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Against the Tide

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Waverly sat at the top of the bleachers surrounded by a sea of her fellow students. The sound inside the indoor facility was already deafening and as the race progressed it was becoming increasingly louder with each passing moment. It was a close race and Waverly held her breath as the swimmers hit the wall and started the last fifty meters of the race. The crowd began to chant, "Haught! Haught! Haught!" and the chanting soon grew into a frenzy as their favorite swimmer began to pull away before finishing a full body length ahead of her nearest competition. Waverly stood up and screamed along with the crowd, this night was especially exciting because it meant that the team would be heading to the national championships in a month's time with Nicole Haught the favorite to win all of her events.
She remained in her seat after the race, hoping to just catch a glimpse of Nicole. It was her habit to wait until most of the crowd had left the facility before getting up to leave. As Waverly finally descended the bleachers she paused as the door to the locker room opened and Nicole Haught came striding out. At the sight of her, Waverly's breath caught in her throat and she briefly lost sight of her as Nicole was instantly surrounded by fans asking for her autograph and giving her congratulations. She watched as Nicole interacted with her fans, smiling and taking the time to talk to everyone who approached her, and this was especially true with the kids who seemed to flock to her. Waverly stood back and watched in awe as Nicole interacted with one little girl who told her that she wanted to be a swimmer when she grew up, to which Nicole gave her a huge smile before telling her that she could be anything she wanted to be. Seeing that smile made Waverly's heart skip a beat, Nicole had the most adorable dimples and Waverly was struggling to tear her gaze away from them. There was something about Nicole that drew Waverly to her and she had been to every single meet this year and she blushed as she admitted to herself that it was partially because she liked seeing Nicole in her Speedo.
She continued to stare at Nicole. She was powerless to stop herself, her breath catching in her throat as her eyes traveled slowly up Nicole's tall, athletic frame. Her long auburn hair currently hung in wet strands just past her shoulders and Waverly wondered what it would feel like to run her fingers through that hair. She found her absolutely breathtaking and the fact that Nicole would take the time to talk to people even though she had to be tired endeared her to Waverly even more.

They actually had a class together but unfortunately Waverly could never bring herself to work up the courage to speak to her. She shook her head, dropping her eyes and slowly brought herself back to reality. "Please Waverly like she would ever notice you." She looked one last time over at Nicole and was startled to find a pair of dark brown eyes looking straight at her. Waverly's eyes widened, she quickly turned to leave and to her extreme embarrassment collided with a chair, promptly tripping over it and landing right onto her backside.
"Hey, are you ok?" She looked up, her eyes wide while her face turned a bright shade of crimson as she noticed Nicole quickly approaching her. "Here let me help you."
"No, it's ok, I'm ok, really." She stammered.
"You went down pretty hard, are you sure you're ok?" Nicole held out her hand and as Waverly took it she could feel the heat rising in her cheeks. Nicole pulled her to her feet and after she was upright she looked up at Nicole who was looking at her with a concerned expression on her face. She quickly looked away before Nicole could see the color once again rising in her cheeks.
She pulled her hand away and gave her a quick thanks before moving quickly towards the door. She stopped, took a deep breath and turned around, "Hey, I just wanted to say congratulations, you were pretty amazing tonight." She turned and quickly left, not willing to make an even bigger fool out of herself.
****

Nicole watched her leave, a confused expression on her face. She slowly shook her head trying to remember where she had seen her before. She snapped her fingers as she remembered that they had a class together and she always seemed to have the answers to all the questions. She was also the same girl that she had caught staring at her the other day. She remembered sitting in class with the feeling that she was being watched. Looking behind her she found the girl staring at her, Nicole had cocked her head and flashed her a dimpled smile and when the girl had noticed Nicole looking back at her she had quickly looked away, an adorable blush creeping onto her face. People staring at her was nothing new to Nicole but there was something about this girl that intrigued her.
Nicole tore herself away from her thoughts and looked up at the clock, "Shit, she's going to kill me." If there was one thing her current girlfriend didn't like it was being kept waiting and Nicole knew that she was going to catch hell from Stephanie for being late. She put the other woman out of her mind as she hurried out to her car. Stephanie was standing next to it and Nicole could tell from the way she was crossing her arms that Steph was not happy with her.
"Hey babe, I'm really sorry, the crowd was bigger than usual this time and there was this little girl..."
"I can't believe you made me wait this long, I've been waiting for like forty-five minutes Nicole. We talked about this, can't you ever just put me first." Her face clearly showed her irritation and Nicole stared at her with an exasperated expression on her face.
"Oh come on Steph you can't be serious. I'm not going to ignore the kids who look up to me."
Stephanie huffed out her reply, "Maybe you should, you need to figure out your priorities. My dad always says that you never get anywhere in life by being nice."
Nicole looked at her for a second before wrapping her arms around Stephanie's waist, "Well, your dad's kind of an asshole so.." She paused for a moment trying to pull Stephanie closer, "Hey, you are a priority, I just have other stuff too, you know that."
Stephanie broke their embrace, "Just take me home, I was in the mood but not anymore."
Nicole looked stunned, "What, why are you being like this?"
"I'm being ignored and I don't like being ignored Nicole."
Nicole reached out to her but Stephanie shot her a look that said don't you dare.
Nicole rolled her eyes, "Fine." They got into her car and a few minutes later she dropped Stephanie off at her Sorority house. Nicole waited for a moment debating whether or not she should follow her inside. She decided against it and watched her go inside before driving off and even though Steph's bitchy attitude towards her had irritated her, Nicole was still concerned about her well-being and making sure she was safe.
Stephanie was beautiful, there was no denying that and Nicole had felt lucky at first when she had agreed to go out with her. But she had quickly learned that Stephanie was high maintenance and honestly she was growing tired of it.
With her grueling training schedule she really didn't have the time to give Stephanie the attention she required and Nicole was beginning to suspect that Stephanie only agreed to go out with her because of who she was. Nicole was a celebrity of sorts at school and her coach had even talked to her about going to the Olympic trials in two years.
Nicole also worried because she was struggling in some of her classes and couldn't afford to fail and risk losing her scholarship, the last thing she wanted was to go crawling back to her parents for help, she wanted to prove she could do this without them. She had a meeting in the morning with the Dean and she knew that it was about her grades.
She entered her dorm room and felt relieved that her roommate was gone. She was too keyed up to sleep as she always was after a meet. Her inability to blow off steam with Stephanie meant that she would spend a restless night tossing and turning. As she lay in bed her mind wandered back to the woman from the pool, she hadn't gotten her name but could vaguely remember from class that it was unusual and started with a W. The woman had been so nervous around her but Nicole was used to it. She was often left wondering what people's true intentions were towards her, did they only want to know her because of who she was or because they really wanted to know her? She sighed, unfortunately these questions always came to mind whenever Nicole met someone new. Maybe she would never truly know the answer to these questions and maybe a small part of her didn't want to know. She yawned, and as she finally drifted off to sleep she finally remembered the girl's name, it was Waverly.
****

Waverly arrived home to her dark and empty apartment, she opened the fridge and took out her leftover sandwich along with a bottle of water. She turned on the lamp before taking a seat on the couch and opened her laptop. She took a bite of her sandwich and browsed through her email, she stopped on the most recent and opened it. It was a special request from the dean of students to tutor yet another athlete. She took another bite and continued to read through the email, practically choking on it when she saw who she would be tutoring, Nicole Haught. Before she could change her mind, she sent out a reply to the dean, accepting the job. She sighed and closed her laptop, leaning back and closing her eyes. She wasn't sure how long she sat there before she heard a key rattling in the door which meant that her roommate was home and most likely wasn't alone. She got up and quickly made her way to her bedroom, sparing herself the embarrassment of having to witness something she really didn't want to see. Waverly lay across her bed and slowly drifted to sleep, thoughts of Nicole seeping into her brain. She would spend this night as she spent most nights, dreaming of a certain unattainable redhead.
****

Nicole was excused from morning practice as she always was the day after a meet. She took her time getting ready and headed over to the Dean's office. She was a little nervous because she knew that her grades had slipped over the past semester and honestly she could only blame her training schedule for this particular turn of events. Two hours in the pool in the morning before classes, an hour in the gym in the afternoon followed by another two hours in the pool. Swimming was such a big part of her life and being in the pool had always been like a second home to her. The training routine that they had developed was nothing short of grueling, leaving her little time for either studying or having a social life.
She entered the Dean's office and was surprised to find it occupied by not only Dean Stanton but her coach and the Athletic Director as well. They explained to her in no uncertain terms that she was failing two of her classes and was in danger of losing her scholarship. They also reassured her that because she was such a vital part of the school's swimming program that they were taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening. They had spent the morning working out a solution for her, and were pleased with themselves that they had managed to hire a tutor on such short notice. Keeping her current training schedule she would meet with her tutor every evening, beginning immediately until Nicole took her finals in a couple of weeks time.
As Nicole left the office she realized that what this meant was that she would get to spend even less time with Stephanie who wasn't going to be thrilled in the least when she found out. Nicole was going to have to do some major damage control if she ever wanted to spend "quality" time with Stephanie again any time soon. She would just have to deal with it because Nicole would do anything to avoid losing her scholarship. Her highly competitive nature wouldn't allow that and she was determined to do this on her own terms. When Nicole was a little girl her father had taught her she should never shy away from hard work and that the best things in life were the things that you earned as a result of this.
As she walked across campus towards class she thought about her future and she knew that she wanted what everyone else wanted. It may be old fashioned but she wanted the American dream which included a wife, a couple of kids, and the house with a white picket fence. Nicole cared about Stephanie but most of the time she couldn't picture her fitting into Nicole's version of the perfect life. Part of this was due to her mother's disapproval of anyone that Nicole brought home to meet her parents. Eleanor Haught was not an easy woman to impress and the only person to ever break through her tough exterior had been Nicole's best friend Sam Davis. Nicole had rolled her eyes as Sam had worked her charm on her mother and her mouth had dropped open when it worked. Even though Sam had grown up in humble surroundings, Eleanor never treated her like she was beneath her and over the past couple of years she had developed a deep affection for Sam that almost matched the affection she felt for her children.
Not surprisingly her mother had instantly disliked Stephanie which was something that Eleanor had in common with Sam. The few times that Nicole had brought Stephanie home left little doubt in her mind that her mother's opinion of Stephanie would never change. Despite the fact that Nicole explained to her several times that Stephanie's family had money, her mother still referred to her as that "gold digger". In retrospect this was actually better than Sam's habit of calling Stephanie a fame whore, which was something that had royally pissed Nicole off to the point where they had barely spoken over the past six months.
That evening after practice, Nicole left the pool and quickly walked towards the library where she would be meeting with her tutor. She entered the building and scanned the room, it was empty except for a woman sitting with her back to her at a table near the far wall. As she approached her she couldn't help but think that there was something familiar about her. As she finished crossing the room the woman stood up and turned around as Nicole extended her hand towards her, "Hi I'm Nicole, I'm supposed to be meeting someone here and I was wondering if it's ..." Her voice trailed off when she finally noticed who she was speaking to.
"Of course I know who you are and it's nice to meet you in a not so awkward setting, I'm Waverly, Waverly Earp and I'll be tutoring you in...wow, Ancient History and French that's quite a combination, it's a good thing that I'm proficient in both because, wow, these subjects aren't easy." Waverly inwardly cringed because when she was nervous and when she was nervous she had a tendency to ramble on and on, and Nicole made her nervous like nothing else.
Nicole stared at her with a raised eyebrow trying to understand how Waverly could have said all of that without taking a breath. When they had met at the pool Nicole had thought she was cute, but just calling her cute didn't exactly do her justice. There was something about this girl that Nicole couldn't quite put her finger on, something that made Nicole want to get to know her. "It's nice to meet you Waverly, should we get started?"
"Um, well, yes that's what we're here for after all." Waverly took a step, her foot catching on her bag, which caused her to sit down much quicker than she had intended, she was just grateful that she landed on the chair this time instead of the floor.
Nicole sat down across from her and Waverly opened her notebook before looking up at Nicole who hadn't even attempted to crack open her text book, choosing instead to idly tap her pen against the outside of the book while she stared over at her. Waverly had tutored many athletes during her three years at school and it was always a challenge to get them to take their studies seriously and she hoped that this wouldn't be case with Nicole. "Um, Nicole we're here to study and how do you expect to accomplish this if you don't even open your book."
This seemed to snap Nicole out of whatever thoughts she was lost in, "Oh, ha-ha, you're right." She opened her book to the current chapter and they spent the next hour studying about ancient Rome which Nicole actually found interesting. Before they got up to leave Nicole leaned back in her chair and said, "Hey Waverly, I just want to thank you..."
Waverly interrupted her, "You don't have to do that, tutoring you is my job, and lucky for you I enjoy doing it."
"No, I meant for actually making this stuff interesting, my professor sure doesn't. He's so boring I usually end up dozing off in his class."
Waverly looked over at her, "No wonder you're doing so bad."
The last thing Nicole wanted was for Waverly to think that she didn't understand the work or even worse that she was just another dumb jock. She quickly huffed out a reply, "I have a lot on my plate right now, between training and classes I barely have enough time to sleep let alone anything else."
Waverly reached across the table and put her hand on top of Nicole's before responding in a soft tone, "I'm sorry I didn't mean to imply that.." She paused for a moment before continuing, "I know that it's tough enough for me here, I can't imagine what it's like for you."
Nicole could tell that she was being sincere, "Thanks," She looked at her watch, it was past time to go.
"Hey, I have to practice tomorrow afternoon so why don't you just meet me at the pool around six, maybe we can grab something to eat before our session."
Waverly put her books into her bag before looking up at Nicole, "Sure, I'll meet you there." She stood up and hurried quickly from the library, secretly hoping that Nicole had missed the color rising in her cheeks. Nicole had this affect on her and Waverly knew that the next few weeks were going to be challenging for her. The challenge being spending hours alone with Nicole without showing her how much she was affected by the redhead. If simply sitting across the table from Nicole talking about history had this much of an affect on her then Waverly knew that she was in serious trouble. As she walked home from the library a smile broke out on her face, it was filled with anticipation as well as a determination to rise and meet the challenge head on.

Chapter Text

Waverly sat in her usual spot in the stands waiting for Nicole to come out of the locker room just has she had every night for the past three weeks. It was taking her longer than usual and Waverly was beginning to wonder if she should go looking for her. She didn't need to. She could hear shouting then the door to the locker room swung open and struck the wall. Nicole's girlfriend Stephanie quickly walked out, her face red with anger. Nicole was close on her heels. Neither of them noticed Waverly sitting there with her mouth hanging open, an unwilling witness to the scene unfolding in front of her.

 

Stephanie stopped abruptly and spun around, "Look, I'm not saying that you have to spend every waking minute with me Nicole but a phone call every once in a while would be nice!" She stepped forward and poked a finger into Nicole's chest, " I've told you before that I don't like being ignored."

"I'm not ignoring you Steph." Nicole grabbed at Stephanie's hand, just missing as she pulled it away, "I...I just have so much going on right now."

Stephanie rolled her eyes before throwing her hands dramatically into the air, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, swimming, it's always about the swimming." She crossed her arms before continuing, " I should have known it was going to be like this when I agreed to go out with you. I have needs you know and my friends keep asking me if we've broken up, I don't always know what to tell them."

Nicole reached out and grasped Stephanie's hands "Your friends need to mind their own buisness!" She sighed and her tone softened, "I'm sorry I know this has been tough on you. Between training for National's, classes and everything else I've barely had a minute to myself. Do you know how hard it is for me, not getting to spend time with you?"

"That's because you want to get laid, and it's been so long," Stephanie looked up at Nicole, giving her a wicked grin, "Poor baby, let me make it better."

"What did you have in mind?"

"Come to the party tonight, I'll make it worth your while."

"I'd love to but I have a tutoring session in a few...I'll meet up with you later, ok?" Nicole pulled Stephanie into her body before dropping a quick kiss on her lips.

"You better, I can't be the only one there without a date Nicole. I'm the president of Delta House and the other girls look to me as a role model you know."

Waverly involuntarily rolled her eyes at this. She had gotten to know Nicole pretty well over the past three weeks and she couldn't quite figure out the reason that she would date a person that in Waverly's mind was nothing less than a shallow bitch. She didn't really know Stephanie but she had grown up around plenty of girls like her. The mean girls who steamrolled over anyone who crossed their path and made Waverly's life a living hell. It wasn't easy being the smart girl in school and Waverly had graduated top in her class. She thought that things would be different in college and to a certain extent it was but then again some things never seemed to change. The mean girls always seemed to come out on top and people like her, well they seemed to get lost in the crowd. In her opinion Nicole was way too good of a person to date someone like that.

 

The sound of the outside door slamming shut behind Stephanie roused Waverly from her thoughts and she slowly got up and walked over to Nicole who was staring at the closed door. She looked over at Waverly as she approached her and smiled, "You ready?"
Waverly looked up at her, "It's Friday and well, why don't we take the night off."
"Are you sure, I have my finals on Monday."
Waverly gave her a little smile, "You're ready, I have faith in you Nicole. But, if you're worried we can get together this weekend."

 

Something about that little smile made her pause and she shook her head slightly to clear the thoughts that came creeping into her brain before looking down at Waverly, "Ok, and hey Waverly, thanks for all your help, you're a life saver."
Nicole walked towards the door and stopped as she heard Waverly say, "You're welcome and Nicole?"
She turned towards Waverly, "Yeah?"
"Good luck with everything."
"Thanks, you too."

 

Waverly watched her leave and as the door closed behind Nicole she let out a deep sigh. She suddenly felt empty inside as if a part of her had left with Nicole. She shook her head and resigned herself to the fact that Nicole would never be interested in someone like her. They had gotten to the point where they were now pretty good friends and Waverly was slowly realizing that if this is the only way she could keep Nicole in her life then she would take it.

 

She sat down for a moment and thought back to a night about two weeks ago, Nicole was running late so Waverly went ahead and ordered for the both of them. Nicole always ordered the same thing, a BLT with sweet potato fries and a water. By the time Nicole got there the food had just arrived and she smiled at Waverly before taking a seat, "Now this is service, thanks."

"You're late, I was getting ready to send out a search party."

"You were worried?" Nicole seemed amused by this.

Waverly's gaze met Nicole's, "Nah, I thought you were standing me up."

Nicole held her gaze, "Waverly, I wouldn't do that, besides we have a commitment to uphold. Dad always told me that once you make a commitment you see it through to the end."

"He sounds like a smart man."

"He is, he's tough but fair. I got my work ethic from him."

"And what about your mom?"

Nicole paused and Waverly got the impression that she didn't want to answer, "Mom's an acquired taste, don't get me wrong I love my mom but dad and I have always been close, he was the one who was supportive when I came out. It took mom awhile and I'm still not certain that she's totally comfortable with it."

"Has she ever said anything to you..."

"Not directly, but she tends to make snarky comments, I've learned to ignore them over the years."

"It doesn't bother you?"

Nicole shrugged, "It used to but I can't let it rule my life, besides she's got my brother to focus on now."

Waverly leaned in closer, "Is he gay too?"

Nicole gave a small laugh, "No, not at all, he just won't settle down and get married, mom wants grandkids and he won't give them to her so she's hounding him."

"What about you? She doesn't expect you to ever be a mom?"

Nicole shrugged, "I honestly don't think that she's considered it, because of my lifestyle."

Waverly looked at her with an incredulous expression, "Wow, she should do some research about this."

Nicole grinned, "Maybe you could help her with that, you're pretty good at researching things."

"Are you kidding? I couldn't..." She stopped when she saw the look on Nicole's face, "Oh, you're teasing me." She began to laugh, she couldn't help it.

Nicole took a bite of her sweet potato fries, "So, what about your family?"

Waverly's face fell, "There's not much to tell" She looked away, her voice dropping to a whisper, "I don't really like to talk about them."

Nicole could tell she was upset, she reached over and took Waverly's hand, "Hey, we don't have to talk about them if you don't want to, I didn't mean to upset you."
Waverly was visibly fighting back tears, "It's, it's ok..." Her voice trailed off and Nicole stood up, immediately moving around the table and sliding into the seat next to Waverly before wrapping her arms around her and pulling her into her body. "Whatever it is, it'll be ok."

Waverly felt the tears coming and she hated herself for it, she didn't want Nicole to think she was a big baby. As the tears began to fall she realized that sitting there wrapped in Nicole's arms she felt safe for the first time in years. There was something so comforting about her and Waverly just wanted to stay like that and never leave.

They sat like that for awhile, Nicole holding her while she cried. Waverly couldn't remember how long they sat there but she knew she would never forget the feeling of comfort she felt in Nicole's arms.

Bringing herself back into the present she sighed and stood up before walking slowly, flinching as the door banged shut behind her, and to Waverly it seemed as if this signified the end to this particular chapter of her life. Along with this she was hit with a sudden and significant sense of emptiness and loss. It left her wondering if this was something she would ever recover from.

****

 

Nicole stopped off in her dorm room and took her time getting ready, a small part of her didn't want to go to the party. Stephanie wanted her there and usually what Stephanie wanted, Stephanie got. She slowly sat down on her bed and let out a deep sigh and remembered the day they met. Nicole had finished her morning practice and was in the process of hurrying to class. She was so focused that she didn't see Stephanie until they had collided, Nicole reached out, grabbing her around the waist, pulling her close before she could fall to the ground. Nicole had stared at her, she couldn't help it, Stephanie was stunning. Stephanie looked at her before arching her brow and saying, "At least you could buy me dinner first."

 

Nicole had blushed, "Oh my God, I'm so, sorry."

 

"Well...dinner?"

 

"So, uh, do you want to have dinner with me?"

 

"Thought you'd never ask."

 

They had been together ever since, the golden girl and the prom queen. Stephanie needed a alot of attention and had a temper while Nicole was easy going, they were polar opposites, which made for an interesting pairing. Sometimes she wondered if Stephanie was with her because of who she was and the attention she got by being Nicole's girlfriend. Unfortunately for Stephanie, Nicole's full schedule had left her little time over the past six months to give her the attention she needed. Nicole had felt a shift in their relationship as if the closeness that they had shared was beginning to fade. It was her fault they were drifting apart and she was struck with an overwhelming need to fix things.

 

She closed her eyes for a moment but to her confusion it wasn't Stephanie's face that swam into view, it was Waverly Earp's. The girl was beautiful in her own right, it was her eyes, those green eyes that could see right into Nicole's soul. She was also easy to talk to, Waverly would sit and actually listen to her when she talked and Nicole felt that she could talk to her about anything. This was in stark contrast to Nicole's current girlfriend who would roll her eyes and quickly get bored whenever the subject would move away from whatever Stephanie wanted to talk about. Nicole shook her head and tried to shake the thoughts of Waverly from her brain, she was in a relationship for God's sake! Her eyes widened as she realized that she had begun to compare the two of them more and more often. She was shocked when she realized that there really was no comparing the two, that Waverly seemed to win out every single time. She looked up at the clock and realized that she was really late, Stephanie was going to kill her and the last thing Nicole needed was to fight with her tonight. She got up, grabbed her jacket and hurried from the room.

 

Nicole walked into the house and paused, looking around for her girlfriend. She was immediately mobbed by a crowd of people and someone shoved a beer into her hand. It took a while but she was finally able to remove herself from the crush of people, moving away to seek out Stephanie who seemed to be missing in action. As she walked around the crowded room she bumped into someone and the woman turned. Nicole grinned as she recogonized her friend and old teammate before pulling her into a hug. "Sam! I didn't know you were gonna be here! I would have gotten here sooner if I had."

 

"Well, I was visiting my brother and decided to check out the happenings tonight." She squeezed Nicole tighter, "How the hell have you been?"

 

"Busy! Training, studying, same old, same old." Nicole looked at her friend, "This year has sucked without you here you know."

 

The other woman grinned at her, "No doubt about that. You still with what's her name?"

 

"Yep, still together."

 

"Oh, I figured..." She paused for a moment.

 

"Figured what?"

 

"Nothing, never mind, it's not my place to say anything."

 

Nicole arched an eyebrow, "Since when? If you have something to say then say it."

 

"Look Nicole, you're my best friend and I don't want to piss you off any more than I already have, but I figured by now that you would be sick of her shit."

 

Nicole was shocked, "What? Where's this coming from?"

 

Sam shook her head, "I can't believe you still can't see it, when are you going to wake up and realize she's making a fool out of you?"

 

Nicole's face was turning red and she looked at her friend with a look of disbelief on her face, "I haven't seen you in like six months and when we finally run into each other you start laying this shit on me? You're unbelievable!"

 

Sam held up her hands, "Nicole, you're my best friend and I love you like a sister. Have I ever lied to you about anything?" Nicole shook her head and she continued, "Look, I know girls like her, they use people as a means to an end and I don't want you to get hurt. You can do so much better than her."

 

Nicole took a drink of her beer, she could feel her anger rising with each word that Sam spoke. She slammed down the rest of her beer with clear irritation. "You need to stop talking, she cares about me."

 

Sam smirked at her, "Does she really? Maybe you need to go find her, I saw her go into her room about twenty minutes ago."

 

Nicole paused for a moment her eyes narrowing at the hidden meaning of what Sam had said. She turned in a huff and marched away from her friend, taking the stairs two at a time and not stopping until she was outside of Stephanie's bedroom door. She could hear noise coming from inside the room and she slowly reached up and turned the handle of the door before slowly opening it.

What she saw inside the room made her heart sink and Nicole thought she was going to be sick. They were on the bed, limbs entwined moving together, Stephanie making those high pitched noises she always made whenever she had sex. She just stood there for a moment in shock before letting her already bubbling anger rise to the surface. Stephanie was cheating on her and that was bad enough, but cheating on her with a man was much worse.

She cleared her throat and heard a gasp come from the bed as they both turned their heads towards Nicole.

"Hey, don't stop on my account."

Stephanie began to push him off as she struggled to get out of bed, "Nicole! This isn't what..."

Nicole cut her off, "It looks like? Bullshit Steph, it looks like you were fucking some guy behind my back, sound about right?" She raised an eyebrow before spitting out, "From the way you were enjoying it I'm gonna assume this isn't the first time you've done this."

Stephanie walked up to her and stopped inches from Nicole, "You were ignoring me and I needed someone, he was here."

"Oh hell no! You are not fucking blaming this on me! This is on you Steph, you made this choice and because of it, we're done!" Nicole turned to leave but paused before saying quietly over her shoulder, "You're pathetic." She needed to get out of there before the tears came, she wouldn't give her the satisfaction.

 

Nicole quickly ran down the stairs and grabbed the closest full bottle of booze before running from the house. She quickly walked down the street and didn't stop even though she could hear Sam calling her name. She didn't know where she was going she just knew she needed to get as far away from that house as she could. She tucked the bottle inside her jacket as she left the campus and headed to the park across the street before sinking onto a park bench. She took the bottle out and opened it, drinking deeply from it, almost choking as the whisky burned it's way down her throat. She didn't know how long she sat there, drinking and feeling sorry for herself but to be honest she didn't really care. She went to take another drink and cursed as she realized that it was empty, tossing the bottle behind her before struggling to her feet. The world spun for a moment as she attempted to take a step, everything went out of focus and she thought she could hear footsteps quickly approaching as she tumbled to the ground.

Nicole was in a haze and she could feel someone tugging on her arm. The person managed to flip her over onto her back and she could feel two soft hands stroking her face, "Nicole?" When she spoke Nicole recognized her voice immediately.

Her face broke out into a huge grin as she opened her eyes to see two very concerned green eyes staring back at her. "Hey Waaaaaaaaaavvvvvvvvvvvvvverrlllllllllllly." She managed to slur out.

Waverly continued to look down at Nicole clearly concerned because she had never seen her like this, "Nicole, are you ok? I saw you fall." She paused when she smelled the alcohol on her breath, "Oh shit, Nicole you're drunk."

"Nah, I'm jus a lil tipsy." She reached up and ran her fingers down the side of Waverly's face, "You're beautiful, are you an angel?"

At the feel of Nicole's finger tips Waverly could feel her breath hitch. She closed her eyes for a moment and asked, "Can you stand up?"

Nicole smiled at her, "Sure can, where we goin?"

"I need to get you home before somebody sees you like this."

"I don wanna go home, unless..." Nicole grinned at her as she struggled to stand up, "It's with you."

Waverly grabbed under her arms and helped pull her to her feet, "That's not a bad idea, you probably shouldn't go back to campus until you've sobered up. You don't want to jeopardize your..." She gasped as Nicole threw her arms around her and nuzzled her neck, "Nicole, stop that!"

"I can't help it your jus soooo beautiful."

"And you're drunk." She rolled her eyes "I need to get you home before you pass out, come on, I live about two blocks from here."

As they walked she allowed Nicole to wrap her arm around her waist because she was afraid that if Nicole fell down again and she wouldn't be able to get her back on her feet by herself. As she struggled to unlock the front door to her apartment she could feel Nicole's hand wandering over her back before dropping down to grope her backside. They stumbled inside, Nicole knocking something over with a loud bang.

She giggled, "Oops, my bad!"

"Shh, You'll wake up my roommate, let's get you to bed before you do any more damage."

" Take me to bed pretty lady!"

Waverly blushed at this and pulled Nicole towards her bedroom at the back of the apartment. She barely got the door open before Nicole threw her arms around her again. She somehow managed to pull slightly away from her and get the door closed before they tumbled onto the bed, Nicole landing on top of her.

Nicole looked down at her and laughed, "Finally... got you where I want you!" She dropped her head and quickly captured Waverly's lips with her own.

 

Waverly couldn't believe this was happening, Nicole Haught was kissing her. It was something that Waverly had dreamed about at night in this very same bed and as much as she was enjoying it this isn't exactly how she wanted to be doing this.

She wanted Nicole more than she had wanted anything in her life but she didn't want her like this. Nicole was drunk and probably wouldn't remember any of this in the morning so she made the toughest decision of her life, she pushed on Nicole's shoulders trying to get her to stop. When she wouldn't stop Waverly pushed again causing Nicole's head to snap up, a moment of clarity passing over her face before she rolled off of Waverly and onto her back. She could hear Nicole's heavy breathing and she knew that she had finally passed out. Waverly looked over at her and wondered what had happened to cause her to find Nicole in this state. Whatever it was must have been awful for Nicole and she was fairly certain that it involved Nicole's girlfriend. She sighed before getting up off of the bed, pausing to look down at her. She looked peacful and almost angelic and the sight of that face made Waverly's heart skip a beat. She reached down and removed Nicole's shoes before tugging off her pants. She managed to get the covers out from under her before placing them on top of Nicole. Waverly quickly got ready for bed and slipped under the covers, laying on her side facing away from Nicole. As she drifted off to sleep she could still feel Nicole's lips pressing against her own, an involuntary smile creeping onto her mouth at the memory.

