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Too young to be so scared

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Waverly wasn't exactly surprised when Nicole didn't come pick her up for school the next day, she hadn't really expected her to after the night before but when she didn't see Nicole's car in the parking lot she really hoped that Nicole was just running late.

Waverly didn't get much sleep, crying silently into her pillow for most of the night. She wasn't judging Nicole, she was just worried. Nicole couldn't go through her life pretending that there weren't some pretty serious issues stemming from everything she went through. Waverly worried, ever since she met Nicole, what she was like when Waverly wasn't around to help calm her down. She knew that Nicole did her breathing exercises, but she also knew that sometimes those didn't help at all.

She slammed her car door. Why did she do that? She knew as soon as she did it that it would upset Nicole, but she was just so angry at her for telling her to go. She hadn't even let her finish her sentence, she just assumed that Waverly was going to leave her when she was clearly upset. Something she never wanted to do but clearly Nicole didn't want her there.

She had wanted to say that she shouldn't have brought it up, not so soon after Nicole had been trying to calm herself down. She didn't want to force Nicole to talk about something she didn't want to or have an argument, but she just couldn't keep her concerns to herself any longer. It had been the wrong time to bring it up, she should have waited until Nicole had more time to collect herself and they could talk through it properly.

She was absolutely terrified that Nicole would hate her, hate her for doing something so insensitive like slamming the door and then not even apologizing. Why didn't she apologize? Why did she just walk away?

 

Nicole wasn't in English and she didn't see her at lunch either. Waverly asked Xavier if he had seen her, she knew they had Chemistry that day, but she hadn't shown up for that either. At first Waverly thought that maybe Nicole was in school but was simply avoiding Waverly, now she was worried. She tried to carry on her day as normal and planned to head straight to Nicole's after school but after her fifth text that day to Nicole remained unanswered, Waverly stood up in the middle of class and walked out, ignoring her teacher questioning where exactly she thought she was going.

No one answered the door when Waverly arrived at Nicole's, a little out of breath since she had run most of the way there. She noticed that Susan's car wasn't in the drive, but Nicole's was. She took out her phone, she hadn't answered her texts but maybe she would answer a phone call.

Still no answer.

She took a few steps back from the house and decided that trying to climb up to Nicole's room really wasn't an option, but she could probably hop the fence into the garden. After a couple attempts she finally made it up and over into the back garden and hoped that the backdoor was unlocked like it usually was during the day.

She let herself into the house and upon realizing what she had just done hoped that none of Nicole's neighbours had decided to call the cops on a young girl seemingly trying to break into a home on their street.

She could hear music coming from the upstairs, presumably Nicole's room. It was loud and angry, and Waverly's heart ached.

She stood outside Nicole's room for a minute, telling herself that she had to be there, she had to know that Nicole was ok and that hopefully Nicole wouldn't just tell her to get lost when she saw her. She knocked on the door, softly at first and then a little harder until the music stopped.

"Mom, I really really don't want to talk about it!" Nicole's voice got louder as she spoke until the door opened and Nicole looked at Waverly, clearly confused by her presence.

"Hi." Waverly greeted her shyly and she really started to regret showing up unannounced.

"Hey…" Nicole stood leaning her head against the door, it was obvious to Waverly that Nicole had been crying. Her eyes were puffy and bloodshot, and her voice was too small. Waverly no longer regretted coming round, all she wanted was to comfort Nicole, but she didn't know if it would be taken well or not.

"I wanted to apologise…but you weren't at school and then you didn't answer my texts or when I called, and I got worried." Waverly looked down the hallway, back towards the stairs and wondered if she should just leave. Nicole hadn't answered her so maybe Nicole really didn't want to speak to her or see her and she had just forced herself on Nicole without even checking what she wanted.

"So, you broke into my house?" Nicole asked and when Waverly looked back at her she thought she could see the hints of a teasing expression on Nicole's face. There was still an edge to Nicole's voice though, not as angry as the night before but something was definitely still there.

"I'm really sorry Nicole. I didn't mean to upset you last night…I just…I worry about you and I swear I wasn't judging you and I'm sorry that I slammed the door to your car! That was such a horrible thing to do…" Waverly let herself ramble until Nicole leaned back from the door and gestured for Waverly to follow her into her room. She closed the door behind her and joined Nicole on her bed. A few inches apart, further than they had ever sat on Nicole's bed together, even before they admitted how they felt they would gravitate towards each other.

