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The Grind

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“Shit!” Waverly yelped as she spilled hot coffee all over her hand. “Ugh. Of course this would happen to me.” She looked at the time. 7:44 a.m. She quickly swiped the rag over the rest of the puddle before tossing it aside. She grabbed the canister of cinnamon and sprinkled it into the cup, making sure it was the right amount before placing the lid over the hot beverage. She looked back up at the clock.

“Three, two, one…” She whispered. 7:45 a.m. She looked at the door and saw the red-haired police officer reach for the outside door handle to walk inside. She was the most beautiful woman Waverly had ever seen. It had been three months since the woman first walked into her place of work, and she was instantly hooked. She hadn’t even said anything to her that day, since her coworker was the one who had taken the officer’s order. Waverly was in the back cleaning the espresso machine when she had noticed the one and only Nicole Haught. She had never questioned her sexuality before, but she had definitely been questioning it for the past three months. Part of her was terrified about it, but the other part was excited. The thought of being with another woman exhilarated her. And the thought of being with Nicole Haught – what’s a word better than exhilarated? Well, whatever it is, that’s the word Waverly would use to describe the thought of being with Nicole Haught.

“Um, hello?”

Waverly was snapped out of her thoughts when she noticed the officer at the counter in front of her, gently waving her hand in order to get her attention. Waverly felt the heat creep up into her face when she realized she had just been daydreaming about Nicole Haught as she was standing right in front of her. How lame can you get? “Oh, uh, sorry about that. It’s been a slow start.” Waverly chuckled awkwardly.

“Maybe you’re the one who should be ordering coffee,” the taller woman smiled.

God, those dimples. Waverly shook her head. No. No more daydreaming. Oh shit. What if she thinks I was shaking my head at her? Like I’m telling her she can’t have coffee or something? Quick, give her the coffee!

“Uh, here you go!” She slid the coffee out in front of her.

“But, I didn’t even order yet?” The redhead questioned as her brow furrowed in confusion.

“Oh.” Waverly quickly pulled the coffee back. “What would you like?”

“Can I get an Americano with a little bit of half and half steamed in, and a dash of cinnamon please?” She smiled again. This woman really needs to stop smiling.

“Sure. Here you go!” Waverly shoved the coffee back out in front of her, this time with a big grin on her face.

“You know my coffee order?” The taller woman asked in disbelief as she grabbed the cup.

“Well, you’ve come in here every day at the same time for the past three months and ordered this exact drink. I figured it was about time I learned it.”

“Hm. Fair enough.”

“Plus, I’m just doing my duty so that you can go out and do your duty!” She winced as soon as the words left her mouth. It didn’t sound as dumb in her head.

The redhead just laughed in amusement. “Well, I appreciate you doing your duty.” She said as she raised the cup of coffee, toasting the barista before taking a sip.

Waverly could feel herself blushing again. She wasn’t sure if she could handle anymore interaction with this woman without inadvertently revealing her secret crush. “Well, have a good day!”

“Don’t you want me to pay for this?” The officer chuckled.

“Oh. Uh, no, that’s okay. It’s on me.” Waverly smiled.

“Wow, thank you. I guess I’ll have to return the favor by giving you a complimentary ride in my squad car sometime.”

“I would love that!” Waverly said, a little too excited.

“Well, I better get going. See you tomorrow, Waverly.”

She couldn’t believe it. This perfect woman whom she had been crushing on for the past 93 days knew her name. “Definitely. See you tomorrow, Officer Haught!”

“Please. Any woman who knows my coffee order and pays for it can call me Nicole.” She smirked as she took a sip of the coffee before turning around to walk out the door.

“Nicole,” Waverly whispered to herself. They were officially on a first-name basis, which meant that they were beginning to blur the lines between a barista/customer relationship, to acquaintances. This was progress.

“Oh, and by the way,” Nicole began as she opened the door. “You make my drink way better than that other barista.” She winked before walking out the door.

Waverly could’ve passed out right then and there. But she didn’t, because she knew that there was only nine minutes until the morning rush began, and they were a little short-staffed with Darren – the other barista who didn’t make Nicole Haught’s drink as well as she did – being on vacation this week.

