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Waverly’s voice floats, disembodied, gently disturbing Nicole’s near doze.

 

“Don’t fall asleep, baby. It’s your turn.” Waverly strokes gentle fingers down Nicole’s arm, light enough to tickle, and she shivers, but her mouth turns up and she reaches for her girlfriend.

 

“I’m awake,” Nicole answers, eyes still closed, fingertips wrapping around Waverly’s hip. Her voice is rough with fatigue, and Waverly smiles.

 

“You wanted me to keep you up so you can get back onto your regular sleep schedule. It’s your turn,” she repeats.

 

Nicole thinks for a minute, willing herself to focus, teetering on the edge of a bright dream. Thick green leaves bending over a slim, chuckling stream, a bright-as-fire tiny frog balancing on the edge. Birds call in the trees and she can almost smell the fresh dirt, black and rich.

 

“Jungle,” she decides, “definitely something in the jungle.”

 

Waverly hums and rolls onto her back. “Oh yeah, I can get behind that. That is so much better than mine was. How would we get there? Ooooo, what about a seaplane? Are we backpacking? It’s probably pretty sweaty for backpacking.”

 

Waverly’s enthusiasm is contagious and Nicole cracks an eyelid, scooting over to watch her girlfriend’s face as she builds their vacation out of thin air.

 

“Oh my god --and the food! I can almost taste the fresh fruit. Yes,” she nods decisively, “this is it. Amazon jungle vacation, Nicole, we’re gonna make it happen.” She turns her head, eyes flicking over Nicole’s features, and she grins. “Are you ready to get up? I have some online research to do and I want you to help me make a shopping list.”

 

Nicole moves smoothly to pull Waverly on top of her, nuzzling into her neck and earning a giggle. “Pretty sure you’re out of vanilla,” she mumbles into the hollow behind Waverly’s earlobe, “but I know where you can get some.”

 

***

Vacations are hard to come by when you live in a town where being Sheriff means literally policing the gates of hell. Waverly’s recently developed a love of cooking, and the vacation planning is a game they play, but the meal planning and creation is their real escape.

 

So far they’ve been to France, Nicole’s ‘Snail-less-cargo’ failing to please their palates, but Wynonna had fun driving the little shells around the plate and quoting “Turbo”. The following week they travelled to Israel because Waverly’d just finished an article about the preservation of the Masada, and Nicole has to admit that fresh hummus and halva is actually pretty delicious. That night she fell asleep in Waverly’s arms, listening to the soothing drone of Waverly’s voice as she trailed her fingers over Nicole’s back and shoulders. Nicole dreamed of desert, and mosaic tile floors in a bathhouse over two thousand years old.

 

There’s no shortage of places Waverly wants to see, no limit to the foods she wants to experience, so they try to stock up on their trips out of town, and thank god Amazon is finally delivering to their little backwater.

 

Nicole sits at the kitchen table with Waverly across from her, laptop open alongside a Portuguese dictionary. She twirls the pen in her hand, watching patiently as Waverly’s eyes flick rapidly between the screen and the text.

 

“Some of this stuff is impossible to get in Purgatory,” Waverly says.

 

“I don’t mind another excuse to go to the City,” Nicole admits. “We can go to that sandwich place you like with the 50’s decor...maybe get some ice cream?”

 

“You’d do that for me?” Waverly jokes, and Nicole looks at her softly. The quip never gets old between them, and it never fails to make her grateful for how far they’ve come.

 

“I’d do a lot of things,” she fills in, dutifully, and Waverly reaches across the table to stroke down her arm to her hand.

 

“Okay then! I found a market that has the tapoica flour, and I’m gonna make this,” she spins her laptop to face Nicole, jabbing a finger at the screen where a pancake looking item adorned with a dollop of jelly glows via Instagram filtering.

 

Tapioca com Goiabada ,” Waverly reads, in flawless Portuguese, and Nicole’s thighs squeeze together involuntarily, the pen falling from her suddenly boneless fingers. She licks her lips and cocks her head at Waverly, deploying her dimples.

 

“Say that again, baby, it sounds delicious,” she purrs, and Waverly laughs.

 

“I could literally be showing you a bull’s testicle right now and you’d still say that wouldn’t you?”

 

Nicole shrugs. “What can I say? I love it when you speak in tongues.”

 

Escriva isto na lista ,” Waverly says in a low, sexy voice, leaning in towards Nicole so the front of her shirt gapes just so. “ Leite de côco. Fecula de mandioca. Goiabada .”

 

“Oh yeah, baby,” Nicole says, gazing unabashedly into the inviting crevice.

 

Wynonna’s voice carries in from the living room, and Nicole sits up suddenly, remembering herself.

 

“Haught, you’re disgraceful, I swear to god.” Boots hit the floor and Wynonna pushes through  the doorway. She shoves Nicole’s scratch paper in front of her and retrieves her abandoned pen, tossing it down in front of Nicole with a scowl.

 

“Coconut milk. Tapioca flour. Guava paste. Dude, write that down and get out of my kitchen before you slide off that chair. I can only take so much.”

