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Girl in a Country Song

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2008 was supposed to be an easy year for Waverly Earp. Her senior year of high school had gone off without a hitch. The youngest Earp had graduated top of her class with a full ride straight into the Anthropology department at the University of Chicago, one of the best in the nation for her desired major. On top of all of that, she was coming up on her two year anniversary with Champ, the school’s popular quarterback. Her life was almost too picturesque but everything was how Waverly had planned it to be since she was little.

She could remember being around 11 or 12, riding in her Uncle Curtis’ truck as they tended to the fences around her family’s farm. He’d blare the loudest country music he could find on the radio. Songs about girls liking boys and their tractors, going to proms, riding off into the sunset on horseback. Ever since then Waverly had a plan, steps set in motion so that she could be one of those girls. She’d gotten the popular boyfriend with a truck, joined the cheerleading squad, made friends with all the right people in their small town. Granted she couldn’t remember any songs that involved a girl being the smartest in her class and getting into the college of her dreams, but that had been a side bonus. Now she just needed the perfect summer before heading out of Purgatory.

“Waves! Tell your Uncle dinner’s ready and he’d better be in before it gets cold.” Her aunt Gus hollered out of the kitchen window as Champ dropped off Waverly in the driveway.

“Duty calls… pick me up tomorrow for the lake?” The small girl leaned against Champ’s truck, placing a quick kiss to his lips.

“Sure thing. Later!” Her boyfriend flung his truck into reverse, hauling ass down the driveway so fast a dust storm kicked up practically surrounding Waverly. “Damn it, Champ!” She hollered after him, but he was long gone. He could be such an inconsiderate asshole sometimes.

Waverly wandered over to the barn, shoving the large door open. The loud creaking noise that accompanied the movement caused her uncle to look up from his tractor.

“Hey little one, let me guess, dinner?” She nodded, stepping up next to him.

“Alright, hand me that wrench and I’ll finish up here.” Waverly dug through the tool box before finding the mentioned tool and sliding it over to her uncle. Tiny moments like this reminded her of when she used to help her dad fix up all the old farm equipment. He didn’t let her use the tools until she was about 8, but she’d always watched him intently and loved being his assistant.

“That oughta do it!” Curtis replaced the cover of the engine and wiped his hands clean.

“Let's go get washed up before your aunt locks us out and we have to sleep in the barn again.” He smiled sweetly as he scooted them both out of the barn and back up to the house.
“Is your sister coming home tonight, Waves?” Gus placed the meatloaf and green beans on the table, finally taking a seat herself.

“Nope! She’s with Doc tonight, as usual.” Gus sighed and shook her head.

“Never understood those two, but the heart wants what the heart wants….” Curtis chuckled at his wife.

“I ain’t sure heart’s got anything to do with it…”

“You shut your mouth, Curtis.” Gus playfully smacked him with her cloth napkin.

“I second that…” Waverly shivered in disgust. Her sister and Doc had been on and off again for over three years and while Waverly loved the mustached cowboy, she’d heard far too much about her sister’s sex life already, no need to think of it before eating.

“So I was thinkin’ since you’re headed off to college in the fall, I’m gonna hire a farm hand this summer. Give you a bit of a break from helpin’ me out and maybe you and Wynonna can even train them a bit before you rush off to Chicago.” Curtis shoved a fork full of meatloaf in his mouth as Waverly processed what he’d just said.

She’d been helping out her Uncle since she was old enough to milk the cows and the thought of someone else being on the farm outside of the Earp family just felt odd aside from the random help during the busy seasons. Gus could sense the young Earp’s unease and spoke up first.

“It’ll be fine Waves, besides, with the new cattle, we probably would’ve needed an extra set of hands even if you weren’t leavin’. This way you can even help us pick someone, if you don’t like’em we’ll chuck’em.” Waverly was still unsure about the change, but she knew someone had to replace her.

“I suppose.” Waverly used her fork to build a small mash potato mountain as she let the thought of someone taking her place settle in. It’s not like they would replace her in the family, it would just be extra help. She should feel better about this since she had been worried about what they would do without her help. “When are you gonna start interviewing…?”

Gus and Curtis looked back and forth at each other, worried expression showing clear as day on their faces.

“You already picked someone didn’t you?” Waverly pretended to be upset if only to poke at her aunt and uncle a bit.

“Well… yes, we didn’t want to trouble you or Wynonna with the trivial stuff like that… but if either of you don’t like them, we’ll toss 'em out that second.” Waverly smiled.

“Good. So when do they start?”

“Tomorrow morning, I figured since you were gonna be out at the lake all weekend with Champ, I’d go through the boring introductory stuff and then you can start training them Monday.” Curtis began to scrape the small remnants of his potatoes off of his plate, preparing for seconds.

“Wow… that’s fast… well, I’ll meet them at least, get a first impression before I head out.” Waverly was extremely protective of her family, she’d lost too many of them already and she wasn’t about to let anything happen to the remaining Earps if she could help it.

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Morning came quickly and Waverly was up early, expecting Champ shortly after sunrise. He loved trips to the lake house and his buddies had already planned the entire weekend rager. After packing her bag, tossing on some jean shorts and a small tank top over her bikini, she bounced down the stairs to the sweet smell of pancakes and maple syrup.

“Pancakes and a day at the lake, you guys are too good to me!” She grinned taking a pancake straight from the pan.

“You in a hurry? Champ’s not even here yet.” Gus took a sip of her coffee, paper in hand, not even looking up at her niece.

“He’s late, yet again.” Waverly sighed and plopped down next to her aunt, smiling as her uncle placed a plate with a stack of three pancakes in front her, powdered sugar and all.

“Figured a big breakfast to celebrate the official start of summer.” They spent a few minutes eating together before Waverly practically jumped out of her seat at the sound of a car crawling down their gravel driveway.

“Must be Champ, Love you both, gotta go!” She grabbed her back and made a beeline towards the door, swinging it open just as the person on the other side was about to knock.

The redhead took a step back as the door flew open, a petite girl standing in front of her, almost ready to mow her over.

“Oh! God, I’m so sorry.” Waverly froze, taking in the unexpected person in front of her. A girl… woman, maybe not much older than Waverly, stood easily 5 or 6 inches taller than her. The woman’s fire red hair practically glowing in the morning’s sunlight. She was wearing a pair of tight Carhartt khakis and a gray v-neck t-shirt that hugged her torso, a gray Stetson placed perfectly on top of her head.

“Nicole, you’re early!” Gus stood right behind Waverly, smiling at the newcomer. “Waves, this is our new farm hand, Nicole Haught.”

“Hot? Ha.. I mean. Right. Sorry! I’m Waverly.” The smaller woman stuck out her hand, taking in a deep breath as Nicole shook it back in return.

“Nicole, a pleasure to meet you, Waverly.” Their eyes locked for a few moments before the universe pulled them from their trace with the sound of a loud car horn. Waverly practically jumped.

“Shit! Sorry, that’s Champ, my boyfriend, um, gotta go! See ya later!” She slipped past Nicole, almost glad that her jerk of a boyfriend had been rude with his interruption.

“Well okay, then. Nicole, do you like pancakes?” The redhead smiled and nodded, looking down at the hand that was still buzzing from the brief contact with the bubbly girl before following Gus into the house.

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The lake didn’t really feel the same as it always had and Waverly found herself wanting to be back at the homestead more than she’d like to admit. Maybe that was part of growing up, growing out of the things that used to mean the world to you. She should’ve loved this weekend, all of her friends piling into a big house, partying into all hours of the night, but she found it easy to leave Monday morning, piling into Champ’s truck and not even looking back.

It was right around lunch when they pulled into the driveway, Champ insisting on practically sucking her face off before letting her out of his truck with a promise to be by the next day. Waverly padded up to her bedroom, tossing her stuff next to her dresser before changing into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

The house was pretty quiet which meant Gus and Curtis were probably out in the pasture or barn, hard at work. Waverly decided to check the barn first, hearing the noise of the hay baler from all the way inside the house. She expected to see her uncle tossing the finished bales up into the trailer, but instead she was met with a completely different sight. Nicole was standing there in a white tank top and jeans, glistening with sweat and she flung the bales with ease. The redhead jumped slightly when she heard the loud door open.

“Oh, sorry! Didn’t mean to scare you.” Waverly approached the other woman tentatively.

“No worries!” Nicole flipped the switch in the baler, the mechanical sounds slowly coming to a halt. “Your uncle’s already left me to my own devices, you just missed him. He’s out in the left field with Gus, something about a break in one of the fences.” The redhead reached up, wiping her forearm, which had a black bandana tied to it, across her brow.

“Oh… cool.” Waverly knew she was staring, it was hard to pull her eyes off of Nicole, not that she’d ever admitted it or even if she realized it herself. “Umm, sorry about the other day, rushing off like that, Champ doesn’t like waiting.”

“Really? You seem like a girl worth waiting for.” That made Waverly grin, feeling the heat in her cheeks rise slightly.

“Well, I don’t know about that… but anyway, it doesn’t seem like you need much help here, I assume you’ve done this before?” She needed to change the subject before her face became as red as her shirt.

“Oh… yeah, I spent the last two summers working on farms. It’s a good way to help pay for school.”

“Oh, you’re in college, where? “ Waverly leaned against one of the wooden posts that held up the barn roof.

“Nevada State. For criminal justice. Cops sorta run in the family.”

“Oh… neat. I’m going to school for Anthropology in the fall, University of Chicago.” A cop, Waverly forced herself not to picture Nicole in that uniform, it was hot enough in this barn already.

“Waverly! You’re back, we figured we wouldn’t see you until this evening.” Gus entered the barn, tossing her saddle on the rack.

“Oh, well forecast said rain, so we packed up a bit early, do you need help with anything?”

Gus shook her head and locked the room to the saddles and horse equipment. “Nope, your uncle’s headed back now. The storm is startin’ to roll in so we’re done for the day. You can finish up the last few bales Nicole and then come on in, I’ll get lunch started. Oh, and Curtis will fix up that spot on the guest house roof before it starts to pour.”

“Already done, actually. Couldn’t sleep last night. Hope you don’t mind.” Gus just smiled at Nicole. Right, Nicole was staying on the property… of course. Waverly had completely forgotten that the guest house, which wasn’t more than a tiny cabin about a quarter of a mile from the main house, was used whenever they had someone helping with the farm.

“Not at all, you’re almost too efficient. Well, I’ll let Curtis know he’s off the hook. Come on, Waves, help me with lunch.”

Waverly was glad her aunt gave her an excuse to leave as she was pretty sure she would’ve just followed Nicole around like a lost puppy if someone had let her. It wasn’t often they got a new face in Purgatory and Waverly was intrigued.

The rain did come in hard, a huge storm rolled across the farmland, carrying loud thunder and huge streaks of lightning across the sky. Nicole was thankful she’d done a solid patch job to the tin room of the guest house when she got back inside after lunch. Even just the short trip from the house to her cabin had drenched her. She was about to remove her wet clothes when she heard a knock on the door.

Waverly was standing on her small porch, carrying a bundle of wood covered in a tarp.

“Uncle Curtis figured that your wood pile was useless since it’s not covered, so he wanted me to bring you some of ours from the cellar.” Waverly almost dropped the pile on Nicole's feet when a loud crack of thunder snapped in the sky as lightning lit up the clouds. The redhead reached out just in time, grabbing the wood with one hand and Waverly’s waist with the other, steadying her.

“Easy there.” Nicole smiled sweetly, thinking it was cute that the younger woman must have been afraid of the storm. “Not a fan of storms?”

“Not particularly… I know it’s silly, only about 230 people are struck by lightning a year and only about 10 percent of those people are fatally injured, but it’s a force of nature that is relatively uncontrollable, so it freaks me out a bit…” Waverly could feel her heartbeat in her chest, her body still pressed against Nicole. She was about to step back when another crack of lightning flashed across the sky breaking through the constant rain, thunder rolling quickly afterward. She wasn’t sure if it was the storm or the proximity to the new farm hand that was making it hard to move.

There was only one situation she could remedy, so she took a deep breath, shoving the wood into Nicole’s arms and turning to slam the door shut behind her.

“Okay… that was really close, wasn’t it? Like not even a few seconds between thunder and lightning. I hate Uncle Curtis for sending me out, he knows I hate storms. Such an ass, I mean you needed the wood, it’s probably gonna get a little cold tonight and there’s no heating here outside of that wood burning stove in this little place…”

“Waverly, deep breath, yeah?” The smaller woman paused, looking at Nicole before doing as suggested. After a few calming breaths, her eyes not leaving Nicole’s, her nerves began to settle.

“Sorry. I’m not making the best first impressions with you, am I? First I almost run you over when you get here, then I make you jump when you’re working with heavy machinery and to finish it all off, I almost drop a huge pile of wood on your feet…”

“Well, they’ve been a memorable few impressions.” Waverly could swear those dimples would clear any set of storm clouds away. Jesus.

“Memorable isn't always good.”

“It is this time.” There is tension in the air, and Waverly swears it’s because of the static energy, not because she finds the woman a few feet in front of her rather attractive and flirtatious? If Waverly wasn’t mistaken.

“Want me to walk you back?” Nicole didn’t necessarily want Waverly to leave, but she didn’t want the other woman to feel trapped in here with her.

“Oh… um. Mind if I stay here… just until it lets up a little?” Part of Waverly wanted to sprint back to the house, not really sure what she’d do if stuck with this practical stranger for more than a few minutes at a time, but the thought of venturing in the storm overpowered her new found shyness.

“Yeah, make yourself at home? Want a beer? It’s about all I have.” Waverly nodded and Nicole moved over to the small cooler she had set up in her room. She pulled out two beers and used the end of a lighter to pop the tops off.

She handed one to Waverly and moved over to the small wood burning stove, unwrapping the wood the other woman had brought. There wasn’t much space, just enough room for a bed, a wood burning stove, dresser a small table to two chairs. There was an outhouse a few feet away from the small structure and an outdoor shower connected to one of the cabin walls. It definitely wasn’t luxury, but it was free and it was a shelter.

“My sister Wynonna and I used to come out here all the time and spend the night, we’d pretend we were settlers in the wild west, taming the unknown wilderness of the Rockies.” Waverly watched as Nicole placed some logs into the stove, using a bit of kindling and some matches to get a fire going.

“I met Wynonna the other day, she came by with some supplies your uncle asked for. Seems like a cool girl.” Waverly chuckled.

“I suppose she does to outsiders, she’s got a bit of a reputation as a bad egg around this town, always getting into trouble with her boyfriend, Doc, but she’s a sweetheart when you get to know her.

“She seemed nice, Gus said she’ll be around later in the week to help get the cows settled in the west barn.” The fire finally started to crackle and produce a bit of heat, so Nicole closed the small stove.