****

Nicole's head felt heavy on her pillow, as she slowly woke up she realized that she was pressed up against a warm body next to her. She tightened her arm around the person pulling them closer into her body. She heard her sigh in her sleep and Nicole pressed her face into her hair inhaling an intoxicating scent that seemed vaguely familiar to her. Her hand began to wander slowly upward pausing to cup something soft and at her touch the woman next to her gave a soft moan. She opened her eyes to find that the body she was currently pressed up against had brown hair instead of blonde. Her heart raced and she raised her head to catch a glimpse of who this mystery woman was. Her eyes widened in shock when she realized exactly who she was currently copping a feel off of and it took all of her willpower not to pull quickly away and jump out of the bed. Questions quickly seeped into her brain, what the hell happened last night to cause her to wake up in bed next to Waverly Earp, and why was her head pounding so hard? How much did she have to drink last night? She sat up and immediately regretted it when the pain in her head intensified by two hundred percent. She let out a moan and quickly lay back down before her head exploded into a thousand little pieces.

She felt Waverly move and opened one eye to find the other woman propped up on her elbow looking down at her. "I'd ask you how you're feeling but the look on your face answers that question." She moved to get up, "Let me get you some water." She left the bed and walked out the door, softly closing it behind her.

She moved towards the kitchen and in her current state of distraction almost collided with her roommate. "Sorry Chris, didn't see you there."

"Obviously, hey do me a favor, if you're going to bring someone home late at night can you try to be a little more quiet?"

Waverly's face turned a bright shade of red, "Um, yeah sure. Sorry about that."

Chris noticed Waverly's face and grinned, "So, is it someone I know? Is she still here?"

"Yes she's still here and none of your business."

Chris turned towards Waverly's room, "Oh come on Waves, just a little peek."

"Chris!"

"O.K, Jesus Waves no peeking but, I want details later. Oh shoot, I'm gonna be late for work. See you later."

Waverly watched her run from the apartment and shook her head, Chris was a good friend but she liked to get into Waverly's business a little too much in her opinion. She grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and stopped in the bathroom to grab some aspirin.

Walking back into her room she found Nicole sitting up on the edge of the bed with her head in her hands. She walked over to her and held out the aspirin and water, "Here take this it will help."

Nicole took them from her, "Thanks," she said softly before swallowing the pills. She looked up at Waverly, "You want to tell me what happened last night?"

"I found you in the park, you were drunk and I brought you here to sleep it off. I didn't think it was a good idea to take you back to campus with the state you were in. We barely made it back here before you passed out."

"I can't remember anything that happened last night." She paused for a moment, meeting Waverly's gaze before asking, "Um...did we..."

Waverly eyes grew wide and she shook her head, "No, like I said, you passed out right after we got here."

"Well, that's good. Look, thanks for taking care of me last night, I appreciate it."

"What kind of person would I be if I didn't help someone in need?"

"But still, I'm sorry to cause you all this trouble."

Waverly put her hand on Nicole's shoulder, "It was no trouble at all."

Nicole put her hand on top of Waverly's and gave it a small squeeze before moving it up to rub her temple. "What time is it?"

Waverly looked over at the clock, "Looks like it's 7:30."

"Shit! I was supposed to be at practice thirty minutes ago, coach is gonna kill me."

"Nicole calm down, he knows you have finals coming up, he'll understand."

"I hope so." She stood up and glanced down then looked back up at Waverly, "Um, Wave, where are my pants?"

Color rose in Waverly's cheeks for a moment, "Oh, they're on the dresser, I thought you might be more comfortable if you..." Her voice trailed off as she walked over to fetch Nicole's pants, quickly returning with them in her hands. She held them to Nicole, "Here you go."

"Thanks." As she put them on she noticed Waverly looking quickly away and she couldn't help but smile as another blush formed on Waverly's cheeks, she found it absolutely adorable.

"Let me buy you breakfast, it's the least I can do for you taking such good care of me last night. There's a diner around the corner, their pancakes are to die for." At Waverly's hesitation she paused, "Unless you have plans, I'm sorry I didn't mean to..."

"I don't have any plans and I'm actually starving, I forgot to eat dinner last night."

"It's settled then. Hey, where's your bathroom?"

"Down the hall first door on the right. I'll get dressed and we can head out."

They met in the hallway and Waverly shyly smiled up at Nicole, "Ready?"

Waverly nodded and smiled.

A few moments later they headed out the door and down the street.

Chapter Text

They sat in a corner booth in the back of the diner. Waverly looked down at her empty plate before taking a sip of her coffee. She looked across the table at Nicole, "Wow, you weren't kidding about the pancakes here, I may need to make coming here a new habit."


Nicole smiled at her, "I told you."


At the sight of Nicole's dimples Waverly suddenly found herself at a loss for words.


Nicole noticed her staring and raised an eyebrow at her, "What, do I have something on my face?"


Waverly quickly looked away, "Um..No." She thought to herself, just those amazing dimples. She cleared her throat, "So, do you remember anything at all from last night? I mean you were in pretty bad shape when I found you in the park."


Waverly noticed Nicole's jaw tighten and she looked down at the table as she said, "Yes I do, but I'd just as soon forget about it. I never want to see that, that... her again." She looked up and Waverly could see anger blazing in her eyes. "I know that we hadn't been spending as much time together but that doesn't give her the right to cheat on me."


Waverly reached out and lay her hand on top of Nicole's, "Oh Nicole, I'm so sorry."


"Don't be, I guess a small part of me knew that we were never going to work out, not really."


"But that doesn't make it any easier does it?"


"No it doesn't. Sam tried to tell me so many times, but I wouldn't listen to her, I should probably call her and let her know I'm ok." She reached into her front pocket only to find it empty, " Shit, I think I lost my phone"


As she tried to recall what had happened to her phone, Waverly's soft voice interupted her thoughts. "It's not always easy to admit certain things, believe me, I know Nicole. Is there anything I can do for you? If you ever need someone to talk to I'm here."


Nicole looked over at Waverly and she could see the sincerity in her eyes, "Thank you."


"I told you before, you don't need to thank me Nicole."


"Actually I do, for everything, including taking care of me last night. I'd like to take you to dinner sometime if that's ok with you."


"I'll have to check my calendar, we have finals you know."


"I was talking more along the lines of after Nationals when I don't have to focus so much on swimming."


"Oh, ok." Waverly smiled over at her, "That would be nice."


"You ready to head out?" Waverly nodded and Nicole grabbed the bill and headed towards the counter to pay. She opened the door for Waverly and followed her through it. They walked to the corner pausing to say goodbye before each headed in a different direction.

****

After leaving the diner Waverly walked to the park and searched the spot where she had found Nicole last night, she was searching for her phone. She looked all over but unfortunately she couldn't find it. She finally gave up and headed towards her apartment, looking down and searching for the phone during the entire walk home. When she entered the apartment she found that the T.V. was on which meant that Chris was home from work, Waverly preferred to read so she picked up her book and walked into her bedroom softly shutting the door behind her. She sat on the bed and opened the book but found it impossible to concentrate. She closed her eyes and smiled as Nicole's face swam into view, she could still feel Nicole's body pressed against her back and her hands wandering...a knock at her door startled Waverly from her daydreams.

She got up and opened the door to find Chris standing there, "Hey I don't want to bother you but I found something and I figured you might want it back."


"What is it?"


"I found it under the couch and well, I didn't think it was yours so I uh looked at it..." Her voice trailed off as she held out a phone

.
Waverly's eyes grew wide, it had to belong to Nicole. She reached out and took the phone from her, "Thanks Chris."


"So that phone belongs to the person who spent the night?"


"Well it doesn't belong to either of us so unless it's your boyfriend's then yes, that would be a correct assumption." Waverly looked at her for a moment, "I'm sorry I didn't mean to snap at you, I just need you to not pry into this ok?"


"Wave, I know who the phone belongs to, I figured it out when I looked at it."


Waverly had a look of shock on her face and her voice took on a panicked tone, "You need to promise me that you won't say a word! I mean it!"


Chris looked confused, "O.K. but I don't understand, why don't you want people to know?"

"Because it's my own private business, and things are complicated."

"All right, I won't say a word but you know if you need to talk about it, I'm here."

Waverly gave her a tiny smile, "Thanks Chris, I'm gonna head out for a little while, I'll see you later."

Chris sat on the couch and watched her leave. She was worried that her friend was getting in over her head. It was well known around campus that Nicole Haught had a girlfriend and that said girlfriend was not the nicest person in the world. She hoped that Waverly knew what she was getting herself into and that she wasn't headed for heartbreak.

 

****

Nicole walked into her dorm room to find Sam lying on her bed asleep. She reached behind her and shut the door harder than necessary startling the other woman awake. "Jesus Nicole you scared the crap out of me."


"What are you doing here?"


"Looking for you, I tried to call you for hours last night and early this morning. I was worried that something bad happened."


"Well, I'm fine so..."


"So, where have you been."


"At a friend's, and before you say anything else, she's just a friend."


"Well, you missed the show after you left, Stephanie came running down the stairs, half dressed trying to catch up to you. "


"I don't really care and I don't want to hear about her, ok?"


"Well then I guess you don't want to hear about her drunk ass falling and basically showing her business off to the entire room."


"Like I said, I don't care."


"I have pictures..." Sam was grinning.


"Sam." Nicole shot her a look of irritation.


Sam held up her hands, "Ok, ok. Anyway, I'm glad you're ok."


"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine mom."


Sam reached out and smacked her lightly on the arm, "You wish I was your mom!"


Nicole rolled her eyes and snorted, "Um..no."


Sam laughed before flopping down on the bed across the room. "I'm gonna take a nap, how about we grab some lunch after."


"Yeah we can do that, I need to study anyway." Nicole settled on her bed and opened her History book. She was in the process of reviewing her notes when there was a knock at the door.


She got up to open the door and grinned when she found Waverly standing in the hallway. "Hey, what are you doing here."


"I found your phone under my couch, you must have dropped it when we got there last night." She held it out and Nicole took it, walking over to plug it into the charger.


She looked over her shoulder at Waverly, "Do you want to come in?"


Waverly nodded before walking inside, glancing quickly around the room, her eyes settling on Sam's sleeping form. "I'm sorry, you have company."


"Don't worry about her, she sleeps through everything. A bomb could go off and she wouldn't wake up."


"If you're busy, I don't want to bother you."


"No, it's fine really, I'm just studying."


"Really? Studying on a Saturday!"


"Yeah I don't want to fail my final in History and disappoint my tutor, she's a real hard ass." She winked at Waverly before sitting down on the bed.


Waverly laughed and shook her head, "You want some help with that?"


"Sure." Nicole Scooted up closer to the end of the bed to make room for Waverly, "Have a seat."


Waverly sat down on the bed and looked over at Nicole, reaching for her notes. She spent the next three hours quizzing Nicole on ancient civilizations and their impact on modern society. A voice coming from the other side of the room startled them, "Well, hello there and who would you be?"


They had been so engrossed in what they were doing that they had forgotten that the were not alone in the room and Waverly and Nicole turned in unison to see Sam lying on the bed propped up on her elbow, her eyebrow raised and a smirk on her face.


"Sam, this is Waverly she's been uh, tutoring me." She narrowed her eyes at Sam before turning back towards Waverly, "And this hot mess is Sam, the second best swimmer in the history of our school."


Sam snorted at this, "Second best, my ass Haught!" She looked over at Waverly for a moment with a devilish gleam in her eye, "I taught this one everything I know."


"Please, the only thing you taught me was how to be hazed by the upperclassmen."


Sam brought her hand to her chest , "Are you suggesting that I would participate in something that is totally against school rules, you wound me Nicole with your accusations."


Nicole rolled her eyes before tossing a pillow at her, "Yeah miss innocent, and by the way, I still have the scars to prove it."


Sam tossed the pillow back at Nicole, "I was talking about teaching you the art of picking up chicks dummy, not about silly pranks."


Nicole's face reddened for a moment before she turned towards Waverly, "As you can tell, this one," She gestured towards Sam with her thumb, "Is full of shit. Like I needed any help with that."


"Hey Waverly, you want to hear all the awesome nicknames we gave Nicole last year?"


"I'm sure she doesn't." Nicole stood up and held out her hand to Waverly, "Sam was just about to buy me lunch, do you want to join us?"


Waverly took Nicole's hand and stood up, she looked at Nicole before moving her gaze towards Sam, "Well, I don't want to impose."


Sam stood up as well, "Nonsense Waverly, I would love it if you would come." She leaned in closer to Waverly before whispering loud enough for Nicole to overhear, "I've got so many stories to tell you about old Haught-ass over there."


Nicole was currently sporting a red face and Waverly fought the urge to laugh before shooting Sam a sideways glance, "I'd love to join you."


"Excellent!" She linked her arm with Waverly's and led her out the door before turning back towards Nicole, "Come on now Nic, don't keep us waiting."
Nicole shook her head and sighed before following them out the door

 

****

 

Waverly sat at the table for the next two hours listening to the two of them banter back and forth while sharing embarrassing stories. Each story seemed to become more and more outrageous and Waverly began to suspect that they were both full of crap. That is until Nicole told the story of the time that Sam and her friends decided to play a prank on her, a prank that resulted in Nicole getting injured.


"I can't believe you're telling her this story Nicole."


"Hey, you started this," she turned towards Waverly for a moment and pointed at Sam, "So, this one decided that it would be a good idea to put vegetable oil all over my starting block."


Waverly gasped and looked over at Sam, "You didn't!"


Sam shrugged, "It seemed like a good idea at the time and when she slipped and tumbled into the pool it was hysterical," She paused, looking down at the table refusing to look at either of them, "Well, at least it was funny until we saw the blood."


Waverly looked startled, "Blood? What happened?" She turned towards Nicole with a look of deep concern in her eyes, it was a look that wasn't exactly lost on Sam.


Nicole quickly finished the story for her friend, "When I slipped I hit my leg on the block and cut it open pretty badly," She reached down and pulled up her pant leg to reveal the long scar that ran along the side of her calf, "It took about 30 stitches to close it up and cost me any chance of competing for 6 weeks."


Waverly reached out and touched Nicole's arm, "It must have been awful for you."


Nicole nodded, "I was pissed at first but I forgave her. She really was sorry and afterward the pranks stopped so everything turned out ok."


"Don't feel too bad for her, she figured out some creative ways to pass the time because of all the sympathy from all those pretty girls, including what's her name that you just..."


Nicole's eyes narrowed, "Don't, I told you I don't want to talk about her again."


She held up her hands, "Hey, sorry Nicole, I won't mention it again."


Waverly looked over at Sam and decided it would be best if she changed the subject, "So, Sam how long are you here for?"


"I have to catch a plane in the morning, I'm competing in a meet next week in Canada."


"Really, where at in Canada?"


"Calgary, I've never been there."


"Wow, I grew up not too far from there."


"I didn't know you were Canadian Waverly, what brought you to the states?"


"School actually, I was able to come here and jumped at the opportunity to study abroad." She looked shyly over at Nicole and smiled, "Best decision of my life so far."


Sam of course noticed the look that Waverly gave Nicole, in fact she had noticed that the entire time the three of them were at lunch Waverly had been fawning all over Nicole, staring up at her with huge puppy dog eyes, hanging on her every word. She honestly couldn't understand how Nicole could be so utterly oblivious to the fact that Waverly was so obviously in love with her. She cleared her throat and at the last minute decided against saying something to the effect in front of Waverly.


At the sound of Sam clearing her throat Waverly looked back over at her, just missing the fact that Nicole's face was turning a shade of red that almost matched her hair. Nicole looked up and noticed Sam smirking at her and she shot Sam a look that dared her to say a word. Oh, this was getting even better and she would have wagered with anyone that Waverly wasn't alone in her feelings. God, Nicole could be so dense sometimes.


Waverly sat back in her chair for a moment, "Thank you so much for inviting me to lunch with the two of you. I don't remember the last time I had this much fun but unfortunately I have to go."


Sam looked over at her, "It was my pleasure Waverly."


Waverly stood up and smiled at her before turning towards Nicole, "I'll see you later Nicole and good luck on your finals next week."
Nicole stood up as Waverly started to walk past her towards the door, "Waverly wait a sec."

 

At the sound of Nicole's voice she stopped and turned towards her, "I, I just wanted to thank you again for everything." She reached out and quickly squeezed her hand before reluctantly letting it go. Waverly smiled at her before turning and walking quickly out the door.

 


****

 

If Nicole hadn't been so busy watching Waverly leave she may have noticed the blonde woman standing on the sidewalk just outside the diner. Stephanie had watched them laughing and her eyes narrowed every time that woman had the nerve to put her hands on Nicole. Her Nicole! Her anger grew as she noticed Nicole's bitch of a best friend encouraging them to make a fool out of her. She wasn't going to let anyone take away something that belonged to her and in her mind Nicole was just that, hers. She would bide her time and was willing to do whatever she needed to do to get Nicole back and quite frankly didn't mind in the least what she had to do to achieve her goal. Her face contained a look of pure rage and hatred as she watched the other woman practically skipping down the sidewalk away from the diner, blissfully unaware of the storm that she had just unleashed.

 

It was a storm that Waverly had no idea she would soon be caught in the middle of and facing a danger she had never quite encountered before.

 

*****

 

After Waverly left Nicole sighed and sat down in her chair across from Sam. Her friend had a smug look on her face and Nicole could feel her face turning red again. She attempted to compose herself but was finding it difficult under Sam's stare, "What?"


"Just friends, huh?" Nicole looked at her and didn't say a word, "I'm just saying that someone like that doesn't come around very often Nicole."


Sam's meaning suddenly dawned on her and she quickly said, "I just got out of a relationship and you already have me hooking up with Waverly, what's wrong with you?"


"Look Nicole, I'm not going to sugar coat this, all I'm saying is that she's more than a booty call. She's a keeper and by the way, you and I both know that Stephanie and you were never gonna be long term."


"So you've known Waverly for what, two hours and suddenly you're an expert on her."


"Don't get so defensive, I'm just telling you that you better not wait too long with that one because she's clearly got a thing for you."


"She does not! I don't even know if she's gay Sam."


"Seriously Nicole, are you blind? Any fool can see the way she looks at you and believe me I've been around the block enough to know that the looks she gives you are anything but just friendly."


"You're crazy Sam"


"Am I?"


Nicole paused and thought back to several times that she had caught Waverly staring at her, quickly looking away and blushing when she saw Nicole looking back at her. Waverly also seemed to find any excuse to touch her, not that Nicole minded but it hadn't occurred to her that Waverly wanted to be more than Friends.


Sam grinned at her, "And look at that folks, the lightbulb finally comes on. Damn Nicole I knew you were pretty clueless about things but this takes the cake." She laughed as Nicole shot her a very unflattering look. "Hey, don't thank me, you can name your first child after me and that will be thanks enough."


"You are such an ass Sam, I swear I don't know why I keep you around."


"Because I'm so good looking and...to point out the obvious to you, that's why. This whole situation makes me want to come around here more often." He grin widened as she leaned towards Nicole asking in an overloud whisper, "So, what are we going to do about you and Waverly because I'm willing to bet that the feelings aren't exactly one-sided."

She sat back for a moment in contemplation before continuing, "Hey, you know I love you to pieces and I only want the best for you."


"You're a pain in the ass Sam but that goes both ways you know."


"Yeah yeah, don't be getting all mushy on me Haught."


"Wouldn't dream of it."


****

 

They spent the next half hour catching up on the other things going on in their lives before heading back towards Nicole's dorm room. They grabbed a pizza for dinner and watched movies until Sam fell asleep. Nicole shut everything off and lay down on her bed, she picked up her phone and scrolled down her contacts until she found Waverly's number. She was suddenly nervous and debated whether or not she should call her before taking a deep breath and pressing the button to dial. Before the call could connect Nicole lost her nerve and hung up.
She lay there, thoughts of Waverly flooding her mind. Sam was right of course, she had been blind to the fact that Waverly obviously had a crush on her.
People crushing on her wasn't anything new to Nicole, it was just something she had dealt with on a regular basis from both men and women. But this thing with Waverly was so much different and she would be lying if she said that it was one-sided, Sam had been right about that.
Nicole's phone buzzed and she picked it up to read the text that she had just received.

Waverly: I saw that you called, did you need something?
Nicole: I wanted to talk to you about something, it's late, talk tomorrow?
Waverly: Of course :)
Nicole: Sweet dreams :)
Waverly: Night, you too!

Nicole put her phone back down for a moment and grinned as the text tone sounded again, she picked it up and her face immediately fell as she saw who the most recent message was from.


Steph: I'm so sorry Nicole, please talk to me. I made a horrible mistake. Meet me tomorrow, please. I don't want to lose you.


Nicole lay there for a moment not sure what do about this.Stephanie wanting to see her wasn't what Nicole had expected so soon after what had happened last night but on the other hand she wasn't really surprised by it either.
Stephanie had hurt her but that didn't change the fact that Nicole still had feelings for her, they had history between them and there had been a lot of good times but she didn't know if she could ever forgive her for what she'd done. Hell, she wasn't even sure she wanted to.
What made this even harder was that she also had feelings for Waverly. Nicole knew that the last thing she wanted to do in this world was hurt her, but she owed it to herself to resolve things with Steph, but at the moment it was way too soon for that.


Picking up her phone she texted her back,


Nicole: Not a chance in hell
Steph: Please Nicole, I'm begging you
Nicole: Not going to happen Steph


Nicole put her phone down and sighed, Stephanie was stubborn and Nicole knew that the odds were not in her favor, this was far from over.

Chapter Text

Waverly woke up the next morning to find a message on her phone from Nicole asking to meet her at the diner for breakfast. She smiled and sent her a message back saying she would be there in an hour. Waverly got up out of bed, hurried to the bathroom and took a shower. She took her time choosing an outfit and when she was satisfied with her choice she quickly got dressed and left the apartment.

****

Nicole was waiting for her in the same booth from before. She seemed lost in thought but when Waverly sat down across from her she looked up and gave her a dimpled smile. "Hi."
Waverly smiled back at her, "Good morning, did you already order?"
"Not yet, I was waiting for you."
"You didn't have to, I think I'll have the pancakes again." She paused for a moment and glanced over at Nicole who was looking nervously over at her. "So...what did you want to talk about?"
"I wanted to ask you something," She stopped as the waitress arrived to take their orders. After she left Nicole continued, "Well, um, as you know next weekend is a really big deal for me and I was wondering if you wanted to come and watch me compete. I just happen to have two extra tickets if you want them."
Waverly was stunned, "You want me to come watch you compete, me?"
Nicole's face fell for a moment, "Well if you don't want to..."
Waverly interrupted her, "I'd love to Nicole."
Nicole grinned and sat back, "I'm glad, it will makes things easier for me knowing that I've got someone in my corner."
Waverly looked over at her for a moment, "Would it be ok if I bring my roommate? She's a huge fan of yours, well we both are."
Nicole's grinned widened, "Of course she can come, I'm driving up there on Thursday if you'd like to ride up there with me, you're both welcome to."
"Count me in but I'll have to check with her to see if she's working."
"I'm leaving early, meet me at the dorms at seven. It's going to take about three hours to get there."
As the food arrived Waverly looked over at Nicole, "I'm looking forward to it and," she reached over and put her hand on top of the redhead's, " You are going to kick some serious butt, I know it."
"You think so.""I know so." She gave her hand a squeeze before pulling it slowly back onto her own side of the table.


As they ate Nicole kept stealing glances at Waverly. The woman was a mystery to her and it occurred to Nicole that she really didn't know all that much about her. She found herself secretly hoping that Waverly's roommate wouldn't be able to drive up with them because it would give her an opportunity to get to know the other woman better. She thought back to the conversation that they had had a few weeks ago when Waverly had gotten so upset when she had asked her about her family. It was heartbreaking to think of what she had endured as a child but Nicole wouldn't dream of pushing her into telling her about it. She knew that if Waverly wanted to talk about her childhood she would do it on her own terms, in her own way.

****

The next few days were busy and stressful but Nicole got through it and passed all of her classes much to her relief. Following her last exam which just happened to be her history class, she called Waverly and invited her out to dinner to celebrate.


After dinner Nicole drove Waverly home, she got her wish as Waverly told her that Chris wouldn't be able to drive up with them because she had to work on Thursday.


Nicole shut the engine off and turned towards Waverly, "Since we're getting up so early in the morning, why don't you stay in my dorm room with me?"
Waverly looked startled, "What?"

Nicole realized how that must sound to the other woman and she paused a moment before continuing, "My roommate has already left for the summer so you can sleep in her bed. Unless you don't think you'll be comfortable there."

"No, that's a good idea, I'll run up and get my bag, be right back." She smiled over at Nicole before she got out of the car. 

Waverly was only gone a few minutes before she returned, tossing the bag into the backseat before climbing back into the car. She looked over at Nicole and was puzzled by the look she was giving her. "What?"
"That didn't take very long, did you already have your bag packed or something."
"Well yeah, I like to plan ahead don't you?"

"Nope, I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants type of girl." Nicole started the car and drove towards the dorms.
Waverly wrinkled her nose at the thought of someone not planning out every aspect of their life. She looked over at Nicole and asked, "So, you don't plan anything, how do you even function?"

Nicole laughed, "I do all right. The only things I really keep to a strict schedule are school, training and swimming, everything else, well I make it up as I go."

She pulled into a parking spot outside of her dorm, shutting off the car and looking over at Waverly, "It's just that my mom has to have everything planned out and I mean everything, you would be impressed by the size of the planner she has. She doesn't go anywhere without it and I'm pretty sure that she even plans out the times that she goes to the bathroom."
Waverly was at a loss for words, "You're kidding right?"
"I wish I was, she got super pissed at Tommy cause he made fun of her for it last Thanksgiving." At Waverly's questioning look she quickly clarified, "Tommy's my brother."
Waverly nodded but she still wasn't sure if she totally believed Nicole's story about her mom. "So, she got mad at him, what exactly did he say to her?"

"He told her she needed to get the stick out of her ass and burn that damn planner because she needed to live a little."
"No way!"
"I wouldn't have believed it if I wasn't there to witness it. Anyway, I haven't seen him in so long and I highly doubt that he's been home since then either."
Waverly looked over at her with a soft expression on her face before reaching over and giving Nicole's hand a squeeze. "I'm sorry, I can tell you really miss him."
"Yeah, I do. Hey, it's getting late we should probably head up." She reached behind her and grabbed Waverly's bag before getting out of the car. Waverly reached out to take it from her but Nicole waved her away, "I've got it." She carried the bag upstairs to her room and opened the door for Waverly before following her inside and placing it on the desk next to the door.
Nicole motioned towards a door across the room, "Bathroom's through there and the mini fridge is stocked so help yourself to anything in there as well."
Waverly opened her bag and removed some clothes from it, "Thanks but I think I'll just change and go to bed, it's been a long day."
Nicole watched her go into the bathroom and stared at the closed door for a moment, the text tone buzzed on her phone and Nicole absently reached into her pocket before taking her phone out to look at it.

Sam: Good luck at Nationals! See you on Saturday.

Nicole decided not to respond and put her phone down before kicking off her shoes. She walked to the dresser and started to get undressed. She removed her pants and turned as she heard a gasp from behind her. Waverly was staring at her with wide eyes and a red face.
Nicole chuckled, "What, it's not like you haven't seen me without my pants before."
Waverly froze for a moment, "Well...um, you're uh, right of course." She suddenly blinked and reluctantly tore her eyes away from Nicole's amused gaze. Flashes of that night suddenly flooded her brain with memories of Nicole kissing her. She could still feel how good it felt and how she hadn't wanted it to stop. She shook her head to banish these memories before muttering, "Goodnight Nicole." Waverly moved quickly to the other bed, climbing under the covers and facing the wall.


Nicole shook her head before turning back towards her dresser. She was pretty sure she knew why Waverly had suddenly gotten so nervous and she found it adorable. She finished getting ready for bed before turning off the lights and climbing into bed. She lay there for awhile, a bundle of nervous energy, her thoughts drifting to the upcoming meet. She glanced over at the other bed and could barely make out the shape of the other woman as she lay in bed. Waverly hadn't moved and a little smile formed on Nicole's lips as she thought about what would happen if she got up and joined her in that bed. She sighed as she decided against the idea and turned her head towards the wall but the sound of Waverly's steady breathing soon lulled her to sleep.

****

Nicole woke up the next morning and found she couldn't move. She was pressed against the wall by a warm body and she slowly opened her eyes to find Waverly snuggled against her with her arm flung across her waist.

She lay there for a moment, not wanting to disturb Waverly who looked absolutely peaceful in her sleep.
Nicole stared at Waverly, she found her breathtaking. She reached out before she could stop herself and ran her finger along the side of Waverly's face. Waverly opened her eyes and Nicole paused but didn't pull her hand away. They stared at each other for a moment before Waverly lifted her head, dropping her gaze down towards Nicole's lips. Her gaze returned to meet Nicole's before she leaned towards her and captured Nicole's lips with her own. Nicole wrapped her hand into Waverly's hair and pulled her closer to deepen the kiss.


Waverly gasped and pulled away, "Oh my God, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean for that to happen."

Nicole reached out and grabbed her arm before she could climb out of bed, "Waverly, it's ok."


Waverly's face was red and she couldn't bring herself to look Nicole in the eye, "I'm sorry, I had a nightmare and I needed..."

"Hey, it's ok. You don't have to apologize." She tugged softly on Waverly's arm to get her attention, "Wave, will you look at me?"
Waverly's gaze returned to Nicole and she was startled to find the tenderness in her eyes as she looked back at her. "It's just that...I'm just really sorry Nicole."
"Don't be, I'm certainly not. I've been thinking about doing that for awhile now but you beat me to it."
Waverly looked shyly at Nicole, "Actually, it's not the first time we've kissed, you just don't remember."


Nicole sat up in bed, "Wait, what are you saying? When did we..." she paused, her eyes widening, "Was it the night I was drunk? What did I do?"
Waverly's eyes dropped towards the bed, "I was trying to get you into bed, you stumbled and fell on top of me."
"And I kissed you."


