Purgatory- Summer of 1957
The sound of an alarm ringing obnoxiously woke Nicole Haught from a dead sleep. With a grumble, she reached across her pillow and searched blindly for the object to shut it up. Feeling the cold metal of her alarm clock, after what felt like an eternity of searching, she turned it off and sighed in relief at the beautiful silence it brought and snuggled down deeper into her bed.
“NICOLE! YOUR BREAKFAST IS GETTING COLD!”
The silence broke with the sound of her mother yelling up the stairs. Pulling the blanket over her head, Nicole tried to doze off for just a few minutes more but the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs meant that wasn’t going to happen.
“Let’s go missy! You don’t want to be late for your first day of school. I expect you dressed and downstairs in ten minutes or I’m coming up with a glass of cold water.” With that, Nicole’s mother closed the door and went back downstairs.
Nicole fumbled with the blanket until she was sitting up on the edge of her mattress rubbing the last of sleep from her blurry brown eyes. The summer flew by too fast for Nicole’s liking and now it was back to early morning wake up calls and boring classes. Looking at the clock, she gave her warm bed one more longing glance before getting up and ready for the first day of her junior year.
Nicole’s black and white Converses squeaked on the kitchen tile as she walked in, reaching for the glass of orange juice and a piece of toast off the table. She chugged down her drink and held the toast between her teeth as she slipped her black leather jacket over her shoulders. Her blue button down tucked into her blue jeans completed her outfit, which her mother gave a disapproving look. Nicole was never a skirts and dresses kind of girl. It also didn’t help that she ran around with the not so sweet kids in the neighborhood. Her parents were fine with her liking girls, but the fact she preferred leather jackets and fast cars to cardigans and sock hops irritated them sometimes.
Grabbing her car keys and checking her reflection in the hall mirror, Nicole yelled a bye over her shoulder to her parents and ran out of the house to her black beauty. The 1951 Studebaker two-door sedan had been a junker until she rescued it and gave it all the love it deserved. She and Doc had spent the entire summer at his old man’s service station helping out with tune ups and oil changes in exchange for second-hand parts for the little lady. By the end of August, they had given the car a sleek black coat and bright orange/red flames on the side and she was ready to shine. Climbing into the drivers seat, Nicole gave the steering wheel a gentle caress before starting her up, cranking the radios volume dial up on Chuck Berry’s latest hit record “School Days” and pulling out of the driveway to pick up Doc.
Purgatory High gleamed white in the morning sun as Nicole pulled into the parking lot, looking for an open spot. She couldn’t help giving off a smug grin as people turned to stare at her car as she drove by. That grin widened when she spotted Purgatory High’s leading quarterback Champ Hardy stepping out of his boring car, letter-man jacket and hair perfectly combed back, grinning at the attention the other football goons gave him. Pushing down harder on the gas petal, Nicole flew passed the group in a cloud of dust and rocks. She and Doc laughed at the outraged looks they received as they finally found a spot.
Stepping out of the car, Nicole ran her hand lovingly over the roof and smiled at the way Champ was fussing over his now wind-swept hair. Pushing her seat forward, Nicole reached into the backseat for the few notebooks she threw back there yesterday and turned to hand one to Doc.
John Henry Holliday, or Doc as he preferred to be called, had been her best friend for as long as she could remember. He was always by her side growing up, beating up the kids who tried to pick on Nicole. She was like a sister to him and they watched each other’s backs.
Nicole smirked as she watched him comb his greased hair back into a perfect duck’s tail, his lit cigarette dangling from his mouth as he gave his hair a nod in approval and wiped his comb on his jean clad thigh before sticking it back in his pocket. Reaching for the book, Doc grumbled a thanks and leaned back against the trunk. Nicole looked around the lot, spotting the same old people running and giggling in their little groups like they didn’t just see them this past weekend. Rolling her eyes at their behavior, Nicole didn’t see Rosita walking up to her and Doc until a hand hit her shoulder.
“Don’t pretend like you wouldn’t react the same way if you hadn’t seen me or Doc in a few days.” Rosita teased as she snagged the cigarette from Doc’s lips and took a drag herself.
“I’m pretty sure I could contain myself.” Nicole remarked, reaching for the offered cigarette from Rosita and taking a long pull off of it before handing it back to Doc. Running a quick hand through her short red hair, Nicole pushed off the back of her car and checked her reflection in the window. Flipping up the collar of her shirt and jacket, making sure the white undershirt showed between the top buttons she left undone.
“Hi Nicole!” A loud, obnoxious voice pulled Nicole away from the window.
“Hey Chrissy.” Nicole replied back in a bored tone. Chrissy Nedley was one of the most popular girls in school. She was the captain of almost every after school club, including pep squad and her voice was like nails on a chalkboard sometimes when she got overly excited about something.
“I hope I have your vote for Junior Class Student Body President!” Chrissy thrusted a flyer at the three of them, bouncing on her toes as if she had drank a whole case of Coca-Cola this morning. “The voting polls will be held in the gymnasium next week! You guys will be there, right?”
“Sure thing, Chrissy. Wouldn’t miss it.” Nicole said folding up the flyer and tucking it in her back pocket.
