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Wynonna scanned the shelves of the refrigerator, nearly rolling her eyes at the neatly organized rows of protein shakes, coconut water, kombucha and other annoyingly healthy things her sister and her unfairly fit girlfriend kept stocked in the house. Though she would admit she learned coconut water was glorious for her hangovers, even if she hated every second of drinking it.

Ignoring everything else, she grabbed a beer and closed the door with her hip; taking a sip as she walked towards the sunroom. Sliding the glass door open, she stepped out onto the deck. She heard a strange pop of air before something flew into the yard.

She walked over to where Nicole was reclined on one of the lounge chairs.  Stretched out in basketball shorts and a sports bra, her braced leg stretched out along the length of the chair.

“Hey Haught Knox,” Wynonna greeted, dropping onto an adjacent chair, “You lose your shirt in a fire?”

Nicole’s brow wrinkled curiously over her sunglasses before she looked down at herself. She smirked and patted her stomach before looking at Wynonna.

“Easy there, I’m taken.”

“You couldn’t handle me,” Wynonna joked.

A few barks came from out in the yard and Nicole looked out to where Hershey stood, tail flicking with anticipation. She grinned and reached into the bag sitting on the deck by her chair.

“What’s that?” Wynonna grabbed the bag and saw it was marshmallows, “Oh shit, bacon flavor?!”

She popped one in her mouth while Nicole put a couple into the plastic gun that had been at her side.

“Damn, these are pretty good,” Wynonna’s voice was muffled by the marshmallow in her mouth as she reached for another one.

“They’re for dogs, genius,” Nicole said before lifting the gun and firing one towards the yard. She grinned watching Hershey track it through the air and nearly catch it in her mouth, just for it to bounce out.

Wynonna froze and looked at the bag in her hand, noticing for the first time the word Pupmallows and the picture of a smiling cartoon dog. She looked at the one in her hand for a second longer as she swallowed the one in her mouth.

“Eh,” she shrugged and popped the new one in.

Nicole laughed and fired another one into the air.


X


Waverly pulled up the driveway, the length of it offering the house privacy from the road that Waverly just loved. Nicole had toyed with the idea of a privacy fence as well, to be safe in case any overzealous fans ever found out who lived there. She’d apparently heard stories of it happening to some of her coworkers, and on top of cherishing boundaries she also wanted it for Waverly’s sake.

She grabbed her messenger bag as well as the bag of items she’d picked up from the post office. There was always a decent amount of fan mail for Nicole in the P.O. box, but since her injury it had grown to the point that she’d taken to picking it up almost daily.

Carrying everything up to the front door, Waverly paused in front of the doorbell camera and blew a kiss as she always did, knowing Nicole would get the alert and video to her phone.

Walking inside, she glanced towards the recliner, which Nicole jokingly called her ‘dad chair.’ It was comfortable and easy for her to get in and out of, especially in the earliest days of her recovery. She had tried even sleeping on it a few nights at first, since she couldn’t take the stairs just yet. However, between the both of them, they never got a real night’s rest knowing the other was sleeping in another part of the house. They’d transformed the den into a makeshift bedroom so they could sleep in the same bed until she was able to regularly take the stairs to their room.

Waverly continued through the house, setting her things on the dining table, and making her way towards the sunroom where she could hear voices coming. They got clearer as she stepped in and saw the backdoor had been left open.

“Come on, you can do better than that!” it was Nicole.

Waverly stepped outside and watched the strange scene. Nicole was sitting in one of the lounge chairs, counting down from three, while Wynonna stood out in the yard with Hershey at her feet.

When the countdown ended something shot up away from Nicole, arching through the air down to the yard. Wynonna stutter-stepped side to side before choosing a direction and moving. She scurried backwards with an open mouth and ended up losing her balance and falling on her butt. The projectile hit the grass just behind her and Hershey darted over towards it.

“Noo!” Wynona whined, laying out and reaching for it, but the dog scooped it up before she could grab it, “Damn it.”

“Give up?” Nicole hollered.

“Hell no! I’m telling you; I can do it!” she yelled back, getting to her feet and clapping her hands together, “Let’s go! Oh, hey BabyGirl!”

Waverly lifted a hand in a confused wave before moving to her girlfriend.

“Um, sweetie?” she started.

Nicole closed one eye and tried to take aim for the right trajectory.

“Yueees?” she drawled before sending the marshmallow whizzing out of the tube and through the air.

They watched Wynonna hurry forward with her mouth open only to get hit in the eye.

“What’s all this?”

Nicole grinned and held up the plastic marshmallow shooter.

“You like?” she asked, “Rosita sent it over.”

Waverly chuckled and took the toy, turning it over and looking at it.

“And to think most people send flowers.”

“Got plenty of those from the girls, too,” Nicole said, “Think she’s just worried I’ll get bored sitting at home.”

