seat! Do you want to switch?” Waverly worried her lip between her teeth. She hadn’t even thought that Nicole might have a preference on where she would want to sit, as soon as she was on the plane she just knew she needed to find their row and sit down as soon as she could to remain calm.

“No, baby.” Nicole laughed and stroked a finger down Waverly’s cheek. “I wanted you to be able to look out, that’s why I said you should go in first! Plus, I can see just fine from here.” Nicole demonstrated how close she could actually get to the window taking Waverly with her. It was a fair point; Nicole’s height did give her that advantage when Waverly would not have been able to do the same.

It was a long flight to London and there was unfortunately some turbulence, but Nicole let Waverly grip on to her as tightly as she needed while they got through it. Eventually she managed to get to sleep, thanks to the earplugs Nicole had thoughtfully packed in their carry-on luggage and a couple whiskeys to help settle her nerves. She only woke up as Nicole nudged her to let her know they were starting their descent and that she might want to look out the window. Waverly pulled up the shades, but both were disappointed to see that all that was visible were clouds as they came in to land, the rain pelting hard against the windows.

They had a few days in London, so Waverly hoped the weather wouldn’t remain so miserable. After that they would take the train to France, which Waverly was incredibly excited about. She had never actually been on a train and this particular train went underneath the English Channel. Waverly kept referring to it as the underwater train while Nicole kindly reminded her that they would actually be inside a tunnel and it wasn’t quite as far fetched as Waverly made it sound to anyone who would listen to their plan for the trip.

From there it was on to Amsterdam, then a week travelling through Germany by train and then another into Italy, which Waverly was probably most excited for. She had always wanted to see Rome. In reality, much of their trip was designed for Waverly’s enjoyment more so than Nicole’s. So many places they planned to go and see were rich with the history that had always fascinated Waverly. Nicole didn’t seem to mind one bit but Waverly knew she needed to control her urges to pull Nicole along to every single sight she wanted to see while they were away.

Greece seemed to be the only place that Nicole was just as excited to go to as Waverly, she recalled a trip there as a teenager with her parents and she couldn’t wait to see Athens again and show Waverly all the amazing sights. That would be their last stop and from there they would fly home again via London.

After finding their way to their hotel for the next couple of days, they were positively exhausted and decided that room service and an early night was the best course of action if they hoped to combat the jetlag.

“What do you want to do tomorrow?” Nicole asked through her mouthful of garlic bread as Waverly chuckled, Nicole was clearly far too tired to stick to her usually impeccable eating manners.

“There’re so many things I want to see, I don’t know how we can fit them all in.” Waverly grabbed her laptop and opened it up on the bed as she found the websites she had saved for this particular portion of the trip. She had multiple bookmarks for each city they would be visiting and while she wished they could fit everything in, there simply wouldn’t be time.

“We could do a bus tour? They even have one that has a boat tour as part of the package.” Nicole grinned, knowing full well that Waverly had been the one to send her to that particular website after she got far too excited about the idea of being on the Thames.

“Do you want to?” Waverly asked, Nicole hadn’t actually said it was one of the things she wanted to do while they were here, but she nodded enthusiastically, and Waverly suggested she book the tickets online right then and there.

The rain had cleared the following morning and the bus and boat tours were fantastic. Nicole probably took far more pictures than actually necessary as they made their way throughout the city, but Waverly thought it was sweet, she clearly wanted to keep as many memories of their first real trip together as possible.

By the time they made it to Italy, Waverly was sure she could do this for the rest of her life. She loved exploring with Nicole, seeing buildings she had only ever read about or seen photos off and she even got to use some of the Italian she had taught herself years ago. She actually surprised herself with how much she remembered, and Nicole was suitably impressed when she was able to order for them at a restaurant, completely in Italian, a couple of days into their stay.

Once they were in Rome though, that was truly Waverly’s time to shine. Latin was everywhere when they visited Vatican City and Waverly proudly showed off her linguistic skills as they made their way around the museums and other tourist spots. It wasn’t until she caught Nicole staring at her with a look of sheer disbelief that she realised she had never told Nicole about that particular hobby of hers.

“Oh…yeah. I’m fluent in Latin…” Waverly blushed under the intensity of Nicole’s stare.

“You don’t say…” Nicole smiled, and Waverly bumped into her side as she shook her head. Nicole leaned in closer and whispered into Waverly’s ear, just loud enough for her to hear. “I didn’t think you could get any sexier.”

