Nicole waited nervously outside of Black Badge Division’s offices waiting for Dolls. As much as she hated to admit it, she knew he would be the only person that could offer real advice. She knew that he knew of her feelings for Waverly Earp, but she really didn’t want Wynonna to hear what she was going to ask him about. She had knocked and was waiting rather impatiently for his response.
“Enter.” She heard Dolls say, so she did.
What she had not expected was Waverly to be sitting in the office, propped half way on the table in front of her, her green shirt shirt bringing the green out in her eyes beautifully. Nicole tried to recover, completely off guard. “Hey, you asked to be alerted whenever things come over the wire that seem… unusual?”
“Yeah, we’re coming. Thanks.” He turned his attention to the smaller Earp, “Waverly, you’re dismissed.”
Nicole smiled at Waverly, and was greeted back with a warm smile. Dolls noticed, and Nicole knew he did. She wondered if he’d threaten her with treason after she told him the real reason she went in there was to ask if he thought Waverly would agree to a date of sorts even though she had a boyfriend.
Dolls lead Nicole out of the room. As soon as they were a few steps down the hall, Nicole stopped him, “please don’t kill me, but I need your advice.”
Dolls spun on his heels and looked into Nicole’s eyes. He would have been mad, but he could tell she actually need help. “What’s up, Haught?”
“I know you know. About…. Me. Liking Waverly.” She whispered the last part.
Dolls just nodded.
“Okay, so here’s the deal, my younger sister and her perfect husband are coming into to town in a week and I may or may not have said that I have a girlfriend. Do you think I could talk her into playing the part? Or is that just a terrible idea?”
Dolls laughed, legitimately laughed. It was startling, and Nicole knew it meant her plan was terrible.
“Shit. I knew it was dumb. Would Wynonna?”
“Oh my god, you don’t want that, Haught. You’d be better off just admitting you’re single.” He paused, watching Nicole’s face sink. He sighed, he was terrible at stuff like this, feelings, relationships, he just always kept his mouth shut. “If you’re desperate enough to consider asking Wynonna, I think you should just ask the Earp you actually want.” Dolls offered a friendly smile, “plus, not that it’s any of my business, but I think she likes you back.” He winked.
Just then Nedley rounded the corner, “Oh good, just the man I was looking for. We just had the strangest call come over the wire.”
“Now’s your chance Haught.” Dolls said following Nedley off down the hall.
Nicole waited nervously in the break room for Waverly to emerge. Wynonna was first, hustling after Dolls, then Waverly appeared an oversized purse slung over her shoulder and an overflowing file box in her hands.
“Hey, can I help you with that?”
Waverly looked down nervously, aware that all of her research was now considered ‘classified,’ but also very aware that it was threatening to pull her down. “Ummm… yes. That would be nice.” She decided Nicole could help carry the stuff to her jeep, that couldn’t be breaking any rules. Plus, she really wanted an excuse to talk to the officer again. She hadn’t really gotten a chance to after the day in the bar where she had unintentionally gotten stuck in her shirt and had to be helped out of it. Sure she had seen her several times since then, but she hadn’t gotten to really talk to her. For some reason, Waverly really wanted the opportunity.
“Are you parked out front?” Nicole smiled.
Waverly’s heart beat faster. She could feel her words escaping her. What was that? Normally she was great with words, but around Nicole she either couldn’t find them, or spit them all out at once. “Yep.” Waverly smiled, she could tell she was blushing, but she didn’t know why.
Nicole pushed through the front door, using her body to keep it open for Waverly. Once they were outside and alone, Nicole just went for it. There were only two possible outcomes she reminded herself, yes or no. She could handle either. “Hey, I have a really awkward… ummm… thing… to ask of you.”
Waverly opened the back door of her Jeep and pointed where Nicole should set the box down. She threw her oversized purse in next to it and shut the door, wanting to give Nicole her full attention. “Okay, what?” She smiled, hoping this meant that they were officially friends.
