This was the strangest day in Nicole Haught’s young life. Not that the looming event itself was a weird thing to conceive, quite the contrary, but how it all came about was strange. Tragic, honestly. But that was a thought for another day because Nicole had to focus on the immediate future. It was a future she had seen for herself since a very young age. She wasn’t really nervous about what was about to happen. She was, however, just a little unnerved about the circumstances surrounding what was about to happen. The timing of it all. It was a future she had seen for herself, sure. But she had seen it in the far off future. She never anticipated her future would come so soon.
She drew in a deep breath and looked herself over in the full length body mirror that she stood in front of at the moment. It was weird. She had pictured herself in this uniform countless times but always with a more aged face in place of the young one that was staring back at her now. Not that twenty-five was extraordinarily young but she had thought she would be in her 40’s when this day came.
She sighed at the thought as her white gloved hands slid over the neatly pressed red uniform that adorned her body. It was odd seeing herself in a color other than Army tan. She shook her head at herself in the mirror. She couldn’t believe this day had come.
“You nervous, kid?” A sudden voice broke through the silent room like a freight train. It was a soft voice but without another sound to compete with it sounded like a clap of thunder.
Nicole whirled around from the mirror with wide eyes and an obvious look of surprise on her face. Her hand reached to cover her heart and she let out a labored breath of a laugh when her eyes fell on the source of the voice standing in the doorway of the dressing room she had been standing alone in just a moment before.
“Your Majesty” Nicole moved one arm in front of her torso, bent her knees slightly, and bowed in half toward the person that had interrupted her internal freak out about the looming event. She righted herself quickly from the bow and smirked at her company “I didn’t hear you come in.”
“If you ever fucking do that to me again when we are alone I will literally have you beheaded” Wynonna’s annoyance was mixed with slight amusement as she glared at the actions Nicole had just taken to greet her. “I can do that now, you know? I am Queen afterall.”
Nicole let out a soft chuckle and nodded her head just once before the two friends closed the small gap between themselves and wrapped each other up in a tight embrace. She drew in a deep breath as the feeling of her oldest and dearest friend against herself brought a sudden calmness to her. She gave a tight squeeze and spoke softly now into Wynonna’s ear “I’ve missed you.”
“You too” Wynonna nodded against Nicole’s cheek then pulled back from the hug. She gave her friend a wide smile as she stepped back then motioned the full length of Nicole’s form in front of her “Well let me see. Give me a twirl. I want to see how the pants look in the back.”
Nicole rolled her eyes and put her hands firmly on her hips as an act of defiance. She stared at Wynonna with an indignant look on her face “Are you kidding me?”
“Hell no” Wynonna used her first finger on her right hand to draw a few circles in the air and smirked. “I can’t have the head of my Guard having a flat ass in the uniform. I need to know if I need to change it.”
“Oh my god” Nicole let out a huff and shook her head. She stared at Wynonna in disbelief. She could not fathom why Wynonna was being so obnoxious right now. The two of them stood in a silent stand down for a few moments and when Wynonna once more motioned with her hand for Nicole to turn around she finally gave in and did so. She sighed out heavily and pivoted a few steps until her back was facing Wynonna “I seriously do not care how my ass looks in these pants. It has nothing to do with my job!”
“Well I care. If I have to stare at your ass all the time I want to be able to see it” Wynonna smirked and stepped closer. She reached out and started to run her fingers along seams and folds in the uniform that was outdated. It was the same style as the original Royal Guard from the 1600’s. The only thing that had been modified was the change to a better fabric and the fact that they are more tailored to the wearer. Other than that they were awful. She hated the uniforms.
She finally stepped back and gave a nod “It looks alright. Although you don’t look very comfortable.”
Nicole, realizing Wynonna was done assessing her uniform, turned back around to face her friend. She shrugged and looked over herself once more “They’re heavy. They’re hot.” She slid her hands over the buttons of the red coat she wore and nodded “But it’s tradition.”
