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Homo For The Holidays

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CHAPTER ONE
“It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year-Andy Williams

“Where the fuck is the cranberry sauce?!”

Nicole always thoughts holidays were far too hectic and not worth much, but that was probably due to the way the Haught Family celebrated. Nicole’s parents may have been “leftover hippies” but still believed in traditions, which usually meant alcohol and pretentious aunts who would be too drunk by the time dinner was served to even eat. When Nicole had gone away for college and stated that after graduation she’d be enrolling in the police academy, her parents had been very sparse in her life. They could accept that she was gay, but not that she wanted to serve in a “deeply flawed institution.”

“Helloooo? Red, you in there?!” A loud mouth firefly brunette was using one of her many nicknames for her roommate, as she noticed that Nicole was deep in thought.

“Yeah, sorry Wynonna… I was just thinking about how different holidays are now.” Nicole responded, while reaching for the oven door to check on their Thanksgiving turkey.

It was a small turkey, since they only had six guests attending and two of them would be dining on their tofurkey instead. This was the first year that Wynonna and Nicole had decided to host a “Friendsgiving” as it was their last year before graduation. Over the past 4 years, their friend group had grown significantly. Wynonna and Nicole had met in an intro to psychology course and became fast friends; they spent that first year bitching about their respective roommates and made a pact that they would room together from then on. They accumulated two “boy toys” of Wynonna’s also known as John Henry (or Doc as they called him thanks to his pre-med courses) and Dolls. Both aware of the fact that they were competition for each other, but neither seemed to care too much. When Wynonna’s baby sister Waverly arrived two years later, she became an instant part of the group despite her bringing around her horrific (and now thankfully ex-) boyfriend for a while. Waverly had brought Jeremy, one her own friends into the group after meeting him in one of her history courses.

A knock on the door interrupted Nicole’s thoughts so she went back to checking to make sure the turkey was done. Dolls and Doc were greeted by Wynonna, as they were the first to arrive.

“We heard that you fine ladies were havin’ a shindig and we reckoned that you were in need of pie and wine!” Doc spoke with southern draw as he held up grocery bags.

“Oh my god, you brought me dessert and alcohol?! You are my favorite!” Wynonna gave Doc a quick peck on the cheek and grinned at Dolls while grabbing the bags and heading to the table that has been set up in the dining room of their small off campus apartment.

Another knock meant that someone else had arrived and knowing that it would be Waverly and Jeremy, Nicole practically dropped the pan of stuffing she was stirring to go and answer the knock. Nicole was having a hard time denying it to herself because of the situation, but she found herself gazing at the younger girl wondering what it would be like to hold her, maybe even kiss her. When Waverly had broken up with her boy-man Champ, she had come to the apartment to talk to Wynonna, but Nicole had been the only one there. She let Waverly in and had let her cry, scream, and curse about the breakup. Even though she had been the one to end it, she was still upset. Luckily Nicole had been there to listen and console her. That night Nicole suggested binge watching Netflix to get her mind off of things. Waverly had curdled up on the couch with her and had even fallen asleep with her head on Nicole’s lap. Nicole resisted the urge to brush a stray strawberry blond strand of hair off of her forehead, yet couldn’t help but take in the smell of her perfume, a sweet scent that reminded Nicole of cotton candy. Wynonna burst in only a few moments after Waverly had fallen asleep and commended Nicole on “being a good friend”, which only caused more guilt and conflict in her mind.

“Waves! Hi!” Nicole felt herself blush a bit when she realized how eager she had been.

“Hey lady!” Waverly gave her perfect smile, the one that made Nicole weak in the knees. She then gestured to Jeremy and the pans he was holding “We already made the tofurkey for us, as well as a vegan side dish that we think everyone is gonna LOVE!”

“Barf! do we have to Babygirl?” Wynonna made a gagging sound, but pulled her sister into a hug nonetheless.

They all helped to prepare the table and each found a spot around it when they had finished. Nicole and Wynonna sat at opposite ends, Doc and Dolls on one side with Waverly and Jeremy on the other. Nicole noticed that Waverly had set her glass of wine down to the seat closest to her end of the table, almost marking her seat, but Nicole forced herself to brush it off.

“Should we say grace or anything?” Waverly had finished placing everything on her plate and looked around the table to see if anyone was answering her question. She was met with blank stares, as none of them were particularly religious. “Just thought I’d ask.”

The group talked about a wide variety of topics as they ate, ranging from finals to families. Nicole had heard some of the stories regarding where they had all come from, but as they spoke about family traditions for holidays she learned more and more. They shifted to plans for Christmas break and Nicole found herself wanting to withdraw from the conversation. Doc, Jeremy and Dolls all had plans to visit their families, but the Earp sisters were debating on what they wanted to do.

“I know that Mama and Gus are gonna start hounding me about what happened with Champ the minute I walk in the door! I don’t want to spend Christmas explaining and refusing Mama’s attempts to play matchmaker with boys in town.” Waverly was arguing for not going, but Wynonna was vocal and made it clear that she actually wanted to head home for once.

“I know, but I really wanted to see Aunt Gus, I heard Mama saying that she hasn’t been the same since Uncle Curtis had his heart attack.” Wynonna pleaded.

“Too bad I’m going back home, or I’d totally volunteer to pose as your new boyfriend!” Jeremy said. Everyone had a good laugh knowing that Jeremy was as gay as the day was long and that Mama would see right through it.

Wynonna was nearly bent over with laugher, “No offense Jer, but I think Waverly’d be better off to bring Haught-stuff and pretend that she’s switched teams!” This got a round of laughter as well, but Nicole’s eyes shot to Waverly who had slightly blushed at the mention. To Nicole’s surprise she then smiled and grabbed Nicole’s hand.

“Maybe that’s not the worst idea…” Waverly spoke softly and looked to Nicole for her reaction. Nicole was sitting mouth agape, as she wasn’t sure what to say to the offer. “Mama doesn’t know any queer women in town, so she’d never try to hook me up with anyone every again! And, Nicole’s got such a way of charming people that I’m sure they would give her approval!”

Nicole could tell that Waverly was getting more excited as she spoke, so she broke her silence to offer what might go wrong. “I mean don’t you think she’d notice when we weren’t acting… couple like?”

“You guys would just have to pretend, it’s not like you’d have to be giving each other heart eyes all the time, just a few hand holding moments, which you’re already doing.” Wynonna gestured down to their hands which were still inter twined from when Waverly first started talking. “Maybe a kiss every now and then and POOF! You’re gayfriends, I mean girlfriends, wait no I like gayfriends.” She giggled at her own joke before looking at Nicole.

“Do you think they’d mind having another person in their house? I mean I don’t have any Christmas plans, since I’m not going home to my family this year. And it’d be really lonely with all of you guys gone.”

She paused, mauled it over before giving in “You know what… fuck it. I’m in.” Nicole gave Waverly’s hand a reassuring squeeze and flashed her dimples for good measure.

Waverly responded with a returned squeeze and smile then released Nicole’s hand as the conversation switched back to how they were preparing for their upcoming final exams, the only thing that stood between them and Christmas break. Nicole’s mind wandered as the others spoke, as to how she was going to pretend to be into someone that she was already into. By the time they finished the meal and everyone had begun to help clean up, Nicole had started to believe herself that she could manage the ordeal that she had just been volunteered into. This is until Waverly came up behind her and wrapped her arms around her waist, snuggling into her.

“Might as well just used to it now, right?” Waverly spoke softly as if she was trying to avoid others hearing her.

“Uhhhh…” Nicole felt like a useless lesbian in the moment as she was stopped in her tracks by the physical contact. She swallowed hard and turned her head to look over her shoulder at Waverly who was now resting her head against Nicole’s back. Nicole couldn’t deny the warmth that moved through her body by having Waverly attached to her. In a moment of bravery, she spun around to face her, catching Waverly off guard and causing her to back up to give more space while still keeping contact.

“Why don’t we get together before break to talk about the uhh,” Nicole cleared her throat before continuing “the, uh, ground rules and get our story put together since you know your Mama’s gonna have a lot of questions. We could meet up at that coffee shop right off of Main St. that you love.”

Waverly grinned from ear to ear before responding. “Why, Ms.Haught, are you asking me out on a date?”

Nicole instantly felt herself blush but continued to act on the shred of bravery that she had mustered up. “What kind of girlfriend would I be if I hadn’t taken you out on date before meeting your family?”

“Wow, sexy and considerate. You are quite the catch. It’s a date then. I’ll text you after class on Monday to let you know when I’m heading over.” She reached up and placed a quick peck on Nicole’s cheek before flashing her smile once more while releasing Nicole from the embrace. She turned on her heels (Nicole swore that her hair blew in the non-existent wind for a moment) and grabbed her coat as she made her way around the room to give her goodbyes. As she and Jeremy existed, Wynonna walked over to where Nicole continued to stand after the interaction and bumped shoulders with her.

“Well Haught-Damn, brace yourself because we Earps do not play around!”

Nicole sighed and felt her heart beating against her chest. “Yeah, you could say that again.”

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A few days after the Friendsgiving feast, Waverly had done as she had said and texted Nicole to let her know that she was out of class and was heading to their pre-determined destination. Nicole found herself “primping” in the mirror after changing her outfit several times. She settled on blue knit sweater with her favorite slim jeans and sneakers and decided to just throw her hair up into a messy ponytail.

She jumped into her car (thank the gods for off-campus parking that allowed her to bring her own vehicle so she could drive into town or around whereever she needed) and headed to the coffee shop. Nicole had beat Waverly there since she assumed she had caught a bus from class. She picked a table that was close to the back and felt more secluded so to not draw attention from others around them as they cooked up their master plan to deceive Waverly’s family. Nicole looked up from the table in time to see Waverly bounding in, hair blowing perfectly in the wind from the open door. Smiling, Nicole waved her down. Waverly settled into her seat before noticing that Nicole was sitting at an empty table with no drink or snacks in front of her.

“Hi. Aren’t you getting anything?” Waverly questioned.

“Oh! No, I am! I just was gonna see what you wanted before I paid!” Nicole responded before flashing her dimples.

“Wow… you really are thoughtful. I’ll take a latte with coconut milk and a vanilla scone, if that’s okay?”

“Sounds great, I’ll be right back.” Nicole jumped up from the table to go and place their order, getting herself a caramel cappuccino and a muffin. She juggled the plates and cups back to the table finding Waverly watching her walk towards her. Nicole smiled and it was returned by Waverly who Nicole could have swore blushed a bit at the attention.

“So, cutie… where did we meet?” Waverly cradled the cup of coffee in her hand as she blew to cool it down.