"I'm sorry too…" Nicole turned to look at Waverly and Waverly inched herself just a bit closer. "I shouldn't have yelled at you. I don't know why I got so defensive, I knew I'd been a total jerk before you even got out the car." Nicole was wringing her hands in her lap and Waverly moved the rest of the way to close the gap between them. Not touching Nicole but there if Nicole decided she wanted to reach out.

"I've never seen you that angry before…" Waverly said softly and wished she hadn't when Nicole's face scrunched up as she started shaking her head.

"What you said made me feel like…like you were saying there's something wrong with me and I know there's probably something wrong with me, but I never wanted you to think that about me." Nicole's shoulders hunched, and Waverly reached out to pull Nicole into her chest. She instantly sagged against Waverly and Waverly's heart broke.

"Baby…I just think that maybe you need to talk to someone about all this stuff, someone who really knows how to help you deal with it." Waverly said as she ran her fingers gently through Nicole hair. Nicole nodded her head against Waverly and she could feel a small wet patch growing on her top. She pulled Nicole up to look at her, each tear falling from Nicole's eyes bringing Waverly closer to tears herself. "Nicole, you've been through a lot, you put yourself in the hospital and there is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that you still need a little help moving past that." She held Nicole face in her palms until Nicole met her eyes and nodded.

"You'd still want to be with me if they tell me there is something wrong with me?" Nicole looked terrified. She couldn't imagine what Nicole was going through, what she had already gone through and Waverly hated herself for adding to the fears that plagued Nicole.

"I don't think there's anything that would make me not want to be with you, Nicole." Waverly stated firmly and wiped the tears away from Nicole's cheeks. She placed her lips to each cheek, hoping to stop anymore from falling.

"I'm so sorry I shouted at you…I just got so angry out of nowhere, I used to get mad a lot before…when they used to…" Nicole trailed off before closing her eyes and leaning into Waverly's hand cupping her face, obviously taking comfort in the touch and Waverly gently brushed her thumbs across Nicole's skin. Of course Nicole was angry at the people who had hurt her, at what they had done to her. Waverly felt even worse, if Nicole had felt like she was judging her, then she would have felt just like she used to. "I don't want to be angry anymore."

"Hey…we're going to figure it all out." Waverly knew she had to be there for Nicole through this, she had to be.

"I just thought that now I had you, things would get easier…" Nicole opened her eyes and gave Waverly a tentative smile which she returned. "I'm happy, I really am but I've got all this shit in my head and I can't let it go!" Nicole pulled out of Waverly's touch and squeezed her eyes shut again but Waverly reassured her with a stroke down her cheek.

"Just because you have me, it doesn't get rid of everything that happened and if you need to go see a psychiatrist or you need to go on medication then we'll deal with that together, ok?"

"Medication?" Nicole looked panicked but not angry at the insinuation and Waverly thought about taking it back, saying that it wouldn't happen but if Nicole did end up needing to go on something it might make her feel even worse about it. She had to make her realise that it didn't have to be a bad thing.

"Wynonna was on medication for a while…" Waverly shrugged, and Nicole looked shocked. It probably would shock a lot of people who only met Wynonna at this point in her life. "After our dad died, she went through a pretty tough time. She kind of went off the rails, did some pretty out there stuff but Gus managed to get her to speak to someone…eventually." It had been an awful time for both sisters, Waverly spent most of her nights awake wondering when Wynonna would come home, IF she would come home, and the day Wynonna finally admitted she needed help, Waverly felt like she could breathe again. Waverly hated that people talked about Wynonna like she was crazy, even now, years afterwards. They had no idea what she was going through.

"Really?"

"She had to take it for a while but she's doing a lot better now! So, there's nothing wrong with having to get a little help and nothing wrong with needing medication either, ok?" Waverly really hoped that Nicole would understand that, understand that if she ended up being prescribed something that it didn't mean Waverly would treat her any differently. She just wanted Nicole to feel better, safer and obviously it helped when she could be there to help calm Nicole down but what she really wanted was for Nicole to not have to be calmed down.

"Ok…thank you, Waves." Nicole seemed to be coming back to herself, she smiled and pulled Waverly into a tight embrace that she melted into. Her chest felt looser knowing that she hadn't totally messed things up between them and when Nicole moved to kiss her she threw herself into it completely.