“Screw tradition” Wynonna rolled her eyes and waved her hand in the air a few times as if trying to swat away Nicole’s argument. “You’ll only have to wear the uniform on official outings. The rest of the time you can hang out in normal clothes.”
Nicole perked an eyebrow at that. She knew Wynonna hated everything about being in the Royal family but she couldn’t have expected she would go around making such dramatic changes to tradition so soon. “Are you sure? I mean I don’t mind wea-”
Wynonna lifted her hand quickly to cut Nicole off. Her face was serious and her head gave a nod “Does a uniform really matter in the grand scheme of things?” She paused but before Nicole could answer she continued “A lot of the stupid traditions that have been carried throughout the Royal line don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I mean it’s all so…” She let out a puff of air and rolled her eyes as the word she wanted came to her “...extra.”
“If you say tradition one more time” Wynonna cut Nicole off again. She eyed her friend firmly then slowly smiled at her. She shook off her annoyance at her friend’s insistence to uphold tradition then motioned to the door “We will talk about this later. I have to go get changed because as you can see…” She motioned to the dress she was currently wearing and though it was more elegant than most it was not elegant enough for the event “....I need to get my Queen on. So I will see you later, alright?”
Nicole didn’t argue. She just gave her friend a nod and a smile. “I sure hope to see you later. You’re the only one that can make it official.”
Wynonna let out a laugh as she reached for the door. She pulled it open then glanced back to Nicole. She held a soft smile of fondness for her friend but her voice was serious as she spoke “Don’t be nervous, Nicole. I’ll be right there by your side just like always.”
Before Nicole could agree or even thank her, Wynonna was gone. Nicole let out a soft sigh then turned back around to the mirror she had been staring at before Wynonna had walked in. She shook her head as she looked over the uniform once more. It really was a terrible uniform. But the honor and history of those who had worn it before her was what she saw when she looked at it now. This uniform carried a lot of weight and now it had been passed on to her.
Nicole had not been born into a royal family of any type. In fact her place in the world of royalty had all been brought about by chance. Her grandfather had been out shopping in town one day when she was just three. He was just finishing putting groceries in the back of his car when he heard a scream. Someone was yelling about their child in a car and that was all he really remembered. Bystanders said he caught up to the car that was rolling out of control, pried open the door, climbed inside, and brought the vehicle to a safe stop. He had no idea the child inside would one day be Queen.
Because of his heroics her grandfather had been paraded around the town by the King at the time as a gesture of gratitude for him saving the Princess. After that, in a grand affair for all to see, her grandfather had been sworn in as the Head of the Royal Guard. From that moment on Nicole’s life had never been the same.
She was moved into one of the buildings within the Palace grounds with the rest of her family. That was where she had grown up. Her grandfather served as the King’s personal bodyguard until the day he died. Her father was next in line and served the new King just like his father before him. It was always just assumed that Nicole would follow in the footsteps of the two men.
She had grown up alongside the Princesses. Wynonna was two years older than her and they became very close very quickly. If an outsider with no knowledge of the family were to see the two together they would assume they were sisters. The biggest giveaway that they weren’t was Nicole’s bright red hair. But that was merely a detail of appearance. She had always been treated like family. Of course she was not required to act like the Princesses were. She didn’t have to make appearances or be ushered around for photoshoots and stuff of that sort. But when there was no public eye it was like any other family. Wynonna and Nicole were inseparable.
Waverly, the youngest of the House of Earp, had always been around as well. Though Nicole and herself had not been as close. Not for lack of trying but it always seems to go that the youngest sibling is always left out. Because she was not the Heir Apparent she kind of got pushed to the background. Nicole had felt bad about it when they were younger because Waverly was an incredibly sweet kid. Nice and much more regal than Wynonna was. She never got in trouble. She was interested in the goings on around the Palace. She loved the politics of it all. In fact, if anyone in the House of Earp should be Queen, it was Waverly. But, alas, that is not how the cards fell for the youngest child.