“Um, I mean we legitimately met through Wynonna. I feel like the more truth to the story, the easier it’ll be to remember.” Nicole laughed, somewhat out of nerves but a little at the situation.

“You’re probably right, so when did you know you liked me?” Waverly spoke but didn’t look up from her cup.

Nicole swallowed hard, not knowing wether she should tell the truth or make something up. She stared into her cup for a moment not knowing where to start. She internally said ‘fuck it’ and went for the truth.

“Well, I think I always thought that you were pretty, but maybe it was the night that you broke up with Champ. You came over and you were so mad and you talked about how you had found out that he was cheating and I got really mad at him for pulling a major dick move on someone as amazing for you. You started crying and I felt bad because I didn’t know what to do. I all remember is wanting you to be happy and never have to put up with jerks. And then I think I realized that I wanted to be the one to make you happy…”

Nicole realized she was rambling on and gave a shy smile and looked up to see Waverly had been starring at her with a look that made Nicole understand what Wynonna’s “heart eyes” meant.

“Holy crap Nicole… that’s so sweet… Mama’s gonna love you if you give her that story!” Waverly started to giggle, but Nicole was brought back into the moment of ‘this is just a story’ and felt a pang of disappointment.

“Okay, so when did you realize you had feelings for me?” Nicole locked eyes with Waverly, as if daring her to tell some bit of truth.

“Well, after Champ, I needed some time to find myself and who I was and what I wanted. I started hanging out with you and I heard some interesting, er, sounds coming from your room that one night and it got me thinking what it’d be like to sleep with a woman and then more specifically you.” Waverly looked as if she had just said the most scandalous thing in the world.

Nicole eyes widened and she blushed, HARD. She distinctly remembers when she had gone out with a girl that she had met in a biology course. After a few too many drinks she had lost a little bit of control and brought her back to the apartment. They had engaged in shameless, loud, sloppy sex before waking up and agreed that while it was fun, they were not compatible partners. The one aspect of that night that she had overlooked until just now was the fact that Waverly had been there watching movies with Wynonna.

“OHMYGOD! You were there. Oh nooo….” Nicole buried her face in her hands and groaned.

Waverly burst into laughter which caused Nicole to peak up through her fingers.

“Waverly, we cannot tell your mother that story! She’ll think I’m a womanizer!” Nicole gave up with her hands and let her forehead fall onto the table with a thunk. “Ow!”

This caused Waverly to continue laughing. “You’re adorable and you’re also probably right. How about we say that it was a mutual attraction and that you asked me out for coffee once and it was history from there?”

“Yeah, that sounds believable.” Nicole lifted her head and her eyes met once again with Waverly’s. Nicole had always been confident but was never one for prolonged eye contact just because it always felt weird with people. With Waverly, however, it didn’t feel awkward but felt rather as natural as breathing.

Waverly spoke, breaking the silence and eye contact. “So how long have we been together?”

“It probably shouldn’t be too long since you only broke up with Champ in May, but long enough that we’re not in the ‘honeymoon stage.’ This would explain us not having to be all over each other.” Nicole did the mental math in her head. “So how about we got together in July?”

“Wow, and I thought I was the planner! That sounds like a great timeline.” Waverly winked at Nicole before taking a sip of her latte. “So are you ready to meet my crazy family?”
“Yeah, I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” Nicole laughed and took a sip of her own drink before she and Waverly began to talk about their classes and a random assortment of topics.

They had finished their drinks and food but had stayed for over an hour just laughing and talking. Nicole greatly enjoyed their time together and could feel herself being torn in two directions. One way pulled towards believing that maybe Waverly felt the same for her; the other said, “don’t be the lesbian stereotype” reminding her not to fall for one of her good friends. She was equal parts excited and terrified to be Waverly’s fake girlfriend. However, this was happening regardless of how prepared she told herself she was.

Wynonna, Waverly and Nicole loaded up Nicole’s Subaru, which was usually the butt-end of a Wynonna joke about the stereotype, but the space for all of their luggage was particularly helpful for this road trip. Waverly had gone shopping for snacks, Wynonna had crowned herself DJ, but the four hour drive from the University to the Earp Homestead was up to Nicole. Waverly had demanded that she deserved the front seat so that she could “bond with my girlfriend.” Every time Nicole heard Waverly call her that, she noticed a weird feeling in her stomach that felt like butterflies. Nicole tried to ignore the feeling, but it seemed the butterflies were growing despite it.

“Okay, so what do I need to know or not know before meeting the family?” Nicole asked as she grabbed a handful of granola that Waverly had made for the trip.

“Well, you know a lot already since you and Nonna have known each other for a while. Is there anything you want to know?” Waverly questioned.

“All the time I’ve known you guys, you’ve never mentioned your Dad. Am I allowed to know why?” Nicole noticed the sisters both got quiet and suddenly felt ashamed for asking such an intrusive question. “Shit, guys I’m so sorry, I...”

Waverly interrupted Nicole’s apology with one of her own. “No, Nicole. It’s okay. I’m sorry we haven’t ever talked about it before. Daddy has been gone since we were young, but I always hate talking about it. You need to know though.” She looked over at Nicole, who returned the look and laid one hand on Waverly’s knee. Nicole felt weird getting this physically comfortable with the younger girl, but Waverly never mentioned or acted like it wasn’t okay.

It was Wynonna who decided to break the silence and tell the story. “Daddy’s dead, for good reason. He was a no good drunk. He would always hit us, all of us. So much so that Mama gave us to Aunt Gus and ran off herself. Daddy wasn’t happy about that so he tried to come get us one night. Uncle Curtis saw him comin’ up the drive and promptly called the sheriff. When Daddy got onto the porch Curtis said he could smell the alcohol on him and refused to hand us over. Daddy got violent and knocked Curtis out. He was working on getting into the house when the cops showed up. He started arguing with them and swinging his revolver around. They had no choice; they took him out when he lined up the Sheriff in his sights. Mama didn’t come back until a few years ago. She felt horrible about what she did and sometimes still beats herself up.”

“Holy shit! I am so sorry guys. I had no idea. So, sounds like someting I should avoid entirely?” Nicole asked.

“Yep,” Both Earp girls responded in unison.

“And maybe not mention my future career goals.” Nicole looked in her mirror at Wynonna, knowing that they had discussed it, but that Waverly hadn’t heard yet.

“Wait, what’re your career goals, Nicole?” Waverly questioned

“I’d like to be a police officer someday.” Nicole felt awkward saying it out loud after the story of her Dad’s death.

“No, babe. It’s okay. Mama says that the Sheriff saved all our lives that night. She doesn’t have a problem with the law.” Waverly gripped Nicole’s hand that had remained on her knee throughout the conversation. “I think that’d be great for you. You’re so caring and would help so many people.”

“Ugh, guys. You don’t have to start all this cute shit yet. It’s just me. Though I gotta say… you’re gonna sell it.” Wynonna quipped.

Waverly let go of Nicole’s hand suddenly, as if it had just caught fire and Nicole pulled her hand back onto the steering wheel.

The rest of the trip was uneventful for the most part, Waverly and Wynonna spoke about what Nicole could expect from the rest of the family, including their older sister Willa (who they described as a bitch) and her husband Robert (who they also described as a bitch). They spoke about past memories of Christmases, laughing about the time that Waverly had made an angel out of tampons and pads because she wasn’t yet old enough to understand what they were actually used for. As the GPS counted down the minutes until arrival into Purgatory, Nicole had a growing sense of unease. She couldn’t quite place whether it was out of fear or hope, but she decided to remain cautiously optimistic for what was about to happen. Spending the holiday pretending to be something she started to worry she was… in love with Waverly friggin’ Earp.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER TWO
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”- Michael Bublé

They arrived at the homestead in the afternoon and Nicole was warned that everyone was probably sitting around waiting for them as it had been awhile since they had made a trip home. Nicole pulled into the long drive and stretched as she climbed out of the car, groaning with each move. She bent forward to stretch out her back and when she came back up she nearly jumped at the sight of Waverly directly in front of her.

“Woah Waves! Warn a girl before you pop up like that.” Nicole exclaimed

“I’m sorry. I just wanted to give you one last chance before it’s too late. Are you sure that you’re fine with pretending to be my girlfriend?” Waverly had grabbed both of Nicole’s hands and had woven their fingers together, holding them in between each other as they came face to face.

“Of course. For this weekend, where ever and how ever you need me, I’m there. Besides, I’m really excited to have a family to spend Christmas with for once.” Nicole spoke.

“You don’t talk about your family much, why is that? I feel like I’m allowed to ask because of the heart-felt conversation about my family that we had earlier, but if it’s not okay just tell me to butt out.” Waverly giggled but Nicole could sense her sincerity.

“Oh baby, that is a long story that we can get into later. Right now it’s all hands on deck with your family… who are currently standing on your porch staring at us. Waves, did you tell them that you were bringing home a girlfriend?”

“Yeah about that….” Waverly trailed off before being interrupted.

“MY BABY GIRLS!” A shorter, stockier built woman with light brown wavy hair that was starting to grey yelled from the front porch. She was wearing a western shirt, a pair of faded blue jeans and cowboy boots. From everything Nicole had heard and her reaction to seeing Wynonna and Waverly it was safe to assume this was Michelle Gibson, their Mama. Which meant the older woman with in similar dress, with shorter grey hair and bandana around her neck (who was looking at Nicole suspiciously) was their Aunt Gus.

“Mama! We missed you so much!” Waverly had dropped Nicole’s hand to run the rest of the way onto the porch into her Mama’s outstretched arms. Wynonna was slightly less rushed about making her way into her Mother’s arms but arrived there none the less.

“Hi Gus, don’t think we forgot about how much we missed you!” Waverly turned to the other woman and embraced her in a tight hug as well. By this point Nicole was starting to feel uncomfortable as she stood there waiting to be introduced. She was about to cough to break the silence before Mama turned to look her up and down.

“And who is this?” Mama asked. Waverly walked over and wrapped her arm around Nicole’s waist to hug her from the side and Nicole slung her arm over Waverly’s shoulder, accepting the hug.

“Mama, Gus. This is Nicole. She’s uhhhh… my girlfriend.” Waverly looked up into Nicole’s eyes and gave a warm smile.

“I’m assuming you don’t mean a friend that is your girl, but more so that it is your romantic partner girlfriend?” Gus asked the pair.

“Yes ma’am. That is correct.” Nicole answered. Gus again looked her up and down as if trying to decide what she thought of the pair. She then looked to Mama who was staring blankly at Waverly.

“Waverly, you should have told us. You know we don’t care. Were you afraid we’d not be okay with it?” Mama said.

“No, it was just something that I wanted to tell you in person.”

