The car drive was more awkward than my first blow job. And that’s saying a lot. Waverly kept attempting small talk, asking about things like where do I live and if I enjoy my job . Which, in retrospect, are probably very normal questions for normal people who did not abandon their family only to become homeless, a criminal, and eventually agent for the FBI.
A part of me wanted to ask her about her life and how she went on without me. It wasn’t like I needed reassurance I made the right decision (it was my only choice, really) but I wanted to make sure she was okay. Happy, even. But I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to get attached. And I didn’t want to give her a false impression that I wanted to be attached.
“They’re going to be so glad to see you,” Waverly told me with a forced smile. “It’s like you’re… well… coming home.”
I swallowed, but the bile still threatened to rise. Home . It was a dirty word, a lie. Purgatory was never my home. I had so many awful memories that the idea of this place being the place I came home to made me wish it was Hell instead. At least in Hell, it's warm.
“What’s wrong with Curtis?” I asked, changing the subject as quickly as I could.
Waverly’s smile turned into a frown before she admitted, “it’s his liver, Wyn. The man rarely drinks and he’s given a death sentence. It isn’t fair.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that life wasn’t fair even though the darkest part of my mind told me to. Life not being fair was sorta my mantra, but that was something a little sister didn’t need to hear from a sibling.
“How long does he have?”
“Six months at the most. Gus is trying to do more of the work around the house but Curtis is stubborn. I don’t know what she’ll do. She’s tough, but losing your soulmate… I can’t imagine the pain.”
I shuddered. I didn’t believe in soulmates or even the idea of belonging to one person, but I had lost enough people to understand where my sister was coming from. And losing the one person you loved for years was a terrifying thought.
“Is Champ your soulmate?”
I could tell by the shift in her posture that the question made her feel uneasy. Apparently, she didn’t want to talk about her love life, which was a relief to me.
“Champ wanted me. And I… I’m not saying he’s the one. But he’s a good guy. What about you? Are you seeing anyone?”
I could have told her that everyone I saw more than once usually ended up dead, but I thought that was too dramatic of a statement said by a deadbeat sister.
“I don’t really have relationships, Waverly. And I’m glad Champ’s a good guy, but you are allowed to want more. You’re allowed to want someone too. Though I’m sure they don’t teach you that in this town.”
Waverly snorted and replied, “It’s still pretty conservative. But it’s getting better. Josie and Lyra finally admitted that they were a couple last year.”
“Thank jesus,” I muttered with an eye roll. “They’re now what? Seventy-five? We all knew anyway. There are plenty of people in the closet in this town.”
Waverly stared at me. “How do you know?”
“I fucked a lot of girls during my time here, sis. And had a lot of other interesting encounters. Believe me. Have you ever kissed a girl and liked it?”
My sister blushed and looked straight ahead as she drove. “Never been one too into experimenting. That was your thing if I remember correctly. And… we’re here.”
The Homestead was exactly how I remembered it. Still slightly unkempt but full of charm that made its untidiness seem historic. It was odd feeling the warmth of nostalgia and the coldness of bitterness. Leaving this house wasn’t something I regretted, but this house was full of regrets.
“Earth to Wynonna,” My sister called out as she poked my arm. “It’s a little too late to bail. I’d have to drive you back and I won’t.”
Fair enough . I opened the door and felt the small breeze against my face. The last time I was here it had been still. My family was asleep in my house and I had a bag on my shoulder and a motorcycle in reach. There weren’t any tears that day, but I knew they were somewhere deep down below.
“Muffin!” Curtis called out as the older man opened the front door and walked as fast as he could down to me. He opened my arms and I reluctantly let him embrace me. He smelled the same; old spice and tree sap.
The nickname left me off guard. I had expected cursed names and rotten looks. Not sweet gestures and cheerful greetings. When he pulled away, I noticed how old he had gotten. His body was thin, not the muscle-y one that chopped down trees and spun me around. His face was worn and skin almost yellow. He looked like a man without much life still in him. But his eyes still had the same spirit.
“Goodness, darlin’. Do they feed you wherever you’re livin’? Do you eat a steak once in a while?”
The concern in his voice reminded me of simpler times when her mom was still around and he asked about her in hushed voices. I was never completely honest.
“When someone else is paying, Curtis,” I answered as I looked away and found Gus staring at us through the window.
He laughed and coughed causing Waverly to approach him and ask if he’s okay.
“I’m quite alright, chicky poo. I still have some life left in me. Just enough life to interrogate your sister about the adventure her life must have been for all these years.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t an adventure. Instead, I followed him into the house that reminded me so much of my mother and father that all I wanted to do was run away again.
