1 month, 3 weeks, 3 days later:
Waverly stood in her room, staring down at her duffle bag. Tomorrow was the day she had been dreading. She would be shipping out for 8 months. Leaving behind her family once again but this time was harder. This time she would be leaving Nicole. Her heart hurt at the idea of leaving the tall redhead.
“You know, that bag’s not gonna pack itself.” Nicole said from Waverly’s doorway. At the sound of Nicole’s voice, Waverly’s head dropped. Noticing the change in Waverly’s stature, Nicole wheeled behind her and pulled Waverly onto her lap.
Waverly instantly buried her face in Nicole’s shoulder, wrapping her arms tightly around the taller woman’s neck. “It’s never been this hard to leave.”
“No?” Nicole’s left hand gently rubbed Waverly’s back while her right hand sat on Waverly’s thigh, gently drawing hearts into her leg.
“Never. I’ve never had an issue leaving until now.” Nicole could feel the wetness pooling on her shoulder. Waverly was crying.
“Waves, hey, look at me.” Waverly sniffled and pulled her head from Nicole’s shoulder, staring into those deep brown eyes that did things to her that she wasn’t willing to admit. “Baby, it’s 8 months. That’s it. When it’s all said and done, you’ll come home, right?”
“Good. In 8 months, you’ll be right back here, in my lap. You’ll get 8 months worth of kisses and touches. We will have a lot to make up for, you know?” Nicole smiled a devilish grin that made Waverly smile.
“Is that so, Sheriff?”
“It is, Petty Officer.” Nicole pushed forward, kissing Waverly. It started slow but quickly became heated, as all of their kisses usually did. Nicole couldn’t help but feel love for the woman who was sitting on her lap. They had been seeing each other “casually” for almost 3 months now. While they did agree to drop the no strings attached portion of their agreement. Waverly had been so patient with Nicole the entire time. They still hadn’t been intimate and Waverly was just fine with that. She was willing to go at whatever pace was comfortable with Nicole. If Nicole was willing to wait years for a relationship with Waverly, then Waverly was perfectly content with waiting until Nicole was comfortable with herself to have sex. While Waverly wanted nothing more than to have sex with Nicole, she didn’t need it. Waverly had never been one who craved sex. She was the type who craved the emotional connection with the person she was with. That was one thing her ex didn’t respect. He always pushed for sex. He didn’t care about the emotional connection with Waverly just the physical. “Hey, what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours?” Nicole pressed a kiss to Waverly’s temple.
“Just thinking about us.” Waverly played with Nicole’s fingers, her nervousness showing.
“What about us, Sweets? Come on, you can tell me anything.”
“I know I can. I just can’t get over how lucky I am to have met you at that airport 3 months ago, Nicole. My life has changed so much since I met you but for the better. God so much better.” Waverly brought Nicole’s hand to her lips, softly kissing the inside of her wrist. “Will you write me while I’m away?”
“Everyday.” Nicole said without hesitation.
“You don’t have to write everyday.”
“Everyday, Waves. I will write you everyday because I don’t want you to miss a thing while you are away. I want you to feel like you are home. I want you to focus on coming home to us...” Nicole cupped Waverly’s cheek, brushing her thumb softly across Waverly’s scar. “Selfishly, I want you to come home to me.”
Waverly placed her hand over Nicole’s, closing her eyes and melting into Nicole’s touch. “Then I must be selfish too because that is all I want.” Waverly opened her eyes and smiled sweetly at Nicole. “You’ll take care of Nonna and Gus while I’m gone, won’t you?”
“Of course. Someone’s gotta keep Wyn out of trouble. Might as well be me.” Nicole chuckled.
“Yeah? And who’s going to keep you out of trouble, Sheriff?” Waverly played with the top button on Nicole’s uniform.
“CJ. She’s a great influence.”
Waverly laughed so hard that her side hurt. “You’ll just bribe her with those treats she loves and belly scratches and she’ll let you do whatever you want.”
“While that may be true, who doesn’t love treats and belly scratches? Honestly, that’s a cat after my own heart.” Nicole adjusted her Stetson. Waverly pulled it off her head and placed it on top of her own. A smile formed across Nicole’s lips as her tongue snuck out to lick her bottom lip. “And I thought I looked hot in that hat...mmm.”
“Yeah? Is it your thing?”
“Baby, that’s everybody’s thing.” Nicole pulled a wrapped present from behind her. “I got you something.”
“Cole, you didn’t have to get me anything.”
“I know but I thought it might help you while you’re away.” She sat the flat present on Waverly’s lap. “I thought, maybe, it could help you through if times get hard.”