“Yay! Thank you!” Chrissy turned her head to the car that just parked a few spots down and started bouncing even faster. “Gotta go! See you guys in class!” Chrissy nearly screamed out before running over to the now parked car.
“That girl could make the Pope swear.” Doc remarked, rubbing his ear after having Chrissy’s shriek nearly blowing out his eardrum. Nicole smirked and looked up at Chrissy and saw the doors of the car open. Two girls, who looked similar in age stepped out and gave the school a curious look. Nicole figured they must be new since she couldn’t recall ever seeing them before. The first girl had long brown hair with a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose and cheeks. Her clothes were modest and tailored to look almost professional. The second girl, who stepped out of the passenger seat was the complete opposite. Her dark brown hair was curled at the ends, her tight button up shirt was missing a few buttons at the top and was tucked into an even tighter skirt that may have her in the principle’s office for being too short by end of day. She was leaning against the open car door and holding the seat forward so a third person could get out from behind her. When the person step out, Nicole’s breath stopped in her chest.
This person, a girl, was slightly shorter than the other two. Her medium length brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail, her short-sleeved white button up shirt was buttoned to the appropriate height, her black skirt just reaching below her knees and her black and white Mary Jane’s completed the ensemble. Her face was perfectly heart-shaped and she had the most gorgeous shade of hazel eyes that Nicole could see even from a distance. Her view was blocked when Chrissy nearly bulldozed the poor girl and started talking her ear off.
“And who is that gorgeous thing on two legs?” Doc broke Nicole’s concentration. She was ready to deck him for looking at the girl but she relaxed when she saw his eyes glued to the second girl who was grimacing over the volume of Chrissy’s voice.
“I have no idea. They must be new here. I’ll find out and let you know by lunch.” Rosita said looking at the new girls curiously. Rosita was good at getting information on people. She had a nose for gossip and she used it to her advantage.
Nicole continued to stare at the hazel eyed beauty until the sound of the warning bell went off. Everyone grabbed their books and started making their way into the building. Nicole watched Chrissy loop her arm through the new girl’s and led her inside out of sight, the other two new girls following behind. Doc flicked his stub of a cigarette onto the ground and used the heel of his boot to put out the last dying embers before standing and grabbing his book.
“Well, shall we?” He gestured forward and the three of them followed the trail of bodies into the school.
Nicole would’ve smirked as the crowd widened out around them, but she was too busy thinking about the girl who, for the first time ever, took her breath away.
By lunch time, Nicole was over-whelmed with her own questions. She didn’t see the new girl in any of her classes, but she did see the second girl, who she found out was named Wynonna Earp, in a couple. She almost sat next to her in their last class together just to see if she could ask her a few questions but quickly dismissed that idea. When the last bell rang, Nicole threw her books into her already messy locker and went to meet Doc and Rosita at their usual lunch spot.
Since freshman year, the three of them had always met on the bleachers of the football field for lunch. Here, they would laugh and make fun of the jocks that tried to impress the girls that hung around and instead made absolute fools of themselves. One time, Champ had tried to show off during football practice by flexing his arm muscles while holding the ball. But wasn’t paying attention to the game and ended up being sacked so hard he missed a couple games due to the concussion. Nicole had never laughed so hard.
Climbing to the top of the bleachers, Nicole found her two friends looking through a car magazine and arguing over the best models. Shaking her head at them, she climbed up behind them and sat on the last bleacher so she could lean back against the fence.
“Nicole, please explain to her that a Hudson Hornet is in no way better than our black beauty.” Doc asked Nicole, glaring at Rosita as she smirked back.
“There’s zero competition between the two. Ours is better, period.” Nicole said, leaning forward and grabbing the open bottle of Coca-Cola between the two and taking a swig.
“Ha! Told you!” Doc cheered in Rosita’s face. They both continued to argue over the topic as Nicole tuned them out to look down at the field. Champ and his boys were on the field in their practice gear running laps as the coaches barked orders from the sidelines. The team wasn’t bad, coming in second the last 2 years running. Whenever Champ confronted Nicole for whatever reason, she made sure to rub that in his face and he would always stalk away with his tail between his legs. Watching them run now, Nicole caught a group of girls run up onto the bleachers so they could have a better view of the team and shook her head at their high-pitched squeals. She never understood the fascination with jocks. Most of them could only spell their names because it was on their letterman jackets. Rolling her eyes at the group, Nicole went to reach for the magazine in Doc’s hand when the new girl came into view.
She was trailing slightly behind Chrissy as the older girl ran up to the giggling group from before. They all gave off another shriek that Nicole was sure only dogs could hear. Chrissy gestured for the new girl to join her and she started introducing her to the others, but Nicole was too far away to make out the name.
“Hey,” Nicole tapped Rosita on the shoulder, her eyes staying locked on the group. “You get anything about the new girls yet?”
Rosita turned more to face Nicole, adjusting her tight red skirt so she could sit more comfortably.
