College was supposed to be fun. It was going to be Nicole’s first taste of freedom. It was going to be amazing.
Except books were expensive. Except homework was piling up. Except running off a basketball scholarship that’s dependent on good grades means when you don’t measure up you’re on academic probation.
Nicole lays down on her bed, letting the weight of the world just crush her.
“I thought I was the mopey one,” Nicole’s roommate pipes up.
Oh right. Nicole had forgotten another exception - Wynonna Earp, borderline alcoholic, relative nuisance, and Nicole’s not-so-friendly roommate.
Nicole spent most of her nights sitting out in the hall or hiding down in a study room or sitting out on the commons or being anywhere but her dorm because she would get a text that would say “Scram” and the very visible clue of the sock of the doorknob and suddenly Nicole was homeless.
“Get up,” Wynonna smacks Nicole’s legs and Nicole squirms but doesn’t, keeping her eyes trained on the ceiling. “What’s up? Your parents call?”
“Good. Fucking assholes,” Wynonna sighs. She crosses her arms and takes Nicole in. “You need to, like, go get laid,”
“I’m serious. You’re so - Ugh. You’re so uptight. I swear if just one strand of red is in the wrong place, you’re going to snap. You need to go out there in the world and get wasted and drunk,”
“No. I need to study. Semester 2 is starting tomorrow and I’m so fucking behind already and I’m having new classes and more work and - “ Nicole grabs her pillow and screams into it. Maybe getting drunk and laid wasn’t a bad plan.
“You’re a basketball player. You’re all sporty and hot. I bet there’s girls drooling all over you,” Wynonna says.
“This might surprise you, Wynonna, but the lesbian dating pool is pretty small here. And by small, I mean, it’s just me and Shae,”
“Shae? Really? The pre-med girl?” Wynonna whistles as she thinks about it for a long moment. “And hey, wait! You’re counting out the bisexuals and the pansexuals and queers and, uh, other people who are attracted to women,”
Nicole opens an eye. “Since when are you so educated in LGBT+ terminology?”
“Since my sister came out as bi,” Wynonna shrugs. She hits Nicole again, and this time Nicole, with a long labored sigh, manages to sit up. “Now, go and live your life. You spend too much of it sitting here and worrying,”
“That’s not true. Two weeks ago, I left and played video games with Jeremy,” Nicole says but it doesn’t sound as impressive when she says it out loud as it did in her head.
Between basketball practice and studying, having a social life had sort of fallen through the cracks. Wynonna, on the other hand, had the opposite problem. Her little sister was some sort of genius who finished high school early while Wynonna, herself, had to stay back. Because of that, Wynonna went to every party she could, disappeared at odd hours of the night, and lived it up to the fullest, knowing fully well when she stumbled and fell academically her sister would come running.
Nicole didn’t have a tutor or a genius sister. Nicole just had an overwhelming amount of stress and expectation to live up to. So that was fun.
“Listen, Doc - “
“Wait, is that the weird mustache guy? The history major that you slept with?”
“Yes and yes. He’s throwing a party with his hot roommate, Dolls, and you, Haught, should be there! Live it up! Get wild!”
“No,” Nicole flops back down on the bed.
“Haught, you can’t say no,”
“Uh, yeah I can. No. I’m not going,”
“Haught. I’m pulling rank as your roommate and only friend if you don’t go, I will make your life miserable. I will sing Star Spangled Banner always and do Trump impressions constantly and eat all your protein bars and I’ll never, ever let you study,”
“You already make my life miserable!” Nicole groans.
“Fine! God, fine!” Nicole picks herself up and stares at herself in the mirror. The Purgatory University hoodie is way too big. Her jeans are ripped, and her messy red hair isn’t stylish but sloppy. But she couldn’t care less.
Wynonna changes though and slings her favorite leather jacket with fringe on the sides on. “What?” she snaps when she catches Nicole staring. “It’s classic,”
It isn’t, but Nicole isn’t going to say anything.
The party is not Nicole’s scene at all, but it is Wynonna’s. The moment she enters the house, everyone cheers and shouts her name. Immediately, the mustache guy - Doc, Wynonna had said - is striding over, kissing her on both cheeks.
“You look lovely as always,” he says with that southern drawl that Nicole is pretty sure he made up.
“Thanks, Doc. This is Haught,”
“Howdy,” Doc says with a wink, and Nicole screams internally as she nods.
“I’ll go get you two ladies some drinks,” Doc says, tipping his hat, and heading out.
Immediately once he’s out of earshot, Nicole let’s out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. “Howdy?!” Nicole whisper-shouts. “What the Hell? He’s from Connecticut!”
“He’s quirky,” Wynonna shrugs. “It’s fine cause he’s attractive,”
“Right,” Nicole rolls her eyes. She can’t believe she’s here right now when she could be memorizing the periodic table or doing some studying or some shit. Maybe when Wynonna isn’t looking, she’ll use her online flash cards and study a bit.