Waverly slowly unwrapped the gift, tears instantly forming in her eyes as she saw the photos in her hands. Nicole had printed out numerous wallet sized photos. There was one of the whole group together out at the homestead. Dolls, Doc, Gus, Nedley, Chrissy, Gus, Wynonna and Nicole. They were sitting on the porch of the homestead. One photo was serious with everyone smiling. The next was Waverly’s favorite, the one of them all being goofy.
Nicole had managed, barely, to get everyone together for the small photo shoot, wanting Waverly to have photos of all her favorite people. The next photo was Wynonna and Nicole. Wynonna had Nicole in a headlock but just as the photo was taken, Nicole had grabbed Wynonna’s ankle and had flipped her. The photographer had caught Wynonna midair but her arm still around Nicole’s neck. Waverly held up the photo. “This is you two in a nutshell.” She giggled.
“Yeah, she deserved it though.”
“Oh, I’m sure she did.” Waverly got to the next photo. It was her and Nicole. Waverly was sitting on Nicole’s lap with her head on Nicole’s shoulder. Nicole’s arms were wrapped around Waverly’s mid-section, holding her close and they were watching the sunset. Gus had snapped the photo of them when neither had been looking. “I love this one.”
“It’s my favorite of us.”
The next was obviously for Waverly’s eyes only. She grinned as she saw it. It was one of the days that Nicole had been working out during one of her therapy sessions. She was in a dark blue sports bra and black leggings with teal running shoes. She was on the pull-up bar and was pulling herself up with one arm. Her second hand was holding onto her own wrist and she was mid-pull up when Waverly grabbed Nicole’s phone and snapped the photo. Her body glistened with sweat, her abs more defined then she had ever seen them and the muscles in her arms flexed. To be a show off, and knowing how much she liked it, Nicole was wearing her Stetson. A heat rose between Waverly’s thighs as she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, eyes darkening with arousal. Nicole grinned. “Like what you see?”
“Fucking hell, Cole.” Waverly breathed out.
“Obviously this one is for your eyes only.”
“Mmm. Definitely my eyes only.”
“I have something else for you too.” Nicole pulled a small box from her pocket.
“Cole...what are you doing?” Waverly asked nervously.
“It’s not what you think...well it kind of is.” Nicole opened the box to reveal 2 matching silicone rings. She held Waverly’s hand and slipped the ring onto her ring finger. “I’m not asking you to marry me, Waves but this is a promise ring.” She stopped and shook her head. “Oh god, do people still do promise rings? Fuck.”
Waverly smiled widely. “Is this your way of claiming me?”
“You aren’t property, Waves. You are your own person but it is my promise to you that I will wait for you, if you’ll have me still.”
Waverly took the other ring and slipped it onto Nicole’s finger. “I will always want you, Sheriff.”
“Plus, I want all those horndogs to know your taken.”
“Am I now?” Waverly’s eyebrow arched as she smirked.
“Well, semi-taken.” Nicole laughed. “In 3 years you will be.”
“You sure know how to make a girl feel loved.”
“Because you are, Waves.” Nicole placed a small kiss on Waverly’s cheek. “Why don’t you finish packing and I’ll call the crew. Let’s go have some fun tonight. Whatever you want to do.”
“Karaoke night at Shorty’s?” Waverly slightly bounced in Nicole’s lap with excitement.
“Is that what you want to do?”
“Then you finish packing and I’ll call the team. Tell them we have a mission tonight and to meet at Shorty’s.”
“They’re gonna hate you, you know that right?”
“Yup. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Waverly slipped off Nicole’s lap after stealing a kiss and went back to packing. She walked over to her uniform and slipped the photos into the breast pocket of her jacket.
Nicole pushed herself out of Waverly’s room and pulled out her phone texting the team of a special mission tonight, informing them of the importance of being on time at 6PM or their lead might leave.
Nicole and Waverly sat at a table in near the bar, waiting for the team to show up. Nicole couldn’t help but notice Rosita was still flirting with Waverly. Nicole downed a shot of whiskey before shaking the images of Rosita touching Waverly’s arm and rubbing her back out of her mind.
“Hey, what’s going on?” Waverly could see that Nicole was getting agitated.
“She...ugh. It’s stupid. I’m sorry. We’re not even a couple. I shouldn’t be getting jealous.”
Waverly reached over and took Nicole’s hand. “Just because we’re keeping this casual doesn’t mean I’m going to ‘keep it casual’ with anyone else. Believe it or not, I’m fully dedicated to...” She waved her arm between them. “Whatever this is. I’m yours and no one else’s.”