Wynonna had always hated who she was. Not as a person, because she thought she was awesome and hilarious, but as a Royal. She hated that her family was a Monarchy. She hated that all of the responsibility would be one day passed down to her. She didn’t want to rule anybody. She wanted to live her life like a normal person. She envied Nicole. Nicole didn’t have a single ounce of royal blood in her so she could walk away from it all in a heartbeat if she wanted.
That’s where their bond had been strongest. The two of them grew up together as sisters and though one was meant to rule a kingdom one day and one was free to do whatever she pleased in life it never mattered to the two of them. They treated each other like equals. They went to school together, celebrated every little holiday together, and even went on their first dates together. Nicole had always been by Wynonna’s side. Why would that ever change?
It made sense, really, that Nicole was about to be sworn in as Wynonna’s Head of the Royal Guard. Except she had never expected to take on the title so soon. In all honesty she thought she would be part of the Royal Guard under the rule of Wynonna’s father, King Ward, and serve in whatever capacity he chose until the day she was assigned to look after the next generation of Princes and Princesses. She always thought she would be protecting Wynonna’s children, not Wynonna herself. But you can’t really control the way life unfolds.
When the youngest Earp graduated college it was a big deal. Partly because Wynonna had chosen not to attend and partly because everyone in the world loved Waverly. She was not only the sweetheart of The Ghost River Triangle but the entirety of humanity. Her charm and vibrant personality enraptured people from all over the globe. She was likable. She was caring. She loved the people and the people loved her. She was the opposite of Wynonna. Not that the people didn’t like Wynonna they just preferred Waverly.
There was to be a huge gala the night of Waverly’s graduation. The school had been overrun by people on the Royal staff who were running about to set up the event. Most people at the school had not known Waverly was a student there. She had managed to keep a low profile. She had chosen a prestigious school to attend and wanted nothing more than to be left alone while she finished her education. So to throw off all media attention the Royal family had hired a decoy to attend another college with just as much pretension and merit to it. The decoy attended classes and was captured on her daily routine by the media every day for four years. Meanwhile Waverly quietly got her degree at another college.
With her graduation, though, all attention had shifted to the real school. The Royal Family was to make a grand entrance, give interviews to the press, attend the ceremony, and then host a huge celebration gala for all graduates and their families. It was an unprecedented event. Never had so many of the general public been invited to a Royal event.
Refusing to arrive to a sea of flash bulbs and microphones, Wynonna had insisted on arriving the night before the graduation. She would take her own car, two of the Royal Guards assigned to her, and drive the eight hours to the school alone. Well as alone as you could get with two guards. But for her that was considered alone. She hated being surrounded by people all the time. So any chance to escape was a chance she willingly took.
The morning of the graduation was not filled with excited fanfare as had been expected by everyone. It was filled, rather, with tearshed. The private plane that had been bringing the King and the rest of the Royal Family and Guard to the school never made it to its destination. Only an hour outside the airport where it was to land the plane went down. Bystanders say it exploded on impact. The carnage was horrific. The ground burned for hours after rescue crews had left the scene. No one on that plane survived.
Nicole hadn’t been immediately privy to what had happened. At the age of eighteen she had joined the Army, left behind her best friend and family, and went to serve her country. It was in her blood, after all. Her grandfather and father both served in the military. It was a requirement of being part of the Royal Guard. Only servicemen were allowed to serve the Royal family.
When the plane that held nearly every important person in the Royal family and Guard, save for Wynonna and Waverly, went down she was in the middle of nowhere. As far as she knew it was just another ordinary day in the desert. She was in the middle of her second deployment on active duty and had been stationed somewhere removed from all real civilization. She didn’t mind, though. She liked how quiet it was. Growing up on Palace grounds, around Princesses, had made for a very loud childhood. There was always something going on. So she liked the peace and quiet her new assigned base offered her.