They lay back on Nicole's bed, lost in each other's eyes. Nicole wrapped herself around Waverly and held her tight as she kissed her every now and again. Waverly had been so scared that she'd never get to feel Nicole's lips on hers again.

"When will your mom be back?" Waverly sighed against Nicole's lips just before Nicole leaned down to kiss her again, deeper this time. Nicole's eyes went wide as she pulled herself back mid-kiss, as if she'd just remembered that there was a chance of getting caught in the position they were in. Waverly knew the open door policy was being broken and she wasn't sure how Susan would react if she came home to them locked away in Nicole's room. Nicole looked over at her alarm clock and seemed to be doing some math in her head.

"We might have like half an hour?" Nicole offered hesitantly, and Waverly smiled, half an hour was plenty time for a heavy make out session before getting downstairs. "Wait…did you skip class?"

"I might have walked out in the middle of math to come check on you…" Waverly admitted, and she thought Nicole looked equally like she wanted to tell Waverly off for ditching and like it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Nicole and Waverly somehow managed to get downstairs and sit innocently on the couch before her mom came home from work. Obviously happy to see Nicole out of her room and that Waverly was there, she smiled brightly at the pair of them and carried the groceries she'd picked up on her way home into the kitchen. Her mom had guessed that something had happened between them, but Nicole had just avoided the subject, she didn't want to admit to how she had acted. Her mom would have been more than a little disappointed in her.

Waverly leaned into Nicole after her mom had gone and asked if she wanted to speak to her now, it scared Nicole to admit to her mom that she still wasn't doing so great because she knew it would make her mom worry. She might think that things at school weren't going well after they started being open about their relationship, but she knew if she put it off any longer she might never do it. If she had Waverly there beside her, she knew she could.

"Will you come with me?" Nicole asked, placing the faintest of kisses to Waverly's lips and taking her hand. They walked into the kitchen, Waverly trailing just a little behind but still firmly holding on to her hand. "Mom…I think I need to speak to someone, like a doctor someone…"

"What?!" Her mom turned around quickly and started looking Nicole over for signs of physical injury. Nicole sighed and shook her head, pulling Waverly closer so she had the nerve to get the next words out. Waverly's placed her hand round Nicole's hip and squeezed softly.

"I think I need help with what's going on in my head…me and Waverly were talking or rather Waverly was talking, and I was being a total ass until I came to my senses and we agreed that I've got some issues that need to be worked through. Properly worked through." Nicole watched as her mom's expression softened and she looked at Waverly with a grateful expression. Nicole knew she hadn't been the best at sharing things with her mom ever since the bullying, they used to tell each other everything and Nicole knew her mom missed that.

"Oh, honey. What do you need me to do?"

"Maybe you know a good psychiatrist through the hospital that Nicole could go and see?" Waverly jumped in and then looked between Nicole and her mom, clearly hoping she hadn't just ruined a moment between them but Nicole just pulled her in closer and kissed the side of her head to let her know it was more than ok. Nicole couldn't do this without her.

"Yeah, I want to start feeling normal again, whatever that is…or at least feel like I'm working on it!" Nicole smiled down at Waverly and then to her mom, who reached forward and ran a hand down the side of Nicole's face.

"Is that why you were so upset today? Waverly suggested you might need help?" Her mom cupped her cheek and sighed. Nicole nodded and felt horrible all over again, she had shouted at her mom in the morning telling her that she wasn't going to school and there was nothing she could do to make her. She had felt awful about that as well, she had probably made her mom worry more than was necessary but sadly she knew she would be forgiven by the time her mom got home from work. "I'll make some calls and see if there's anyone in town with a good reputation. I think it's important we know they are going to be ok with the whole gay thing, so I want to tell them, is that alright?"

"Yeah, don't want someone who's gonna try and pray away the gay!" Nicole laughed, and her mom joined in, but Waverly tensed beside her.

"Exactly! Ok, you guys go watch TV or something and I'll get started on dinner. You staying, Waverly?" Both her and her mom looked to Waverly expectantly and she nodded dumbly, Nicole knew there was definitely something wrong and she led them back into the living room, so they could talk. Waverly sat down and stared down at her hands until Nicole lifted her chin and asked what was bothering her.

"I haven't told Gus yet. Your mom is so ok with you being gay and I know Curtis was totally fine with us, but I want what you have. She's the only mom I've ever really known, I've never told her that, but she is!" Waverly leaned into Nicole's side and she wrapped an arm around Waverly's shoulders. Nicole didn't actually know why Waverly hadn't told Gus yet, but it started to make a bit more sense after hearing that. Nicole couldn't imagine what it would have been like if her mom wasn't accepting of who she was.

