She stood there, letting it wash over her. She heard that rain can be cleansing. But standing there in the dark as it poured down on her, she realized that all it was doing was reminding her of every mistake, every word that she didn’t say. Every drop that hit her face reminded her of the tears she had watched roll down Waverly’s soft cheek.
As the rain began to soak her clothes, she begged the universe to let her take it all back. If she could just go back in time and change everything, it would all be ok. She thought she was doing what was best for everyone. But as the water pouring from the sky deflated her auburn curls to the point they were plastered to her face, she realized that everything that she had done was selfish. She realized that now. She wasn’t protecting Waverly by what she did. She was protecting herself. What if the information that she had held back had changed Waverly? What if she didn’t want to be with Nicole anymore? What if the results made Waverly question everything about herself, including the very young and fragile relationship with Nicole? She didn’t think she would be able to handle that.
Nicole realized there standing outside of Shorty’s that even though she didn’t mean to hurt Waverly, she didn’t do what was best for her either. She wasn’t purposely selfish, but she was selfish nonetheless and it led to the woman she loved walking out of her. It wasn’t until she was standing in the dark, cold rain drenching every bit of her person, as she watched the Jeep speed off into the night, that she realized what she had done.
Nicole didn’t know what her next move was. She didn’t know if she would ever be able to move from the spot she seemed to be glued to. For the briefest of moments she let the thought enter her brain that maybe it was for the best, but she quickly shook it from her brain. She had only been with the young Earp for a short period of time, but the redhead couldn’t imagine life without Waverly. But because of what she had done, Nicole feared that she had messed up the perfect life she had pictured in her head. Had she ruined her chance at happiness? One thing Nicole knew was that she loved Waverly with all of her heart and she had never loved someone quite like she loved the brunette. Maybe the rain was making everything clearer because for the first time since she had begun dating Waverly, Nicole could clearly see just what the other girl meant in her life. She knew she couldn’t let the woman that she loved drive out of her life without putting up a fight.
She shook her head, sending rain drops flying from her face and clearing her thoughts of the pity party that her brain was throwing. She had to apologize. She had to make Waverly listen to her. Nicole scanned the road for her police cruiser and, as soon as she saw it ran towards it, feeling the pooled water squish in her Pumas as she ran. She slid across the hood of her car like something out of one of the those 70’s cop shows. She took the smallest moment to wish someone had seen the awesome move before hurrying into her car behind the wheel.
Nicole wished she was more of a rule breaker because she wanted to turn on her lights and siren so that she could speed her way out to the small ranch outside of town without anyone getting in her way. Instead, she drove out to the Earp Homestead at a speedy yet safe pace, only travelling slightly over the speed limit. She could barely see the road due to falling rain coming down at such volume that her windshield wipers were practically useless. A few times she could feel the car hydroplane on the slick roads, but Nicole had been trained on driving in hazardous conditions at the Academy and figured this was the perfect chance to put those skills to use.
As she pulled into the driveway, Nicole could feel as he tires slipped on the mud beneath her. She had barely let the car come to a complete stop before she leapt out of the driver’s seat, running towards the front porch. As the redhead approached the entryway to the small home, her heart felt light as she saw the front door open. Yet when she realized that the figure that emerged was much too tall to be the woman she was seeking, she felt her stomach drop.
“She doesn’t want to see you, Nicole.” Nicole didn’t think she had ever heard Wynonna with such a serious tone to her voice and the way the the Earp heir wielded Peacemaker gave her an uneasy feeling in her guts. “And frankly,” Wynonna continued “I don’t really want to see you here either. I really think you need to get back in your car and leave.”
As scary as Wynonna could be when she was in big, bad, revenant killing mode, she was ten times scarier in protective big sister mode. But Nicole felt no fear because nothing was going to keep her from letting Waverly know just how sorry she was. If Waverly wanted her to leave, wanted her to never come back, she would respect the wishes of the other woman. She was no creep like Tucker Gardner. She respected Waverly’s personal space but she just wanted the chance to plead her case.