That quiet was shattered, though, when she received news of the crash. Her heart sank. Her world stopped. A million thoughts had swirled around her head but the one that came to a screeching halt in the forefront of her mind was Wynonna and Waverly. She could not imagine how they were taking the news. Their mother had died when Waverly was ten. Their grandparents had died when they were rather young as well. Now their father was dead. They had no more family left.
Nicole shook the memory of what had happened just a few weeks ago from her mind. She drew in another deep breath, took one more look over herself in the mirror, and turned away for the last time. She couldn’t dwell on the events that had brought her to where she was at the moment. She had to focus on what was to come. In just a short time she was being sworn in as the Head of the Royal Guard. She was promising to protect Wynonna from all harm. She was promising to protect Waverly as well. She would be in charge of all the men and women assigned to keep the last two members of the House of Earp safe. If she failed, if the men and women under her failed, the House of Earp would cease to exist. The Monarchy would be in ruins. That is what she had to focus on now.
“They are ready for you, Lady Haught” One of the younger members of the Royal staff, in charge of all Royal clothing, opened the door now to retrieve Nicole. She offered a soft smile to the girl standing rigidly in her Guard uniform and nodded “You look fantastic, ma’am.”
Nicole let out a soft smile at the kind words. She knew the girl fairly well. She had been brought onto the Royal Staff before Nicole had left for the Army. They had been friendly toward one another. They had engaged in normal conversations. Never had the girl addressed Nicole so formally before. As she stepped out of the room and looked down to the shorter girl she gave her a soft nod “I know it’s tradition and all but you do not have to call me Lady or Ma’am or anything like that. It’s weird.”
The girl laughed out and nodded in agreement “Forgive me. I am still adjusting to what’s acceptable now.”
“Trust me” Nicole said with a smirk as she started to walk toward the Hall of Grandeur where her ceremony was being held “If Wynonna has her way everyone will be required to swear at least once in every sentence they speak.”
“The Queen does love her curse words” The girl said with a soft laugh as she escorted Nicole to the hall.
“The Queen” Nicole mumbled to herself in a soft laugh. It still sounded weird. It was weird. All of it was too bizarre for her to wrap her head around. The weeks since the plane crash had all been a whirlwind and now as things were finally starting to slow down she was beginning to realize it was all real. Wynonna was Queen. She was walking into a ceremony where she would be knighted and sworn in as Head of the Royal Guard. This was no longer a someday. It was a right now.
“Good luck” The girl paused outside the doors of the hall as she was not permitted inside.
“Thanks” Nicole looked at the girl and offered her one last grateful smile before she rushed away. With a shake of her head Nicole looked at the huge doors that separated herself from the next crazy step in her life. She drew in a deep breath and slowly let it slide from her lips. Her heartbeat calmed. Her body warmed. She felt good. She felt ready. This was, after all, what she was born to do. At least that is what she had always been told. She was about to find out if what everyone had believed would ring true. There was no going back. She nodded confidently at that last thought then motioned to the two guards standing outside the doors to pull them open. It was time to get the ceremony started.
Everything that happened in the Hall of Grandeur was just that; grand. So it was no surprise when Nicole walked into the hall and it was filled to the brim with decorations, people, music, and of course photographers. It made it hard to really focus on anything that was happening. The only thing that got Nicole through the spectacle of her ceremony was Wynonna. Since childhood they had a habit of making weird faces at one another when they could tell the other was nervous. So as soon as Nicole had been close enough to see it, Wynonna had pulled a face to make Nicole smile. After that everything came much easier.
The ceremony, though attended by hundreds of people, was mainly just Wynonna, Nicole, and a priest standing in front of everyone. All other attendees were in the balconies that surrounded the main ballroom area of the hall. It was weird how intimate it felt even though the entire world was watching.