"Maybe you should tell her how much she means to you. You don't need to tell her about us until you're totally ready." Nicole kissed the side of Waverly's head and hoped she was giving the right advice and support that Waverly needed.

"I think I'm ready to tell her. Will you be there with me when I do?"

"Of course, whenever you want!" Nicole agreed firmly, and Waverly relaxed into her side, thanking her.

After a pleasant dinner with her mom and Waverly, Waverly headed home, and Nicole knew she needed to apologise for her outburst that morning, even if her mom seemed to be over it. They talked some more about what Nicole would want to discuss when her mom found someone for her to talk to and told Nicole that she was glad Waverly had encouraged her to open up about it. Nicole knew her mom liked Waverly now but there seemed to be a new level to her fondness when she spoke about her then, as if Waverly had managed to do something that her mom had wanted to do for a long time.

Nicole made a promise to herself to be even more open with her mom from then on out. She knew she worried, all parents worry about their kids, but Nicole had given her mom much more to worry about than most parents had to deal with. She didn't know why it was so hard for her to just admit that she needed help, she thought she had learned her lesson the last time she tried to get through her problems by herself. Nicole really was so sure that having Waverly would have changed things for the better and most of the time that was true, but Waverly had been right, just because she had her it didn't negate everything that had happened. It had all still happened and she still had the mental scars to prove it.

 

It took a few days, but her mom managed to set up an appointment for Nicole using her connections at the hospital, for after school that Friday. She suddenly felt extremely nervous about the whole situation and practically begged Waverly to come with her. She wouldn't be able to come into the room but just knowing she was right outside would make Nicole feel more comfortable. Waverly didn't hesitate when Nicole asked her and promised she'd be there.

"I was thinking of telling Gus tonight, but we could do it another night if you think it'll be too much after." Waverly told Nicole at lunch the day of her appointment. Nicole had been hopeful that Waverly would get the courage sooner rather than later and she didn't want Waverly putting it off any longer.

"No, we might as well both do something that scares us today!" Nicole laughed as if she was joking but she knew that Waverly could see the truth in her words by her eyes. She held on to her hand tight and told Nicole there was nothing to be scared of. Nicole took the words in, repeated them in her head and tried to believe them.

She couldn't believe it had taken her so long to finally admit to herself that she needed help. It wasn't normal to be so scared, to be constantly waiting for the next thing that was going to make her jump out of her skin. She knew it was going to be hard to open up to someone new but if it was going to help her in the long run she knew she had to be brave and just do it, even if it did scare her.

 

She sat awkwardly in the seat in the waiting room, tightly gripping Waverly's hand as she watched the clock on the wall get closer and closer to the minute she would be called into the psychiatrist's office. The last time she had spoken to a doctor about what was going on in her head she was still laying in the hospital bed. He had looked at her with such pity that it had made Nicole feel even more ashamed about what she had done. She didn't want to speak to him, but she wasn't allowed to leave the hospital until they had decided she was no longer a danger to herself. She knew she wasn't but convincing someone else of that fact when you had obviously been so close to the edge mere days before was harder than she thought it would be.

"Miss Haught?" The voice pulled Nicole straight out of her thoughts and Waverly squeezed her hand in encouragement. She stood up and tried her best to smile at the woman leaning out of the room. She looked kind and had a pair of glasses hung around her neck on a chain just like her grandmother wore. Waverly let go of her hand and Nicole looked down, instantly missing the comfort it was providing.

"I'll be right here." Waverly assured her and with a final deep breath she walked into the office.

 

 

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Waverly had been sitting in the waiting room alone for nearly forty-five minutes until a woman walked in and sat opposite her. Obviously, another patient and Waverly was sure she recognised her, maybe a Shorty's customer or maybe she worked at the grocery store but either way Waverly tried not to stare too much. She knew this wasn't the type of place that you tried to work out where you knew someone from. She reached forward and grabbed a magazine she had already read through once and pretended to read the articles again.

When she noticed it was almost time for Nicole's hour to be up, she threw the magazine back down on the table and smiled as she caught the other woman's eye. She smiled back and straightened up the magazine on the table, so it was perfectly in line with the rest of them before relaxing in her chair again.