“I did actually. The Earp Family. Apparently they all just moved here from Calgary. Father got some job and they had to move. They have three daughters- the oldest is Willa. She’s a senior this year and not a big talker at them moment. Then there’s Wynonna, who’s the second oldest and a junior like us. Heard she had quite the reputation at her last school. Wasn’t afraid to get into fights. Sounds right up your alley, Doc.” Nicole smirked at the look of awe on his face at the revelation. “And then down there,” Rosita pointed down to the still giggling group, “Is the youngest, Waverly. She’s supposed to be a sophomore this year, but she’s apparently some academic genius and they let her skip a grade so she’s a junior too. Just a year younger than us.”
Nicole ran the name over and over again in her head. It was different than every other girls and it stood out beautifully.
Glancing down at the no-longer-nameless girl, Nicole thought she may have looked a little uncomfortable surrounded by all those loud, over-excited girls. It’s a lot to take in especially when you’re in a new place surrounded by unfamiliar people. Nicole sees her open up a little to the group as they ask her a bunch of questions. She feels her heart miss a beat when something another girl says brings a smile to Waverly’s face.
“What’s that grin for?” Nicole gets shaken out of her staring at Rosita’s question. She didn’t even realize she was smiling because Waverly was smiling.
“Nothing. Just watching Champ make an ass out of himself again.” Nicole covered up, glancing at the field and seeing the team running plays. She also can’t help but notice where Champ’s eyes are looking.
And Nicole is not happy about it.
“Seems Hardy has spotted the new girl. Poor thing is trapped now.” Doc comments, draining the last of the coke from the bottle and flinging it over his shoulder, snickering as everyone jumps at the sound of the shattering glass. All eyes fly up to them and Nicole freezes as a certain pair of hazel eyes lock with hers.
It’s like the whole world drops away and just the two of them remain. Nicole takes in Waverly’s cute little nose, her pouty red lips, and her slender neck and imagines running her own lips over these very features. The moment is unfortunately broken by the worst person. Waverly’s attention is pulled away from Nicole by none other than Champ Hardy. He’s leaning on the railing of the bleachers and grinning up at Waverly and the other girls who are swooning over him. Nicole sees his mouth moving but can’t make out the words, and she also doesn’t like the fact those words are being directed to Waverly. She sees Waverly shrug her shoulders and Champ grinning like a fool before running back towards the field, glancing over his shoulder and throwing one more grin before getting back in the game.
The girls all surround Waverly and start the annoying squealing again and it’s enough to make Nicole sick. Looking down at her watch, she sees the bell is gonna ring in a minute so she gestures for the others to follow and they all climb down the bleachers. When she reaches the bottom, Nicole can’t help but glance over at the girls, her eyes finding Waverly, and giving her one more look.
What she wasn’t expecting was to get one in return.
Nicole nearly trips down the stairs at the look Waverly gives her. It’s curious and shy and adorable. Especially when she looks down at her lap and smirks just the tiniest bit before looking back up. Nicole would’ve stayed frozen on that step if it weren’t for Doc and Rosita behind her nudging her along. The warning bell goes off and jolts everyone into action, collecting books and making promises to meet after school. Nicole looks over her shoulder one last time and sees Waverly walking in the opposite direction with the others. Almost as if she can feel her eyes on her, Waverly glances back and blushes before hurrying to catch up with the others.
The rest of the week seemed to drag before it was finally Friday. Nicole had spotted Waverly numerous times during the week and much to her disappointment, Champ always seemed to be around her too. It annoyed the hell out of her and she couldn’t help but enjoy the mornings now as she purposely drove passed Champ and sprayed him with dirt and gravel as she slammed on the gas.
When the last bell of the day rang, everyone raced out of the building to the parking lot to start their weekend. Nicole saw Doc and Rosita waiting for her next to her car as she crossed the parking lot. The sound of laughter drew Nicole’s attention to the group of jocks, led by Champ, who were tormenting a kid in a bowtie and glasses. The snatched his books from his hands and threw them to the ground, scattering his papers everywhere. Satisfied with their work, the idiots walked away patting each other’s shoulders and climbed into Champ’s car. Nicole usually would walk away but seeing as how it was Champ who tormented the kid, she decided to take pity on him. Kneeling down, Nicole picked up the shoeprint-laden papers and gathered them into a pile before handing them over to the nervous kid.
“Th-thanks.” Jeremy, Nicole thinks, stutters as he takes them gently as he pushes his glasses up high on his nose and scurries off to catch his bus.
Nicole stands back up and wipes her hands on her jeans as she makes her way to her car.
“One of these days, Hardy is gonna get his. Mark my words.” Doc remarks climbing into the passenger seat after allowing Rosita in first.
“Maybe we’ll get lucky and some other football team will drive him into the turf.” Nicole replies, adjusting the rearview mirror and pulling out of the space.
She drops the other two off at their houses, telling them she’ll be back to pick them up in a few hours for their usual Friday night plans before going home to get ready herself.
A typically Friday night in Purgatory meant hanging out at Shorty’s. It was the only cool place in town as it was a bowling alley and an arcade. It also had some of the best food for miles.
Nicole, Doc, and Rosita walked in and looked at the usual crowd filling in the place. Most of the older men from town held their annual bowling night every Friday, taking up a good chunk of the lanes. The food area and arcade were the busiest areas as all of Purgatory High crammed in to get the best booths and pinball machines. The three of them headed for the back booth, taking off their jackets and not even touching the menus as they always got the same thing to eat every time they came here.