After reciting some prayers and verses from the bible about what it meant to be loyal and how important sacrifices were the priest then gave Wynonna the floor to make the usual old speech that accompanied the knighting ceremony.
The speech was made and attention shifted to Nicole as she was asked a series of questions. They were mostly for show, again out of tradition more than anything, but they served to show the world Nicole’s loyalty. She was asked to swear her life to the Crown and anyone who wore it or may wear it. She was asked if she knew what it meant to protect at all costs. She promised to never betray whoever sat on the throne and to train all those under her to do the same. It was very outdated and Nicole admittedly felt ridiculous. It was weird to be saying this while looking into the eyes of her oldest friend in the world. She had never made a speech to Wynonna as a child and yet they both already knew how loyal Nicole was to her.
Once the questions were asked, and answered, Wynonna pinned the traditional badge to Nicole’s chest that symbolized her title. It was only ceremonial and as soon as the night was over the badge would go into a protected case until Nicole’s next ceremonial appearance. Once the badge was pinned in place the crowd applauded and Nicole escorted Wynonna out of the hall in her first official act of duty.
Though it didn’t seem like a lot it had been exhausting. Nicole was ready to call it a night but, in true royal fashion, she unfortunately had to attend the party that came after her ceremony. She had to greet every important member of the Royal Court, introduce herself to the men and women now under her command, and of course accompany her Queen around the party. Luckily Nicole got to change out of her stuffy uniform and into a more dressed down version. The lighter fabric and absence of gloves helped keep Nicole from sweating so much so that was nice.
Nicole had finally gotten a chance to step away from handshakes and congratulations. She had asked for some water and once it was delivered to her she made her way over to where Wynonna was sitting on her Royal chair. She smirked before sipping at her water as her eyes landed on a very bored looking Wynonna. Once she swallowed she motioned to the party behind them “I thought you loved parties.”
Wynonna rolled her eyes and gave a dismissive wave of her hand to the side “Parties suck now. I have to be all regal and shit. I can’t sneak away with the cutest Duke in the room for a forbidden makeout session…” She curled her lip up on one side in disgust as her gaze slowly moved from the room full of people to focus on Nicole. She eyed her up and down and gave her a smile “Are you at least having fun?”
“Yeah right” Nicole huffed out and moved now to stand right next to Wynonna’s chair that was on a slightly raised platform. Her left hip came to rest on the right arm rest on the chair and she let out a sigh as her eyes fell to look over the crowd of people “I don’t even know most of these people. Where did they all come from?”
“Most of them are the people who were next in line” Wynonna said with a shrug. She reached her right hand over toward Nicole in anticipation of being handed whatever it was Nicole was drinking. When the glass was given to her without hesitation she smiled slightly. That was not a queen thing that was a best friend thing. They shared everything. There was no one in the world she was more comfortable with than Nicole.
Nicole frowned at the meaning behind Wynonna’s words as she handed over her water. It meant that most of the people that were now important in that room had all lost someone close to them in the plane crash. It had been tragic. A huge chunk of very powerful decision makers had been wiped out. Though some of the people in the room had been training to take over their new positions for years others were still very new to the Royal Court. It was almost like someone had pushed reset on the Monarchy and Wynonna was in charge of making sure it didn’t crumble in on itself.
As that thought crossed her mind she looked over to Wynonna with a perked eyebrow “I haven’t seen Waverly yet.”
Wynonna shrugged and handed Nicole’s water back to her “She’s here. She just wanted to stay in the shadows tonight, you know?” She sat up a little more straight in her chair now and sighed “She’s kind of been a shut in since the accident. There were rumors that she didn’t even go to the funeral. But she’s just been really good at staying out of the limelight lately.”