At Nicole's revelation, Waverly climbed out of bed and began to pace back and forth across the room, "I asked you to stop and you wouldn't so I managed to push you away. You were so drunk and I knew you wouldn't remember it the next morning and I really didn't want things to happen like that."
Nicole watched her pace and tried to follow what she was saying  the realization of what she had done hitting her like a ton of bricks. "Wave, did I try to force you to do something you didn't want to do?"
Waverly stopped, looking down at Nicole, "That's not what I meant!"
Nicole stood up and took Waverly's hands into her own, "So what did you mean, you didn't want me?"
"Of course I did Nicole, I wanted you so much but you had a girlfriend and were so out of it, I..." her voice trailed off, she found herself looking up and meeting Nicole's gaze before continuing, "I didn't want it to be like that, If it was going to happen I wanted you to remember it."
Nicole brought her hand up and tucked Waverly's hair behind her ear, "I'm glad you told me Wave, and in a way I'm glad you stopped me. It was the right thing to do." She smiled down at Waverly and continued, "I wanted to kiss you that day at the diner, after we had lunch with Sam. You were leaving and I wanted to kiss you and not let you go, we have a connection, I could feel it then and I feel it now."
"So why didn't you?"
"Why didn't I what?"
"Why didn't you kiss me?"
Nicole shrugged, "I don't know, maybe I felt it was too soon after my breakup or maybe I thought you didn't want it, but Waves," she looked down into Waverly's eyes, " Right now at this moment I'd really like to kiss you again."
Before she could react Waverly reached up and wrapped her arms around Nicole's neck pulling her head down so their lips could meet. As the kiss deepened Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly's waist, pulling her closer. The kiss lasted for an undetermined amount of time and only the need for oxygen broke then apart.
Waverly moved her arms down to encircle Nicole's waist and she leaned forward, resting her head on Nicole's shoulder, trying to get her bearings back.


Nicole held onto Waverly, she was the only thing keeping her grounded. The searing kiss sent her mind into a tailspin and she was finding it difficult to come back down to earth. They stood in the middle of the room, holding each other and trying to catch their breath.

Waverly pulled away suddenly, "I didn't mean for that to happen, I'm so sorry." She spun around and quickly moved towards the bathroom, grabbing her bag and going inside.
Nicole stood there and frowned at the now closed bathroom door. She wondered if she had done something to cause this sudden change in Waverly, one minute they were kissing and the next she was pulling away and running off like a scared rabbit. She thought maybe she had pushed to hard and was determined to reassure Waverly when she came back out of the bathroom.


The door opened and Waverly came striding out, she stopped when she noticed that Nicole was still standing where she had left her. "You're not dressed, we better get a move on if we're gonna get there..." She looked up and was startled to find that Nicole was now standing directly in front of her. At Nicole's questioning look she dropped her eyes towards the floor, refusing to look at her.
Nicole looked at her for a moment, "Hey, did I do something wrong?"

Waverly shook her head, still refusing to look at Nicole and said, "No but I did."

Nicole could barely hear what she had said, "You didn't do anything wrong Wave, and you have nothing to apologize for. I really like you but if we're moving too fast, you need to tell me. I don't want you to ever feel pressured to do something you aren't ready for." Nicole dropped a kiss onto the top of Waverly's head before moving past her into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

 

****


As they walked to Nicole's car Waverly tentatively reached out and took Nicole's hand, smiling as Nicole's fingers tightened around her own. When Nicole exited the bathroom they  hadn't really said a word to each other and Waverly just stood there and watched as Nicole packed her bag.  Before leaving the dorm room Waverly had stepped towards Nicole, leaning up and placing a quick kiss onto Nicole's cheek before turning to exit the room.


They arrived at her car and Nicole frowned as she saw a piece of paper underneath the driver's side windshield wiper. She took the paper and after reading it wadded it up and threw it to the ground.

Waverly could tell that whatever was on that note had angered Nicole because she could swear that she heard Nicole whisper the word bitch under her breath before she walked around the car to unlock Waverly's door, opening it for her and waiting until she climbed inside to close it behind her.


Nicole moved to the back of the car and loaded their bags inside, she was angry and a part of her knew that she needed to contain it before she got into the car and drove off. She should have known that Stephanie wouldn't give up so easily.
Nicole wouldn't take her calls or answer her texts so now she was resorting to leaving notes on her car. She could forgive her for a lot of things but Stephanie's betrayal was deal breaker, the one thing she couldn't forgive.

The woman was crazy if she thought they were ever going to work things out. Nicole had cared for Stephanie but she had come to the realization that she didn't love her and never would.


Nicole reached up and closed the trunk before walking around to the driver's side of the car and climbing inside. She sat behind the wheel for a moment before looking over at Waverly, "Are you ready..." the question she began to ask her died on her lips as she noticed the look on Waverly's face, she looked scared to death.
She reached over and took Waverly's hand, "Wave, what's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost, talk to me."
"I, it's just I've never seen you mad like that and it scared me a little."
Nicole was stunned, "I'm sorry I got so angry, I'm not angry at you, it was that damn note. I let it get to me and I shouldn't have." She squeezed Waverly's hand before continuing. "Hey, I'm not mad anymore, ok?"
Waverly nodded and Nicole started the engine and pulled out of the parking lot.

In a few minutes they were on the highway heading towards their destination. Nicole was determined to spend the drive getting to know Waverly and she began to ask her questions. By the time they reached the hotel Nicole had discovered that Waverly's childhood had been anything but ideal. Her mother had left Waverly and her two older sisters with their father when Waverly was only six years old. For reasons she wouldn't tell her, Waverly had gone to live with her aunt and uncle at the age of thirteen and she hadn't seen her oldest sister in more than ten years. Waverly had reconnected with her older sister Wynonna but they hadn't seen each other since Waverly had left for college.

Nicole was beginning to understand why Waverly had gotten so upset when she had mentioned her childhood before, she was also sure that this wasn't the entire story.


They pulled up to the hotel and Nicole got out of the car, handing her keys to the parking attendant. She popped the trunk, removing their bags and following Waverly into the hotel.

Waverly paused inside the lobby and turned towards Nicole, "Wait a minute, where am I going to stay? I can't possibly afford a room here. We should have talked about this before we got here."
"You're staying in my room with me." At Waverly's panicked expression Nicole continued, "I have a suite with an extra bedroom."
"Nicole, I don't want to..."
"Waverly, it's fine. Let's go check in." Waverly opened her mouth to protest but Nicole held up her hand to stop her, "It's fine, come on." She reached out and took Waverly's hand, pulling her with her to the front desk.
"I have a reservation for Haught, and two guests."
The woman behind the desk didn't even look up as she consulted the computer in front of her, "Ok, looks like everything is taken care of have a nice stay." She slid two keycards across the desk, "First elevator on the right will take you up to your room."
Nicole thanked her and grabbed their bags before leading the way to the elevator. When they got to their room Nicole unlocked the door and held the door open for Waverly who entered the room and paused for a moment as she took in her surroundings.
"Wow, this is really nice." She turned to look at Nicole who was in the process of carrying her bag into the bedroom on the right.
Nicole opened the door and put her bag on one of the beds inside. She turned towards Waverly, "This room has two beds so you can share with Chris when she gets here, if that's all right with you."
Waverly nodded and smiled at Nicole, "It's been a long day, would you mind if I take a nap?"
"No, go ahead. I'm sure I'll find away to keep myself occupied." She kissed Waverly's cheek before turning and walking into her bedroom.

*****

Waverly woke up a few hours later and walked into the main room, "Nicole?" There was no answer and she looked around before finding a sheet of paper laying on the table. She picked it up and read it:


Waverly,
I'm at the pool, please join me,
N.


She grabbed her key card and headed downstairs to the pool. She walked inside to find Nicole swimming laps. She walked to the edge of the pool and sat down with her legs dangling over the side and into the water. She sat there and watched as Nicole swam back and forth across the pool. She hit the wall, turned and shot out from underneath the water, picking up more and more speed as she approached the far wall. She grabbed the wall and held onto the side, catching her breath before looking over and noticing Waverly watching her from the side of the pool.
"So, are you gonna sit there watching me all day or are you gonna get in?"
"Nope, I'm ok right here."
Nicole began to slowly swim towards her, "Are you sure? The water feels amazing."
Waverly eyed her as she swam closer, " I'm good right where I am."
Nicole finally reached Waverly and placed her hands on the side of the pool, one on each side of Waverly's legs. She looked up and locked her eyes with Waverly's, "It's a shame I was really looking forward to seeing you in a swimsuit."
Waverly blushed and dropped her gaze. "Oh really, I'm sure you..." She squealed as Nicole grabbed her legs and pulled her into the pool.
Nicole pushed off from the wall and laughed as Waverly struggled against her. She stopped laughing as Waverly threw her arms around Nicole's neck and screamed, her breath coming in shallow gasps, in eyes wide with fear. "Hold on, I've got you, it's ok Waves."
Waverly slipped and her head went under the water for a moment, she gasped as her head broke the surface and she clung to Nicole as if her life depended on it. She couldn't catch her breath and as Nicole started to move she clung to her even tighter. A hard surface pressed against her back and two strong arms lifted her out of the pool. When she was out of the water she curled up into a tiny ball, tears spilling from her eyes and running down her cheeks.
Nicole ran and grabbed several towels before returning to Waverly, kneeling down and wrapping one of them around her. She wrapped her arms around Waverly and held her tight, "I'm so sorry Waverly, I didn't mean to scare you like that." She ran her hands up and down Waverly's back and continued to apologize, "I'm so sorry."
As Nicole continued to hold her, Waverly could feel the panic receding. Her breathing was almost normal and she was finally able to speak, "Not your fault, you couldn't have known."
"Couldn't have known what Waves, just tell me."
"You couldn't have known because I didn't tell you," She pulled away from Nicole for a moment, "I...I don't know how to swim, I never learned."
Nicole raised an eyebrow, "Well that explains why you didn't want to get into the pool but Waverly that was a full blown panic attack, something else had to happen to cause you to be that scared of the water." She cupped Waverly's face in her hands, "You know you can tell me anything Waves."
"When I was four, Willa pushed me into the river. She laughed and called me a baby before walking away. Wynonna jumped in and pulled me out, she saved me. I've been terrified of the water ever since."
Nicole looked at Waverly, a gentle expression on her face, "Oh, Waves, I am so sorry." She pulled Waverly back into a hug, "This Willa sounds like a real dickhead, you were only four, how old was she when this happened."
"Twelve and she had such a mean streak, she only paid attention to me if she wanted to torment me. All I ever wanted was for my big sister to love me as much as much as she loved Wynonna, I don't think she ever did."
Nicole tightened her grip on Waverly for a moment before releasing her and standing up, "I don't know about you but I could use a hot shower."
Waverly looked up at her, "Sounds like a great idea Nicole."
Nicole reached out a hand and helped Waverly to her feet, "Afterward we can order some room service and maybe watch a movie. How does that sound?"

"Sounds like a plan, and Nicole, thank you for taking such good care of me. I really appreciate it, even though you tried to drown me."
Nicole stopped and stared at her for a moment in shock, "But I didn't, I..." Her voice cut off as she noticed the corners of Waverly's mouth turning up and the mischief in her eyes. "Really? What am I gonna do with you?"
They reached the elevator and Waverly pressed the button, when the elevator doors opened she turned towards Nicole and wiggled her eyebrows, "Hmm, I can think of one or two things Nicole."
Nicole stared at her for a moment with her mouth open and as the elevator doors closed she leaned in close to Waverly and whispered, "Oh, I bet you can, and if you're not careful I just might take you up on that."

Chapter Text

The elevator doors closed and Nicole braced her hand on the wall next to Waverly's head. Her other hand came up and Waverly could feel Nicole running her fingers through her hair.

Nicole stared intensly into Waverly's eyes, "So tell me, what exactly are these things you want me to do to you?"

Waverly dropped her gaze for a moment before reaching out and slowly wrapping her arms around Nicole's waist. As her gaze returned to Nicole's she began to pull her closer. She opened her mouth to speak and at that exact moment the elevator dinged, signaling that it had stopped.

They quickly broke apart as the doors opened and a man stepped onto the elevator with them. He smiled at them before asking, "Going down?"

Waverly blushed and Nicole stifled a giggle as she turned her head and answered, "No, we're going up." She turned her head back towards Waverly before leaning in and whispering in her ear, "Maybe later though." She grinned as the color in Waverly's cheeks darkened to a deeper shade of red. Nicole stepped back and leaned against the side wall of the elevator, she shot Waverly a dimpled grin and proceeded to wiggle her eyebrows at her.

Waverly laughed and brought her hand up to cover her mouth as the gentleman turned his head to look at her.

Nicole spent the rest of the elevator ride trying to make Waverly blush and she quickly discovered that it wasn't too hard to do just that. When they reached their floor Nicole followed Waverly off of the elevator and down the hallway towards their room. As they walked Nicole let her eyes wander over Waverly's soft curves and she was overwhelmed with a sudden urge to reach out and run her hands over them.

Waverly stopped outside of their door and she slowly raised her head so that she could stare into Nicole's eyes. She was met by an intense gaze and a small smile formed on her lips before she softly bit down on her bottom lip. Nicole's eyes darkened and Waverly could hear the redhead breathe in a sharp intake of air.

At Waverly's actions Nicole lost all sense of playfulness and it took every bit of willpower that she possessed not to press her up against the door and kiss her senseless. Instead she reached out and unlocked the door, fully intending to take full advantage of the invitation that she had seen in Waverly's eyes just now. She backed into the room, pulling Waverly with her and reaching out, slammed the door behind them.  She quickly locked the door and as she turned quickly around she found herself colliding with Waverly who was standing perfectly still at the entrance to the living area.

"Jesus Waves, what are you..." Her voice trailed off and her eyes widened as she finally looked up and noticed what had caused Waverly to stop in her tracks. There was a woman sitting on the couch staring back at the two of them as if she had witnessed something distasteful.

"Well, aren't you going to say hello Nicole?" She stood up and at the pair's silence sighed and continued, "You could at least pretend to be happy to see me."

Waverly watched as Nicole took a couple of steps towards the woman before pressing an awkward kiss onto her cheek. "Hey mom, when did you get in?"

"I got in this morning, but I stopped off at the club before coming here. I wanted to surprise you, I mean you didn't really think I was going to miss out on your big moment." She stopped and stared in Waverly's direction, "And who might you be?"

Waverly felt uncomfortable under the woman's steely gaze and words suddenly failed her. She was as tall as Nicole and she was floored by the remarkable resemblance between the two of them. However, the most notable physical difference between the two women was that Nicole had not inherited her mother's blonde hair.  As she locked eyes with Nicole's mother she discovered that she couldn't sense any of the warmth that was present whenever she gazed into Nicole's eyes. Instead there was a coldness in her piercing gaze that seemed to bore right into Waverly's soul.

Nicole turned towards her and gave her a reassuring smile, "Wave, this is my mother, Eleanor. Mom, this is Waverly, Waverly Earp."

Waverly gave Eleanor a shy smile and slowly walked towards her extending her hand, "It's nice to meet you Mrs. Haught, Nicole's told me so much about you."

"Has she now?" Looking over at Nicole before continuing Eleanor said, "It's funny that she's failed to mention anything about you."

Nicole could sense where this was going and she turned towards Waverly and lowered her voice, "Why don't you go take a shower, I'm sure you'll feel better afterward. Go ahead and use my bathroom the shower's a lot nicer in there and there's a robe in there that you can borrow."

Waverly nodded before walking away from the pair and into the bedroom, closing the door behind her she  leaned back against it and released the breath she didn't realize she had been holding. She was glad that Nicole had urged her to leave the room because the air in the room had grown heavy and Waverly was wary of being crushed by the weight of it.

 

*****

 

Nicole watched her close the door and turned towards her mother with a raised eyebrow. The two of them stared at each other from across the room and Nicole found herself at a loss for words. Her mother poured herself a drink and downed the entire thing before asking Nicole the question that she knew was coming.

As her mother began to pace back and forth Nicole braced herself, "What the hell are you doing Nicole, with that, that..." She couldn't finish her sentence and stopped to pour herself another drink, "To think that I was coming here to tell you that I had a change of heart about Stephanie and what do I find?  You, in this hotel room with some woman who is obviously not your girlfriend! Your father and I raised you better than this Nicole."

Nicole was incredulous,"You had a change of heart, since when?"

"Since I ran into her father at the club and found out that I was wrong about her, she's not a gold digger. Why didn't you tell we that her father is a Congressman?"

Nicole stared at her in disbelief, "I did try to tell you remember? You wouldn't listen to me."

"Where is Stephanie by the way? Does she know about your little piece on the side? I don't understand how you could hurt someone you care so much about like this."

Nicole was feeling conflicting emotions, she stared at her mother in disbelief and the longer she talked the angrier Nicole became. She didn't like the way her mother was referring to Waverly and she knew that if she didn't stop her from saying the awful things that were coming out of her mother's mouth she would explode with anger. "Stephanie and I broke up, she wasn't the person I thought she was."

"But that's not a reason to break up with someone Nicole, lot's of people stay together because it's the best thing for them...did you end things for that girl, because if you did you better fix things."

Nicole cut her off, "Stephanie was not the best thing for me mom! She cheated on me and that isn't something I can forgive!"

"So what are you going to do Nicole, run off and marry someone far beneath you, for what? So that you can embarrass me and your father in front of our friends. I won't have this Nicole, I'm warning you." Eleanor sat back down on the couch and crossed her right leg over her left waiting for her daughter to answer.

Nicole just stood there, her face red with anger, "I know that I'm nothing but a huge embarrassment for you mom, but I will not stand her and listen to you tear Waverly down like this! You need to leave because I'm competing in the biggest race of my life tomorrow and this distraction is the last thing I need."

Her mother got up and stepped towards Nicole, "How dare you tell me to leave from a room that I paid for."

Nicole walked over to the door and opened it, "If you can't be civil to us then you can get out and don't even think about having the hotel manager kick us out of here. I mean, how would it look to the press when they find out that you had your own daughter thrown out right before she competes in the national championships. That would cause a terrible scandal, now wouldn't it?"

Her mother stood and stared at her with her mouth open, she was speechless for the first time in as long as Nicole can remember. It took her a moment but she finally regained her ability to speak, "I'm not going to stand here and let you disrespect me like this Nicole, I'm your mother! I can not believe that you would even dare to speak to me like this..."

Nicole huffed out a breath, "Really mom, I don't know why you're so shocked. I've spent my whole life watching the master in action and believe me I've learned a thing or two from you. Please leave, It's getting late and I'm tired."

Eleanor didn't say another word, she grabbed her purse along with her planner and stormed out of the room.

 

*****

 

Nicole closed the door and leaned against it. She let out a shaky breath and her eyes widened as she realized what she had done. She had never spoken to her mother like that before and she didn't know how she felt about it.  She would have to call her father in the morning and let him know what had happened before her mother twisted the truth to her advantage.

She wasn't sure how long she stood there and she looked up as she heard a small noise coming from the direction of the bedroom. Waverly was standing in the doorway wrapped in a bathrobe, her hair hung in wet strands down just past her shoulders. She found Waverly in her current state to be breathtaking and as she stared at Waverly Nicole's breath caught in her throat.

Waverly was looking back at her with a concerned expression on her face, "Are you o.k. Nicole?"

Nicole swallowed, "You heard that huh?"

Waverly dropped her eyes towards the floor, "Some of it. I'm sorry to cause all this drama."

Nicole walked towards her, stopping in front of her and took Waverly's hands into her own, "Hey." Waverly raised her gaze to meet Nicole's and she continued, "None of this is your fault and I don't want to hear you blaming yourself for any of what just happened. My mother..."

Waverly interrupted her, "She hates me Nicole, and she doesn't even know me."

Nicole squeezed her hands, "It doesn't matter what she thinks about you Waves, it only matters that I..." she paused for a moment, "Care about you."

A knock at the door interrupted the moment. Nicole sighed and went to open the door. She found herself immediately wrapped in a bear hug by a smiling Sam. She laughed as she was lifted off the ground by the other woman.

"Haught, how the hell are ya!" She put Nicole's feet back on the ground and her words died out as she looked past her to find Waverly standing in the same spot by the bedroom door. She turned back towards Nicole for a moment and raised an eyebrow before turning and taking a step towards Waverly, "Hi Waverly, how are you?"

"I'm good, it's nice to see you again Sam." She turned towards her bedroom, "I'm going to go put something on."

Nicole moved towards her, "Waverly, wait." She paused as Nicole approached her, "I'll order dinner, any requests?"

Waverly smiled up at her, "Nope, surprise me." She winked at Nicole before walking into her bedroom and closing the door.

"By that goofy grin on your face I'd say that things are going well?"

Nicole turned towards Sam nodding but not really answering.  She ordered dinner and afterward turned towards Sam and said, "I'm gonna take a quick shower, the food will probably get here before I get out." At the look on Sam's face she held up her hand, "We'll talk later ok?"

Sam flopped down on the couch and turned on the television, "Sure, we'll catch up, unless of course you're occupied later." She grinned at Nicole and laughed as she saw the color rising in her face.

 

*****

 

Nicole came out of the bedroom to find Sam and Waverly sitting on the couch.  Waverly threw her head back and laughed as Sam leaned towards her and told her some silly joke.  At the sight of this Nicole was suddenly gripped with a feeling of intense jealousy. She didn't like the other woman being in such close proximity to Waverly, after all her friend was a known womanizer and Nicole knew what she was capable of. 

As if she sensed Nicole's presence behind her, Waverly turned and gave her a bright smile, causing Nicole's feeling of jealousy to quickly dissolve. She joined them on the couch and grabbed a piece of pizza from off of the tray that sat on the coffee table. Nicole turned on a movie and Waverly leaned back into Nicole's body and it wasn't long before she had fallen asleep with her head resting in Nicole's lap. Nicole idly ran her fingers through Waverly's hair as she talked to Sam. They sat up for awhile and Nicole told her about the confrontation that she had earlier with her mother.

"I can't believe she had a change of heart about Stephanie, that's unbelievable."

"You know how she is, it's all about appearances. She thinks that any woman who dates me is after my family's money. The way she talked about Waverly made me so angry.  I mean It used to bother me when she would say things about  Steph when we were together but Sam, when she started in about Waverly I just saw red."

Sam looked over at her, "That says a lot Nicole, I've never seen you be so protective towards any girl before. This one must be someone really special, huh."

"Yeah, you can say that. I don't know what it is about her, when I'm with her I just feel complete."

"Sounds to me like maybe you love her." Nicole dropped her eyes towards Waverly's sleeping face and Sam struggled to hear what she said next, "I think I do." She looked up again, "What am I gonna do Sam?"

"If you're worried about your family, don't be, you know your dad is gonna love her. He only wants you to be happy and if Waverly makes you happy then that's all that matters to him. He's not hung up on the same stuff your mom is."

"You're right."

Sam smirked at her, "I know I am."

Nicole shook her head, "Full of yourself as usual." She stifled a yawn, "I should probably go to bed, it's late and I have kind of a big day tomorrow, are you crashing here tonight?"

"Yeah, I'll sleep on the couch."

"No, just help me get her to bed and you can sleep in there." She gestured towards Waverly's bedroom.

"With Waverly?"

"No idiot, Waverly's sleeping in my room, with me.

"Sam grinned and stood up, "I know that, I was teasing you."

Nicole rolled her eyes and the two of them managed to get Waverly into bed without waking her up. She went into the other room and grabbed Waverly's bag before telling Sam goodnight. Nicole entered her bedroom and closed the door, she put Waverly's bag on a nearby chair before climbing into bed.  She lay on her back and it wasn't long before she too had fallen fast asleep.

 

*****

 

The next two days went by quickly and Waverly, Sam, and Chris who had finally arrived, cheered Nicole on at the National Championships and when Nicole won the title they screamed louder than anyone else. Nicole's mother was there but of course she wouldn't sit with them, choosing to sit in the next section over. Sam had given her a small wave which Eleanor had returned but other than that the woman ignored the small group cheering on her daughter.

Nicole came out of the locker room and was immediately met by Waverly who threw her arms around her neck before placing a kiss on Nicole's lips, she pulled back and looked into Nicole's eyes, "I am so proud of you Nicole! Congratulations!"

"Thanks Wave, but that last race was so close...."

The sound of someone clearing their throat interrupted Nicole and caused them to break apart as they realized who it was. Turning in unison they now faced Nicole's mom, Nicole reaching out and taking Waverly's hand to keep her by her side. Eleanor gave Nicole a small smile and congratulated her before requesting that they join her for dinner to celebrate.

 

*****

 

They returned to the hotel and as she got dressed for dinner Nicole heard the sound of a ringing phone coming from the other room. A few minutes later Nicole looked up to see Waverly walking slowly into the room, her face was white as a sheet.  Nicole didn't like the expression on Waverly's face and she rushed across the room to her, "Waves, what's wrong?" Her hands came up and grasped Waverly's arms. "What's wrong Waverly talk to me."

Waverly had a dazed look on her face and after a few moments she blinked and seemed to snap out of it. She looked up and met Nicole's worried gaze, "I...I need to go." She pulled away from Nicole and moved towards the bed.

Nicole looked on as she began to gather her clothes, stuffing them haphazardly into her bag. "You need to go, now?" Nicole watched her for a moment, "Waverly, what are you doing? Who was on the phone?" She reached out and grasped Waverly's arms again. "Hey, tell me what's going on so I can help, Wave will you stop for a moment!"

Waverly stopped and looked up at Nicole, "Can you drive me to the airport?" She pulled away once again and continued to pack her clothes.

"Wait, what?" Nicole was incredulous, "You want me to take you where?"

"The airport. Can you take me or do I need to call a cab?"

Nicole stared at Waverly with her hands on her hips, "Hey, I'll take you but not until you tell me what's going on and why you need to leave right now. Are you not happy here with me?"

"Of course I am Nicole," Waverly sighed and sat down on the bed, her gaze dropping towards her lap.

"Then help me to understand Wave," her tone was tender and soothing, "Tell me what's going on."

Waverly was fighting back tears, "My sister Wynonna just called. I need to go home because," her breath caught for a moment, "Because my father died."

A look of understanding crossed Nicole's face and she dropped to her knees in front of Waverly taking her hands within her own, "Waverly, I'm so sorry. What can I do?"

Waverly sighed and smiled at her, "You're already doing it Nicole."

Nicole let go of Waverly's hands and pulled her into a hug, "I'm here for you Waves and I'm not going to let you go through this alone."

Waverly pulled back for a moment, "What do you mean?"

Nicole stood up and pulled Waverly to her feet, "It means that I'm going with you."

 

*****

 

Nicole made all the arrangements and in a couple of hours Sam was dropping them off at the airport. Her mother had not been happy that Nicole had broken their dinner plans but she really didn't care at the moment. Her only concern was for Waverly, she needed her to know that she was there for her during her time of need. And if that meant going with her all the way to Canada, she was going to do it.

They settled into their seats and Waverly looked over at Nicole, "I can't believe you got us seats in first class Nicole, how did you manage it?"

Nicole winked at her and reached over to take her hand, "Nothing but the best for you Waves."

Waverly could feel herself tearing up as she met Nicole's gaze, "You're to good to me Nicole. I don't deserve this, and I don't deserve you." She turned her head towards the window.

Nicole reached out and gently grasped Waverly underneath her chin so that she could turn her face back towards her, "Listen to me, because I'm only gonna say this once Waverly Earp. You deserve to be happy and you deserve someone who's going to make you happy. You are worth so much more than you give yourself credit for and I don't want to hear those words ever coming out of that beautiful mouth again."

Waverly reached up and grasped Nicole's wrist, as she looked into her eyes she could see the truth in them. She leaned over and softly placed a kiss on Nicole's cheek, "Thank you."

"You don't have to thank me Wave, I meant every word I just said."

Waverly smiled at her and reached up to tuck a strand of hair behind Nicole's ear, "I know you did."  She leaned back into her seat as the flight attendant announced that their flight was getting ready for take off.

Nicole also sat back into her seat and stretched her legs out as much as she could before reaching over and taking Waverly's hand again. They entwined their fingers and it wasn't long before both of them had fallen asleep.

 

*****

 

Nicole woke up just before they landed in Calgary to find Waverly snuggled into her side with her arm thrown across Nicole's lap. She let her sleep until the plane landed and dropped a kiss on the top of her head. "Wave," She whispered softly, "You have to wake up now."

Waverly tightened her grip around Nicole's waist, "Do I have to?"

She dropped another kiss onto her head, "Yeah, we're here."

Waverly opened her eyes and smiled up at Nicole. She looked around at the empty plane, "Are we the last one's on board?"

"I think so, come on." Nicole stood up and retrieved their carry on bags from the overhead bin. She waited for Waverly to exit their row and followed her off of the plane.

Waverly took her bag and the two of them went to baggage claim to wait on their suitcases. They waited for their baggage to arrive and after a short wait Nicole went to collect their suitcases. Waverly watched her go and jumped as someone grabbed her from behind. She spun around and was instantly wrapped in two leather clad arms, Waverly's eyes widening as she recognized the person who had hugged her, "Hey baby girl! Long time no see."

"Wynonna! What are you doing here?"

"I came to drive you home."

"Oh, I thought that we were going to rent a car."

Wynonna didn't miss that, "We? Who's this we you're talking about?"

At that moment Nicole returned with their suitcases, "I'm gonna head over to the rental car counter..." Her voiced trailed off as she saw the other woman standing next to Waverly.

 Wynonna shot Waverly a look before returning her gaze back to Nicole, "Why hello there red, how you doing?"

Waverly stepped closer to Nicole to make the introductions, "Nicole, this is my sister Wynonna. Wyn this is Nicole."

Nicole held out her hand, "It's nice to meet you Wynonna, I've heard a lot about you."

Wynonna shook her hand and huffed out a breath, "That's funny, I haven't heard a thing about you." She looked at Nicole with her eyebrow raised. Nicole was becoming uncomfortable and she looked over at Waverly who was looking at her sister with a raised eyebrow of her own.

"Wynonna!"

"What did I do, you're the one who's been keeping big red here a secret."

Waverly's face was turning red and she took a step towards her sister, "Wynonna Earp, you stop teasing her right now!" She turned towards Nicole and said, "She's pulling your leg, she knows all about you."

Wynonna laughed and proceeded to look Nicole up and down, "Oh I certainly do."

Nicole's mouth dropped open as she turned towards Waverly, "What exactly did you tell her about me?"

Wynonna shot Waverly an amused look, "Well, not much other than how good she thinks you look in your speedo."

Waverly's face was scarlet, "Wynonna!"

Wynonna howled with laughter, "Oh my God Wave, your face is the same shade as her hair." She slapped her thighs and laughed at her observation.

Waverly was angry now, "I can not believe you're acting like this in front of someone you just met!" She grabbed Nicole's hand and pulled her towards the exit.

Wynonna knew that she had pushed her sister too far, "Wave!" She rushed to catch up to them, "Hey, I'm sorry. It was a joke and I took it too far and I'm sorry."