“Well, we wouldn’t want that would we?” Waverly said, rubbing a hand through Nicole’s hair.

Nicole tilted her head and smiled up at her, “How was your day?”

“The usual,” she answered, “Stopped by the post office on my way home.”

“Do they hate us yet?”

“Not yet, but we might be pushing it,” she joked, “We were full again.”

“Hmm,” Nicole hummed, “I’m sure they’ll be relieved in a few months when they start forgetting about me. Out of sight, out of mind.”

“No,” she said, draping an arm around Nicole’s neck, “I prefer, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Your fans aren’t going to forget about you. They’ll be itching for you to come back the whole time.”

“From your lips,” Nicole said with a sigh.

“Speaking of lips…” Waverly started with a smirk, watching Nicole’s eyebrow pop up with intrigue before she leaned down for a soft kiss.

When they pulled apart, Nicole smiled softly, “You sure you’re going to be able to control yourself around me when there’s cameras in all of our business?”

Waverly chuckled, twirling her fingers around the hair at the back of Nicole’s neck, “As long as they’re not in the bedroom trying to get a director’s cut of their own, I think I’ll manage.”

Nicole let out a laugh.

“I’ve been assured, zero bedroom access,” she told her, trailing her fingers down Waverly’s arm, “Seriously, are you completely sure you’re cool with this? I mean, they’re going to be focusing on me and the rehab and that whole story, but they’re going to be around most of the time and probably would want to include you in some of it.”

“I told you, I’m fine. I promise.”

When Julian first approached her with the idea of the company filming a documentary for her ‘comeback journey,’ Nicole had been skeptical about agreeing. She had only recently started cracking open the door on her private life to a degree, and Julian seemed to think it was a good idea to kick it completely open.

They had done a few projects like it for different performers for different reasons. A touch of real life, behind the scenes stories. People seemed to like it, but Nicole never had it on her radar to have one centered on her. She’d popped up in a few of them for moments here and there simply by virtue of being around when cameras were following her coworkers.

Her last injury hadn’t kept her out as long as this one would, and at the time she hadn’t yet been the star she was regarded as these days. Now, though, she was one of the faces of the women’s division and the company in general.

“Hey!” Wynonna said, huffing as she climbed the steps to the deck towards them, “Why’d you stop? I almost had it. The next one would’ve been it; I can feel it.”

Waverly smirked and leveled the gun towards her and fired. The marshmallow shot out into her chest. Wynonna covered the spot of impact with her hand and dropped her mouth open in offense.

“You shot me in the tit.”

Waverly gave an exaggerated pout and shrugged, “Whoops.”


X


Nicole stood near the wall out of the way as she watched the crew set up in the living room and talk amongst themselves. She tapped one of her crutches against the floor anxiously. Waverly came up beside her and looped her arm around Nicole’s.

“You ok?”

Nicole blew out a breath and answered without turning her head.

“Is this a stupid idea?” she asked, “I mean, is anyone actually gonna want to watch this?”

“Yes. So many people,” she assured her, “Obviously, I don’t want you doing anything you’re not comfortable with, but if your concern is whether you’ll have an audience for it, you have nothing to worry about. They love you.”

“They love Nikki,” she countered.

“Hey, I’ve seen it myself,” she told her, “Not just at your matches, whenever we run into fans while we’re out. They always love talking to you. It’s you and Nikki they go nuts for. And what better way to show them that Nicole Haught is ten times the badass Nikki Knox is, than let them see you kick recovery’s ass? Plus, remember what you told me when we posted that video? About kids having someone to look to. Show them how strong you are, so they’ll know how strong they can be.”

“You sure you’re not saying that to get your own fanbase?” Nicole teased, turning to face her with a smirk, “You know you’re gonna steal the show every second you’re on camera. The world will fall in love with you faster than I did.”

“Trust me, the flood of followers suddenly on my Instagram will tide me over for a dozen lifetimes.”

Nicole chuckled, “I did tell warn you, you should go private after our little video. There’s some serious internet detectives out there who can find anyone.”

“Ok Miss I Told You So,” Waverly teased with a playful smack to Nicole’s arm.

“Ms. Haught?” one of the men said, grabbing their attention, “We’re ready for you.”

Nicole nodded at him and looked to Waverly once more, “Tell me one more time I won’t look ridiculous?”

“You could never,” Waverly said and kissed her cheek.

“All right,” she sighed and moved over to the couch and carefully sat down in front of the main camera they’d set up.

One of the men came to her and clipped and a mic pack to her shirt.

“Ok,” he said, “Give us a sound check?”

“Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot,” Nicole said, glancing to Waverly who grinned at the little joke.

Nicole gave her a wink and tapped her hand against her chest three times before turning to face the camera.

“Ok,” she started, “Let’s do this.”


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