The door opened, and Nicole emerged thankfully with a smile on her face as she said her goodbye to Dr. Kinnaird. Waverly stood up and took Nicole's hand as the door closed behind them, placing a quick kiss to Nicole's smile. She was so relieved that it didn't seem to have been a harrowing experience for Nicole to open up to someone new.

"How was it?" Waverly asked as they made their way to Nicole's car. She wasn't sure if she should ask for more details, she didn't want to pry into Nicole's private time with a medical professional even if she did wish that Nicole would share everything with her.

"I'm going to come back once a week. She doesn't want to rule out me needing medication just yet, but she wants to see how I get on with weekly sessions first." Nicole smiled down at Waverly, something definitely seemed to have taken a bit of weight off of Nicole's shoulders and if that was simply from one session then Waverly hoped that with weekly visits Nicole really could start to feel more at ease.

"Is she nice?"

"Yeah, she's really nice, it's actually really good being able to talk to someone." Nicole paused just before getting into the car and looked over at Waverly. She seemed to notice what she had just said, and the way Waverly's face involuntarily fell. Waverly wanted Nicole to know that she could tell her anything, she thought Nicole knew she could always speak to her about things. Waverly tried to brush it off and got into the car, but Nicole took her hand when she joined her inside and waited until Waverly was looking at her. "It's different with her…I don't want you treating me differently because of things I might tell you. You're my happy place and I don't want that to change!" Nicole leaned towards Waverly and stroked gently down her jaw.

"I'm your happy place?" Waverly asked, taken aback by how casually Nicole had just given her the nicest compliment she'd ever received. Nicole nodded and leaned in to capture Waverly's lips.

Waverly's smile didn't leave her face until they turned onto her street, she'd almost forgotten what their plan was after leaving Nicole's appointment and her leg started bouncing from her nerves. Nicole took her hand as they parked outside and kissed each of her knuckles softly. Waverly tried to smile but so many worries were flowing through her mind it was hard to even force it. What if Gus wasn't ok with her and Nicole? What if she asked questions that she didn't know the answers to like did this mean she was gay or bi or something else? Everything had been relatively easy for them so far and surely someone, at some point wasn't going to be accepting of them. She couldn't bear it if it was Gus.

They sat outside the house for what felt like hours, but every time Waverly checked the clock on the dashboard it had barely been a single minute since the last time she looked. She didn't want to get out of the car and Nicole sat silently just waiting for when she would be ready.

"Maybe she isn't home…" Waverly suggested, looking to Nicole for some kind of reassurance that maybe she didn't need to do this. Nicole smiled and shook her head.

"Waves, her truck is literally right there." Nicole motioned to the driveway and the truck that Waverly had already looked at five times since they parked outside. "You don't have to do this if you're not ready. It's ok if you're not!" Waverly closed her eyes, took a deep breath and got out of the car before she could change her mind again.

She rushed up the steps and into the house, hearing Nicole run in behind her. Gus was sitting reading the paper at the kitchen table, what she did every day about this time and looked up at Waverly as she stormed into the room.

"I need to talk to you!" Waverly's voice came out harsher than she had planned, and she cringed at how it must have sounded. By the look on Gus' face she clearly thought Waverly was angry. Nicole finally caught up with her, skidding to a stop just before she could barrel into Waverly. She wrapped her arms around Nicole's waist to steady her and looked over her shoulder to see Gus studying their positions. Waverly dropped her arms from around Nicole and took a steadying breath. "I need to tell you something…about me…and Nicole."

"Ok…" Gus folded up the paper in front of her and gave Waverly her full attention.

"We're dating…Nicole is my girlfriend." Waverly couldn't help but smile as she said the words, even with her worry about Gus' reaction, she just loved being able to say that.

"Oh." Gus furrowed her brow and Waverly's breathing started to quicken as her worst fears started to play out in her mind. Nicole took a hold of her hand from behind and rubbed her thumb gently over Waverly's skin. It calmed her enough so she could speak again.

"Are you…is it ok?" Waverly almost didn't want to hear the answer and she feared one of her trademark rambles was about to start just so she could put off the inevitable. "I wanted to tell you before, but I've been so worried about what you might think!" She let go of Nicole's hand and moved to sit down at the table across from Gus. She bit down on her lip to stop the word vomit that was sitting on the tip of her tongue from spilling out.

