The wind is whipping through the Jeep’s windows, brown and red hair is flying, and Waverly can’t help but think the air tastes like possibilities.
She looks to her right. There’s the Purgatory sign in the rear view mirror, and holy shit, she’s done it. She left. She passed the line. And right next to her is Nicole Haught, her girlfriend, her soulmate, her love. Nicole’s driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other trying to push back the wild red hair.
“We have officially left Purgatory,” Nicole announces. “What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking,” Waverly wrinkles her nose. “That I never thought this was possible before, but now it is. It’s possible because of you,” She turns, looking at that big smile, red hair, and sighs. “You’re extraordinary,”
“I’m also thinking,” Waverly continues. “That we shouldn’t leave Wynonna alone,”
“Hey! Come on. Give your sister some credit,” Nicole yelps, but after a beat, she drops her defense, “I told Doc and Dolls to check in on her every day so she doesn’t drink herself to death or anything. And they’ll help with any BBD, demon-y things and they’ll call if there is any sort of emergency - But! There won’t be! Because they got it handled. They don’t need us,”
That should be comforting, but Waverly knows better. She knows that Wynonna will forget to eat without her, that if Dolls and Doc get into a pissing match that she’s the best person to talk them down, that if Jeremy gets overwhelmed she’s the only person who can take over so he can take a break. They need her. She looks over at Nicole. And while Nicole might not think it, after countless “flatfoot rookie cop” comments and jabs about not “being a real BBD member”, Nicole is needed too. She’s Wynonna’s best friend, somehow. She can relate to Dolls and the need for procedure and rules and proper, good police work. And she can sit through Jeremy’s nerdy rants or gay rambling without getting bored. She’s needed.
They’re both needed. But for today, she has to believe that for now they aren’t needed. Because Nicole is taking Waverly out of Purgatory. And this has never happened before. Waverly has never left Purgatory before, and she’s excited and nervous and scared and she can’t wait.
“Okay,” she says. “Okay. So where are we going?”
“It’s a surprise,” Nicole grins.
Waverly sinks in her seat.
“Get some rest, baby. It’s a long ride,”
“Are you kidnapping me?”
Nicole laughs. And it’s warm and it’s wonderful. And Waverly laughs too and, for the first time in a long time, she feels utterly free.
They drive for hours and hours, and it feels like forever, but Waverly loves it. She loves seeing the green trees fly by, making a green blur in her window. She loves seeing the weird restaurants and fast food places and establishments that Purgatory just didn’t have. She loves listening to Nicole as she tells her stories. So this is he outside world, Waverly thinks. Her eyes fall to Nicole. It really is a wonderful place.
It’s warm. It smells like sea salt, and there’s this low buzzing of noise, and Waverly’s eyes flutter open. It’s bright lights. It’s popcorn. It’s a white painted boardwalk. It’s blue. It’s...
“Welcome to the fair,” Nicole says with a nervous laugh. “I know it was a long drive and - “
“Is that the ocean?”
Nicole sighs in relief. She takes Waverly’s hand. “Yeah, baby. It is,”
Waverly feels tears prickle her eyes. “Holy shit,” she whispers. “Can we swim?”
“Well, it’s freezing so no, but we can walk it,”
“We can walk on the beach,” Waverly repeats in disbelief. “I’ve read books but...” She looks up at the Ferris wheel towering over her, at the booths ahead, at the bright lights and kids running around squealing and she’s in disbelief. “Do all beaches have these fairs?”
“Some do,” Nicole says. She looks down. And there’s that nervous look again. “You like it?”
“I love it,” Waverly laughs. She tugs Nicole forward. “Come on! Come on! There’s so much to do!”
They walk on the beach, and it’s freezing. But wrapped up in Nicole’s Purgatory Department issued jacket and Nicole, herself, Waverly feels like she’s floating. Nicole tells her stories about her times on the beach, and she nearly trips over her long limbs and falls into the water, but Waverly grabs her tight and catches her and they laugh. They laugh at their “near death experience”.
They go to booths and they play games as Waverly eats cotton candy. Nicole used to play softball which isn’t as surprising as Nicole thought it would be so she whips the balls right at the target and, next thing they know, Waverly is being handed a fluffy unicorn and the two can’t stop smiling.
“My girlfriend just won me a unicorn,” Waverly snickers.
“I think unicorns just might be our lucky animal,” Nicole admits sheepishly. She wraps an arm around Waverly. “Come on,”
They ride the Ferris wheel, and the world looks so small, so tiny, so bright. And the ocean looks so big and wide and blue. And Nicole’s smile is wide and her hair is so red, and Waverly snuggles up close to her girlfriend, still clutching the toy.
“Thank you,” she says. “For bringing me to this. This is... It’s amazing,”
“Just wait. I got us a reservation at this little place that sells geoduck,”
Waverly face lights up. “Are you serious?”
“Oh my God!” Waverly squeals. She kisses Nicole, and she tastes like cotton candy and butter and it’s amazing. She’s on a Ferris wheel, kissing her girlfriend, with the ocean right there. And she feels amazing.
“Wait,” Waverly hesitates. “You didn’t get us tickets to skydive, did you?”
“I thought we could work up to that one,” Nicole smiles.
“I love you,”
There’s the smell of salt in the air and sweetness of cotton candy. There’s Nicole and her messy red hair as the wind ruffles it. There’s the blue of Nicole’s flannel. There’s the warmth of Nicole arm around Waverly. There’s bright lights. There’s unicorn plushies. And the air tastes like possibilities.