Nicole holds up the school supply list, and clicks her pen as Waverly wraps her arms around her fiancee’s torso.
“I think she has everything, Waves.”
“You sure we’ve got it all in her pack, sweetie pie?”
Waverly unwraps herself from Nicole and unzips the tiny purple backpack that dons Rapunzel and her chameleon pal, Pascal on the front.
“Folder, change of clothes, tissues, markers, crayons.”
Nicole grins because she knows Waverly forgot.
Waverly makes an oomph noise as she runs over to the counter and grabs a clear gallon sized baggie.
“Three bottles of hand sanitizer she can give Mrs. Lovejoy. Alice said they were running low and I know they’re going to need it for the field trip. Speaking of- are we both going or is that-?”
Nicole cuts a flustered Waverly off with a kiss, knocking the supplies list out of her hands.
“You’re adorable when you’re overwhelmed.”
“You’re not nervous?!”
Nicole shakes her head and bounces from foot to foot.
“Now that she’s switched into Alice’s class due to conflict of interest with my mother, I know she’ll be fine.”
Waverly puts a finger under her girlfriend’s chin and tilts it downward.
“You are nervous!”
Nicole’s dimple pops out with the tiny smile she gives Waverly.
“Guilty as charged.” She puts her hands up to show she’s innocent, and Waverly smirks.
“Sheriff Haught, you’re under arrest!” Waverly pretends to handcuff Nicole, then puts her fingers through the loops of Nicole’s belt. Her girlfriend sighs and whispers.
“I’m worried she won’t want us to leave, or the other kids will make fun of her because of her walker or the way she talks.”
Waverly presses a gentle kiss on Nicole’s nose (because she can’t reach her forehead) and whispers.
“They wouldn’t dare. If they do, they’re going to hear from two angry Mamas.”
“Make that three.”
Nicole spins Waverly around, and they see Wynonna standing in front of them, hands in her pockets.
“If she comes home and tells us something went down with those little punks, don’t worry. I’ll march into the principal’s office and give them hell.”
“Thanks, Wynonna.” Waverly throws herself at her sister and Wynonna retaliates by patting her baby girl on the back.
“Oh no. Thank you. Now that Ariel will be in Lovejoy’s class, I don’t feel any pressure to chaperone the field trip next week. You two will be competing to grab that last volunteer spot.”
Nicole snorts and rolls her eyes, at Wynonna’s comment. She can see Waverly’s eyes widening by the second, and her girlfriend’s mind spinning a mile a minute.
“There’s only one spot left? That’s not fair. You said yesterday there were five spots open. Do you know the parents that took the spots? I can talk to them. I’m marrying the sheriff for goodness sakes.”
Waverly continues to rant, and Nicole has to bite her lip to keep from laughing.
“Marrying the sheriff are you?”
Waverly pokes Nicole’s nose with her index finger.
“One of these days. If I’m ever asked properly.” Nicole snorts and tilts her face upward to press a tiny kiss to Waverly’s finger.
Wynonna eggs her sister on, deadpan.
“Yeah…I heard whoever sends in the most school supplies gets to go. Doc was a shoo-in because we sent…”
Wynonna scans the room as Nicole nudges the gallon baggie with her arm.
“We sent in six bottles of hand sanitizer at the beginning of the year.”
Waverly throws her hands up.
“Well…Nicole’s the sheriff. The kids will be safer with her than the other parents.”
Nicole can’t help it. She bursts out in laughter and pulls Waverly into her arms.
“Baby. Wynonna’s pulling your leg.”
Stealthily, Waverly pulls out her middle finger and shoves it in Wynonna’s face. What she doesn’t notice is that an adorable pair of five-year-olds has appeared in the kitchen.
“CoCo, what’s Wavy doing to Auntie NoNo?” After two weeks, Nicole still smiles at her foster daughter’s nicknames for her new family.
Alice pipes up and runs behind Wynonna’s legs.
“I did that once to Mrs. Lovejoy because I saw MyNonna doing it to my daddy. She got real mad.”
Nicole covers her mouth with her hand.
“It’s just something adults do to say I love you, Princess.” Nicole scoops Ariel up and balances her on one hip.
Waverly nods enthusiastically.
“I was just telling Auntie NoNo I love her so much. Isn’t that right?”
Wynonna sticks her middle finger up against Waverly’s redacted one and makes a sizzling noise.
“Love you too, Baby Girl.”
“Hug! Hug! Hug!”
Alice pushes herself through Wynonna’s legs and pulls her Auntie and Mommy in for a big hug.
Wynonna squats down to Alice’s height and puts her hands on her daughter’s shoulders.
“Remember, baby- baby girl. Ariel is going to be in your class, starting today. It’s your job to show her the ropes and…”
“It’s ‘portant to be on good behavior. No calls to Mommy or Daddy.”
Wynonna places a kiss on Alice’s dark and curly hair.
“Only good calls. Although, I do love calls that tell me what a badass kid I have.”