“Well, as you know, I’m new to town.” Nicole started, “and I don’t know very many people.” Waverly nodded. Nicole sighed, “Alright, here’s the deal. My sister and her husband are coming into to town in a week and she’s my younger sister and she’s perfect and she married the perfect guy and for some reason, when she was asking about me and my life, I got tired of saying ‘no, I’m single. Why? Oh, I just haven’t met the right person yet. Work? It’s fine, I give most of the interesting cases away.’ And I just… well, I guess you could say that I lied. I told her that I had a girlfriend who was gorgeous and way out of my league, and that work was going great and that my life is basically perfect.” Nicole looked down, realizing now how embarrassing this situation really was.
Waverly smiled kindly, “okay, and where do I come in?”
Nicole winced, “well, would you maybe pretend to be my girlfriend for an evening? You can totally say no, I don’t want your… boy-man to get upset with you. I just, you were the first person that came to mind. I could ask Wynonna, if you don’t want to. Shit. I’m sorry, this was a terrible idea.”
“Nicole.” Nicole looked up. Waverly was smiling, “First, I don’t have a boy-man anymore. Second, yes. I’ll pretend to be your girlfriend. You just have to let me know what days you need me so I can ask Gus for those nights off. Also, we should probably get together at least once before to learn a little more about each other in case your sister starts asking questions.”
Nicole’s eyes lit up, “Oh my god.” She wrapped Waverly in a hug before she could stop herself, “I owe you big time for this!”
Waverly laughed, returning the hug. Without letting go Waverly whispered, “well, how about I get you that coffee I owe you and then you can get me dinner for this? Then we’ll probably be set?”
Nicole let go of Waverly and backed up a step. She somehow just turned a night of a white lie with Waverly, into three kind-of-fake dates. She smiled, full dimples and full charm, “I think that sounds perfect. My sister and her husband come into town next Thursday and they leave Sunday morning, but I really think I just need you for a dinner at some point during that. As far as coffee and dinner, I work tomorrow and the next day, but I’m off the three days after that.”
Waverly could feel herself blushing, she had no idea why she was this excited about pretending to be Nicole’s girlfriend, but something inside her told her not to fight it. “ Okay, Well I am also off this Wednesday and Thursday so that works out. Those are my usual days off. As for next week, I’ll see if I can’t just switch shifts to mornings so I can be free for anything your sister might want to do.
Waverly was running around her room flinging clothes everywhere. It wasn’t like her to be so nervous, but Nicole would be here in thirty minutes and she still hadn’t settled on a top. Wynonna could hear the growling and pacing above her. Curious, she wandered up the stairs to Waverly’s room. “What’s going on in here, baby girl?” She asked watching from the door frame.
“I can’t decide on a shirt.” Waverly said flatly as she dug through the pile again.
“What effect is the shirt supposed to have?” Wynonna asked, stepping into the messiest version of Waverly’s room she had ever seen.
Waverly blushed, very aware that Nicole would be the one picking her up. “Ummmm… I don’t know. I think that’s why I’m freaking out.” She said honestly.
Wynonna looked Waverly over, saw the panic, and decided to just help and not press it. She had been gone for too long to not try to help every time she could. “As long as it’s not for Champ?”
Waverly sighed, “It’s definitely not for Champ.”
“Okay, then I’ll help.” Wynonna sat down on the bed looking over some of the piles on the floor. She took in the skin tight jeans that Waverly had on and smiled, “is this someone you’re interested in?” She pried, staying away from asking who it might be.
“I don’t know.” Waverly looked up and bit her lip. “Maybe. But it’s… very different.” She furrowed her brow wondering if she should just come out with it. She decided against it for now, at least not until she was more comfortable admitting it to herself. “I’ve been with Champ for so long, as much as you might disapprove. So, I don’t know what this is, but it’s not him, and I’m nervous and want to look good, whether or not it goes anywhere or leads to anything.”
That was enough for Wynonna. She smiled and left the room. She came back with a black top that made Waverly’s mouth fall open. It was not her style, but it was definitely hot. It was kind of a halter top, but much classier. In the front it looked like a sleeveless button up, but there was no back until the fabric formed a low v, no more than five inches from the top of her butt.
Waverly knew it would look good on her. She smiled at Wynonna, “can I try it on?”
“Waverly Earp, I do believe you’ve gone to the dark side if you start wearing my clothes.” Wynonna laughed as Waverly pulled off her shirt.