“Sorry, this place is so rustic, puts most people off from helping during the busy seasons…”

“I kinda like it? The school is a bit crazy, so it’s a nice change of pace.” Nicole moved over to the window and peeked outside. It was raining so hard you could barely see two inches in front of you.

“The fields are gonna be a mess tomorrow.”

The two women talked for what seemed like hours, about the town, school, the farm, everything. Nicole was really easy to talk to and Waverly hadn’t even noticed that the storm had let up until she heard her uncle’s truck pull up to the cabin.

“You girl’s alright?” He knocked on the door and Waverly stood to answer.

“Yeah! I just didn’t want to walk back in that weather. You’re horrible, you know that?” She playfully hit her uncle on the shoulder.

“Well, at least you kept Nicole company. You want to head back? I can drive you.” Waverly nodded and turned back towards Nicole.

“See you tomorrow.”

“Til’ tomorrow.” Nicole flashed a smile at the younger woman and watched as they exited her cabin. She was in trouble.

Chapter Text

The fields stayed muddy for almost a week after the hard rain, the sun barely hardening the soil due to how cloudy it remained. But at least the weather picked up towards the end of the weekend, returning to the mid 90’s in the afternoon. It didn’t take Nicole long to earn the approval of both Earp girls since she seemed to be able to handle her own around a farm. Even the dog, Mack, took a liking to the redhead, often sneaking off to her cabin. Gus swore that she was bribing him with some sort of food, but maybe he just liked her as much as the rest of the family.

Waverly hadn’t been around as much as she’d like, instead, Champ wanting to spend more time with her, as he put it, “She’d be leaving him for another man, education, come fall.” She didn’t really blame him being so clingy. He hadn’t gotten into any schools and it wasn’t his low GPA since you can’t really get into a school without applying. He’d expected to nab some college scholarship for football but the scouts that visited Purgatory didn’t take a liking to him.

Champ and Waverly had been at Shorty’s, the local bar, for what seemed like hours when Wynonna and Nicole wandered in the doors. The younger Earp perked up instantly, having been insanely bored trying to watch ‘ the game’ on the big screens.

“Sis! Nicole! Thank god!” She wrapped Wynonna in a desperate hug and then without thinking went to embrace Nicole too.

It was awkward at first since the last time they’d touched had been almost a week ago when Waverly had nearly crushed her feet, but Nicole didn’t seem to mind, wrapping her arms around Waverly’s waist and hugging her back. She was a good hugger, Waverly thought as she reminded herself that a long hug would be even weirder. She moved back, tugging them both over to the bar.

“Please keep me company.” Waverly’s big brown eyes pleaded with her sister and Wynonna caved quickly.

“I suppose, but I’m not sneaking you shots. It’s a school night.” Wynonna winked at her little sister, ordering a round of beers for them all, shrugging Shorty off when he started to protest that the youngest Earp wasn’t old enough.

“She’s not driving, Shortly, let it go.” The bartender knew them both well enough, he just grabbed three beers and pretended to ignore Waverly taking one.

“So, sis, not into ‘the game’?” Wynonna took a long swig of her beer.

“It’s only entertaining if I know the players if it’s on tv it’s just a bunch of random dudes grabbing each other.” Nicole chuckled.

“Our little Waves here was the Blue Devil’s cheerleading captain, perfect little high school story, dating the quarterback even.” Wynonna motioned to Champ as the boy jumped in the air, almost spilling his plate of food because of a touchdown. ‘Gross’ Nicole thought. He seemed like so many steps lower than Waverly, Nicole wasn’t sure what the younger Earp saw in the boy outside of the high school bullshit.

It was that moment that the boy in question must have noticed his girlfriend had left his side, he scanned the room before finding the group and heading over. Nicole tried to hide her eye roll in her beer glass.

“Waves! Babe! You missed the best 4th down conversion!” He slung his arms around her shoulders, pressing repeated wet kisses to her cheek and forehead. Normally Waverly would almost welcome this sort of behavior, but it felt off tonight, like some sort of invasion. She put up with it for a few seconds, before noticing that Nicole was now staring intently at her beer. Maybe public affection made the redhead uncomfortable.

“Come on Champ, don’t drown my little sister in spit, will ya?” Wynonna lightly shoved her sister’s boyfriend.

“Please, Waves loves it.” He moved back in for seconds, but this time Waverly stiffened and Nicole sensed that she was over whatever he was trying on at the moment.

“Hey Champ, is it? Looks like the Cowboys just intercepted, you’re missing the action.” She motioned at the TV he’d been at in the corner.

“Shit! Be back later, Waves!” He kissed her hard on her cheek before rushing back to his prime game viewing spot.

“I owe you one, he gets a bit over excited when the game’s on.” Waverly smiled sheepishly at Nicole.

“Just tryin’ to help.” Nicole’s cheeks flushed a bit and she hoped the dark atmosphere would hide her blush. Wynonna noticed though and made a mental note to check in with Nicole later.

The rest of the night was relatively chill, Champ too fixated on the close game to really pay attention to Waverly and the younger Earp found herself thankful that he hadn’t interrupted them much.

“Waves, you ready to jet? A couple of us are headed to the park, they want us to meet up.” Waverly looked at her sister, but Wynonna just shrugged. It was obvious Waverly’s girl’s night was coming to an end.

“Alright, see you later guys.” She grabbed her coat and purse and smiled softly at Nicole as Champ practically dragged her out of Shorty’s.

“They’ve been together about two years, he’s a bit of an asshole, but so’s the rest of this town. And while I already like you much better, I’m not sure you’ve got much of a shot.” Nicole froze, hand gripping her glass.

“Huh?” Wynonna chuckled.

“Please, I saw how you looked at my sister. You’ve only been here a week and you’ve got it bad.” Wynonna ordered them two more beers. “It’s not a big deal, Waverly’s the best of us, everyone loves her, but I’m afraid she doesn’t swing that way.”

“I didn’t think… I mean, of course.” Nicole didn’t like being called out, but Wynonna didn’t seem to care too much about both Nicole’s sexuality and her current affections.

“Shame though, cause I’m sure you’d treat her better. Come on.” Wynonna nudged Nicole to follow her to the pool table. “Whoever wins buys the next round.”

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It had been two weeks since Wynonna had called out Nicole’s crush. It had made the redhead paranoid, worried that if one Earp could figure it out, that Waverly might catch on too if she wasn’t careful. She didn’t avoid Waverly, she couldn’t, but Nicole did her best to ensure they weren’t alone for extended periods of time, which of course the younger woman started to notice.

“Did I do something wrong?” Waverly’s voice cut through the silence that had been built up between them as they'd been cleaning the west barn that afternoon. Nicole froze, not expecting that her attempt to hide her feelings would only draw more attention to her.

“What? No. No, you didn’t do anything wrong. Um, why would you think that?” Nicole didn’t look at Waverly, instead of continuing to rake the hay and debris that had piled up in the stalls after a winter and spring of no use.

“You’ve just not been very talkative lately, I don’t know, ever since that night at Shorty’s. Did Wynonna say something to you?” Waverly wasn’t one for conflict, but she didn’t like the odd air that had formed between them. She really loved spending time with Nicole, but she could tell the other woman was holding back somehow.

“No!” It came out too quickly and too worried. “No, I’ve just been preoccupied with work and everything.” She had to find a way to steer their conversation away from this topic. However, Waverly didn’t buy her excuse one bit.

“Nicole Haught, already lying to me. You’ve been spending too much time with Wynonna.” Waverly leaned her rake against the stall doors and moved over to Nicole.

“Come on, if I did something I’d rather know about it so I won’t do it again.” The closer Waverly got, the stiffer Nicole became, worried that even her body language would give her away.

“Really, Waverly, I promise, it’s nothing.”

“Bullshit.” Waverly was now standing next to Nicole. She took the redhead’s rake straight out of her hand and leaned it next to hers.

“We’ve got to work together all summer, you can’t avoid me, so come on, what’s bothering you?” Nicole was normally much more relaxed and confident than this, but Waverly being so close just did something to her.

“I’m gay….” Okay, that wasn’t exactly what she wanted to say, in fact, it was the exact opposite, but it at least halted Waverly in her tracks.

“Oh… um. Yeah, wait…” Waverly was shocked, but there was some other feeling washing over her that she wasn’t ready to explore yet. “Wait, did you think I’d have a problem with that?”

Based on the rest of the Earp family’s reactions, Nicole figured Waverly wouldn’t care, but maybe this was her way out of the awkward conversation.

“Um, I wasn’t sure? It’s a small town and well, small towns and homosexuality don’t always go hand in hand?” She prayed that Waverly was buying this excuse because telling her that she was crushing on her wasn’t really an option, ever.

“Nicole! Come on, I may have been raised here, but I’m a bit smarter than that.” Waverly smiled sweetly. She needed to ease Nicole’s fears, the last thing she wanted was for the redhead to believe she thought less of her. She could still sense Nicole’s nerves, so she reached up and wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck, pulling the taller woman into a tight hug.

“I don’t care! I promise!” Though that wasn’t exactly true. Waverly did care, but not for the reasons most people would. In fact, she found herself both excited and relieved. Feelings she pushed to the back of her mind to analyze later.

Nicole found herself relaxing into Waverly’s embrace, no matter how guarded she wanted to be around the tiny Earp, every wall she’d built melted the minute Waverly had touched her. They stayed like that for a while, probably longer than most friends would hug, both convincing themselves that it was natural to comfort a friend like this. It wasn’t until Wynonna cleared her throat that they two women broke apart, startled, guilty looks gracing their expressions briefly.

“Dinner’s ready.” Wynonna was grinning, as Waverly shuffled past her.

“Right… dinner! Coming!” She darted past her older sister and out of the barn.

“Don’t say a word.”

“Oh… I don’t have to.” Wynonna chuckled as Nicole moved past her, smacking her playfully on the shoulder as they both exited the barn.

“Man, I owe Doc 20 bucks…” She mumbled to herself as she followed after the redhead.

Chapter Text

The Fair - Part 1

July 4th had snuck up on everyone. Purgatory wasn’t much of a town for big functions, but 4th of July was a different story. The entire town was buzzing with excitement, a fair had set up its rides and attractions just outside of city limits, occupying an entire field. Everyone was expected to be there. There was a Ferris wheel, spinning spaceship, games with prizes, cotton candy, funnel cake and a live band. Gus had let the girls off early that day so they could go get ready for the evening's festivities.

Doc and Wynonna were currently on the outs, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t planning on tracking her down as soon as they arrived. However, for the time being, Nicole was Wynonna’s date.

“Well don’t you live up to your last name.” Wynonna grinned as she leaned against the tailgate of her truck, watching as Nicole crossed the field from her cabin. She was dressed in a pair of tight khakis, a baby blue button down shirt fitted for a woman and her gray Stetson.

“I could say the same for you, Miss Earp.” Nicole tipped her hat and Wynonna shoved her playfully. Wynonna hadn’t done much in the way of dressing up, just the usual leather jacket, tight black pants, and t-shirt, though she did have her nicest boots on, so that was something.

“We’re just waiting for Waves, she might make it down sometime this century.” Just as Wynonna spoke the front door opened and Waverly stepped out onto the porch. Nicole’s breath caught in her chest. Waverly looked beautiful. She was wearing a strapless yellow sundress, with her hair pulled half up, eyes sparkling.

Wynonna noticed Nicole staring and elbowed her, jolting the redhead back from her trance.

“My don’t you both clean up nice.” Waverly giggled as she moved towards the two women, eyes locked on Nicole as she spoke. If Nicole hadn’t been such a pessimist, she would’ve sworn Waverly checked her out.

“Are you ready?” Waverly nodded, smiling sweetly at Nicole, causing the redhead to blush, lowering her head slightly. Before they could all pile up into the truck they heard tires on gravel as Champ sped down their driveway, going way too fast. He came to a quick halt as he slid into his usual ‘parking spot’
“Waves! Babe! You ready?” Wynonna shot a curious glance over at her sister.

“Bailing on girl’s night for him?” The word him definitely left Wynonna’s lips with a taste of disdain.

“Shit, he was supposed to meet me there….”

“Come on babe, we’re gonna be late for Greg’s band!” Waverly looked at her sister and then to Nicole, her eyes attempting to apologize.

“It’s alright, we’ll catch up with you there.” Nicole tried her best to be reassuring, though all she wanted to do was punch Champ’s smug smile off his face.

“I’ll save you a dance.” Nicole’s pulse sped up, her chest tightening at the thought of dancing with Waverly. “Um… both of you… yeah.”

Waverly could feel her cheeks getting hot as she shuffled past them, unable to look at Nicole.

“Don’t worry, Haught-stuff. You can have my dance too.” Wynonna placed a comforting arm on Nicole’s shoulder. “Come on, I want funnel cake.”

 

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The fairgrounds were packed, everyone who lived in Purgatory really was here. Nicole and Wynonna bought their tickets and headed straight for the funnel cake stand. After scarfing down the delicious sweet dough, Wynonna dragged Nicole over to the game area, determined this year to win that damn stuffed animal corgi from the ring toss.

“Pretty sure my grandma throws better than you.” Doc slid up next to Wynonna and Nicole, leaning against the booth as he watched Wynonna miss ring after ring.

“Shut it, Henry or this ring will end up around your neck.” Wynonna didn’t even look at him, trying to concentrate on bottles in front of her. Doc backed up, hands in the air so as to not interfere.

“Well come find me by the beer truck when you’re done missin’, you owe me a dance, Earp.” He tipped his hat towards Nicole and faded back into the crowd.

“Are you still mad at him?” Wynonna tossed a ring so hard she almost cracked one of the bottles. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

“He’s just so fucking sure of himself. It’s infuriating.” Nicole chuckled and shook her head.

“Yeah, confidence, how unattractive. Let me have a go?” Wynonna sighed and handed the rings to her. All it took was five underhanded throws and Nicole was now holding two prizes, a small stuffed corgi that was white and brown and another medium sized corgi with a golden coat.

“I hate you.”

“No, you don’t.” Nicole handed the bigger corgi to Wynonna. “Just trying to be the perfect fair date.” The older Earp hugged the fluffy toy to her chest.

“Man, Haught, if only you were my type. Such a catch. Come on, time for a beer, and between you and me, I won this.” Nicole made a motion to show that her lips were sealed as Wynonna tossed her free arm over the redhead’s shoulder and led her over to the dance floor and stage where the beer truck was located.

A few beers later, Wynonna spotted her sister, Champ and a group of recent high school graduates.

“Those are Waverly’s friends, Stephanie and Chrissy, the sheriff’s daughter. Annoying as shit, but Waves likes them for whatever reason.” Wynonna groaned as Doc mosied over to them, sitting down next to the oldest Earp.

“Well I’ll be damned, you won it.” Doc picked up the stuffed dog and laughed. “I must’ve been good luck.”

“You wish, Haught here was my good luck charm.”