The waitress came by in her pink dress and white apron and when she saw it was them she just asked if they wanted the regular. With three nods, the waitress went back behind the counter to put in their orders as other waitresses scurried around delivering food to other tables. Nicole glanced around the place taking in the crowd. The annoying giggling girls managed to secure three tables in the middle of the room and everyone of them was talking a mile a minute. Nicole couldn’t help but look for Waverly in the group and was disappointed when she didn’t see her. She also couldn’t help but glare at the jock tables taking up all the booths lining up along the windows. Tonight seemed much busier then the past couple weeks. It was probably due to school being back in session and everyone needing a night out. Even the carhops were busy skating from car to car balancing trays overhead.
Nicole heard someone call her name and she looked up as a group of friends came up to their table. They all went to Purgatory High but they were all in different grades so they rarely got to see each other there. Friday nights were for catching up and making fun of the jockstraps on the other side of the room. The group moved some tables together, getting angry looks from couples sitting at four person tables and only using two of the chairs, and slung their leather jackets over the back of their chairs, daring anyone to try and take the chair. Nicole fell into conversation with her friend Perry, who was a year older than her, about the recent work done on her car. The rest of the table ordered their food and soon everyone was filling up on burgers and fries with bottles of cold coke.
Nicole was in the process of swallowing down her burger when it threatened to come back up. Champ walked through the door, the jocks greeting him like a king, and it was enough to make Nicole lose her appetite. That guy just really got under her skin sometimes. Looking away, Nicole dove back into conversation with her friends until another entrance had her pausing mid-sentence.
Wynonna and Waverly Earp walked in and were looking around at all Shorty’s had to offer.
Nicole felt her heatbeat pick up its pace at the sight of the younger Earp, those curious eyes taking in the neon lighting, the groups of teenagers scattered around the tables and the overrun waitresses racing back and forth filling orders. Wynonna pointed at a couple seats at the counter and Waverly nodded before following behind. They both barely sat down before Stephanie Jones, Chrissy’s just as annoying friend, tugged Waverly over to their table and they all started bombarding her with questions again.
“If you will all excuse me,” Doc said standing up. “I believe it’s high time I introduced myself to our newest resident.” Nicole grinned as she watched Doc walk by one of the jock’s tables, the boys distracted with looking out the window at some of the girls out there, and dipped his comb into one of the full glasses of coke before running it through his hair to help keep it slicked back. It was even better as one of the clueless boys reached out and took a drink from that very glass. Doc leaned up against the counter and got Wynonna’s attention and before long they were in their own conversation.
Nicole glanced back at the table Waverly was at and frowned when she saw Champ hovering over her like a hawk. From the little that she could hear over the crowd, it sounded like he was telling her one of his glory football stories of how he single-handedly won some important game. Everyone around the table was enthralled with him, except for one, and Nicole grinned at the bored expression on Waverly’s face. Champ was so into his own story, he didn’t notice Waverly quietly excusing herself from the table and making her way over to the jukebox.
Without even thinking about it, Nicole made her way over there.
Coming up slowly so as not to startle her, Nicole could see Waverly running her finger down the glass case as she read the titles of the records currently in there. Seeing one she probably liked, Waverly pulled a nickel out of her sweater pocket and pushed it into the machine then typed in the number. When nothing happened, Waverly tried pushing the number again and got the same result.
“It sticks sometimes.”
Waverly jumped slightly before turning to face Nicole.
“Here, let me.” Nicole offered, stepping in front of Waverly and turning to face her so the jukebox was behind her. Seeing the confused look on Waverly’s face, Nicole grinned and gave the machine a good, solid kick and it finally switched to the new selected song. Expecting some sappy love song, Nicole was pleasantly surprised when Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That A Shame” came on.
“Not what you were expecting?” Waverly asked, smirking slightly up at the redhead.
“Not at all.” Nicole smirked back. “I’m Nicole.”
“Waverly.” The brunette replied bashfully.
“I know. Your name’s come up a few times in certain circles around school.” Nicole hitched her thumbs in the belt loops on her jeans and shrugged her shoulders at Waverly’s look. “It’s not everyday a new family moves to Purgatory. Everyone wants to know your life.”
“So I’ve noticed. But unfortunately there’s not much of a story.” Waverly shrugs.
“Well there has to be some form of a story because it looks like your sister is telling my friend.” Nicole points out, drawing Waverly’s attention to the two at the counter. They’re both smiling and cradling bottles of coke as they talk about something.
“My sister’s been noticing your friend lately.”
“Oh yeah? Well, Doc will certainly love to know that.” Nicole chuckled. Glancing over Waverly’s shoulder, she sees Champ glaring at her in return as he stands with his arms crossed over his chest like a little boy who just got his toy truck taken from him. “I think you’re being missed back at the table.”
Waverly glances back across the room at said table and sees a lot of eyes on her and Nicole and it makes her uncomfortable. Nicole notices her hesitation and decides to take the plunge.
“Can I buy you a coke or something?”
Waverly turns back to Nicole and gives her a radiant smile.