"Of course, it's ok…just a bit of a surprise? I don't know…" Gus let out a small laugh and all of the fear and tension left Waverly's body instantly. She let her head fall down onto the table in front of her and a giant sigh of relief left her lungs. Nicole placed her hand onto Waverly's shoulder and she reached up and intertwined their fingers. She looked up at Nicole with a smile, but Nicole nodded her head towards Gus, she knew there was more Waverly wanted to say to Gus and Waverly nodded, thankful for Nicole's reminder. She had waited far too long to tell Gus how much she meant to her.

"I've been meaning to tell you something else as well." Waverly looked back at Gus who was smiling at the pair across from her. She nodded and waited for Waverly to continue. "You probably already know but I wanted you to actually hear it. I love you Gus, you and Curtis are the best parents I could have asked for and I know I've never called you mom but that's what you are to me. I hope you know that and that's why I was so worried to tell you, if you didn't accept it I don't know what I would have done!"

"Waverly…" Gus stood from her seat and made her way round the table to pull Waverly into a tight hug, tears shining in her eyes. "You are the best daughter we could have asked for, I hope you know that too!" Waverly nodded into Gus' shoulder and let herself cry a few tears before wiping her face clean. It had gone better than she could have even imagined and now Gus knew just how important she was to her as well. They would have stayed in the embrace for longer, but the house phone ringing took Gus away into the hallway and Nicole moved in to fill her space.

"I knew it was going to be fine, baby!" Nicole cradled the back of Waverly's head as Waverly nuzzled into her neck. It wasn't just fine, it was perfect. All the important people in her life knew about Nicole, knew that she was her girlfriend and that Waverly was happy. Happiest she had ever been, but life had a cruel way of ruining an Earp's happiness, it was something Wynonna had always said, and Waverly had always told her she was being overdramatic but at the sound of Gus' anguished scream coming from the hallway, Waverly feared that Wynonna's prediction had been right.

She pulled herself out of Nicole's arms and ran into the hallway to find Gus in a ball on the floor, phone clutched to her chest and tears streaming down her face as she cried silently. Waverly didn't need to ask what had happened, in her heart she knew that there was only one thing that would cause Gus so much pain.

 

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Her mom told her that Curtis wouldn't have felt much pain, that he would have been unconscious for a while before he actually died but Nicole wasn't sure if she believed her. She'd seen plenty movies where people had heart attacks and she was sure that it looked like an especially awful way to go.

School felt scary without Waverly, she hated being there without her but what she hated more was not being there for Waverly when she felt like Waverly needed her. She had driven Waverly and Gus to the hospital, she had wanted to stay and be there for them both but when her mom saw her in the hallway and asked what she was doing there she said it would be best to give them some time alone. Nicole didn't agree with her, but she did as she was told and told Waverly to call her when they were ready to go home. She never got the call but instead a message from Wynonna saying that she had called a cab for them all to get back.

Waverly hadn't called her or text her since that day and while Nicole understood that she needed time to grieve, she couldn't stay away. She showed up at the house and stood outside, not knowing whether or not it was a good idea that she had shown up unannounced. She knew that the funeral was coming up, but she didn't want to wait until then to see Waverly and she didn't even know if she should go if Waverly didn't ask her to come.

She'd been standing outside for nearly fifteen minutes when the front door opened, and she saw Waverly standing in the doorway. She'd never looked so small or so tired in the whole time that Nicole had known her, and it broke her heart. She rushed up the steps and pulled Waverly into her arms. She held her, just standing in the doorway as she cried and apologized for not speaking to her for those couple days, but Nicole told her it was fine, she was just worried about her. Waverly admitted that she just wanted to be alone, she didn't want to have to pretend like she was ok, and she didn't have to around Wynonna or Gus because they were all feeling the same.

"You don't have to pretend around me." Nicole said as she finally led Waverly into the house and upstairs to her room. Waverly lay down on her bed and asked Nicole to join her, she held her close as she stroked her fingers through Waverly's hair for nearly an hour before Waverly broke the silence.

"Will you come to the funeral? It's on Saturday." Waverly turned herself in Nicole's arms, so she was facing her, looking at her with pleading eyes that were begging Nicole to say yes.

"Of course, I will. I'm here for you Waverly, whatever you need." Nicole pulled her in close and let her embrace show just how much she meant that. She would do anything for Waverly, anything to help her deal with losing the closest thing she had to a real father. Be there for Waverly just like Waverly was always there for her when she needed it.