Mama turned over to look at Wynonna who was currently hauling her bag into the house. “What do you think about this? Is this the same Nicole that you live with?”

“Nicole’s cool guys, she’s a narc sometimes, but she’s really great for Waverly.” Wynonna winked after the statement when Mama had turned away.

“Well... this is not what I was expecting but, welcome to our home Nicole. We’ll be having a talk later about my expectations for you and the consequences should you chose to not meet them.” Mama lowered her voice and looked Nicole square in the eyes.

Nicole meet her stare head on and responded with confidence, despite shaking internally. “Yes ma’am, I’d accept nothing less.”

Waverly gave her hand a gentle squeeze and stared up into Nicole’s warm chocolate eyes. They continued to gather up their bags and head into the house. Once inside, Mama started giving out room assignments.

“Now Waverly, normally if you were bringing home a partner for a stay, I’d make him sleep on the couch, but since there’s no worry about an unexpected pregnancy, I think it’s safe to let Nicole bunk with you. Best keep in mind that these walls are thin and I do have my limits to my accommodations.” Mama said.

Waverly’s eyes widened and she glanced around the room to Nicole who had currently stopped in her tracks and was looking around panicked.

“Wait… what happened to the spare bedroom… not that I’m not grateful for your exception” Waverly spoke.

“Didn’t we tell you that Gus moved in a while back?” Mama looked puzzled as she spoke.

“After Curtis died, the house was just too big and lonely.” Gus spoke before taking a sip of her coffee. She didn’t look at the girls as she spoke, but continued leaning against the arm of the couch, gazing into her cup.

“Oh Gus, I’m so sorry, I had no idea.” Waverly walked over and embraced Gus in a hug. After breaking from the touch, she walked back over to her bags and picked them up, motioning up the stairs to Nicole. “Come on, let’s go get settled.” She grinned and started up the steps.

“We’re trimming the tree in a few so don’t be up there for too long!” Mama called after them.

As they walked down the hallway and into a room on the left Nicole looked around at the pictures hanging on the walls of the Earp’s throughout the years. One of Waverly in a cheerleading uniform made Nicole look away quickly, hoping not to let her mind wander into inappropriate thoughts. They walked into Waverly’s childhood room and Nicole instantly smiled as she saw bits and pieces of Waverly’s personality coming through. Nicole had been in Waverly’s dorm room, but that was a shared space with her roommate and this was like taking a glimpse into her past and present. It all felt very intimate and welcoming. Nicole was brought out of her thoughts by Waverly tossing her bag onto the floor.

“Well that went a lot better than I expected! I totally thought Mama and Gus were gonna give you the shovel talk right in the driveway! But that is coming later so prepare yourself.” Waverly grinned

“Waves, parent’s love me. I got this.” Nicole returned the smile, popping out her dimples.

“Well okay,” Waverly giggled (like, legitimately giggled) “Though I think we should talk about boundaries, because we honestly forgot to before now.”

“What do you mean?” Nicole questioned.

“Well, like what are you okay with? I mean obviously we have to act like we’re together, but is there anything that is a no-go?” Waverly sat down on her bed as she finished speaking.

“Um, I mean I would just say that we go with the flow but nothing too intense or unnecessary. Maybe have a code word or gesture to say okay so we know that there’s consent if it’s something more than lite physical touch, since we’ve already been there?” Nicole walked over and sat down on the bed next to Waverly.

“That’s so sweet of you, and that’s a great idea. For future reference, light touch is okay? Like hand holding and cuddling?” Nicole nodded and Waverly reached out to take Nicole’s hand in her own. “So how about we rub little circles like this…” Waverly moved her thumb across the top of Nicole’s hand in small movements. “And if we’re not okay and need to go talk about it in private, we tap a few times like this…” she then tapped her thumb against the palm of Nicole’s hand three times to demonstrate.

Nicole, feeling near drunk at the touch, simply nodded in agreement before speaking “Yeah, those sound like good ideas, small and hopefully not noticeable to others but enough that neither one of use has to do anything we don’t want to.” Nicole wanted to do everything, she wanted to take Waverly into her arms and kiss her until the day was over, but in the idea of not messing everything up, she continued to tamper down her feelings.

“Great, now let’s get downstairs to start decorating!” Waverly excited jumped up and pulled Nicole out into the hallway and down the steps.

When they got downstairs, they saw that Mama, Gus, and Wynonna had all gathered around an undecorated Christmas tree. Waverly paused in the doorway between the kitchen and hallway where the tree was to watch her family bicker about which angel was going on top. She drank in the moment. She looked over to Nicole who was leaning against the door frame also watching the family. Waverly reached out towards her and gently brushed her hand down Nicole’s arm. Nicole closed her eyes for a moment and then looked over at Waverly. Waverly swore she saw something in her eyes, but didn’t know if she was hoping for something or just creating something. Not wanting to dwell on it she broke the silence.

“Why don’t you ever talk about your family?” Waverly took her hand as she spoke.

“They’re useless. I don’t want to waste someone’s time talking about them when they don’t matter to me.”

“But you matter to me, and I’d love to know more about you, if that’s okay.” Waverly’s eyes sparkled as she looked into Nicole’s.

“Okay, so to summarize a long story. My parents were always into free love and anti-establishment and then they found a group of people that thought like them and they just went bonkers. They like the call it a ‘family’ but it’s a nothing but a cult. As soon as I was able to take care of myself they started leaving me to go on ‘spiritual journeys’ with the cult for a few days and then weeks and months. By the time I was in high school I was raising myself. And once I told them that I was going to join the police force after college, they basically disowned me. And I don’t really have any other family out there.”

Not realizing that as she spoke, she had gathered the attention of all the Earp/Gibson women in the room, Nicole glances up to see Mama Earp walking towards her.

“Well, you’re always welcome in this family.” she gave her a playful shove in the shoulder and walked past her into the kitchen.

“In other news love birds, look up.” Wynonna gestured to the doorway that they were currently standing in. Placed precariously off of an old nail was a few strands of greenery, wrapped together by twine.

“Mistletoe?” Nicole eyes grew wide. She knew that this would happen at some point but thought that she’d have more time to prepare herself. She swallowed, all too aware of the eyes of others in the room on her and Waverly.

Waverly still had ahold of Nicole’s hands and started rubbing little circles, indicating that she was comfortable. Nicole returned the gesture and moved closer to the smaller woman. Waverly’s eyes dropped to Nicole’s lips as her tongue slipped out to wet her lips. The two stepped closer and erased the gap between them. Nicole wanted nothing more than to reach up and bring Waverly’s lips to hers but hesitated, not wanting to come off as too desperate. Waverly, almost sensing the hesitation took matters into her own hands. The brunette dropped Nicole’s hands and placed her hands on either side of Nicole’s face pulling her down to her. She lunged forward, essentially smashing her lips to Nicole’s. She was met with a brief moment of stiffness from the redhead, but was quickly softened into warmth. Nicole’s hands went to Waverly’s waist, pulling her as close as possible. Nicole had imagined this moment for a while, but never thought that it would be as tender and soft as this. She felt Waverly smile into the kiss, a sentiment that she shared. Nicole felt lost in moment, before a cough broke the trance and they shot apart.

“Gross you guys. Now I’m gonna have that seared into my brain for life. My best friend and my sister is really not all it’s cracked up to be.” Wynonna made a gagging noise before going back to trim the tree.

Nicole ignored her friend as she looked at Waverly, who was avoiding her stare but was blushing a deep shade of red.

“Don’t make me regret letting you share a room...” Mama said as she continued stringing popcorn at the kitchen table.

Waverly finally glanced up at Nicole and gave a smile that rose to her eyes. “Hi.” She said quietly.

“Hey.” Nicole rolled her eyes at herself internally, thinking ‘that’s all you got?’ But before she could speak up to redeem herself Waverly bounced over to where Gus was unboxing old ornaments to be placed on the tree. Wynonna called Nicole over to help reach the top spots, as Nicole was the tallest by far at the Homestead. The group chattered away as the decorated, listened to holiday tunes and drank egg nog. Once they had finished they all stood back to admire their handiwork. In that moment Nicole felt a sense of family that had been lost for many years.

After the decorating was done Wynonna pulled the two ‘love birds’ away for a moment.

“You guys are weirdly selling this shit. I told you they’d buy it! And we haven’t had to listen to Mama ramble about us wasting our best years on losers! But I gotta get out of here for a minute, wanna hit up the town?”

“And by that you mean Shorty’s?” Waverly rolled her eyes.

“Yep.” Wynonna said popping the p.

“So you want to escape your family by going to the bar they own and operate?” Nicole questioned.

“Yep.” Wynonna replied in the same manner as before.

“Yeah, I’m in.” Waverly answered.

“Guess I’m in as well, I’m not staying here for your Mama and Gus to do the shovel talk with you two gone” Nicole looked around to make sure she wasn’t over heard. The two older women frankly scared her just a little.

“Alright, lets go!” Wynonna grabbed her jackets off the back of her chair and shouted to the older women “We’re heading to town be back late!”

Nicole and Waverly followed suit and piled into Gus’s old truck in the driveway. Wynonna had complained enough earlier about missing the feeling of driving around that Gus had thrown her the keys to shut her up. They took off towards town and prepared Nicole for what they might encounter.

“Okay, most the locals are assholes, but they’re more the lear-at-you-from-across-the-room type than get-in-your-face type. As long as we don’t run into a few select people, we’ll be good!” Waverly explained

Nicole narrowed her eyes in Wynonna’s direction, assuming she was to blame for the avoidance. “Do I wanna know who the few select people are we’re trying to avoid”

“Nah, we’ll cross that bridge when they show.” Wynonna laughed.

They pulled up to the bar and hopped out as Nicole got her first look at Shorty’s. It was nothing fancy, but looked like an old saloon that had been passed by when renovations were made. It looked the same on the inside, Nicole found as she walked through the double doors. There was a U-shaped bar at one end, some booths along the windows and at the other side, a pool table and some other seating. It was fairly crowded when they got there, and most of the patrons looked to be a few drinks in. Nicole wondered if anyone in the town was attempting sober living.

“Haught, go grab us that booth with the ‘reserved’ sign and baby girl and I will rustle up some drinks.” Wynonna barked.

Nicole did as she was told and sat down on the bench seat looking towards the door. As a criminal justice major she was always attempting to be in control and have awareness of her surroundings. Something that she was having a hard time doing with Waverly Earp striding towards her, donning two beers and a smile that reached her eyes.

‘Is someone playing Fleetwood Mac somewhere or I am just imagining things?’ Nicole thought, shaking her head slightly to bring her out of her daze.

“You okay?” Waverly asked as she slid into the booth next to Nicole.