Waverly led the way to Wynonna's truck and as they waited for Wynonna to unlock it Nicole put their bags in the bed of the truck and pulled Waverly into a hug. "You want me to sit in the middle?"

Waverly leaned back in her embrace, "Are you kidding me, with those long legs? It's ok I'll sit in the middle."

Wynonna arrived and refrained from making a comment, she had already angered her sister and decided to press her luck any further. They climbed into the truck and Wynonna started the engine, before driving off she turned towards her sister, "I really am sorry Wave, I just missed you that's all."

"I missed you too Wynonna, but you can be such a jerk sometimes." 

Wynonna laughed and put the truck in gear and before peeling out from the parking lot said, "Hey, it's all part of my charm."

 

*****

 

As soon as they pulled up in front of the large log home, Nicole flung the door open and quickly exited the truck. Her breathing was labored and her eyes were wide.

Waverly hopped out after her, "Are you ok Nicole."

"Jesus Wave you could have warned me about her driving. I thought I was gonna die a couple of times."

"But you didn't die, did ya?" Nicole turned to see Wynonna grinning at her.

The front door to the house opened and an older gentleman walked out onto to the porch followed by a gray-haired woman. Waverly ran up onto the porch and launched herself at the man, who promptly wrapped his arms around her. He let go and Waverly hugged the woman with equal enthusiasm.

She turned and motioned for Nicole to join them and she jerked as Wynonna slapped her on the back before throwing her arm around her shoulders, "Come on red, let's go meet the family."

She led Nicole over to Waverly who reached out and took her hand, "Nicole, this is my Uncle Curtis and Aunt Gus." She turned towards them and with pride in her voice introduced Nicole to her aunt and uncle.

Gus turned towards Wynonna, "Don't just stand there Wyn, take their bags up to Waverly's room."

Nicole looked at the older woman, "It's ok, I can get them."

"Nonsense, you're a guest here and you just made the long journey here. Come inside, would you like some coffee?"

They followed Gus and Curtis into the house and Waverly could see the fatigue on Nicole's face. "Why don't we take a nap before dinner, we're both tired and after the drive here I think we could both do with some rest."

Gus looked at them for a moment, "Ok, dinner will be at six." She moved towards the back of the house and Waverly took Nicole's hand leading her up the stairs.

On their way to Waverly's bedroom they passed Wynonna in the hallway, Waverly's sister smirked at them before uttering, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do ladies."

Waverly rolled her eyes and entered her bedroom, closing the door behind them. She turned towards Nicole, "Um, is it ok if you sleep in here with me, there's not another bedroom available."

Nicole looked into her eyes, "Of course, if it's ok with you." She stepped forward towards Waverly. Reaching out she kept her gaze locked onto Waverly's as she cupped her face in her hands. She bent her head down slowly and captured Waverly's lips with her own. Nicole pulled back slightly, "I've been wanting to do that all day." Waverly reached up and wrapped her arms around Nicole's neck, pulling her head back down and pressing her lips once again to Nicole's. They broke apart and Waverly pressed her forehead against Nicole's chest, leaning back she looked up at Nicole with a serious expression.

Nicole gazed back at her, "Wave, are you ok?"

Waverly nodded and swallowed, "Yes, I'm great, never been better. Oh, God I'm rambling, it's just that, Nicole, I need to tell you something."

Nicole met her gaze, "What is it?"

Waverly opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by a knock on the door. She gave an exasperated sigh before calling out, "Yes!"

"I'm sorry to bother you two, I was just wondering if Nicole has any food allergies. If I'm going to be cooking for you then..."

"No Gus, she doesn't." She turned towards Nicole, "Do you?"

Nicole shook her head and yawned as Waverly plopped down onto the bed, "So, what did you want to tell me?"

Waverly looked up at her before quickly looking away and laying back on the bed, "It's not important, we should get some sleep."

Nicole was confused, Waverly had been ready to tell her something before they had been interrupted and now she was acting...she yawned and kicked off her shoes before joining Waverly on the bed. Whatever Waverly wanted to tell her could wait, she would tell her in her own time. She wrapped her arm around Waverly and pulled her close, dropping a kiss on the back of her neck before drifting off to sleep.

 

*****

 

The next morning at breakfast they talked about what arrangements were being made to lay Ward Earp to rest. Wynonna told Curtis and Gus that she and Waverly were going to drive out to the Earp homestead after breakfast. Nicole squeezed Waverly's hand under the table and asked her softly if she wanted her to go with them. Waverly nodded at her, "I'd like that, thank you."

As they piled into the truck Waverly turned towards Wynonna and said, "Try not to kill us, ok?"

Wynonna rolled her eyes and started the truck, "Wow Waves, are you saying I'm a bad driver?"

"Gee Wynonna, why would you ever think that?"

"When did you get so sarcastic?" she turned towards Nicole, "I'm assuming that I have you to thank for this sudden sassiness."

Nicole held up her hands, "Don't look at me, she was like this when I met her."

Waverly's head snapped around, "Really Nicole? Really?"

Nicole winked at her and Waverly couldn't help but give her a tiny smile before turning to stare out the front window of the truck. The air inside the truck shifted as they pulled to a stop in front of a rundown house. Wynonna reached over and took Waverly's hand, "Welcome home baby girl."

Waverly stared at the house for awhile before turning towards her sister, "How did daddy die?"

"Liver failure, the alcohol finally did him in." "Oh, right." Waverly looked down at her hands for a moment, "Can't say I'm really surprised."

Nicole placed her hand over Waverly's, "Are you ready to go inside? Take your time Wave, whenever you're ready."

"I don't think I'll ever really be ready." She let out a deep sigh before continuing, " All Right, Let's go."

The three of them got out of the truck and Nicole followed the sisters into the house. Wynona let out a whistle as she looked around, "Hasn't changed much has it?"

Waverly was standing two steps inside the front door and at Wynonna's question she shook her head. She didn't move from her spot and Nicole reached up and placed her hand on Waverly's shoulder. Waverly reached up and put her hand on top of Nicole's, she turned her head to see Nicole staring at her with a look of concern on her face. She gave her a small smile, "Thank you."

"Are you ok?"

She nodded, "I'm so glad you're here with me Nicole."

"Hey, I told you I wasn't gonna let you do this alone, there's nowhere else I'd rather be at this moment."

"That means more to me than you could possibly know."

Nicole spent the rest of the afternoon listening to the sisters exchanging stories about their childhood. There was some laughter but there were also some tears as they remembered different events from their childhood that had shaped their lives and influenced the women they were today. They stayed until the sun began to set then headed back to Gus and Curtis's house.

Later as they sat around the table Waverly's face fell as Gus informed them that Willa would be arriving in the morning. She pushed herself back from the table, "I'm sorry, I'm really tired, I think I'll head up to bed." She turned and headed towards the stairs.

Wynonna stood and began to follow her sister but Nicole stopped her, "I'll go."

Wynonna looked at her and nodded, "I'll be right down the hall if she needs anything."

Nicole nodded and quickly ascended the stairs. She stopped for a moment before reaching out and opening the door to their bedroom. Entering the room she found Waverly staring out of the window. "Wave, are you ok?" She turned and closed the door behind her, "Waverly?" Waverly turned towards her and Nicole's heart broke as she saw the tears streaming down her cheeks. Nicole hurried over to Waverly and wrapped her arms around her. Waverly began to sob into Nicole's chest and she just stood there holding her against her body. Nicole kissed the top of her head, "It's O.K. Waverly, it's gonna be O.K. I promise. I'm here, just let it out."

Waverly cried until all of her tears were spent. She nuzzled her face into Nicole's neck and breathed her in for a moment. She pulled back and Nicole reached up and ran her thumbs along Waverly's cheeks. "You can tell me anything Waves, let me help you." Waverly stared into Nicole's eyes not saying a word. "I mean it, you can tell me anything." Nicole looked down towards the floor for a moment before bringing her eyes back up to meet Waverly's. "I'm not going anywhere and I can't imagine my life without you in it. I see that you're hurting and I just wish I could reach inside and take your pain away." Nicole could feel tears of her own forming in her eyes, "I love you so damn much Waves and I..."

Waverly gasped, "You what? What did you say?"

Nicole grasped Waverly's hands, "I said that I love you."

Waverly reached up and pulled Nicole's head down so that she could press their lips together. Nicole's words echoed over in over in her brain as she kissed Nicole and she continued to kiss her until the lack of oxygen caused them to break apart. She reached up and cupped Nicole's face in her hands and smiled up at her. "You love me?"

"Yes, yes I do." Nicole breathed out. 

Waverly reached up to kiss Nicole again but stopped herself, "You make me feel safe, and I'm so grateful to have you in my life. Nicole, I love you too and every moment I spend with you makes me fall deeper in love you."

Nicole kissed her softly and as she pulled away she said softly to Waverly, "Not to spoil the moment but I know that you don't like to talk about your childhood but I think if you talk about it you'll feel better."

Waverly turned and walked back to the window staring out into the darkness and Nicole had to strain to hear her as she began to speak, "You're right Nicole, I don't like to talk about what happened to me, some of my memories are so painful and when I think about them I want to just go to sleep and not wake up." She turned from the window and sat down on the bed and motioned for Nicole to take a seat next to her.

Nicole took her hand, "Wave you don't have to tell me anything you don't want me to know and if you want to stop at any time it's ok."

Waverly sighed and looked down at their joined hands, she seemed to gain strength from this and began her story. "Things weren't always bad Nicole. I remember being happy and then Momma left and Willa was so angry and she blamed me for it. I was four years old and Willa was twelve and she told me that everything was fine until I came along and Momma leaving was my fault because Daddy never wanted me." She paused for a moment and Nicole squeezed her hand in a show of support. Waverly gave her a tiny smile before continuing, " Daddy would come home from work and he'd already be drunk, the smallest thing would set him off and he would take it out on Willa and eventually Wynonna. For the most part he would ignore me and I thought that I was the lucky one because the two of them would go to school and try to hide the bruises." Her eyes began to tear up but she managed to continue, "And every time he would take his anger out on her, Willa would become more and more angry and she would take it out on me. Oh, she would never physically do anything to me, she was cruel and would do anything she could to make me cry. This continued until she turned eighteen. The last time I saw my sister I was ten years old and we've not spoken since. Wynonna followed her two years later and at age twelve..."

Nicole continued for her, "You were left with a drunken bastard, abandoned by your mother and sisters. God Wave, I can't imagine what you went through, it must have been terrible."

Waverly nodded, "It was a nightmare, most of the time there wouldn't be any food in the house and the only time I would eat would be at school. The last night I spent in that house daddy got mad, I can't even remember what it was about but he grabbed my arm and hit me in the face and things went dark. I woke up in the hospital with a broken wrist and my eye was swollen shut. After that I came to live here with my aunt and uncle and for the first time in as long as I could remember I felt loved."

Nicole had tears in her eyes, "You deserved so much better than Ward Earp for a father Wave. My heart is breaking for you and I want you to know that none of this was your fault, you were a little girl who needed nothing more that to feel safe and loved. Instead you were let down by every single person in your life and I can't imagine what that was like for you." Nicole pulled her into a hug, "I love you Waverly Earp and nothing that you've told me today changes that, it actually makes me love you even more because you are without a doubt one of the strongest women I've ever met." She leaned back and reached out, stroking Waverly's cheek, "I'll never understand how so much beauty came from so much ugliness."

"I feel so drained but you were right, a weight has been lifted off of me that I've been carrying around for so long. I'm exhausted, would it be ok if we just go to bed?" Nicole nodded and watched as Waverly grabbed her pajamas and entered the bathroom. She got up and quickly changed before climbing into bed. She lay on her side and when Waverly joined her a short time later Nicole wrapped her arm around Waverly and pulled her into her body. It wasn't long before they both had fallen fast asleep.

 

*****

 

The family had gathered at the Earp Homestead the next morning to pay their last respects to Ward Earp. As Willa approached Waverly Nicole could feel the shorter woman tense up and she placed her hand on Waverly's lower back in an attempt to calm her.

Willa stopped in front of her youngest sister and without saying a word wrapped her arms around Waverly and drew her into a hug before quickly walking away. Waverly turned towards Nicole who shrugged and said, "It's a start Wave."

A couple of people from town had joined the family and one by one stepped up and shared different memories of their father. Afterward the three sisters took turns spreading their father's ashes and soon they were heading back to Gus and Curtis's house.

The family had gathered out on the deck for lunch and as Waverly's phone rang she went into the house to take the call. After she was gone for an extended period of time  Nicole was becoming increasingly concerned with each passing moment that she didn't return.

She excused herself and went in search of Waverly and found her standing in the middle of the living room.  At the shocked expression on her face  Nicole rushed to her side "Waverly, what's wrong? Did something happen?"

Waverly snapped out of it "That was Chris on the phone, apparently I got a letter from the INS and she thought I would like to know what it said."

"This doesn't make any sense, why would the INS be sending you a letter?"

"My student Visa has been revoked Nicole, do you understand what this means?"

"What, how the hell did this happen, I don't understand."

"I don't know but apparently I'm not going to be allowed to go back to the United States. What am I gonna do Nicole? I can't go back to school and..." A look of horror washed over her face, "Nicole, I don't want to lose you!"

Nicole stood there and looked at her, "You won't lose me Wave, I won't let that happen."

"How Nicole? How are you going to make sure that we stay together?" She was starting to panic, "It's going to be kind of hard when we live in two different countries and one of us isn't allowed in the other one's country. So tell me Nicole what are you going to do to stop this from happening because it's happening and there's nothing we can do about it."

Nicole reached out and grabbed Waverly's wrists, "You need to calm down Waves."

"Calm down! How am I supposed to do that Nicole? I'm about to lose everything I've worked my whole life for and I'm about to lose you so tell me Nicole what exactly are we gonna do?"

Nicole smiled at her, "I'll tell you exactly what you're going to do, you're going to marry me."

Chapter Text

Waverly stood in the middle of her Uncle's living room staring at Nicole.  After what seemed like an eternity Waverly was finally able to break the silence and respond, "What did you just say?" Nicole opened her mouth to respond but Waverly held up her hand and stopped her, "Wait a moment, did you just ask me to marry you?" She began to pace back and forth, "No, you didn't ask me, you told me, you said that I'm going to marry you, is that what you said?"


Nicole took a step forward and said, "Yes I did. Wave, think about this for a moment it's the best thing..."


"Best thing for who Nicole? We barely know each other and you want to get married? This doesn't make any sense."


Nicole reached out and took her hand, "It makes perfect sense Waverly, I'm a U.S. citizen and if you're married to me they can't prevent you from entering the country."


Waverly's brain was trying to process what was going on but the emotional roller coaster of the past couple of days was taking a toll on her and she was finding it difficult to think about what Nicole was saying. "This is a bad idea Nicole, a very bad idea and I don't want to marry you just because..." she could feel the tears coming and she spun around and ran up the stairs.


Before Nicole could follow her she felt someone grab her arm with a firm grip. She looked up to find Wynonna standing there.


"What the hell did you say to her?"


"Let me go, I need to talk to her, she needs to understand that this is the best solution."

Wynonna looked confused, "Solution to what?"


Nicole tried to pull away but Wynonna held on even tighter, "Let me go Wynonna! Jesus, you're strong!"


"I'm not letting go of you until you tell me what's going on. I saw the look on her face and I swear to God that if you hurt her I will hurt you. Now, you better tell me why she's so upset before I ring your neck."


Nicole looked over at her in stunned silence, "I would never hurt her, I love her."


"You've got a funny way of showing it Nicole, she ran out of here in tears. What did you say to her."


"I kind of asked her to marry me."


"You did what? Why would you ask her to do something she's clearly not ready for?"


"Someone, and I have a pretty good idea who, had her student visa revoked and now she can't go back to America."


"And if she marries you she can."

"Exactly, but now she thinks that's the only reason I want to marry her and it's not true. I can't imangine my life without her in it and I'll do anything to prevent that from happening."


She finally pulled her arm out of Wynonna's grasp and hurried towards the stairs, an overwhelming urge to talk sense into Waverly driving her on. She rushed down the hallway and attempted to open the door only to find it locked, "Waverly, open the door."

"Go away Nicole, I don't need your pity."


"Pity? If that's what you think this is about Wave you're wrong." She knocked on the door again, "Waverly let me in, I just want to talk to you." After getting no response she leaned her forehead against the door, "Waverly I love you, open the door."


"Please Nicole, I can't."


"I'll be downstairs when you're ready to talk."


She turned to leave to find Wynonna standing there. Wynonna reached out and put her hand on Nicole's shoulder, giving it a small squeeze, "I got this Red, I'll talk to her." At Nicole's hesitation she gestured with her thumb, "Go downstairs, give her some time."


Nicole nodded and turned to leave, "Thank you." She slowly walked back down the hallway and descended the stairs.

 

*****

 

Wynonna watched her go then turned and knocked on the door, "Wave, open up it's just me."


Waverly opened the door and stepped aside so that her sister could enter the room. Wynonna sat down on the foot of the bed and patted the spot next to her. Waverly closed the door to the room before sitting down next to her sister on the bed. She stared down at the floor and wouldn't even look up at her sister as she spoke, "So, you want to tell me what's got you all upset?"


"Nicole wants me to marry her."


"And that's a reason to get this upset?"


Waverly looked up at her sister, "I don't want to marry her out of some sense of obligation Wynonna!"


"Do you love her?"


"Yes, very much." He voice was barely above a whisper and Wynonna had to strain to hear her."


"And does she love you?"


"She says she does..."

Wynonna interuppted her, "But you aren't sure." She huffed out a breath in disbelief at how blind her sister was to Nicole's feelings, "So let me get this straight, you aren't sure that she loves you even though she dropped everything to come here with you.  Waverly, she just won a national championship on what was probably the biggest night of her life and she didn't even hesitate to give up her opportunity to enjoy it so that she could be with you because you needed her. Come on Waves, I haven't known Nicole very long but even I can see that she's hopelessly in love with you."


Waverly looked stunned, "I..."


Wynonna put her arm around her sister's shoulder and pulled her into her body, "You're scared and I get it. After everything you went through with daddy and everyone leaving you I totally get why you would be afraid of letting your guard down."


Waverly looked over at her sister, "I was so mad at you Nonna for leaving me with daddy, I was mad at you for so long."


"I know you were baby girl and I wanted to come and get you after I got settled. After you came to live here with Gus and Curtis I came for a visit with the intention of taking you with me when I left."


"Then why didn't you?"

"Because I could see that you were happy and they were what you needed. They could give you everything that I couldn't Waves, you needed stability in your life and I knew that you would probably never get that with me. I began to travel and see the world but I also spent a great deal of time searching for momma."


Waverly's eyes widened, "I didn't know that you were looking for her, why didn't you tell me?"


"I didn't want you to get your hopes up. Willa and I both spent the better part of two years searching for her and we came up empty handed. She just disappeared without a trace." She reached out and squeezed Waverly's hand for a moment, "So, have you made a decision yet? I mean if there's going to be a wedding then we have a ton of things to do."


Waverly gave her a little smile, "I don't know, it makes perfect sense and I understand where's she coming from. I want to finish school and I don't want to lose her Nonna, I've never felt like this about anyone before."


"Sounds to me like you have an easy decision Waves."


Waverly sighed, "Maybe I do, but I need to think about it for awhile ok?"

Wynonna stood up, "Take your time, I don't think she's going anywhere. Hell, if she's half as awesome as you make her out to be then I just might be tempted to marry her myself." She gave Waverly a wink before turning to go.


Waverly sprang to her feet and threw her arms around her older sister, "Don't even think about it." She pulled away from her embrace, "I love you Nonna, and I forgive you so stop beating yourself up over things you can't change."


Wynonna could feel tears forming in her eyes, "I love you too Waves and thanks for that."


Waverly smiled at her, "No Nonna, thank you."

 

*****

 

Nicole stood on the front porch of the house with her hands braced against the railing. As she stared at the mountains in the distance she became lost in thought. She didn't know what she was going to do if Wynonna wasn't able to convince Waverly that this was the only way they could be together. She could feel the tension building inside her and the muscles in her back felt like they were in knots. They hadn't known each other long but Nicole knew that she didn't want to live her life without Waverly by her side, just the thought of that prospect made her miserable. Her heart was breaking and they only one who could fix it was Waverly. She hung her head and exhaled deeply fighting back the emotions that were threatening to surface. It was a battle that she was quickly losing as tears began to spill down her cheeks.


She was so lost in her thoughts and emotions that she didn't hear Waverly approaching her from behind. Waverly could tell from her posture that Nicole was upset and it pained her to know that she was the cause of it. She felt an overwhelming urge to comfort her and closed the gap between them by slipping her arms around Nicole's waist and pressing her face into her back.


"Hey you, I thought I might find you out here."


Nicole didn't reply and even the feel of Waverly's arms around her was little comfort to her at the prospect of having to say goodbye to the woman that she loved. She let out another deep breath and softly began to weep as fresh tears began to flow.


Waverly tightened her grip on Nicole and softly replied, "I'm so sorry honey, I'm so sorry." She relaxed her grip just enough to grasp Nicole's hip and turn her around so that she could face her. She reached up and wiped the tears from Nicole's cheeks. "I'm so sorry I freaked out and caused you all of this pain Nicole. I never want to hurt you and I intend to spend the rest of my life making it up to you."


Nicole's head snapped up and she looked Waverly in the eye before whispering, "What are you saying."


Waverly smiled at her, "I'm saying that I want a proper proposal. I mean you can't just tell someone that they're going to marry you, there should be some sort of question involved, right?"


Nicole stared at her in stunned silence, she had hoped for this from Waverly but a small part of her had been prepared for the opposite. She grinned and dropped her head to capture Waverly's lips before kneeling down in front of her. She cleared her throat and reached up to take Waverly's hand before speaking, "Waverly Earp, the day I met you is the day I found my other half. I can't imagine living the rest of my life without you by my side and I love you with everything I am. I would be so honored and proud to call you my wife, will you marry me?"


Waverly could feel tears forming in her eyes as she looked down at Nicole, "How could I possibly say no to that, yes Nicole I'll marry you." She reached down and cupped Nicole's face in her hands before dropping to he knees in front of her. "I love you so much and I don't want to be without you either, you have my heart Nicole."


Nicole pulled Waverly into her body and kissed her deeply before pulling quickly away. "I almost forgot," She reached into the pocket of her jeans and took out a small box opening it to reveal the ring inside.


"Nicole," Waverly breathed out softly, "Where did you get that, when did you..."

"It belonged to my grandmother, she left it to me when she passed away."


"It's beautiful Nicole, I love it."


"And I love you." She slipped the ring onto Waverly's finger, "A perfect fit."


Waverly was overcome by a feeling of such happiness, she had never been this happy before. She looked up at Nicole and shyly said, "We should celebrate, tonight, just the two of us."


"What did you have in mind?"


Waverly got up onto her tiptoes and whispered her answer into Nicole's ear. The blush that formed on Nicole's cheek deepened with each word that Waverly uttered into her ear. Her breath caught as Waverly began to kiss her neck and she closed her eyes, thoroughly enjoying the moment.


The moment was shattered as she opened her eyes to see Wynonna standing there watching them, "Babe, as much as I want you to continue, we have company."


Waverly turned her head and Wynonna shot her a wicked grin, "Oh don't stop on my account ladies." She laughed before continuing, "I take it this means there's good news?"


Waverly broke their embrace and turned towards her sister holding up her hand so that she could see her ring. "Nonna, I'm getting married!"


"I can see that and I'm so happy for you both." She hugged Waverly before reaching out to grasp Nicole's hand, "Welcome to the family Red!"


Nicole raised an eyebrow, "Thanks Wynonna I'm looking forward to gaining sisters, I don't have any myself."


"Well you're in for a treat with us." She winked at them before turning around and walking back towards the front door. "If you two are hungry dinner is ready, it's what I came out here to tell you."


Waverly held out her hand and Nicole took it as they followed her inside, walking hand in hand.

 

*****

 

Everyone congratulated them and after dinner Nicole excused herself to make a couple of phone calls. Waverly was sitting on the couch in the living room waiting for Nicole to come back inside and as she waited she was looking down, admiring the ring on her finger.


"It's really beautiful Waverly."


Waverly nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of Willa's voice coming from the other end of the couch. "You scared me!"


"I'm sorry I thought you saw me come in, but you seemed to be lost in thought so I'm not really surprised that you didn't." She paused for a moment seeming to collect herself before continuing, "I know we've never been close and I'd like it if we could change that. I need to apologize Waverly for being so nasty to you when we were kids. I did a lot of things that I'm not proud of and I'm so sorry for hurting you."


Waverly reached out and took Willa's hand in hers, "We both went through so much as children Willa, and what daddy put you through, I can understand why you did it."


"That still doesn't make it right Waverly, I should have protected you instead of taking my anger out on you. I remember being so angry all of the time and there you were so sweet and innocent and I was jealous of you. What I did to you that day at the river, I'll never forgive myself for that." Willa reached up and wiped away the tears that were welling in her eyes.


Waverly reached over and drew her oldest sister into a hug, "I forgive you Willa, we all suffered at his hands and momma leaving us, that's on her. It wasn't any of our fault that she did that, she's the one who made a choice to leave us with him. She knew what he was capable of and she still left us. I guess I've been carrying around a lot of anger for a long time, I was angry at both of our parents, but I was also angry at you and Wynonna for leaving me alone with him. It took me a long time to realize that you did what you had to do to survive, I know that now and I'm not angry anymore."


Willa pulled back, "Wow, when did you become such a grownup? You're not a little kid anymore and you're getting married, I can't believe it. I hate to admit that when Wynonna told me you were into girls I was a little weirded out by it but seeing you with Nicole I can see that the two of you belong together. You're going to love being married, I know I do."


"Willa, I didn't know you have a husband. Wynonna never told me."


"Not only married but I just found out right before I left to come here that we're expecting our first child."


"That's fantastic news Willa! Does everyone else know?"

"You're the first person I've told. I was going to tell everyone at dinner tonight but your news kind of stole my thunder." At Waverly's horrified expression Willa laughed and assured her that it was all right, she had plenty of time to tell everyone before she left to go home.


"I'm so happy for you Willa, and I want to keep in touch if that's all right with you."


"I'd really love that Waverly and if you wouldn't mind Wynonna and I would like to help you
plan your wedding."


"Of course, that would be great."


Willa yawned, "It's been a long day and I think I'll turn in, besides I think someone is waiting for you." She gave Waverly a smile as she got up off of the couch and headed upstairs.


Waverly looked up to see Nicole leaning against the door jamb watching her. Her face broke out into a huge grin and she leaped up off the couch and rushed over to Nicole who opened her arms as Waverly launched herself into her body. Waverly flung her arms around Nicole's neck and she captured the redhead's lips as Nicole wrapped her arms around the brunette and pulled her in tight.


Waverly continued to kiss Nicole, her hands involuntarily threaded themselves into Nicole's hair in order to pull her closer and deepen their kiss. She could feel Nicole's hand slowly slipping underneath her shirt and Waverly gasped as she felt Nicole's fingertips brushing against the bare skin of her lower back.


Nicole pulled back and looked into Waverly's eyes, "Maybe we should take this somewhere more private."


Waverly nodded in agreement and Nicole grabbed her hand, pulling her towards the stairs, only to stop abruptly as she collided with Wynonna who was currently blocking them from their destination.


Wynonna had a devilish grin on her face, "Going somewhere ladies?"


Waverly looked over at her sister and said, "We were going to bed, get out of the way Wynonna!"


"Going to bed, looks to me like you're both wide awake." She turned her attention to Nicole, "You're looking a bit flushed there red, are you feeling ok?"


Waverly was quickly becoming annoyed with Wynonna's antics and stepped forward until she was inches away from Wynonna, "Look Wynonna I'm only going to say this to you one more time, get out of the damn way!"


"Hey, don't get your panties in a twist Wave, I'm doing you a favor."


"A favor? What's that supposed to mean?"


"It means that we all decided that there's going to be no hanky-panky until after the wedding."  Wynonna could see that neither of them were amused and Waverly in particular looked downright outraged by this.


"Really, you all decided!" She reached up and poked Wynonna in the chest with her index finger, "What in the hell gives you the right to decide who I spend my time with? In case you haven't noticed I'm a grown woman!" She turned her head back towards Nicole, "Jump in any time Nicole because this affects you too."


Nicole had heard enough, "Jokes over Wynonna, let us go to bed."

"No can do, I promised Gus that I would make sure that one of you sleeps on the couch, unless you'd prefer that Nicole stay in my room with me."


The smirk on Wynonna's face was the last straw for Waverly and she was beginning to raise her voice, "Absolutely not! How dare you even suggest..."


Nicole interrupted her because things where becoming out of hand, "Wait a minute, you aren't kidding are you?"

"I wish I were," She flashed Nicole a sincere smile before saying, "Blankets and pillows are in that chest over there and believe me that couch is more comfortable than it looks."


"The only place Nicole will be sleeping tonight is with me."


Nicole reached out and grasped Waverly's hand once again, "It's ok Wave, I'll sleep on the couch. This is your aunt's house and we need to respect her wishes." She turned and looked at Wynonna, "can I at least change for bed?"

 

Wynonna moved to the side and gestured up the stairs, "Be my guest." She looked at Waverly as her sister moved to follow Nicole, "And where do you think you're going?"

"Up to my room and I swear to God Wynonna if you try to stop me I will kill you. I'm really mad at you right now you know, this isn't fair."


"Life isn't fair kid and believe me, by the time you two are married and can actually "do the deed" it will be worth the wait."  Waverly stared at her as she used air quotes to emphasize the phrase.


Waverly crossed her arms and glared at her sister, "If you say so, I'm going upstairs to spend the next couple of nights alone and miserable so thank you very much!" She turned and stomped up the stairs, completely missing the very amused expression on her older sister's face.

 

*****

 

Waverly entered her bedroom to find Nicole just finishing changing into her pajamas. Waverly walked directly over to her and wrapped Nicole in her arms, "This isn't how I pictured this night ending, I'm sorry."


Nicole put her finger underneath Waverly's chin and gently tilted her head back so that she could look in her eyes. "It's ok Waverly..."


"No it isn't Nicole, I thought that tonight we could celebrate getting engaged that we could finally be together."


"You think I don't want that too? I've never felt like this about anyone before Waverly and I'd love nothing more than to strip you out of those clothes and worship that beautiful body of yours."

Waverly's eyes darkened and she leaned up closer to Nicole's ear and whispered, "Why don't you do just that, I want to feel you against me." She moved her head down and began to place kisses onto Nicole's neck.