---

Nicole jumped into the driver’s seat of the squad car.

“So, how did it go?” Her partner asked from the passenger’s seat.

“How did what go?”

“Don’t play dumb. I know you’ve been hardcore crushing on that barista ever since you first walked into that coffee shop.”

“What? No I haven’t!”

“Come on, Haught. You’re not exactly subtle with it.”

“I am too!” She barked.

“Aha! So you do like her!”

She pursed her lips together. “You’re a pain in my ass, Dolls. You know that?”

“As a partner should be,” he replied matter-of-factly.

She shook her head and chuckled as she took a sip of her perfectly made coffee.

“Okay, so you like Waverly. Now what are you going to do about it?”

“Nothing.”

“What do you mean, nothing?”

“I mean, exactly that. Nothing.”

“You have to do something. Otherwise, you’re never going to get the girl.”

“I’m never going to get her anyways. She’s straight.”

“Did she say that?”

“Well, no.”

“Then how do you know?”

“Because she has a boyfriend.” She rolled her eyes at the thought of Waverly’s boyfriend. She knew all about Champ Hardy. As soon as she found out that he was dating Waverly – about two days after she first walked into the coffee shop and noticed the mesmerizing brunette cleaning the espresso machine – she looked up his file; and she was not a fan. She knew Waverly could do better, even if she didn’t want Nicole.

“So? That doesn’t mean anything. How many boyfriends have you had?”

“One.”

“And are you straight?”

“No. And it only took the one to figure that out.”

“Well maybe it only takes one stubborn redhead police officer for Waverly to figure out that she’s not either.”

Nicole paused for a moment. Maybe Dolls was right. Maybe Waverly wasn’t straight and she really did have a chance. After all, the girl did know her coffee order. But no, that didn’t mean anything. She was probably just doing her job. She probably remembered everyone’s coffee order. It did take 93 days for her to even remember Nicole’s, after all.

“She’s not straight, and that’s the end of it.” She stated as she started up the car.

“What, you think that just because you’re a lesbian, it means that your gaydar is 100% accurate?”

“Precisely.” She pulled out of the parking space and began their usual commute to the police station.

“Whatever. You’re only sabotaging yourself.”

“Tell you what, I’ll make a move on my Earp girl if you make a move on yours.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh please. I know you have a crush on Wynonna. You’re less subtle ordering drinks from her at Shorty’s than I am ordering coffee from Waverly at The Grind.”

“That’s different.”

“Yeah. You actually know that she likes men and she doesn’t have a boyfriend. So you have a better chance.”

“But she doesn’t remember my drink order.”

“Oh, but she will tonight.”

“What’s tonight?”

“The night we make her remember your drink order.” Nicole smirked.

“Now you’re the one who’s the pain in my ass.” He said looking straight ahead at the road.

“As a partner should be.”

---

As Waverly wiped down the espresso machine, she heard the bell above the front door ding behind her. “Hello, welcome to–” She turned around and noticed the familiar dopey grin. “Oh, hey Champ.”

“Hey babe,” the tattooed guy said as he unexpectedly grabbed the short barista and forcefully pulled her into a kiss, giving her no choice but to plant her lips onto his. Which wasn’t a big deal, since he was her boyfriend. She didn’t mind kissing him.

When he released her, she gave him a half-hearted smile. “Any luck finding a job yet?”

“Nah, but something will turn up,” he said as he grabbed a muffin from the dessert dish and shoved it into his mouth.

“Okay, but you are looking though, right?”

“Meh. Here and there. But I’m sure something will just fall into my lap eventually. You know, if it’s meant to be, it’ll be.”

Waverly clenched her jaw. “Um, okay. But you know that jobs don’t actually just fall into laps, right? You have to actually apply fo-“

“Oh damn!” Champ cut her off as he noticed the time. “I didn’t realize how late it was. I better get going. I’m supposed to meet Craig in five minutes. We’re going paintballing!” He said enthusiastically.

It took every muscle in Waverly’s body not to roll her eyes.