Nicole gave a single nod. It wasn’t that she could blame Waverly at all. In a time of great loss and tragedy the last thing anyone should want is to have their every move observed. Hell, she had barely wanted to have a knighting ceremony but she hadn’t had a say in that. It was part of her duty now. She sighed at the thought. Duty should be put on hold when tragedy hits. Unfortunately the Royal Family didn’t have the luxury of putting it on hold to mourn. So they did so for the world to see.
“How is she doing?” Nicole finally asked as her eyes moved back to look at Wynonna now.
Wynonna shrugged. Her eyes scanned the room and she gave a few waves to people who caught her attention. It was weird to see her acting like a queen. It was also weird how well she had already settled into the role considering how uninterested in the role she had been. But when duty rang you had to answer.
“I’m worried about her” She finally spoke after a moment of waves and smiles to the crowd. “She’s been hiding out in her room a lot. She stays out late. I’ve heard she’s been keeping bad company.”
“So she’s you” Nicole mumbled through a soft laugh.
Wynonna smiled at that and gave a nod “Quite the role reversal if I say so myself. I’m smiling and waving and she’s drinking whiskey and making out with bad boys.”
“She’s grieving in her own way” Nicole said very softly as her own eyes scanned the room now. It was part of her job to always be on the lookout for threats.
“She’s not the only one who lost a father in that plane crash” Wynonna blinked slowly and looked away from the room now. Her eyes focused on Nicole and she spoke gently to her friend “How are you doing?”
Nicole shrugged. She didn’t look down to her friend. She kept her eyes flickering about the room. She was quiet for a moment because she didn’t know how to answer. Truthfully she was sad but she didn’t feel like she had the right to be sad. She had always known somewhere deep down that her dad could die suddenly. It was his job to put his life on the line to protect the Earp family so she had always been prepared to hear the news that he had died. So although she was sad she was also at peace about it. She wished he would have died saving the King’s life. That would have made her loss worth it at least.
“Thank you, by the way” She finally said softly.
Wynonna arched an eyebrow at the words because it wasn’t an answer to what she had asked and she also had no idea what it was referring to. She looked up at her friend and let out a huffed laugh “For what?”
“Letting me miss your coronation” Nicole said as her eyes left the room to focus on Wynonna sitting next to her.
Wynonna reached her right hand out and gently grabbed hold of Nicole’s left hand. She gave a squeeze and that was all either of them needed. She had planned her coronation for the same day as Nicole’s father’s funeral. Usually the Head of the Royal Guard would have their own huge funeral but Wynonna knew Nicole did not want that. She deserved to say goodbye to her father in a normal, quiet way. She had done everything in her power throughout their lives to make sure Nicole did not have to suffer the tediousness of Royal life and this was just one more thing. She was not at all mad that Nicole had missed her being crowned Queen. If she could have she would have missed the ceremony herself.
“Waverly was kind of mad about it” Wynonna broke the soft silence that had fallen between them as her hand slid out of Nicole’s. “She wanted to say goodbye to your father. She wanted to be there for you. But once I explained I had done it so that you could have the funeral out of the public eye she understood.”
“I got her fruit basket and card” Nicole said with a soft laugh. She glanced at her friend again before looking back over the room. “She poured her heart into it and apologized several times about missing it. I wrote her back and told her I wasn’t mad. I hope she got the letter.”
“I am sure she did” Wynonna said with a nod. Just then she straightened up in her chair and motioned across the room. “Speaking of the Princess…”
Nicole followed Wynonna’s gesture until her eyes found Waverly across the room. It was then in that very moment that she realized that she had not seen the young Princess in seven years. She had left for the Army at the age of eighteen, when Waverly had been just thirteen, and with both their busy schedules they had not crossed paths since.
Nicole’s jaw dropped slightly and her mouth went instantly dry. Waverly had always been able to hold the attention of the room. She was bubbly and charming and her smile could light a dark cave. It was just who she was as a person. But now? Well she had grown up in the best way possible. She was breathtakingly beautiful. Her hair was long and done up neatly so her small crown could balance perfectly on her head. Her gown was stunning, barely floor length, strapless, and adorned with gems on every inch. She shimmered with each step she took.