Nicole groaned, thoroughly enjoying what was happening but the sound of footsteps stomping loudly outside in the hallway caused her to pull back and hurriedly say, "Waverly did you lock the..."


The sound of the door flinging open and striking the wall broke they apart and the two of them looked over to find Wynonna standing in the now open doorway.


Waverly's face was red and Nicole wasn't sure if it was from anger or embarrassment, "Shit, I forgot."


"Well, well, well, what do we have here? I can't leave you two alone for five minutes." She said with a smirk.


Waverly's face was bright red and there was a fire in her eyes that Nicole had never seen before, "Get out of here Wynonna!"


Wynonna held up her hands, "Hey don't blame me I'm just the messenger."


Waverly took a step towards her sister, "You know what you can do Wynonna, you can just fuck off that's what!"


Wynonna laughed and this seemed to anger Waverly even more, she took another step towards her sister and Nicole reached out and grabbed her arm before she could get any closer to her, "Hey, calm down Wave." She turned Waverly towards her and reached over, cupping Waverly's cheek in her hand, "I don't like this either but I'd rather not marry you from the outside of a jail cell."


At Nicole's reassuring smile Waverly began to feel the anger leave her body. She reached up and placed her hand over the one that was resting on her cheek. "I love you so much and I can't wait until I can call you my wife." She reached up and placed a kiss onto Nicole's lips before stepping back and sighing, the last thing Waverly wanted was to spend the night alone without Nicole next to her bed.


As Nicole turned to leave she dropped a kiss onto Waverly's cheek, "Have a goodnight sweetheart and I'll see you in the morning, I love you." She stepped past Wynonna without giving her another glance and descended the stairs towards her lonely couch.

 

*****

 

Gus walked into the living room the next morning to a strange sight. She stopped in her tracks as she discovered the sleeping figures snuggled up together on the couch.
"What in the world are those two doing sleeping down here?" She shook her head and entered the kitchen to start the coffee and make breakfast.


A few minutes after the smell of coffee permeated the entire house, a sleepy Wynonna stumbled into the kitchen with Willa close on her heels.


Gus turned towards them and asked, "Do either of you know why those two would be bunking down on the couch instead of upstairs in Waverly's room?"


Wynonna was in the process of pouring herself a cup of coffee and she muttered under her breath, "No idea, don't ask me."


Willa noticed her lack of eye contact and knew that the fact that Wynonna wouldn't look at them probably meant that she had something to do with it. She took a step towards her younger sister and asked, "Wynonna, are you sure you don't know anything about it?" Wynonna's lack of response gave her all the answers she needed and she rolled her eyes, "My God Wynonna, what did you say to them, was this some sort of prank?"


Wynonna's face turned pink and she turned around, "I never thought that they would actually believe me, hey how was I supposed to know that Nicole was so damn honorable."


Willa raised an eyebrow at her, "What exactly did you tell them Wynonna, and don't lie to me because if you do I'll know."


"Um, I kind of told them that we thought it was best if they uh, didn't, um sleep together until after the wedding."


Gus's mouth dropped open in surprise, "Wynonna, how could you do such a terrible thing to your baby sister? I suppose you drug my name into this too."


Wynonna shrugged and replied, "How else was I gonna sell it to them."

Willa looked at her sister with a look of disbelief, "And I thought what I did to her was cruel, gee Wynonna, this takes the cake, seriously." She reached over and took the coffee from Wynonna and proceeded to drink it.


"Dude, are you supposed to be drinking coffee in your condition?"

"It's decaf Wynonna." She said as she took another drink of her coffee, "That prank is really messed up Wynonna, are you ever going to grow up?"


Wynonna chuckled, "It seemed like a good idea at the time, and you should have seen their faces!"


Gus had heard enough, "When they wake up the first thing you are going to do is apologize to them and you are going to admit that you acted alone on this. No more shenanigans Wynonna, we have a wedding to plan in a very short amount of time. I overheard Nicole on the phone telling someone that she needs to get back to school for training in a few weeks so we need to get the ball rolling on this and if you can't behave you can sit this one out, do you understand."


Wynonna's face fell, "Yes, ma'am."


"Good, now go grab the potatoes and start peeling them you are helping me with breakfast."

 

*****

 

Needless to say when Waverly found out the truth she was not amused, "You did what?"


Wynonna looked down at her feet, "I made the whole thing up Wave and I'm sorry."


"I can not believe you Wynonna! Why would you do this?" Wynonna looked up and Waverly shot her an angry look, "I could kill you right now you know that, you are such an asshole!"


"Yes, I know."


Waverly held up her fingers to show her sister that her thumb and finger were very close together, "I'm about this close from uninviting you to my wedding." She threw her hands up into the air before spinning around and stomping up the stairs.


Nicole watched her leave and was secretly happy that Waverly's anger wasn't directed at her and she hoped that she would never have to experience being on the receiving end of it. After Waverly disappeared from view Nicole turned her attention to Wynonna and waited for her to speak.


Wynonna sighed, "I suppose you're pissed at me too, I wouldn't blame you if you are."


"What would you like me to say Wynonna? You kind of ruined our night and that was a dick move by the way." She crossed her arms and turned to look out the window, "last night was supposed to be special."

Wynonna's face fell, "Oh shit, I'm really sorry Nicole."


Nicole turned back around, "I know you are Wynonna, I can see it all over your face but I'm not the one you need to convince."


"Can you help me out with that? I don't know if she's ever gonna forgive me for this."


"I'm sorry but I think you're on your own with this one."


"You're right." Wynonna sighed and left the room.


Nicole watched her go and felt bad for her even though she was a little angry at her too. Waverly had told her one time that Wynonna was always pulling pranks when they were kids as a way of getting attention. So Wynonna pulling what Nicole had to admit was an epic prank, made perfect sense. Willa was having a baby and now Waverly was getting married so Wynonna was obviously feeling left out. Nicole didn't know what it was like to be a middle child but she could only imagine that it could be a lonely existence.
She took the stairs two at a time in search of Waverly, determined to help make this right.

 

******

 

It took all of her powers of persuasion but Nicole was eventually able to convince Waverly to allow her sister to attend their wedding. After they came back downstairs Waverly let her sister know in no uncertain terms that she wouldn't be allowed to attend unless she was on her best behavior.


As the four of them sat around the kitchen table planning every aspect of the ceremony, Nicole discovered that while she was trying to calm her fiancé down, Willa had been making phone calls in order to get the ball rolling. She had managed to find a minister willing to marry them, a florist and she had called around to different jewelry stores pricing rings. The only thing left to decide was where the ceremony was going to take place.


Nicole looked over at Waverly, "What do you think?"


We could have it at the Homestead but I don't think I want that, I have too many bad memories of that place, or we could have it here."


Wynonna had been looking at things on her phone she turned her phone around to show Waverly and Nicole what she had found during her search, "What about here?"


Waverly grabbed the phone out of her sister's hand and became very excited, "Oh Nonna, it's perfect!" She turned towards Nicole to show her the picture, "Isn't it gorgeous Nicole, and it's on the very edge of our property so it won't cost us anything."


"If it keeps that smile on that beautiful face of yours then I agree, it's perfect Wave."


Waverly leaned over and placed a kiss on Nicole's cheek, "Have I told you how much I love you?"


"Hmmm, not in the last five minutes, no." She kissed Waverly gently on the forehead and smiled at her. "Are you ready to go ring shopping?"


It was Willa's turn to  become excited, "I found the perfect shop, but we will have to drive to the city, I think you're going to like what they have to offer."


Nicole stood up and grabbed Waverly's hand, pulling her to her feet, "I'm ready if you are, are you coming Wynonna?"


"I didn't know if you wanted me to come with you."

Waverly looked at her sister, "Of course we want you to come."


Wynonna gave her a huge grin and leapt to her feet, "Well what are we waiting for, let's go."


As Willa and Wynonna walked out the front door Waverly reached out and Nicole took her hand as they followed her sisters out the door.

 

*****

 

Two days later Nicole woke up and reached out her hand and instead of finding Waverly she only found an empty space next to her. She opened her eyes and smiled as happy thoughts flooded her brain. Today was the day that she and Waverly were getting married and Nicole could barely contain the joy that threatened to overwhelm her.
She stretched and decided that she needed to get moving if she was going to make it to her own wedding on time. As she made her way to the bathroom she heard a soft knock at the door which caused her to pause in her tracks.


"Nicole it's me, are you awake?"


Nicole stepped over to the door and reached for the handle, "Wave, what's wrong?"


"Don't open the door because I don't want you to see me, it's bad luck you know. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I love you and I can't wait until you're officially my wife."


"I love you so much Waves and I'm going to spend the rest of my life showing you exactly how much. Now, go get ready and I'll see you in a couple of hours."


"See you then, and don't be late"

Nicole sighed as she heard Waverly walk down the hall in the direction of Wynonna's room. She turned around and made her way towards the bathroom so she could get ready.


Thirty minutes later she came out of the bathroom and began to get dressed. After they had left the jewelry store she had gone shopping with Willa for an outfit to wear to the ceremony. She stood In front of the full length mirror in the corner and ran her hands down her black linen trousers, smoothing out the nonexistent wrinkles in them. She was also wearing a simple white button down shirt. As she stepped into her shoes and looked up at the sound of  someone opening the door.  A huge grin broke out on her face as she saw her best friend Sam entering the room. Willa followed her and the two of them congratulated Nicole before they made their way out to Willa's rental car and  driving off towards their destination.

 

*****

 

It took Waverly much longer to get ready and by the time they needed to leave they were already running late. As Waverly put the final touches on her makeup she looked up to see Wynonna standing there staring at her with tears in her eyes.


Waverly looked at her with concerned expression, "What's wrong Nonna?"


"You're just so damn beautiful baby girl and I am so proud of you. I wish you and Nicole all the best and I know you're going to make each other happy. I really am sorry for what I did to you guys."


Waverly reached out and grasped her sister's hand,  "I've already forgotten about that and I'm really glad you're here to share this day with me."


Wynonna wiped at the tears that were forming in her eyes, "I wouldn't be anywhere else." She looked over at the clock on her bedside table and swore, "If we're going to get there on time we better leave now, are you ready?"


"I've never been more ready for anything, let's go."


Waverly followed Wynonna out the front door and climbed into her truck. She started the engine and it sputtered for a moment before turning over.


At Waverly's worried expression Wynonna reassured her that everything was fine. They drove in silence and Waverly became lost in thought as she imagined Nicole waiting for her to arrive with that dimpled smile on her face that Waverly adored.


She was so lost in thought that she didn't realize that they were pulling over to the side of the road until she heard her sister swearing loudly.


"Shit, shit, shit!"


Waverly looked over at her sister, "What's wrong Wynonna, what's going on?" She looked up at the front window and her eyes widened as she saw the smoke pouring out from underneath the hood of the truck. "What the hell is going on Wynonna?"


"I knew I should have taken this bitch in to get looked at."


"You knew your truck was having issues and you thought it would be a good idea to drive me to my wedding! Jesus Christ Wynonna!" She sat back in a huff and reached into her purse to retrieve her phone, only to discover she had no service. "Oh this is bad, this is really bad."


Wynonna looked at her phone and quickly put it back into her pocket, "Well, shit, now what?"


The panic was beginning to rise inside of Waverly as she realized that they were now stuck in the middle of nowhere in a broken down truck with no way to call for help. "Oh, my God, Nicole's going to think I changed my mind like some kind of runaway bride or something! Nonna, what are we going to do?"


Wynonna looked over at her sister and slapped her on the leg, "Well sis, if you want to get to the church on time then I suggest we better start walking."

Chapter Text

Nicole no longer noticed the beauty of her surroundings as she currently paced back and forth in the clearing by the river, "Waverly is never late, they should have been here thirty minutes ago, something must have happened."

Willa and Sam watched her as she checked her phone once again, and has she turned to start pacing again Willa said to her, "Waverly is with Wynonna and she is always late."

Nicole stopped in her tracks, "That may be true but Waverly would have made sure they made it here on time, I can't shake the feeling that something happened to them." She turned her head and met Willa's gaze, "I need you to drive me back to Gus and Curtis's house, we need to look for them."

Sam looked over at the two of them, "I'll stay here in case they show up, everything will be ok."

Willa nodded and the two of them got into her car and drove back towards the house. As they sped down the road Nicole noticed that they passed a black SUV heading in the opposite direction. When they had traveled about another mile they spied Wynonna's truck sitting on the side of the road.

Willa pulled over and stopped the car and before it had completely stopped Nicole was flinging the door open and hopping out. She rushed towards the truck with Willa on her heels only to discover that it was empty, the sisters were nowhere to be found.

Nicole thought of herself as a calm person but not knowing where Waverly was unnerved her and she began to feel the panic rise within her. She began to call Waverly's name and each second of not getting a response her voice was becoming more and more desperate. She felt a hand on her arm and she spun towards the other woman, "Where are they Willa? What if they're lost in the woods, wandering around, Oh my God, what if someone took them?" She pulled away and walked towards the edge of the woods, "What if it was the person in the SUV we passed, we need to find that car!"

Willa could see that she needed to calm Nicole down, she gently lay her hand on Nicole's shoulder, "I think we need to head back and see if they've made it there, someone could have came along and saw that they needed help and picked them up."

Nicole stopped for a moment, "Ok we'll head back but if they aren't there we need to get a search party out into the woods." Tears were forming in her eyes and she reached up to clutch Willa's hand, "I can't lose her, we can't lose either of them."

They got into the car and Willa stomped on the gas pedal as they quickly drove off.

 

*****

 

Willa brought the car to a screeching halt beside a black SUV, Nicole looked out of her window and noticed a tall gentleman standing next to it with his back towards her. She got out of the car and marched towards him determined to find out if he had anything to do with Waverly's disappearance. As she neared him he turned and she stopped in her tracks as a look of recognition washed over her face, "Tommy!" Nicole closed the space between them and threw her arms around his neck drawing him into a hug.

He wrapped his arms around her back and lifted her off the ground, "Hey sis."

"I can't believe you're here! When did you get in?"

He set Nicole back down on her feet and smiled down at her, "You really think I'd miss my baby sister's wedding?" His brow crinkled and he flashed her a dimpled smiled that almost mirrored her own. He looked over his shoulder at something before continuing, "I would have been here sooner but I stopped on my way here to help some people who were stranded, I think you might know them."

Nicole spun around to find Waverly standing a short distance behind her. She felt a huge wave of relief wash over her and she rushed over towards the brunette. When she reached her she wrapped the shorter woman in a tight hug. "I was so worried Wave, I was so afraid something happened to you, I don't know what I would have done if it had."

"Hey, hey, it's okay honey I'm fine thanks to that gentleman over there. It's a good thing he came along because he saved Wynonna's life." Nicole looked down at her with a questioning look and she continued, "I was going to kill her because I thought she was going to make me miss our wedding."

Nicole released Waverly before reaching down and taking her hand in order to guide her over to her brother. "Waverly I'd like you to meet my brother Thomas Haught junior. Tommy, this is Waverly."

Waverly extended her hand towards him, "Even though you came to my rescue I didn't know you were Nicole's brother. I've actually heard a lot about you, but Nicole never showed me a picture of you."

"It's nice to meet you too Waverly. My parents couldn't make it here so I'd like to welcome you to the family." He looked over at his sister, "So, has she met the dragon lady yet?"

Nicole nodded, "Unfortunately."

"I can tell from your reaction that it didn't go over well." he laughed, "Oh please tell me you two are coming home for Christmas, it should be quite entertaining."

Nicole reached over and smacked him in the arm before turning her attention back to Waverly, "Don't listen to him, he's just trying to give me a hard time."

Waverly reached up and touched Nicole's cheek with her hand, "Nothing could keep me from marrying you sweetheart, I love you so much and I'm going to keep loving you for the rest of our lives."

Nicole dropped a soft kiss onto Waverly's lips, she looked up to see Willa and Wynonna watching them and Willa motioned for Nicole to join her. "Looks like I have to go for a few minutes, see you soon." She turned and slowly walked over to Willa and towards her future.

 

*****

 

Waverly walked with her Uncle Curtis to where Nicole was standing near the bank of the river. Nicole reached out with her hand and she took it within her own and they turned and faced each other as they recited their vows and pledged themselves to one another. As the ceremony commenced Waverly could barely contain her happiness, the smile never leaving her face. Before she knew it she was slipping the ring on Nicole's finger and reaching up to seal their vows with a kiss.

Waverly had agreed to take Nicole's last name and as they walked hand in hand towards their guests they were introduced as Nicole and Waverly Haught. She stopped suddenly and the thought hit her that this was all real, they were really married and Nicole was all hers.

Nicole could see tears in Waverly's eyes and she took a step towards her to place her hands on either side of Waverly's waist, "Baby, what's wrong?" When she got no response she swallowed and softly asked, "You're not having second thoughts are you?"

Waverly reached up and cupped Nicole's face in her hands, "I will never ever have any regrets or second thoughts about marrying you Nicole. You've made me the happiest woman in the world and I wouldn't change anything about today."

Nicole leaned down and kissed Waverly, pulling her into her body. She pulled back and softly whispered, "I love you so much and I can't wait to be with you tonight."

Waverly looked into Nicole's eyes and she gave her a look full of promise. "Oh really, and what do you intend to do with me once we're alone?"

"You'll just have to wait and see." She pressed a quick kiss to Waverly's cheek before turning towards their guests in order to receive their congratulations.

As Nicole turned she found herself engulfed in two very strong arms, "Congratulations Haught! When I'm right, I'm right!" Sam let her go and grinned at Nicole, "I told you didn't I?"

Nicole stared back at her and shook her head before smiling back, "Yes you did."

Waverly looked between the two of them, "What were you right about Sam?"

Sam reached out and hugged her, "Well, your new wife over there needed a little push and I just happened to give it to her." She looked over and winked at Nicole before turning her attention back to Waverly, "You really do make a beautiful bride Waverly and thank you for making my best friend so happy." She squeezed Waverly's hand and smiled at them before walking away.

 

*****

 

After getting congratulations from Gus, Curtis, Willa and Nicole's brother Tommy, Waverly looked up to find Wynonna standing with her back to them by the river. She slowly approached her sister and came to a stop next to her. They stood in silence for a moment before Wynonna began to speak, "I'm sorry I almost ruined your day Wave, I seem to be an expert on screwing things up and today was no exception."

Waverly reached out and took her hand, "Nonna, you're my big sister and I love you. All that matters to me is that we made it here and I was able to marry the woman that I love and the fact that you were here to share this day with me made it that much more special."

Wynonna wiped the tears from her eyes and brought her younger sister into a hug. "I love you too baby girl and I am beyond happy for you. She released her and glanced over towards Nicole who was having an animated conversation with her brother, "She better treat you right or she's gonna be in a world of hurt."

"You have nothing to worry about. Nicole is the sweetest most caring person I've ever met, she makes me so happy."

"I can see that and Wave, I'd like to come visit you in a couple of months if it's all right with you and Nicole, I don't want to feel like a stranger to you anymore."

Both women looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps, "We would love that Wynonna." Nicole reached out her hand but instead of taking it Wynonna drew her into a hug before quickly releasing her. "Thank you for making my baby sister so happy Nicole, welcome to the family."

"Thank you, and if you wouldn't mind I need my wife for a few minutes."

"Of course, I'll see you back at the house."

They watched Wynonna walk off and say something to Willa before the two of them got into Willa's car and drove off. "I wonder what those two are up to,?" She huffed out a laugh, "Knowing Wynonna it's probably nothing good. I'll bet it's..." She looked over at Waverly and stopped talking because Waverly was looking at her with such adoration it took her breath away. Nicole reached out and took Waverly's hand and asked softly, "What?"

Waverly looked into Nicole's eyes and rubbed her thumb along her hand, "You called me your wife."

"If you keep looking at me like that we aren't going to make it to our reception."

Waverly took a step closer to her, "Is that right?"

Nicole nodded before pulling Waverly into her body, "I want you Wave and I can't wait until we're alone."

Waverly didn't speak she just stared into Nicole's eyes giving her a look filled with love and an unspoken promise that made Nicole's heart skip a beat. She was struggling to keep her composure and it took all of her willpower not to drag Waverly off to some secluded spot and show her exactly what she meant by her last statement.

Nicole couldn't have known that Waverly was also consumed by the same thoughts and as she thought about what was to come later that evening a blush creeped onto her cheeks and before Nicole could ask her about it she reached up and placed her hands on the sides of Nicole's face, bringing her head down into a fiery kiss that knocked the wind out of both of them.

Waverly broke the kiss and took a step backward, trying to catch her breath. She heard someone calling her name and looked up to see Gus waving at her to join them. She turned to ask Nicole if she was ready but the redhead was already next to her and Waverly could feel Nicole's hand resting on the small of her back. Waverly linked her arm within Nicole's and the two of them walked together towards their newly joined family.

 

*****

 

Later that evening after they had eaten dinner, the remaining guests were in the backyard and Nicole excused herself from Sam and Tommy in order to find Waverly. She found her standing off to the side talking to her sisters.

Nicole leaned against the side of the house and quietly watched her new wife as she laughed at something Wynonna said to her. As she stood and stared at Waverly she marveled at how breathtakingly beautiful she found her. She couldn't believe how lucky she was to be able to call Waverly her wife and the prospect of starting their life together warmed her heart. She let her eyes wander down Waverly's body, slowly taking in every soft curve and pausing on Waverly's supple backside. Her mind began to wander and she began to fantasize about what it would be like to run her hands over those curves, to feel Waverly's soft skin underneath her fingertips as she removed her clothes.

Nicole brought her eyes back up towards Waverly's face and was startled to find the brunette staring back at her with a questioning look on her face.

The expression on Nicole's face told Waverly all she needed to know and as she stood there she watched Nicole turn and walk around the corner of the house.

She followed her and as she rounded the corner saw Nicole heading towards the front door before glancing over her shoulder and giving Waverly a seductive smile before heading inside. Waverly swallowed and released the breath she didn't even realize that she had been holding before hurrying through the door in search of Nicole. Waverly paused just inside the door and looked around, she didn't see Nicole anywhere, "Nicole?" She took a couple of steps into the living room and let out a squeal as someone grabbed her from behind.

"Got you!" Nicole laughed and pulled her closer, tightening her arms around Waverly.

Waverly reached back and smacked her arm, "You scared the crap out of me!"

"I'm sorry baby, let me make it up to you." Nicole lowered her head and placed a kiss onto the back of Waverly's neck. "I love you Wave."

Waverly leaned back into Nicole's body enjoying the feel of Nicole's lips on her neck, she gasped as Nicole's mouth began to move as she peppered kisses along the side of her neck and up along her jaw. She pulled slightly away from Nicole before reaching down and grasping her hand. She tugged on it and pulled Nicole behind her towards the stairs.

 

*****

 

Nicole was content being led by Waverly down the hallway towards their bedroom.

Waverly flung the door open and tugged on Nicole's hand to pull her inside after her.

Nicole turned and closed the door, making sure to lock it so this time there would be no interruptions. She turned around and found a suddenly shy and nervous Waverly playing with her sleeve and looking everywhere but at Nicole.

Waverly glanced around and noticed that their room was softly lit by candles that were placed all around the room, "Well I guess we know what Wynonna and Willa were doing when they snuck away earlier."

"Waverly?" Nicole slowly approached her and stopped right in front of the brunette who was currently staring down towards her feet, "What's wrong? Baby, look at me please."

Waverly let out a deep sigh before raising her gaze to meet Nicole's, "Nothing's wrong, I'm just really nervous."

Nicole reached out and took her hands, "It's ok to be nervous, especially since we've not..."

Waverly cut her off, "That's not it exactly. I want to be with you more than I've ever wanted anything in my life. It's just that I've never done this before."

Nicole looked at Waverly with such tenderness, "You mean you've never been with a woman or...with anyone?" Waverly's face was turning red, "I've never been with anyone Nicole."

Nicole kissed Waverly on the forehead, "There's nothing wrong with that sweetheart, you were just waiting for the right person to come into your life and I am so honored that you've chosen me to be that person. I love you Waverly and nothing you could tell me could ever change that. If you aren't ready then we don't have to do anything but hold each other."

Waverly looked into Nicole's eyes, "I am so in love with you Nicole and believe me when I tell you that I'm more than ready and that I'm all yours now and forever." She leaned up and pressed her lips to Nicole's, kissing her.

Nicole broke their kiss and looked at Waverly, although she could see the desire burning in her eyes she needed to know that this is what Waverly really wanted. "Are you sure? It's ok if you're..."

Waverly reached up and covered Nicole's mouth with her hand, "Shhh, You need to stop talking." She moved her hand off of Nicole's mouth and ran the back of it gently across Nicole's cheek. Without breaking eye contact she reached down and started to unbutton Nicole's shirt.

When Nicole's shirt was completely unbuttoned Waverly ran her hands up Nicole's torso to her shoulders, opening the shirt completely and removing it from off of her body. Waverly's eyes dropped and slowly traced the soft curves and hard abs that were now exposed to her gaze.

Nicole reached out and brought her hands to Waverly's hips, pulling her closer before dropping her head to capture Waverly's lips. As Nicole kissed Waverly she brought her hands up to the top of her dress, slowly unzipping it.

Waverly was so caught up in kissing Nicole that she didn't even realize that Nicole had unzipped her dress until she felt it pool around her feet. She gasped as Nicole unhooked her bra and it quickly joined her dress on the floor. Nicole pulled back slightly to take in the sight in front of her and her heart skipped a beat at how absolutely stunning she found her new wife. She brought her hands up to caress Waverly's face before looking into her eyes, she breathed out, "You are so beautiful, I've never wanted anyone as much as I want you."

As Nicole began to kiss her neck Waverly reached down and unfastened Nicole's pants, briefly breaking contact with Nicole's mouth in order to tug them off of her body. She reached up behind Nicole's back and unhooked her bra and as it joined the growing pile of clothes on the floor she reached down and cupped Nicole's ass, pulling her tightly against her.

Nicole groaned and quickly dropped her head down to kiss Waverly. Her kisses were more insistent as her desire grew and any thoughts of taking things slow went right out of her mind as she felt Waverly's tongue running along her lips before pushing into her mouth.

As their kisses intensified Nicole began to move them towards the bed and when their legs hit the edge of it they tumbled together onto it.

Nicole left Waverly's mouth and Waverly gasped as she felt her trailing kisses down and her breath caught as Nicole captured her nipple in her mouth before flicking it with her tongue. It wasn't long before Nicole moved to the other breast and lavished it with the same attention. Nicole's hands seemed to be everywhere as they explored every inch of Waverly's body and she held her breath as she felt Nicole's hand rest for a moment on her thigh as the redhead returned once again to kiss her with an intensity she hadn't felt before.

Nicole pulled back so that she could look into Waverly's eyes as her hand moved along the inside of Waverly's leg before reaching it's destination. Waverly's hips rose involuntarily as Nicole began to circle her clit with her finger.

As the pleasure began to build within her she opened her eyes to find Nicole watching her. Waverly reached up and cupped her face in her hands as Nicole whispered, "Tell me what you want Baby."

"I don't want you to stop."

Nicole leaned down and sucked on Waverly's earlobe, drawing it into her mouth, "What do you want me to do Waverly, I want you to tell me."

"I...I want to feel you inside me."

Nicole rolled on top of Waverly and kissed her before she began to blaze a trail of kisses down Waverly's body. Waverly shuddered as she felt Nicole run her tongue up the inside of her thigh. She settled between Waverly's legs and Nicole heard her whimper as she removed her finger from her clit. The whimpering stopped and Waverly cried out as Nicole slid one finger inside of her and began to suck on her clit as she pulled back her hand before pushing back inside and finding a steady rhythm.

Waverly tangled her hand into Nicole's hair and pulled her head closer as the pleasure built within her until she screamed Nicole's name as she felt herself fall over the edge. Her orgasm hitting her like a tidal wave.

Nicole moved up and lay down on her side next to Waverly and she leaned over to tenderly kiss her. She traced a finger along Waverly's jaw as she watched her wife come back down to earth and finally open her eyes. Nicole smiled down at her, "Are you ok? Was that ok?"

Waverly grinned up at her before reaching up and pulling Nicole into a kiss. "Are you kidding, that was better than Ok, that was mind blowing." She pulled her into another kiss, "You want to know the best part?" Nicole nodded her head and Waverly continued, "I think it was so amazing because it was with you. I don't have a lot of experience with this but I know with all my heart that I don't want to be with anyone else Nicole. I love you and I've been in love with from the moment I first laid eyes on you. When I looked into your big brown eyes I was a goner, you had my heart from that moment."

Nicole could feel tears building in her eyes as she confessed, "The first time I saw you I thought you were the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. I was sitting on a bench and something made me look up and I saw this adorable woman chasing after a paper she had dropped. Before I could get up and offer to help, you had already gotten to it. I used to notice you staring at me in class and I would have to fight to keep from grinning like an idiot."  She paused for a moment and dropped a soft kiss on Waverly's forehead before continuing, "I think I fell in love with you that night at the pool, when you tripped over that chair."

"Oh God, that was so embarrassing, I thought I was going to die."

"I'll always remember that moment because it was the first time I heard your voice Waverly and something deep inside of me knew that I had found the one I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I just wish that I had listened to that inner voice and saved myself a lot of trouble."

Waverly pushed herself up and lay fully on top of Nicole, "I love you so much honey and I'm about to show you how much."

Nicole looked up into her eyes, "What exactly did you have in mind?"

"Wait and see." She leaned in and kissed Nicole passionately and it wasn't long before Nicole discovered just what Waverly had meant as she fell apart beneath her.

 

*****

 

Waverly woke up late the next morning to find Nicole snuggled up against her back and she smiled as she felt Nicole's steady breathing on the back of her neck. She held up her hand and smiled when she noticed the ring on her finger, yesterday hadn't been a dream and she was really married to Nicole. She yawned and stretched her tired muscles, she was sore from the previous night's activities but she wasn't complaining. Last night had been the best night of her life and she was looking forward to spending many more nights just like this one in the future.

She began to ease her way towards the edge of the bed but she suddenly found herself unable to move as Nicole tightened her arm around her.

A sleepy Nicole placed a kiss on Waverly's bare shoulder and asked, "Where are you going Mrs. Haught?"

"Mmm, I was going to the bathroom before sneaking downstairs to get some coffee but I think I can be persuaded to stay where I am." She turned until she was facing Nicole, "You're cute when you're sleepy."

Nicole opened one eye, "Only when I'm sleepy?" Waverly smiled, "Oh yes, the rest of the time you're beautiful." Nicole blushed, "You think so?"