“Later babe.” He pulled her into another unexpected kiss before heading towards the door.

“Wait, you’re going to pay for that muffin, right?”

“I thought you could pay for it.” He smiled.

“Yeah, sure.” She sighed.

“Thanks babe. You tha man!” He said before running out the door.

“Well, someone has to be,” she mumbled to herself before shaking her head and returning her attention to the appliance.

---

Later that night

“This is a bad idea,” Dolls said nervously.

“What? Going to the bar for drinks after a boring day of speeding tickets and paperwork?”

“No, going to the bar in an attempt to get Wynonna to notice me when I already know she won’t.”

“Now who’s the one sabotaging themselves?”

“I’m just saying, I’ve been trying to get her to notice me for weeks, and I’ve clearly failed.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t have me as a wingman. Things are going to be different tonight.” She grinned as she patted his leg.

“That’s easy for you to say. We’re not seeing your girl tonight.”

“Nope. I have until tomorrow morning to prepare,” she bragged.

“In which case, I’ll be your wingman.”

“Yeah right. You’re staying in the squad car, just like you do every morning.”

“We’ll see.”

She rolled her eyes as she parked the squad car in front of the bar.

“Do you think we should’ve changed out of our uniforms before going out tonight?” Dolls asked.

“No way. Chicks dig an officer in uniform, trust me.” She winked as she unbuckled her seatbelt and stepped out of the car.

“I hope so.” He faltered, following suit.

When they walked into the bar, they noticed two empty seats at the counter and sat down.

“I don’t see her. I guess she’s not working tonight,” Dolls said in fake disappointment.

Nicole looked around the bar and noticed the bartender picking up some empty beer mugs from one of the tables. “Relax, she’s over there, busting tables.”

“Yay,” he said unenthusiastically as the nerves crept into his stomach.

“Excuse me!” Nicole waved, flagging down the older Earp.

When Wynonna noticed the waving officer, she walked over behind the counter. “Sorry. Didn’t see you guys walk in.”

Dolls frowned, taking the comment as a personal hit.

“I hope you both aren’t here to arrest me,” Wynonna joked as she pointed to the uniforms.

“Nah, just here for a drink after a long shift.” Nicole reassured.

“Well then, you’re my kind of officers. What are you having?”

“I’ll just have a club soda,” Nicole replied.

“No alcohol tonight?” Wynonna asked surprised.

“Nah. I’m more of a coffee drinker. My partner here is more into alcohol than I am.” She swung her arm around his shoulder as he scowled at her.

“Fair enough. Club soda it is. And for you?”

“Whiskey neat.”

“Got it. Club soda for red, and whiskey neat for broody. Coming right up,” she said before walking away.

“Broody?! What does that mean!” Dolls whispered to Nicole, who was trying her very best not to laugh.

“Well, you could lighten up a bit. I can see your facial muscles flexing from here.”

“That’s because she just called me broody.”

“Relax, Dolls. The night’s just started. Don’t overthink everything. Be cool.”

“I’m always cool,” he stated, feeling insulted.

“Then act like it.”

He rolled his eyes, questioning why he let her drag him into this. As he looked around the bar, he noticed a small brunette woman playing pool. He nudged his partner’s side.

“Hey, look who’s here.” He smirked as he nodded towards the pool table.

Nicole whirled around and grinned as soon as she saw the petite woman. But her grin was quickly replaced with an expression of disgust when she noticed who she was with.

“Ugh,” she groaned as she turned back around. “She's with fucking Champ Hardy.”

“She doesn’t have to be. She could be with you right now,” he said with an amused look on his face.

Wynonna returned with two drinks in hand, and a look of confusion. “Are you guys trying to swap nicknames on me? I thought he was the broody one,” she said nodding over towards Dolls.

“She gets broody too sometimes,” he replied as he took the drinks from her.

“Well, then I guess I’ll have to give you a less confusing nickname.”

“Or you can just call me by my first name. Xavier.” He stated coolly.

“Nah, I don’t do first names,” she replied dryly.

His face dropped at the unexpected rejection.