 

And Nicole can only shake her head, stunned, as she follows Waverly’s tinkling laughter out the door and into the Jeep.

 

“Never a dull moment with the Earp sisters,” she mutters, and swings herself into the passenger seat.

 

***

 

“I didn’t realize how hard it would be to get the mixture exactly right,” Waverly pouts, leaning close to her computer screen to look at the recipe, then prodding sorrowfully at the pale, soupy concoction in the bowl.

 

Nicole watches from her spot at the kitchen table as yet another bowl of mixture is scraped into the trash. Four previous attempts at the crepe-like portion of the meal lie discarded, burned or overly thick, on a plate to the side of the range. She pulls the laptop around and scrolls through the various recipes on the ‘Flavors of Brazil’ website.

 

“We could try something easier,” she offers, as Waverly busies herself with the next attempt. “Here’s a recipe for refried beans. How hard can that be?”

 

“Nooo,” Waverly moans, “I want the fresh fruit! We bought all these guavas.” She gestures towards the enormous bowl of bright-pale fruits. “I don’t want refried beans in my jungle vacation, Nicole. I want to feel like I’ve walked out of a day in the rainforest and stopped at a street vendor. Close your eyes, Nicole.”

 

Nicole complies, and minutes later she feels Waverly behind her, draping her arms around Nicole’s neck and leaning in to her ear.

 

“We’re all sweaty from the hike, but clean sweat, you know? My muscles are warm and your skin is tan and sun-kissed…”

 

“I burn like a marshmallow on a stick, baby,” Nicole interrupts.

 

Waverly kisses her cheek. “Okay, fine, just work with me here. You’ve got your thumbs hooked under the straps of your backpack, and your biceps are flexed. You’ve exerted yourself just enough that your veins are popping on the back of your hands--I love that by the way, and we’re both starving.

 

“This town has a beach, of course, and that’s a destination in and of itself. Can you imagine this Nicole? Don’t open your eyes.” Waverly leans up and Nicole can hear her make her way back over to the stove, the clatter of mixing bowls and running water.

 

And she can. In her mind’s eye Nicole is right there with Waverly, the white snow of Purgatory replaced by pristine white sand and turquoise water, lush greenery just bracketing the edges of the scene. Waverly’s in cut-off jean shorts and a bikini top, bronzed and fit, and she only has eyes for Nicole, even as the food vendor tries his damndest to keep his gaze respectable in the presence of such a physique.


“Mmmhmmm,” Nicole sighs, as a sweet, mealy smell fills the kitchen.

 

“Keep ‘em closed,” Waverly sings. A plate clatters on the table and then Waverly’s back, a hand gentle on Nicole’s shoulder as she rests herself on Nicole’s lap and leans in.

 

“Hungry, baby?” she asks. Nicole nods.

 

“Open up then,” and Nicole can hear the smile in her voice. She opens her mouth and Waverly slides a morsel in. It’s warm and light and different from anything she’s ever eaten. The guava hits her tongue, sharp and tangy, sugary, waking up every taste bud, as the tapioca pancake dissolves. Nicole moans happily, finishing the bite. She opens her eyes to find Waverly close, staring at her with deep love in her eyes.

 

“I’m gonna need another bite,” she smiles. Waverly feeds her the entire portion with her elegant fingers, and as Nicole’s tongue swirls the final bit of jelly off her fingertip she can hear Waverly’s breath hitch, see her lashes lower as she looks up at Nicole.

 

“I think I got the recipe right this time,” she practically whispers, her eyes flicking to Nicole’s lips. Nicole moves forward in a rush; her lips are hot and sweet and Waverly makes a noise without meaning to. She slides her tongue into Nicole’s mouth and tastes the fruit there; closing her eyes she can see it too: white sand and crystal water, Nicole in a loose white shirt and floppy hat, her black swimsuit bottoms peeking out from below the shirt tail, the lingering taste of guava transporting her to that tropical heaven.

 

Waverly throws her leg over Nicole’s so that she’s straddling her instead of sidesaddle. She gropes blindly around the table as they continue to kiss each other deeply, and she smiles into Nicole’s mouth when she feels the edge of the bowl. Dipping two fingers she brings them to Nicole’s lips, replacing her own mouth with the fingers, smearing goiaba de goiaba like chapstick, then slipping her fingers inside Nicole’s parted lips. Nicole sucks at her fingers, and her tongue is hot and wet. She looks deeply into Waverly eyes and imagines them on a blanket near the river, legs entwined, her head bent to Waverly’s chest and Waverly’s head thrown back in pleasure.

 

Waverly pulls her fingers from Nicole’s mouth with a pop, then leans in to lick the fruit from Nicole’s lips. Nicole speaks, her words vibrating between their mouths.

 

“We’ve hiked all day. My legs feel so good, y’know... sore but strong. The water was perfect.”

 

“We saw macaws...and poison dart frogs,” Waverly purrs, bending to suck lightly at Nicole’s neck.