“Nicole…” Waverly blushed even harder, they were literally standing in the middle of the Sistine Chapel. Nicole feigned innocence and swanned forward, catching up with the walking tour they were on.

When they made it to Athens, Waverly was a little sad that it meant their trip was almost over, but as Nicole lit up seeing the sights that were familiar to her she knew she would manage to keep herself in the moment during their time there.

Once they’d settled into their accommodation, taken a short nap to deal with the insane wake-up call they’d had to give themselves so they would catch their flight, they headed out into the city and Waverly was sure she had died and gone to history lover’s heaven.

They had seen some fantastic sights on their trip but nothing quite as amazing as experiencing the Parthenon. It was almost surreal, that something so grand had at one point in time looked even grander. As they stood by the ancient ruins, Nicole pointed to a hill in the distance and told Waverly that it was where they would be going in a couple days. She said it was a great spot to watch the sunset from and on their last night, Waverly couldn’t think of a better way to end their trip.

 

Despite the fact the sun was beginning to go down, the heat on their walk was still inching towards uncomfortable. Nicole seemed to be in her element, but Waverly needed a short rest before they made the final leg up to the spot that Nicole said would be perfect to watch the sunset from.

Waverly sat with their rucksacks while Nicole jogged a little further up the path to take a few photos. Waverly could see the Parthenon from her perch on a small bench and once again appreciated its grandeur. Wynonna had always said that Greece had been one of the best places she had visited, and Waverly could see why. Even if you weren’t interested in history normally, this place made it come alive before your eyes.

Waverly had already finished the last of her water and Nicole had taken hers with her, but Waverly was sure she had seen her put a couple of small plastic bottles from the mini fridge into her bag before they left the hotel. She opened up Nicole’s rucksack and as she lifted out one of the small bottles she saw something that stole the breath from her lungs.

A small black velvet ring box.

She ran her finger over it and even though every single voice in her head was telling her not to lift it out of the bag, pretend she hadn’t even seen it, put the water bottle back on top of it, she couldn’t stop herself. She lifted it, the soft velvet brushing against her fingers as she held it in her hand, her breath slowly coming back to her.

“Shit.” Nicole’s panicked voice pulled Waverly’s head up and she saw Nicole standing awkwardly beside her, a mix of disappointment and nerves clear as day on her face. “You weren’t supposed to see that yet!”

“Yeah…I guessed.” Waverly was still surprised but she was smiling like an idiot. There had been a tiny part of her that thought maybe, just maybe Nicole was going to do this on their trip. There was another part of her that thought if Nicole was going to, she would have done it already.

Nicole took a couple of steps forward, her hand covering Waverly’s around the box. Waverly couldn’t speak, whatever words she thought she might be able to say in that moment getting lost in the thudding of her own heart as Nicole took a firmer grip of the box and moved it into her own hand.

“I wanted to wait until the sunset but…now is as good a time as any I guess.” Nicole beamed, and Waverly could feel tears already in her eyes as Nicole lowered herself down onto the ground on one knee. “I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to this question but, Waverly, will you marry me?”

“Yes!” Waverly laughed and the tears that had been building fell from her eyes as Nicole slid the ring onto her finger. It was a beautiful ring, simple but absolutely stunning. It had a silver band with a square cut diamond in the middle. Waverly wished she knew more about engagement rings, so she could have some sort of idea of how overboard Nicole might have gone on price... but in that moment, she really didn’t care.

It fit perfectly, and Waverly knew Nicole had to have done some sleuthing to find out her ring size. Nicole got herself up and pulled Waverly in for a kiss, she barely even registered that they had a few onlookers. Other people who were no doubt making the same trip up to watch the sun go down over the city. Nicole pulled back with a magnificent smile and trailed a finger down Waverly’s cheek.

“I almost did this three weeks ago, when we were standing on that bridge over one of the canals in Amsterdam, but I’d thought about doing it here since the moment you said you’d love to see Athens.” Nicole leaned forward and touched their foreheads together as Waverly took a deep breath to try and control her emotions enough to speak.

“It’s perfect. It would have been perfect anywhere but this…” Waverly looked around them, the luscious greenery, the view of the city down below and the clear sky just starting to get the tiniest hints of orange and purple. It would have been something to have Nicole appear on one knee as Waverly focussed on the sunset but this…this was just as amazing. “This is perfect!”

