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Travelin' Soldier

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It had been 2 months since Waverly had left. Nicole had kept her promise. She had sent 61 letters to Waverly so far. Most were full of non sense. Just talking about how boring her day was or about how therapy had gone. The one she was writing today was about her session but it was filled with good news.

Waves,

Hey babe. I hope you are doing well. I’m sorry if you’ve written me, I haven’t gotten anything so if you’ve asked me any questions, I haven’t been able to answer them. I wanted to tell you the good news! They finally got the new braces in. They are called Welwalk WW-100-leg braces and they attach treadmill machine that helps partial paralyzed people walk in therapy. Eric has adapted it to work for fully paralyzed people, like myself. It is really cool because they are made by Toyota. How cool is that?! I’ve been working really hard but we still can’t get the swelling to fully go down in my spine. They are going to try a new steroid in hopes of it working. Here’s praying.

I added a letter in here from Wyn. She said I wasn’t allowed to read it, not that I would. She misses you a lot, Waves. I doubt she would ever tell you.

I guess I should live up to my end the bargain. I promised I would tell you what happened to me with my family. Now is the best time to tell you. When I was 22, I had just gotten out of the Marines. My parents knew I was gay but it wasn’t until I brought a girl home to meet them. I was foolish. Thought they would understand. Two night later, I had a bag thrown over my head. I was taken away from my family in the middle of the night. Kidnaped. But not from my family, no because you see, they had set it up. They paid them to take me away. We drove for what felt like hours. The only time we stopped was for gas or if I had to pee, in which a guy would hold me by my neck while I squatted down to pee. It only got worse from there. Once at the compound, they beat us. For hours on end, trying to convince us, break us of being gay. One night one of the guards was walking by my “room” and said that he needed to show me what it was like to be straight. That I needed to feel what it was like to understand that I wasn’t gay. He did things. Things I’m not ok with talking about even now and may not ever be ok with talking about it. It’s not that I’m scared of what happened. I’m embarrassed. Embarrassed that I couldn’t protect myself or Maggie. Maggie was a girl I met there. The worst part of it all, Maggie wasn’t even gay! Her parents assumed she was because she was a tomboy who played softball and basketball. They put her through hell for something she wasn’t! After the rape, Maggie and I ran away.

You remember that bit where Rin said that I liked to get hurt to protect others? This was one of those times. We were running through the forest. We had no idea where we were, just a vague idea. They fucking sent dogs after us, Waves. Fucking dogs to hunt us down. Maggie fell. I ran back for her. Got her to her feet and told her to run. I knew the dogs were close. She ran and I took the brunt of the dogs. She got away. They took me back to their lab. Shock therapy was probably the nicest thing they did to me during my time there. Maggie managed to find her way through the forest. She reported it and the FBI was sent in. 4 days after they had caught me, I was being rescued from the compound by the hottest EMT I had ever met. Shae. My ex-wife. Yes, while we did get drunk and married in Vegas, we had been friends years prior to that stupidness. I spent two weeks in the hospital and even longer than that in therapy trying to fix what my parents had broken.

The worse part, they knew what was going to happen to me. They knew what they were going to do to me try and get me to stop being who I am. It took me a long time to be ok with being gay after that. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my skin again. That is why I got so angry at the bar, Waves. Nick has no right or say in my life anymore. Not after everything I went through because of him. Not after everything I have become IN SPITE of him.

I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you this in person, Waves. This is a part of my life that I just cannot bring myself to face again. I have moved past it and I think I’m afraid that if I talk about it, I’ll fall into that darkness I was in. I don’t want that. I want to be the best person I can be for you and for me. I want to continue to love you with everything that I am with nothing but a smile on my face. I want to continue to be happy because you, Waverly Earp, make me the happiest woman on this planet.

Anyways, this letter is getting long. I’ll let you go. I love you, babe. I can’t wait to see you. I miss you so much, Waves. 6 more months, baby! Can’t wait!

Love you always and forever,

Nicole

 

Nicole looked down at the letter. It was tear stained from the tears that were sliding down her cheeks. She knew Waverly would understand. She added a photo of CJ. The little orange kitten had gotten so big since Waverly had left. She knew she would want to see how their furbaby was doing. She also added in a photo of a house. What Waverly didn’t know was, it was their new house. Nicole had used the money she had gotten from the insurance company to purchase a house that was more suitable for her wheelchair. It was a 4 bedroom, 3 bath but also had 2- 2 bedroom, 2 bath mother-in-law suites in the back 3 acres for when family came to visit. She had gotten it at a great price and couldn’t help but jump on it. The house was 1 story. Had a 3 car garage with extra wide doorways, which meant no more scrapped knuckles for Nicole. The counters sat a little lower, allowing easier access for Nicole to use. The bathroom in the master bedroom had a wheel-in shower, making it to where Nicole didn’t have to transition and highly reduced her chances of a fall. It had a Gambrel peak and was very much a ranch-style house. Nicole had fallen in love the second she saw it and knew Waverly would love it too.