“Here you go, Miss Haught,” Doc says as he returns, pushing a red solo cup in her hand. “And for you, Earp,” And Wynonna and Doc’s hands linger for a moment and their eyes meet and they’re having a weirdly sexually tense moment which would be fine if Nicole wasn’t literally right in the middle of the two.
“Uh, thanks,” Nicole says, breaking the silence. She quickly mouthed “what the fuck when Doc isn’t looking to which Wynonna responds with a shrug. “Listen, I’m going to get out before you two - “ She doesn’t finish that thought. She just walks off because it’s obvious the two aren’t paying attention to her anymore. Whatever.
Nicole finds Jeremy, oddly, at the party. He’s talking to some guy and his face is flushed, and normally Nicole would cling to the nearest friend she could find at events like these but she’s not about to prevent Jeremy from getting some action tonight. Just because she’s hopeless and alone, doesn’t mean Jeremy has to be.
Nicole sort of lingers around. It’s crazy to her that someone as tall as herself can absolutely disappear in a crowd but she does. Easily.
She sees Rosita from her chemistry class drinking beer with some guy from the Revenant frat house. She sees people grinding and dancing. She sees people laughing. And, as she walks around, she swears she’s never felt more alone.
“It’s crazy,” a voice says from behind her. “I’ve never seen someone so tall try to look so small,”
Nicole turns and she swears her breath catches on her throat. She takes a long sip of beer quickly before she even tries to speak.
“Uh,” is all that comes out, but the girl sticks out her hand for hand for a shake.
She’s beautiful. Long hair. A crop top. Shorts that are way too short. And Nicole feels big and dumb and stupid, and maybe she should have put some effort in her appearance before she left her dorm.
“Waverly,” the girl introduces herself. “And you’re Nicole Haught,”
“What?” Nicole squeaks, taken aback.
“You’re Nicole,” Waverly laughs. “You’re kind of famous,”
“I am?” Nicole quirks a brow. She takes a long sip of her drink to soothe her nerves as Waverly explains.
“Well, no offense, but there aren’t too many tall, redhead girls running around Purgatory University. And if there are, they’re certainly not as cute as you,”
Nicole chokes on her beer like a useless lesbian. And she doesn’t know whether it came out from her mouth or nose - real smooth, Nicole - or splashed from her cup when she jumped back in surprise, but her hoodie is drenched in beer.
“Fuck,” Nicole curses. “I’m so stupid,”
But when she looks up, Waverly isn’t upset. She’s laughing. And it’s not a mean laugh, a cruel laugh. Nicole knows those laughs well. She lives with Wynonna, after all. No, this laugh is sweet, is pure, is perfect.
And Nicole can’t help but laugh a little too. “I’m sorry,” she says in a much softer voice this time. “I’m a klutz around p-pretty girls,” she stammers.
And Waverly’s smiling, bright and beautiful.
“So I’m assuming that you don’t typically go to things like this?”
“No, do you?” Nicole asks.
Waverly thinks for a moment before she shakes her head. “No. Well, my freshman year I tried it out. I promised my big sister I would but - “ Waverly just shrugs. “I’ve never really felt comfortable here. How about you?”
“I never really feel comfortable,” Nicole admits. Except right now. Standing beside Waverly who’s looking at her with those beautiful eyes. Nicole feels perfectly safe and perfectly nervous. She’s the edge of comfort and uncomfort, and it’s nerve-wracking but exciting. But, well, Nicole would never admit that out loud.
“So why are you here?” Waverly asks.
“Um, my roommate said I needed to get laid,” Nicole says. And she blushes madly because maybe she shouldn’t announce that to the pretty girl who she was flirting with. Was she flirting? She can never tell. Waverly could just be a friendly straight girl like all the others.
Waverly, though, doesn’t seem as embarrassed by Nicole’s comment or even phased by it. She just nods and looks around. “Hm, maybe I can be your wingman, then. Though, Lord knows you don’t need it. I mean, look at you. You’re so hot. I’m sure you can get an guy here,” She surveys the room while Nicole tries not too look too pleased by being called “hot”. “How about....him?”
Nicole doesn’t even bother looking over to where Waverly’s pointing. “Uh, I’m actually gay,”
“Oh,” Waverly says. Her face seems to light up.