Waverly pulled Nicole into her and connected their lips again as she held on tight. She was going to marry this woman and she wasn’t sure she’d ever felt happier in her entire life. Part of her didn’t need to see the sunset. She had already seen the most beautiful sight imaginable that day, Nicole sliding that ring onto her finger, but Nicole insisted upon staying since they’d come all this way and she was positive that Waverly would be glad she saw it.

They finished the trek to the top and found a spot to relax as they watched the sun go down, it was clearly a popular spot and there were plenty of people doing the exact same thing as them. Some groups of friends, some couples, young and old but Waverly’s focus was solely on Nicole.

Waverly curled into Nicole’s side as the sun descended in the sky until it was gone from sight completely. People started to make their way down the trail all around them but the two of them stayed exactly where they were as Nicole held the hand she had placed the ring on. She ran her finger gently over it again and again, like she couldn’t quite believe that Waverly was wearing it.

“It was my mom’s ring…” Nicole said quietly when she caught Waverly looking at her staring down at her hand and Waverly’s tears came all over again. She really had not expected that. “She would have loved you, Waverly. As much as I do.”

“Baby…” Waverly ran her thumb underneath Nicole’s eye as tears started to fall. “I wish I could have met her.”

“Yeah…” Nicole nodded as she tried to force a smile. Waverly pulled her in to an embrace and Nicole settled against her shoulder. Nicole let out a staggered breath. “Me too.”

“I love you.” Waverly gently pressed her lips to Nicole’s cheek but before she could pull back, Nicole held her in place and ghosted her lips across Waverly’s. Waverly moved in fully and kissed the only lips she wanted to for the rest of her life.

Chapter Text

Waverly was so excited to call and tell Wynonna and Gus back home about their news when they made it back to their hotel room that night. Then Nicole revealed that she had kind of already told them that she was going to do it which left Waverly feeling a little deflated. She did suppose that Nicole would never have asked Waverly to marry her without checking in with the two other most important people in her life first.

“You could always call and let them know you actually said yes?” Nicole grinned as she flopped back onto the bed, pulling her iPad out of the drawer beside her and waving it around in front of Waverly. Waverly jumped onto the bed and hugged into Nicole’s side as Nicole brought up FaceTime. Once it had connected, Wynonna was looking down at the screen with Alice propped up on her hip.

“Hey!” Waverly and Nicole said in unison as both Wynonna and Alice smiled down at the screen. Alice giving a quick wave and Waverly’s heart melting. She really missed Alice, she couldn’t wait to see her again…Wynonna and Gus too, of course.

“Hey! Isn’t it pretty late there?” Wynonna seemed to be checking the time on her phone, it was quite late, and they did have an early flight to catch in the morning, but they couldn’t not go out for a celebratory drink after they had got engaged .

“Yeah, a little but…” Waverly lifted her hand in view of the camera, grinning and showing off the ring on her finger.

“Ah! Yes! Congratulations!” Wynonna squealed as Waverly and Nicole looked at each other, surprised. Wynonna never squealed. She really must have been happy about it. “I thought you’d totally chickened out, Nicole!”

“Nope! Just wanted to do it at the perfect time…which didn’t exactly go to plan since Waverly found the ring box before I even managed to propose but still…” Nicole shook her head with a smile and placed a quick kiss to the side of Waverly’s head. Waverly really did feel bad about ruining Nicole’s big plans, but she just didn’t have it in her to care all that much, they were still engaged.

“Of course she did…” Wynonna laughed as she placed Alice down on the floor. “Oh, Gus just got here! Hold on!” Wynonna placed her phone down and disappeared from the screen. Waverly took the opportunity to turn and place a kiss to Nicole’s lips…her fiancée’s lips. They were interrupted by Gus clearing her throat and they both looked back to the screen a little more red in the face than before.

“Wynonna said you guys had some news…” Gus said, an eager smile on her face and Waverly lifted her hand into view once again. “Oh, girls! I’m so happy for you!”

“Thanks Gus.” Waverly beamed and snuggled even closer in to Nicole as Nicole readjusted the iPad to keep them both in the cameras sight.

“You have to come to town soon, we’ll take you out for a celebratory meal. They just opened up this really nice vegetarian restaurant!” Gus said excitedly but Waverly could hear Wynonna making fake puking noises in the background.

“That sounds great, we were actually thinking about coming the day after we get back?” Waverly and Nicole had already discussed it, they were both eager to see everyone and Waverly wanted to be able to tell Chrissy about their engagement in person. She’d been in Purgatory for the past week and seemed like she was going to be staying a little while longer from the way she was talking, so waiting until she got back to the city would simply be way too long.