“Well well, such worthy competition. Though I imagine my Earp isn’t the Earp you’ve got your eye set on…” Doc followed Nicole’s gaze over to Waverly and her friends.

“Your Earp? Fuck off, Henry.” She shoved him, but he didn’t budge.

“Not until you dance with me.” There was a cute twinkle in his eye and Nicole was sure she could see Wynonna’s resolve melt right away.

“Watch Ralph, will you?” Wynonna handed her corgi to Nicole and took Doc’s hand, letting him lead her reluctantly to the dance floor.

Nicole took a sip of her beer as she watched Doc and Wynonna fumble on the dancefloor, both almost too head strong to let the other lead.

“This seat taken?” Nicole glanced up at Waverly who was standing above her, smiling brightly.

“Yes, by you.” This made Waverly giggle and Nicole practically crumbled just from the sound of it.

“You’re so cheesy. So, Wynonna finally won Ralph?” Waverly picked up the dog.

“She’s had it named for years hasn’t she?” Waverly nodded. “Well… you promise to keep a secret?” The younger Earp nodded again, enthusiastically. “I won it for her.”

“Well, Miss Haught, aren’t you the perfect date.” Waverly was actually rather jealous of her sister. She’d much rather be spending the night with Nicole than her friends. It was in that moment, under the glowing string lights surrounding the dance floor, that Waverly realized she didn’t just want to hang out with Nicole and her sister, she was jealous because she wanted to be Nicole’s date.

“I actually got you one too…” Nicole pulled out the little brown corgi and handed it to Waverly, “It’s not named yet, but I figured you should do the honors.” It took Waverly a minute to say anything, instead, she was just looking at Nicole, seeing her in an entirely new light, one she wasn’t sure she was completely ready for yet, but one she didn’t want to ignore altogether.

“Waves?” Nicole’s voice pulled her out of her daze.

“You are too good to be true, Nicole.” She took the corgi, letting their fingers brush slightly during the transfer, feeling the buzz from their touch and not being scared of it.

“Waves!” Wynonna shouted from the dance floor, making her way over to their table, Doc in tow. “Time to two-step baby girl. Grab Haught-stuff.” Wynonna took her sister’s hand and pulled her up.

“Guess we’re dancing.” Waverly motioned for Nicole to follow.

“I am assuming you know how to square dance, Haught?” Wynonna smiled as the band began to start up.

“I know a little.” Wynonna winked at the redhead.

“Well you’re in luck since you’re partner is the one and only Waverly Earp, two-time winner of this county’s 4-H square dance competition.” Nicole played up a fake look of shock, Waverly hitting her sister hard on the shoulder.

“Miss Earp, I’d be honored if you taught me a thing or two.” Waverly blushed, glad that the colorful lights most likely hid the redness of her cheeks.

“Come on.” Waverly took Nicole’s hands and followed her sister and Doc onto the dance floor. As soon as the music started, Waverly began to lead Nicole, thinking that the other woman was relatively new and would need a bit of help, especially as the music picked up. However, it only took a few bars and steps for Waverly to realize that this was not Nicole’s first rodeo.

“You lied…”

“Did I?” Nicole slid a quick hand around Waverly’s waist, taking the woman’s other hand in hers as she expertly leads Waverly around the dance floor, weaving in and out of the other couples with ease. Nicole winked at Waverly, squeezing her hand before passing her off to Doc, Wynonna replacing her sister.

“You are smooth.” The older sister grinned and Nicole spun her around, now promenading expertly across the floor, one arm around Wynonna’s shoulder.

“You like her, don’t you?” Doc smiled down at Waverly, spinning her once in his arms.

“Like her? Nicole? Yeah, of course! Everyone likes her.” Waverly could feel her cheeks become hot.

“You know what I mean, Miss Earp. I think you like her best.” He turned her again, this time promenading over to Nicole and her sister.

As soon as Waverly was back in Nicole’s arms she felt relaxed, letting go with the redhead was far too easy.

“Fancy meeting you here.” Nicole knew she shouldn’t be flirting, but the way Waverly looked in that dress, how close they were, and just the whole atmosphere of the night made her feel intoxicated.

“Are you going to tell me where you learned to dance like this?” Nicole spun her around, moving with the group of dancers into a circle as she wrapped one around Waverly’s waist, heels clicking on the wooden dance floor as they rotated around the other dancers.

“I have to keep a certain air of mystery, don’t I?” As she spoke, she spun Waverly back in front of her, this time pulling her much closer than was really necessary for this type of dance, but she couldn’t help herself and besides, the smile on Waverly’s face told Nicole it wasn’t unwelcome.

The music quieted down, switching from a square dance to a slow dance, but it was as if Nicole and Waverly hadn’t even noticed, their feet reducing their speed, but their eyes remained locked on each other, lost in an entirely different world.

“Hey…” Waverly’s breath caught in her throat, the way Nicole was looking at her and then down at her lips, was she going to...

“Waves!” Champ’s bellowing voice broke their trance. He stumbled into their space, almost knocking Nicole out of the way. “You owe me a dance!” He was drunk, not completely wasted, but obviously slightly tanked.

And like that, the spell was broken and the moment was over, Champ replacing Nicole’s spot wrapped up in Waverly and while the small girl apologized with a soft pleading look, Nicole knew now was not the time to get into this. She needed to step aside, Champ was, after all, Waverly’s boyfriend.

“Catch you later, Waves.” Nicole managed a half smile, attempting to hide the disappointment at the loss of contact. Before she could do anything else, Wynonna had an arm thrown over her shoulder, dragging her away from the dance floor.

“Time to ride some rides, Red.”

“Thank you.” Wynonna nodded and smiled, dragging Doc behind them.

Chapter Text

The Fair part 2

Apparently funnel cake, hot dogs, beer and a ride that spins so fast it’s able to hold you to your seat without a belt were bad combinations. Luckily, Nicole had the forethought to avoid the third, fourth and fifth beer Wynonna had offered her. Since the oldest Earp was now slumped over a trash can at the corner of the fair grounds while Nicole held her hair back.

“Yep, let it all out.” The redhead rubbed comforting circles on Wynonna’s back until she was finally feeling better.

“You, Haughtstuff, are literally the best.” She took the napkin Nicole was handing to her and wiped her mouth. After a few swigs of water and several mints from her new best friend, Wynonna was ready to join the crowd again. The band was winding down and most of the townsfolk were moving into a nearby empty field, setting up blankets and chairs to watch the fireworks.

“Perfect timing.” Wynonna smiled as Doc approached, large blanket in hand.

“Just the ladies I was looking for.” He smiled and offered an arm to each of them. “I must be the luckiest man at the fair.” The women laughed as he led them over to a spot, unfolding the blanket and getting the gang situated.

“Hope you don’t mind third wheelin’ it, Red.” Nicole shook her head. Though there was definitely someone missing from this picture, she couldn’t really complain too much. Waverly was with her god awful boyfriend and besides, it wasn’t as if she’d be snuggled up against Nicole even if she was here, right? She smiled as she saw Wynonna slide into the space between Doc’s legs, using him as a backrest. It was apparent they’d made up somewhere between the spinning spaceship and the house of mirrors.

Nicole lied back, leaning on her elbows as she looked to the sky, the first few red, white and blue fireworks exploding into the night. It was quite an impressive show with the band playing patriotic numbers in the back as the horizon was painted with light. Nicole was lost in thought when the sound of Waverly’s voice pulled her back into reality.

“Champ! I said let it go!” Wynonna and Doc must’ve heard her as well, glancing in the origin of the commotion.

The fighting couple was just on the edge of the crowd, most people ignoring their bickering. However, when Nicole saw Champ reach out and grip Waverly’s wrist, tugging hard, too hard, she was up and halfway across the field before Wynonna could even untangle herself from Doc.

“Come on Waves, it’s the 4th of July, don’t do this babe! We’re supposed to go back to mine tonight!” Waverly tried to yank her wrist out of his grasp, but he held on strong.

“What part of over don’t you get?! Let go of me!”

“Is this about that fucking dyke? Ever since she came into town you’ve been ignoring me!” Nicole chose to ignore the vulgar name he’d called her, she could care less. All that mattered was that he needed to stop hurting Waverly or she’d break him.

“Let her go… now.” Her voice was sharp and direct.

“What the fuck are you gonna do about it, queer?” Nicole saw the pained look in Waverly’s eyes and it was all she needed. She reached out, grabbing the arm he had locked onto Waverly. With one hand on his wrist and the other just above his elbow, Nicole used momentum and strength to arm bar him to the ground, his face instantly buried into the dirt. It was a self-defense trick her father had taught her. Before he could squirm out, she tugged his arm behind his back pinning him in the grass.

“Touch her again and I won’t be as gentle next time.” He started to speak back, but Nicole shoved his face further into the ground, racking his elbow back. “When a lady says let go, you let go.” She tugged on his arm one more time for good measure before releasing him and standing up to face Waverly.

“You okay?” She didn’t care about Champ anymore, stepping over his body and moving to Waverly’s side.

“Yeah… that was… wow.” Nicole wasn’t sure if she’d scared Waverly or impressed her, but as long as she was safe, that’s what mattered.

“Nicole!” the redhead heard Wynonna yell her name which caused her to turn around just in time to receive a blow to the gut from Champ’s fist. She wanted to double over, all of the wind in her lungs had been expelled, but she didn’t want to be in that vulnerable of a position, so as Champ went to take another swing she turned, blocking him with her arm as the heel of her boot crashed down on his toes. The moment the idiot took to reveal in the pain Nicole had caused, she used against him, grabbing him by the shoulders and driving her knee straight into his groin, Champ’s face turned white as he fell to the ground, clutching himself in pain.

It was at this time Sheriff Nedley appeared, a deputy in tow. “You gals okay?” He looked at the boy writhing on the ground. “I suppose you are... We saw him attack, we’ll take it from here.” Nedley smiled at the Earp women and Nicole before reaching down to handcuff Champ.

“God, Nicole are you okay?” Waverly moved towards the redhead who had an arm protectively wrapped around her core.

“Yep… just trying to catch my breath…:” Which was hard to do, both because she’d gotten the wind punched out of her system and because Waverly now had her arms around Nicole, a look of concern and worry evident in her facial expression.

“Do we need to take you to the hospital?”

“No! No… he doesn’t hit that hard.” Nicole smiled at Waverly, which in turn caused the youngest Earp to smile back as if it was contagious.

“Okay… if you’re sure.”

“Positive, I’m just glad you’re okay.”

“Man, Haught! You’re kind of dangerous, remind me never to piss you off.” Wynonna joined her sister’s side.

“Please tell me he was so grumpy because you broke it off.” Wynonna wrapped an arm around Waverly’s shoulder.

“I tried, he wouldn’t let me end it.”

“Well, I think Nicole helped you out in that department.” Waverly blushed and let her eyes dart downward.

“Yeah, I think the message is pretty clear now.”

“Come on, let’s head home. I’ve had enough of the festivities for the evening.” Doc retrieved their blanket and met them back at the truck. He kissed Wynonna goodbye and headed back to his car.

“So you two are good now?” Waverly asked as she climbed into the truck.

"Yeah, we're back on... I think?"

Nicole had taken Wynonna’s keys from her earlier in the evening, so she slid into the driver’s seat. Waverly, being the smallest had to squeeze into the center. At first, she and Nicole weren’t touching, but as Wynonna climbed in, they had no choice, the truck’s bench seat too small to not scoot together. Nicole took a deep breath as she felt Waverly’s body press into hers, their thighs and upper arms connecting. They both smiled sheepishly at the other, Wynonna breaking the awkward tension.

“Are we gonna head home or are you two just going to make googly eyes at each other in the parking lot? Cause I can catch a ride with Doc.” Waverly laughed nervously, looking straight ahead.

“What? No... “ She’d been caught, but she wasn’t really sure she cared anymore.

The drive home had been relatively quiet, Wynonna falling asleep, face smushed against the glass of the passenger side window. As they pulled up into the gravel drive, the oldest Earp grumbled, curling up around her seatbelt.

“Come on, big sis, time to shuffle out.” Waverly attempted to wake her sibling but Wynonna was out cold.

“I am half tempted to roll the window down and leave her out here…” Nicole laughed.

“Come on, you can slide out on my side.” The redhead hopped down from the truck and reached up, offering a hand to Waverly. The petite woman took it, letting Nicole guide her down onto the ground, not letting go of her hand even though she was out of the truck.

“Um… thanks, for tonight. Champ was being a real jerk… and… just, well thank you.” Nicole could feel the heat of her cheeks rise, thankful it was far too dark for Waverly to notice.
“Anytime, I mean it.” They stood there for a few seconds longer, neither woman wanting to break the contact.

“Funnel… cakes…. So much…. Mmm… sugar.” The two women laughed as Wynonna grumbled in her sleep.

“ I suppose we should at least get her a blanket….” Nicole nodded and moved to the truck bed, finally releasing Waverly’s hand. She pulled the blanket they’d been using that night out of the back and crawled into the truck, expertly tucking the fabric around Wynonna’s sleeping form. The redhead cracked the window on her side giving the truck a bit of airflow. She tossed a water bottle next to Wynonna before sliding down and quietly closing the door.

“All fighting excitement aside, I had a really good time tonight,” Nicole spoke as she walked Waverly up to the porch.

“Yeah, it was definitely memorable.” Waverly smiled, remembering the first time they’d flirted about Waverly’s awkward first impressions. “Good night Nicole, and thank you. Really.” And if Nicole hadn’t been sure she meant it, Waverly leaned in and pressed her lips lightly to Nicole’s cheek, lingering for a second before turning on her heels and entering the homestead.

Chapter Text

4th of July had come and gone. Nicole had tried hard to push away any hopeful thoughts she had of Waverly. She’d crushed on straight women before and while this time seemed slightly different, how could she be sure it wasn’t just wishful thinking. Besides, they had just gotten to a point in their friendship where things felt a bit easier, more fluid. Nicole didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize what they had, because while being with Waverly was literally all Nicole wanted, the thought of being without her was too big of a risk.

Champ had been scarce since the incident too and it appeared Waverly was relieved. She didn’t leave the homestead much, not really wanting to give him an excuse to ‘accidentally’ run into her in town. Staying at the homestead also meant spending more time around Nicole, and for the youngest Earp, that was never a bad thing.

“You know, Chrissy has called three times this week, you can’t avoid your friends forever.” Gus was washing the plates from dinner as Waverly cleared the table.

“I know… I wasn’t trying to… well, not on purpose anyway.” Waverly scraped some scraps into Mack’s dog bowl before dipping the dishes into the suds.

“Look, you know your uncle and I are happy you’re rid of that sad excuse for a boyfriend, but shutting out everyone until you leave isn’t the answer, Waves.” The young woman sighed, leaning up against the counter.