“Yep. By the way, how are we supposed to act when we’re out and around town? Are you okay pretending here too?” Nicole questioned, looking around. “I don’t want people to think you’re gay for nothing.”

“Actually, you’d be doing me a huge favor. I’ve never told anyone but Wynonna and Jeremy, but I’m not exactly straight. I don’t really want to put a label on it, but I know that for me it’s more about the person and less about their gender. So if we could be ‘together’ out in public it would be easier than having to announce it or anything. If that’s okay?” Waverly spoke, her voice low.

Nicole had to remind herself to breathe. She prayed that her eyes weren’t the size of flying saucers as she took in the new information. She pushed off any thought about ‘wait, do I stand a chance?’ and composed herself. She put her arm around Waverly and pulled her closer.

“Waves, I’d be happy to help”.

“Uhhhhh. Heart eyes, we mayyyy have a slight problem in the form of Waverly’s ex boyfriend.” Wynonna announced.

Nicole and Waverly looked over to see Champ Hardy walking in the door. He started scanning the room and found his target, as evidenced by him sauntering towards their booth.

“Oh fuck. I’m not mentally prepared for this. Guys, act quick!” Wynonna groaned.

Waverly and Nicole looked at each other and before Nicole could open her mouth to say something, she was ambushed by Waverly’s lips meeting her own. This kiss was less gentle than the one under the mistletoe. Nicole’s hand cupped Waverly’s jaw as one of Waverly’s played with the small hairs at the base of her neck. Nicole felt Waverly’s lips part and took the open invitation to explore her boundaries, softly running her tongue along Waverly’s bottom lip, which was then returned by Waverly doing the same. Their lips moved in time with each other, dancing to a rhythm that was unheard by anyone else in the room but the two of them. This kiss had a feeling of more heat and urgency. Again lost in each other, Nicole forgot about their surroundings until Wynonna once again brought their attention back to the present.

“Oh shit! He’s pissed! And walking away!” She then turned back in the booth to face them. “WOAH! You can stop now. He’s gone...”

Waverly was the first to pull away, pupils blown and lips swollen. She breathed deeply in and rested her forehead against Nicole’s.

“Thank you.” she said softly under her breath to Nicole.

“Uh, you’re welcome?” Nicole responded after a breath of her own.

Champ had walked over to the crowd by the pool table and found a blonde to wrap his meaty hands around.

“Glad to see Stephanie Jones will still take anyone’s leftovers” Wynonna snorted after her statement.

Waverly and Nicole parted and turned back towards Wynonna. Nicole taking a few long gulps from her beer. She mentally scolded herself ‘Dude. Calm the gay.’ Waverly wrapped her hand around Nicole’s forearm and rubbed little circles into her skin. Nicole doubled down on her scolding. She swore if she closed her eyes she could fall asleep. The trio made idle conversation as they drank, laughing and falling to a natural state with each other. When they had all reached the bottom of their drinks, Nicole volunteered to go get refills while Wynonna excused herself to the bathroom. Nicole was on her way back when she saw Champ had used their absence to talk with Waverly. Nicole could hear him pleading with Waverly as she approached.

“Come on babe, don’t be like that.”

“For the last time Champ, we’re done. We’ve been done and I’ve moved on. I’m with Nicole, and I’m not changing my mind.”

“Fine, I should have known you had the hots for that butch girl. Always sticking up for her. Didn’t know you were a gay yourself though.”

Nicole hurried over as Champ was leaning towards Waverly and was gripping her arm.

“Champ, you are way out of line and need to leave. Now.” Nicole sat the beers down on the table and turned to face him.

“Back off bitch, just because you’re fucking her doesn’t mean you own her.” Champ spat.

“You’re right, I don’t. Waverly, sweetie, would you like Champ to leave?” Nicole turned to her ‘girlfriend’ to ask her approval of the situation.

“Yes. Absolutely.” Waverly glared at him.

“You heard her. Leave.”

“Fucking dyke.” Champ shoved Nicole.

“Last chance bud, leave.” Nicole announced, noticing that most of the bar had stopped to look at the commotion occurring.

“Or what?” He shoved again.

“This.” Nicole pulled back her right arm and hauled her fist into Champs face, connecting with his nose, which instantly began to bleed.

“BITCH! YOU BROKE MY NOSE!” Champ screamed.

“Get out Champ, you’re bleeding on my floor.” Wynonna had reappeared and was attempting not to cackle as she grabbed Champ and moved him towards the door.

Waverly jumped out of the booth and into Nicole’s arms. Nicole caught her and held on, Waverly looking down slightly as she was taller for once. She looked into her eyes and around her face before crashing their lips together briefly.

Pulling back, she sighed, “How are you so perfect?”

Nicole swooned, then panicked and promptly lowered Waverly back onto the ground.

“Practice? I dunno.” She nervously laughed and looked at the ground.

The rest of the bar had fallen back into their own conversations and Wynonna was returning with a mop after kicking Champ to the curb.

“If you don’t clean up your mess, Gus will have YOU bleeding.” Wynonna said, handing Nicole the mop.

Nicole did as she was told, mopping up the blood that come from Champ’s nose after the contact. Nicole’s knuckles ached, but she decided it was well worth it. They finished the beers Nicole had gotten them and decided they had all had enough excitement for one night. Filing back into the truck, Waverly opted for the middle again, and Nicole found herself thigh to thigh with the brunette, somehow closer than they were on the drive there.

Arriving back at the homestead, Wynonna said goodnight as Waverly and Nicole walked upstairs into Waverly’s room. Nicole excused herself to change and wash up for bed. She got ready, slipping on a pair of gym shorts, tank top, and sports bra. She debated back and forth on the bra but didn’t feel comfortable being that exposed in front of Waverly, not knowing her limits.

She padded back into the room and saw Waverly was standing with her back to Nicole, brushing out her hair in front of her mirror. She was wearing a wide neck baggy shirt, boy shirt underwear and nothing else. Every time Waverly lifted her arms to brush near the crown of her head, the shirt lifted and exposed skin on her back and sides. Nicole stopped mid way in and took in the figure. Waverly was like no other woman she had ever seen. She was built slight, but had strong muscles hidden. Nicole’s eyes landed on her ass, defined by the boyshorts. Realizing that she was gawking, Nicole moved quickly over to the bed and slipped in.

She thought to herself ‘Thank the heavens I don’t have a penis because it would make my dirty mind a bit obvious.’

Waverly finished and turned around to see Nicole in bed with the covers pulled up to her chin.

“I know, I’m cold too. I can’t believe I forgot to pack sleep pants. I usually remember how cold it gets up here in the winter. Silly me.” Waverly bounces over to the bed, still apparently riding the high from the evening. She slipped under the covers on the other side and turned to face Nicole.

“Tonight was really nice, no one has ever stuck up for me like that. I mean, Wynonna used to when we were kids, but that’s just because she liked getting into fights.” Waverly giggled.

“Uh, it was no problem. I’ve never liked him. It was a dream come true to finally be able to put him down a peg. You deserve a lot better than to be treated that way.” Nicole turned to face Waverly as she spoke. There was a new intimacy to their interactions, soft and warm.
Waverly reached out and placed her hand on Nicole’s arm.

“Thank you again. You always know what to say. Oh, you’re warm! Is it too much to ask to cuddle? I’m freezing and I kinda miss cuddling with someone.”

Nicole fought off the deer in the headlights look “That’s fine.”

No sooner were the words out of her mouth before Waverly was scootching over closer. She lifted Nicole’s arm up and over her head and curled into her side, laying her head on her chest.

“Goodnight Nicole.” she said sleepily

“Goodnight Waverly.” Nicole answered.

Within minutes, Waverly’s breathing slowed and Nicole felt her smaller frame relax, signaling her slumber. Nicole laid there and stared at the ceiling. Wondering what she had gotten herself into. She was thinking over their interactions when her phone buzzed from the side table to her left. She reached over with her left hand and picked it up, eyes recoiling from the brightness.

“For fuck’s sake.” She mumbled. Her ex-girlfriend Shae was currently attempting to call her. She hit the red circle, sending the call to voicemail. She typed out a quick text in response. They hadn’t spoken in some time and Nicole wondered what it was that Shae was calling for.

“Hey, can’t talk. I’m busy.” Nicole sent.

“Are you on campus still? I miss you.” Shae had responded instantly.

“No, I’m with Wynonna, Waverly, and their family for break.”

“Oh, well hit me up when you’re back. Maybe this will make you think about what you’re missing out on.”

Nicole saw a picture that she was certainly NOT expecting. Shae hadn’t sent those types of pictures in quite some time. Feeling weird about looking with Waverly currently in her arms asleep, she closed out of the message and set her phone back down on the nightstand.

‘Women are going to be the damn death of me I swear.’ Nicole thought before drifting off to sleep, feeling unprepared for the days ahead.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER THREE

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” -*NSYNC

 

Waverly woke up with the physical and emotional sensation of warmth. She slowly opened her eyes to take in the morning light streaming in from behind the curtains. She suddenly remembered the fiery-haired guest that shared her bed and looked over at the still sleeping figure. They were still intertwined, with Waverly on her back, pressed against Nicole who was now laying on her stomach, with her arm over Waverly’s middle. Waverly watched her back rise and fall, slow and steady. Her face was towards Waverly, lips slightly parted as she breathed deeply in her slumber.

 

Waverly turned slightly in bed to face Nicole, studying her.  Waverly felt safe under the weight of Nicole’s arm, like Nicole would always be there for her if Waverly asked her to. Waverly’s thoughts ran wild, thinking over the past days excitement. She knew that faking it would pose an interesting challenge, as she had always felt a pull towards her sister’s best friend. She thought of Nicole as a good friend, but the night that Nicole had offered her comfort after she had ended things with Champ had sparked new thoughts about the redhead. Waverly still remembered how Nicole had curdled up with her on the couch, how she smelled like vanilla and filled the room with a sense of calmness. Waverly had thought of that night and how she wanted to thank her properly for it, though she was never sure how. The interactions that they had after that night had been friendly, but Waverly always wondered what it would be like to wrap her arms around Nicole and kiss her like there was no one else in the world.

 

While the kisses had recently occurred, Waverly was all too aware of the watching eyes of those around them during the embraces they shared. Waverly pulled herself out of her thoughts to the woman laying next to her. She reached up and pushed a stray red hair from in front of Nicole’s eyes and ran her fingers down the side of her face, across her strong jawline and over to her lips. Waverly unconsciously wet her own lips as she ran her thumb across Nicole’s. She let her mind wonder about what it would be like to kiss her now, under no one else’s glare but was brought out of the thoughts by Nicole’s eyes fluttering open. Waverly quickly withdrew her hand and placed it back at her side. 