“That’s perfect! I’ll make a reservation tonight.” Gus was still smiling so brightly, and Waverly couldn’t help but do the same. She’d known this day was going to come eventually, there really was only one direction their relationship had been headed for quite some time, but the fact that they were there now, well... it felt incredible.

They talked for a little while longer, telling both Wynonna and Gus about their last few days in Athens before Waverly started to feign tiredness. They said their goodbyes, Wynonna grabbing Alice, so she could too, and Nicole stored the iPad away again. She didn’t seem to realise that Waverly had been faking her yawns, but the moment Waverly pulled her in for a searing kiss, a knowing smile grew.

“Did you set the alarm?” Nicole asked breathlessly as Waverly’s lips travelled down from her mouth to her neck. Waverly hummed in confirmation, not willing to take her attention away from Nicole’s skin long enough to speak. “Ever the planner, huh?”

Waverly chuckled, Nicole knew her too well. Waverly had set the alarm while Nicole ordered their drinks earlier, she knew her mind would go elsewhere once they were alone. Waverly slowly lifted Nicole’s t-shirt, only pulling back long enough to get it over Nicole’s head before she was back against her skin. She pressed gentle kisses down Nicole’s chest as Nicole undid the clasp on her bra. Waverly removed it before her lips wrapped around an already stiffened nipple.

Nicole ran her hands through Waverly’s hair, gently moving it all to one side as she let out a heavy sigh. Waverly struggled to pull Nicole’s pants off without removing her attention from Nicole’s breast but with a little help from Nicole, they were quickly kicked off. Waverly had just enough time to let her eyes roam along all the newly exposed skin, beautifully sun kissed from all their time spent in the gorgeous weather, before Nicole pulled her in for a deep kiss.

Nicole worked quickly to remove the clothing still covering Waverly, her lips trailing further down Waverly’s body as she went. Waverly’s head fell back against the bed with a surprised gasp as Nicole’s tongue found her center the second her underwear was discarded.

Nicole worked her tongue in slow circles, which wouldn’t usually have Waverly so close so quickly but with each movement she could feel herself falling faster than she wanted to be.

“Baby...” Waverly moaned, desperately holding onto the sheets to keep herself grounded. Nicole’s eyes met hers without pulling back and Waverly tightened her hold on the covers. “Come here…please.”

Nicole moved back up Waverly’s body, peppering gentle kisses across her skin until she was close enough for Waverly to bring their lips together. She wanted Nicole as close to her as possible; she pressed her thigh between Nicole’s legs and shifted herself to straddle Nicole’s. Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole’s back and Nicole gripped onto her hips as they rocked against each other.

They found an unhurried pace but with Waverly already being so close to the edge, she knew she wouldn’t last long. She buried her face into Nicole’s neck as Nicole began to move faster against her. Nicole’s quickened breathing and firmer grip on Waverly’s hips told her she wasn’t too far herself, but Waverly tried her hardest to hold on.

“Waves…I’m…” Nicole whimpered into her ear.

“Me too, baby.” Waverly lifted her head to bring their lips together. Just as her own orgasm surged through her, Nicole’s whole body stiffened, and she echoed the pleasure filled moans falling from Waverly’s lips.

“Shit…” Nicole’s head fell to Waverly’s shoulder as her chest heaved with every breath. Waverly let out a small chuckle that Nicole returned as she pressed her lips to Waverly’s skin.

“You asked me to marry you.” Waverly sighed happily as she urged Nicole to move up the bed with her and onto the pillows.

“I did.” Nicole beamed as she rested her palm against Waverly’s cheek. Waverly smiled as Nicole brushed her thumb softly against her skin and she was sure Nicole had never looked so content in all their time together. “And you said yes.

“I did.” Waverly nodded with a bright grin, pulling Nicole closer to rest their foreheads together. Nicole sighed as she nuzzled her nose against Waverly’s, she dipped her head and caught Nicole’s lips in a kiss that quickly refueled the fire burning inside her. There was zero chance that they were going to be getting an early night, even if they did need to be up at nearly the crack of dawn for their flight. They could both sleep on the plane.

 

By the time they were on their final flight of their trip, Waverly’s fears about flying had subsided and she managed to really enjoy her time in the air, a lot more than her first ever flight. It didn’t hurt that when Waverly mentioned that she and Nicole had just gotten engaged, the stewards paid special attention to them and even brought them some free champagne.