Nicole leads them over to a couple empty spots at the counter and asks for two cokes. The kid working behind the counter reaches into the cooler and pulls out two frost covered bottles.
“Could I possibly get mine in a glass with a few cherries, please?” Waverly asks shyly.
The kid nods and a minute later hands over their drinks, one bottle and one glass filled to the brim with coke and a couple cherries with a red straw sticking out the top.
Nicole grins as Waverly takes a sip of her drink and smiles into the straw at the taste.
“So rumor is you’re from Calgary.” Nicole says, hoping to start up a conversation.
“I am. Born and raised. But my dad got a promotion at work and we had to move here. I didn’t mind the move, not many friends back home. But my sister’s weren’t happy with it. Willa, my oldest sister, was at the top of her class back home, hundreds of friends, the perfect daughter. Since moving here she’s been nothing but awful at home. Snapping at us, me in particular. So after a week of it, Wynonna and I decided to see what there is to do on a Friday night in Purgatory. And we ended up here.” Waverly played with the cuff of her sweater as she spoke, her eyes never straying from her hands.
“Well, I’m glad you did.” Nicole whispered, her own hands playing with the label on the coke bottle.
Waverly looked up and gave her a sweet smile that had them both blushing and looking away. Focusing on her drink, Nicole just about drained the bottled and looked to see if Waverly wanted another one as well. Instead, she found the girl trying to capture one of the cherries at the bottom with her straw and not succeeding. Seeing her struggle, Nicole made sure the waiter was occupied at the other end of the counter before standing up and reaching over the counter for a fork. Handing it to Waverly, Nicole couldn’t help but break out in goosebumps when their fingers brushed together.
“Thank you. That’s really sweet.” Waverly replied before successfully retrieving a cherry.
Nicole was not one to blush, but with this girl that didn’t seem to matter anymore.
Their time is interrupted a moment later by Waverly’s sister coming around the counter.
“Hey Waves, we should probably head back. Don’t need dad lecturing us again.”
Nicole felt her shoulders slump at knowing Waverly had to leave, but she perked up a bit when she saw Waverly wasn’t happy to be leaving either.
Wynonna gave Nicole a brief smile before heading for the door, telling Waverly she’d meet her at the car.
Waverly turned and gave Nicole a sad smile.
“Sorry I have to go. It was really nice talking to you.”
“We’ll have to do it again soon.” Nicole hoped it didn’t come on too strong.
“I’d really like that.”
Waverly stood up and reached for her change purse to pay for the drink, but Nicole’s hand on hers stopped her.
“On me, remember?” Nicole reached into her front pocket and threw down some change to cover the drinks without even looking. It was worth it, because she got to see that cheek bunching smile from Waverly directed at her.
Nicole tucked her hands into her front pockets and smiled bashfully.
She watched as the girl walked out of the building, her eyes following her all the way to her car and as they pulled away.
Walking slowly back to the table from earlier, Nicole grabbed her jacket and told everyone she was heading home. Doc and Rosita said they’d catch a ride home later and she left the table still in her current Waverly-induced daze. Before leaving though, she made a pit stop at the jukebox and fed it a nickel before choosing a song.
Smiling as the song came on, Nicole left humming the chorus of “Ain’t That A Shame” as she walked out to her car with Waverly’s smile on her mind.
A couple of weeks into the school year had students breaking out cardigans and jackets as the shorter days brought cooler weather to the area. As the ground built up different colored leaves, the town was getting ready to decorate for the annual Homecoming game this coming Friday. Shop fronts held posters wishing the Purgatory High Blue Devils good luck on their upcoming game, blue and white streamers wrapped around lamp posts ready for the parade.
Friday morning, Nicole pulled into the school parking lot and was disappointed to find none of the football players around. The night before had brought some rain and she had wanted to spray Champ with mud from the giant puddles surrounding the lot. They were all probably over at the field getting ready for tonight’s game. Getting out of the car, Nicole adjusted her leather jacket, making sure both collars were flipped up and looking cool, grabbed her books and tossed them on the trunk where she waited for her friends. Doc had declined a ride saying he’d need his own car after school but wouldn’t say for what. Catching sight of a familiar light yellow car, Nicole smirked when it parked further down the row and Waverly stepped out of the passenger side.
Nicole hadn’t had a chance to really talk to her since that night at Shorty’s. Waverly being a brainiac, had been swamped in her school work. Nicole had found out she was in all of the college course classes and that’s why they didn’t share any. They had managed to pass each other in the hallways from time to time, giving each other a passing glance but not having any time for more. Nicole would kill to just have five minutes alone with the girl.
Nicole was surprised to see only Willa and Waverly exiting the car, Wynonna no where to be seen. She watched as an annoyed Willa said something to Waverly then stormed off towards the building, leaving her younger sister behind. Waverly glanced over in Nicole’s direction and gave a shy smile at her in hello. Perking up, Nicole gave a similar one in return and was just about to push away from her car and walk over to the brunette when the giggle squad showed up and circled Waverly. Bummed, Nicole slumped back against her car and buried her hands in her blue jeans and watched the group practically skip up to the building.