“It’s hard to believe that we’ve been ‘keeping it casual’ for 3 months already and it’s hard to believe you leave in the morning.”
“It’s flown by, hasn’t it? You’ll be there, right? In the morning?”
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else, Waves.”
“Good, because I want that adorable face of yours to be the last one I see before I leave.”
Rosita walked back up with their drinks and food, setting it down in front of them. Just as she was about to touch Waverly again, Waverly got up and kissed Nicole hard. Leaving nothing to imagination as to what she was going through her head in that moment. Rosita just glared and stormed off as Waverly smiled into the kiss.
“Well, I don’t think she’s going to be an issue anymore.” Waverly laughed.
“Will you two stop making out? Or get a damn room.” Wynonna yelled at her baby sister and best friend.
Waverly sat in Nicole’s lap and wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck, playing with the base of her hair. “Is this ok?” Waverly whispered into Nicole’s ear.
“You better not sit anywhere else tonight.” Nicole smirked as she ran her hand up and down the inside of Waverly’s thigh.
“You keep doing that and I’ll be wanting to sit o...”
“NOPE! I will not stand here and listen to you talk about defiling my Haughtpants!”
“I mean, I met her first. So I call dibs.” Wynonna said as she took a shot.
“Wow wow wow, I’m no one’s Haughtpants, thank you very much.”
“Not even mine?” Waverly gave Nicole the biggest puppy dog eyes she could.
“What about me?” Wynonna attempted puppy dog eyes but it came off kind of scary.
“Ahhh..don’t do that face again, Nonna.” Waverly said shoving her sister’s shoulder. Nicole rolled her eyes at both of them.
“Not to interrupt this rousing fun, but you said you had lead?” Dolls asked from behind Wynonna. Doc stood close by along with Nedley and Chrissy, plus a new guy that neither had seen before.
“God damn it, Haught. Did you pull me away from Property Brothers for nothing?” Wynonna whined.
“It’s Waverly’s last night in town before she leaves tomorrow. I thought you all might want to spend the night with her.” Nicole shrugged.
“I think the only one here who wants to spend the night with her is you, Tater Haught.”
“Shut up, Wynonna. Do you guys want to hang out or not?”
“It would be my pleasure.” Doc stated, taking off his hat and sitting at the table with the 2. Wynonna shrugged and sat down doing another shot. Dolls stood there but then nodded.
“Who’s the new guy, Dolls?”
“This is Jeremy. He is a Black Badge researcher. He will be joining us until Waverly is back.”
Jeremy waved to everyone. “Nice to meet you all.”
“Great, another nerd.” Wynonna shook her head. “I’m going to need more alcohol to deal with you people. And you can bet your ass I won’t be singing!”
“You can bet your ass you will be!” Waverly snapped at Wynonna. “You will participate tonight or your ass can go home.”
Wynonna pouted. “Commme on. You know I get stage fright.”
“Uh huh. Sure Aphrodite.” Nicole said casually.
“Shut your mouth!” Wynonna mouthed to Nicole.
“Aphrodite?” Waverly was confused but the two friends just laughed.
“I’ll explain when you’re older.” Wynonna teased her sister.
Waverly got up and put her name in to sing before sitting back on Nicole’s lap. She ran her fingers up and down Nicole’s neck and into her hair. Her other hand was interlocked with Nicole’s. “What are you going to sing, babe?”
“Something special, just for you.”
“Yes.” She looked at Dolls. “Dolls, you going to sing for me tonight?”
“I do not sing but...for you, why not.” Dolls said with a shrug as Waverly filled with joy at her family.
As the night progressed, everyone was a couple drinks in and Karaoke was just starting. Waverly had only left Nicole’s lap if she had to use the bathroom or to get more drinks for the table. Waverly was whispering sweet nothings in Nicole’s ear as Nicole was giggling but soon her expression went stone cold as she made eye contact with an older man and a woman a little older than Nicole. “Babe, I need you to get off my lap please.”
Waverly followed Nicole’s gaze as she slowly slide off her lap. “Who are they, love?”
“Stay here.” Nicole’s voice had a hard edge to it, something that caught Wynonna’s attention. Nicole pushed herself to meet the duo half way.
“Oh shit...” Wynonna put her shot on the table and stood up, knowing there was about to be trouble.
“Nonna, who are they?”
“That’s Daddy Haughtpants...and I don’t mean that in a sexual way...”
Upon hearing the worry in Wynonna's voice, Doc, Dolls and Nedley all stood up and stood beside Waverly just in case they were needed.