After one night back home, sleeping in their own bed for the first time in just over a month, they were on their way to Purgatory to celebrate with her family. Their family.

Waverly called Chrissy on their way and asked if she would like to join them for dinner after calling Gus and asking her to see if they could add one more person to the reservation. Waverly couldn’t wait to tell Chrissy their news, and as soon as she did she wrapped Waverly in a massive hug and spun her around outside the restaurant. Once Waverly’s feet were firmly on the ground again, Chrissy pulled Nicole into the hug as well telling them both how excited she was for them but when she pulled back, her face was suddenly very serious.

“I guess now is a good time to let you know I think I’m moving back home…so you two will have the apartment to yourselves.” Chrissy squeezed onto one of their arms each and Waverly’s face fell. She’d never lived so far away from Chrissy before.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Nicole pulled her in for another hug, Waverly knew she had loved living with Chrissy as much as Waverly had.

“Yeah, well you guys better come back and visit me!” Chrissy winked as she pulled away, at least Waverly knew she would always be able to see Chrissy when she came back to see everyone else.

“What about Ben?” Waverly asked, she had been a little worried that Chrissy hadn’t mentioned him all that much while they were away. Maybe Chrissy had cooled things off if she knew she was going to be moving back to Purgatory.

“Yeah…things haven’t been so great lately. We’ve both agreed it’s for the best if we call it a day.” Chrissy did look a little upset about it and although Waverly wanted to know what had happened, it just wasn’t the time. Wynonna and Doc had just pulled up and Gus would likely not be far behind. Chrissy would need some privacy and maybe a few drinks before they really got into it.

“I’m sorry.” Waverly pulled her into a hug and leaned in close to her ear. “We’ll talk about it later?” Chrissy nodded and gave her a stoic smile before Wynonna came up and pulled Waverly into the tightest hug imaginable.

“Mama’s got a babysitter, let the celebrations begin!” Wynonna said gleefully as she released Waverly and Doc wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

“Congratulations again, ladies.” Doc nodded to both Waverly and Nicole as they thanked him. He started to walk towards the entrance, calling over his shoulder at the rest of the group. “Gus said she would be a little late, we should just head on in.”

Purgatory’s newest restaurant was surprisingly good, even Wynonna had to admit that the options were amazing even if there wasn’t a single bit of meat on the menu. When it came time to pay, everyone had to fight Gus into letting them split the bill, obviously covering Nicole and Waverly’s share as a congratulatory gift before they all headed back to Gus’ place for some drinks and to continue the celebrations.

Once everyone had a drink in their hand, Waverly pulled Chrissy into the kitchen to talk. She needed to make sure that she really was ok, and the mutual breakup had actually been mutual. She had always worried that Chrissy liked Ben more than he liked her, but they had seemed good together.

“So, what happened?” Waverly leaned against the kitchen counter as Chrissy took up a seat at the table.

“Wasn’t one thing specifically just…I don’t know. We don’t feel that spark that was there when we first got together, I thought introducing him to my dad would take it to a new level…ignite a different kind of spark but it didn’t.” Chrissy slowly turned the beer bottle in her hands, not really looking at Waverly and so she moved to sit down across from her, taking a hold of one of her hands.

“Are you really ok?”

“Yeah…” Chrissy said but Waverly gave her a questioning look when she finally raised her eyes to look at Waverly. “Really I am…it’s just a shame. I did really like him, but I don’t think I loved him and as crazy as it sounds, I’m actually really looking forward to moving back here. Never thought I’d say that three years ago!”

“Yeah…” Waverly bit down the words she desperately wanted to say as Chrissy laughed. She wouldn’t mind moving back too.

“I’m really happy for you, Waverly!” Chrissy tightened her grip on the hand Waverly was holding and gave her a genuine smile. “You guys are perfect for each other.”

“Thanks. I can’t believe I’m going to have a wife! Now, that’s something I never thought I’d say three years ago!” Waverly chuckled reflectively. If someone had told her that this was where her future was headed, there was no way she would have believed them but now, she couldn’t imagine it any other way.

 


Nicole and Waverly were just packing up the Jeep to head back to the city, thankfully only a little hungover from the celebrations the night before when Nedley’s cruiser pulled up outside Gus’ and he popped out with a book in his hands. Waverly recognised it instantly, it had been Chrissy’s mom’s and Nedley immediately noticed Waverly’s eyes on it.