“Wait, do I go without a bra in this?” Her eyes were wide with panic.
Wynonna laughed, “I have a backless bra you can borrow.” She disappeared again.
While she was gone, Waverly braided her hair into a tight fishtail braid that would fall neatly over her shoulder, ensuring that her back would be completely exposed. Waverly did a lot of yoga to keep her body in this shape, she kind of like the idea of showing it off to Nicole.
Wynonna returned with a crazy contraption, Waverly had never seen before.
They got Waverly into the bra and the top with ten minutes to spare when they heard a knock at the front door. Wynonna’s eyes bugged out of her head. She was clearly trying to decide if she should run to open the door before Waverly could stop her, but she had also really enjoyed helping her little sister over the past twenty minutes and didn’t want to ruin the trust she could feel building. If Waverly wanted to have a secret boyfriend, so be it, she knew she’d tell her eventually.
Wynonna also knew it was her fault Waverly didn’t want to tell her everything immediately and she was determined to reverse that. Hopefully, reverse all the wrong she had ever done to Waverly slowly but surely. “I’ll wait here.” Wynonna smiled. “Seriously, it’s fine. I’ll wait until I hear the door shut again. You can have your mystery date tonight, I’m just glad you let me help with this.”
Waverly smiled and kissed Wynonna on the cheek, “thank you. Seriously.” Waverly blushed and left her room, shutting the door behind her. Wynonna sat on Waverly’s bed and absentminded twirled Peacemaker around her pointer finger. She heard the door open and someone enter, but she couldn’t hear the person’s voice through the door. She sighed, guessing she would have to wait until Waverly just came out and told her.
When Waverly opened the front door, she was greeted with a warm, dimpled smile. Nicole’s hair was down, her makeup was done, and her outfit was nothing at all like the uniform she wore to work. Waverly couldn’t help but devouring the sight of her. She was wearing dark blue jeans that might have been even tighter than Waverly’s. Her top was a solid forest green deep cut v-neck that contrasted with and showed off her porcelain skin beautifully.
“Hey,” Waverly managed.
Nicole blushed, Waverly had just very obviously checked her out. “Hey, you look,” Nicole laughed, “you look beautiful. These are for you.” She held out flowers that Waverly hadn’t even noticed she was holding. “I know we’re just prepping for my sister, but I figured if I treated it like a first date, we could just answer any questions she might ask us like we’ve actually been on one.”
Waverly blushed, “I was kind of thinking the same thing. Here, let me get these into water before we go. Come on in.” She backed up ushering Nicole into the living room. She lead the way to the kitchen, very aware of her outfit. She smiled at the flowers. “I’ve never gotten flowers before, so this is already my best first date.” She said over her shoulder.
Nicole blushed, doing her best to remind herself that this was a fake date, but also being very aware of the outfit Waverly had picked to just go get coffee. She swallowed nervously, when Waverly spun around catching her eyes locked on her ass.
Waverly blushed, but smirked. She quickly cut the stems at an angle and put them in a mason jar she had converted into a vase. “Ready?” Waverly asked while slipping into a pair of knee high leather boots. Technically, they belonged to Wynonna, but she knew Wynonna wouldn’t mind, and she knew they would complete her outfit perfectly.
“Ready.” Nicole smiled. She opened the door for Waverly and shut it behind them, waiting on the porch for Waverly to lock the door behind them. Nicole drove a black Ford Ranger that looked brand new.
“I like your truck,” Waverly said, “I guess I thought you’d pick me up in the cruiser.”
Nicole laughed, “I don’t like to drive that thing when I’m not on duty. This is Harrison, like Ford, get it?”
Waverly laughed as Nicole opened the passenger side door for her. Nicole shut the door gently after she knew Waverly was all the way in. Nicole walked around the front of the truck and Waverly watched her walk. She had never had someone open a car door for her either, she thought. It’s a fake date, she reminded herself, but she couldn’t help the smile that took over her face when Nicole climbed in next to her.