“Why do you always have to be right?” Gus chuckled.

“Part of the job description. Now, go call Chrissy, I’m tired of tryin’ to run interference.” Waverly rolled her eyes and grabbed her phone, dialing her best friend’s number.

An hour later she was down at Shorty’s drinking some sort of fruity beverage she was pretty sure contained way too much alcohol. Rosita was manning the bar and while she was responsible in that only Stephanie who wasn’t drinking had her car keys, she had a soft spot for the girls.

“I still can’t believe you broke it off with him…” Chrissy was playing with the umbrella in her drink. “He adored you, Waves, like head over heels sorta love.” The youngest Earp took a long swig through the straw in her drink. “Look, I’m not saying he acted right at the fair, he was an ass, but two years, that’s a long time to just throw away over one incident.”

This was why she had been avoiding her friends more than anything else, she knew they loved Champ, hell she was half surprised Chrissy hadn’t jumped him already the way she talked about the quarterback.

“Look, that was sort of a last straw moment. It just wasn’t working, he’s immature, rude, and honestly, not that bright.” Stephanie giggled, almost spitting out her drink. However, Chrissy wasn’t going to let Waverly off the hook so easily.

“Look, there aren’t many men worth a damn in this town, Waves. You could’ve at least played nice until the end of summer, broke it off because of distance once you left. That’s what we’re all doing.”

“We are?!” Stephanie apparently hadn’t been part of this plan. She was attending the state school only three hours outside of town and sure as hell didn’t plan to end it with Mike if he could still easily visit.

“You just wait until you see those college boys… men. Real men.” Chrissy’s eyes glazed over with dreams of hot fraternity boys as the door to Shorty’s swung open, Wynonna, Doc, and Nicole wandering in. They all looked as if they’d just come in after rolling around in the dirt parking lot outside. Which meant they’d just finished patching the west barn wall, straight off the farm and to the bar.

Waverly found herself ignoring her group of friends, eyes locked on a certain redhead as she moved across the room, not noticing them in the corner. The youngest Earp’s eyes drifted across Nicole’s figure, her Carhartt jeans clung to all the right places, and the shirt she was wearing had a large tear in the left side revealing the purest white skin Waverly had ever seen. The petite woman swallowed, closing her mouth as Stephanie nudged her back into reality.

“Earth to Waves, hello!”

“Huh?”

“You alright?” Stephanie followed her friends intent gaze and instead of looking shocked, she raised her eyebrows, looking at Waves and then at Chrissy.

“You have a crush.”

The word crush sent off a warning signal in Waverly’s brain and panic ensued.

“What? No! Absolutely not? Why… no, why would I even…” Chrissy just laughed, knowing they’d caught their best friend red handed, or red cheeked as if her blush wasn’t enough of a dead give away.

“Waves, it’s not big deal, everyone gets crushes. Besides… I don’t blame you…” Chrissy directed her gaze to the group that had entered and shocked Waverly when her eyes turned lustful.

“Chrissy? What?” Waverly was so confused, Chrissy had never shown any interest in women before, but she couldn’t really blame her, Nicole was sexy.

“Come on, we’ve all thought about it, haven’t we?” Steph nodded in agreement with her blonde friend.

“We have?” Waverly’s confusion was slowly turning to jealousy, she didn’t like them objectifying Nicole like this, it felt… wrong.

“It’s just too bad he’s so smitten with your sister.” Waverly froze, realization hitting her like a freight train, of course, they weren’t talking about Nicole, they were talking about Doc. It all made sense now, sort of. Because while she was relieved that they weren’t ogling Nicole, that meant that she was and her thoughts were anything but innocent.

“Yeah… really too bad… mhm hmm.” Waverly relaxed into her seat, sinking down a bit, glad that the focus wasn’t on her but on her sister’s boyfriend.

“Rosita! My favorite bartender, a round of beers, the coldest you have!” Wynonna slid into a bar stool, Doc and Nicole following suit.

“Y’all look like shit.” Rosita moved to the fridge, pulling out three bottles and tossing them down on the bar, popping the caps off in quick succession.

“Yeah, we just finished putting in the supports for the west barn, I told uncle Curtis he should’ve hired professionals, but he was determined, so it took us all day.” Wynonna threw back her beer, downing it in almost one large gulp.

“Hot.” Doc smiled, watching his girlfriend for a minute before feeling eyes on him. He turned to see the three women in the corner booth giggling and looking in their direction.

“Rosita, alcohol to minors? Tsk tsk.” She just shrugged and dropped another beer in front of Wynonna.

“Please, they’d find ways to drink anyway, at least here I can take their keys and call them a ride.”

Nicole’s eyes cheated into the corner of the room, lighting up when they landed on the youngest Earp. She wasn’t looking at them, so Nicole allowed herself to take in the sight of Waverly in a cute sun dress, blue striped, cutting off just at the knees. She was beautiful.

“Nicole! Earth to Nicole! Haught-stuff!” The nickname pulled Nicole’s attention back to her friends.

“Rosita just asked how much longer you were in town for.”

“Oh, um… end of August. Then it’s back to Nevada for one more year of school.”

“That’s a shame, but I can’t say a college girl doesn’t have a certain appeal to it.” Rosita winked at the redhead before moving to take another order at the bar. Nicole glanced at Wynonna, puzzled by the interaction.

“Ha… your gaydar is shit, Haught. You can’t even clock the only other lesbian in town.” Nicole looked even more confused until Wynonna motioned at Rosita.

“No way… really?”

“Yep, only one we got, well that’s out I suppose.” Doc took a sip of his beer, leaning back in his bar chair. “We only found out when I tried to hit on her a year or so ago, didn’t take to me.”

“Ha! Just because she doesn’t like you doesn’t mean she’s gay.” Nicole shook her head at Doc.

“Well, she also said she’d rather date my ex.” He playfully shoved Wynonna.

“The way you were acting last summer, I considered it.” Wynonna chuckled and Doc feigned offense as Rosita moved back over to them.

“You guys going to the rodeo this weekend?”

“Rodeo?” Nicole hadn’t heard anything about it.

“Yeah, it's a traveling one that comes to town every summer. They set up over at the Rec center. There’s 4-H competitions, your normal Rodeo bull riding, cow roping etc.”

“We have to go, Gus has some sort of plants in the farm competition. She’s been talking about it non-stop all summer.”

“Oh, so that’s what’s in the greenhouse?” Wynonna nodded at Nicole.

“So the answer’s yes, we’re going.”

“Good.” Rosita leaned over, oddly close to Nicole. “I've entered the bbq cookout… hopefully, you’ll be there to cheer me on.” Wynonna grinned as she watched Nicole stiffen in her chair, not used to the sort of attention Rosita was displaying towards her. This may have been partially Wynonna’s fault since she’d mentioned in passing that Nicole played for Rosita’s team, and while Wynonna was still firmly on Team Waverly, she did appreciate a squirming Nicole.

“Oh.. yeah, we’ll definitely be there.”

Waverly was 4 drinks in, which meant she was two drinks over her normal limit. Which also meant that most of her better judgment had left about an hour ago. She had been stealing glances over at Nicole, trying hard to not be too obvious, but after drink three, obvious went right out the window. She let her friends keep think it was Doc that kept her attention distracted because it was definitely better than telling them she could care less about anyone else in this bar that wasn’t the redhead in the Carhartts.

By drink 4 Waverly was practically drooling and while she thought she was doing her best to be inconspicuous, her friends had to keep practically hollering her name to get her attention.

“Whoa… looks like Rosita may have met her match in your new farm hand, Waves.” Waverly looked over at Chrissy, a puzzled expression on her face.

“Huh? What about Nicole?” Chrissy chuckled.

“She’s gay right?” Chrissy didn’t wait for an answer. “Well so’s Rosita, put two and two together and you get scissoring.”

“Chrissy! Jeez!” Waverly’s face flushed.

“My cousin said lesbians don’t really scissor. That’s just in porn.” Stephanie shrugged, taking another long sip of her drink.
“Well your cousin would know, wouldn’t she?” Chrissy laughed.

“Rosita’s gay?” Waverly wasn’t exactly sure why this idea surprised her. She’d never see the bartender with a man, but it wasn’t like Purgatory had great options in that department.

“Oh yeah, she’s Ellen kinds of gay.” Waverly shook her head. Ellen was probably the only famous lesbian Chrissy knew.

“And it looks like she’s got a thing for Nicole…” Stephanie motioned over at the group by the bar. Waverly’s eyes followed her gaze and she froze, noticing how Rosita leaned in towards the redhead, how she playfully giggled as she spoke to Nicole, even letting their fingers brush as she handed Nicole another beer. It was enough to prove that Steph and Chrissy weren’t too off with their observations.

Waverly didn’t even hear her friends when they tried to call her back to the table as she made a beeline towards her sister’s group.

“Wynonna! Hey!” Her voice was a few octaves too loud, but she wanted to make an entrance.

“Hey, baby girl! I see Rosita has been taking good care of you tonight.” Waverly shot a glance over at the bartender. Tiny daggers evident in her gaze.

“Apparently I’m not the only one she wants to take care of.” Nicole stiffened up, not sure why she all of a sudden felt a bit guilty.

“Anyway! How the hell are you guys! You’re all kind of dirrrty.” Waverly let the r roll in the last word, like something straight out of a Christina Aguilera song as she directed her words at Nicole specifically.

“Oh… um yeah, we just finished over at the homestead.” Nicole smiled sweetly at the bouncing Earp.

“Well, I for one am glad you’re here.” Waverly wasn’t herself or maybe she was herself without filters, it was hard to say. But as she spoke she reached over, letting her fingers toy with the hem of Nicole’s t-shirt. “You look good.” Yeah, her filters were definitely gone as that last drink soaked through her system.

“Right… okay, Waves, have a seat, you need a water. Rosita?” The bartender nodded at the older Earp and retrieved a cold glass of water for Waverly. “This is what you’re drinking for the next few rounds.”

“Righty-o! Great.” She took a long drink of the water, all the while keeping her eyes on Rosita who was now across from Nicole again.

“Anyway, you and I should hang out. What are your thoughts on four-wheelers, I normally take mine up to the trails to Eagle Rock, I’d love to have some company sometime?” Waverly didn’t even give Nicole a chance to answer, she leaned over her sister and onto the bar.

“She hates four-wheelers, got into an accident when she was younger.” It was obvious in Waverly’s tone and posturing that she was being defensive of Nicole, even the redhead was picking up on it, she just wasn’t as sure as Wynonna was about the reason why.

“Oh… well that’s a shame, but we could always hike?” Waverly didn’t have a smart response to that, so Nicole had time to answer.

“Yeah, that’d be fun.” Wynonna took her sister by the shoulders and eased her back into the seat she was occupying between her and Doc. “Down girl.” she whispered to Waverly. “Jealousy isn’t a pretty look on you.” Only the Earp sisters could hear their conversation, and for that, Waverly was glad. Wynonna’s words did calm her, at least on the exterior. However, as Rosita and Nicole continued to talk, flirt or whatever it was that they were doing, Waverly’s insides began to twist. She was glad her sister knew her better than she knew herself because before Waves could have another outburst, she spoke up.

“I think it’s time to call it a night? Hey, mean girls, you okay getting home.” Stephanie raised her glass of water and shot Wynonna a rude look for the nickname.

“Come on Waves, you can’t head back to the homestead, Gus’ll kill you and me if she sees how wasted you are. You can crash with Doc and me.” Wynonna tossed a few bills on the bar.

“Ewww, no. Last time I stayed with you, I was up all night. Nope, too loud.” Waverly’s face scrunched up in disgusted. “I’ll just sneak in, super quiet, I promise.”

“She can stay at the cabin with me… if she wants.” Nicole didn’t really think her plan through, what with the fact that there was only one bed and it wasn’t that big, but Wynonna grinned, knowing.

“Haught, trying to take advantage of my sister?”

“What! No… I…” Before Nicole could dig a hole for herself, Wynonna placed a hand on her shoulder.

“I am just kidding, that’s fine. You just have to drop Doc and I off first, come on baby girl, Red’s gonna take care of you tonight.” Wynonna slid an arm around Waverly’s waist.

“Really! Best night ever.” Wynonna shook her head at her sister before leading them all out of the bar and back to the truck.

-------------------------

After dropping off Wynonna and Doc, Waverly had passed straight out in the passenger seat, lightly snoring. Nicole did her best not to hit any potholes, driving carefully all the way back to the cabin.

Waverly woke when the truck came to a full stop, Nicole shutting off the engine and opening the door.

“Hey Waves, we’re back at my place. I’m just gonna come around and help you out, okay?” Waverly smiled, nodding sleepily. She was so cute, Nicole thought. It was in this moment, as she helped the smaller woman out of the vehicle, that she remembered the sleeping arrangements. This was not how she imagined her first night with Waverly… not that she had put too much thought into it, right?

“Alright Waves, here we go.” She slipped an arm around the petite woman’s waist and led her into the small Cabin. It was dark, so after leading Waverly to the bed and sitting her down she lit two of the oil lamps, illuminating their space.

Waverly had already curled up on top of the sheets, mumbling to herself. Right, Nicole needed to figure out how to best handle this. She didn’t want a sober Waverly to wake up in the morning terrified in a strange bed next to someone she wasn’t expecting. In Nicole’s mind, there was only one gentlewoman option.

“Okay, here we go, Waves.” She bent down and slid off Waverly’s shoes, taking the girl’s purse and placing it on a shelf. Nicole tugged the covers back on the double bed, fighting a bit to get them out from underneath Waverly. Finally, she was able to slide them over the half asleep girl.

“You’re too sweet…,” Waverly mumbled, a smile on her face as she watched Nicole dote on her.

“Just being a good friend.”

“Friend… right. Stupid.” Nicole wasn’t sure what that last comment meant, but she chose to ignore it.

“Waves, I’m gonna be right here if you need me.” She motioned to the comfy chair in the corner near the wood burning stove. “There is water right by your bedside if you need it.”

“Stay with me.” Waverly reached out, her hand finding Nicole’s.

“Waves, I don’t think…”

“Please.” Waverly’s eyes were now fully open and while it was certain she was still intoxicated, there was sincerity in her voice that Nicole couldn’t deny.

“You sure?” Could Waverly even be sure in this state?

“Nicole…” She tugged on the redhead’s hand, pulling her towards the bed. “I won’t bite… unless you want me to.” Waverly smiled at her own joke, scooting over in the bed to give Nicole room to slide in.

Nicole Haught knew she should be the responsible one in this situation, she should sleep in the chair and not give Waverly the wrong idea. But she also knew that saying no to Waverly in any state was near impossible, and with their fingers intertwined, Nicole gave in, kicking off her boots and tossing her shirt aside, leaving her in just a tank top and pants before slipping under the covers.