“Gus wants to make a copy of a few recipes.” Nedley said with a shrug. It made sense that he would hand deliver it, he never would have wanted to let it out of his sight if it left his home. “I hear congratulations are in order?”

“Yeah.” Waverly beamed up at Nicole who nodded down at her with an adorable smile. “Thanks, Nedley.”

“You come to a decision on my offer yet?” Nicole’s head snapped to look at Nedley as he spoke, and she immediately tensed up.

“Um...not yet sir.” Nicole sounded nervous and Waverly was trying to understand what exactly Nedley had meant.

“Well get a move on, if you aren’t coming I’ll have to find someone who is.” Nedley tipped his hat and headed straight inside, knocking on Gus’ door apparently a thing of the past.

“What did he just say?” Waverly’s brain caught up with itself and she turned to look at Nicole head on.

“I was going to tell you…” Nicole said hesitantly, and Waverly widened her eyes.

“Tell me what exactly?” Waverly was sure she knew but she needed to hear Nicole say it.

“Nedley offered me a job…here…in Purgatory.” Nicole said slowly and Waverly didn’t know what to say, she was speechless. “I wanted to talk to you about it before I did anything, see what you thought... but we were just having such a good time while we were away, and I didn’t want to ruin it by talking about coming back to reality…”

“Would you want that?”

“Would you want that?” Nicole took a hold of Waverly’s shoulders gently and seemed to be studying her face for any sort of clue as to how Waverly would answer. Waverly was finding it hard to process the possibility, let alone talk. Nicole wanted Waverly’s opinion on where she should take a job? Her dream job? “I just want to be a cop Waverly, wherever they’ll have me but now…you could come home. See Alice all the time, Gus and Wynonna too. Even Chrissy!”

“Nicole…” Waverly started to shake her head. She couldn’t ask Nicole to do this.

“Baby…you still have family, I don’t want you to miss them.” As Nicole held Waverly’s face in her hands she was sure that she was close to tears. This had to be too good to be true, Nicole would never be happy moving somewhere like Purgatory.

“You would really be happy to move here? Work here?” Waverly asked, and Nicole nodded immediately. “But you’d have to sell your place?”

“Don’t care. We’ll find somewhere even nicer here.”

“You’d miss being in the city…”

“No. I wouldn’t.”

“This town is quiet…”

“I like quiet.”

“Nicole…” Waverly closed her eyes; she couldn’t help but feel if she said yes to this Nicole would end up resenting her.

“Waverly…do you want to be close to your family?” Nicole stroked her cheek until Waverly opened her eyes and saw the most beautiful smile on Nicole’s face.

“Yes, but…”

“No buts!” Nicole shook her head and leaned in close. “I have a guaranteed job here, somewhere I already know you’ll be happy, surrounded by your family and somewhere I already have a bunch of people I want to spend time with.”

“You know they’re your family too, right?” Waverly smiled, and Nicole nodded, pulling her in even closer and resting their foreheads together.

Waverly couldn’t believe this was happening. She thought she was going to have to struggle to keep herself feeling positive about wherever Nicole ended up taking a job but now she didn’t have to worry about that at all.

“I know they are…so, what do you think?”

“I think you’d better go tell Nedley before he offers the job to someone else!” Waverly grinned and Nicole closed the gap between them before kissing her soundly on the mouth. Waverly nodded her head towards the house when Nicole pulled back and she took off, running inside calling after the Sheriff.

 

Six months later

 

Their move to Purgatory was relatively seamless, Nicole managed to find an amazing realtor who sold her apartment incredibly fast and they managed to find somewhere new in Purgatory that both of them decided was perfect. It was amazing what someone could buy with the same amount of money out in the middle of nowhere compared to the city and Waverly and Nicole had a whole house to call their own.

They said goodbye to the place where they first met, Nicole started her new job and Waverly slipped right back into Purgatory town life with Nicole at her side as if she’d never left.

Much like Chrissy, Waverly never would have expected that she would want to move back to the town where she grew up but then again, she never anticipated that Wynonna would have a child and decide that staying put in Purgatory was something she actually wanted.

Waverly managed to get herself a job doing some relief teaching at the high school, it was very sporadic for now but with the good impression she was certain she was leaving, she hoped it would lead to something permanent once she completed the year long teaching program she had just been accepted into. She had a good while before she had to go back to studying and thankfully she’d been accepted to an institution only an hour drive from Purgatory. Ever the planner, she was already doing as much as she could to be prepared before she even started the course.