Wynonna peaked out a window on the second floor of the homestead. Not wanting Waverly to see her she barely moved the blinds, she couldn’t see Waverly anymore, but she did see Officer Haught step into the driver’s seat of a small pickup truck. “Well I’ll be Haughtdamn,” Wynonna whispered. She bounced happily, “yesssssss. Good job, Waves.” She smiled, happy that her sister was finally dating a smart one.
They pulled into the coffee shop parking lot after having talked the entire way there. Nicole had asked Waverly about what she had studied in school and Waverly had spent the next twenty minutes gushing about local history and dead languages.
Waverly would have been embarrassed, but Nicole was so genuinely interested that it was hard to not just keep talking. “Sorry, if I’m boring you.” Waverly said as Nicole shut off the engine.
“Why on Earth would you think you’re boring me? This is fascinating. And it’s even cooler because it’s your relative. I don’t think anyone in my family ever did anything half as exciting.” Nicole nervously grabbed Waverly’s hand and squeezed reassuringly, “Waves, I honestly want to know you. Not just to convince my sister, but like…” she stopped herself from saying too much, “as a friend. So, you’re not going to bore me. Anything I get to know about you, I’ll accept happily, okay?”
Waverly squeezed her hand back, parting her fingers a little for Nicole’s. “Okay.” She said blushing, her eyes still on their hands on the seat in between them. “We should probably practice this a bit, too.” She smiled, hoping she wasn’t being too obvious.
Nicole’s eyes widened and she was thankful Waverly was still looking down. “Yes, we probably should. But first, coffee?”
They got out of the truck and into the tiny coffee shop, Nicole holding the door for Waverly again. Waverly blushed, she wasn’t used to being treated right. She was having a hard time remembering this date wasn’t real and they hadn’t even sat down yet. They stood patiently in line, but the place was pretty packed. When Waverly saw her favorite seat vacate, she nodded towards it, “you want to go snag that table?” She asked. “I’ll get the drinks, what do you want?” She smiled at Nicole.
“Just a regular cappuccino.” Nicole touched Waverly’s bare back as she moved passed her, ghosting her fingertips across her skin.
Waverly felt heat spread from the spot all the way through her face, a smile spreading with it. She bit her lip and looked at Nicole, but Nicole was already almost to the empty table. Damn she was smooth, Waverly thought.
“Hey, Waves.” Chrissy Nedley said from behind the counter, “You look hot, who are you here with?” She raised an eyebrow. Chrissy knew that Waverly had broken up with Champ, for real this time, and was clearly trying to show interest in Waverly’s life.
Not wanting to push her any farther away, Waverly said, “Nicole, you probably know her. She’s a new officer in town.” She turned and waved to Nicole, who awkwardly waved back, clearly confused.
Chrissy took in Waverly’s outfit and Nicole’s and the fact that Waverly was buying their drinks. Realization slowly hit her, “Oh.” She said, a small smile crept across her face, “well good for you, Waves. An improvement, I’d say.” She winked as she slid Waverly’s two drinks across the counter.
Waverly blushed again, and crossed the small shop to sit across from Nicole. She set Nicole’s drink down in front of her and took a small sip of her own. “What was that?” She asked Waverly, nervous at the look on her face.
“That was me telling Chrissy Nedley that I’m here with you.” Waverly smiled nervously, “She assumed that I was actually here with you, like with you, so I think this is going to work.” Waverly giggled.
“Do you want me to go correct her?” Nicole asked, not wanting to scare Waverly away.
“No, it’s fine. She was happy for me. And honestly, it’s the first time anyone has been happy for me in a long time. I’d kind of like to keep it that way, if that’s okay with you.” Waverly bit her lip.
Nicole’s expression melted into a dimpled smile. “That is fine with me. So, tell me more about your studies, you were telling me about Wyatt’s first appearance in town.”
Waverly shook her head no, “It’s your turn, Haughtstuff. What brought you to town?” She raised an eyebrow as Nicole blushed and started into what was sure to be an entertaining story.
The girls were still talking at a hundred miles an hour when the bar closed for the evening. Nicole opened the door for Waverly again. “Goodnight, y’all.” Chrissy called from the front door she was locking behind them. She was smiling at the sight of Nicole holding the door open.
“Goodnight.” They both called back. Nicole was beaming as she walked around the front of her truck. Waverly hadn’t corrected her friend. Could it be possible she wanted this too? Nicole hopped in, blushing.