Waverly and Nicole sit on the couch with Ariel in the middle. Waverly
“Do you remember where CoCo and I told you you’re going to go this morning?”
“Kid-er-garden with Alice. Like the girl in the story.”
Nicole nods, still not believing her luck when she’d found Alice’s worn out copy of The Night Before Kindergarten under her bed.
“Yup. Ariel will go to Kindergarten with Alice while CoCo and Wavy go to work.”
More than anything, Nicole wants Ariel to understand that they’re not leaving her.
Waverly tickles Ariel to make her giggle.
“After Kindergarten, I’ll come with Auntie Nonna to pick you up. Then we’ll go home together.”
Nicole nods, and winks at Ariel, a mischevious grin settling on her face.
“Maybe when I get home from work we can have a special treat.”
Ariel’s eyes go wide.
“Ice cream or donuts?”
Waverly and Nicole look at each other. Waverly can’t believe the words that come out of her mouth next.
“Why not both?”
If she's completely honest with herself, Nicole is freaking out. Waverly helps Ariel out of her car seat, and Nicole pops the trunk to grab the tiny pink walker. Waverly places the backpack on their daughter’s shoulders and adjusts the straps, so they’re nice and snug.
Nicole thinks the backpack is larger than Ariel. She lifts Ariel into the middle of the walker, and the trio starts to make their way to the school entrance slowly.
Ariel looks adorable. Waverly had put her auburn hair into two braids, complete with butterfly clips on each end (which she claimed are coming back into style). She has a Princess crown on her head, too and a pink dress with a Unicorn on it.
“It’s for my brave,” Ariel says, as her little legs move through the gravel of the parking lot.
Nicole looks at Waverly, who gives a little shrug.
“What’s that Princess?”
“My crown, CoCo. It’s like your hat. Makes me not scared.”
Nicole crouches down next to Ariel and lets the toddler take off her Sheriff’s hat.
“I think you’re the bravest Princess in all of Purgatory.”
Ariel walks into Kindergarten with a princess crown on top of a Sheriff’s hat.
As they approach the front desk, Waverly takes Nicole’s hand. A bunch of kids are lined up in the hallway next to their classrooms, without another parent in sight.
“Nicole…I think we have to…”
Ariel bursts into tears at the sight of the other kids and Nicole picks her up, princess crown and Sheriff’s hat falling to the floor. Waverly looks like she ’s about to cry, too.
“Don’t cry, baby. It’ll be okay. CoCo and I will be back to pick you up as soon as it’s over, not a minute later.”
Nicole presses a kiss to Waverly’s temple and another one on Ariel’s cheek.
“Waverly and I are a little scared too. But you know what I know?”
Ariel wipes her eyes and shakes her head.
“You are going to have so much fun with Alice and make a lot of new friends. You’ll forget all about us.”
Waverly smirks and tickles Ariel under the chin.
“By the end of the day, you’ll be like who are these two silly ladies?” Her comment earns a smile from Ariel who taps Nicole on the top of the head.
Waverly bends down, and picks up the fallen hat and crown. She puts the hat on top of Nicole’s head, and the crown on top of Ariel’s.
“Even if you can’t see us, we’re here with you.”
Ariel makes an “o” with her mouth.
“Do you know where CoCo and I will be today while you’re at school?”
Waverly smiles through her tears and gently pokes a finger in the middle of Ariel’s chest. Nicole rocks Ariel back and forth to soothe her.
“Wavy and I will be in your heart, all day long. And you my princess, will be in ours.”
Alice runs up to her Aunties and cousin with her backpack in hand.
“My Nonna said I can give Ariel my show and tell turn today. I brought Peppa, but Ariel can talk about her too. We can share a turn.”
Ariel puts her face in Nicole’s neck.
“That sounds like fun, Princess. You and Alice can show Peppa to the whole class.”
Ariel puts her thumb in her mouth.
Nicole rubs her little girl’s back and points to the crown on her head.
“Do you think your crown might help you be extra brave today? CoCo will wear her hat all day today to remind me of my brave girl.”
Ariel nods and looks over to Waverly who is still wiping her eyes. The damn tears keep falling.
“Wavy needs something to help her be brave today too.”
Nicole and Waverly giggle and Alice passes her beloved Peppa Pig plush to her Aunt.
“You can have Peppa, Auntie Waves. You need her more than me.”
Waverly clutches Peppa to her chest, and her chin wobbles at her niece’s selflessness.
“If I take Peppa, what are you going to do for show and tell?”
“I guess I’ll have to show and tell everyone about my new best friend.”
It’s enough for Waverly’s eyes to well up, again.
They’re walking out of the building when the principal stops them and pulls them into her office.
“She couldn’t have done anything yet, she’s been in there for five minutes,” Nicole whispers, leaning into Waverly.