"Nope, not at all." Waverly pulled quickly away and tried to leave the bed but she found herself being pulled back again by two very strong and capable hands.

Nicole pulled Waverly down and rolled on top of her while placing kisses all over Waverly's face, "Hmmm, but not even half as beautiful as you." Her face became serious as she looked into Waverly's eyes, "I love you," she said before leaning in to kiss her.

Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole, pulling her tightly against her and breathed against her lips, "I love you too."

Chapter Text

Nicole sat in her seat on the plane and looked at the sleeping face of her wife who was currently using her upper chest as a pillow. She was beyond happy that Waverly was with her because a month ago she was afraid that she would never see her again. It had only taken her father's lawyers two weeks to get all the paperwork filed so that they could go back home. They still had six weeks before school started again but Nicole needed to get back to the pool. She had missed out on more than a month of training and she was already feeling it, she knew it was going to take her some time to get back into her routine. Spending so much time away from Waverly once she started competing was going to be tough, but that wasn't something she wanted to think about at that moment.

The last three weeks with Waverly were the happiest Nicole had ever been. They had been inseparable and she had barely left Waverly's side for the entire time they had been married. They couldn't get enough of each other and Nicole began to grin as she remembered how they had spent their last night in Canda together, wrapped in each other's arms.

As she remembered the phone call she had gotten from her mother that morning her mood instantly changed to one of irritation. Her mother had congratulated her on her marriage but she had used that voice she always used on people when she wasn't being sincere and Nicole had quickly become angry and hung up on her.

She recalled that one of the few times that she had been apart from Waverly was the afternoon after the wedding. As she was saying goodbye to her brother he told her that their mother had been very angry to learn of Nicole's intentions to marry Waverly and she let everyone know that she would do whatever it took to get the newest "Gold Digger" out of her daughter's life before too much damage could be done to their family. She could picture her mother saying these things and it made her angry that she would think that Nicole would marry someone she didn't love.

Nicole hadn't told Waverly about this conversation but she intended to when they got home because she felt as if she needed to talk to Waverly about her family. She hoped that when Waverly found out exactly what she had married into it wouldn't change her opinion of Nicole.

She was brought out of her thoughts by the feel of Waverly's hand caressing her face. She looked over at Waverly a smile creeping onto her face, "Hey you, how did you sleep?"

Waverly smiled back at her, "I slept really good actually considering we're on a plane and these seats aren't the most comfortable. What were you thinking about? You looked angry."

"Nothing important baby."

Waverly raised an eyebrow, "Obviously it was to put you in that kind of mood, you can tell me anything honey I hope you know that."

Nicole leaned over and dropped a quick kiss on her lips, "I know that Wave but it's nothing I want to talk about right now, we can talk about it when we get home." She leaned in and whispered into Waverly's ear, "Although, I didn't intend to do alot of talking when we get there."

Waverly blushed, "Is that right?"

Nicole moved a few inches away so she could look at Waverly, "You are so adorable when you blush." She leaned back in and kissed her on the cheek, "I love you so much and I'm looking forward to making you blush like that for the rest of our lives."

Waverly's breath caught in her throat and she softly whispered, "I wish we were home right now so I could show you exactly what you do to me when you say these things."

Nicole noticed that Waverly still looked tired, which wasn't too surprising considering the very little sleep either of them had gotten the night before. She took Waverly's hand and gave it a squeeze before saying, "We'll be home soon enough, why don't you try to get some more sleep."

Waverly yawned and nodded before placing her head back onto Nicole's chest. It wasn't long before she had drifted off back to sleep with a look of contentment on her face.

*****

A couple of hours later they arrived back at Waverly's apartment and Nicole dropped their bags on the floor just inside the front door before moving the couch and sitting down. She released a tired sigh as she leaned her head back and closed her eyes. She began to drift off to sleep but was startled out of it by the feel of someone straddling her lap. Her breath caught as two soft lips began to pepper kisses along her neck and jaw before pressing onto her mouth.

Nicole opened her eyes and stared directly into the green eyes that stared back at her. "I was hoping it was you." She said with a twinkle in her eye and as she moved to kiss Waverly was surprised as the other woman pulled back.

"Oh, really, maybe I should..."

Nicole interrupted her, "No, don't, of course I knew it was you." She reached up and ran her hands slowly up Waverly's back and was startled to find that it was bare. She glanced down to find that her wife was completely naked in her arms. Her eyes darkened with desire as her eyes returned to gaze into Waverly's once again, "You lost your clothes baby."

Waverly ran her tongue along her bottom lip before leaning close and whispering, "Are you complaining?"

Nicole shook her head, "Not at all, you're so beautiful." She tangled her hands into Waverly's hair and pulled her the last few inches into a blazing kiss."

Waverly reached down and tugged Nicole's shirt up and briefly broke their kiss in order to lift it over her head. She leaned in a kissed Nicole again, moaning into her mouth as she felt Nicole's handing sliding between her legs.

Nicole gasped and breathed out, "You're so wet baby, you feel so good."

"This is what you do to me Nicole," As she leaned in to kiss her again Waverly's breath caught as she felt Nicole enter her with two fingers. She reached out and grasped the back of the couch as Nicole began a steady pace, thrusting in and out of Waverly's center. Waverly reached down and began to rub small circles around her clit, her action causing Nicole to quicken her pace.

Nicole began to suck on her neck and Waverly was beyond caring that there would be marks later. She began to move her hips downward and met Nicole's quckening pace thrust for thrust. She could feel herself getting close and cried out, "Oh God, Nicole don't stop!"

Nicole growled against her throat, "You like that baby? You like me fucking you like this?"

"God, yes!"

"Are you gonna come for me baby?" She pulled Waverly into a kiss, thrusting her tongue into Waverly's waiting mouth. At the feel of Waverly's walls tightening around her fingers she broke the kiss and Waverly moaned at the loss of contact with Nicole's lips, "I want you to come for me." She stopped moving her fingers and curled them inward, hitting Waverly's g-spot.

Waverly thrust down harder and faster onto Nicole's hand until she felt the first tremors tearing through her, she screamed out Nicole's name and reached around to dig her nails into her back as wave after wave of pleasure washed over her.

Nicole slowly slid her fingers out of Waverly as her wife collapsed on top of her. She wrapped her arms around her and dropped soft kisses along her neck as Waverly slowly came back down to earth. She placed a kiss onto her cheek and whispered into her ear, "I love you."

Waverly didn't reply, she just turned her head and began to kiss her wife. Her kisses started out soft and tender but soon intensified as Waverly became overcome with emotion and a need to show her wife how much she wanted her. She kissed her way down Nicole's body and slowly got off of her lap and dropped to her knees between Nicole's legs.
Waverly reached up and unbuttoned Nicole's pants and began to tug them off of her hips. Her wife lifted up off of the couch just enough to allow Waverly to pull her pants and underwear all the way down and off of her. She wrapped her hands around Nicole's hips and swiftly pulled her towards her waiting mouth. She dropped a kiss onto the inside of Nicole's thigh, pausing for a moment to look up at Nicole.
She was staring down at Waverly with a look of complete love and devotion in her eyes. Without breaking eye contact Waverly began to kiss her way upward along the inside of Nicole's muscular thigh.

Which each kiss Nicole's eyes darkened as her desire grew and as Waverly reached her destination she threw her head back against the couch and her breathing became erratic as she was overcome with the intense feelings Waverly was giving her with each stroke of her tongue against her.
It wasn't long before Nicole Was practically screaming Waverly's name as wave after wave of pleasure rippled through her. She sat on the couch, eyes closed all her strenght momentarily gone. She felt Waverly move and she opened her eyes to find her standing in front her with a smirk on her face.

Waverly held out her hand and Nicole gave her a questioning look. "Join me in the shower?"

Nicole nodded and took Waverly's hand, letting the brunette pull her to her feet before leading her out of the room towards the bathroom.

*****

The next morning Nicole woke up to find Waverly propped up on her elbow staring down at her. She smiled up at her and reached out to run her fingers through Waverly's hair. "Hey you, what are you doing?"

"Watching you sleep, you look like an angel." She leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Nicole's lips. "Are you sure you have to go today?"

"As much as I'd like to stay here in bed with you all day, I need to get my training back on track if I have any hope of defending my national championship." At the sad look on Waverly's face Nicole reached out and took her hand, reassuring her, "But, as important as swimming is to me Waves, it's not nearly as important to me as you are."

Waverly leaned in and kissed Nicole again, "I love you so much Nicole but I would never ask you to give up everything you've worked so hard for. I'm so proud of you and and I don't ever want you to change for me." She reached out and ran the back of her hand over Nicole's cheek, "I want you to promise me that you'll never give up on your dreams, no matter what happens, ok?"

"If you keep looking at me like that and saying those things, I"ll never make it to the pool." She reached out and pulled Waverly into a hug. "I love you so much and I...I need to tell you something."

Waverly pulled back from Nicole and looked her in the eye, "What is it? You can tell me anything Nicole."

"Thank you baby," Nicole sat up in the bed and leaned back against the headboard of the bed. She swallowed and took a deep breath before continuing. "I hope that what I'm about to tell you doesn't change the way you feel about me..."

Waverly sat up and faced Nicole, "I'm starting to get worried Nicole, just tell me what's going on."

"Ok, so, I don't know why this is so hard" She took a breath, "My family has money, a lot of money."

Waverly held up her hand, "Wait, you're here on a scholarship."

"Yes, because I wanted to prove to them that I could do this on my own."

"So, is this why your mom has a problem with me?"

"She thinks that anyone I date, or in your case marry, is only with me because of my family."

Waverly looked at Nicole, her eyes full of tenderness, "Is that what you were so worried about? That I would only be with you because you come from a wealthy family?" She reached out and cupped Nicole's face in her hands, "Honey, If you came from a family that had nothing I wouldn't love you any less, you would still be you and I adore you."

Nicole looked at her and even though she could see that Waverly was competely sincere still felt the need to ask, "Really?"

"Nicole, I love you and to be honest none of that matters to me. All that matters is that I love you and you love me and that we're together. When I made my vows to you I meant every word of them, for better or for worse, remember?" At Nicole's slight nod she smiled and leaned in to place a gentle kiss onto Nicole's lips.

Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly and pulled her into a tight hug, "How did I get so lucky?" She held onto Waverly for a few minutes then sighed, "As much as I would love to just sit here and hold you I really do need to go, I need to get my training back on track."

Waverly nuzzled her face into Nicole's neck, "Is it a bad thing that I don't want you to go?" She sighed and pulled away, "Come on Nicole, let's get up." She got out of bed and stood staring down at Nicole, she cocked an eyebrow at her and said, "I really did tell Wynonna that you look amazing in your speedo but what I didn't tell her is how much better you look out of it." She gave Nicole a grin before leaving the room.

Nicole watched her leave and gave a groan before climbing out of bed and following Waverly out of the room.

*****

Every morning for the next couple of weeks Nicole would wake up at five A.M., kiss Waverly on the cheek before throwing on sweats and heading out for a two mile run, after that she would swim laps at the pool for an hour. The rest of her day was taken up by classes folowed up by a trip to the weight room in the afternoon and another hour in the pool.
On this particular day Nicole was hurrying home because she was running late. Practice had run long and she was so focused on getting home to Waverly that she didn't notice that she was being followed. As she reached the park she heard someone calling her name and she froze as she recoginized her voice.

"Nicole, wait up."

Nicole turned slowly around, "What do you want Stephanie?"

"Well that's a nice way to greet your girlfriend Nicole."

Nicole couldn't hide the look of disgust on her face, "You are not my girlfriend! I thought I made it very clear that I want nothing to do with you."

Stephanie took a step closet to Nicole, "Oh come on Nic, I've missed you so much." She took another step closer, "I know you missed me too."

Nicole stood her ground, "Actually I haven't even thought about you once since I left your lying, cheating ass behind."

"I made a mistake Nic."

Nicole looked at her coldly, "You're damn right you did. But I suppose I should thank you."

Stephanie looked puzzled, "Thank me for what?"

Nicole smirked at her, "I need to thank you because if it wasn't for you cheating on me I wouldn't be with someone who actually makes me happy. Someone who loves me for who I am as a person and not just because of my family name."

Stephanie reached out and grabbed Nicole's arm, "Oh come on Nicole! You and I both know that you could never be happy with someone like..."

Nicole snatched her arm away from Stephanie's grip, "Don't you dare! I will not have you or anyone else talk about Waverly with anything but respect, do you understand me?"

Stephanie looked shocked, "Waverly, as in the woman who tutored you?" She huffed out a laugh, "Oh, it all makes sense now, and you accused me of cheating on you when you were doing the same thing."

Nicole was angry now, "I never cheated on you Stephanie! Leave me alone and stay the hell away from Waverly!" She turned to leave and said over her shoulder, "I mean it!"
Stephanie stood there and watched her storm off, "Oh, this is far from over Nicole, nobody makes a fool out of me...nobody."

*****

Nicole opened the door to their apartment and all anger she was feeling after her encounter with Stephanie left her as she looked up to find her wife standing there staring at her.
"I'm so sorry I'm late Wave, practice ran over." She walked over to Waverly and wrapped her arms around her, pulling her into a hug, "I missed you so much today baby."

Waverly reached up and pulled Nicole's face down so that she could kiss her, "And I've missed you so much, it seems like forever since we've been together."

Nicole kissed her, "I know what you mean, it seems like ages." She bent down to kiss her wife again and her stomach rumbled.

"Oh honey, you must be starving." She took Nicole by the hand and led her into the kitchen, "I made dinner while I was waiting for you to come home."

While they sat at the table and ate they talked, mostly about the fact that Nicole would be leaving the next afternoon to go to her first swim meet out of town.
As Waverly's eyes began to tear up, Nicole reached across the table and took her hand. "I'll be back Sunday night Waves, you won't even miss me."

"Of course I will, this will be the first time we've been apart since we've been married."

Nicole squeezed Waverly's hand, "I know baby. But it's gonna be o.k., I promise. I tell you what, tomorrow morning I'll take you out for pancakes and we'll spend the day together doing whatever you want to do."

Waverly stood up and pulled Nicole to her feet, "Sounds like a plan, but right now, what I want to do most is take you to bed and spend the rest of the night showing you exactly what you'll be missing while your gone."

Nicole grinned down at her, "Lead the way."

*****

The next afternoon Waverly sat at her kitchen table studying. She heard a knock at the door and got up to answer it. She opened the door and was pleasantly surprised to see Chris standing in the hallway outside of her door.

"Chris, Oh My God, I haven't seen you in so long, how are you?" She took one look at the other woman's face and knew that something was wrong. "What's going on?"

"Can I come in?"

"Yes, of course, come in." Waverly stepped aside and closed the door after Chris entered the apartment.

Chris seemed nervous and Waverly stared at her for a moment before saying, "So, you gonna tell me what's going on, or are you just gonna stand there all day?" She took a step towards Chris and said, "I'm getting a little worried here."

Chris took a deep breath, "Is Nicole here?"

Waverly gave her an odd look, "No, she's at a swim meet, why?"

"Have you been online today?" Chris asked her.

"No, I've been studying all day and Nicole is going to call me tonight after she competes."

Chris reached into her purse and took out her phone, "I need to show you something"

She held out the phone Waverly's heart sank as she saw what was on it. There was an article on a website that contained a picture of Nicole kissing Stephanie. The article talked about how Nicole had been spotted reuniting with he ex before she got on the bus to leave yesterday.

"I'm so sorry Wave, I thought you should know."

Waverly shook her head, "I don't believe it, that picture has to be fake Chris."

"I wish that it was but I ran into someone who was there and saw it happen." She reached out and touched Waverly's arm, "Is there anything I can do?"

"No, thank you. I need to talk to Nicole, she needs to tell me this isn't true." She walked over to get her phone and called Nicole, it went right to voicemail, "She's competing of course she's not answering." She began to pace back and forth across the kitchen becoming even more frantic with each passing moment. She stopped and looked over at Chris, "I need a drink, do you want to go to the bar with me?"

"Waverly, do you think that's a good idea, considering what happened?"

Waverly stared at her, "Do you really think that I want to believe this? I'm going to the bar with or without you so are you coming or not?"

Chris nodded her head, "I'll come with you."

*****

Chris sat across from Waverly and watched her down drink after drink and it seemed with each drink Waverly's emotions would switch between extreme anger and incredible sadness.

Waverly downed the rest of her beer and slammed the empty mug onto the table her mood and it was obvious to Chris that her mood was currently anger.

"How dare she do this to me, how dare she! She said she loved me and we made vows to each other. We've been married for less than three months, three!" She waved over the waitress and took another mug of beer from the woman. She downed about half of her beer before taking out her phone and redialing Nicole's number.

Chris only half listened to the message that Waverly was currently leaving her wife. Instead, she was trying to figure out how she was going to get Waverly out of the bar and back home but based on Waverly's state of mind she knew that this wasn't going to happen anytime soon. She was startled out of her thoughts by Waverly getting up and staggering off towards the bathroom. She watched as Waverly somehow succeeded in making it inside the bathroom and turned to find a familiar face standing there watching her as well.

The other woman turned and raised an eyebrow at Chris, "You want to tell me what's gotten into her, Nicole told me that she doesn't drink."

Chris looked up at her, "Hey Sam, you may want to sit down for this."

Sam did just that and Chris told her the whole story and when she finished Sam loooked confused, "Wait, so someone posted a picture online of Nicole kissing Stephanie? That doesn't make any sense, Nicole would never cheat on someone she loves and believe me Haught is head over heels for Waverly."

"But the picture."

Sam sat back in her chair and gave Chris a little smile, "You don't know that blonde-headed bitch as well as I do. I could have told Nicole that she wouldn't easily give up, no matter how many times Nicole tells her to get lost. I could never figure out why Nicole was ever with her, she's..."

She stopped talking as Waverly suddenly plopped down onto her lap and threw her arms around Sam's neck.

"Saaammmm, I mised you, where have you been?" Waverly slurred out.

"Waverly, why don't we get you out of here, ok?"

"Nah, I don't wanna go home, I'm fine right here." She motioned for the waitress to come back over with another drink but Sam waved her away.

"Come on Waverly, it's late. What do you say we get out of her and I take you home?"

Waverly didn't answer because she was currently slumped over, her weight resting on Sam's body.

Sam looked over at Chris, "Will you help me get her home?"

"Of course." She stood helped Sam get Waverly to her feet and between the two of them got her into the back of Sam's car. It wasn't long before the two of them were putting Waverly into bed at her apartment and Sam was following Chris out of the room.

"I'm gonna crash here tonight on the couch, I need to make sure she's ok or Nicole will never forgive me."

Sam walked Chris to the door and closed and locked it behind her. She turned and walked to the bedroom to check on Waverly one last time before heading back over to the couch. She lay down and covered herself with a blanket and before drifting off to sleep said, "Haught, what the hell have you done?"

*****

Nicole arrived home the next afternoon determined to find out what was going on with her wife. Waverly had left her an obviously drunken voice mail and she had said some pretty disturbing things. She opened the door to their apartment determined to get to the bottom of Waverly's message only to find a half dressed Sam standing in the middle of her living room.

After replaying Waverly's message in her head she came to a conclusion and it wasn't a good one. Nicole slammed the door and stared angrily over at Sam. "What the fuck is going on here? Did you sleep with my wife?"

Sam looked shocked, "What? Did you swallow too much water yesterday Haught?"

"It wasn't enough that you tried this shit before with Stephanie but Waverly is my wife, I thought you were my friend."

"Nicole, what the hell are you talking about?"

Nicole was angry at the thought that her best friend would take advantage of Waverly when she was drunk. She walked quickly up to Sam and got into her face, "Stephanie told me that you came on to her last year. She told me that you hated her because she refused. What's the matter Sam, you can't find someone of your own so you have to go after my wife? What the hell is wrong with you?"

"Whoa, you need to take a step back. First of all, I have no idea what the hell you're talking about. Second, I would have never tried anything with that bitch, I can't stand her and she knows it. She came onto me and I told her to fuck off. Honestly Nicole I can't believe you would think I would do something like this to you, you're like a sister to me and I've got too much respect for Waverly to even think of doing what you're accusing me of."

Nicole seemed to lose some of her anger at this point and she sat down on the couch, "I couldn't find my phone and I found out that coach had taken it to avoid any distractions, he said I've been too distracted since I've been back. When I finally got it back this morning there was this voice mail from Waverly. She said I was a lying, cheating no good shit-eater and not to bother coming home because she was going to hook up with someone herself. She sounded angry and drunk." She looked up at Sam, "She doesn't drink and what the hell does she mean that I'm a cheater. I would never cheat on her, you know that."

Sam sat down next to her on the couch, "There's a picture of you and that bitch kissing on some website. Apparently it said that the two of you had reunited, I didn't believe it when I heard the news but it looks like your wife did because by the time I found her at the bar she was beyond shitfaced. Her friend Chris and I brought her home and I slept on the couch because I knew that if I let anything happen to her you'd be pisssed at me. And, I care a lot about her so I wanted to make sure she was okay."
Nicole put her head in her hands, "She approached me as I was getting ready to get onto the bus. Told me she loved me and wanted to get back together, before I knew what was happening she threw her arms around me and kissed me. I pushed her away and told her to leave me alone, that we are over and I didn't want to see her again. She just smiled and left, I should have known that she was up to something." She sighed and looked up towards the bedroom door, "No wonder Waves left that message for me, she must have been really hurt by this, I could kill Stephanie."

Sam reached out and touched Nicole's arm, "You'll fix this, I know you will. I checked on her right before you got home and she was still sleeping."

Nicole tore her eyes from the door and looked over at her friend, "I'm sorry I accused you of sleeping with Waverly, and that I believed what Stephanie said about you. I guess I didn't want to believe that she was as terrible as everyone tried to tell me she is. You're my best friend and I think of you as sister too. I can't thank you enough for taking such good care of Waverly last night."

They stood up and Nicole pulled her into a hug. After they broke apart Sam headed off to the bathroom. Nicole sighed and made her way slowly towards their bedroom and Waverly.

*****

Nicole walked into the bedroom to find Waverly standing next the bed with her arms crossed against her chest. Her eyes were red and Nicole could tell that she'd been crying. She took a step towards Waverly but stopped as her wife said, "Don't come any closer."

Nicole looked at her and had to fight the urge to wrap her arms around her wife and take away her pain. "Baby..."

"Don't you dare Nicole, I want you to leave." She turned away from Nicole, " I can't even look at you right now."

"Waverly I'm sorry..."

Waverly spun around and cut her off, "Sorry for what? For getting caught? For proving to me that you are just another person who's gonna leave me? For betraying me in the worst possible way? What exactly are you sorry about Nicole?"

Nicole could see her trying to fight back tears and it broke her heart. "Wave, I'm sorry that such a horrible lie has made you so upset and is causing you so much pain. I would never, ever cheat on you, that goes against everything that I believe."

"I saw the picture Nicole! You were kissing her!" She stomped her foot to empathize what she was saying.

"She kissed me and I pushed her away, I told her to leave me alone. I don't want anything to do with her because you are the one that I love and I don't ever want to kiss anyone else again for the rest of my life. You gotta believe me when I tell you that nothing happened between me and Stephanie and nothing ever will."

"That article said that you had reunited and..."

Nicole held up her hand, "That website is run by one of Stephanie's friends, she set this whole thing up because she wants me back and can't have me." She walked over to Waverly and stood in front of her, "I know her a lot better than you do, she can't have me and that eats her up inside. She's like a child who doesn't want to play with the toy but doesn't want anyone else to play with it either." She reached out and took Waverly's hand, "Look at me please."
Waverly looked up at her and Nicole continued, "When I'm away from you all I do is think about what you're doing and how your day is going. As soon as we're together even if it's in a room full of people I only see you. The day you married me was the best day because it meant that I get to spend the rest of my life loving you and making you happy." She paused and took a deep breath, "I would never do anything to hurt you and I sure as hell would never cheat on you. Why would I do that when I've got this gorgeous lady at home who gives me butterflies every time she looks at me. When I look at you I see my other half and the person I'm gonna spend the rest of my life with."

Waverly searched Nicole's face for the truth in what she just said, what she found was a look of adoration within Nicole's dark brown eyes. She wrapped her arms around Nicole and buried her face in her chest. "I'm so sorry Nicole, I should have never believed that you would do something like that to me. I saw that picture and I couldn't get ahold of you and my mind just took me to a dark place. I'm just so scared of losing you."

"You're not going to lose me Waves, I'm in this for the long haul."

"How can you love such an insecure and scared idiot Nicole?"

Nicole pulled back a bit and smiled at Waverly, "Because you're an adorable idiot, that's why." She leaned in to place a soft kiss on her wife's lips before asking, "We're good right?"

Waverly reached up and ran the back of her hand on Nicole's cheek, "Yeah we're good. I love you Nicole Haught, I love you."

"Baby I love you too, but did you actually call me a shit-eater?"

Waverly shrugged then laughed, "Well if I did I must have had a good reason to." She pulled Nicole closer into her body so that she could draw her into a another kiss before adding, "But I don't think you really are one anymore."

*****

Over the next few weeks their lives fell into a routine and between Nicole's swimming and Waverly's heavy course load they kept pretty busy. No matter how busy they seemed to be they took time everyday to enjoy each other's company, even if it was to just laying in bed talking about their day before they drifted off to sleep.

One evening Nicole came home to find Waverly practically bouncing off of the walls of their apartment. She was excited because she had just spoken to her Wynonna on the phone and she would be coming to visit in a couple of days.

Nicole smiled at Waverly's excitement, "I'm glad she's coming to visit, I know how much she means to you and it will be nice to see her again." She leaned down and placed a kiss on Waverly's forehead. "We need to get the extra room ready for her."

Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole's waist, "I already did." She looked up at Nicole and blushed, "Yeah, I thought we could do other things tonight."

Nicole looked into her eyes, "Really, and what exactly did you have in mind Mrs. Haught?"

"Hmm..I thought that maybe you could take me out to dinner tonight, then later we can do some things that require a lot less clothes."

Nicole smirked at her, "So, you're telling me that you want to go to the pool after dinner and watch me swim laps?"

Waverly swatted her arm and shook her head, "You're impossible, hmmm we could do that or...we can come back here and I can show you exactly how much I've missed you this past week."

Nicole leaned in to kiss her, we could always order a pizza," She paused at the look on Waverly's face, "Or I can go get changed and we can go out and make everyone jealous of what a beautiful couple we make."

Waverly grinned, "You're right about that Honey, now go get changed, I'm starving."

Nicole walked towards the bedroom and stopped by the door, she looked over her shoulder at Waverly and asked, "You want to come watch?" She wiggled her eyebrows at her before going into the room.

Waverly laughed and sat down on the couch to wait, it wasn't long before Nicole returned and soon they were walking hand-in-hand out the door.

*****

Nicole was at the pool, anxiously waiting for Waverly to arrive. Nicole's race was scheduled to start in twenty minutes and she was hoping that Waverly would get back from picking Wynonna up at the airport in time to watch the race. The time came for the race to start and still no Waverly, Nicole sighed and climbed up on the starting block. As she stood while the introductions were being made she saw movement out of the corner of her eye and glanced over to find Waverly and Wynonna jumping up and down and holding up a sign that said, "LET'S GO HAUGHTSTUFF!!!" She grinned as Waverly blew her a kiss and she leaned down on the block in anticipation of the race starting.

As the gun went off and Nicole leapt into the pool the two sisters began screaming and cheering her on. As Nicole reached the wall in first place Waverly threw her arms around her sister giving her a hug. She looked over as her wife climbed out of the pool and her heart swelled with love and pride.

Wynonna grabbed her arm and she turned back towards her sister, "Wow Waves you said that she was good but damn, she's beyond good, that race wasn't even close!"

Waverly beamed, "I know right, she's amazing isn't she?"

Wynonna nodded, "That she is baby sister, that she is."

They both looked up as Nicole approached them with a towel wrapped around her waist. Waverly threw her arms around Nicole's neck and planted a kiss on her cheek. "I am so proud of you honey!"

Nicole tried to gently pull away from her, "Wave, your shirt is getting wet."

"I don't care." Waverly stated as she pulled Nicole against her once again.

Nicole looked over Waverly's shoulder, "Hey Wynonna, how are you?"

"I'm good but you, Red, that was awesome!"

Nicole blushed, "Thanks." She tightened her grip on Waverly for a moment before pulling away with a sigh. Looking around she noticed that almost everyone had left and the three of them were nearly alone now, "Why don't I go get showered and changed and the three of us can go grab something to eat at the diner."

Wynonna grinned at her, "Sounds like a plan, I'm starving I haven't eaten since this morning.

Nicole kissed Waverly on the cheek, "I'll try to hurry."

Waverly smiled, "I'll be right here, waiting."

As Nicole entered the locker room Waverly heard her sister give a tiny laugh, she turned towards her, "What?"

"Are you two always like this? Because I need to know if I'm going to have to stay in a hotel while I'm here."

Waverly looked confused, "Why would you do that?"

"Because, I'd like to get some sleep while I'm here. Before you guys went home, none of us got much sleep if you know what I mean."

"Oh God, Wynonna!" Waverly's face was bright red which caused Wynonna to snort with laughter.

"Hey, I need to make a phone call and the reception in here sucks so I'm going to step outside for a minute. Do you want to come with me?"

Waverly shook her head, "No, I'll wait here for Nicole, she should be out in a few minutes."

"Suit yourself," she said with a shrug and walked through the door.

Waverly stood alone and jumped as most of the lights in the place shut off, she remembered Nicole telling her that the lights were on a timer and she relaxed a bit as she stood by the edge of the pool and stared into the water.

She could hear footsteps approaching her and her face lit up at the thought of Nicole coming towards her. She turned around and her face fell as she saw who exactly was walking towards her, it was Nicole's Ex girlfriend, Stephanie.

Waverly was not pleased to see Stephanie after the crap she had pulled with Nicole. Her wife had received no less than two hundred harrassing text messages over the past three days from Stephanie. Nicole had filed a complaint with the police and had been forced to change her cellphone number in the hope of making the harrassment stop.

As Stephanie got closer to her Waverly asked her, "What are you doing here?"

"I came to watch Nic race"

The expression on her face unnerved Waverly and she glanced over at the door to the locker room silently willing Nicole to come out and take her out of here.

She decided to try a different tactic with the other woman and gave her a sympatheic look. "Look, I know that you and Nicole didn't end on the best note, but she's moved on and you need to accept that."

Stephanie took a step closer, "No, what I need is for you to leave Nicole alone. She's mine and I'll not let you or anyone else take her from me, do you understand?"