“I’m having a great time.” Waverly said as Nicole climbed into the truck. “Like the most fun I’ve ever had.” She swallowed nervously, “Ummm… I’d invite you over, but Wynonna is probably there, and Chrissy is one thing, but I don’t know that I want Wynonna to know.”
Nicole stopped breathing, had this turned into a real date? She didn’t want to press her luck by asking, so instead she just said, “Well, you could come over to my place. I could make us some dinner and we could watch a movie.”
Waverly grinned a special smile she seemed to have reserved for Nicole. “If i’m not intruding, that sounds lovely.”
“Are you allergic to cats?” Nicole asked.
“No, do you have a cat?” Waverly asked excitedly.
“Calamity Jane.” Nicole blushed.
“Well I think it’s imperative, I meet your cat before your sister gets here. How else is she going to believe I’ve stayed the night?”
Nicole was at a loss for words, she hadn’t even thought about that. “I think you should know, my sister has never met any of my former girlfriends. So if you’re worried about having to outshine someone, there’s nothing to worry about.”
Waverly raised an eyebrow, this was a huge deal for Nicole. She hadn’t expected that. She didn’t want to stress Nicole out by pointing that out, so instead she followed a different path, “and how many ex-girlfriends do you have?” It came out a little sharper than intended.
Nicole laughed at the question, “three, but one wasn’t my girlfriend technically, she was more of a…”
“Okay, I get it.” Waverly felt a pang of jealously she hadn’t expected to feel.
Nicole laughed, “I promise, Waves. They were all before I met you.” Nicole couldn’t help but smile at the way Waverly relaxed ever so slightly at that. “Any exes I should know about, besides Champ?”
“No, just him. I was with him for five years. Chrissy’s right, even if you’re just using me, you’re a vast improvement.” Waverly teased, but she squeezed Nicole’s leg with the compliment.
Nicole caught Waverly’s hand before she could pull it away, holding it to her thigh. Waverly didn’t seem to mind, she did look from their hands to nervously out the window, Nicole noticed, but she made no movement to pull her hand away. In fact after just a minute, Waverly had flipped her hand over, interlocking her fingers with Nicole’s.
They pulled up to Nicole’s apartment in no time. Waverly let go of Nicole’s hand for her to put the truck into park and turn it off. They had parked next to Nicole’s cruiser. Waverly was nervous to be here. Not in a bad way, but in an excited way. They had been silent for most of the way from the coffee shop to Nicole’s apartment, and Waverly had crammed a lot of thinking into that short amount of time. Things she had established: she had feelings for Nicole, real romantic feelings. If Nicole’s thumb nervously tracing lines across the back of her hand was any indication, Nicole had feelings for her, too. She had also decided that she wanted to confront those feelings and stop hiding from them. She had been attracted to Nicole from the second she had walked into Shorty’s a few weeks ago, and now Waverly was single. And Chrissy was right, Nicole was a vast improvement. But more importantly, Waverly just honestly wanted her, and hadn’t wanted something or someone like this in… possibly ever. Now, she just had to figure out how to tell her.
She followed Nicole up the stairs and up to a door. Waverly had been to these apartments before, she had looked into them before moving into the studio above the bar, but at the time, she never would have been able to afford them.
Nicole nervously opened the front door, she had honestly never in a million years imagined that Waverly would be here tonight. She was trying to remember what state she had left it in.
The door opened to a small hallway, and just to the left was the kitchen. “Welcome,” Nicole said smiling. “This is the kitchen and dining room,” she kept walking them into the apartment, “this is the living room. The bathroom is that door right there to the right, and this is Calamity Jane.” She said picking up a beautiful Siamese cat from a cozy looking recliner in front of her.
Waverly held her hand up in front of the cat’s face for a second before scratching the cat behind the ears. The cat immediately began purring in Nicole’s arms. Nicole smiled at the cat’s response. “Can I hold her?” Waverly asked, grinning.
Nicole passed the cat over. “What would you like for dinner? I have the stuff for ravioli, tacos, steak and potatoes, or grilled chicken and asparagus.”