Not a minute later, a rusty old truck with the logo “Holliday Car Service” flew into the spot next to Nicole’s car and Doc jumped out of the driver seat, walking over to the passenger side to open the door for none other than Wynonna Earp. Stepping out, Wynonna grabbed her things and gave Doc a pat on his chest.
“Thanks for the ride, handsome.”
Wynonna gave him a sly wink before making her way towards the building as the warning bell started going off.
Nicole smirked as Doc’s eyes followed Wynonna’s every step, not even acknowledging his friend right next to him. Shaking her head, Nicole picked up her books and slung an arm around Doc’s shoulders breaking him from his trance.
“Come on lover boy. Let’s get you to class before you start drooling all over yourself.” Nicole teased as she pulled him in the direction his eyes were still following.
The Pep Rally before the game was always a big thing for the Homecoming game. There was a huge bonfire, a million speeches, and the marching band playing out of tune as they marched up and down the football field. Nicole, Doc, and Rosita were standing with their group of friends along the chain-link fence making fun of every football player that was being called up on the stage. Unfortunately the sound of the crowd on the bleachers drowned out their insults but they didn’t care. Tradition had it that after the game, win or lose, everyone would head over to the gymnasium for a dance. Nicole never saw the fun in dances so she avoided them. Instead, she and her friends would cruise up and down Main Street until landing at Shorty’s.
Nicole looked around at the crowd, hoping not to see her parents there, when her eyes landed on the pep squad jumping around and doing cheers. Chrissy and Stephanie were at the head of the squad, their grins stretched so far it was almost terrifying. Looking back up at the crowd, it was like Nicole had a second sense when it came to finding her in a sea of people. Waverly was sitting in the front row of the bleachers, her sister’s on either side of her, as they watched the spectacle on the field. Wynonna looked bored out of her mind and kept looking Nicole’s way, probably hoping to spot Doc. Willa look envious as she watched the pep squad whip the crowd into a frenzy. And Waverly………she just looked uncomfortable. Nicole watched as she pulled her sweater tighter around herself and gave a brief smile down at the girls cheering as Chrissy made a big show of waving to her. After the last speech was given, the jocks all ran for the sidelines to get ready for the game as the small stage was quickly dissembled. The crowd seemed to disperse some as people made their way to the bathrooms and snack stands before the game.
Stepping away from her friends, Nicole told them she’d be back and she wandered over towards the snack stand to get herself a coke. Standing in line, Nicole stuffed her hands in her pockets to keep them warm as a cool breeze blew by, tempting everyone to get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. She turned around to glance behind her and to her surprise found Waverly standing in line by herself a couple people down. Informing the people behind her to go around her, Nicole waited until Waverly was behind her to make herself known.
Looking up, Waverly smiled at seeing who was talking to her and it made Nicole’s own smile break out.
“Hi. I thought that was you.” Waverly admitted, blushing some.
“Enjoying your first Purgatory Homecoming game?” Nicole asked moving up in line, Waverly standing next to her.
“I guess. I’m not really a football fan or anything. But the other girls said I had to come because it was the best.” Waverly replied with a slight eye roll that made Nicole chuckle.
“I can name a million other things that are better then a homecoming football game.” Nicole said shaking her head.
“So why’d you come to this one tonight, then?”
The first thing to pop into Nicole’s head was ‘Because I was hoping you’d be here’ but she didn’t want to come off weird.
“Well, it is tradition for my friends and I to make fun of the jockstraps. Can’t let them run out on that field with big heads, right?” Nicole joked.
“No, we certainly wouldn’t want to see that.” Waverly giggled back, making Nicole swoon.
They were almost up to the counter and the warmth from inside the small kitchen billowed out and made Waverly shiver. Nicole saw the girl was hugging herself to keep warm as her sweater was not doing a very good job.
“Are you hungry?”
Waverly looked up, her forehead crinkled in confusion.
“Because if you are, I was going to ask if you’d want to head over to Shorty’s with me? It’s probably dead there since the whole town is here tonight, and it’s warm and has a much better selection of food.” Nicole rushed out in one long breath, her nerves getting the best of her as she rubbed the back of her neck.
Waverly looked at her for a minute then glanced down at her shoes shyly.
“I’m supposed to meet up with Chrissy and Stephanie after the game. Something about a dance and cruising on the town.”
Nicole felt her whole body deflate in disappointment. Shoving her hands back into her pockets, she glanced down and kicked at a rock stuck in the ground.
“Oh. Okay that’s cool.” Nicole tried not to sound too put off.
“If you wait for me by the fence, I can tell my sister to give Chrissy a message that something came up and I had to leave?” Waverly asked, trying to catch the redhead’s attention.
Nicole felt her heart pound in excitement as she grinned back.
“I’ll wait right here.”
Giving her a brief nod, Waverly jogged through the crowd back to the bleachers as Nicole let out a nervous breath and stepped out of line as people started grumbling about not moving forward. Wiping her clammy hands down her jeans, Nicole looked over the heads of the people in front of her to see if Waverly was coming. She breathed a sigh of relief when she spotted the brunette making her way back towards her, bouncing on her toes so she wouldn’t lose sight of Nicole.