The woman's close proximity to her was making her uneasy and she tried to take a step back before she remembered that she was standing next to the pool and she had nowhere to go. "I'm not going to leave Nicole alone, I'm not going anywhere, you on the other hand are going to stop harrassing my wife!"

Stephanie looked both stunned and angry, "You're what? You lying bitch!"

Waverly held up her hand to show Stephanie her rings, "Nicole is my wife and you are going to leave her..."

She didn't have time to finish her sentence because Stephanie gave off an angry scream before running straight at Waverly and giving her a push, unfortunately for Waverly she landed right into the pool.

Stephanie stood on the side of the pool glaring down at Waverly and not caring that she was struggling to stay above water and crying out in a panicked voice for help. "Nicole would never marry someone like you, you're nothing but trash and she's so much better than you."

Waverly looked up at Stephanie and once again called for help but the other woman gave her neither assistance or sympathy. She just stood there and watched with a smug expression on her face as Waverly lost the battle and slowly sank beneath the water.

*****

Nicole walked out of the locker room only to find her ex girlfriend standing by the side of the pool staring down at something in the water. She looked around but couldn't find Waverly anywhere and thought that maybe she had gone outside with her sister. She fully intended to silently walk past Stephanie and out the door before she became aware of her prescence. She was startled when Wyonna walked back inside without Waverly and quickly looked back over at Stephanie as her worst fear was realized.

She sprinted towards the pool and jumped in, diving beneath the surface she grabbed ahold of Waverly's limp body and pushed off the bottom of the pool. She broke the surface just as Wynonna punched Stephanie in the face, knocking her to the ground.

"Wynonna! Help me get her out of here!"

Wynonna reached down and pulled her sister out of the water, "Oh my God, she's not breathing Nicole, what are we going to do?"

Chapter Text

Nicole pulled herself out of the pool and hurried over to where Wynonna kneeled over an unresponsive Waverly who was laying on the cement. As she ran towards them she could hear Wynonna screaming her sister's name. Nicole knealt down beside her and neither of them noticed as Stephanie got up and watched the scene in front of her through her one eye that wasn't swollen shut.
Wynonna reached down and shook Waverly, "Wake up baby girl, you gotta wake up!"
"Move!" shouted Nicole, shoving her out of the way and she would have to apologize to her later as Wynonna fell on her backside. "Call 911, now!"
Wynonna took out her phone and dialed as Nicole began to perform CPR on her wife, as she began chest compressions she pleaded, "Come on baby, breathe, come on." As she continuted to do CPR Nicole fought back tears, "Don't leave me baby, you can't leave me, come on breathe."
Waverly coughed and Nicole turned her onto her side as she expelled the water from her lungs.
Wynonna rushed over, "The paramedics are on the way, thank God she's breathing."
Nicole was currently crying and holding Waverly in her arms. "I love you Wave, you're gonna be ok, I promise, you're gonna be ok."
"Nicole? What happened?" Waverly sounded confused.
"Shh, don't talk Wave, the ambulance will be here soon." She turned towards Wynonna, "Go outside and wait for the ambulance."
Wynonna went to move past Stephanie and the othe woman spoke up, "I had no idea she couldn't swim, I'm..." She didn't have time to finish what she was saying before Wynonna punched her in the face again and she fell to the ground and didn't move.
"That's what you get for messing with my sister and her wife, you bitch." She stepped over Stephanie as she hurried to the door, getting outside just in time as the paramedics arrived.
As they rushed inside and over to Waverly one of the paramedics noticed Stephanie on the ground, "What happened to her?"

Wynonna looked over at Nicole before saying, "She fell."
The paramedics loaded Waverly onto the guerney and one of them went to check on Stephanie who was waking up, "Ma'am are you ok" We're going to take you to the hospital and make sure you don't have a concussion." He got on the radio and called a second ambulance and was surprised when they pulled up in less than a minute.
Nicole didn't care about anything else at the moment but getting Waverly to the hospital and making sure that she was going to be okay. They loaded her into the ambulance and Nicole and Wynonna climbed inside with them for the short drive to the hospital. Waverly reached out to her and Nicole took her hand, "Everything's going to be okay Wave. I've got you, everythings going to be okay."
Waverly gave a tiny smile and Nicole's words were the last thing she heard as the darkness quickly washed over her.

****

Waverly stood among her family and friends, everywhere she looked people were crying. She was confused and kept asking them what was going on, but nobody would answer her, it was almost as if no one could hear her. She began to walk, she passed Chris and Sam, their arms around each other, Chris sobbing onto the other woman's shoulder as Sam comforted her.
She continued forward, passing by her aunt and uncle before pausing next to her sisters. Willa and Wynonna were standing together and they both had tears streaming down their faces. Wynonna turned towards Willa, "We should have done more for her, we shouldn't have left her with him Wills." She tried to get their attention but her efforts were futile so she moved on.
It was only when she reached Nicole that she really noticed her surroundings. Nicole stood next to an open grave and was crying uncontrollably. Her brother walked up behind her wrapped his arms around Nicole, bringing her into a hug. "What am I gonna do without her Tommy, I miss her so much. I don't want to live without her."
Waverly waved her hand in front of Nicole's face, trying to get her attention before screaming Nicole's name. Nicole didn't respond and Waverly watched in horror as she tossed a red rose into a hole in the ground. Waverly gasped as she looked into the hole and saw a coffin sitting in the bottom of it, she glanced up and noticed the name on the headstone, it was her own. Waverly looked up as a blonde haired woman approached her and she took a step backwards, immediately falling into darkness.
Waverly jolted awake, trying to recall the strange dream she had just experienced. She looked over to find Nicole sitting in a chair with her head resting on the bed, she was fast asleep. Waverly reached out and ran her fingers through Nicole's hair and as the other woman opened her eyes she smiled down at her. "Nicole, what's going on? Why am I in the hospital?"
Relief washed over Nicole's face and she reached out to take Waverly's hand into her own, "I'm so glad you're awake, I was so worried that you weren't gonna..."

Waverly looked confused, "What are you talking about, what happened?" She squeezed Nicole's hand, "Just tell me Nicole."
Nicole swallowed, "Baby, you fell into the pool and drowned."
Nicole jumped as a voice came from behind her, "She didn't fall Nicole, don't sugar coat this." They both looked up as Wynonna came into the room, "You and I both know that that bitch pushed her into the pool, even though she denies it." She stopped next to Waverly's bed and turned towards Nicole, "Thanks for bailing me out by the way."
Waverly looked at her wife and sister trying to understand what had happened to land her into a hospital bed and all she could understand is that she had fallen, or maybe been pushed into the pool and Wynonna had ended up in jail for some reason. "You two better start explaining, I'm having trouble understanding exactly what happened."
"Do you remember anything that happened last night?" Nicole asked her gently.
"Wynonna left to make a phone call and I was waiting for you, I heard someone walking towards me and when I looked up I saw that it wasn't you, it was Stephanie. After that, I don't know what happened." She squeezed Niocle's hand and tears began to form in her eyes, "Why can't I remember what happened? I don't understand."
Nicole stroked Waverly's hair, "Baby, you went through something traumatic. I'm just glad that I was able to get to you in time."
At Waverly's surprised expression Wynonna spoke up, "Nicole here is a real hero, she saved your life baby girl."
Tears were falling from Nicole's eyes and Waverly reached out to wipe them away, "My hero." She looked at Nicole with adoration.
Wynonna cleared her throat, "As much as I'd like to stand here and watch while you two gush over each other, I could really use a shower." She turned towards Nicole, "Do you mind if I head over to your place so I can get the stink of the jail off of me?"
Nicole looked up at her, "There's no way in hell I'm letting you drive my car, Earp." She turned towards Waverly, "Will you be okay if we leave for a little while and get cleaned up?"
Waverly looked scared for a moment, "I...I guess that would be okay."
"Baby, I promise I won't be gone long."
Waverly nodded, "Hurry back."
Nicole gave her a reassuring smile, "I'll be back so quick you won't even have time to miss me." She dropped a soft kiss onto Waverly's lips before pulling away and following Wynonna from the room.

*****

Waverly was released from the hospital the next morning and Nicole stayed home with her for a couple of days. Nicole was worried because Waverly would wake up every night with nightmares and unfortunately she couldn't remember what they were about.
Three days after she came home from the hospital Waverly screamed and thrashed about in her sleep. Nicole jolted out of her sleep and instantly reached out to her wife to calm her down. Waverly fought against her at first but when Nicole pulled her close and said her name she opened her eyes and threw her arms around Nicole's neck.
Nicole sat up and wrapped her arms around Waverly and pulled her into her body. "Shh, it's okay Waves, it was only a dream."
Waverly sobbed into her chest and as Nicole held her and placed soft kisses on her head she began to calm down. "It was awful Nicole, it was so real."
Nicole softly asked her, "You want to talk about it?"
Waverly leaned back in her arms, "I woke up in my hospital room and someone was standing over me. I was so confused because they were holding a pillow. When they saw that I was awake they dropped it and ran from the room."
"It's okay, it was just a dream baby, you're safe here with me." she reached out and smoothed the hair off of Waverly's forehead.
"That's just it Nicole, I don't think that it was. I remember the nurse coming in and asking why there was a pillow on the floor, I thought I was dreaming because of the meds they were giving me."
"Oh my God Wave, Did you see who it was?"
Waverly shook her head, "No, it was too dark in there, and I was so tired I fell back to sleep. I honestly thought that it was a dream, but now I'm not so sure." She dropped her gaze, "Will you just hold me for awhile?"
Nicole put her finger under Waverly's chin and gently raised her face to meet her gaze, "Of course, I'll hold you for as long as you need for the rest of our lives." She placed a soft kiss on Waverly's lips, "I love you so much." She lay back down and Waverly lay snuggled into her side with her head on Nicole's shoulder.
Nicole lay awake long after Waverly had drifted back to sleep. She couldn't sleep because of the thoughts that ran through her head. Someone had threatened Waverly in the hospital and she knew in the back of her mind who had been standing by Waverly's hospital bed. Her eyes narrowed at the thought of Stephanie trying to deliberatly harm her wife and Nicole vowed to herself that this would be the last time anything like that would happen again.

*****

Waverly was home alone studying, waiting for Nicole to come home from practice. She had finally gone back to school after staying home for a week to recover from her accident at the pool. Wynonna had left that morning to go home and Waverly was trying to keep her mind off of the fact she was completely alone in their apartment.
Someone knocked at the door and Waverly jumped, her head snapping around to stare at the closed door. She sat there frozen, too scared to move. The person knocked again and she stood up moving cautiously towards the door.
She placed her hands lightly on the door and looked through the peep hole to find a serious looking man standing in the hallway outside.
"Who is it?" She called through the door.
"I'm looking for Waverly Earp, is she home?"
Waverly opened the door, leaving the chain on before peeking out into the hallway, "I'm Waverly Earp, well it's Haught now. Can I help you with something?"
He looked back at her and handed her his business card, "My name is David Edwards and I'm here on official business Mrs. Haught, do you mind if I come in? I assure you I mean you no harm."
She looked at the card and discovered that he was an attorney from Los Angeles. She was curious and unlocked the door before letting him in.
She led him over to the table and he sat down, placing his briefcase down onto the floor, "Would you like something to drink Mr. Edwards?"
"No thank you Mrs. Haught I'm fine." He reached down to pick up his briefcase and placed it on top of the table.
Waverly sat down across from him and said, "Please call me Waverly, can I ask what this is all about."
As he opened his briefcase he said, "As you can see from my card I'm an attorney and I represent the estate of Mrs. Sylvia Earp."
She noticed him reach inside and pull out an envelope, "That's my mother." She sat back in her chair confused by the whole situation.
He handed the envelope to her and Waverly opened it to find a check inside, her mouth dropping open when she saw the ammount written on it.
"I'll give you the short version of what this is. Your mother came to my firm sixteen years ago and set up trust funds for all three of her daughters. You were to receive yours upon two stipulations. The first is that you would receive it upon getting married. I apologize for taking so long to get this to you but It was more difficult to track you down since you were married in Canada and had some difficulty coming back to the U.S."
"Why am I just hearing about this? My sister didn't say a word to me about any of this."
"That's because you need to agree to keep this to yourself. Your sister Willa already received hers and under the second stipulation couldn't tell you about this." He took out another paper and passed it over to her to read. "I just need you to sign these papers and you'll be all set. One of these are your copy, the other I'll take home and file accordingly"
Waverly read over the paper before signing it and Mr. Edwards placed the paper inside the briefcase and closed it before standing up. "I'll be on my way and congratulations on your marriage Waverly." He walked to the door and left the apartment without another word.
The sound of the door closing caused Waverly to snap out of her thoughts, she got up and relocked the door before returning to the table and picking up the envelope. She looked at it again, finding it hard to believe that the whole thing had just happened.
She wasn't sure how long she stood there but two arms wrapping around her waist and soft lips nibbling at her ear brought her out of her thoughts.
Waverly sighed and leaned back against the warm body behind her, she shivered as Nicole whispered into her ear, "I missed you today."
"Not that I'm complaining but you're home early."
"Coach excused us from practice today because of the meet tomorrow, are you sure you don't want to come watch me race?"
Waverly closed her eyes, "As much as I'd like to see a pool full of ladies in speedos I need to catch up on my schoolwork." She opened her eyes and turned in Nicole's arms, she giggled at the expression on Nicole's face. "Well if you want me to come see a bunch of half naked women swimming I'm in but..."
Nicole's eyes narrowed, "Are you trying to make me jealous? Are you saying you spend the whole race staring at everyone else in the pool? Now I'm going to spend all my time worrying that you're going to run off with someone hotter than me because you liked how she looked in her swimsuit."
Waverly gave a small laugh, "Oh please, like anyone can compare to how hot my wife looks in her speedo." She leaned up and kissed Nicole, "to be perfectly honest I never notice anyone else and I never want to because honey you are the only one I want, now and forever. I love you so much."
Nicole smiled and kissed Waverly on the forehead, "I couldn't concentrate today because I was worried about you."
"Nicole, you don't have to have to worry about me, I'm fine. I'm a big girl and I can take care of myself." She leaned back in Nicole's arms so that she could look her in the eye. "I want you to do something for me Nicole."
"Anything baby."
"I want you to not worry so much about me that it makes everything else in your life suffer." Nicole went to open her mouth to speak but Waverly pressed her finger to Nicole's lips to silence her, "I've told you before that you can't let your schoolwork and your swimming suffer because you were too busy worrying that something bad is going to happen to me. I would never forgive myself if you gave up on your dreams because of me."
Nicole's eyes began to tear up, "Waverly, nothing is more important to me than you. You have my heart, I gave it to you the moment we met."
Waverly gave her a sweet smile, "And you have mine. Honey I love how much you love me but I don't want to be the reason you gave up a promising career Nicole."
Nicole caressed her face before reaching down and taking her hand, "Come on." She said as she pulled her gently towards the bedroom.
Waverly resisted, "What are you doing, I have something I need to tell you."
Nicole leaned down and kissed her fully on the mouth, "I think you know what I'm doing, and whatever it is it can wait until after."
Nicole gave her a smoldering gaze and Waverly became weak in the knees, "You're right it can wait." She took Nicole's hand and they hurried towards the bedroom together.

*****

The next afternoon, Nicole paced back and forth in front of the fountain located outside of the library. Nicole stopped when she saw her coming and paused as she noticed the oversized sunglasses the blonde was wearing.
Stephanie stopped in front of Nicole and smiled at her, "Nic, I'm so happy to see you, I've missed you so much."
Nicole held up her hand, "I'm not here to see you or get back together with you Stephanie. I've come here to warn you."
"Really, and what could you possibly need to warn me about."
Nicole stared at her in disbelief, "I'm warning you right here and now Stephanie, if you come near me or Waverly again there's going to be hell to pay, do you understand me?"
Stephanie looked up at Nicole, "But, I don't want to stay away from you Nicole, I love you."
Nicole scoffed, "No, you don't love me, I don't think you are capable of loving anyone but yourself Steph. If you really loved me you would want me to be happy."
She took a step closer to Nicole, "But, I want to be the one to make you happy Nicole."
"I don't want you Stephanie, I never meant to hurt you and I should have been honest to you about my feelings and for that I'm sorry. Waverly is the love of my life and you need to accept that and move on."
"I'll never accept that Nicole."
Nicole was incredulous, "How many different ways do I have to tell you that I want nothing from you! I know what you did at the pool, you tried to kill my wife!"
Stephanie shook her head, "But I didn't, how was I supposed to know that she couldn't swim? Come on Nicole do you really think that I'm capable of killing anyone?"
"I know exactly what you're capable of and I'm telling you for the last time, stay the hell away from me and Waverly and leave us alone!"
Stephanie looked amused and smirked at her, "Or what Nicole, what are you going to do if I don't?"
Nicole was angry, she couldn't remember the last time she was this angry, "Keep this up and you'll find out, I've had enough, this is over!" She turned without another word and walked away.
Stephanie watched her leave, "Oh no Nicole, this is far from over and if I can't have you nobody can." She turned and stormed off in the other direction.

*****

Nicole walked home wondering if she had done the right thing by confronting Stephanie. All she knew is that Stephanie needed to get it through her thick skull that whatever they had beteween them was over and they were never going to be together. As she got closer to home her step became lighter as she thought about Waverly waiting for her. Just the thought of her wife made her smile and the memory of what had taken place yesterday afternoon made her heart race. They had spent the afternoon in bed showing each other exactly how much they loved each other and Nicole hoped to continue where they had left off after her swim meet this evening.
When she got home she opened the door and walked into their apartment to find Waverly asleep on the couch with a book in her hand. She let her sleep and walked quietly towards the bedroom to grab her forgotten gym bag that she had left this morning. She placed the bag on the coffee table and leaned down to place a soft kiss on Waverly's forehead.
Waverly opened her eyes and stared up into Nicole's soft brown eyes. She brought her arms up and wrapped them behind Niocle's neck, bringing her head down into a kiss. "Hi." She whispered against Nicole's lips. "I was having the best dream."
Nicole kissed her again and pulled back slightly, "Oh yeah, what was it about?"
Waverly rubbed her thumb on the back of Nicole's neck, "It was all about you and how wonderful you are to me, and..." She leaned up and kissed Nicole on her neck, "how absolutely amazing you are in bed."
Nicole groaned, "I have to go Wave, but believe me I'd much rather stay here with you."
Waverly tightened her grip, "Are you sure you have to go?"
Nicole glanced up at the clock and sighed, "Yeah, I really do need to go, are you sure you don't want to come watch me crush the competition?"
Waverly looked away, "I would love to come watch that but you know why I can't."
"Hey, I know you're scared baby but believe me, I'm not going to let anything happen to you. I love when you come to cheer me on, but I understand if you can't." She dropped one last kiss onto Waverly's lips before she reluctantly pulled away from her wife. "I'll see you later."
Waverly got off of the couch, "Nicole, wait!" As her wife turned towards her Waverly grabbed her purse off of the table and walked over to her, "I'm coming with you, I wouldn't miss this for the world."

*****

Later that night after Nicole's swim meet they walked home together, Nicole smiled down at Waverly as she leaned into Nicole and linked their arms together. They walked in silence just enjoying each other's company. They stopped just across the street from their apartment building, making sure it was safe before crossing the street.
Nicole went to step into the street but Waverly stopped her causing Nicole to turn towards her with a concerned look on her face. "What are you doing, let's go."
Waverly sighed, "I've been meaning to tell you something Nicole but I haven't gotten the chance before now." She looked up at Nicole who was currently looking back at her, she was holding her breath and Waverly took her hand to reassure her, "I promise it's nothing bad."
Nicole realeased the breath she'd been holding, "So, are you gonna tell me what it is or am I gonna stand here all night wondering what's going on?"
"Yestereday, before you came home, a lawyer came to the apartment."
"A lawyer? He wasnt from the I.N.S was he?" Nicole asked, she looked worried and Waverly reached up to touch her cheek.
Waverly shook her head, "No he wasn't, let's go inside and I'll show you what he gave me, okay?"
Nicole nodded and she began walking across the street with Waverly in tow. She was so focused on getting them home that she didn't see the car speeding towards them.
It was lucky for them both that Waverly however, did see it and shouted, "Nicole! Watch out!" Waverly screamed and pulled Nicole to the safety of the sidewalk as the car sped past. Nicole grunted as Waverly fell on top of her. Waverly rolled off of her and sat up before yelling at the car which was driving quickly away, "Holy shit, watch where the hell you're going asshole!" She turned towards Nicole who was staring wide-eyed at her, "Are you okay honey?"
"Yeah, but I'm gonna be bruised in the morning. Are you okay, it didn't hit you did it?" She felt relieved as Waverly shook her head and said, " They came out of nowhere, if I didn't know any better I'd say that was deliberate."
Waverly stood up and helped Nicole to her feet, "Come on, let's get you inside so I can make sure that you aren't missing any body parts."
"Oh so you want to play doctor?" Nicole wiggled her eyebrows at Waverly.
Waverly closed her eyes and shook her head, "What am I gonna do with you?"
"Oh, I can think of one or two things baby."
Waverly laughed, "Come on you big dork, let's go inside." She took Nicole's hand and led her into the building and the safety of their apartment.
*****

Nicole sat down on the couch as Waverly went to the bathroom to get some bandages, antiseptic and antibiotic. She stopped off in the bedroom on her way back to the living room to get the papers that the lawyer had given her so that she could share them with Nicole, Waverly wanted to share this with her wife because she didn't want to have any secrets between them.
After grabbing the papers she walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch next to Nicole. "You've got a cut on your arm, let me clean it." Waverly cleaned and bandaged Nicole's arm and when she was finished she showed her the papers she had received yesterday. "The lawyer gave me these papers along with a check, apparently my mother set up a trust fund for me and my sisters."
Nicole took the paper from Waverly and quickly skimmed through it, "This says you only get your trust if you get married. Well that explains why you haven't heard about this until now."
Waverly looked at the check in her hand before showing it to Nicole, "This is the other thing he brought to me."
Nicole looked at the check then quickly looked over at Waverly, "Is this legitimate?"
Waverly nodded, "Yes it is."
"Waverly, this check is worth two million dollars."
"I know, and I have no idea what we're going to do with all this money." She looked over at Nicole hoping to get an answer from her.
"Wave, that's your money, what do you want to do with it?"
Waverly reached over and cupped Nicole's face in her hands. "As generous as that is Nicole, did you forget that we're married? What's mine is yours and what's yours is mine, remember?"
Nicole took Waverly's hand and placed a kiss on her palm before saying, "I think that first thing tomorrow morning we need to go to the bank and put that into an account, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that just laying around here."
"I was thinking the same thing." Waverly yawned, "I think I'll head to bed, are you coming?" she asked as she moved to get up off of the couch.
"Hold on second," Nicole took a deep breath and began talking, "You know I love you and would never want you to do something that 's going to make you uncomfortable, right?"
Waverly stared back at her, "What do you mean?"
Nicole took another deep breath, "My dad called me today and asked if we were coming home for Thanksgiving, but I told him we have plans with your family."
Waverly experienced a sense of dread and she knew where this was headed, "He wants you to come home for Christmas doesn't he?"
"Yeah, and he told me that he's looking forward to meeting you." At the expression on Waverly's face Nicole paused before continuing, "And, I would very much like to introduce you to him. He's the most important person in my life Wave, after you of course."
Waverly held up her hands before giving Nicole a small smile, "All right, we'll go. I'd love to meet the rest of your family Nicole."
Nicole reached over and hugged Waverly before getting up off the couch and helping her to her feet. They went into the bedroom and as Waverly got ready for bed Nicole came up behind her and wrapped her arms around Waverly's waist, dropping a kiss onto the back of her neck. "You do realize that since we're married that my family is now your family too, right?"
Waverly tensed up for a moment as she let that sink in, Nicole's family was now her family and that unfortunately included Nicole's mother. The thought of spending Christmas with that woman was enough to make Waverly's blood go cold. One thing she knew for sure was that Christmas was definately not going to be boring this year.

*****

A car that looked suspiciously close to the one that had almost ran over Nicole and Waverly screeched to a halt in front of a large white house. Behind the wheel sat Stephanie and she looked angry. She got out of the car and strode towards the house, pausing when her cellphone rang. She took it out and answered it, "Hi daddy, I haven't heard from you in so long."
"Steph, I'm calling to make sure you are coming home for Christmas."
"I was planning on it."
"Did I catch you at a bad time? You sound angry."
"No, everythings fine daddy."
"Good, we're going to the annual Christmas party at the club and just to let you know the Haught's will be there as well. I gotta go Steph, love you."
"Bye daddy, love you too." She hung up her phone and smirked, "I wouldn't miss this party for the world, I'm going to have sooo much fun." She laughed and walked into the house, a plan already developing in her brain on how to once and for all remove that interfering bitch from Nicole's life.

Chapter Text

Nicole and Waverly walked hand-in-hand up the front walk towards the house. When they got to the front door they stopped and Nicole turned towards Waverly, "You ready for this?"

Waverly nodded and smiled up at Nicole, "Of course, it's just family right?"

Nicole squeezed her hand and before she could reach out to knock the door opened to reveal a very happy Wynonna standing in the doorway grinning at them."

She reached out and wrapped her arms around Waverly pulling her into a hug, "Baby girl! I've missed you so much." She let go of her sister and held her hand out towards Nicole, "Hey there red, how the hell are you?"

Nicole grasped Wynonna's hand and grinned, "I'm doing good Wynonna, how about yourself?"

Wynonna pulled her hand away, "I'm great, better now that you two are here, we missed you at Thanksgiving but having you here this close to Christmas is much better. Besides, now that you've finally gotten here it takes the heat off of me."

Waverly raised an eyebrow at her sister, "What did you do now Wynonna?"

"Nothing Wave, come on, give me a little credit here. Since you and Willa are both married they keep asking me when I'm going to finally settle down." She rolled her eyes, "Like, that's gonna happen anytime soon!" She winked at Nicole before reaching over to softly squeeze her sister's arm. She turned around and walked into the house, "Come on you two, don't keep everyone waiting!"

Nicole shook her head and watched her go, "Your sister's crazy Wave." She turned in time to find Waverly staring at her with her head cocked to the side.

"What do you mean by that Nicole?"

Nicole reached out and took her hand, "I meant crazy in a good way, baby. She is who she is and makes no apologies for it, and that makes her a genuine person. Plus, she loves you almost as much as I do." She leaned down a placed a quick kiss on Waverly's forehead.

Waverly sighed at the feel of Nicole's lips on her skin, the weeks leading up to this vacation had been extremely busy for the both of them and they had barely had any time to themselves. Now that finals were over and Nicole had a break from competing she fully intended to show Niocle exactly how much she had missed her. "Have I told you lately how much I love you?"

Nicole squinted at her and appeared to be deep in thought, "Hmm, not that I can recall, yeah it's been awhile." She opened her eyes and smiled at her wife before saying, "I love you Wave, even if your sister and the rest of your family are slightly crazy."

Waverly reached out and smacked Nicole in the arm, "Well, you married into this crazy family, so what does that make you?"

"Crazy, but only about you baby."

Waverly shook her head, a smile involuntarily creeping onto her face, "I don't know why I put up with you sometimes."

"Because I'm so cute."

Waverly chuckled, "That you are. Come on, bring your cute ass inside with me before they begin to wonder if we left. Besides, I'm freezing out here."

Nicole laughed and followed Waverly inside.

 

*****

 

Later that night after the family had enjoyed dinner, Gus and Curtis headed off to bed leaving Wynonna, Waverly and Nicole sitting on the couch talking. Nicole yawned and turned towards Waverly, "I think I'm gonna head up to bed, are you coming?"

"I'll be up in a few minutes, I want to talk to my sister for a little while if that's okay with you."

Nicole leaned over and placed a soft kiss on her wife's lips. "Of course, baby." She placed a quick kiss on Waverly's cheek before whispering in her ear, "Don't be too long, I've missed you and I'll be waiting."

"I won't be too long, I promise." Waverly softly whispered back to her.

Nicole got up off of the couch and ascended the stairs, she could feel Waverly's eyes on her and she glanced over her shoulder giving her a smile full of promise.

As Nicole turned the corner at the top of the stairs Waverly reluctantly tore her eyes away and turned towards her sister, who was currently giving her an amused grin. "What are you smiling about?"

Wynonna continued to grin at her, "I'm just glad to see you so happy baby girl."

Waverly reached over and pulled her sister into a hug, "Thanks Nonna."

"Hey, you're gonna spill my beer!" Wynonna pulled away and sat against the arm of the couch, "So tell me, have you had any more trouble with Nicole's ex?"

"She kept sending Nicole text messages that were becoming more and more extreme, there's seriously something wrong with her. Nicole had to change her phone number and we got a restraining order against her, but that didn't stop her from sending me dead flowers."

"That's really messed up Wave, what is it going to take for her to realize that things with Nicole are over?"

Waverly shook her head, "I don't know. Nicole and I have both tried to talk to her but she won't let her go."

Wynonna took a drink from her beer before tapping Waverly on the arm, "You seem to be doing better, are you still having nightmares?"

Waverly sighed, "Every once in awhile I still have them, but not like right after it happened. Nicole has been my rock, I don't know what I'd do without her, she got me through some bad nights."

Wynonna squeezed Waverly's leg, "She's pretty special Wave, I could tell from the moment I met her. You're pretty lucky to have found her and I really am sorry for what I did to you guys before you got married."

Waverly waved her arm at her sister, "Nonna, I forgave you for that already so don't worry about it." She smiled as she changed the subject, " When is Willa going to get here?"

"Supposed to be getting in tomorrow." Wynonna got up and stretched, "I think I'll turn in and you shouldn't keep your wife waiting." She winked at Waverly before heading upstairs.

Waverly sat on the couch for a moment before getting up and following her sister up the stairs.

*****

Waverly entered the bedroom to find Nicole sleeping, she was softly snoring and Waverly found her absolutely adorable. She leaned against the bedroom door and watched Nicole sleep, her heart skipped a beat as Nicole's turned onto her back and sighed in her sleep. Waverly moved towards the bed, leaving a trail of clothing in her wake.
By the time Waverly reached the bed she was completely naked and as she pulled the sheet up to climb beneath it she noticed that Nicole was naked too. Her breath hitched and she could feel the heat building within her accompnied by a steady throbbing between her legs. She climbed onto the bed and crawled over to her wife's sleeping form.
Waverly placed a kiss onto Nicole's neck and softly whispered into her ear, "I want you Nicole."

Nicole sighed in her sleep again but didn't wake up so Waverly trailed a line of kisses down Nicole's neck and along her collarbone. Waverly rose up into a kneeling position, throwing her leg across Nicole's body to straddle her before leaning down and pressing her weight on top on her wife's body. She reached up and cupped Nicole's face before pressing her lips against Nicole's.