Waverly’s eyes widened, impressed. “Wow, and you can cook…” Waverly stopped herself, but she blushed. Calamity Jane was rumbling like an engine in her arms. “Whatever you had planned to make tonight, I like everything you just listed.”
“Ravioli was the plan for tonight.” Nicole smiled.
Waverly followed her into the kitchen, still carrying the cat. Nicole refilled the cat’s food bowl and put a few ice cubes in a glass that was on the floor next to it. Waverly giggled, “do you give your cat ice water?”
Nicole blushed and laughed, “yeah, it keeps her from trying to steal mine. Speaking of, can I get you something to drink. I have beer, wine, something stronger, water, milk, orange juice, I can make tea…” She opened her refrigerator to see if she was missing anything.
“That’s mighty brave of you to offer an Earp a drink.” Waverly grinned, “I hear it makes us a little unpredictable.”
Nicole swallowed nervously, “I had noticed that about your sister, but didn’t know the same could be said for you.’
“Want to find out?”
Nicole grinned, it was already dangerous. She bit her bottom lip and nodded.
“Then I’ll take a beer.”
“Tommy Knocker’s Imperial Nut Brown okay?”
“That’s like 8%?!” Waverly laughed, “Hell yeah, Haughtstuff. You’re my kind of lady.” She blushed but reached for the beer. She less than subtly brushed her fingers across Nicole’s when she accepted it from her.
Their moment was interrupted by Nicole’s phone ringing. Nicole looked at the screen her eyes widened, “it’s my sister!”
“Get it! Tell her I’m here.” Waverly bounced, while twisting off the cap of the beer with ease. She took a big gulp, trying to calm her nerves.
“Hey, Hailey. What’s up?” Nicole leaned back against the counter.
“Nothing much,” Waverly could hear a voice that sounded similar to Nicole’s from over the phone, “How’s your uhhh… girlfriend?” She heard Hailey ask.
“Funny you should ask, she’s here. We’re about to make dinner.”
“What?! Put her on the phone!”
Waverly laughed and reached out her hand. Nicole nervously handed her the phone.
“Hi, this is Waverly.”
“Hi, I can’t wait to meet you next week. Nicole has been so reluctant to give up any information about you other than to say about thirty times that your gorgeous and brilliant and way out of her league.”
Nicole’s mouth fell open, her face getting redder than her hair. She looked down at the floor, clearly embarrassed.
Waverly on the other hand laughed and stepped into the edges of Nicole’s bubble, setting her beer down on the counter behind Nicole, “Oh did she now?”
“Yeah, something about abs and smelling like honey. You know, she’s never talked to me about anyone before so you must be special.” Hailey was laughing through the phone.
Nicole felt like she was going to throw up. She tried to step away from Waverly, but Waverly put her hand on the counter on the other side of Nicole, effectively pinning her in place. “Well, I think she’s pretty amazing herself. And I know we haven’t been together for that long, but I’m honestly crazy about her.” Nicole’s eyes flicked to Waverly’s for a second finding an expression that was somewhere between lust and amusement.
“Well, I can’t wait to meet you next week. I’ll let y’all get back to dinner.”
“Bye, Hailey.” Waverly chimed before hanging up the phone.
She sat the phone down on the counter next to her beer. The silence and weight of the air in between them was heavy. Nicole started to fidget, but Waverly put her hand on her hip causing her to freeze. “Did you mean it?” Waverly whispered.
Nicole swallowed nervously, “mean what?”
“What you told your sister?”
Nicole bit her lip and nodded awkwardly. “You can back out if you want. I should have told you I actually have feelings for you. I’m so sorry, Waves.”
Waverly smiled and lifted Nicole’s chin causing her to look into her eyes, “or you could have just asked me on a real date.”
Nicole tilted her head to the side a smile slowly replacing the frown. “What?”
“I ummm… like you for real.” Waverly was nervous all of the sudden, she just made it very real.
“Okay, would you like to go on a real date with me and then meet my sister and her husband?” Nicole smiled.
“Yes. This can count as our first date though, if you’d like. Fake or not, it was the best evening I’ve ever had.” Waverly tipped up onto her toes and kissed Nicole on her cheek.