 

Waverly clung to her side throughout the entire funeral and at the wake later on in the house. Nicole hadn't realised just how popular a man Curtis was in town, but it seemed like the entire adult population of Purgatory came out to pay their respects and say goodbye. Nicole was glad to see a few of Waverly's friends had come to support her through the difficult time as well.

They walked through the living room, past the mantel piece and Waverly's eyes landed on a photo of them all. Waverly was sat on Curtis' knee with a giant grin on her face, Wynonna just a little too big for it to look comfortable sat on the other and Gus was stood behind them with her arms draped around Curtis' neck. It looked like it was taken in the back garden and Waverly's eyes filled with tears as she traced her finger across Curtis' face.

"Hey, it's ok." Nicole lightly kissed Waverly's shoulder and hugged her in closer. "It's going to be ok."

"Can you stop saying that!" Waverly turned around and glared at her. Nicole took a step back and held up her hands. "How are things going ever to be ok?!" Waverly turned and stormed up the stairs leaving a bewildered Nicole staring after her. She shook herself out of her daze and called after her as she started to follow.

"Best just to give her a minute, Nicole." Gus gently held onto her arm and kept her back from the stairs. Nicole sighed but nodded in agreement. It was a hard day for Waverly and maybe some time by herself would be exactly what she needed. "Come help me with something?" Nicole followed Gus through to the kitchen, she shut the door behind Nicole and handed her a dish towel. As she helped Gus with the dishes, Gus admitted that she couldn't listen to anymore condolences. She knew they all meant well but it was too much all at once. She told Nicole that Waverly wouldn't deal with this well, her and Curtis were always close, and Nicole knew that, but she thought she had been saying the right things. Gus sat her down at the table and told her not to worry about saying the right things, she just had to be there for Waverly and sometimes that meant giving her time to calm down.

"You think she'll have calmed down now?" Nicole glanced at the clock on the wall, it had been nearly twenty minutes since she and Gus had started doing the dishes and then ended up talking about Curtis as they sat around the kitchen table. Gus stood up from the table without a word and brought out a cup from the cupboard and placed a teabag in it before filling it with boiling water from the kettle.

"Take this with you, it's her favourite." Gus handed Nicole the cup and she went upstairs. There were still plenty people milling about, clearly, they didn't even notice Gus' absence. She knocked lightly on Waverly's bedroom door and when she opened it she found Chrissy and Waverly locked in a tight embrace. Nicole stood by the door awkwardly, not wanting to intrude but Waverly saw her and gave her a small smile. She released Chrissy from the hug, who upon noticing Nicole as well stood up to take her leave.

"Bye Waverly, bye Nicole." Chrissy smiled as she walked towards the door.

"You're leaving already?" Nicole asked, more curious than anything. No one downstairs looked like they would be leaving any time soon, which Nicole was sure was going to annoy Gus even though she probably wouldn't say anything.

"Yeah, Beth's having a party tonight and I promised I'd help her set up." Chrissy looked back at Waverly with a furrowed brow, but Waverly assured her she was fine and to go enjoy the party. Nicole joined Waverly on the bed and handed off the cup of tea.

"My favourite…" Waverly smiled as she accepted the cup, taking a deep inhale through her nose as she lay her head on Nicole's shoulder. "I'm sorry for snapping at you and storming off. I know you were just trying to help."

"It's ok, it's a tough day." Nicole wrapped her arm around Waverly's shoulder and pressed a kiss to the side of her head. She couldn't imagine what Waverly was going through. "Do you want me to stay tonight? I haven't asked my mom but I'm sure she'd be ok with it, considering…"

"I'm just going to spend some time with Gus tonight, if you don't mind?" Waverly raised her head and looked at Nicole, of course Nicole wouldn't mind. Waverly had to do what she thought was right and Nicole could handle not holding Waverly close if she knew Gus and her would support each other. She wasn't really sure what Wynonna would do, she seemed to have spent most of the day with a close eye on Waverly though, so she would surely make sure she was doing alright.

"No, of course not. Baby, you do what you need to do." Nicole smiled, and Waverly let her head fall back onto her shoulder, hugging the warm cup to her chest.

Nicole waited until everyone else had left to help tidy the house before she headed home, leaving Waverly with an assurance that if she changed her mind she could call her, and Nicole would come right back. She knew how much Curtis meant to Waverly, how much he clearly meant to a lot of people in town. Part of her hoped that Waverly really would be ok, and she wouldn't need to call but the rest of her just wanted to hold Waverly and make her forget about what had happened.