Nicole sealed the letter and placed it in the mail. She headed to her old apartment to get a few more things. The landlord ran up to her, holding a box of mail. “Nicole, the mailman dropped this off yesterday. Looks like you have close to 40 letters in this damn thing.” He set the box in her lap. Nicole started to look through them all. They were all from Waverly. Nicole let out a breath of relief. She had, in fact, gotten Nicole’s letters and it looked like she had tried to reply to every single one of them. Nicole pulled one out and smiled as she realized that Waverly had dated each one.

She left without getting anything from her apartment, heading back to the house. She entered her office with the box, setting it on the desk. Nicole looked around the room at all the photos she had blown up of her and Waverly. She had close to 10 on the walls and 3 on the desk. It was the only way she felt close to Waverly. She pulled out one letter after anther.

Each letter was in response to Nicole’s or asking about their family. Nicole pulled out Waverly’s last letter.

 

My dearest Cole,

Hi, love. I miss you dearly and I truly hope this letter finds you well. I am so proud of all that you guys have accomplished since I have been away. I can’t believe Nonna has only 29 Revenants left! She might actually do. Could you just see her breaking that curse? She deserves this. OMG! Alice could come home, Cole. Like actually come home! I can’t believe that.

How are you doing this week, my beauty? I talk about you every second of every day. All these guys go on and on about all the hot chicks on base and then ask me what I think. So stupid. I tell them that I have an amazing girlfriend waiting for me back home. I told them you are the hottest woman on the planet. They didn’t believe me so I bet them that with one photo they would agree. They took that bet. So, I showed them that photo of you. Needless to say, I won the bet. Thanks babe.

“Oh, I’m going to kill her.” Nicole mumbled to herself but continued reading the letter.

I know you’ll probably kill me for that, but I won a free phone call home because of it. I should be able to call sometime before you get this letter, I hope. If not, just know that I...

Nicole’s attention was pulled from the letter when her phone rang. It was an unknown number. She pulled it to her ear. “Sheriff Haught. What can I do for you?”

“You can tell me how much you love me.” Waverly’s voice came from the other side. A big smile formed as Nicole couldn’t find the words. It was the first time she had heard her voice in 2 months. “Babe?”

“I...I’m here.”

“You ok?”

“I’m amazing.”

“A little tongue tied?” Waverly teased.

“A little. Have you gotten my letters?”

“All of them, love. I can’t believe you’ve written me every day.”

“Do you want me to keep writing?”

“Yes, please. I love them. So much.”

“So, I’m your girlfriend, huh?” Nicole cut right to the chase.

“I..uh..easier then explaining what we are.”

“Mmm hmm. How much time do we have, babe?”

“A couple more minutes.”

“Are you safe there?”

“For now. Activity is picking up, so we will see. I have to go, Cole. Please tell everyone I love them. Please?”

“Of course baby. I love you, Waverly. So very much. Hope we get to talk again soon.”

“I hope so too.” Waverly sighed. “I can’t wait to come home to you, Sheriff. See you soon.”

“Wait!” Nicole pushed her way to the hallway and grabbed Wynonna’s arm and shoved the phone at Wynonna. “It’s for you.”

“Ello?” Wynonna said with a half a donut in her mouth.

“Nonna?”

“Babygirl?” Her eyes lit up as she heard her little sister’s voice.

“It’s me, Nonna. I can’t talk long but I love you. I miss you so much.”

“I miss you too! So does Haughtpants. She’s been moping around here.”

“You’re taking care of her, right?”

“Of course! I haven’t killed her or the cat yet.”

“That’s good. Though I don’t like the yet part. Stay safe, Nonna. No stupid mistakes, right?”

“Never.”

“I have to go.”

Wynonna pushed the phone at Nicole really fast. “Tell her.”

“I love you babe. Be safe. See you soon.”

“It’ll go by faster than either of us think. Bye love.”

Nicole ended the call with Waverly. She leaned back against her chair and ran her hands through her hair. Waverly was alive and she was ok. No need to freak out, she told herself. She hoped it wouldn’t be too much longer before Waverly was able to call again. “You good, Haught sauce?”

“I’m just really happy to have heard her voice.”

“Thanks for that, by the way. Giving up some of your time talking to her so that I could. I appreciate that.”

“You’re my best friend. She’s your little sister. I’d never keep her from you, Wyn. I love both of you.”

“Ah Haughty, you’re like a walking bumper sticker.” She playfully punched Nicole in the shoulder. “Alright. Let’s get you to your appointment. Can’t have Waverly shooting me for skipping one.”

“Actually, I have today off. Let’s go to Shorty’s. Drinks are on me tonight, Wyn.”

“Don’t gotta tell me twice!”