Gus was cooking in the kitchen, obviously avoiding my presence. We never had a solid relationship. She expected more out of me than I could ever be.
“Gus is making her famous chicken pot pie,” Curtis informed me with the ole smile and twinkle in his eyes. Some things never changed. “I hope of course you didn’t follow in your sister’s footsteps and do the whole vegan thing.”
Waverly rolled her eyes and I noticed the closeness between both of them. When we lost daddy, I ran away from parental figures when my sister ran to them. Curtis was always like a father to her and they seemed to have stayed that way.
“I wouldn’t even know how to be vegan,” I told him with a forced smile. “I don’t feel the need to save the planet. What’s it done for me?”
Too much . Fuck. Sometimes I cursed the words that came out of my mouth. I wished there was an off button.
Curtis didn’t seem too fazed. “Come on, darlin. Sit down and stay a while. Your Aunt will serve you in two shakes.”
I sat down on a chair that was specifically not designated to me when I was younger. The last thing I needed was more flashbacks. Just being here made me want to drink to forget. Especially when Curtis placed beer in front of me.
I thought about drinking it, taking the edge off. But I knew deep down that if I had one I wouldn’t stop there. Because taking the edge off didn’t mean I forgot the memories and ghosts of this house. It didn’t make me happier or feel less pain. It just would make me want to drink more.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized earnestly. “I don’t drink anymore.”
Waverly flashed me the most surprised gape I had ever seen. She would have been less surprised if I told her I had ten children. Curtis was smiling happily when he took away the beer. And Gus harrumphed in the background as if she couldn’t believe it. I ignored her response.
“We’ve got a lot to learn about you,” Curtis said without any bitterness. “How’ve you been all these years?”
I shrugged. There was no easy answer.
“Things have been pretty good recently,” I told him as honestly as I could (it wasn’t technically a lie). “I like my job.”
“You work in the FBI, right? How’d you get into that business?”
“I... uh... helped with a case,” I answered vaguely, really not wanting to be honest about that question. “And I did a good job. So they wanted me to continue.”
“It’s probably classified,” Gus interrupted as she started serving everyone with plates. “Ain’t that right, Wynonna? Nobody’s heard of Black Badge Division. I would have thought it was fake if the police weren’t working with you.”
Nice . It wasn’t a surprise that she didn’t believe in me. It didn’t seem like that had changed much.
Waverly looked down and Curtis almost glared at his wife. I couldn’t believe it had taken me this long to realize that Gus never wanted me here. That the invitation purely came from my brother and uncle. I couldn’t blame her, though.
“You going to see your father while you’re here?” Gus asked me as I started digging into the food that brought me back a decade.
I almost couldn’t swallow. My father’s body was buried on our land and the idea of going to see him made me want to throw up. Killers normally didn’t like being brought back to the bodies of the people that were killed. Except for serial killers. I couldn’t imagine why she thought I would ever be able to just stop by and say hello. Or maybe, the more correct reason was that she knew what I would feel when the words came out of her mouth. Maybe she knew she was hurting me. Maybe it was my punishment.
Suffocation was something I could easily remember about the house. And the town. And my life. So, when I ran out of the kitchen, I didn’t feel like ten years had passed. I was seventeen again. Alone, afraid, and in need of a puff of smoke.
Trading habits for another was never a good idea. I had started smoking when I was thirteen, traded it for alcohol, traded that for pills, and eventually sex or harder drugs. Most of that (besides the sex) I had quit over the years. Could never really beat smoking, though.
When I heard the door open behind me, I could feel Waverly’s eyes all over me. Her disappointed, innocent eyes. God, it was that feeling that brought everything back.
I could hear Gus screaming from upstairs. She was in my bedroom. She caught me high once and decided to ransack my room. I exhaled the smoke. She probably wasn’t prepared to find all the little goodies I had stashed around the room.
“You shouldn’t have done drugs. Gus and Curtis hate that stuff,” Waverly sighed as she sat down next to me. “Stephanie told me that girls that do drugs are asking to be raped.”
“Stephanie’s an idiot, Waves. Her daddy fucks his secretary and her mom lives on diet juice. She’s really not the product of a smart home.”
I felt her rage simmering off of her. And I couldn’t blame her. The poisonous words in my mouth tasted so sweet.
“You’re mean now. You’ve changed.”
She wasn’t wrong. I’d blame it on the drugs and alcohol (or when I mixed them both) but truthfully it was just me. I was the problem.
“Maybe I should go,” I told her and leaned back further, letting the sun scorch my eyes. “Then you wouldn’t have to live with an embarrassment. It’d certainly make their lives easier. How does that sound, baby girl?”