 

“Hey.” Nicole’s voice was rough and filled with sleep. She looked down and noticed her arm was still over Waverly. “Sorry, I guess I got comfy last night.” 

 

“No apology needed, it was nice.” Waverly reached back up to gently stroke Nicole’s forearm. “Are you up for some Christmas shopping today? I thought we could go out to the city and get some stuff. I realized that I don’t have anything for you and I would really be the worst girlfriend ever if I didn’t have something for you on Christmas morning!” 

 

“Yeah, that sounds great. I don’t have anything for you either.” Nicole sleepily admitted. She rolled over onto her back, taking her own arm with her and Waverly noticed that she instantly missed the weight of it across her. 

 

“Okay, well I’m going to do some yoga in here. If you want to get a shower and get around, I’ll jump in after I’m done. We can grab breakfast and coffee on the road if that’s alright?” Waverly asked. 

 

“Sure, I’m just along for the ride. Er, or maybe along for the drive since I’m assuming we’re taking my car.” she chuckled. 

 

“If that’s alright?” 

 

“Yeah, that sounds great.”

 

Waverly got out of bed, feeling the cool air of the bedroom and wanted to turn around immediately and curl back up with Nicole. She glanced back and saw Nicole getting out of bed as well. Nicole sat on the side of the bed and stretched, the muscles in her back on full display in her tank top. Waverly leaned over to get a better view.

 

‘Holy shitballs, she’s in great shape’ she thought to herself.

 

She got up and crossed to the dresser to grab a pair of yoga pants and sports bra, ducking into the bathroom to change while Nicole continued to stretch out her body. When she re-emerged she saw Nicole going through her suitcase to grab some clothes. Nicole stood up and turned to face Waverly, looking her up and down. Waverly noticed the once over and couldn’t tell if Nicole was checking her out or just admiring her core strength. She cleared her throat and Nicole’s eyes darted up to meet Waverly’s. A mild blush appeared on Nicole’s cheeks and Waverly internally giggled. 

 

“Would you like to join me? You look like you could handle the workout. You might be able to do a lot of things with me if you’re into it.” Waverly put one hand on her hip and popped it out to the side. 

 

“Oh, I’d love to do a lot of things to you.” Nicole sighed 

 

“You mean with me?” Waverly questioned. 

 

The blush darkened. “Yep, that’s what I meant, totally not what I said, I’m just gonna go get naked, I mean get in the shower.” she rambled and took off into the bathroom. 

 

‘Oh my universe, is she...’ Waverly watched her scurry away and suddenly started to wonder if all the signs that she thought she was imagining were actually true. Did Nicole Haught have a crush, on her?!

 

She made mental note to start watching Nicole’s actions and reactions to see if there were anymore hints. Waverly attempted to do yoga, but thoughts of Nicole clouded her mind. She heard the bathroom door open and soft footsteps back into the room. She finished her routine and found Nicole quietly sitting on the couch opposite the bed, staring at her phone in her hand. 

 

“Sorry, I hope I didn’t intrude too much.” Nicole said as Waverly rolled up her mat. 

 

‘You totally did but not in the way you’re thinking’ Waverly thought. “Nope, you’re all good!” She said out loud. 

 

Waverly rolled up her mat and sat it back beside the closet door and pulled some clothes from her own suitcase. 

 

“You’re welcome to stay here or go down stairs, I’ll try and be quick.” Waverly said as she went into the bathroom and shut the door behind her. She let her mind wander as she started the shower and got in, the hot water coursing over her skin. 

 

‘Okay. Maybe Nicole does like me. When did that happen? Was she telling the truth at the coffee shop on campus back then? Am I crazy for having feelings for her? Nicole is so caring and gentle, but strong and safe. She makes me feel so good about life and myself and makes me feel calm and... crap. I think I’m in deep. Okay. Calm down. Just breathe. Test it out. Maybe you can kiss her when there’s no one around and see what she does. Then if she freaks just say you wanted to practice or something. Yeah. Good plan. Okay.’

 

Waverly took the length of the shower to ramble on in her head and get a game plan set for how to test the waters with Nicole.  She didn’t want to ruin the friendship that they had built, but at the same time if there was something more, maybe it would be what they both need. She finished getting ready, pulling her hair up into a bun and throwing on a cream sweater with a pair of high waist jeans. Walking out of the bathroom she noticed Nicole was absent from the room. She grabbed a pair of socks for her boots and headed down the steps. 

 

As she got close to the bottom she heard voices and laughter. Sitting around in the living room was her family, drinking coffee and laughing about something. Nicole was sitting on the couch next to Wynonna, head titled back with laughter. Waverly has decided that she was going to kiss Nicole as much as possible, company or not. She walked over to the back of the couch and placed her hands on either side of Nicole’s face, leaning her head back to look straight up towards the ceiling. Nicole stopped laughing and looked up into Waverly’s eyes. Waverly leaned down and pressed a kiss backwards onto Nicole’s slightly agape mouth. Waverly took the opportunity to run her tongue over Nicole’s bottom lip before pulling away. Looking down she noticed Nicole had somewhat frozen, eyes still closed. 

 

“Why do I feel like you all were telling stories about me. Nicole Rayleigh, don’t you make me take that kiss back...” she laughed. 

 

“Okay, so maybe your family was telling me about some of the super adorable things you did as a kid, don’t hate me.” Nicole had turned her body towards the back of the couch and was looking up at Waverly with a smile that popped her dimples and reached her eyes. 

 

Waverly leaned back down, giving a quick kiss this time, with them both right side up. 

“I could never. Now let’s go before I deny you coffee.” 

 

They grabbed boots and jackets, pulling them on before stepping out into the crisp morning air. Waverly shivered and as if on cue, Nicole wrapped her arm around Waverly’s waist and pulled her close for warmth. 

 

“Okay, your ancestors must have been wolves or something with as hot as you run. Maybe that’s where your last name came from!” Waverly and Nicole laughed and got into Nicole’s car. 

 

They chatted as they drove, Waverly giving directions to the mall. It was a town over, which meant they would have to spend a decent amount of time driving. They made conversation easily, talking about their lives in the past and at university. Waverly found that she was able to bare it all to Nicole easily without being afraid to tell the truth. It was not a familiar sensation, but Waverly couldn’t help but enjoy the connection. They arrived, quicker than Waverly had honestly hoped. She had enjoyed their time spent alone after having been cooped up with the Earp/Gibson women. 

 

“Okay, so do we want the presents to be a surprise or do we just want to pick them out together?” Nicole asked as she climbed out of the car. 

 

“Surprise! For sure. Momma would raise all hell if you didn’t treat me right by making me wait until Christmas to know what my present is.” Waverly had gotten out as well and was waiting for Nicole to come around the side to walk into the mall. 

 

Nicole grinned and replied “Well we can’t have that can we? You go left and I’ll go right, we’ll text each other when we’re done in that area to switch sides.” They had walked in the doors by now and were standing at the food court that was in the dead center of the mall. 

 

“Deal. See you later, babe.” Waverly said with a wink. She watched Nicole’s smile grow into a smirk and they parted ways. 

 

Waverly walked around to the stores on her side of the mall and browsed for the perfect gift. She had seen some cute sweaters, a nice pair of shoes, a new hairdryer, some apparel for their university (as it was the only university around) and some kettle cooked popcorn (which she bought for the drive home). She had given up on that side of the mall, as she was searching for something that showed how much she appreciated everything that Nicole had ever done. She walked back and plopped down on a chair in the food court and had just pulled out her phone to text Nicole when she saw the flash of auburn hair in a jewelry store. She couldn’t help herself as she snuck a peak at what she was doing. There was a small bag on the table that had been gift wrapped but Nicole was currently looking down at her own wrist smiling. She saw that the man helping her had said something, to which Nicole shook her head in response and started handing him back the item. Nicole started to turn and walk out so Waverly darted behind a fake bush and texted her to tell her that she was ready to switch. She heard Nicole’s phone ding and decided it was safe to come out from hiding. Nicole glanced at the movement. 

 

“Were you just hiding in that shrubbery?” Nicole laughed. 

 

“I didn’t want you to see where I was coming from! No hints for you!” Waverly playful bumped into Nicole. Waverly looked around for the bag, and saw a silver string hanging slightly from her jacket pocket. 

 

“Do you need more time?” Nicole asked 

 

“Well we need to switch so that way we don’t know which store it could have come from!”

Waverly demanded. 

 

“I guess that’s fair. Okay, meet back up here?”

 

“Yes please! And no looking back!!” Waverly walked off, knowing her destination already. She pretended to go into the clothing store next to her as she secretly watched as Nicole walked a little before disappearing into a store. Waverly darted to the jewelry store and looked for the man she had seen helping Nicole. Finding him behind a glass counter she approached him. 

 

“Hello, I think my girlfriend was just here looking at something for herself, the tall redhead?” Waverly was not shocked at how natural it felt to call Nicole that anymore. 

 

“Ah yes. She was trying one one of the new watches that we got in for Christmas. It’s a self winding men’s style, she said women’s never look right on her. Would you like to see it?” He asked

 

“Yes please.” 

 

He lead them over to the well light case of watches. One of them caught Waverly eye and she hoped it was the same one that Nicole had seen. As soon as the case was open, the man grabbed the watch she had admired and pulled it out. It was small for a men’s watch, but had a brown leather band and a rose gold face. It was gorgeous, Waverly thought, just like it’s intended owner. 

 

“She loved it. She spotted it from across the room and after trying it on, had to convince herself not to get it” the salesman stated as he showed the watch to Waverly. 

 

“Why didn’t she get it?” She asked

 

“Oh, she said that she couldn’t justify getting it for herself. Thought it was too much. But may I add that she did spend just as much on you...” he winked

 

“I’ll take it. Thank you so much for your help!” 

 

“Of course, I’ll have someone wrap it up if you’d like. It’s nice to see two young women so in love.” 

 

Waverly froze. ‘Love?! He said love...’ Waverly was pretty sure she liked Nicole as more than a friend but LOVE?! ‘Holy crap. Do I love her? Wait does she love me? Crap. I’m in so deep. Okay. Breathe. Just figure out how she feels about you first and go from there. Shitballs this is complicated.’ 

 

She was broken from her thoughts by the salesman returning with a small bag that matched the one Nicole had left with. She paid and thanked him once again before walking over the food court. She sent a quick text to let Nicole know she was done and sat down to contemplate her feelings. She shoved the bag into her purse and hoped that Nicole was none the wiser. Regardless of how she felt, she knew that Nicole meant so much to her and that she had done more for her than anyone ever had. 

 

“You ready?” Nicole asked as she approached. 