Waverly was satisfied with her victory as she felt the mattress dip next to her. As soon as Nicole was settled, lying on her back, the petite woman pressed her body against Nicole, throwing one arm tightly around the redhead’s waist as she cuddled into the nape of Nicole’s neck.

“Night Nicole.” The words were whispered against the redhead’s neck, sending shivers down her spine. This was what Nicole had wanted for weeks, but would Waverly still feel the same in the light of day? She pushed the thoughts from her mind as she snuffled the oil lamp next to her, tugging Waverly just a little bit closer.

“Night Waves.”

Chapter Text

Waverly groaned as the sun’s harsh rays pierced the curtains in Nicole’s cabin, waking her from what had felt like the best slumber of her life. As she slowly opened her eyes and the world around her came into focus, she remembered that she wasn’t at the Homestead. The soft smell of a wood fire and the now familiar scent of Nicole brought the events of last night crashing down on Waverly.

“Fuck.” She spoke out loud before she realized that her reaction could affect the woman she’d shared a bed with last night, they had slept next to each other hadn’t they? Waverly glanced around the small cabin, but heard and saw no one. She was alone. On the bedside table was a note, a bottle of water, and two aspirin. Waverly smiled as she read Nicole’s neat handwriting.

Morning!
Gus already has me out and about for the day, but I figured you could use the rest. Stay as long as you’d like. And don’t worry, nothing too embarrassing happened last night.

Waverly’s eyes trailed down to the bottom of the piece of paper where it looked like Nicole had written something and erased it several times before finally deciding on what to keep on the page.

P.S. You’re cute when you sleep.

It was obvious that Nicole had been unsure about that last part, but Waverly found herself glad that the other woman hadn’t erased it all together.

She took the aspirin and chugged the water, moving to check herself in the mirror. She’d have to make a sort of walk of shame back to the Homestead and she could only hope no one saw her. It wasn’t that she felt any shame, in fact, she was quite happy about the parts of last night she remembered, but the thought of trying to answer the questions her aunt and uncle were bound to throw at her made the youngest Earp uneasy. She wasn’t even sure she had the answers.

Before she left, Waverly scribbled out a quick note to Nicole. It was sort of spur of the moment, but she hoped the redhead liked it. It was the least she could do after she imposed on her all night. Waverly wished she remembered more of the evening and scolded herself that she’d been too far gone.

Nicole spent most of the morning and afternoon worried. She hadn’t seen or heard from Waverly and Gus had kept her working through lunch so there was no time to slip back to the cabin to see if the other girl was still there.

The work day ended around 5 pm and before Curtis could even invite her to dinner, she headed back to her cabin. She knew Waverly wouldn’t still be there, but it wasn’t like she could just burst into the Homestead and speak with her, that seemed too brazen.

Nicole,

Thank you for the aspirin and for taking such good care of me last night, though I’ll have to verify your claim that I was not embarrassing with my sister.

 

P.S. you’re sweet.

Nicole was grinning so hard the muscles in her cheeks were beginning to hurt. Waverly calling her sweet meant she’d been okay leaving the last bit of her note written down. She’d stressed all day about whether Waverly would be weirded out by the flirtatious statement or pleased.

She was still sitting on her bed, note in hand, when her phone buzzed. She flipped it open hoping it would be Waverly, but fate wasn’t that generous. It was Wynonna, the text was simple.

‘Don’t forget about bowling tonight, Earp family and friends, 7 pm.’

Honestly, Nicole was glad for the reminder because in the post ‘sleeping next to Waverly’ haze she’d been wandering around in all day, she’d completely forgotten.

-----------------
The bowling alley was packed, Wednesday being ‘bowl n’ beer’ night, buy two games, get a pitcher of whatever was on draft for the evening. The Earps all showed up first, Curtis determined to get a lane at the far end close to the bar and restaurant.

Waverly found herself watching the door. Her anticipation was so obvious even Wynonna noticed.

“Don’t worry, baby girl, I reminded her.” Wynonna playfully bumped her shoulder as she passed, picking up her ball from one of the racks and placing it in their lane.

“What? Oh… I wasn’t waiting.”

“Sure you weren’t.” Waverly glared at her sister and picked a ball for herself, moving next to Gus just as Doc entered followed by Rosita.

“Is she playing?” Waverly didn’t want to sound rude, but she could feel the harshness as the words left her mouth.

“Yeah, Doc invited her.” Wynonna made a mental note to inform the clueless man later.

“Why good evening Earp clan.” Doc removed his hat and placed it on the table next to the seats.

“Evening, Doc, welcome Rosita!” Gus scooted over so Rosita could sit next to her. “Are you any good?”

“I played in a league for three years, so I’m not too shabby.” Rosita smiled.

“I call dibs!” Curtis spoke up from the bar, picking up their pitchers.

Nicole smiled as she entered the bowling alley, spotting her group instantly. Waverly had her back to the door, but as Nicole moved closer, it was as if she sensed the other woman, turning around just as Nicole reached the lanes.

“Waves… hey.”
“Hey.” They locked eyes as the world around them suddenly came to a halt. Memories began flooding in from the night before and for a minute Waverly remembered what it felt like to be pressed up against Nicole, warm in a bed. As quickly as it had come, the moment left as the others greeted the new arrival.

“Haught-stuff! Welcome! Seems we’ve got an uneven number, which means whoever is on Curtis’ team gets an extra body.” Wynonna tried to stifle a laugh.

“What are you tryin’ to say Wynonna?” Curtis mocked offense.

“That you’re shit at bowling. You’re a handicap to any team, you know it.” He shrugged her off.

“Fine, I’ll do the teams. Doc, Curtis, Nicole, and Rosita versus Wynonna, Waverly and Me.” Gus began adding the names into the computer.

“Well, I’m pretty happy with my team. You clean up nice, Haught.” Rosita shot a sweet smile in Nicole’s direction, appreciating the green off the shoulder top Nicole had worn with a pair of tailored skinny jeans. Nicole was completely oblivious to the attention, but Waverly saw it a mile away and she could feel the jealousy from the night before rearing its ugly head.

Wynonna knew her sister well and before Waverly could express the feelings boiling inside, she ran interference.

“Alright, Waves, you’re up first.” She playfully shoved her sister in the direction of their lane. The youngest Earp rolled her eyes and stood, adjusting her skirt and reaching down to grab her ball.

Waverly may have been worried that Rosita would attempt to swoop in on Nicole, but it wasn’t farther from the redhead’s mind. In fact, she had a hard time focusing on what Rosita was saying because her eyes were fixated on Waverly, watching as she chucked the bowling ball down the lane knocking over 7 pins and then two more. Curtis only managed 4.

“Woo! That’s right, team lady Earps!” Wynonna hollered and took a swig of her beer before standing to take her turn. Nicole was also up next and as she stood Waverly was moving to sit down, they both smiled sheepishly at each other as they passed, Waverly letting her fingers ghost across Nicole’s arm.

Needless to say, even the small contact left Nicole a bit distracted. She bowled an average 6 in total and took a seat next to Rosita.

“If you want, I’ll give you some pointers next time.” Rosita stood to take her turn, moving slowly up the lane, letting her hips sway with an easy rhythm.

“Um… sure.” Nicole responded. Waverly couldn’t tell if Nicole notice the obvious flirtation, but to her, it didn’t matter, she was just mad that it existed at all. Waverly knew that it wasn’t really her place to be upset, Nicole wasn’t hers by any means and Rosita wasn’t doing anything wrong. How was she supposed to know Waverly was interested if Waves herself was just figuring it all out? Rosita bowled a spare without hardly looking at the pins.

“Knew there was a reason I brought you!’ Doc grinned handing her a glass of beer as she returned to the seat next to Nicole. Gus had bowled an 8 and it was Waverly’s turn again. The Earp competitive streak extended past bowling, apparently, because instead of just walking up and bowling normally, Waverly made sure to put an extra sway in her step. Two could play at this game and while she wasn’t sure what tricks Rosita had up her sleeve, she was determined to have Nicole notice her.

Nicole Haught could be rather oblivious, it was a trait that probably wouldn’t help her once she was a police officer, but as long as beautiful women didn’t flirt their way out of too many tickets, she’d probably be safe. She wasn’t safe around Waverly, however. Her eyes followed the youngest Earp, trailing down the curve of her hips as she bent over to pick up her ball, following her all the way through the release as the ball crashed into the pins. Strike.

“You are on fire tonight baby girl! Damn!” Wynonna high fived her sister and stood to take her turn.

“Nice one Waves.” Nicole flashed those soft dimples at Waverly as she spoke and the young Earp knew her plan had succeeded even just a little bit. The flush of miss Haught’s cheeks were just icing on the cake.

‘Top that Rosita.’ Waves thought in her head as they group continued to bowl.

The entire night became a back and forth between the two women vying for Nicole’s attention. It was unclear whether Rosita recognized she was competing at all. Most of the time she disregarded Waverly entirely, possibly because of age, even though she was only about two years younger than both of the women, or maybe Rosita was still used to being the only woman interested in women. Waverly wasn’t sure she was ready to admit she liked females as a whole, but she sure as hell felt something for Nicole.

The first round of games ended close, even though one team was a player up. The Lady Earps had a score of 490 while the other team managed 575. Since Curtis only scored 60, they let the team of four take the win.

If anyone had been as observant and in the know as Wynonna was, they would’ve seen the small glances and slight touches Waverly and Nicole had snuck throughout the evening. However, it appeared everyone, even Nicole, remained oblivious.

“Hey Waves, fancy a game of pinball? I need my good luck charm.” Waverly was about to protest, but her sister had already hooked their arms together, tugging the smaller woman back towards the arcade games.

“Spill it, Waves. Did something happen between you and Haught? Because if she took advantage of you, friends or not, I’ll have to kill her.” Waverly shook her head vehemently.

“She was a gentlewoman, 100 percent! I mean… I kind of made her cuddle me... “ Waverly’s cheeks felt warm under the green lights around the games and pool tables.

“You made her?”

“Yeah… I think I begged? She wanted to sleep on the chair, I didn’t let her. I don’t remember much else, but when I woke up I was still in my dress and she was gone. Left a cute note though.” Wynonna pretended to gag.

“So you like her?” Waverly dipped her head, looking at her feet.

“Yeah.” It was quiet, but Wynonna could tell it was sincere. “I don’t know what to do, Wynonna, I don’t even care that she’s a girl. I mean, I care a little, but not for the reasons most people care. Shit. And then there is Rosita and she’s older and probably sexier. I bet she knows how to be a better lesbian than I do.” Wynonna couldn’t help but chuckle at Waverly’s last statement.

“You’re just as oblivious as Haught. She wasn’t looking at Rosita all night, Waves.” She tossed an arm around her little sister’s shoulder and pulled her close. She remembered going through something similar with Doc a few years back when they were in the new stages of their relationship. “Just be you, Nicole’s already crazy about you.” Waverly glanced up at Wynonna, smiling.

“Really?”

“I’d bet my bike on it.” Wynonna loved her motorcycle, which meant she was as sure as she could be about how Nicole felt.

“The gay thing doesn’t weird you out?” Waverly glanced at her sister, concerned. Wynonna just laughed.

“Not at all, hell I’d date Nicole if I swung that way, she’s great.” Waverly playfully nudged her sister in the side. “You’d better get back over there though, I know Rosita’s clueless and Nicole’s way too sweet to shut her down completely.” Wynonna motioned over at the group, where Rosita was sitting awfully close to Nicole, leaning in and whispering something that made Nicole shift in her seat.

Waverly headed straight back towards the bowling lanes, like a woman on a mission.

“Rosita, I believe you’re up.” Waverly gestured towards the screen where the other woman’s name was indeed blinking.

“I’ll be back, you think about my offer.” Rosita winked at Nicole and the redhead smiled politely back.

Waverly wasted no time, sliding into the seat Rosita had just vacated.

“Who’s winning?” Nicole’s face lit up as the youngest Earp dropped down next to her.

“Not Curtis.” Nicole shook her head, feeling a little sorry for the guy.

“Yeah, I’m not sure why he still agrees to go on these outings, Wynonna and Gus just poke fun at him all the time.”

“Oh, and you’re innocent?” Waverly playfully nudged Nicole, letting their arms touch and not moving back. It was nice, just simple skin on skin contact. It made Waverly buzz. She wasn’t too sure Wynonna was completely correct in her assessment of Nicole’s feelings, but it was apparent that the other woman didn’t mind the flirtation, initiating it most of the time.

Waverly noticed that Rosita was still posturing a bit for Nicole, but the redhead’s gaze was directed at the youngest Earp, far from the bartender.

“That’s it. I’m done losing for the night. If you gals wanna play a few more rounds, be my guest. I’ll be at the bar nursin’ my wounds.” Curtis took his pitcher with him and joined some local guys at the bar. The group laughed and decided they too would move from the lanes, at least for one more round before calling it quits.

Waverly made sure to grab the barstool on Nicole’s left while Wynonna blocked Rosita from the right. She’d have to thank her wing woman later, Waverly thought.

“What Waves, no more alcohol for you?” Nicole gestured at the coke the petite woman had ordered.

“Oh no, I am sticking to virgin drinks for a while. I have no idea what was in that stuff last night, but I can’t say I remember much.” Nicole’s expression dropped slightly, wondering if Waverly remembered much past Shorty’s.

“I do remember that someone took really good care of me… it was nice. Sleeping together. I mean, well not like that… I just you know next to each other… shit.” Nicole perked back up as soon as Waverly began to dig a hole with her embarrassed rambling.

“It’s okay Waves,” Nicole placed a comforting hand just above Waverly’s knee without even thinking. “It was really nice.” Just four words and Waverly’s nerves disappeared. Nicole did have a certain calming effect when she wasn’t driving Waverly a bit crazy.

“Hey guys, I have to hit the road, some issue at Shorty’s with a bar fight, it was a pleasure beating you all.” Rosita grinned, winking in Nicole’s direction. “Haught, you think about that offer okay, let me know.”

“Offer huh?” Waverly locked eyes with Nicole, an expression of curiosity on her face.

“Oh um… She wanted to see if I was free to go on a hike Saturday.”

“Did you want to go?”

That was the million dollar question, wasn’t it? Nicole had noticed some of Rosita’s flirting, it was too obvious even if she missed half of it. And the hike she mentioned definitely sounded more like a date than two friends just spending time together.

“As friends, yeah, I’d love to hang out with her.” That was a safe answer and it didn’t really satisfy the true intent of Waverly’s inquiry.

“As friends? Do you not think Rosita’s cute?” This was a trap Nicole did not want to fall into.

“There is someone I find cuter.” Nicole was proud of her response. Rosita was cute, rather attractive in fact, but Nicole only had eyes for the woman next to her.

“Oh...well…” Waverly had hoped Nicole’s answer would involve her, she just hadn’t planned how she’d reply. “Good.”