 

Nicole slowly unbuttons Waverly’s blouse, untying the knotted hem and peeling it back over her shoulders. She slides her palm up Waverly’s torso and cups her breast. Waverly sighs, settling heavier into Nicole’s body. Nicole slips a hand around Waverly’s back and unclasps her bra, and Waverly leans back just enough to let it fall between them.

 

This time it’s Nicole who reaches into the bowl, gathering up two fingers of sweet-sticky paste. She looks up at Waverly.

 

“Do you trust me?”

 

Waverly smiles, “Of course I do, Nicole.”

 

She startles when the goiaba hits her nipple causing it to twist tight immediately, but Nicole’s hot mouth is right behind it. Waverly can’t help but let out a loud moan at the intensity of the sensations, her head rolls back on her neck and her hand slips into Nicole’s hair as Nicole works at her chest. Waverly tugs at Nicole’s scalp and grinds down into her lap. She can feel Nicole’s damp fingers trail down her torso until they bump into the waistband of her jeans, which suddenly feel way too tight.

 

“Baby,” she pants, jumping slightly when Nicole flicks the tip of her nipple with her tongue. “Ah, god, babe…”

 

Nicole releases the nipple and slides her face into the space between Waverly’s breasts, rubbing her nose up Waverly’s breastbone till she nibbles along the edge of her jaw.

 

“Yes love?” Nicole asks, reaching for the bowl. This time she licks the paste off of her own fingers and kisses Waverly. Waverly slides her tongue along Nicole’s lips, the fruit transporting them back to their beach where Waverly is pressing Nicole down into the sand, her hair a curtain around their faces.

 

Waverly reaches up to cup Nicole’s cheeks, their kisses hard and hungry now, as Nicole cups her breasts and thumbs at the nipples. She slides a hand back down and flicks open the button of Waverly’s jeans, and Waverly lifts up just enough for the zipper to go down, and then Nicole’s pushing the flat of her hand into that awkward space. They’re both too into it to move, to lose this moment. The fruit taste is like bright sparks of light in Waverly’s mouth that match the ones behind her eyelids when Nicole’s long fingers slide down into so much wet .

 

Waverly gasps into Nicole’s mouth and raises up, leaning back slightly to allow Nicole more access, and Nicole spreads her fingers around Waverly’s clit, pinching and rolling it lightly between her fingertips. Her other hand slips around Waverly to support her back, fingers splayed and strong, pressing into the muscle. She enjoys the feeling of Waverly’s strong back flexing and her fingers slipping, the sight of her slightly parted damp lips, her eyes squinted in concentration as she rides Nicole’s fingers, grinds against her as best she can in that position.

 

The legs of the chair scrape and squeak on the floor as Waverly quickens her motions, now she reaches both hands to grab at Nicole’s shoulder and her palm stutters across the table, knocking the plate of rejected tapioca to the floor before she’s able to grab onto Nicole’s shirt, balling it in her fist. Her head falls forward to rest against Nicole’s forehead, and Nicole leans into kiss her messily, the corner of her mouth, her bottom lip and chin.

 

Nicole’s wrist is screaming now, but she wouldn’t change this for anything, the sight of her beautiful girlfriend coming apart with the sticky sweet fruit painting her lips and chest. She slides lower and slips inside, pressing up with the heel of her palm just so , and Waverly freezes, clenching around Nicole’s fingers, eyes squeezed shut and jaw loose. She exhales twice, three times before her muscles start to relax, she smiles, and Nicole can feel Waverly’s thighs flexing as she lifts up, nudging Nicole with her chin to indicate that she’s ready for her to move.

 

Nicole leans back in the chair and slides her fingers up Waverly’s body, stroking and tickling until Waverly opens her eyes to look at her. She’s hazy and satisfied looking, and Nicole slips the fingers into her mouth, sucking off the essence of Waverly, salt-mixed with the taste of goiaba, and feels a wash of wonder at her good fortune.

 

Waverly pushes at her hair impatiently, twisting it one handed out of her face as her breathing slows. She leans into Nicole and wraps an arm around her shoulder, resting her cheek against Nicole’s.

 

“That was amazing, baby,” she whispers. Nicole nods mutely, it’s all she can do to keep from grabbing Waverly’s hand and shoving it down the front of her pants. “Jungle vacation was a good choice,” Waverly finishes, “I definitely want to go back there.” She leans away and smiles at Nicole, and then they’re suddenly standing, Waverly’s legs wrapped around Nicole’s hips.

 

“Eu te levo lá.” Nicole tries to sound sexy, in halting Portuguese, her eyes flicking back to the forgotten laptop screen. Waverly’s smile is brilliant anyhow, and Nicole’s so very happy that she found the Google translator before they’d begun. She starts to move towards the stairs when Waverly suddenly stops her.

 

“Hold on, Nicole.” Waverly leans down in her arms and grabs the bowl of goiaba jelly off the table, flashing Nicole with a dangerous smirk. She pecks Nicole on the lips, nips lightly at her ear. “Okay, baby, vamos jogar .”