Waverly squirmed away from me and said, “Don’t joke about that. You stay, Wyn. You’re my sister. You belong here. I’m just saying that you’ve gotten mean. That’s all.”
A bitter chuckle fell out of my mouth. “They’ll throw me out eventually. As they should. It lingers, you know. Festers. The memories. The dreams. They take over and bleed into everything else. I’ll never be able to be the sister that you want.”
She remained silent for a few seconds before whispering, “I just want you.”
The words drilled a hole into my heart. She was confident that I’d be her protector and save her and be the girl I was four years ago before I killed our father. She still had hope. Mine had died the second I took a life.
“You know, I know it doesn’t seem like it, but they are trying. Curtis more than Gus, obviously. But… still. They’re trying.”
Maybe . For their sake, I didn’t want them to waste their energy on it. Some things were better left broken.
“They shouldn’t,” I muttered and shook my head. “I was a dick kid. I don’t deserve their forgiveness. Or yours.”
Silence. After what seemed like minutes, I had wondered if she had left. I wondered if she realized that I was right. That I wasn’t worth her time. But then she asked the question I dreaded the most.
“Why did you go?”
There wasn’t one answer. Or at least, there wasn’t one good answer that would satisfy her. I felt guilty about that. I wanted to reassure her that it had nothing to do with her. That none of it was her fault. But the words were hard to form. And the truth that she didn't need to hear begged to be spoken to ease the pressure of it all.
“I had to sort my shit out, Waverly. And not around you. I was explosive, dangerous. A ticking time bomb, really. Believe me, kid. I saved you.”
Waverly shook her head as if I was wrong. “You were family, Wyn. We needed you. We could have helped you.”
“They tried baby g-- they tried . Don’t you remember? All the rehab and institutions and foster homes? Nothing could fix me.”
She shuddered next to me. Like I had told her something that she had tried to forget. Like I brought up something that I shouldn’t have.
“They didn’t mean to do that to you. They didn’t know how to deal with your… your…”
“My crazy?” I finished for her irritatedly as I got up, suddenly unable to sit any longer. “Don’t I fucking know it. I’m sorry, Waverly. That I don’t have better answers that you deserve. I shouldn’t have come back. Tell Curtis that I’m sorry.”
Shivering, I walked away from the house that had broken me and I had left broken.
Haught seemed surprised that I had knocked on her door. That I showed up when I said I would show up. Normally, I wouldn't have. But without alcohol, I had to find a different solution to get lost into something else. Sex was always a euphoric option that helped take the edge off. And Haught was different. I wasn’t falling in love or catch any feelings, but I didn’t want to run away from her either.
The small gasp she made when I pushed her into her apartment led to my own lips crashing onto hers. There was something so magically wonderful about making a girl moan into your mouth. Haught wasn’t one to race into the bedroom. She enjoyed the lead-up. She liked the delicate kisses and gentle touches. It made the experience better for her. I couldn’t blame her for that. After I practically ripped her shirt off, she surprised me by tugging at my pants.
“Somebody’s eager today,” I murmured with a laugh as she sucked my neck.
She snorted and asked as she pulled down my pants, “Am I going to do all the work tonight?”
Answering her question, I threw my shirt and bra onto the floor and tossed my pants to the side. I didn’t give her time to look at me. I never let anyone look at me. I pulled her close and I could tell that she was torn about this. That there was desire, of course there was, but there was something else.
“Are you going to regret this?” I asked her as her fingertips traced my hips. “Why do you want this?”
“Believe it or not,” She responded in a whisper close to my ear. “There aren’t too many girls in this town who’d go down on another girl. And the one person I really want… she’s straight as an arrow.”
“Bummer,” I told her honestly, unbothered. “So why don’t we have some fun in the meantime, yeah? What do you want?”
Haught grinned and confessed, “I want your tongue inside of me.”
Now that was something I could do.
Breathless and sweaty, I arrived back at the motel around midnight. Jeremy was dead asleep but Dolls was still up working. He could work for days without sleep. He was a robot that way. I didn’t want to even consider if he was staying up to make sure that I got back alright.
He looked up when I opened the door but then immediately returned to the papers he was staring at and asked, “Have fun?”
“Lots,” I deadpanned and took my clothes off. “You still working?”
Dolls looked up briefly until he realized I was getting naked. “Jesus christ, can’t you do that in the bathroom? And yes, Earp. I’m always working. I’m trying to figure out who to talk to tomorrow morning.”
Xavier Dolls was too much of a gentleman to look at my body even though I gave him plenty of opportunities to. It confused me. But I was stunned at his self-control. Jealous of it, maybe. He was a better person than I could ever be.