“Yeah?” If they hadn’t been sitting so close, the tension between them palpable, Nicole would’ve been worried about such a short vague response, but she could feel the energy buzzing around them. That good essentially meant Waverly wanted Nicole to prefer her to Rosita. It was really all the redhead needed to know.

“You gals ready to head home?” Gus tossed an arm around Curtis, her voice breaking the spell surrounding Waverly and Nicole.

“Yep! Can we drop Doc off at his place? Rosita had to take his car… Waverly can ride with Nicole.” She winked at her baby sister as she hooked her arm in Doc’s.

“Sure, tabs paid, let’s skedaddle.” Curtis ushered them out of the bowling alley and to their trucks. Waverly was gonna owe Wynonna a few bottles of Jack for being such a kick ass wing woman.

They crawled into Nicole’s pick up in silence, neither woman really sure where to go from where they had just been. There had been subtext, something just underneath the surface that they had yet to face head on, but here they were, essentially alone for the next 15 minutes. Nicole tossed the truck into reverse and pulled out of the parking lot.

“Can I call dibs on Saturday night… you know, since you already have Saturday during the day booked?” Nicole smiled, glancing over briefly at Waverly before putting her eyes back on the road.

“Of course. Anything specific you have in mind…” Nicole shifted into third gear as they cruised down the small mountain roads.

“Maybe… you’ll just have to wait until Saturday.” Waverly didn’t want to wait that long, but she knew Nicole would be relatively busy during the week. Besides, part of her wanted to make sure that Rosita wasn’t the last thing Nicole was thinking about before the end of that day.

They pulled up to the Homestead, beating the other truck since they had to make a stop at Doc’s. Nicole parked and hopped out of the truck, intent on walking Waverly to the door less out of courtesy and more because she didn’t really want to say goodnight yet.

“Suddenly Saturday seems a bit far away.” Waverly sighed as she walked up to the porch, Nicole right behind her. As she took one step up, she turned, now eye level with the redhead.

“Tonight was… good.” Nicole repeated the word Waverly used because Nicole wasn’t sure she had words for what had transpired.

“Yeah… really good.” Waverly’s words were spoken a bit softer, finding herself leaning a little closer to the other woman, their faces only inches apart.

“Yeah…” It would be so easy to close the distance, to take Waverly’s lips in her own, something she’d wanted to do almost since she’d laid eyes on the other woman. She watched as Waverly’s gaze darted down to her lips and back up, confirming that she too was thinking the same thing. Nicole reached out with one hand, placing it on on Waverly’s hip, tugging her closer.

“Waves… can I?” The request was whispered against Waverly’s skin and it was taking all of the youngest Earp’s self-control not to wrap both legs around Nicole and tackle her to the ground.

“Please…” Before Nicole could close the mere millimeters between them, headlights flashed bright, illuminating them against the house. Gus’ truck pulled up, causing the two women to separate. Nicole kept a hand on Waverly’s waist for a few more moments until they rest of the Earps got out of the car.

Wynonna mouthed a ‘sorry’ as the group joined them on the porch.

“Hey, Nicole, let me load up another stack of wood for you, I am sure you’re running out.” Nicole smiled at Curtis.

“Yeah, thanks!” Nicole gave Waverly a soft apologetic smile. “Night everyone... “ She waved to Wynonna and Gus before looking at Waverly one more time. “Good night Waves.”

“Yeah… night.” Waverly was upset they were interrupted, but the simple thought that Nicole wanted to kiss her was enough fuel to keep her going, at least for a little while. This was going to be a long week for the both of them.

Chapter Text

“Come on, farm girl don’t they make you do manual labor over at the Earp Homestead?” Rosita chuckled as they moved up the mountain trail. The sky was clear, bright blue peeking through the trees, the sun cresting over the mountain ridge.

“Hey, I wasn’t aware it was a race...” Nicole tugged the water bottle out of her small day pack and leaned against a tree.

“See and I figured you were just falling behind because you liked the view.”Rosita moved a few steps back down the trail and joined Nicole, taking a sip of her own water. Nicole chuckled uncomfortably. She hadn’t minded Rosita’s flirting previously, but after what had happened, well almost happened, with Waverly, flirting back or even accepting Rosita’s small advances felt wrong.

“Very funny, come on, if we don’t keep moving we won’t make to the top before lunch.” Nicole wanted to hang out with Rosita, but her mind kept drifting to her upcoming night with Waverly.

“Well then, pick up the pace, Red.” Rosita playfully hit her on the arm and followed Nicole up the winding trail.

After another half an hour they neared the peak. A small rock climb, nothing too perilous, awaited them.

“Go on up, I’ll spot you.” Nicole motioned towards the rocks.

“I trust you not to let me fall.” Rosita winked at Nicole before hoisting herself up, one grip at a time. Nicole raised her hands, just in case, hoping not to really have to use them. Luck was never in the cards for her though, Rosita losing her footing over a loose stone.

“Shit!”

“I’ve got you.” Nicole had her hands on Rosita’s waist before she could even fall a few inches. lowering her safely to the ground.

“My hero.” Rosita smiled as Nicole stood not even a foot from her. There was a silence between them, a breeze blowing the leaves on the ground. Nicole knew what the look in Rosita’s eyes meant. She felt the other woman moving closer before she even leaned in.

“Rosita.” Their faces were close, too close.

“Yeah?”

“I can’t.” The other woman stopped. Nicole expected her to be upset, to protest maybe, but instead, Rosita smiled.

“It’s Waves, isn’t it? Carrying a torch for the youngest Earp?” Nicole shifted uneasily. “Yeah… I’ve seen the way you look at her, hell, I even think she feels the same. And here’s thinking I was the only one that played for our team in Purgatory until you showed up.” Rosita leaned up placing a soft kiss on Nicole’s cheek. “Shame, but I get it. Come on.” Nicole was a bit confused, not expecting anyone to have noticed what she had been trying to hide for weeks.

“We okay?” Nicole hollered at Rosita who was now at the top, offering her hand to help the redhead up.

“Right as rain. Though I hear Earps are heartbreakers, you let me know if you need a shoulder to cry on.” Rosita smiled and tugged her up onto the top of the ridge. The view was breathtaking, a range of mountains stretching out over the horizon.

“Man… this place is gorgeous.” Nicole moved towards the edge, but not too close.

“I know… it would’ve been so romantic.” Rosita chuckled as she stood next to Nicole.

“Rosita, I’m sorry if I ever gave you the wrong idea… that was never my intention.” Rosita placed a hand on Nicole’s shoulder.

“It’s fine Nicole, really. The heart wants what the heart wants and all that bullshit. But seriously, we’re good. Promise, now shut up and enjoy the view.”

It was sort of perfect, sitting up there on the edge of the cliffside. They remained mostly quiet, simply enjoying each other’s company and the scenery. It was nice and with the air cleared between them, Nicole felt like she could finally relax.

 

-----------------------

Waverly was currently pacing around her room in the homestead, the bed covered in clothes, closet almost empty.

“Hey, Waverly do you…. whoa… what tornado tore through here?” Wynonna leaned against her sister’s door frame.

“I have nothing to wear.” The older Earp laughed as she crossed over to the bed.

“You’ve practically got an entire Macy’s in here.” Wynonna thumbed through some of the garments. “What’s the occasion?”

“Um... “ Waverly stopped pacing and looked at her sister. “A date… with a certain redheaded farmhand.” Waverly waited for a look of shock or some sort of expression but Wynonna just smiled.

“About damn time. Where are you taking her or is she the gal with the plan?”

“Nope, that’s all on me. I’m...um, taking her to the barn. I know that’s not the most romantic place and it’s not even like we’re going anywhere, but you remember when we were younger and Dad had knocked out that part of the roof, told mom it was a sun light, but he took us up there on Willa’s 14th birthday. Blankets, candy, star gazing, a telescope and all.”

“Yeah, mom was so pissed, yelled at him for hours about how we could’ve fallen off and gotten hurt.”

“Well, there’s already a blanket up there, wine, and a picnic for two.”

“Waverly, such the romantic, I never knew.”

“And Nicole will never know if I can’t find anything to wear.” Wynonna picked up one of her sister’s sun dresses.

“I have a feeling she won’t really be focused on what you’re wearing Waves.”

“Shut your mouth, Wynonna and just help me find something… please?” Waverly pleaded with her sister, shooting her puppy dog eyes.

“This… “Wynonna tugged out a small green spaghetti strapped dress. “It’s what I’d wear.”

“I’m not sure I want to go all ‘Wynonna’ on the first date.”

Her older sister clutched her chest, mocking offense.

“Waverly Earp, are you suggesting I’m easy?”

“You know it.” The youngest Earp winked at her sister before taking the green dress out of her hand and holding it up against her as she stood in front of the mirror. “I would look good in this.”

“Haught wouldn’t be able to keep her hands off of you.”

Waverly grinned and glanced over at her sister who was now stretched out on top of the clothing pile.

“I’m nervous… is that weird? I’ve never been nervous before. I’ve had boyfriends and it was easy, just a little smile, some flirting and bam, putty in your hands, but with Nicole it’s different. Like butterflies and light headed sort of different.” Waverly flopped down next to her sister.

“You got it bad baby girl. But at least it’s for someone worth a damn.” Waverly smiled, laying her head against Wynonna’s shoulder.

“Yeah, she definitely is.”

--------------

An hour later Nicole was standing outside of the Earp homestead, dressed in a pair of tight black jeans and white striped top that hung casually off her left shoulder. Her hair was down, just past her ears, a slight touch of makeup on her cheeks. She’d been just as worried as Waverly had about what to wear, so she was holding her breath as the door opened.

Waverly was beautiful, tight green dress hugging her curves, small gold necklace draped over her collarbone.

“God Waves, you look amazing.” Nicole couldn’t take her eyes off the woman in the doorway.

“Ditto.” Waverly took a step towards Nicole, hands reaching over, fingers curling around the belt loops of the taller woman’s jeans. “You ready for our date?”

“Why yes, ma’am. I think I am.” Just being this close to Waverly, feeling her hands at her hips, pulling her closer, it was so dangerous.

“Good, follow me.” Waverly placed a soft kiss against Nicole’s cheek and the other woman was so tempted to turn her face just a little bit to the left. However, as soon as Waverly’s lips had come, they were gone and she was tugging her softly by the hand towards the old barn next to the Homestead.

“Waverly Earp, just where are you taking me?” Nicole would easily follow her anywhere, but weren’t they supposed to head out on a date?

“Patience is a virtue and all that.” Waverly smiled back at Nicole.

They pulled open the large door to the shed and entered, Waverly flicking a switch that lit up several strings of lights. The soft glow illuminated the space quite beautifully.

“I don’t remember these being in here…” Nicole grinned, looking around the barn that had obviously been cleaned up.

“Yeah… I did a bit of redecorating while you were out on your hiking date.”

“About that…” Nicole shifted her weight nervously.

“Look, I know Rosita didn’t want that hike to be purely platonic… it’s okay if…” Nicole cut her off.

“Nothing happened… in fact, when I didn’t um… flirt back she sort of called me out.”

“Called you out? What do you mean?”

“She said it was obvious how much I liked you…”

“Well… I suppose we haven’t been super subtle?” Waverly reached out and took Nicole’s hand again. “Though I don’t mind. Come on, this isn’t all I’ve set up.” The youngest Earp guided Nicole over to a ladder and climbed up, motioning for the other woman to follow her. They both made their way up to the loft and to a large window that had been cracked open in the slanted roof.

“I was wondering where this led.” Nicole helped Waverly through the window.

On the roof, there was a small porch that had been built. A fluffy blanket had been laid out, along with a few more string lights, a bottle of wine and a picnic basket.

“Waves, this is… jeez.”

“Too much?” Waverly was worried that Nicole didn’t like it, but when she felt the other woman’s arms wrap around her waist, her fears dissipated.

“It’s perfect. I promise. Really.” Nicole wanted to kiss Waverly and anytime they were this close it always looked like she wanted to kiss her back, but there would be time for that, wouldn’t there?

“If there is food in there, then I will be in heaven.”

“Then you’re in luck, made the sandwiches myself.” Waverly chuckled. “It’s not much, but trust me, avoid my cooking at all costs.”

They took a seat on the blanket and pulled out the food. The night was perfect, almost too perfect. It wasn’t too hot, but not too cold and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

After the food and most of the wine was gone, Nicole leaned back against the slanted roof, holding an arm out for Waverly to join her. The smaller woman instantly curled into Nicole’s embrace.

“Good first date?” Waverly took one last sip of her wine before placing it down next to her.

“Best first date.” Both women laughed.

“That sounded better in my head… but seriously… tonight has been wonderful.” Nicole tugged her closer, letting her fingers trail down Waverly’s bare arm, smiling as she felt the woman’s goosebumps rise.

Waverly’s hand snaked around Nicole’s stomach as she turned towards the other woman. Nicole’s red hair looked like it was on fire under the twinkle of the string lights and Waverly couldn’t stop herself from reaching up to touch it, her fingers tangled in the locks.

“Nicole…” Their eyes locked, frozen for a moment just staring at each other. “I want…” Her words were whispered, lips inches from Nicole’s.

“Waves... “ Nicole closed the last bit of distance between them, kissing Waverly as she pulled their bodies together. Everything about the contact set Nicole on fire and it took all of her self-control to move slow, wanting to let Waverly set the speed.

The smaller woman seemed to be okay with fast, teeth tugging Nicole’s bottom lip as hands slid up the other woman’s sides. Waverly had wanted to kiss Nicole for far too long and all of the pent up desire had pushed her over the edge. She needed this, she needed Nicole, to feel her all over.

The kiss became more fevered, needier, hands running over skin, bodies pressing tightly together.

“Waves…” Nicole said her name, breathless, whispered against her mouth with barely enough room between their bodies for air.

“Yeah?” They were both tingling.

“You… are gonna be the death of me.” Nicole hadn’t wanted to pull away, but being this close to Waverly was driving her mad and if they continued, it’d be hard to stop. She wasn’t sure Waverly would’ve minded, but this was their first date and while they didn’t have time to take things slow, Waverly deserved the best.

“Is that a bad thing?”

“Jury is still out… but if you keep this up, I’m not going to be able to mantain the gentlelady schtick.”

“You’re gonna make a good cop, always the responsible one.” Waverly leaned in and placed a kiss on Nicole’s lips again, lingering for a moment before pulling away. “We can behave… for now… but I don’t want this night to end yet if that’s okay?”

Nicole smiled and pulled her closer, Waverly tucking her head in the nape of the taller woman’s neck, arms wrapped tightly around her date. They spent the next two hours lying there, wrapped up in each other, kissing and talking. It had been the perfect night and for the first time in her life, Waverly actually found herself not wanting to get out of purgatory, she just wanted to stay right there.