The principal is a tall, blonde woman with her hair pulled into a bun at the nape of her neck. The name plaque on her desk reads MOIRA COHN- PRINCIPAL
“Sheriff, Mrs. Haught, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Mrs. Cohn sticks out her hand, and Nicole and Waverly shake it. Waverly doesn’t bother to correct her on the name. She’ll be Mrs. Haught soon enough-she hopes.
“It’s our pleasure, Mrs. Cohn. We want to thank you for switching Ariel into Alice’s class due to a conflict of interest.” Nicole reaches for Waverly’s hand under the desk, and squeezes.
Mrs. Cohn nods.
“Of course, Sheriff Haught. I wanted to speak with you and your wife, in order to ensure that Ariel has the greatest success possible at our school. Do you have any major concerns?”
Waverly’s shaking in her seat and Nicole puts an arm around her to try to calm her girlfriend.
“Sorry,” Waverly says, clearly shaken. “I’ve never been called down to the principal’s office before.” Nicole gives her girlfriend a dimpled smile as Waverly continues.
“We’re mostly concerned about her connections with others, and her being able to trust us. We don’t want her to think that we’re leaving her forever when we drop her off.”
Mrs. Cohn nods and folds her hands on her desk.
“We also know that she has anxiety about being separated from us.” Nicole sighs. “This is a huge deal that she’s in her classroom right now. We weren’t sure that she would go, but Alice is a wonderful influence on her. We’re fortunate to have a great family to support us.”
“Ms. Wynonna Earp is a great volunteer at our school. She and Alice’s father will be joining Mrs. Lovejoy’s class on a field trip to the farm next week.”
Nicole and Waverly look at each other in shock.
“My sister volunteers?”
Mrs. Cohn smiles.
“Wynonna has gone into Alice’s class on multiple occasions to read stories. Perhaps you two would like to do something similar, a few times a month; it might make Ariel more comfortable.”
The wheels in Waverly’s head are turning.
“You’re telling me that my sister is going to the farm next week?” Mrs. Cohn smiles.
“Yes. Actually-” Waverly’s on the edge of her seat.
Nicole grins. Somehow she knew that Wynonna wouldn’t miss the goats eating Doc’s Stetson for the world.
“Oh! Sheriff, I thought that perhaps one day, you could do a ‘show and tell’ of sorts and tell the children all about your job and how you protect Purgatory. Would you like that?”
Nicole bops her head up and down in agreement.
“That would be great, Mrs. Cohn. Ariel could be my little assistant. I’ll have to check my work schedule and get back to you.”
Mrs. Cohn takes out a file from her cabinet.
“Very well. To answer your question, Mrs. Haught, Wynonna was actually the first person to fill out a chaperone form. Would you two like to join?”
Waverly all but grabs the form out of Mrs. Cohn’s hand, a pen out of her purse, and begins to scribble down their information.
The look that Mrs. Cohn gives Waverly is one for the books.
As they walk through the parking lot, Waverly notices that Wynonna’s Harley is still there. As if on cue, her phone beeps, and it’s a text from her sister.
“Wynonna says to meet her on the playground.”
Wynonna’s on the bench, scrolling through her phone when they approach her. She holds out her phone as Waverly and Nicole get closer.
Nicole can see a picture of Doc and Alice, sticking their tongues out. Alice is on Doc’s shoulders, pulling on her Daddy’s hair.
“Doc learned how to send pictures through iMessage. He just sent me about three hundred pictures of him and Alice that I didn’t know existed.” Wynonna grins, and motions for Waverly and Nicole to follow her.
They’re behind a much too small bush, crouched down, and look ridiculous. The window above them leads inside to Mrs. Lovejoy’s classroom.
“It’s not stalking if it's your kid,” Wynonna whispers.
“Come here often, Earp?” Nicole’s finding it hard to crouch down and nearly loses her balance.
Tiny Waverly is the only one of them who is sitting comfortably, trying to hear through the open window.
“I think they’re reading a story. She’ll be okay, right?”
“She has Alice. It’ll be okay, baby girl.”
A few minutes later, they walk back to their vehicles, and Waverly looks at her watch.
“Only two more hours.” She wishes she could speak to her baby.
Nicole gently places her arms around Waverly’s torso.
“She’s got this baby. Trust me.”
Waverly stands on her tiptoes, and peppers tiny kisses on Nicole’s lips.
“She’s got this. And…so do we.”
Nicole smiles into the kiss.
“In exactly two hours and fifty-eight minutes, she’s going to tell us how awesome her day was.” Waverly nods, resting her head on Nicole’s shoulder.
“I love you, CoCo.” Nicole’s dimpled smile spreads across her face as she laughs.
“Love you too, Wavy.”
(They wait in the car, circling the nearby streets, talking about everything and nothing for two hours and fifty-eight minutes. They decide they’re going to do everything they can to start Ariel’s adoption process. Nicole will call it patrol duty when she’s filling out paperwork later.)
It turns out; Ariel has a pretty great first day of Kindergarten.