 

Waverly smiled and nodded in response. She gathered up her courage and wrapped her arm through Nicole’s as they walked out, casually chatting about the rest of their plans for the day. Mercedes Gardner was having a Christmas party for some friends and they had decided to go, with Wynonna in tow. The drive back was filled with laughter and popcorn as they fell back into the comfort of each other. 

 

“So a) what’s the dress code for this party and b) how do you want to act there?” Nicole asked before shoving a handful of kettle corn into her mouth. 

 

“It’s probably good to wear something nice, but not too dressy. I’m gonna wear that black high waist skirt and a long sleeve burgundy crop top.” 

 

“So I can get away with a blue button up and a nice pair of jeans?” 

 

“The one with polka dots? That one is super cute on you. For sure.” Waverly looked down at her hands, hoping the compliment didn’t make it weird. 

 

“Yeah that one. And if you’re talking about the crop top with the v neck and paisley stuff on it, I love that one on you.” Nicole admitted, blushing a bit. 

 

“Yep. You like it?” Waverly asked, looking over at Nicole. 

 

“Yeah, people are gonna be jealous of me on your arm in that.” Nicole grinned 

 

“So we’re going to be together for the party? I mean act like we have been?” 

 

“Yeah, I thought that’s what you had wanted, unless you’re not okay with it?” Nicole questioned. 

 

“No! I’d really like that actually.” Waverly smiled before continuing to eat the kettlecorn. 

 

Waverly gave Nicole a heads up as to who was coming to the party and the history of her home. Nicole was engaged in the conversation, asking questions and intently listening to Waverly ramble on. By the time they got home Waverly realized that she had been talking about herself and the town the whole time and felt guilty. 

 

“I’m so sorry for talking your ear off. You probably didn’t want to know about all of purgatory’s history.” 

 

“Oh, it’s okay. I like listening to you talk about stuff you’re passionate about.” Nicole smiled at her and Waverly swore she could see the sun in her eyes. 

 

They walked hand in hand up to the house and found the other women exactly where they had left them. However, the coffee had turned to whiskey magically. 

 

“Have you guys even moved?” Waverly asked, kicking off her boots 

 

“Of course we did.  We just came right back though.” Mama laughed.

 

“With not opening the bar on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we like enjoy our time off”. Gus chimed in. 

 

Waverly walked over and “Well ‘Nonna, don’t forget the Gardner’s party. I want to leave here in an hour! Come on babe, lets go get ready.” She grabbed Nicole’s hand and started up the steps. “Sometimes I hate it when they drink. But I plan on getting back with Wynonna when she has to take care of my drunk butt tonight” she said with a giggle. 

 

Nicole and Waverly took turns getting dressed and fixing their hair and makeup in the bathroom. Nicole didn’t wear much make up, but Waverly always admired how beautiful she was without it. Her style was always simple, but never failed to accentuate her best features. Waverly loved how Nicole was always unapologetic about who she was and was never seemed afraid to go after what she wanted. Waverly caught herself, and realized what she had been afraid of since the sales man at the mall said it. 

 

‘I’m totally falling in love with Nicole Haught... Crap.’

Chapter Text

 

CHAPTER FOUR

“Santa Tell Me”-Ariana Grande

 

Nicole had vastly underestimated the extent of the Gardners money until she pulled up to the house with Waverly and Wynonna. 

 

“Holy shit, what did you say the Gardners did?” She asked. 

 

“Real estate and probably witchcraft.” Wynonna chirped as she got out of the car and started towards the wrap-around front porch. 

 

“Jeesh. I think I’m going into the wrong profession.” 

 

“You’re not. You’re going to be a great cop or Sheriff someday. It’s perfect for you.” Waverly grabbed Nicole’s hand and interwove their fingers together. 

 

‘Do not give her heart eyes. Don’t. Do. It.’ Nicole gave herself a pep talk. 

 

Wynonna charged in, nearly bursting down the door. Nicole and Waverly calmly walked in behind her and saw a small crowd had already gathered in the living room. 

 

“Where’s the ginger bitch?” Wynonna asked to the crowd. She looked at Nicole “No not you, you weren’t my first ginger.” 

 

“BITCH!” Mercedes came flying around the corner, large drinks in both hands. “Shit I missed you!” Rather than embracing her in a hug, Mercedes handed her a drink and they toasted before taking large sips. Mercedes looked over to Waverly and Nicole who had hung up their coats and had started back into the living room. 

 

“Waverly! You got so grown up!” Mercedes looked down at their intertwined hands. “And gay! Go you!” She leaned closer and half whispered “She’s cute. I approve.” 

 

“Thanks ‘Cedes, I think she’s pretty cute too.” Waverly snuggled into Nicole’s side as she spoke. 

 

They broke off to get drinks while Mercedes and Wynonna joined the conversation occurring in the living room. 

 

“Okay, who’s driving tonight? I feel like we should designate a sober driver? I don’t have to drink. I’d rather you have a good time with your friends” Nicole noted. 

 

“You’re so sweet and so good. I don’t plan on drinking too much either. That’s not my thing in big crowds.” Waverly responded as she poured herself a glass of wine and grabbed a beer in the fridge for Nicole. “You can have two. And then I’m cutting you off. Sound good?” 

 

Nicole nodded and faked a hat tipping motion. 

“Yes ma’am.” 

 

They rejoined the group and sat down next to each other on a large couch. Waverly introduced Nicole to everyone, some she recognized from the bar. Chrissy and Perry had been there and Nicole was pretty sure she saw them cheering when she punched Champ so they were favorites already. Mercedes had a sister and creepy looking younger brother that were introduced to her as well, though Nicole made a note to give them some distance. 

 

More people continued to arrive and Nicole realized that this was not necessarily a “formal Christmas Eve party” and more of a “let’s drunk and go on until Christmas Day party.” She wondered how long Waverly wanted to stay, because she couldn’t stop the thoughts of curling up with her in bed again. Someone had started playing music in another room and couples started peeling off to go dance. Nicole noticed Waverly watching them walk over to the ‘dance floor’. 

 

“Go ahead and dance, you look like you want to.” Nicole gestured towards the room 

 

“Come with me?” Waverly’s eyes sparkled and Nicole was useless. 

 

“Of course.”

 

Waverly let out a squee and jumped up, pulling Nicole behind her. They stopped in the kitchen long enough to grab more drinks before continuing on. They found a small corner of the room and Waverly instantly started to dance. 

 

‘Fuck me, she’s sexy. Shit. Haught. Chill.’ Nicole thought as she watched Waverly moving to the music. 

 

Waverly looked into her eyes and reached out to her, pulling her closer by her hips. Waverly pressed herself against Nicole and continued dancing to the upbeat song. 

 

Nicole felt powerless against the urge to wrap her arms around Waverly, so she gave in. 

 

Waverly responded by snaking her hand not holding her glass up into Nicole’s hair at the base of her neck. Nicole leaned her head down and rested her forehead against Waverly’s. She could feel Waverly’s breath on her face and could smell the slight hint of red wine. She closed her eyes and took in the moment. Even if it was fake for Waverly, it was real for her and it was amazing.

 

Nicole felt as if no one else was near them, and continued to just focus on Waverly. She opened her eyes and saw that Waverly was looking up into her eyes with the same scared look she had earlier in the day in the bedroom. Without thinking it through completely, Nicole closed the distance and captured Waverly’s lips with her own. She braced herself for Waverly to stop, but was surprised when Waverly parted their lips with her tongue. Nicole nearly dropped her bottle of beer when she felt Waverly moan into her mouth. The arm around Waverly’s waist tightened its grip and it was like their bodies were one. Their tongues dipped and darted, exploring each other. Waverly’s hand on the back of Nicole’s neck was now tangled in her hair, fingers wrapped around lose curls. Nicole was completely and utterly unaware of why Waverly was kissing her like this but she didn’t want to question it. Nicole couldn’t hear the music, or the voices around her. It wasn’t until someone bumped into them that she was reminded that they weren’t alone.

 

Go figure that the someone was Wynonna who had quite literally stumbled on a scene that apparently she was not prepared for. 

 

“For fucks sake guys, what has gotten into you?” She asked, eyes wide. “Are you two drunk?” 

 

Waverly looked at Nicole with “heart eyes” as Wynonna had called them earlier. Nicole didn’t believe that Waverly had more than two or three glasses since they had gotten there but it was entirely possible. Nicole started to panic, but Waverly answered first. 

 

“Maybe just a little. Is that okay? I’m just trying to blend in and have fun.” Waverly laid her head onto Nicole’s chest and stared at Wynonna, waiting for her response. 

 

“That’s fine baby girl. Just couldn’t figure out why you and Haught were over here trying to make a porno.” Wynonna looked to Nicole next “Just throw her off if she gets too clingy. She gets that way when she’s drunk. But then again so do you I guess.” she laughed and walked off. 

 

Nicole watched as Wynonna walked over to the booze, pouring some into a glass for herself. All while still watching the two from afar, squinting every so often. 

 

‘That was close’ Nicole thought. 

 

Waverly hadn’t moved from her front and Nicole was afraid to move. 

 

“Do you wanna sit down for a minute?” Nicole asked.

 

“Sure. These heels were not smart tonight.” Waverly giggled as she walked towards the coat rack to remove the shoes and place them by their jackets. 

 

Nicole walked back towards the couch and sat down at one end. There was a spot in between herself and Mercedes that she had intended to save for Waverly but Wynonna apparently had other plans. The older Earp plopped down in the space and turned to talk to Mercedes. Waverly walked over and pouted, bottom lip stuck out. 

 

“Hey. Nonna you took my seat!” 

 

“Meh. Just sit on Haught’s lap. Not that you two need an excuse to be all over each other.” Wynonna answered, turning to face the room. 

 

Waverly reached down and rubbed circles into Nicole’s hand that was on the arm of the chair. Nicole’s nodded in permission, remembering their secret code. Waverly slide onto Nicole’s lap with her back to the arm of the couch for support. Nicole remembered that Wynonna, Waverly and everyone else believed that she was drunk and cuddly so she dared it and put her arm across Waverly’s legs,  touching the soft skin that was exposed by the skirt. Nicole’s mind raced with thoughts of running her hand up the skirt in private to touch the bundle of nerves between Waverly’s legs. She was brought back to reality by Waverly playing with the buttons on Nicole’s shirt. Nicole looked up in time to see Waverly’s look of intensity.

 

“I think I’d give my right hand to know what you’re thinking about.” Nicole thought. 

 

Seeing Waverly look up and cock her head to the side she realized that the question had actually been asked.

 

‘OH FUCK I SAID THAT OUT LOUD’ Nicole screamed internally. 