Chapter Text

Nicole had never been to a rodeo. She wasn’t one for all the cattle roping and mistreatment of animals, but Waverly had begged with a sweet smile and the softest of kisses. She simply couldn’t say no.

Nicole showed up at the Homestead around 7 am, promising to help load the truck with Gus’ award winning vegetables and some of Curtis’ farm equipment. She was dressed relatively casually, a pair of tight gray jeans, work boots, her Stetson, and a tank top covered by a green plaid button down with the sleeves folded three-quarters.

“Morning sunshine!” Gus called out as the farm hand approached the truck, tipping her Stetson.

“I’m here to help, what can I do?” Gus grinned and handed her a thermos with coffee.

“Take a few sips of that to get the juices flowing then meet Curtis in the barn, he’s got a couple hay bales he needs to be tossed into the trailer, along with some other tools.”

“Thanks, Gus.” Nicole held up the cup and took a long sip, not caring that it burned on its way down.

After about 30 minutes everything was loaded and ready to go. Nicole even had to take a few plants in her truck bed so that Curtis’ things didn’t crush them.

“You drive real slow, you’re caring precious cargo.”

“Aww Gus, you care?” Waverly had stepped out onto the porch her hair pulled half up, framing her face as she donned a blue and white striped dress.

“Please, you’re tough, my Magnolias… not so much.” Gus was shifting her pots around in Nicole’s truck as she spoke.

“Wow… I see who your real favorite is.”

“Well, I can keep both safe.” Nicole smiled as Waverly approached her, playfully shoving her side. Even just the small contact made Nicole’s skin tingle.

“Alright Earps, let’s head out, Wynonna and Doc are meeting us over there.” Curtis hopped into his truck and Gus followed suit.

“After you ma’am.” Nicole opened the passenger door for Waverly, offering her hand as the smaller woman stepped up into the pickup.

“Why thank you, such a gentlelady.” Once she was safely in the truck, Nicole closed the door and walked around sliding into the driver’s seat. They waited a moment, watching as Gus and Curtis kicked up dust heading down the driveway.

“Hey, you.” Waverly’s voice was low, suggestive even, as she leaned across the bench, reaching over to tug Nicole in by the collar of her plaid shirt.

“Hey, yourself…” Nicole pressed her lips against Waverly’s, savoring in the sweetness she found. She could kiss Waverly for days, but it would be too odd if they showed up far behind the other truck.

“Mmm… time to head out. Wouldn’t want to give anyone any ideas…” Nicole switched the car into gear.

“Oh… but I had a few good ideas…” Waverly sat back in her seat, but her hand slipped over the armrest and found a place to sit on Nicole’s upper thigh, softly tracing patterns as they drove.

The same field that had housed the fairgrounds now had a different kind of fair occupying its land. There were large tents set up almost a mile long, and a few areas wide open with rings for different events. The parking lot, which was also just another field someone had lined with spray paint, was filled with vehicles and trailers for both animals and equipment.

They found a spot next to Gus and started unloading the trucks just as Doc and Wynonna rolled up.

“Perfect timing, did you find out where they put the plant booth this year?”

Wynonna saluted with one hand, bring her thermos of coffee up to her lips with the other. “Aye Aye, Gus. Same as last year for once, down next to the sheep tent. Loudest place at the fair.” Wynonna sighed.

“Figures, alright gang, load up and head out.” Gus grabbed a handful and her husband followed suit. Wynonna moved to the truck, loading up an armful of gear.

“Come on Notebook wannabes, stop ogling each other and help us.” Waverly and Nicole jumped apart slightly. They had been whispering to each other leaning against Nicole’s truck, lost in their own world until Wynonna had spoken.

“Jealous Wynonna.”

“Oh no, if Doc ever pulled that sappy shit I’d kick his ass to the curb and he knows it.” Doc just smiled and tipped his hat, grabbing some of the heavier plants.

After unloading the last of the stuff from the truck, Wynonna pulled the group, minus Gus and Curtis, towards the breakfast carts.

“Donuts… donuts for days…” Wynonna’s eyes lit up like a kid in a candy story. She practically yanked Doc’s arm out of his socket as she pulled him into the line.

“Um… Waves, I know we probably should’ve talked about this before we got here… but um… I should keep my hands to myself, yeah?” Ever since their date at the barn they hadn’t really been out in public outside of family and friends. It was unclear what the rules were beyond the safety of the homestead.

“I hadn’t really thought about it, to be honest?” Waverly found herself both glad that Nicole had asked and also wishing she hadn’t. If she’d not reminded Waverly that no one really knew, the smaller woman probably would’ve just loved on Nicole the way she wanted to, but now there was the weight of the town resting on her shoulders. What would people say? Would they stare? Did she care if they did?

“Hey, I can see those wheels spinning… Why don’t we just play it by ear, maybe keep it all to a minimum and if you feel comfortable, you take the lead?” Nicole needed Waverly to be okay with any forms of public affection because she certainly could care less who saw them. As far as she was concerned, she was dating the best woman in all of Purgatory.

“You… are too sweet.” Waverly playfully swayed next to Nicole, bumping into her hips a few times.

“Probably not as sweet as that…” Nicole pointed at the plate, or rather mountain, of donuts Wynonna was now carrying over to a table.

“Stop judging me Haught, you see nothing.” The two women laughed as they grabbed their donuts and joined Doc and Wynonna at a table just close enough to pick up on the distinct smell of livestock.

“We’ve only got 20 minutes to shove all of this in our faces, Chrissy’s dressage competition starts at 9.” Wynonna rolled her eyes.

“You’re going, she’s practically family. Besides, you have to give the donut man time to restock.”

Wynonna shrugged her off her little sister, powdered sugar covering her nose.

----------------

Chrissy dressage had been impressive. Nicole was decent on a horse, but Chrissy made it look like an art. It helped that they’d all found a back corner to spectate in, which meant Nicole could hold Waverly’s hand without the town’s prying eyes.

The rest of the day was spent sneaking soft touches, tucking away in between tents to press their lips together briefly before a noise would cause them to jump apart. It was exciting, an illicit love affair no one really knew about. It definitely kept the fairgrounds interesting.

Around 4 pm, just after Gus’ tomatoes had won the blue ribbon, the family headed over to the BBQ area to catch the cook off. There were massive grills and smokers set up in long lines. This area was by far the best smelling. Rosita waved at the group as they neared her station.

“Earps and friends, want a sneak peek?”

“Duh.” Wynonna slipped up to the table near Rosita’s smoker and grabbed a fork. She popped a piece of the pork into her mouth and sighed with delight.

 

“Fuck Rosita… marry me?” Rosita simply chuckled and tossed some forks and plates on the table in front of the group.
“Well, I am on the market… but I am not sure Doc would be happy about it.”

“You kidding me, you’d be ecstatic wouldn’t you?” Doc just smiled, mouth full of pork.

“So… honest opinions. I’ve got about another 30 minutes to smoke and another 10 to plate.”

“This is so good, Rosita, like seriously.” Nicole ate another piece, the pork practically melting in her mouth.

“Wait until you have some of the sauce.” She winked at Nicole, causing the other woman to blush a bit. This did not go unnoticed, Waverly shifting a bit closer to Nicole, legs now touching.

“You’re bound to win again this year. No way anyone could beat this.” Waverly smiled politely at the cook. “We should… um, get going, you know, not distract her during the last hour.” Waverly stood, reaching out for Nicole’s hand. The taller woman was surprised, but she took it anyway, fingers intertwining with Waverly’s.

“We will be back, you’d better save us some.” Doc took the last piece and grabbed the trash, tossing it in the recycling bin next to the smoker.

“Will do! Someone bring me a beer when you find the time, I’m fresh out.”

Nicole nodded and the group headed out of the BBQ area back towards the main rodeo tent, Waverly still holding Nicole’s hand.

Not many people seemed to take notice, though it wasn’t altogether uncommon for two younger girls to hold hands or link arms. For them, it felt different, so could others tell?

“Ha… is this the same Champ that you were dating?” Nicole pointed at the poster tacked to the side of the main stage tent. He looked ridiculous, half flying in the air while a bull attempted to toss him off.

“Can we pretend that never happened? I’d like to pretend it never happened…” Waverly turned and buried her head in Nicole’s chest.

“Sorry baby girl, that error in judgment is gonna follow you to the grave.” Wynonna dragged Doc into the tent, Nicole and Waverly following closely behind.

Country music blared from the tent’s speakers as a clown ran around in the mud, jumping into barrels as an angry bull chased him back and forth. They took seats up high in the bleachers, Waverly feeling a bit more comfortable with Nicole after they’d walked around holding hands. She took a seat one row below Nicole, gently pushing the other woman’s legs open so she could lay backward into her.
Nicole ran her hands down Waverly’s shoulders and back up again before relaxing against the back of the bleachers, content to have Waverly this close.

“And next up is Hardy James! Or as y’all know him, Champ! He’s riding little blue today. He just needs 21 seconds to put away the title again for the 3rd year in a row!”

Champ was headed over to the gate where the bull was housed, wearing the entire cowboy get up, chaps, hat, boots and everything. On anyone else, it might have looked sharp, on Champ it just looked ridiculous. But he must have been decent at it if he’d won the past two years.

He waved at the audience, blowing them kisses as he stepped over the bull’s fence. It was at that moment he spotted the Earp group, high up on the bleachers, Waverly, someone he still considered his, nestled comfortably between Nicole’s legs. The sight infuriated him. He wanted to climb the stands and throw Nicole into the ring with little blue.

“Come on son, you’re up.” the wrangler gave him a nudge, bringing him back to the task at hand. He flipped both legs over, straddling the bull, anger evident on his face.

“Well, I guess Champ figured it out…” Wynonna shook her head, taking a swig of her beer.

The bull was released from the gate at the buzzer and Champ gripped tightly as it kicked and spun. 7 seconds. That was all it took for little blue to toss Champ straight into the dirt, face first, the championship was gone.

Nicole had to stifle a laugh, Wynonna didn’t bother, cackling from the stands as soon as he was on his feet, with the only injury being his pride.

A few more riders went into the ring from different divisions, most of them hanging on much longer than Champ had. The sound of the bell meant that the BBQ contest had begun, so the group wandered back over to Rosita’s stand, not even bothering to taste the others. There was a huge line for hers, Earl’s and Bobo’s. It was always close between the three of them.

“The winner of this year's Ghost River Down and Dirty BBQ is once again Rosita’s Finest!” The two men groaned as she was handed her winnings and the pretty ribbon to stick on her smoker.

“Fuck yes!” She hollered, taking off her apron and tossing it over a chair.

“Celebratory beer?” Rosita smiled at Nicole as the other woman handed her the cold bottle.

“Just what I wanted.” Ever since their hike, their banter had been easy, the cleared air left room for a friendship to blossom. Though Waverly still wasn’t too sure she liked it, sticking close to Nicole whenever Rosita was around, just to be sure.

“Well what happens now, I’m full and on beer 2, which means two more and I may not be able to keep my hands off of you Miss Earp,” Nicole whispered into Waverly’s ear as they sat at a table, Wynonna taking a shot before standing to get seconds from Rosita.

“Ah… well since you’ve been so well behaved and I’m pretty sure half this town has clued into everything, I believe it’s about time you ask me for a dance.” There was a soft sparkle in Waverly’s eyes. Nicole couldn’t say no and she didn’t want to.

“I’d be my honor.” She chuckled. “You guys coming?” Waverly and Nicole stood, speaking to Doc and Wynonna.

“We’ll meet you there, this sandwich has my name on it.”

The dance floor which was set up where the main stage had begun to slowly fill, people standing around the outskirts talking and socializing. There was a bluegrass band on a small stage playing a fast number. Nicole and Waverly had planned to join in on the line dancing that had begun, but as soon as they found a spot on the floor the music slowed.

“Oh… well… I suppose since we’re already out here.” Nicole reached out her hand, offering it to Waverly. “May I have this dance?” Waverly hesitated for a moment and Nicole wondered if she’d pushed things too far. However, as soon as their hands met, all of the smaller woman’s fears slipped away, her worried expression turning to one of delight.

“You may.”

Nicole raised their joined hands and slipped her free one around Waverly’s waist, pulling her close as they began to sway and turn to the music.

“You are a vision.” Nicole couldn’t believe how she’d gotten this lucky. It felt like a fairytale.

“You’re sweet. This is exactly where I want to be.” Waverly rested her head against Nicole’s chest, allowing the taller woman to lead.

“You’re disgusting…” Both women looked up, coming face to face with a very intoxicated Champ.

“And you’re drunk and still an asshole.” They had stopped dancing and Waverly was now standing between Nicole and Champ.

“You can’t date this bitch, Waves! She’s not good enough for you, she can’t love you like I did!”

“For fuck’s sake, it's 2008 Champ, grow up!” Nicole was getting mad, but Waverly’ acting as a barricade was calming her slightly.

“You shut your mouth, you’re the reason I lost today. You had to just flaunt it in our faces? There are kids around! Fuck.” Champ reached out grabbing Waverly by the arms.

“You know you still love me Waves, come on….” Nicole didn’t miss a beat, grabbing his right hand that had gripped Waverly’s arm. With one hard tug, she yanked it backward, shoving him away.

“Hands off, you don’t touch a woman unless she wants to be touched, didn’t you learn last time?”

Champ took a swing at Nicole, but she moved out of the way. His moves were slow and uncoordinated, too much alcohol clouding his brain. He stumbled but reared back, intent on swinging again. Nicole stepped in front of Waverly and shoved him hard. Champ fell on his ass.

“Stay down there if you know what’s good for you.” He tried to get up, but stumbled again, falling over. The police arrived just as he made it back to his feet.

“Come on, time to go to the drunk tank.” The police officer could tell that the boy needed to sober up. “Everyone alright here?” The group around him all nodded.

“Okay, nothing else to see here then, continue dancing.”

Nicole turned to Waverly, linking their hands. “You okay?”

“Yeah, what did I ever see in him?”

Nicole tucked a strand of Waverly’s hair behind her ear.

“No idea, but it doesn’t matter anymore, as long as you see something you like in me.”

“Oh… there are many things I like about you.” The crowd began to move away continuing to dance.

“Really? Maybe you should tell me about some of those?”

“Maybe I will? But I’d rather show you.” The last phrase was whispered against Nicole’s lips before closing the distance between them, pulling the taller woman into a kiss, not caring what the rest of the world thought.

--------------
The night winded down as the gang helped Gus and Curtis pack up before heading back to the homestead. As they pulled into the driveway, Nicole was all set to stop at the main house and say goodnight to Waverly.

“Hey…” Waverly reached over, covering Nicole’s hand with her own. “Take me to your cabin?”

Nicole took a long look at Waverly, wanting to make sure she knew what she was asking.

“Are you sure?”

“Please, Nicole. I want to… I want you.” Nicole could feel the fire begin to rumble deep down at her core.

