The car ride back to campus was short. Waverly tried making small talk, but Rosita was more interested in talking about the kiss that Nicole and Waverly had almost shared at the party. Rosita loved a good romance story, and she felt personally invested in this one. Normally she’d be upset that she was used to make someone else jealous, but she was flattered and felt a friend-like connection towards Waverly. Plus, she figured that having to watch Shae draped over Nicole was punishment enough. Rosita was more concerned about her new friend getting her heart broken.
As Rosita pulled over in the campus parking lot she looked in Waverly’s direction to insinuate that she wanted to talk. They sat quietly for a second before Rosita broke the silence.
“Well, you’re up against some tough competition.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Waverly said innocently, in an attempt to avoid the topic. Waverly denied the insane attraction she felt towards Nicole to herself, so denying it to anyone else who asked was a given.
“Fine, but I just wanted to say, I’ve been there – with Nicole.” Waverly’s eyes widened, she couldn’t believe that Rosita and Nicole had been together. That Rosita’s lips had kissed Nicole.
“You and Nicole?” Waverly asked nervously, unsure that she really wanted to hear the response to the question she posed. Rosita noticed the concern in Waverly’s voice and nodded, “Gosh Waverly don’t worry. It wasn’t anything special, we only kissed a little last semester,” she said teasingly, trying to reassure Waverly. Waverly would never admit it to Rosita, but she was relieved.
“Why would I worry? Nicole and I are just friends,” Waverly replied in a high pitched voice. Her voice would involuntarily get higher when she lied. Wynonna noticed it when they were younger and would always tell her sister to work on lying better.
Waverly thought about what Nicole had said to her that night. You’re so pretty, and I like you so much. She wondered how many other girls Nicole had said sweet things like that to. The thought of Nicole talking to other girls that weren’t her made her heart ache.
“Is there anyone she hasn’t kissed? -- Other than me” she blurted bitterly.
The thought of Nicole’s lips nearly touching hers, that night, ran into her mind. She closed her eyes and ran a finger across her lips. She was consumed in her own thoughts, and for a moment Waverly completely forgot that Rosita was sitting next to her.
“You have it that bad, huh? Hey - the body and the eyes, I get it. Nicole is, well she’s Nicole,” Rosita swallowed hard before continuing, “But she’s known around campus for being a heartbreaker, and she never settles down for too long, so just be careful.”
“But I like her a lot, a lot more than I’d like to admit actually” Waverly sighed laying her head on the dashboard. Rosita placed a hand on her knee soothingly “I know; I swear that red-hair has magical powers.” Waverly laughed, and was relieved that out of this messy day she still managed to make a friend.
“I - I’m in trouble,” Waverly groaned as she picked her head up and stepped out of Rosita’s car.
“Wave, just thought you should know, the red-headed hottie couldn’t keep her eyes off of you either.”
Nicole looked at me all night, she thought as she walked away.
She didn’t know if Rosita had said that just to make her feel better about her impossible crush, but the thought of Nicole staring at her all night made her smile. She walked away feeling like Rosita had just given her the best gift.
“Idiots,” Rosita whispered playfully as she drove away.
When Waverly entered her room, she finally noticed her phone. She hadn’t checked it all night. The screen said it was 2:43 A.M., and she had 2 unread text messages from Nicole. She vaguely remembered entering her phone number into Nicole’s phone when they sat on the couch with CJ earlier that night.
Wave, it’s Nicole. Are you okay? I looked for you everywhere. I know I was your ride back. Text me please.
Waverly, getting worried now. Just let me know you’re okay?
I’m fine. Got a ride from Rosita!
Rosita? Cool, have fun. See you around, glad you’re safe.
Waverly wasn’t sure why Nicole’s response was so satisfying to read. She loved that Nicole had worried about getting her home safe, but the last text Nicole sent her made her happier somehow. Nicole’s text had been impulsive, honest, and raw. She was jealous and probably going crazy thinking about what Waverly and Rosita were doing. Waverly laid down, and reread the message over and over, being careful not to reply. She put her phone down, smiling contently.
I think I might like college, I think I might like it a lot, she thought of Nicole once more as she closed her eyes and drifted to sleep.
Waverly woke up with a small headache. She washed her face thinking about all the things that happened the night before. Nicole almost kissed her, and publically admitted that Waverly was prettiest girl in the room. Nobody else had ever made her feel that good about herself. Smiling, she sat at her desk and began reading from her textbooks; she wanted to be prepared for class.
Waverly had a team bonding session with the cheerleading squad to look forward to later in the day. She was excited because she would get to meet everyone, and pick up her uniform. As much as she wanted to focus her attention on the many things she had to do, her mind couldn’t help but wander. She thought about how much she wanted to see Nicole again.
Classes began Monday morning, and Waverly was glad she had toured the campus the day she arrived. The campus was big, but she knew exactly where her classes were, and was pleasantly surprised when Rosita turned out to be in her Biochemistry class. Waverly loved being around Rosita because she was the only person that knew exactly how she felt about Nicole. Waverly trusted Rosita since the night she had brought her home, and the two were becoming close friends quickly.
Rosita was brilliant at anything science related, and agreed to tutor Waverly, if she ever needed it. A couple of days went by before she realized that Shae was in the class too. She only noticed when she saw Nicole walking through the doors of the science building. Waverly rolled her eyes when she realized that Nicole wasn’t alone. Waverly couldn’t pretend that seeing the two together didn’t bother her, not anymore. Her feelings since the day she met Nicole had only gotten stronger.
