Settling into her seat on the airplane, Waverly felt her heart start to speed up with a mix of excitement and anxiety at the impending flight. It had been so long since she’d been back to Purgatory, nearly five years. She almost couldn’t believe she was going now, and for such a great reason. That’s what she was focusing on, the reason for the trip home. She willed the reminder to be enough to overshadow her apprehension.
“You look nervous.”
Waverly looked next to her as her blonde travel companion took a seat beside her. She offered a small smile.
“We don’t have to go,” Stephanie reasoned, “As soon as we land, we go straight to the ticket counter and be on our way to Cabo before we get any small-town funk on our clothes.”
Waverly clicked her tongue.
“It’s my sister’s wedding, babe, of course I have to go,” she reminded her girlfriend.
“I know,” she said then took Waverly’s hand from the armrest into her own, “I just don’t see why we couldn’t show up the weekend of the wedding like normal people. Three weeks sounds pretty crazy. What are we supposed to do in that place for so long, anyway? Go cow tipping?”
“You wanted to take the time off for us to take a trip anyway. It’s perfect. We’ll meet my family and friends. Help with preparations. I’ll show you the place I grew up and all that fun stuff. It’ll be great,” she reasoned, “Besides it’s a fishing town, no cows to tip even if you wanted the experience.”
“Fish, great,” she replied dryly with a sigh, “If you wanted to be there so early, you could have on your own and I would’ve come out later. Then we could’ve used the time off for a trip just for us.”
“Hey,” Waverly said softly, “It’s important to me that you’re with me. I want Wynonna to know you and like you. I mean, we’ve been together years now and she’s never even met you. That’s the only reason I’m nervous. I want you guys to get along. So, please try to have fun, ok? For me?”
She waited a few moments before releasing a breath through her nose, “Fine. Yeah, I’ll try.”
Waverly glanced out the window and tried not to think about the little white lie she’d just told. It was true she wanted Wynonna to like Stephanie, but it wasn’t the only reason for her nerves. She left a lot behind when she left Purgatory and there was no way she wouldn’t run into the biggest reason.
Nicole strolled up the walk, one hand holding the drawstring of the canvas sack draped over her shoulder. Skipping a step on the porch, she knocked on the door of the small house. She ruffled a hand through her short, windswept hair as she waited for an answer. After a minute she knocked again before she finally heard the lock click before the door cracked open, revealing Wynonna’s scrunched face.
“Were you sleeping?”
Wynonna rubbed her face and shoved the door open wider before turning around and heading in, knowing Nicole would follow.
“Course I was sleeping,” she muttered, “It’s Sunday, jackass.”
“It’s ten a.m. on Sunday.”
“Whatever,” she dismissed and turned on the coffee machine, “Never heard of sleeping in, Haught?”
“Nah, too much to do.”
“Right,” Wynonna smirked, coming a bit more awake as the coffee scent started to fill the air, “Boats to fix. Fish to catch. Gardeners to do.”
“Just the one, occasionally,” she answered, opening her hand to let the sack drop to the floor and sat at the island counter, “And you forgot laundry to clean.”
“Of course,” she poured coffee into three different mugs and brought them all to the island. She slid one to Nicole and took a sip of her own, “You have a key dingus, you know you don’t have to wake me up to wash your shit.”
“And risk catching you and the fiancé au naturale again? No thanks,” she grinned and grabbed her mug, “Where is the future Mrs. anyway?”
“See, that’s why I don’t let myself in anymore.”
“Easy, perv. She was in the shower. I was sleeping, remember? No fun stuff to walk in on.”
“Mm,” she hummed while taking a drink.
They heard a door open down the hall and Wynonna smirked.
“Speaking of,” she turned her head and called out to the approaching footsteps, “Shae! Second best night of your life is here.”
“I see that,” Shae said with a smile as she entered the room, “Good morning, Nicole. What do we owe the honor?”
“Do I need an excuse to visit my favorite couple?”
“She’s here to mooch our washing machine,” Wynonna spoke up, “Don’t buy her bull.”
Shae chuckled while rounding the counter and accepting the mug Wynonna held up for her.
“And good morning to you bride-to-be,” she said, kissing the top of her head.
“Morning, you,” she replied with a sleepy smile.
Nicole shook her head in amusement at the domestic display before her.
“You know Nicole, there are other options to doing your laundry that don’t involve putting up with this one’s harassment every other week.”
“Nah, you seen the state of that laundromat?” she asked, “I’d be better dunking them in the Atlantic.”
“I was thinking more along the lines of getting yourself a place.”
Nicole shrugged with a lopsided grin, “I have a place.”
"I mean something a little more stationary. Something that doesn’t rock when the water’s rough.”
“Or rock when you’re rocking someone,” Wynonna said behind her coffee mug, earning a light smack on the back of her head from Shae.
“Something with a washer and dryer all your own?”
Nicole knew what she meant. But instead of taking it seriously, she put on her best smirk and tilted her head, “And miss these chances to lure you away?”