“Okay…” She smiled and switched her truck back into gear, waving at Gus and Curtis as they drove to her cabin.

It was a short drive, but it felt like miles when all she wanted to do was touch, Waverly. The smaller woman’s hands were playing with the fabric of her jeans, nails digging into her upper thigh. It was driving her a bit mad.

Once inside the cabin, Nicole lit two lanterns, leaning down to toss a few logs in the wood burning stove before lighting it. She hadn’t looked at Waverly since she’d entered the room, afraid that one glance would send her over the edge. She needed to take this slow, wanted Waverly to pick the pace.

Apparently, the smaller woman had other ideas, because as soon as Nicole’s hands were no longer busy, she slid her arms around the other woman’s waist, pulling Nicole to her, capturing her lips.

They kissed before, but this one felt like it had more weight, a good kind of heavy.

“We can go as fast or as slow as you need to, Waves.” Nicole needed the other woman to know that she set the pace here. “I want you, but only what you’re ready for.” Waverly nodded, a mischievous glint in her eye as she tangled fingers in Nicole’s hair, pulling her into a searing kiss.

Nicole wanted to be controlled, responsible, but as soon as Waverly’s free hand slid under her tank top nails digging into the flesh under the fabric, Nicole’s resolve began to crumble. She pulled back from the kiss, fingertips slowly tugging the zipper of Waverly’s dress down her back, giving her plenty of time to protest. But she made no sound, just stared at Nicole with such hunger in her eyes.

With the zipper undone, Waverly let the straps fall, the rest of the dress cascading down her body and pooling at her feet. Nicole swallowed as she looked down at the other woman, now clad only in a white lace bra and matching underwear with blue trim.

“God, Waves, you’re beautiful.” The smaller woman blushed, she loved that Nicole thought she was beautiful, but the desire Nicole was shooting her direction made her a bit bashful. She redirected the focus to Nicole’s clothed body, slowly popped off the buttons one by one until she was able to slide the garment off of the redhead’s shoulders. The tank top followed right afterward, Waverly intent on getting them in matching states of undress.

“I’ve never… well, you probably knew… but this is my first time, with a woman.” Waverly toyed with Nicole’s belt buckle.

“If this is what you want, I’ll teach you everything I know.” Waverly nodded, kissing Nicole sweetly as she removed the taller woman’s belt and then jeans.

“Can I… can I just look at you for a minute?” Nicole smiled at the question. It was voiced with such earnest and devotion.

“Of course, as long as I can do the same.” Waverly nodded eagerly. And so they stood there, about a foot apart, just taking in each other’s forms.

“...Fuck… enough looking…” Waverly couldn’t wait any longer, there would be time to admire Nicole later. She reached out, taking the taller woman’s hand, leading her to the bed.

Nicole smiled, wrapping her arms around Waverly’s lower body, practically lifting her onto the mattress as she lowered her body down on top of the smaller woman.

“This feels so good…” Waverly uttered as she let their skin merge together. Feeling the weight of Nicole on top of her, bare flesh pressed together, it was enough to send her straight over the edge.

“I want you…” Nicole didn’t need Waverly to say anything else, she smiled, pressing alternating soft and hard kisses along the smaller woman’s jaw line, trailing down to her collarbone and eventually between the valley of her chest, one hand sneaking around to unhook her bra. It was discarded with the rest of the clothes.

Nicole wanted to take her time, but her desire was getting the best of her and before she knew it, her mouth was wrapped around Waverly’s nipple, tugging the sensitive bud between her lips. The smaller woman’s back arched at the contact, hands tangling in red locks.

“God, I’ve wanted you for so long…” Waverly’s words were breathy, said between gasps as Nicole’s tongue darted out against her flesh.

“Mmm you mean we could’ve been doing this all summer…” Nicole grinned, one hand sliding down between their bodies.

“Don’t remind me… we’ve missed out on too much.”

“Well, let’s make up for the time lost.”

“Please…”

Nicole’s fingertips danced against the thin fabric of Waverly’s underwear. She looked up at the smaller woman as if to ask permission one last time before crossing the line completely, but Waverly was one step ahead of her. She wrapped a hand around Nicole’s and pressed it hard against her core.

“Nicole…” It was all the permission she needed. Their bodies rocked together as Nicole mapped out every inch of Waverly, fingertips dancing across ridges, hips rolling and bucking with every flick of her thumb.

It was pure ecstasy and Waverly never wanted it to end. And it didn’t, not until the early morning hours when the dew had already fallen on the ground and the sun slowly rose above the horizon.

Chapter Text

“Hey, cowgirl, fancy a break?” Waverly approached the woman sitting high on the tractor, handing her a water bottle.

“You are a goddess.” Nicole had been carrying hay bales all morning, the sun beating down on her sensitive skin. She’d stripped to just her tank top and jeans, not caring how burned her shoulders were, it was just too hot.

“So I’ve been told.” Waverly let her eyes trail over Nicole’s form, thanking the universe that it had been so hot out that day. It both gave her an excuse to come see Nicole and it meant that her lover would probably not be wearing much. “God… you’re hot.” Waverly was glad she didn’t have to censor her thoughts anymore.

Nicole knew she hadn’t meant the temperature and was glad she was too burned to really blush. “Come here.” Nicole reached down and took Waverly by the hand, hoisting her easily up into the tractor. “I’ll give you a ride back to the homestead since you were nice enough to trek out here to bring me water.”

“Mmm, that’s not the only reason I came out here.” Waverly settled into the large tractor seat behind Nicole, pulling the woman against her, fingers tangling the hem of her tank top. “Is it weird that I like the way you smell when you’ve been working… sweat, dirt and you…” Waverly pressed her lips to Nicole’s neck, tasting the salt.

“I’m glad you like it, it’s sort of a constant during the week.” Nicole leaned back into Waverly’s embrace, letting out a small ragged breath as she felt the other woman’s lips on her skin.

“You can’t keep doing that if you expect me to drive this machinery.” Waverly didn’t listen, continuing to place soft languid kisses along Nicole’s neck. “Waves….” Her name came out as almost a whisper.

“Yes…” Waverly purred, fingertips dancing at the top edge of Nicole’s work jeans. “I’ve missed you.” Which of course was silly, they’d spent almost every night that week together, but Nicole worked long hours and Waverly needed more time with her.

“Mmm have you?” Nicole’s back arched as Waverly dug her nails into the soft flesh of her hips.

“Let me show you how much I’ve missed you.” Waverly’s words teased Nicole, hot breath against her neck. The smaller woman expertly popped off the button of Nicole’s pants, the zipper sliding down with ease. Nicole’s breath had become deep and labored as Waverly let her teeth graze the soft skin at the nape of her neck, hand sliding beneath the fabric separating Waverly from her final destination.

“You drive me crazy… you know that?” Nicole leaned back into Waverly, nails digging into the denim covering Waverly’s thighs.

“Good, the feeling’s mutual…” Waverly smiled against Nicole, moaning as she felt how wet the other woman was for her.

It didn’t matter that they were out in an open field where anyone could see them, the two women needed each other in that moment and public indecency laws weren’t going to stop them, besides, they were at least a mile out from the Homestead.

“Please, Waves… enough with the teasing…” She’d been thinking about the other woman since this morning when she’d woken up in a rather similar position, Waverly behind her, touching her.

“You’re sexy when you beg…” Waverly obliged, slipping deep inside her partner, Nicole turning her head just enough to capture Waverly’s lips with her own.

It would go on like this for the next few weeks. Stolen moments alone, heated and full of want. They soaked up all the time they had, finding fields, closets, dark corners to simply be with each other. It was probably annoying to those around them, but they’d tuned everything out ages ago.

---------------------
“What do you think gonna happen when they both leave?” Doc was sipping on a glass of Whiskey, sitting next to Wynonna at Shorty’s.

“I don’t even want to think about it. I haven’t see Waves this happy in ages.” Wynonna watched as the two women giggled in a corner booth, exchanging soft kisses between whispered words.

“Long distance is thing…” Doc ordered another drink, a beer this time.

“I don’t know, they’re several states away and it’s not like they have enough money to blow on plane tickets… it’s gonna be rough.”

As Wynonna finished her sentence the two women made their way over.

“Hey y’all!” Nicole slid into a bar stool and Waverly followed suit.

“Actually, Haught, can I have a word?” The taller woman looked concerned, but Wynonna didn’t bother explaining, she just tugged the woman over to the back near the pool tables.

“What was that all about?” Waverly looked confused, directing her attention to Doc. He shrugged, even though he knew full well what his girlfriend was about to say.

“So… Waverly leaves in a week…” Wynonna racked the pool balls into the center of the table.

“Yeah… don’t remind me.”

“You guys talk about what’s gonna happen?” Wynonna grabbed a stick and handed one to Nicole.

“Yes and no… she wants to try long distance. She’s determined actually.”

“Yeah, I was worried about that.” Wynonna shot the cue ball into the group, scattering the numbers and colors everywhere. “She’s so smart, you know, she’s gonna get out of this town and make something of herself.” Nicole didn’t speak, figuring Wynonna was going to continue regardless. “You’re good for her, Nicole, I know that, but she’s gotta spread her wings, be on her own, experience the world.” Nicole took her shot as she listened to the older Earp.

“Fuck, I’m shit at this… you gotta let her go. Don’t keep her holding onto something, don’t tie her down.” Wynonna popped two balls in with one shot.

“Oh... “ Part of Nicole had already thought of this, antagonized over it. But hearing it out loud felt like a punch to the gut.

“Look, Waverly is crazy about you, I’m just worried she won’t live life to the fullest if she’s just counting the days until she sees you every semester…” Wynonna was now standing next to Nicole, placing an arm around her shoulder.

“I hate that you’re right…” Wynonna squeezed Nicole’s shoulders in a half hug.

“I’m here for you… and I’ll be there for Waverly. Who knows, maybe you guys are meant for each other and fate will pull you back together and it’s not like you have to forget about each other… you just both need to live your lives.” Wynonna didn’t want to be the logical one in this scenario, she wanted to tell the two lovebirds to just enjoy each other, but she’d seen what that had done to Willa. It had kept her in the next town over, latched onto a man named Robert. A stay at home mom who loved her kids, but her wings had been clipped. She didn’t want Waverly to suffer the same fate, love or not.

 

“Can we change the subject?” Nicole couldn’t talk about this anymore, not if she wanted to maintain her composure. They still had a week, a week to be together before it all had to end.

“Yeah, Haught, you got it.”

The night went on normally, a few drinks, a few games and eventually, the couples went their separate ways, Waverly ending up in Nicole’s cabin.

“What did Wynonna corner you about?” Nicole had already crawled into bed, Waverly brushing out her hair near the wood burning stove.

“Oh… um... “ Nicole couldn’t lie to Waverly and it was a talk they needed to have sooner rather than later. “You leaving…” Waverly put her brush down and moved over to the bed, crawling under the sheets.

“I’m gonna miss you so much, but there are skype and holidays.” She snuggled against the taller woman, Nicole wrapping her arms around Waverly.

“Waves… you’re going off to college for the first time, maybe… maybe a relationship isn’t really what you need…” Waverly’s eyes locked with Nicole’s.

“Is that what Wynonna told you? That a long distance relationship wouldn’t work?” There was concern in her voice.

“Sort of…” Nicole ran her hand through her hair, preparing for the attack Waverly was sure to throw her way.

“What do you want?” Nicole was surprised by the question.

“You… I want you… but I also know what first years at college are like and I’ve done long distance. It was with my high school girlfriend, Shay…. It kind of fucked us over freshmen year. We fought… a lot.” Waverly was quiet, focusing on the feeling of Nicole’s chest rising as she breathed, body wrapped around the taller woman.

“I don’t want to fight with you… but I also don’t want to let you go…” Waverly’s grip around Nicole tightened as she spoke. “I…. I love you.” She was now crying, tears staining Nicole’s top.

“Hey… hey…” Nicole placed a gentle finger under Waverly’s chin, lifting the other woman’s gaze to meet her own. “I love you too… more than I’ve ever loved anyone.” They were now both crying, tears slowly streaming down their cheeks. Nicole placed a soft kiss to Waverly’s lips.

“You go experience life, Waverly Earp, but know that you’ll always have a place in my heart, this summer was the best of my life.”

“Just… shut up… please… I need…” Waverly had shifted, climbing on top of Nicole, straddling her hips as she tugged off her night shirt. “I need to feel you.”

Nicole couldn’t say no, and she didn’t really want to. While they should talk more, she could tell tonight wasn’t the night. They had promises to make, promises that would be carved on their skin as they melted together under the low light of the oil lamps.

 

-----------------

The week flew by too quickly. They hadn’t really spoken much about Waverly leaving since that night. Nicole had barely left the other woman’s side, spending hours just being together. They could sleep later, they had to make these days last longer.

Of course, neither woman could freeze time and the morning of Waverly’s flight had arrived. Nicole had offered to drive her to the airport and Waverly had agreed, wanting her lover to be the last person she saw..

The hour drive to the airport had been mostly quiet, Waverly pressed against Nicole, head resting on the taller woman’s shoulder as she drove. Neither woman wanted this hour to end, but as they parked and Nicole tugged Waverly’s bags from the truck bed, the smaller woman pulled Nicole into a hug.

“I’m gonna miss you so fucking much.” There were tears in Waverly’s eyes as she held tightly onto Nicole, feeling the taller woman’s lips on the top of her head.

“You are amazing, Waverly Earp. The world is so lucky to have a person like you in it and I’m the luckiest that you are a part of my life.” Waverly pulled back and pressed her lips hard against Nicole’s wrapping her around her partner’s neck.

“You’d better not be a stranger…” Waverly words were shaky, tears flowing freely.

“Never, you’ve got my number, call me whenever you need me, night or day. Come on, you’re gonna miss your flight.” Nicole reached up and wiped a few stray tears from Waverly’s eyes. Taking the smaller woman’s hand and picking up one of her bags, she walked them both to the check in and security.

“I love you… and I refuse to say goodbye… at least not forever. Okay?” Waverly took Nicole’s hands in her own. “I can’t ask you to wait, but I also just don’t think this is the end… not completely…” Nicole smiled softly, wanting so badly to believe in Waverly’s words.

“I don’t think you’d ever let it be the end… and I’m okay with that. Now, I love you but I’d like to live until tomorrow and Wynonna will kill me if you miss your flight.”

Waverly nodded and leaned up, kissing Nicole, throwing her whole body into the act, not caring if people starred. Nicole met her with equal passion, wrapping her arms around Waverly’s waist and pulling her as close as she could. When the kiss broke they were both breathing heavily.

“Until we meet again?” Nicole smiled, fighting back tears.

“Until we meet again.” Waverly pressed one more kiss to Nicole’s lips before turning and heading into security.

It’d be another 9 years until they met again…

 

To be Continued….