 

“I just might tell you someday, but keep that hand. I like it too much.” Waverly answered. 

 

“Okay.” Nicole gulped. 

 

Neither of the women noticed Wynonna was watching the encounter out of the corner of her eyes. 

 

The rest of the party was uneventful, yet Waverly remained by Nicole’s side until she left to use the restroom before they left. 

 

“Haught, you good to drive? I know you’re a narc about drunk driving.” Wynonna asked as Waverly walked away. 

 

“Yeah. I only had two beers” Nicole said, before remembering that she had previously been pretending to be too drunk for boundaries. 

 

Wynonna looked as if she wanted to challenge it, narrowing her eyes at her before shrugging and walking away to say goodbyes. 

 

Waverly came back from the bathroom, made her way through the room and said her goodbyes to her hometown friends. Nicole watched her move around the room with grace, giving her patented smile and wave. When Waverly’s eyes met Nicole’s from the across the room, her eyes warmed and her smile grew. Nicole felt once again like they were the only ones in the room. When Waverly reached Nicole, it was all she could do to not pick her up and kiss her. 

 

“Ready babe?” Waverly asked, holding Nicole’s hands in hers. 

 

“Only if you are.” Nicole nodded 

 

In the middle of putting her heels back on, Waverly stopped and looked at Nicole “Wait. Are you good to drive?”

 

“Yep. I’m all sobered up.”

 

“Does that mean you won’t cuddle with me again tonight?” Waverly batted her eyes at Nicole 

 

“If that’s what you want, I’m okay with that.” Nicole answered, hoping that it didn’t come off as sounding too excited  

 

——————————

 

Christmas morning came a few hours after they had gotten back to the homestead. Nicole and Waverly woke up intertwined with each other. Nicole woke up first and laid in bed for a few moments, breathing it all in. She pressed a whisper of a kiss on the top of Waverly’s head and slipped out from under her. She grabbed her bag and headed into the bathroom. After showering and getting dressed she walked downstairs to see if anyone else was up. Looking around, she noticed no signs of anyone and decided to start the coffee. After brewing it, she poured it into a deep mug and turned to go sit by the tree. As she turned she noticed Wynonna was standing in the doorway. 

 

“Shit Wynonna. Wear a bell!”

 

“Merry Christmas to you too Nicole. Hey. Stay there I wanna give you my present now.” She walked back into her room and grabbed a poorly wrapped package off of her dresser. She walked over and handed the small box to Nicole. “Here. Open it.” 

 

Nicole was judging the wrapping job, as it looked like Wynonna had done it herself in a haste. 

 

“Okay...” Nicole opened the box and found it as empty. “Wynonna were you drunk when you wrapped this?” She questioned. 

 

“Yes. But that’s not the point. My present is my permission. To date Waverly.” She calmly walked over to the coffee maker and started to poor herself a cup. 

 

“Wait. What?!” Nicole wanted to scream but kept her voice down. 

 

“Look, Nicole. I’m your best friend and I’m her sister. I know the both of two better than anyone else. I know when you’re drunk and I know when you’re faking it. Last night you weren’t drunk, but you also weren’t faking something else. I see the way you look at her and the way she looks the same right back. I don’t know if you two goons have figured it out yet and by the look on your face I’m gonna say that’s probably the case. When you do work it out, I’m not gonna pull the whole ‘thats my sister’ card. You’d probably be the best thing to ever happen to her. Lord knows she deserves it.” Wynonna had stopped looking at Nicole and was staring into her cup. 

 

“Holy shit. Does Waverly know?”

 

“That you’re in love with her?” 

 

“Wynonna.”

 

“Probably not. And I mean if you haven’t figured it out that she’s into you too, you’re both idiots.” She sipped. 

 

“Do I tell her? What if she doesn’t actually like me like that and I ruin what she and I have. Or if I mess up and ruin what you and I have? Fuck. I don’t know what to do.” 

 

“Chill dude. You’ll figure it out. If it’s worth the risk, you’ll know what to do.” She said. 

Chapter Text

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”- Sam Smith

Waverly woke up cold. Not like she had been for the past few days. She frowned and turned to look at the space beside her. The usual guest was no longer occupying the other pillow. Waverly heard mumbled talking downstairs and recognized Wynonna and Nicole’s voices. She sat up and stretched, breathing in the new day. She climbed out of bed and practically ran into the bathroom in an attempt to stay warm. She quickly showered and changed into her favorite Christmas sweater and started downstairs. Reaching the kitchen she saw that Mama and Gus had joined in and were currently making breakfast. Nicole was seated next to Wynonna chatting about the dread of having to get back to classes. Waverly walked over behind Nicole and pressed a light kiss to the top of her head, taking a deep breath in to smell the woman’s vanilla scented shampoo.

“Whatcha guys making and is there something for me?” Waverly asked walking towards the stove.

“We’ve got some bacon and pancakes going. Nicole reminded us to make the pancakes vegan and she already made you some of your imposter bacon. It’s by the microwave.” Mama said

“You did?” Waverly turned to look at Nicole who was in the midst of taking a drink of her coffee.

“Yeah, figured it wouldn’t be very fair to you to wake up on Christmas morning without any breakfast.” Nicole said, putting her cup down.

Waverly walked back over to the table and leaned down to give Nicole a quick kiss. Breaking away she looked at Nicole and stared into her warm chocolate eyes.
“I love you.” Waverly sighed, before internally panicking.

‘You big idiot you said that out loud.’ Waverly said to herself.

“I love you too.” Nicole looked at her, smiling from ear to ear.

‘Okay, you’re fine. She went with it. Or did she mean it too? Shit this is getting complicated’ Waverly thought

Waverly walked over to the microwave, found her vegan bacon and sat at the table to wait for pancakes. The group flowed the conversation from past Christmas memories, plans for after the holiday season and what the plans were for the rest of the day. They all decided to open presents after breakfast and then spend the day watching their favorite Christmas movies until dinner. After cleaning up in the kitchen, they all gathered by the tree in the living room to exchange gifts.

They went one by one, allowing gifts to be passed out, opened and appreciated. Gus went first, handing out boxes and bags. Wynonna opened hers first and pulled a long receipt out.

“What’s this?” Wynonna asked

“Your bar tab. Now hand it over”

Wynonna did as she was told. Gus took the paper and threw it into the fireplace.

“Merry Christmas.”

“Gus. That’s the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me. Thank you” she looked as if she might cry.

“Here sweetie, you next.” She handed a larger bag to Waverly.

“Oh Gus. You didn’t.” Waverly said, her words quivering.

Waverly pulled a Jean jacket out from the bag. It looked worn and loved for quite some time, patches where holes had sprung a leak.

“Curtis would have wanted you to have it. It’ll be a little big, I had it tailored a bit, but left it just the way he did.” She graying woman fought back tears as Waverly tried it on.

“It’s perfect. Thank you.”

“Alright young lady, here’s yours.” Gus handed Nicole a wrapped box

Nicole opened the box to find a pair of torn and leathered gloves in a small shadowbox with a yellowed picture of a man with a long and flowing mustache.

“The girls told us that your planning on going into law enforcement and I’m sure you know that Wyatt Earp was the great-great-grandfather of both the girls. We used to keep these at the bar, they belonged to Wyatt once. People kept trying to steal ‘em so it was more of a hastle that anything. Michelle and I figured that someone looking to follow as a lawman should have them.” Gus informed.

“These should be in a museum, I can’t possibly,” Nicole started

“But you will. They deserve to be in good hands and that’s where I’m placing them.” Gus interrupted.

“Thank you, ma’am.” Nicole nodded.

Mama went next giving her girls and Nicole their gifts. Waverly was given a first edition of one of her favorite childhood books, Wynonna got a new gun and Nicole received a pair of combat boots that were her size and the specified style for the police academy. She looked puzzled when she opened them as to how Mama could have known. When she looked up quizzically to Mama, Waverly stepped in.

“She asked what you needed and I told her that you had been talking about how expensive the police academy’s uniform was and we got online to order these for you. I hope they fit, I had to look at your shoes that you brought with you.”

“I’m sure they’ll be great. Thank you so much. You’re both very thoughtful.” Nicole said, before swallowing down emotions. “And thank you for being so welcoming and allowing me to spend time with your family. It’s been a while since I’ve had a family to go home to for Christmas, let alone one that accepts my choices and helps me work towards my future. I forgot how nice it is to be with ones you love”.

“Of course. You’re always welcome here for as long Wynonna and Waverly want you in their lives. I was scared that my little girl was following in my footsteps, what with being in love with the law. But you’re not him, you’re kind and you love both my girls and for that, I thank you.” Michelle said with a warm smile.

Wynonna, Waverly and Nicole had all chipped in together for a hotel gift card, so that Gus and Michelle could come for a visit at the University for graduation in the spring. They also had a signed ‘IOU’ from workers at the bar for one week of ‘trying to run the place without you’ so that they felt able to leave. The women were grateful and thanked them for the gift.

Wynonna passed Waverly a small bag and instructed her to open it. “It’s not much, but I thought you’d like it.”

Waverly looked into the bag and saw silver. Pulling it out she saw it was a keychain with a fuzzy unicorn charm.

“Um, thanks, but what am I gonna put on this? I don’t really have any keys to anything? The dorms all have keycards…” Waverly asked.

“Remember that old red jeep?” Wynonna asked

“Yeah, she was my first car. Until the motor blew”

“Well I may have paid stupid Carl to fix it up for you. Turns out he’s not stupid with everything.” Wynonna shrugged

“FOR REAL?! AHHHHH!!” Waverly launched herself at her sister. She had loved the old rust bucket and didn’t care how janky it would look on campus, she was just happy to have a car again.

“Okay, that’s enough. Merry Christmas.” Wynonna hugged before leaning away.

“Okay, girls. All that’s left is yours to each other. Michelle and I stopped giving gifts after we started working together.” Gus laughed

“Wait, ‘Nonna. What about you and Nicole?” Waverly asked, noticing that the redhead hadn’t received anything from her sister.

“Oh, it’s a long story that I will tell you later. Or maybe Nicole can. I’m still deciding.” Wynonna shot a look to Nicole that Waverly couldn’t quite place.

Waverly thought that it was probably better not to ask, knowing the two of them. She crawled over to the tree and dug the bag from the jewelry store out from behind the trunk.

“This is for you babe.” Waverly handed the bag to Nicole who looked at it skeptically.

Nicole opened the bag, finding the watch tin.

“How did you…” she trailed off.

Nicole removed the lid to the tin and took the watch out, looking it over. She beamed at it with an open smile.