“My sister said no problem. I just have to be home by nine.” Waverly informed her, rubbing her hands up and down her arms to bring them some warmth.
Nicole quickly shed her beloved jacket and draped it over the smaller girl’s shoulders, flipping the collar up to help keep the wind off her exposed neck. Waverly gave her a look of gratitude as the warmth from Nicole’s skin radiated off the lining of the jacket and warmed her up immensely.
“Shall we?” Nicole gestured towards the parking lot and they both tried to make their way through the crowd.
Nicole led the two of them through the ever growing thicker crowd as more and more people made their way in from the lot. She was about to turn and make sure Waverly was still behind her, when she felt a glide smoothly into her own and grip tightly. Turning back sharply, Nicole gave Waverly a curious glance.
“I don’t want to lose you in this.” Waverly commented with a shy shrug.
Grinning widely, Nicole interlocked their fingers and surged forward, feeling like the luckiest girl in the world as Waverly clung to her warm hand.
When they finally made it to the lot, Waverly jogged a few steps to catch up to Nicole, her free hand keeping the jacket secure on her shoulders as she’s led to the far end of the lot to Nicole’s car. Nicole walks them around to the passenger side and opens the door for Waverly, being the perfect gentlewoman. Getting a cheek bunching smile in return, Nicole waits until Waverly is comfortable before closing the door and walking around the back to get to her side. She glances through the back windshield and watches Waverly reach over to the driver side door to pull the lock up for her.
Waverly Earp is in my car…..
Nicole slides in quickly so she can get the car and heat running. Throwing her arm over the back of the seat, Nicole backs out of the spot and pulls on to the main drag.
Even though they had their choice of basically any table they wanted because the place was a ghost town, Nicole and Waverly sat in Nicole’s normal booth back in the corner underneath the neon “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” sign. The waitress knew Nicole’s order and didn’t even bother to ask her. Waverly ordered a cheeseburger with extra pickles and a cherry coke with extra cherries that made Nicole smirk. The place was so quiet except for the jukebox that was playing Del-Vikings “Come Go With Me” and the sound of the one or two bowlers out at the lanes. This is what she had wanted from day one after first laying eyes on the petite brunette. Just some peace and quiet and a place to talk uninterrupted.
“Tell me something about yourself.” Waverly broke the silence, leaning her elbows on the table as she used her straw to swirl the ice in her glass.
“Like what?” Nicole asked, leaning forward herself.
“I don’t know. Anything. Do you have any siblings?”
“No. I’m an only child.”
“Must’ve been lonely as a child.” Waverly said giving her sad eyes.
“Not really. Doc and I grew up together. He’s like the brother I never had.” Nicole explained, taking a swig from her bottle.
“Wynonna’s taken quite the liking to him. Much to Willa’s disappointment.” Waverly smirked slightly at that. “She threw a hissy fit when he came by to pick her up for school. Wynonna just ignores her most of the time. I wish I could.”
“What’s Willa’s problem? She leave some beau back home or something?” Nicole didn’t like the idea of Waverly’s sister being mean to her. This girl was an absolute angel and deserved to be treated as such.
“No, but she did leave all her friends behind. She’s just been taking her anger out on Wynonna and I. Our parents just tell us it’s a faze she’s going through.”
“Still, she shouldn’t be taking it out on you.”
“Honestly, I think she’s just jealous by the attention I’ve been getting since we moved here. The popular girls wanting to be friends, the captain of the football team asking me to the Homecoming dance-”
“Champ asked you to the dance tonight?” Nicole interrupted, her heart freezing in her chest.
“Yes. He’s been asking me all week but I kept telling him I had to think about it.” Waverly rolled her eyes, remembering all the times she found Champ waiting for her after class with the same question on his lips.
“So………what was your final answer then?” Nicole asked, afraid to know the answer.
Waverly just smiled.
“My final answer was to sneak away to have a cheeseburger and coke with you, silly.”
The block of ice that had formed in Nicole’s chest melted away instantly at her words.
Waverly chose me over Champ
“Well, I’m honored.” They both shared a smile before the waitress came back over with two hearty baskets of cheeseburgers and fries.
“I haven’t eaten here before, but it looks really good.” Waverly commented reaching for the squeeze bottle of ketchup on the table.
“You’re not a true Purgatorian until you’ve eaten at Shorty’s.” Nicole replied, shoving a french fry into her mouth and watching Waverly for her reaction.
Taking a bite of the burger, Waverly chewed and nodded until she swallowed the mouthful.
“That’s really good!” She exclaimed, taking another bite.
“Told you! Wait till you try the shakes. No place can so them better.” Nicole rolled up the sleeves of her dark gray button up until the cuffs rested below her elbows and she dug in to her own basket.
When the waitress came by to clear the table, she asked if they’d like any desserts. Nicole looked at Waverly for an answer, who gave a sly shrug, then turned back to the waitress.
“Can we get a chocolate milkshake with two straws, please?”
The waitress went back to start on their shake as Nicole dug through her pocket for some change.
“Would you like to choose the next song?” Nicole asked, holding a nickel out to Waverly.