The rest of her free time she used to decorate and fully furnish their house as well plan their wedding. Nicole was usually bombarded with new ideas, colour schemes, cake flavours and flower arrangements every time she came home from work. Waverly worried she was taking everything a little bit too far, but she always saw how Nicole’s face lit up whenever their wedding was the topic of discussion and it eased all of her worries. She’d never been more excited for anything in her life.

The pair babysat Alice at least once or twice a week to give both Wynonna and Doc a break, and a chance to really invest some time in their relationship. It couldn’t have been easy being in a brand-new relationship and then adding a baby into the mix. Waverly wanted them to work out and so she was willing to do whatever she could to help, including having a room in their house where Alice could spend the night whenever the couple needed her to.

“We really should get around to making one of these.” Waverly said, almost absentmindedly to Nicole as she fed Alice some yoghurt.

Trusting her to hold the spoon had been a fatal mistake on their part the first time they had done it and they were not about to deal with cleaning yoghurt off of half the kitchen again. It was typical of Wynonna not to mention Alice’s predisposition to throwing food any chance she got, she had also failed to mention about Alice’s ability to climb out of her cot before the first night she had stayed over.

“Yeah…we really should.” Nicole smiled as Alice hummed along to the radio between mouthfuls. “Maybe even more than one?”

“How about we start with one and see how we get on?” Waverly kissed Nicole’s cheek and Nicole turned quickly to peck Waverly’s lips before she retreated. While they were both distracted, Alice grabbed the spoon and flung strawberry yoghurt all over Nicole and Waverly’s face.

“Yeah...ok,” Nicole sighed as she wiped the yoghurt off of Waverly’s forehead before dealing with the mess on her own face. “Let’s just start with one.” Alice giggled from her high chair and Waverly snapped a picture to send over to Wynonna, Nicole’s yoghurt covered face included.

After Alice was down for the night and the monitor set up on coffee table in front of her, Waverly picked up a book she’d been reading on how to engage teenage students in the age of smartphones when practically all the information they could possibly want was in the palm of their hand.

It was something she had noticed a fair amount of the teachers who’d been on the job for years had no interest in, they simply wanted the phones away from sight while they taught. Waverly had been contemplating taking a different approach when she finally got real control over a classroom. She wanted to use the resources that sat in the pockets and bags of pretty much every single teenager to her advantage. It wasn’t like Purgatory High School had the budget to provide each student with a laptop, but with the right encouragement, her students could start to properly appreciate the knowledge that was literally at their fingertips. She knew it wouldn’t be an easy concept to get the head teacher to accept so she wanted to be totally and completely prepared for when the time came to suggest it.

Nicole went about her nightly routine around the house as Waverly jotted down her notes, ironing her uniform and making her lunch for her shift the next day. They’d lived together for over a year but there was something different about having a proper home with Nicole. A home where they could raise their future children, maybe even get a pet or two.

Once Nicole had finished her tasks she settled on the couch next to Waverly and nudged her foot against Waverly’s thigh. Softly at first and then a little harder when Waverly pretended she hadn’t felt it. She knew what Nicole wanted, she also knew that she was going to say yes but she wanted Nicole to ask her. Waverly set down her book on her lap and looked at Nicole, who was smiling innocently at her.

“What?” Waverly asked with an innocent smile of her own, still patiently waiting for Nicole to use her words. Somehow this had become their nightly routine. She’d done it most nights while Nicole was in the academy but ever since the move when Nicole had pulled something in her back, Nicole asked for one every night without fail.

“Please?” Nicole begged, smiling widely, but Waverly remained unmoved from her position. Nicole chuckled and leaned over, took Waverly’s book and set it on the coffee table before she kissed her cheek. “Please will you rub my back?”

“You do realise you can just ask me instead of poking me with your foot, right?” Waverly scowled playfully as she pushed Nicole to lay down on the couch, standing up so that Nicole could stretch her legs out before Waverly settled on the back of her thighs.

“I know,” Nicole said, her voice muffled as she found a comfortable position for her face to rest while she waited for Waverly to get started. “but it’s much more fun this way.”

“You say that now but just wait until I’m pregnant and I demand foot rubs at least three times a day!” Waverly dug her thumbs into the knots in Nicole’s back, starting low and slowly making her way up to her shoulders as Nicole let out quiet groans each time Waverly hit one of the right spots.