“I saw you trying it on when we went shopping and the man told me that you loved it but couldn’t justify spending the money on yourself.” Waverly reached over to undo the watch band, carefully placing it on Nicole’s wrist. “But you deserve it. You always talk about what I deserve but never stop to think that about yourself. Nicole, you are so kind to me and everyone you care for. You’re brave, loyal and really great at, er, being good. You’re just, the best.” Waverly had taken ahold of Nicole’s hands after fastening the watch and hadn’t let you. She rubbed little circles on Nicole’s fingers with her thumbs.

Nicole returned the gesture without breaking eye contact, sighing audibly.

“Thank you, I don’t know what to say. But Waverly Earp, I think you’re the best of us.” Nicole said, leaning in to rest her forehead against Waverly’s.

Waverly tilted her chin up, capturing Nicole’s lips in a soft and gentle kiss. Nicole accepted the kiss, breaking it to speak.

“Last but not least, for you.” She said as she grabbed a small box to hand to Waverly.

Waverly noticed that it was a different wrapping from the one given at the jewelry store and made note to scold the sneaky squirrel later for the diversion. She opened it up and saw a small silver charm bracelet. There were several charms on it, telling a story.

“Okay, so the coffee cup is for our first date. The mistletoe is for our first, uh, holiday spent away together. The tree is because you love nature so much, but also because your family told me about the time that you climbed the tree out back and fell out. They told me how Wynonna wanted to cut it down so that you wouldn’t get hurt again but you wouldn’t let her because you loved it too much. And that you got back up there the next day and conquered it. And I realized that I didn’t know what your favorite color was, so I went with mine. I found this one that is the same color of your eyes when you look at me, because that’s my favorite color now.”

Waverly couldn’t believe it, Nicole had done her homework and had put so much thought into the gift. It was beautiful by itself but the amount of care put into it made it priceless. She fought back tears and turned to look at Nicole, leaning over to kiss her with more urgency than the last kiss. Waverly wanted Nicole to feel how much she truly cared for her. Pulling back she looked into Nicole’s eyes and found a look that was unfamiliar, almost scared.

“I swear you guys are gonna make me hurl one day.” Wynonna gagged.

“Shut it Wynonna.” Nicole said.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER SIX
“The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)- Nat King Cole

After exchanging gifts everyone chipped in on gathered up the wrapping paper scraps. Wynonna and Waverly started fighting over who got to pick the first movie to watch as Nicole sat back to take the scene in. She looked down at her wrist to the present that Waverly had chosen for her and her mind wandered to what Waverly had said.

‘Would she still mean what she said if she knew my actual feelings?’ Nicole questioned.

Waverly had been acting weirdly content with the arrangement, but Nicole couldn’t place if it was sincerity or just Waverly’s personality.

‘Wynonna seems to think that she’s into me. And she caught me in the act. What if she’s right? Shit. What if she’s wrong. What if I tell her and she freaks and never wants to see me again?’ Nicole’s thoughts raced as she sat on the couch, starring blankly at the fireplace.

Waverly had come over to the couch to sit down next to Nicole and reached out, touching her on the arm and to asking, “Babe, you okay?”

“Yeah! Sorry, just lost in thought.” She gave a weak smile.

“Are you ready for Christmas movie marathon, I won so we’re watching the Muppet’s Christmas Carol first!” Waverly said excitedly before curling up into Nicole’s side.

Nicole wrapped her arm around Waverly’s shoulders and allowed the smaller girl to become snug to her. As the others came into the living room to sit down, Nicole attempted to calm the fears of getting too attached. The Earp family had let her into their home and had accepted her without qualms. They let her be herself, other than faking a relationship of course. Nicole felt a sense of home here which did nothing to stifle the worry of ruining things with a confession.

After Waverly’s pick was done, Wynonna announced a bathroom and snack break. Waverly suggested that Nicole and her go up to use the bathroom by her room for optimum time. Nicole let Waverly go first and went into the bedroom to grab her warm socks from her suitcase. She sat down on the sofa in the room to put them on. By the time she was finished Waverly had emerged from the bathroom and called for Nicole.

“Nic, where’d you go?”

“I’m in here, my toes were getting cold so I wanted to grab some socks.” She announced.

Waverly came into the room and sat down next to Nicole on the sofa.

“You mean you’re not hot for once?” Waverly joked.

She chuckled, “Yeah I guess.”

“I’m gonna go make some hot cocoa, do you want any?” Waverly asked.

“That sounds nice, thank you.”

“Of course, anything for my babe.” Waverly grinned before reaching over a giving Nicole a gentle kiss that lasted a few seconds. She pulled back, wiped a loose strand of short wavy hair away from Nicole’s face with a content look in her eyes.

Nicole gave a nervous smile to Waverly as she exited the room and skipped down the stairs. Nicole looked around, there was no one else in room.

‘Wait, what?’ She thought. ‘That’s weird. Unless Mama or Gus was in the hallway or something? I didn’t hear or see anyone though. Ugh, why is this girl so confusing?!’

She forgot entirely about the reason for going upstairs in the first place as she was too busy trying to calm her thoughts.

The rest day was spent curled up by the fire watching movies, eating cookies and drinking coffee, hot chocolate and eventually whiskey. By the time it was ready to make dinner Nicole felt trapped by the panic of her true feelings for Waverly. She excused herself to get some air outside while the other women filed into the kitchen to start prepping.

The sun had started to set and sky was a beautiful hue of orange, pink and red. Nicole walked out the front door and sat down on a old wooden swing to her left that overlooked the porch and grounds. She pulled her phone from her pocket to take a picture of the sunset. She then pulled up her photos and flipped through pictures that she had been taking throughout the past week, stopping on a selfie of her and Waverly from last night’s party. They looked happy, both wearing goofy grins while Wynonna’s middle finger was stuck up in the air behind their heads.

Her phone went off, as a ‘Merry Christmas’ text from Jeremy came in to the group chat. Nicole responded to the message, giving her own felicitations. She backed out of the message and saw Shae’s name further down the list of recent messages, she clicked the name and saw the racy picture that had been sent to her earlier in the week.

‘It’d be so easy to pretend like I still care for you instead of admitting that I might love Waves.’ She thought to herself. She moved to delete the photo from the message thread but was interrupted by the door opening behind her. As she turned to look over her shoulder, Waverly made her presence known.

“What the fuck Nicole?!” She demanded, tears forming in her eyes.

“What?!” Nicole responded before looking down at the phone in her hand, Shae’s face and body still lite up on the screen. “Oh, I was about to delete it.”

“Are you for real?! Have you seriously been playing games this entire time?! Just when I thought you were different!!” Waverly shouted before storming off towards the barn.

“Waverly! Wait, where are you going?” Nicole closed the phone and jumped up from the swing to chase after her.

“I’m going to go chop some firewood and pretend that it’s your head on the block. I’m not in the mood if that’s how you’re going to be.” Waverly said, never turning back to face Nicole.

Nicole reached her and touched her on the shoulder “Can you just pause a minute!? Why are so you pissed at me?!”

“WHY?! SERIOUSLY?! Nicole, you have been so sweet to me this week and I guess I let myself think that you were doing it because you actually cared rather than because I asked you to pretend. But apparently I was wrong.” Tears were now coming down in streams from her eyes.

Nicole’s shoulders dropped as it hit her. Wynonna was right. Waverly wanted it to be real as much as Nicole did.

“Waves” she sighed. “Shae sent me that the first night that we were here. She tried to booty call me, I turned her down and she got mad. Then I got this picture. I was pulling it up to delete it when you walked out.” She moved closer to Waverly, feeling thankful that the other girl hadn’t recoiled at the movement. Testing her luck, Nicole reached out to take ahold of Waverly’s hands. “You’re not wrong Waverly. I do care. I care so much that it scares me. I didn’t know how you felt and I didn’t want to mess this all up. I was afraid that if I told you how I felt and you didn’t feel the same that our whole friendship would be ruined. I was afraid that you’d hate me.”

“I could never hate you. I think I love you too much to ever feel that way about you.” Waverly looked into her eyes as she spoke, seemingly barring her entire soul to Nicole.

“For real?” Nicole questioned.

“Yes silly. I really like you. And it scares me too. I was trying to give you hints this entire time and apparently you’re oblivious. But I thought that maybe you felt the same way, you’re a little less sneaky about it. For instance, you’ve stared at my ass or chest more times in three days than I can count.” Waverly laughed.

“Shit. I didn’t think you noticed. I’m so sorry. You’re just really beautiful and sexy. This whole time I’ve been thinking that you’re too good for me. I guess I didn’t notice you flirting because I thought I was making it up. I thought that someone like you would never feel that way about me.” Nicole apologized before admitting to her fears.

“Oh Nicole. I meant what I said this morning. I think I’ve fallen for you. I think that it started way before now, but this week confirmed it for me. You’re who I want to be with.” Waverly moved closer, bringing them within inches of each other.

Snow had started to softy fall around them and Nicole looked around to take in the surroundings. She could barely believe that what she was hearing from Waverly was real. As if she was reading Nicole’s mind, Waverly reached up to wrap her arms around the back of Nicole’s neck, pulling her back down to her.

“Are you going to kiss me now Nicole Haught or do I need to make the first move, AGAIN?” Waverly asked.

Nicole started to open her mouth to speak but was stopped by Waverly’s lips crashing into hers. Soft and sweet quickly turned to heated and hurried. Nicole’s breaths swallow and quickened between kisses. Their lips were dancing once again with each other, but this was different. Waverly’s hands tangled in the short hairs at the base of Nicole’s neck like she had done before. Nicole’s arms holding Waverly tight to her, not wanting to ever let go. But there was a change in the atmosphere to these kisses. There was no false pretense to this kiss. No attempts to reign in feelings. No audience watching.

Or so they thought until whooping and cheering filled the silence of the fallen snow. Breaking apart quickly, they both turned to the front porch to find Wynonna, Mama and Gus all standing watching the encounter.

“FINALLY. LORD HAVE MERCY!” Wynonna shouted, hands raised high in mock prayer.

“We thought you two would never figure it out!” Mama laughed.

“I was about to put it on a note in your crackers.” Stated Gus.

“Okay Wayhaught, it’s freezing, can we all go in now?” Wynonna asked.

“Wayhaught?” Waverly asked.

“Yep, that’s what we all have been calling you.” Wynonna answered before turning to walk back into the house.

“WAIT WHO IS ‘WE’?! WYONNA WHO ELSE KNOWS?! WYNONNA!” Nicole yelled before turning to smile and shake her head at Waverly.

Waverly returned the smile and took ahold of Nicole’s hand, rubbing small circles with her thumb on the inside of Nicole’s wrist. “Merry Christmas, sweetie.” she said.

Nicole leaned down for one more quick kiss. “Merry Christmas, babe.”

 

THE END.