“I’ll just call you whiskey neat.” She winked and clicked her tongue before walking away.

He subtly fist pumped. “Did you hear that Haught? She remembered my drink order!”

“Uh huh. Cool.” Nicole said, her eyes burning into the back of Champ Hardy’s skull.

“If it’s bothering you that much, why don’t you go and talk to her?”

“You know what. I will.” She slid off of the stool and stomped over to them. As soon as she reached the couple, she put on a fake smile. “Hey Waverly!” She waved.

Waverly looked at the redhead and suddenly felt her stomach drop. She wasn’t expecting to see her again until the next morning. Suddenly, she felt underprepared; which was not a good feeling for someone who was such a planner.

“H-hey officer Hau- I mean, Nicole.” She blushed.

Champ whirled around, wrapping his arm around Waverly to send a message to the officer that he was taken, and that there was no point in her trying to make a move on him. He wasn’t really into redheads anyways.

“Who is this?” Nicole asked, pretending as if she hadn’t been keeping an eye on him for the past three months. Waverly had never introduced him to her, so she didn’t want to come off as a stalker.

“This is my, uh…” Waverly hesitated. Suddenly, calling Champ her boyfriend seemed a bit embarrassing.

“I’m her boyfriend, Champ. Champ Hardy,” he said, holding out his hand. “Nicole, was it?”

She looked at his hand. What she really wanted to do was break it, knowing all of the things it’s probably done to Waverly. But she refrained.

“Actually, it’s Officer Haught.” She smiled with clenched teeth as she grabbed his hand and squeezed as hard as she could, causing the boy – Nicole couldn’t bring herself to call him a man – to flinch before pulling his hand away and massaging it.

Waverly felt her heart flutter. Guess she really did only let women who remembered her drink order and paid for it call her Nicole.

“Quite a grip there, Officer Hopp.” He continued to rub his hand.

“It’s Haught,” she corrected, glaring at him. He was stupider than she had previously thought.

“Oh, right. Haught.” He laughed at the name. “The name is a bit presentous, isn’t it?”

Waverly looked down at the floor, avoiding eye contact. Now she was really embarrassed.

“I believe the word you’re thinking of is pretentious,” Nicole replied as she folded her arms sternly across her chest. “And no, it’s not. It’s the name I was given. Unlike Champ.” She challenged.

Waverly gulped. She had never been more turned on by this woman than in this very moment. Champ wasn’t the brightest, but not many people challenged him. So, watching Nicole put him in his place, was extremely hot.

“Actually, the name Champ was given to me too. That’s what everyone calls me, since I’m the town’s rodeo star.” He folded his arms and puffed up his chest as he took a step forward, challenging back.

Former rodeo star, I believe. I mean, you must be, since I’ve been here for three months and have never heard of you.” She copied his prior actions and took a step forward.

“Whatever. You’re obviously new here, so I’ll give you a free pass.” He huffed before walking over to the pool table and continuing his previous game – the one he was playing against himself, since he didn’t see the point in letting Waverly play if he knew he was just going to win anyways.

Nicole rolled her eyes and noticed Waverly’s face, which said ‘I’m sorry my boyfriend is such an ass.’

She looked back at the shorter girl with eyes that said ‘I’m sorry your boyfriend is such an ass.’

“It was good seeing you Waverly." There were those dimples again. "I hope you enjoy the rest of your night. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Nicole said sweetly.

“Yeah, see you tomorrow,” Waverly replied softly as she watched the woman walk away, taking in the sight of her perfect ass. She watched the redhead walk away every day, and still couldn’t get over how hot she was. Her last name wasn’t pretentious; it was accurate.

“What a bitch.” Champ scoffed angrily as he took a shot. “That chick is definitely presentous.”

Waverly rolled her eyes.

“I can’t believe you have to see her every day at work.”

“Yeah, well I do,” she said shortly, clearly annoyed and desperately wanting him to go back to ignoring her while he played pool.

He took another shot. “So, what are you going to do about it?”

She stared at the woman of her dreams, who was now showing off her perfect smile as she laughed with another officer, and sighed.

“Nothing.”