“Baby, I will rub your feet all day, every day when you’re pregnant.” Nicole smiled awkwardly over her shoulder and Waverly shook her head as she leaned down and kissed the side of her mouth before continuing with her task. “You won’t even have to ask!”

“You hate massaging my feet.” Waverly rolled her eyes, she knew this for a fact. She had only been joking about the demand, she never thought Nicole would actually agree to it.

“I do.” Nicole laughed and then winced as Waverly did a final push of her thumbs onto the spot at the bottom of Nicole’s neck which always needed that little extra attention. Waverly finished off her work with a quick kiss between Nicole’s shoulders and lifted herself off of Nicole. “But I’ll still do it.” Nicole pushed herself up, so she was looking Waverly in the eye with a sickly-sweet smile that had Waverly rolling her eyes all over again as she suppressed her own.

“Cause you love me?” Waverly couldn’t hold back her smile anymore.

“Because I love you.” Nicole nodded as she pulled Waverly back down onto the couch and into a kiss. “But also, because you’ll be carrying our child, which is the most amazing thing you could ever do for us.”

“We still don’t know if it’s going to work.” Waverly shrugged, she loved when they talked about their future, she loved imagining it, but she also knew that it wasn’t necessarily going to happen the way that they hoped.

“I know…” Nicole nuzzled her nose against Waverly’s cheek, her soft voice a dead giveaway that she’d soon be ready for bed. “But there are other ways, I’ve always liked the idea of adoption. So, no matter what, we’re going to have a family.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Waverly sighed happily, they’d have a family somehow and whether she gave birth to their child or they took in one who needed a family to call their own, it would still be their child.

Nicole repositioned herself, her head in Waverly’s lap before Waverly asked if she wanted to head to bed. Nicole just shook her head and told Waverly to pick up where she had left off in her book, happy to rest there for a bit while Waverly continued with her notetaking.

Every now and again, Waverly would catch Nicole looking up at her with a sleepy grin on her face until she was spending more time looking down at Nicole than at her book and she realised it was probably pointless to try and carry on with what she was doing.

“Am I distracting you?” Nicole’s grinned as Waverly let out a long breath through her nose, forcing her eyes back to the page.

“No.” Waverly sucked her bottom lip between her teeth in an attempt to contain the smile threatening to reveal itself.

Nicole turned her head and lifted up the bottom of Waverly’s top. Waverly closed her eyes, knowing exactly what was coming. Nicole’s lips pressed softly against her skin and Waverly blindly discarded the book in the direction of the coffee table and tossed her pen along with it. “What about now?”

“Maybe…” Waverly used her now free hands to stroke gently across Nicole’s cheek with one while the other carded through Nicole’s hair. She’d been meaning to get it cut again but Waverly loved that there was slightly more of it now for her to run her fingers through. Waverly opened her eyes to see Nicole staring up at her, the tiredness that had been there only moments before gone. Replaced by a look that Waverly knew all too well. “Bed?”

Nicole was up and dragging Waverly off the couch so quickly Waverly couldn’t help but chuckle. She knew they might regret the decision to take some time for themselves in the morning when Alice woke them up far too early, but Waverly figured it just meant they would have to make it absolutely worth every second of sleep they would lose.

Every now and then, Waverly had to remind herself that her current situation and the happiness it brought her was actually real. She’d had a rough start, losing her parents and Willa at such a young age had taken its toll but she couldn’t say that her life was terrible. She had Gus and Curtis, she had friends throughout high school, she got into the university that she wanted to go to. She had the best friend she could ever ask for in Chrissy and a great relationship with Wynonna even if she hadn’t been around much, but she had, at one point in her life, resigned herself to the idea that she would never find the kind of love that she had found with Nicole.

Before Nicole, the idea of spending the rest of her life with one person just hadn’t filled her with any sort of excitement. The idea that you’d learn everything about someone, the good and the bad, and that they would learn those things about herself might have even filled her with dread if she had truly thought about spending the rest of her life with any of the people she had dated before she found real, honest love. Being with Nicole though, becoming her wife, filled her with such anticipation for their future she could hardly believe it.

With Nicole’s hand gripped tightly in her own as they ascended the stairs to their bedroom, she couldn’t contain her smile. In a few short months they would be married. However it ended up happening, they would have a child to call their own and they would never stop discovering new things about the other no matter how long they’d been together. Waverly couldn’t wait.