Shae laughed and reached over to pat her cheek, playfully teasing, “I think I’d find a way to live.”
For all the jokes and teasing between them, the women all knew they were just that, jokes. True Shae and Nicole had briefly been together a couple years before when the town doctor was new to the area. But it was a long time ago and nothing more than a couple dates and one night of sex.
They’d quickly realized they worked better as friends. Even if they hadn’t come to the conclusion on their own, Nicole knew the second she witnessed Shae and Wynonna meet, it was clear where the real spark was. Of course, her best friend didn’t want to make a move, citing an unwritten code. After several assurances from Nicole to go for it, she finally did, and now the two were only weeks from their wedding.
Wynonna Earp getting married was something many in town never thought they’d see.
When news of the engagement spread through their small coastal town, many people said that very thing. Too often if Nicole was present, the statement was followed by another, less welcome one.
‘Always thought you’d be the one getting married.’
The worst part was that for a while she thought the same.
Thinking that way always put her at risk of going down a bad track, and she definitely didn’t want to do that at the moment. Or ever. That was a lifetime ago. She shook her head and pushed away from the counter to stand, forcing the light tone into her voice.
“Well, me and my boat are happy as we are, thank you ma’am,” she announced, grabbing her bag off the floor, “I’m gonna get to this and let you future brides get on with your day.”
“You know where it is,” Wynonna said with a wave of her hand.
Once they were alone, Shae turned to her and asked quietly, “Have you talked to her yet?”
“We talk all the time, babe, have to be more specific,” she lifted her mug and hissed when Shae smacked her arm causing some of the hot liquid to dribble onto her arm, “Hey.”
“You know what I mean,” she said, “Have you told her that Waverly’s coming?”
“In a way,” she answered carefully.
“Really?” Shae leaned her hip against the counter, “What way is that?”
“The way that I told her I’m getting married, and she should know from that, that my sister will be coming to the wedding.”
“Wynonna,” she sighed, followed by her fiancé mimicking the tone as she responded with, “Shae.”
“I’m serious. You have to tell her. She probably expects her to be here for the wedding, not later today and not,” she paused and looked over her shoulder before lowering her voice, “not with a girlfriend.”
“Ugh, I know,” Wynonna groaned, “I meant to, like, a hundred times, but…it never felt like a good time. You know how she gets if Waverly comes up. She gets that sad puppy face and then works way too hard to seem like she doesn’t care and then I spend the rest of the day worrying whether or not she’s tumbled ass-backwards off the wagon.”
Shae sighed and rubbed her hand over her, “I know, trust me, but the clock is ticking, hon. She’ll be here in a few hours, isn’t it better to give her a heads up rather than let her be blindsided when they run into each other?”
Wynonna dropped her head back to look up at her, “You’re right.”
“You should be used to it by now,” she said with a smile, tapping her finger against her forehead.
“Mmhmm,” she hummed and accept the quick kiss Shae dropped on her lips.
“I have to go.”
“If you must,” she said dramatically.
“I must,” she said, grabbing her purse and heading for the door, “Call me from the airport.”
“Yes ma’am,” she saluted, “Give you the full report on the girlfriend.”
“Yeah, yeah,” she muttered.
Shae laughed, “See you tonight. Love you.”
Once she left Wynonna blew out a breath and stood up. She made her way towards the laundry room and paused in the doorway to watch her friend for a second.
Nicole was putting the last of her load into the washer. She started to close the door but stopped for some reason. Wynonna held back a laugh as she saw Nicole pull up the hem of her shirt and sniff it before pulling it over her head and throwing it in with the rest.
“Charming,” Wynonna said with a snicker as she walked in the room.
Nicole turned to her and shrugged, “I know some women who think so.”
“Don’t I know it,” she said glancing at the floor briefly, “You know on the subject of your past…um…lovers- “
“Ew,” Nicole interrupted with a laugh, “Did you really just say lovers?”
“Relationships then,” she corrected and started over, “On the subject of your past relationships, there’s something I have to tell you.”
“I know what you want to say,” she said, jumping up to sit on the washer, “You don’t have to. I get it.”
“Yeah, I mean, I figured this was coming eventually,” she started, “Shae and I were a long time ago and I know you couldn’t exactly call it a relationship, but I get it, ok. If it’s weird for you guys to have me hanging around after the wedding, or at the wedding- “
“What? No!” she said instantly, “Dude, don’t be stupid. It’s not like that. We love having you around and I would never not have you standing with me at my wedding.”
Nicole nodded, swinging her legs a bit anxiously.
“But that stuff earlier about getting my own place and not coming around?”
“No, no, that was just Shae worrying about you, that’s all,” she assured, “She just wants you to have, you know, stability and stuff.”
“Ok, what’s it about then?” Nicole said, scratching the back of her head with a laugh, “I don’t know what relationship you could…”
She trailed off, having a sudden inkling what Wynonna was referring to. Or rather who. The look on her friend’s face confirmed it and Nicole dropped down from her perch.