Smiling at her offer, Waverly reached out and traced her fingertips gently over Nicole’s own fingers, taking her time as she skimmed curiously over the silver band on Nicole’s index finger before accepting the nickel. Nicole grinned so hard as goosebumps broke out all over her body at the simple caress.
“Those dimples…..” Waverly whispered before getting up and heading over to the jukebox.
Nicole turned to look at her reflection in the window and found those very dimples sticking out on either cheek. It’s been so long since something has made her smile like this and she couldn’t control it. Waverly just brought it out of her.
Hearing the deep voice of Elvis’ “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” filter throughout the room had Nicole turning back just in time to catch Waverly walking back towards her. It was almost like time stood still as she watched every step the girl took, mesmerized by every tiny detail that made up Waverly Earp.
Sitting back across from her, the waitress came back with a beautifully crafted chocolate milkshake, topped with a triangle tower of whipped cream and two cherries. Sticking the straws down in either side, the waitress told them to enjoy and went back to wiping tables.
“This looks amazing.” Waverly said, plucking a cherry from the top and wrapping her tongue around it to get the whipped cream off.
Nicole’s breathing picked up tremendously.
Pulling the stem off, Waverly blushed as she chewed the sweet fruit and played with one of the spoons the waitress had given her. Nicole loved seeing the way Waverly’s eyes lit up over the cherry. So she grabbed the base of the glass and spun it so the cherry that was on her side was now facing Waverly.
The look of adoration that Waverly gave her over the simple gesture would forever be ingrained in Nicole’s memory.
Leaning forward together, they both giggled as they each took a straw and took a mouthful of the chocolaty goodness. They unintentionally started a staring contest as they consumed the frozen drink, never looking away and trying not to blink but Nicole was the first to break away. The brain-freeze making her pinch her eyes shut and laugh as Waverly gave a small cheer in victory. Nicole went to lean back but froze in place as the feeling of those soft fingertips from before smoothed along the bridge of her nose, right between her eyes where the brain-freeze still lingered. Opening her eyes, she found Waverly roaming her own eyes all over Nicole’s face, taking in every little detail. When their eyes met, Waverly gave her one last caress before pulling back.
“Better?” She asked in concern.
“Much.” Nicole replied, staying in the exact same position.
Glancing at the clock over Nicole’s shoulder, Waverly slumped a little in her seat as she noted the time.
“I should be getting home. It’s almost my curfew.” Nicole slumped down too at the news before they both leaned in to finish off their dessert.
Waverly insisted on paying for herself but Nicole shook her head and threw some bills on the table to cover their meals before stepping out of the booth and offering a hand to the brunette. Waverly accepted and made sure to grab Nicole’s jacket, handing it over to the taller girl. She was surprised though when Nicole draped it back over her shoulders, popping the collar like earlier and taking back her hand.
“Its still pretty cold out. Don’t want you to get sick.” Nicole said, giving the girl her dimpled smile again before leading them out of the building.
Nicole was right, the temperature had dropped some more and she felt Waverly shiver when the breeze drifted over them. Waverly snuggled into Nicole’s right side, her free hand coming out from beneath the borrowed jacket to grip at Nicole’s still exposed forearm and rubbing her smooth skin up and down. Nicole was practically walking on Cloud Nine as they made their way to her car. Helping Waverly into the passenger side, Nicole practically ran to the other side so she wouldn’t miss a single moment with Waverly as their time together was now coming to an end.
Pulling up on Homestead Avenue, Waverly pointed out which house was hers and Nicole stopped along the curb. It was a modest two-story house, white with brown trim, the front yard had a white picket fence around it to protect the perfectly cut green grass. Stepping out of the car, Nicole walked around to open the door for Waverly and again offered her hand. Taking it graciously, Waverly moved around so Nicole could close the door and she watched as the light that was in her eyes all night slowly disappeared with each passing second.
“Thank you for tonight. Way better than some stupid football game and dance.”
“Thank you for coming out with me. Best night I’ve had in a long time.” Nicole admitted truthfully.
Waverly pulled the jacket from her own shoulders and held it open in front of her, gesturing for Nicole to put it on. Smiling, Nicole turned around and slid her arms through the sleeves, pulling the zippered lapels closer around her before turning back around. Waverly ran her eyes down the length of Nicole’s body, settling her eyes on the collar where she reached up and popped the collar on both the gray button up and jacket just the way Nicole liked, before running her hands down Nicole’s shoulders to smooth them out. Standing up on the tips of her shoes, Waverly brushed her lips against the dimple in Nicole’s left cheek, using her hold on the taller girl’s shoulders for leverage.
Giving her one more cheek-bunching grin, Waverly jogged up the driveway of her house and with a final wave goodbye, she disappeared inside.
Nicole never moved from that spot as she watched Waverly leave. Her mind was too focused on the fact the Waverly’s lips had touched her skin.
She stood there for God knows how long before finally making her way back around inside the car. Glancing up as a light came on upstairs, Nicole wondered if it was Waverly’s room as she started her car up and drove back towards her own house.
The whole ride home, all Nicole could think about was the song “Singin’ In The Rain” and how she never understood it until this very moment as she remembered the way Waverly’s lips felt under her cheek and how the collar of her jacket smelled like Waverly’s perfume.