“Wow” Nicole breathed out the single word as Waverly approached her. She felt her heart racing in her chest so hard she felt she might crack a rib. Her entire body warmed and she felt the unmistakable heat of a blush rise in her cheeks. She was having a hard time wrapping her mind around how well Waverly had grown up.
“Nicole!” Waverly’s bubbly voice broke through Nicole’s whirling mind. She smiled widely at the sight of her oldest friend and without hesitation she greeted her friend with a tight, excited hug. She lifted up on her toes and pulled back from the hug with a bounce. Her smile was spread from ear to ear as she looked up to the taller girl “It is so great to finally see you again! Look at you!” She held her hands on each of Nicole’s forearms and eyed her up and down slowly “You are officially one of us!”
“What?” Nicole looked down over her dress uniform and quickly shook her head “No, no I’m still just little old me.”
“I’m teasing” Waverly said with a playful wink. She then moved away from Nicole completely and over to her sister. She leaned into her and kissed her cheek gently before pivoting to her left and taking her place in the chair next to Wynonna’s left hand side. She took her sister’s hand and smiled at her softly “For someone who wanted nothing to do with the Crown you sure do have the whole waving and smiling thing down.”
“Oh shut up” Wynonna rolled her eyes and ripped her hand away from her sister who was giggling in delight at the joke she had made. Wynonna shook her head and looked up at Nicole beside her again “Should I have her beheaded for treason?”
“I...uh…” Nicole’s eyes fluttered as she stared at Waverly. She hadn’t taken her eyes off the Princess since she had entered the room.
Wynonna saw the look on Nicole’s face and her smile dropped. She arched an eyebrow high on her forehead and slowly looked from her friend to her sister and back again. She smirked in amusement then reached up to poke Nicole firmly in the ribs “Do not ignore your Queen.”
“Ouch” Nicole groaned and grabbed the spot Wynonna had stabbed with her finger. This caused her to finally break her gaze away from Waverly in favor of throwing a scowl at Wynonna. Her brows knitted together and she rubbed gently at her ribs “What was that for?”
Wynonna laughed to herself and just shook her head. She was going to have to tease her friend about it later. For now she had royal duties to fulfill. So in one fluid motion she rose from her chair and lifted both hands in the air as a gesture for all in the room to pay attention. The room fell quiet almost instantly and she smirked slightly. She had to admit she liked the power she had over people now. But she knew that would grow old quickly.
She brushed the thought away and cleared her throat. She had to give another speech. She hated speeches. If there was one thing out of all her duties as Queen that she hated most it was public speaking. Thankfully tonight the subject matter was something she actually cared about. It made it easier. She glanced at Nicole and her head nodded just slightly before turning her attention back to the room to deliver yet another lecture about how honored she was to have knighted the most worthy person in the world to the position of Head of the Royal Guard.
As Wynonna spoke Nicole’s eyes drifted over to Waverly. She couldn't believe the little girl she had left behind had grown into such a stunning young woman. It was like she was looking at Waverly for the first time and if she was being honest she liked what she saw more than she probably should.
“Nicole come herrrrreee!” Wynonna let out a whine from her bathroom that connected to her bedroom. The night was finally over and she could finally get out of her stuffy Queen dress and into some regular old pajamas.
Nicole let out a groan from where she had already made herself comfortable on the bed. As soon as the ceremony had ended she had hurried to her new quarters to change out of her uniform. No sooner had she changed than had someone come to her door telling her that the Queen requested her presence. So she had sulked the short way down the hall to the Queen’s Royal bedroom.
Now she sulked over to the bathroom and let out a sigh as she reached the doorway. She leaned there just inside the bathroom that was the size of her own bedroom and watched Wynonna struggling with her dress. She smirked slightly in amusement and folded her arms across her chest as she watched “Don't you have Royal undresser people to help you with stuff like this?”