“I understand, Wynonna, and I know that you would do anything in your power to protect your sister. I love that Waverly has that. I love that she has a big sister who would keep her from ever feeling any pain. And just like you, I would do anything to keep that magnificent person from hurting.” Nicole pleaded with the woman who stood dry on the porch while she stood like a drowned rat in the front yard. “I thought I could spare her. Being an Earp is everything to her.”
Nicole hung her head and tears poured down her face. “I was wrong. All I want is the chance to tell Waverly that I’m sorry.” She paused for a second and let out a large breath before continuing. “I love her, Wynonna. I have never loved anyone the way that I love your sister. And if I’m going to lose her, I at least want her to know that I am sorry and that I never meant to hurt her.” She sniffled through the last bit, her tears coming so freely that the only way she could tell the difference between them and the rain that soaked her completely was the was the saltiness she tasted as they ran down her lips.
Nicole kept her head hung in despair as Wynonna began to speak. “Nicole, I really hope you are sincere about all of this because I swear if she forgives you and you so much make her shed one tear, I will make sure that you aren’t around to have another chance. I like you Haught and I would hate to make you disappear.” Nicole heard Wynonna turn and head back towards the house. Before Nicole could raise her head to look she heard Wynonna call back to her, “Good luck Haughtstuff. I’m rooting for you.”
Nicole raised her head just in time to watch the older Earp clap her hand down on the shoulder of her younger sister and say in a much softer tone, “I’m right inside if you need anything, baby girl.”
The moment that Nicole’s eyes connected with Waverly’s, she felt her knees go weak and she collapsed to the ground. She wasn’t sure if it was the emotions finally catching up with her or just the sight of the beautiful angel in front of her that caused her legs to betray her. All she knew was that she was kneeling in the mud, which she felt was a proper place for her after what she had done.
Waverly rushed to Nicole’s side. She was angry with her girlfriend for keeping such important information from her, but she was worried that the red haired deputy might be injured and she couldn’t handle that. “Nicole, are you ok?”
When the young Earp saw that Nicole was physically fine, she pulled the other girl’s head up so she could look right into her eyes. “Why are you here, Nicole? I wanted to get away from you. I needed to get away. I left you at Shorty’s for a reason.” Nicole could hear the hurt that was in Waverly’s voice and every word felt like it was stabbing her in the heart. She couldn’t stand the fact that she was the cause of that pain.
“Waverly, I...I…” Nicole started to explain herself but she just couldn’t seem to find the right words.
“I know, Nicole. You didn’t want me to be upset at the results. But what really hurts is that you didn’t trust me to be able to handle them. I’m not a child, Nicole. I’m not fragile and I won’t break.” Tears started to fall down the brunette’s face.
“I know, Waverly. I should have trusted you. I should have given you the results immediately and just been there for you in any way that you needed me. I know that now.” Every word out of her mouth begged the other woman for her forgiveness. “I was selfish. I didn’t want to lose you. I wanted to protect you but I also wanted to protect us. It was wrong and I don’t know if I will ever be able to earn your trust again but I would like to try.” Nicole took a deep breath and stared into the other girl’s eyes. She wanted her to understand just how much she meant the next words that she said.
“I love you, Waverly Earp. I love you more than I have ever loved anyone else. You have stolen my heart and because of that I know if anything happened to us, I wouldn’t survive. It was selfish and if you will let me, I will spend the rest of my life showing you how sorry I am.”
Both women remained in silence, staring at each other, the only sound was the rain falling all around them. Finally, a small smile broke broke across Waverly’s face. “You look like a drowned rat. Let’s get you inside and into some warm clothes before you get sick. It will be hard for me to be mad at you if I have to play nurse to a sick Nicole.”
She helped the other woman to her feet and began leading her into the house. When she reached the porch she turned and looked at the drenched redhead. “I love you too, Nicole. And no matter what life brings us, it won’t change the fact that you also have my heart. Just promise me that you won’t ever keep things from me like this again. Promise me that you will trust me enough to be able to handle anything, especially when I have you by my side.” With that she pulled her girlfriend in for a tender kiss, one that conveyed the love she felt for the other woman.
“I promise, Waverly,” Nicole said softly. “I have learned my lesson and none of this is worth almost losing you.”
Waverly smiled at the other girl and, taking her by the hand, led her inside and out of the rain.