“Yeah, I’ve known for, like, ages so a him is...just not my cup of tea,” Nicole shrugs. “It made it a little weird to look for a roommate cause it feels like all straight girls are just obsessed with the idea that all gay woman are just, like, super into them. Thankfully, my current roommate is pain in the ass, but she’s not like that at all,” And Nicole doesn’t know why she said all that. Maybe because it’s easy to talk to Waverly. It just feels right, but suddenly she’s embarrassed. “I mean, not at all straight girls, you know,” she stammers quickly. “No offense or anything,”
“Oh,” Waverly smirks. “Nicole, I’m not straight,”
“Oh,” Nicole says, nodding dumbly. “That’s...great news. Congrats,”
Waverly laughs again. “Thanks. Congrats to you too on being a homosexual, Nicole,” And she raises her red solo cup and they clink their cups together. It’s the weirdest toast ever, but Nicole is grinning from ear to ear.
Waverly watches her for a moment before she tilts her head. “Are you still nervous talking to me?”
And Nicole doesn’t know what the right answer is, so she nods.
“You know what my sister always says? Alcohol is always the solution,” Waverly says.
“Huh, that sounds like my roommate,”
“Maybe we should get them together,” Waverly smiles, but once her eyes zero in on the drinks she forgets that line of conversation entirely. “Want another beer?”
“Yeah. I can’t really drink this,“ Nicole motions vaguely to her drenches hoodie.
Waverly laughs again. God, Nicole could get drunk to the sound of her laugh.
Somehow between drink number five and seven, Waverly had convinced Nicole to dance with her.
She’s drunk. There’s a buzz vibrating through her, slowing down her inhibitions, dropping her barriers. And she agrees even though sober-Nicole would rather die than dance in front of people. Something about being awkward and gangly and klutzy, but Waverly...
She’s beautiful when she dances. Everything shaking. Brown hair flying. Her hips move perfectly to the beat. It’s an art. It truly is.
“Silly, you have to dance too! You can’t just stare at me,” Waverly giggles. She’s pretty drunk now too. Nicole doesn’t know what number drink Waverly is on, but she knows they’re both tipsy.
Nicole dances and Waverly dances. And they sway to the beat, and Waverly is touching Nicole and Nicole can’t think of anything better than this.
Somehow, Waverly ropes in Nicole in a game of beer pong against Dolls, another criminal justice major that Nicole knew, and Dolls’ friend, Eliza Shapiro.
“For an athlete, you’re not very good at this,” Waverly says.
Nicole can’t answers because she’s too busy drinking. She throws the plastic cup on the ground, groaning loudly. “It’s not - “ She closes her eyes for a minute, steadying herself. “It’s not my fault. Dolls is a - “ The room is really spinning. “Fucking fantastic,”
Waverly laughs and her hands are Nicole’s hips. “You’ll get this. You can do this,”
Nicole throws the ball, it bounces and goes straight in a solo cup, causing beer to splash everywhere.
“YES!” Nicole throws her hands up.
And Waverly throws her hands up too. And they’re both jumping, jumping, jumping. And Waverly takes Nicole’s hands.
“YES!” And then Waverly grabs Nicole and they’re kissing. And fireworks are exploding in Nicole’s brain, and she can’t believe why she didn’t do this sooner. This feels amazing, but it’s quick and fleeting, because the games still going as Dolls remind them very loudly.
“Come on!” Waverly says. Her hand lingers on Nicole’s back. “Let’s win this!”
They don’t win. Not even close. But it doesn’t matter. They decide to leave the party early. There isn’t much for them there anyway.
Nicole and Waverly walk to the dorms, holding hands. There is something beautiful about nighttime when the world is asleep. It’s dark, and there’s the glow of the street lamps above them. There’s fireflies popping out by the shrubbery as they walk, leaning against each other. There are people strolling around. There are people who are also comfortably drunk. The sky is a dark blue with little sparkling lights of stars burning bright light years away, and the moon is big and bright. And Waverly’s hand is warm, and it feels amazing to have her pressed against Nicole’s body. And the two are laughing and Nicole can’t remember what about but it feels good, feels light and warm and brightening her chest. And the world feels pretty sweet.
“This might sound weird, but I don’t want this night to end,” Waverly whispers.
“It doesn’t have to,” Nicole says. And she knows she’s blushing and she knows she’s pretty drunk but Waverly is just pretty and she can’t think straight so she says, “Do you wanna come by my dorm? I can show you my...” She tries for a moment to think it through. “...um...my textbooks. Wanna see my textbooks?”
Waverly laughs and holds Nicole tighter. “I thought you’d never ask,”
Waverly leans against the door as Nicole sticks the key in.
“So where’d you get the textbooks?” Waverly says, and Nicole never thought someone could make that sentence sound so sexy. Waverly’s hands are on Nicole’s chest, and then Nicole shakes her head.
“Let’s forget about school for a second,” And Nicole and Waverly are kissing. And they’re leaning against the door, but Nicole forgot she had open it so the two nearly stumble and fall as their weight opens the door fully. They laugh and then they’re kissing again. Waverly’s hands fumble around her body before they’re tugging her beer-stained hoodie. And Nicole is unfastening her bra and -
“Wait. Wait,” Nicole’s breathless and she doesn’t want to stop but she needs to. Waverly jumps back, bringing her hands in surrender.