“Just shut your damn mouth and help me out" Wynonna grumbled and turned her back toward Nicole.
Nicole couldn't help but laugh as she reached for the zipper on the dress. She focused on what she was doing so as not to rip it. Heaven forbid she rip the Queen's dress. That would be a travesty.
Silence fell between them as Nicole worked at undoing the dress. It was a comfortable silence. The type of silence you would expect between two people who had known each other long enough that they did not feel the need to constantly be talking.
Once finished, Nicole stepped back from her friend but stayed in the room. She watched like she had hundreds of times before as Wynonna changed into her pajamas then readied herself for bed. There wasn't anything weird about it. They had grown up together and changed in front of one another more times than either could count. Besides Wynonna still had her underwear on.
After a few minutes the silence was too much for Wynonna. She glanced into the huge wall length mirror that adorned her bathroom wall and saw Nicole standing there looking deep in thought. She spit out the toothpaste she had been working around her mouth and cleared her throat to break the silence that had settled in “what are you thinking about over there?”
Nicole, who hadn't been thinking about anything in particular, just shrugged and focused her eyes on her friend. She waited for her to finish brushing her teeth before she spoke “I was thinking about how weird tonight was.”
Wynonna gave a soft laugh in a sound that said Nicole had just stated the obvious. She turned now and left her bathroom, flipping off the light as she passed by Nicole, and moved toward her bed.
“I just mean" Nicole continued her thought as she followed her friend out of the bathroom now “You as Queen, knighting me and naming me Head of the Royal Guard…” She paused now and watched Wynonna climb into her overly large Royal bed then pat the spot next to her to indicate that Nicole should join. She did so without hesitation and continued on her thought as she made herself comfortable. “We used to play that scenario out when we played pretend. I never thought it would actually happen.”
Wynonna gave a nod as she thought it over. Neither of then had ever really thought this day would come. She was certain she would die from alcohol poisoning before her dad ever died. Queen was not something she had ever really believed she would become.
Nicole let out a sigh as she settled her back against the pillows behind her. She was sitting up slightly and as soon as she settled she lifted her arm because she knew what was coming.
Wynonna moved right up against Nicole and laid her head against her friend’s chest. She smiled when Nicole had lifted her arm in anticipation of the move. They had grown up close, shared a bed countless times, but it had been years since they had done so. It was nice to see old habits died hard. Actually she liked that about Nicole. She liked how she could count on her to do what she always did. Maybe she was predictable in her ways but that was the very trait that gave Wynonna the certainty that she had made the right choice in knighting Nicole. She didn’t trust anyone to protect herself and Waverly the way she trusted Nicole.
As Waverly came to mind so did a thought from earlier. Wynonna sat up a little now and looked at her friend “You know what was weird? How you kept staring at Waves all night. What was that about?”
Nicole felt herself immediately flush. Honestly she had no idea what that had been about other than the fact that Waverly had grown into a breathtaking beauty. But she wouldn't admit that. So she let out an annoyed huff and shook her head in denial “I was just shocked I guess. I mean the last time I saw her she was barely a teenager. I guess I still had this picture of her as a kid in my mind so seeing her all grown up just took me by surprise.”
“Mhm" Wynonna hummed the sound that carried a teasing tone of disbelief. She settled back down against her friend and a yawn ripped through her. She let it pass then gave a shake of her head as she felt her eyes close “If you bang my sister I’ll be pissed.”
“What?” Nicole felt her cheeks flaming with a hot blush now. She was glad Wynonna was already nodding off and hadn't seen it. She had never thought about banging Waverly before. She knew that Wynonna was kidding but for some reason the idea was now causing her to panic. She didn't want to bang Waverly. She had just been surprised at how grown up she looked. Yes that was all. She wondered if she said that to herself enough that she would eventually start to believe it.