“I was thinking about that, too,” I announced as I turned the fan on in the bathroom, preparing for a shower.
“When did you have time to do that? During your dinner with your family or your…”
“Hookup?” I finished for him with a smirk. He glared at me and I sighed. “Between, if you must know. Usually, I don’t think about work when someone is knuckle deep inside of me. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you d--”
“Go shower Earp,” Dolls grunted in interruption. “I’m going to bed. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
I pouted and headed for the shower.
Haught was sitting at her desk looking at files when I approached her sneakily and sat down on the corner of her desk. Her eyes slowly moved from the files to my eyes and I grinned at her while she glared.
“Always so pleasant,” I told her with a raised eyebrow. I found it amusing that Haught was no-play during work.
She narrowed her eyes and asked, “What do you want, Earp?”
“We’re going to do some interviews today. And Nedley is forcing us to take one of you with us, remember? So, do you want to join us?”
I knew that Haught wouldn’t say no. She was invested in this case and I could even see a glimmer of excitement in her eyes. It made me wonder why the fuck she was working in such a small town that was as boring as you could get in law enforcement.
As she got up and grabbed her things, she asked, “Who are we interviewing?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“No. No, no, no. This is a bad idea,” Haught repeated over and over again as we pulled into the trailer park. “All of these people are basically owned by Bobo Del Rey. They won’t be talking to us.”
A small chuckle fell from my lips and I said, “I know. That’s why we’re talking to Bobo Del Rey.”
Haught stared at me like I was crazy and muttered, “You can’t be serious. Oh my god, you’re serious about this.” At my shrug, she turned to Dolls and told him, “You don’t know this town, Dolls. Bobo Del Rey is not a guy who will answer our questions. He hates the cops. He owns part of this town and its illegal activity. Yet no one will touch him.”
Dolls didn’t seem too surprised. He trusted that I knew who to talk to. If there was anything that I knew how to do it was finding the criminals who knew all the answers.
“Exactly,” I agreed with a tight smile. “If anything is going on in this town, he’ll know about it.”
She sighed and shook her head. “He won’t talk to us. Don’t blame me when this goes terribly wrong.”
“Don’t be such a Debbie Downer,” I told her as we pulled up to Bobo’s trailer. “If this goes wrong it’ll all be my fault. But also, what if it doesn’t go wrong?”
The three of us got out of the vehicle and I took the lead. Haught was unfortunately in uniform, but I had hoped that Del Rey would just pay attention to me. I knocked on his door and wondered how many people were watching us from their windows.
He opened the door and I almost immediately laughed. Bobo was always extra and full of character, but I wasn’t exactly expecting this. He was wearing something in between a trench coat and a snuggie and his hair and facial hair were different shades of black and white. It looked as if he was trying to look like an evil character. Knowing Bobo it made me almost burst with laughter.
Bobo’s mouth formed into a smile as he looked at me from top to bottom. He leaned on the doorframe and crossed his arms so I could see his long, black fingernails. That was more of the Bobo that I used to know.
“Well, well, well,” He began with an intrigued grin. “You’re very familiar, aren’t you? I knew your sister.”
Willa . She and Bobo were friends when they were younger. Or something more than that. Or nothing at all. With her, I never knew.
“You also sold me drugs,” I pointed out and nodded. “But I think you knew Willa much better.”
He nodded as if soaking in that name. “Willa Earp. Which must make you Wynonna Earp. I heard you were back in town. It’s a pleasure, it really is. So, you’re a cop now?”
I shrugged. “Kinda.”
“Hmm… interesting. I always thought you’d end up like me. You always had the talent, you know. But I never thought you’d return to this town. It royally fucked you up. Can’t blame you for running, really.”
That was something that I didn’t want to talk about. So, I changed the subject.
“What do you know about The Seven?”
His whole demeanor shifted. His eyes suddenly left mine and he looked around at Dolls and Haught and other trailers around his park.
“I don’t know why you’re askin’ me, Wynonna Earp. I don’t know anything about that. I’d like to help you--”
“I know that they must scare you, Bobo. You own this town. And yet there’s this organization killing people behind your back. In your town. Killing your girls. That must be terrifying.”
I knew that would rile him up. He flared his nostrils and growled softly. He pushed me into the other side of his doorway thinking it would intimidate me. Instead, it caused Haught and Dolls to touch their guns and me to smirk. I always liked it a little rough.
“I’m not scared of them. They just have ears everywhere, you understand? These people aren’t your everyday drug dealers and petty criminals. They’re the doctors and lawyers and friends with the mayor. They have connections. You will never be able to bring them down.”
How could he know those were exactly the kind of words that would make me work even harder? I laughed and pushed him away from me.