Of course she’s walking her to class and carrying her books. Why does Nicole have to do cute things like that for her? she thought.
Nicole smiled brightly when she saw Waverly looking in her direction, but her smile faded when she noticed Rosita next to her laughing at something she had said. Nicole looked away quickly, but Waverly continued to stare at her longingly. Rosita teased Waverly, “Close your mouth Wave, she’s a mortal too.”
A week went by since Waverly attended the party. She saw Nicole around campus occasionally, unfortunately, it was usually when she walked Shae to class.
Towards the end of August, she saw Nicole on the track field on her way to cheerleading practice. Since then, she would purposely walk past the track field to watch Nicole practice. Getting to see her, even from afar, would brighten her day. Waverly found herself going out of her way to catch a glimpse of the beautiful girl without her plus one. After a couple of days Nicole began noticing the young girl, and would wave at her while she trained.
She’s so beautiful, Nicole thought as she watched the girl.
The two were voluntarily avoiding their feelings for one another, feelings that were obvious to anyone else with eyes. Nicole would search for Waverly to walk by, just as much as Waverly would look for Nicole. The innocent interaction would make their bad days a little better.
That girl melts me with a smile, Waverly thought as she walked past the field.
Waverly was crushing hard, but denied it pushing the thoughts out of her mind. She focused on cheerleading practice. Cheerleading was something she was great at, and something that made her genuinely happy. Plus, it distracted her from thinking about her unattainable crush, at least for a little while.
Waverly liked her cheerleading squad, and she instantly bonded with a couple of the girls. After practice she would walk back to her room, usually catching a second glimpse of Nicole, who’d still out on the field building practicing. She loved Nicole’s dedication to the sport, and it didn’t hurt that she looked stunning doing it. The way her clothes clung to her body when she sweat, outlined her toned muscles, and revealed just how beautiful Nicole truly was. Waverly couldn’t deny that the attraction she felt towards her, when she saw her like that, only seemed to multiply.
Waverly didn’t mind walking around the lit-up campus at night, and she definitely enjoyed it more in September. She would take her time pausing to notice nature. The breeze was cooler, and the scent in the air shifted. The only thing she hated about September was her birthday. For as long as she could remember, she’d never had anyone wish her a happy birthday.
As Waverly walked past the track field, she looked for Nicole. Suddenly, she heard a sweet voice behind her.
“Waves, who ya looking for?” Nicole raised her eyebrows and smirked confidently, knowing exactly who Waverly was looking for.
Waverly didn’t like that Nicole was so cocky, “Better company, but I guess I’m stuck with you,” she responded playfully.
“Well I guess you are, here let me help you,” she said pointing at Waverly’s pink duffle bag.
“Oh, you don’t have to.”
“I know,” she said charmingly, grabbing the bag and throwing it over her shoulder. Nicole noticed the pom poms tucked into the side of the bag and smiled.
“Nice pom poms," Nicole said, intrigued to learn that Waverly was a cheerleader. "So, how have you been? You like school?” she continued.
“Oh, you really don’t want to hear about that,” Waverly said looking down.
“Sure I do,” Nicole smiled.
As soon as Waverly began talking about school, she couldn’t stop. Waverly talked about how excited she was to start studying, and begin working towards her degree. She told Nicole that she was still undecided about her major because she was interested in too many things. About how her online credits transferred to the school, and how she was well on track to graduate within two years. Nicole loved the way Waverly’s eyes lit up when she was passionate about something. Waverly told Nicole everything that she had always been too afraid to share with others. More importantly, she wasn’t afraid to be herself around Nicole. Waverly felt safe with Nicole, like she finally found someone she could share her hopes and dreams with. She even shared small details, that anyone else would have found unnecessary, like the fact that she found online courses impersonal, and how she was thrilled to sit in an actual classroom. Nicole nodded at everything Waverly told her, and she smiled brightly when Waverly would over-explain something. Before she knew it they were at her door.
“Wow, did I really talk that much?”
“It’s okay, I like listening to what you have to say, you’re pretty amazing,” Nicole looked at Waverly’s lips and licked her own.
She’s so pretty, I just want to- Nicole interrupted her own thoughts and placed Waverly’s duffle bag on the floor.
“Oh, I almost forgot. September 8th”
“You know my birthday?” she smiled, eyes fixed on Nicole’s face.
“I guess I do,” she smiled, “and it’s on my Residence Advisor board for September birthdays. Sooo, have you made any plans?”
She knows my birthday, Waverly felt her heart beat a little faster.
“No, not yet,” Waverly said curiously.
“Well you do now. Does 6 o clock, work?” she said.
“Yeah, that sounds great.”
“I’ll see you around,” Nicole said turning her head to look at Waverly once more before she walked away.
When Nicole disappeared, Waverly craved another minute with her; she needed to be the only girl in Nicole’s life. Waverly Earp felt her legs grow weak as she picked up the duffle bag and opened her door. She had a desire to spend every moment with Nicole Haught, for the first time she knew that this was more than just a crush. She loved being around Nicole so much, and all she wanted for her birthday was to be hers. But reasoned that a birthday kiss might suffice - for now.