“Yeah just gotta text my roommate real quick,” Nicole quickly sends a message to Wynonna and then tosses her phone across the room. And they’re kissing again. And nothing could ruin this moment.
Across campus, Wynonna is comfortably buzzed, sitting down on the couch as the music is pulsing, beside Doc and Dolls.
“Huh,” Wynonna smiles as she checks her phone.
“What is it, darling?” Doc asks.
“My roommate is totally getting laid right now,” Wynonna laughs to herself. She looks at Doc for a long moment then at Dolls. “Guess, I’m staying with you two,”
Nicole wakes up to a splitting headache and Wynonna standing over he bed. She screams the moment she sees the brunette.
“Ugh, calm down, Haught. I brought you some grease-y shit and a coffee. We have our first class together today. You excited?”
“I feel like...” Nicole closes her eyes tightly, wishing the world would stop moving for a second. “Like I got hit by a bus,”
“That’s the spirit,” Wynonna laughs. “Oh, you got a note on your forehead,”
“A note...?” Nicole’s eyes shoot open as she searches the bed but she’s the only one in it. She rips the sticky note off her forehead and reads it.
Had to meet with a professor. Sorry to leave you alone. You’re cute when you’re sleeping. But last night was really fun. I’d love to do it again sometime. -W
And her number was scrawled underneath in the cutest little cursive. Nicole smiles and wedges the note in her textbook.
“Thanks, ‘Nonna, let me get dressed and - “ Nicole looks down. Under these sheets, she’s incredibly naked and based on the smug smile and the fact that Wynonna is dangling Nicole’s underwear, Wynonna knows it too.
“Looking for these?” Wynonna teases before she throws them at Nicole. “I’m going to wait five minutes and if you’re not up, I’m heading out. My sister is the TA of this class. I promised her I would be a star student,”
“You’re sister is a TA?” Nicole says as she changes quickly, squeezing her long legs in old jeans and tossing a big, oversized t-shirt overhead.
“Yeah. Told you. Kid’s a genius,” Wynonna takes a long sip of coffee. “Enough about me. I feel like we’re glossing over the big lesbian elephant in the room. You got lucky, huh? Was she nice?”
“The nicest,” Nicole’s cheeks turn pink just thinking about her. “I think I’m going to call her,”
“Haught,” Wynonna groans. “It’s a one-night-stand. You fuck. You peace out when morning hits, and you never see each other again. It’s the law of the land,”
“No. I mean, yeah, but I think we really hit it off. Like, we connected. And she left me her number,” Nicole takes the note out of her textbook, wiggling it around, before she returns it back to where it was. “I think that’s a good sign,”
“Ugh. You ruin everything. Now, come on! Come on!”
No matter how hard they tried, they still ended up at class late.
“Oh. I’m sorry,” Nicole whispers.
“Just for that, you’re going to be the first one to enter the room,”
But it’s too late. Wynonna opens the door, and, with a shove, Nicole stumbles into the lecture room. All eyes are on her as the teacher pauses.
“It seems we have some students who have forgotten what manners are,” the professor says gruffly.
“Right. Sorry. Sorry,” Nicole says. She takes Wynonna’s hand and leads her to the first available seat.
“Ahem, as I was saying. I will have my office hours posted, but I would prefer if you direct your questions first to your TA,” The professor flicks his wrist and suddenly a girl is striding over with a big but nervous smile. “Everyone, this is my TA, Waverly Earp,”
“It’s so nice to meet all of - “ Waverly freezes. “Nicole? What are you doing here?”
Nicole’s eyes nearly pop out of her head.
“I’m... I’m a student,” Nicole squeaks our nervously. But Wynonna is terribly confused.
“What?” Wynonna frowns. “Why do you two - “ And Wynonna turns her head and sees Waverly who’s staring, all big-eyes and red faced, at Nicole. And Nicole is staring back like a deer in headlights with a blush coloring her cheeks. And suddenly, the pieces of the puzzle slip together. “You slept with my sister!”
Yup. College was supposed to be fun, Nicole thinks miserably. Except she has just slept with her TA/roommate’s sister. Although, as Waverly continues with her speech, pretending no one heard Wynonna’s loud comment or is witnessing the daggers Wynonna is sending at Nicole’s skull, Nicole can’t help but think Waverly looks really cute today.
“And in front of you all is - “ And there eyes meet, and Waverly blushes and smiles and looks down for a second before she clears her throat. “Uh, excuse me. In front of you all is your syllabus,”
Nicole feels her heart flutter even though Wynonna might just kill her with that intense staring she’s doing. But looking at the smile, Nicole feels warm and fuzzy. And maybe. Just maybe with the Earps, college might not be too bad.