Nicole opened her eyes and stared up into Waverly's for a moment, "I was having the best dream," she whispered, "But the reality is so much better," she wrapped her hands in Waverly's hair so that she could pull her closer and return her kisses, she moved her hands down Waverly's body before wrapping her arms around her and pulling her even tighter against her.

Nicole's hands traveled down Waverly's back until she was cupping her perfectly shaped ass. Waverly involuntarily moaned as Nicole pulled her closer as she thrust her hips upward into Waverly's center.

At the contact Waverly moaned and began to frantically kiss Nicole, drawing her nails down the sides of Nicole's body as the heat built within her. She ground her hips into Nicole and gasped as her leg brushed against Nicole's wet heat.

Waverly's hand trailed down Nicole's body until she was running her fingers through her slick folds. "Oh, God you feel so fuckng good babe, I've been thinking about this all day."
Nicole raked her fingers down Waverly's back, "Please Wave, stop teasing me, I want you so bad, please, just touch me Wave." Her breath hitched as Waverly slowly circled her entrance, "Waverly, you're killing me, don't..." Her voice cut off and she cried out as Waverly entered her, quickly withdrawing her finger then pushing back in. Her thumb circled Nicole's clit as she picked up the pace and as the tension built and Nicole got closer to falling over the edge her voice grew in volume until she was calling out Waverly's name over and over again as she came.

Waverly collapsed on top of Nicole and she marveled at the feel of Nicole's heart pounding in her chest as she struggled to catch her breath. She bent her head to capture Nicole's lips, pulling away she breathed out, "God, that was so intense, I love you honey."

Nicole opened her eyes, "Jesus Wave, I swear I died a little there."

Waverly smiled down at her, "Yeah but what a way to go, right?"

Nicole tightened her arms around Waverly before flipping her over onto her back, "Baby, you have no idea." She dropped a kiss onto Waverly's mouth before pulling back and gaving her a wolfish grin, "You ready for round two?"

"Hmm, I'm a little tired, I think I'll just go to sleep."

Nicole cocked an eyebrow as she ran a hand down over the soft curves of Waverly's body, "Oh? Is that so?" She reached down and captured one of Waverly's nippples between her fingers. Waverly gasped, "I can stop if you're tired."

"Don't you dare." She breathed out reaching up and cupping Nicole's face in her hands, "I've missed you so much Nic."

Before leaning in to press her lips to Waverly's, Nicole breathed out, "I know baby." She kissed her passionately and it wasn't long before Waverly was screaming Nicole's name while she fell over the edge.

*****

Waverly woke up and reached over towards Nicole's side of the bed. When she discovered an empty space she opened her eyes. She propped herself up on her elbows and looked around the room, blushing as her eyes fell on her discarded clothes from the night before. The sound of the shower turning on drew her attention towards the bathroom and she left the warmth of their bed to seek out the warmth of her wife.

She padded naked into the bathroom and smiled as she heard Nicole softly singing in that slightly off-key way of hers. She softly opened the door and stepped into the shower, reaching back to close it behind her.

Nicole had her head underneath the spray of the water and didn't hear Waverly enter the shower, she jumped as Waverly wrapped her arms around her from behind. She looked over her shoulder, "Baby, you scared me to death!"

"I woke up and you were gone and I missed you," Waverly's voice was muffled as she pressed her face into Nicole's back.

Nicole sighed as Waverly pressed a kiss between her shoulder blades. She could feel Waverly shiver and she turned in her arms before spinning around so that Waverly was standing underneath the spray of the hot water.

Waverly noticed Nicole staring at her and she blushed as she asked, "What are you doing?"

"Enjoying the view." She leaned down and kissed Waverly on the forehead, "You are so damn beautiful Waverly and I'll never get tired of looking at you."

Waverly reached up and wrapped her arms around Nicole's neck to draw her into a kiss. The kiss was slow and before she knew it Nicole was pressing her against the wall of the shower, their kisses becoming more intense as they explored each other's bodies.

*****

There was a knock at their bedroom door but neither of them heard it over the shower. The door opened and Wynonna stepped into the room. "Waverly...Nicole? Where are you guys?" She heard footsteps and looked up just in time to see Nicole entering the room from the bathroom. Her eyes dropped down as she noticed that Nicole had a towel wrapped around her hips and another draped over her head. Her eyes widened as she noticed that Nicole was naked from the waist up.

Nicole was toweling her hair dry as she walked towards Wynonna so it wasn't until she heard a loud gasp that she removed the towel from her head only to meet the wide eyes of her sister-in-law who was staring open-mouthed at her bare chest.

Wynonna found her voice first, "Oh holy hell, I'm so sorry red, I didn't mean to..."

"What the hell Wynonna?" She tore her eyes away from Nicole to find her sister walking towards her wearing a robe and an angry expression on her face. She stopped next to Nicole, "Do you know how to frickin knock? And Jesus Christ Nicole, cover yourself up!"

Nicole spun around and walked back into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

Wynonna's face was a bright shade of red, "I did knock and there was no answer."

"So, you felt the need to just come in, what if we had been in the middle of something Wyn?"

"Oh, thanks for putting that picture into my head Wave. It's bad enough that you two kept me up most of the night, I swear it sounded like a cat caught in a trap."

Waverly stared at her sister, her mouth dropped open and she stomped towards her, "Do me a favor, and get the hell out of my room."

"Look, I just came to tell you that Willa and her husband are here, If I had known that your wife was gonna flash me her boobs I would have just..."

Waverly reached out and grabbed Wynonna by the arm, almost dragging her towards the door, "I need you to leave and I would appreciate it if you wouldn't mention this again. Tell everyone that we will be down in a few minutes." She pushed Wynonna out into the hall before shutting the door in her face.

"Rude!" She turned and stomped down the hall beginning to plan how she was going to use that little scene to her advantage. As she reached the top of stairs she said out loud to herself, "Oh, this is going to be so much fun." She huffed out a laugh and smirked as she went downstairs to join the rest of the family.

 

*****

 

Wynonna was sitting across the table from Nicole who was currently refusing to look up at her sister-in-law as she ate her dinner. She had endured a week's worth of smug looks, snarky comments and insulting behavior from Wynonna and she was just about at the end of her rope with her.

Unfortunately for Wynonna, Nicole wasn't the only one feeling that way. Waverly sat next to her wife and glared across the table at her sister. She had had enough of Wynonna teasing her wife and she was fully prepared to put a stop to it after dinner.

Wynonna cleared her throat and opened her mouth to speak but one look at Waverly's darkening expression told her that what she was about to say could wait.

Willa watched her sisters from her end of the table and cocked an eyebrow at Wynonna, "Ok, so how about one of you tells us what this is all about, because I could cut the tension in this room with a knife."

Wynonna smirked, "Well this all started when Red over there flashed her, uh, assets at me."

Waverly slammed her hand down onto the table, "That is enough Wynonna! I have had it with this and I swear if you don't stop..."

"Wave." At the sound of Nicole's voice she turned her head, "Please, it's okay."

"No it isn't Nicole, this endless teasing needs to stop."

Nicole reached over and squeezed Waverly's leg under the table, "I'm okay Wave, really." She smiled at Waverly and whispered, "Let it go baby, now isn't the time for this."
Waverly felt herself soften, looking back over at her sister she said, "You're so lucky that my wife is a better person than you could ever hope to be Wynonna..."

An audible gasp came from the other end of the table, and Waverly snapped her head around towards Willa who was sitting back in her chair clutching her stomach.

Willa's husband stood up and looked at everyone around the table before shooting a look at his wife's sisters who were looking on with concern. "This happened two weeks ago and the doctor told her to avoid stress."

"Willa, are you okay?" Waverly was concerned and she got up and moved towards her sister.

Willa looked scared. She reached out and took her husband's hand, "I think it's the baby, it's too early." She gasped again before stating, "I think you need to take me to the hospital."

 

*****

 

The next morning Wynonna and Nicole sat across from each other at the kitchen table, they were drinking coffee in silence. Waverly was still upstairs sleeping and Nicole wasn't going to wake her up any time soon since she had tossed and turned most of the night, clearly worried about her oldest sister.

When Waverly, Gus and Curtis had arrived home late last night, Nicole was relieved to learn that the doctors had managed to stop Willa's labor and she was now resting comfortably in the hospital.

Nicole was pulled out of her thoughts by Wyonna muttering something to her and she looked up to find her sister-in-law staing back at her, "Did you say something Wynonna? Because if you're going to keep bringing up what happened the other day, I'm going to go back to bed." She sat back in her chair before continuing, "This crap needs to stop, I won't have my wife being so upset. Waverly and I are married, we love each other and yes, we have sex. She doesn't need you to make her feel uncomfortable about it!"

"Okay, okay, geez Red," Wynonna looked away for a moment, "I said that I'm sorry for being such a jerk to you."

"You weren't just being a jerk to me, you were being one to your sister too. I like you Wynonna but I love Waverly, more than I've ever loved anyone in my life and when she hurts I hurt. I can handle you teasing me, but when this starts affecting her, that's when we have a problem, are we clear?"

Wynonna nodded, "I really am sorry, I don't know what gets into me sometimes."

Nicole stood up, "Well you better figure it out soon because people only have so much forgiveness to give." She turned and walked out of the room, leaving Wynonna to think about what she had just said.

 

****

 

Two days later things had vastly improved between the sisters. Wynonna had apologized to Waverly and they were currently sitting in the living room talking about what things were like for them before their mother had left. Waverly was sitting in her uncle's chair with Nicole sitting on the floor in front of her. As Nicole laughed at something Wynonna said, Waverly ran her fingers softly through Nicole's hair.

Gus walked into the room and sat down on the couch next to Wynonna. She took a drink of her coffee, looked over at Waverly and joined the conversation. "You know, you were born in this house, I remember it like it was yesterday."

"I was? Why didn't you tell me?"

Gus shrugged, "Never saw a reason to bring it up." She paused to take another drink, "Your mother was so scared that something bad was going to happen because there was no doctor here, but she was even more afraid that Ward was going to find her and make things worse."

Wynonna looked over at her Aunt, "I think I remember that. Mama took us and came here because she couldn't take daddy's abuse anymore." She sat back, "I wonder what set him off that time, he had a baby on the way you would think that he would have tried not to be such an asshole."

"That was Ward Earp for you, drunk and mean. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't always like this, they had some good times and they had you girls so it wasn't all bad."

"I can't remember a time when he wasn't mean or ignoring me." Everyone looked over at Waverly as she spoke and Nicole reached over and squeezed Waverly's thigh. She reached down and placed her hand onto Nicole's, "But, we're all in a much better place now, so none of that really matters anymore."

Wynonna held up her glass of whiskey, "Amen sister."

Waverly smiled over at Wynonna before returning her gaze to her aunt, "I barely remember her, I don't even know what she looked like."

Gus got up and walked over to her desk, she opened a drawer and took something out. She walked over to Waverly and held out the picture to her, "This is the only picture I have of her."

Waverly looked at the picture and gasped, her mother was truly beautiful and very pregnant.

Nicole looked at the picture, "Wow, Wave you look just like her." She looked over at Gus, "Was she pregnant with Waverly in this?"

"Yes she was."

Wynonna got up and walked over to them. As she saw the picture her eyes widened, "Oh my God, she was huge! You must have been a big baby Wave!"

Gus cleared her throat and Nicole noticed the nervous look on her face, she didn't think much about it as Gus turned around and walked back towards the desk, putting the picture back inside.

Wynonna left the room for a moment and Nicole turned her head briefly to watch her go. Someone tugging on Nicole's hand caught her attention and she turned her head to notice Waverly looking up at her with a raised eyebrow, "Are you checking out my sister?"

"What? No, of course not." She reached out to retake Waverly's hand, "I only have eyes for you baby."

Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole's waist, "Hmm, is that so, because I've been feeling a little ignored lately."

Nicole leaned down and whispered into Waverly's ear, "So, what are we gonna do about that?" Waverly shivered as Nicole's warm breath brushed against her ear, "I know what I'd like to do but I don't think Gus would appreciate me ripping your clothes off and..."

They looked up when they heard Gus clearing her throat and Waverly's face turned a deep shade of crimson. Wynonna chose that moment to walk into the room and she stopped as she noticed the darker shade of red on her sister's face. "I'd ask what's going on but I have a pretty good idea." She shrugged and sat down on the couch before leaning back, "So, are we gonna watch a movie or what? You two are only gonna be here for a few more days and I'd like to spend some time with you before you leave."

Nicole fought the urge to let out a huge sigh and flopped down on the couch, pulling Waverly down next to her, resigning herself to the fact that she would now be spending the majority of her evening in Wynonna's company rather than alone with her wife.

They ended up watching a romantic comedy that Gus had chosen for them but Nicole couldn't have told anyone what exactly the movie was about due to the fact that Waverly had spent the entire time running driving her to distraction underneath the quilt that was covering them both.

By the time the movie ended, Nicole was so turned on that she nearly jumped Waverly in front of both Gus and Wynonna. Instead she threw the quilt aside, leapt to her feet and headed for the stairs, pulling Waverly along with her.

Gus watched them practically run up the stairs and disappear around the corner towards their bedroom. At the sound of a slamming door, Gus turned towards Wynonna who looked back at her and shrugged, "Young love, right?" She brought her hands down and slapped her knees before rising up off of the couch, "On that note, I think I'll turn in."

Wynonna went upstairs and after she got to the top Gus stood up and walked back over to her desk. She reopened the drawer and took out the picture of her sister, holding it in one hand while she brought the other hand up and rubbed her forehead with her fingertips. She spoke and her voice was barely a whisper, "Don't worry Syl, she still doesn't know, I'm still keeping your secret even though that girl deserves to know the truth." She sighed before placing the picture back into the drawer and slowly walked out of the room.

 

*****

 

As they got closer to their destination Waverly could feel her stomach getting tighter and tighter. She drummed her fingers on the center console and not even the ocean view that was visible through her window could calm her down. The prospect of spending the holidays with Nicole's family was causing Waverly's anxiety level to climb with each passing mile.
Nicole reached over and grasped Waverly's hand, her purpose was to not only comfort her wife but to make her stop the incessant noise of her fingers striking the console. "It's gonna be okay Wave, I promise."

"I'm not so sure about that Nicole. We both know how you're mom feels about me."

Nicole squeezed her hand, "My dad is going to love you, and Tommy already does so you'll be fine. As for my mom, well...we'll figure that out as we go along, okay?"

Waverly brought Nicole's hand up to her lips and placed a gentle kiss on it, "I love you Nic."

Nicole glanced over at her, "I love you too." She paused as she returned her attention to the road in front of the car. "My mom is who she is and she's stubborn. Once she's made up her mind about something it's really difficult to get her to change it."

Waverly grinned, "Stubborn, huh? Makes perfect sense now."

"What does?"

"Where her daughter gets it from," she said with a laugh.

"I'm not stubborn Wave, I'm nothing like her."

"You totally are, you are the most stubborn, bull-headed person I've ever met." At Nicole's less than enthusiastic expression she reached over and tucked a stray strand of auburn hair behind Nicole's ear. "I love everything about you Nicole, and I don't want you to ever change."

"It's a good thing you love me so much, me being so stubborn and all." She grinned over at Waverly and stopped the car, "We're here."

Waverly looked out of the window and gasped at the sheer size of the house they were sitting in front of.

Nicole looked over at her, "Impressive isn't it?"

Waverly's mouth was hanging open as she stared, she found her voice and asked, "You grew up here?"

"When I wasn't away at school, yes." She moved to get out of the car, "You ready?"

She nodded, "As ready as I'm ever going to be." She inwardly braced herself and opened her door to find Nicole standing there holding their bags.

She followed Nicole up to the house and as they approached the front door, it opened and an older gentleman greeted Nicole and reached out to take their bags, "Robert, it's ok I can get them."

"I insist miss Haught."

Nicole looked at him and smiled, "Robert, I've told you a million times to call me Nicole." She shook her head and handed their bags over to him and reached behind her to draw Waverly into his sight, "And this...is my wife, Waverly."

"It's very nice to meet you Mrs. Haught."

Nicole rolled her eyes and luaghed, "Don't let mother hear you call her that."

Robert looked at Nicole with affection, "I wouldn't dream of it Nicole." He winked at her before he turned and walked up the stairs with their bags.

Nicole chuckled and turned towards Waverly, "Robert has worked for my family for as long as I can remember. Whenever I was home from school I would spend a lot of late nights with him in the kitchen, he makes the best sandwiches." She reached out and took Waverly's hand, "Come on, I'll give you the grand tour, which will finish in my room, I'm thinking we should take a nap before dinner."

Waverly reached over and took her hand, "For some reason I think I'm gonna need it to get through tonight."

"Wave, do you trust me?"

"Of course I do."

"Then trust me when I tell you that everything will be fine, okay?" She tugged on Waverly's hand, "Come on."

Waverly allowed herself to be pulled towards the stairs but she couldn't shake the feeling of dread that was now firmly rooted inside her chest.

 

*****

 

Later that evening after they woke up, showered and changed for dinner Nicole and Waverly walked down the stairs and Nicole led them into a room located just to the right of the main staircase. As they entered the room Waverly's eyes widened at the sight before her. The walls were lined with bookcases and the bookcases were filled with books.

Nicole whispered into her ear, "This is my dad's library," She paused as someone stood up from a chair located across the room, "And this is my dad, Thomas Haught." She walked over and gave her father a hug. She released him and turned towards Waverly, gesturing for her to come over to them.

Waverly walked towards Nicole's father, it was obvious where Nicole got not only her height but her mane of bright red hair. She would have found him intimidating if he didn't flash a warm smile in her direction.

Thomas turned towards his daughter as Nicole made the introductions, she wrapped her arm around Waverly's waist as she proudly introduced her wife to her father. "Dad, this is Waverly, my wife."

Thomas looked over at Waverly and held out his hand, "It's very nice to meet you Waverly, Nicole has told me so much about you."

Waverly took his hand and smiled at him, "It's very nice to meet you too sir."

"Please, call me Thomas, sir is too formal for family Waverly. I need to apologize for missing your wedding, I had to take an unexpected business trip and couldn't get away. But, I would like to officialy welcome you into the family."

He turned his gaze towards his daughter, "Your mother will be home shortly Nicole, I'm sure she will be happy to see you both. If you'll excuse me, I need to get ready for dinner."

After Nicole's father left the room Nicole turned towards Waverly to find her staring in awe at the bookcases lining the walls. She reached out and wrapped her arms around Waverly's waist, gently pullling her close before placing her chin on Waverly's shoulder. "I used to love to come in here and watch my father work at his desk, there was always something very calming about this room."

Waverly put her hands on top of Nicole's, "I can see why, I could lock myself in here for a year and be perfectly content. This is an amazing collection of books Nicole."

Nicole smiled as she heard the almost childlike wonder in Waverly's voice and she leaned in to place a soft kiss onto her cheek. They were so caught up in the moment that they didn't even look up at the sound of someone entering the room.

"Well, I came in to get a drink but if you two want to be alone I can come back." Nicole's head snapped around as she heard her brother's voice. She squeezed Wavery's hip before pulling away and walked over to her brother to give him a hug. "Hey sis, it's great to see you." He pulled out of Nicole's embrace and turned towards Waverly, "How are you? Looks like you've survived being married to this one." He grinned as he gestured with his thumb towards Nicole.

Waverly laughed as Tommy brought her into a hug, "Oh yeah, it's been torture." She stepped back and winked at Nicole before asking, "How have you been?"

"I'm fantastic, Clarice and I made it official a couple of weeks ago."

Nicole grinned, "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you Tommy, where's your wife?"

"She's upstairs, getting ready for dinner." He frowned for a moment, "Has mom gotten home yet?"

"I don't think so, at least we haven't seen her so I'm not sure."

Tommy put his hand on her arm, "Don't worry, we're going to get through this Nicole. She's just one person right?"

"Riiight, just one person who happens to feel like a tornado whenever she enters the room, yeah, one person."

They looked up as Robert entered the room to announce that dinner was ready and that their father was waiting for them in the dining room.

They sat at one end of the oversized table and all of them participated in a lively conversation about how Tommy had met his new wife Clarice. Waverly was surprised to discover that Clarice was from New York City and had worked as a librarian for five years at NYU before moving out to west coast. She had Tommy had met while he was attending school in New York and they had fallen instantly in love.

As they made their way to the libraray after dinner, nobody mentioned the fact that Eleanor was absent from dinner. Tommy laughed as he talked about his mother's reaction to meeting Clarice for the first time. Eleanor's reaction to the fact that Tommy was dating a woman of color was only slightly better than her reaction to meeting waverly for the first time.

"You should have seen the look on her face when she discovered that Clarice was African-American, it was priceless."

Nicole shook her head, "I can only imagine."

He slapped his thigh and laughed, "Her face went white as a sheet and I thought she was going to...."

"I'm glad you've found the evening's entertainmet Thomas, even if it's at my expense." Everyone looked towards the doorway as Eleanor made her entrance into the room. "So, does someone want to fill me in on the conversation, or do I need to guess."

Nicole stood up and walked towards her mother, "Hey mom, it's good to see you." She placed a kiss on her mother's cheek and smiled.

Unfortunately her mother didn't return her smile as she looked past Nicole, her gaze zeroing in on Waverly.

Nicole didn't like the look her mother was giving Waverly and moved to sit back down next to her wife on the couch. She reached over and took Waverly's hand, giving it a squeeze to reassure her that everything would be okay.

Her mother walked over to the small bar in the corner and poured herself a drink. She turned and faced the occupants of the room, noting the absense of her husband.

She turned towards her son and asked, "Where's your father?"

"He had to make a phone call and said he would be back soon."

"Hmm." She paused before turning her attention towards Nicole, "I need to talk to you for a minute, alone."

Waverly moved to get up but Nicole held her in place by her side, "Anything you have to say to me you can say in front of my wife."

"It's okay Nicole, I'm really tired and I think I'll head up to bed."

"Are you sure? You don't have to leave Wave."

Waverly nodded and Nicole kissed her on the cheek before she left the room.

Her mother didn't look pleased, "So tell me Nicole, how long are you intending to keep up this sham of a marriage of yours?"

Nicole looked shocked, "For the rest of my life, if Waverly will have me. And for the record mom, my marriage is very real."

"Seriously Nicole, we all know that you married that girl so that she can stay in the country, I don't understand what you were thinking." She began to pace back and forth across the room, "I don't know where I went wrong with you."

"Where you went wrong? What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Nicole's voice was rising along with her anger, "I love her mom and I married her for that simple reason, I don't know why you can't understand that I married someone that I love."

Tommy stood up and helped his wife to her feet, "Mom, leave her alone. When are you going to realize that Nicole is never going to marry a man?"

Eleanor whipped her head towards her son, "You stay out of this! This doesn't concern you."

He took a step towards her, "This absolutely concerns me mom, I love and accept Nicole for who she is and so does dad, so why can't you?"

His mother shot him a look of pure anger, "How dare you speak to me like that? You're just as bad as she is, marrying a..."

Tommy quickly got into his mother's face, "Don't you dare say it mom! I'm already very close to cutting you out of my life and honestly I really don't want to do that. I love you mom but you make it so difficult." He turned and held out his hand to his wife who gladly took it. As he walked past Nicole he mouthed the words, "I'm sorry." to Nicole before leaving the room.

After they left the room Nicole turned her attention back to her mother. "Mom..."

Her mother raised her hand and cut Nicole off, "I thought that if I kept her from being able to come back into the country that you would have no choice but to end things with her. I underestimated you, I have to hand it to you Nicole you're smarter than I gave you credit for."

"I knew it was you, why would you do that, don't you want me to be happy mom?"

I'm only going to say this once Nicole, "If you don't end your marriage then your father and I will have no choice but to cut you off, no more trust fund and no inheritence."
Nicole could feel tears forming in her eyes, along with fury that had built with every word that came out of her mother's mouth. "Then cut me off, I want nothing from you."
The two of them were so busy squaring off that they failed to notice that Nicole's father had entered the room, "What is going on in here? I could here shouting all the way on the other side of the house."

Nicole pointed over at her mother, "Your wife, is threatening to cut me off if I don't end my marriage to Waverly." She looked at her father and said, "If you're on board with this than all I have to say is that you can both go to hell. Waverly and I will be leaving in the morning and you won't see us again."

Thomas gave his daughter a reassuring smile, "I most certainly am not on board with this." Turning his attention back towards his wife his smile disappeared, "And you want to cut our only daughter out of our lives? That isn't going to happen. I've watched you tear her down for years Eleanor and why? So our daughter is a lesbian, nobody cares and it's not the end of the world. Look at her, she's beautiful and successful, she's your daughter for Christ's sake. It's our job to protect her from the hate in the world, not be the cause of it. If Nicole says she loves Waverly and married her for that reason then I support her. If you can't get on board then it's your loss, because in the end you will lose her." He reached out and hugged Nicole, "Why don't you head up to bed Nic, don't keep her waiting. And, I hope to see you both at breakfast in the morning."

"Thank you daddy." She pulled away from her father's embrace and slowly walked from the room without looking back.

 

*****

 

They decided to stay for the remainder of the holiday and two days later they were preparing to to to the annual Christmas Party at Thomas's country club.

Nicole was waiting anxiously at the bottom of the stairs for Waverly who was taking her time getting ready. She heard someone on the stairs and looked up to find Waverly slowly descending them towards her. Nicole's breath instantly caught in her throat at the sight of her wife. Waverly was wearing a black dress that clung to her in all the best places. He hair was cascading in waves down her back and Nicole looked on with pride as she noticed the diamond necklace she had given to Waverly as an early Christmas present hanging around her neck.

Waverly smiled down at her, "By the look on your face I take it you approve."

Nicole held her hand out to help Waverly down the last few steps. "Baby, I didn't think you could be any more beautiful than you already are, but boy was I wrong. The only time you were more beautiful than you are right now was on our wedding day."

Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole's waist, "Charmer!" She leaned in closer, "You know you don't have to say these things to get me into bed later, I'm a sure thing."

Nicole looked her in the eye, "I wouldn't say them if they weren't true."

They were interupted by a familiar voice coming from the other end of the hall, "You two should really get a room."

Nicole turned and grinned as she saw the approaching woman, "That's what we were talking about Sam, before we were so rudely interrupted!"

Sam laughed and turned towards Waverly, "Hey pretty lady, how are you?"

"I'm good, how about yourself?"

"I'm fantastic and ready to party, I wouldn't miss this one for the world, always so much drama and shenanigans going on, should be a blast." She winked at them before leading the way down the hall towards the front door.

The three of them rode over in Nicole's car, the rest of the family already having arrived at the club earlier. They got out of the car and Nicole tossed her keys to the valet, she linked her arm with Waverly's and they followed Sam inside.

The room was crowded and it took them awhile to locate the rest of the Haughts. They ate dinner and afterward Nicole led Waverly out onto to the dance floor. Waverly was pleasantly surprised to learn that Nicole was an excellent dancer. She giggled as Nicole twirled her around and when the song ended Nicole led her off the dance floor back towards her family.

Nicole was paying such close attention to Waverly that she wasn't watching where she was going. She didn't see the man blocking her path until it was too late and she was slamming into the back of him, accidently knocking him to the ground.

Nicole apologized and moved to help him up but she was cut off by a blonde haired woman who seemed very familiar.

As she helped him up Nicole could hear her say, "Daddy, are you okay?" She turned towards Nicole, "You should really watch where you're going, he could have been hurt, he..." the woman stopped talking when she noticed that it was Nicole standing there and Nicole gasped as she realized that the man she had just plowed into was none other than Congressman Davies, Stephanie's father.

Nicole ignored the blonde, "I'm so sorry sir, I should have been watching where I was going."

Congressman Davies smoothed his hands down his jacket and looked over at Nicole, "It was an accident and I'm still alive so no harm done." He was well aware of his daughter's bad break up with Nicole and he couldn't say that he was exactly happy to see her but as his gaze moved past her to the smaller woman standing slightly behind Nicole he cocked his head and stared.

Waverly looked back at him, growing more and more uncomfortable and she reached out to take Nicole's hand for reassurance.

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to stare but you look very familiar to me." He ran his fingers through his hair. "I feel like I know you."

Waverly seemed puzzled, "I'm sorry but I've never met you before."

"I know but honestly, you are the spitting image of my wife, here let me show you a picture." He reached into his jacket pocket and took out his wallet. He searched through it until her found what he was looking for, "Ah, here it is." he held the picture out to her.

Waverly tentavily took it from him and as she looked at the picture her heart began to pound, "Where did you get this?"

Stephanie chose that moment to butt into their conversation, "Duh, that's his wife, why wouldn't he carry a picture of her? Daddy, let's go and I don't understand why you are showing her mom's picture."

At the mention of the word mom, Waverly's head began to spin out of control, "But she can't be your mom."

Nicole was becoming concerned, "Wave, are you okay?" She turned towards the others, "If you'll excuse us, I think she needs some air."

Waverly wouldn't budge, "No, Nicole you don't understand. I need to know how he got her picture."

Nicole looked at it and her eyes grew wide, "Oh my God Wave."

Waverly turned towards him once again, "Where did you get my mother's picture?"

She never got an answer from him because at that exact moment a woman approached the group. She stopped and kissed the congressman on the cheek before turning around to face Waverly. At the sight of the woman standing in front of her Waverly's mouth dropped open and before her world went completely black she was able to utter one question, "Momma?"

Chapter Text

There was no sound, everyone in the room seemed to freeze until Nicole moved to catch Waverly before she hit the ground. After she caught Waverly and pulled her into her body everyone seemed to react at once. The noise exploded around them as a million questions were thrown around building on the noise and confusion of the room.
Nicole didn't pay any attention to the people surrounding them, her only concern was for Waverly's well-being. The air was becoming increasingly heavy and Nicole was finding it hard to breathe and she knew that if she was having trouble catching her breath then Waverly must be suffocating.

"Can everyone just back the hell up! She needs air!" Nicole shouted above the noise, "Please, give us some space." She looked back down at Waverly's face and was relieved that she could see her breathing, her concern now was the fact that Waverly still hadn't woken up.

Sam and Tommy helped move the crowd back and Nicole looked up to meet Sam's eyes. The other woman nodded and Nicole scooped Waverly up into her arms and carried her quickly towards the front door. She needed to get Waverly out of there and to the hospital even though there were a million questions that needed answering.

Nicole climbed into the backseat of her car as Sam held Waverly. After Nicole got settled in she held out her arms and Sam loaded Waverly into the car as well. Waverly lay across the backseat with her head in Nicole's lap. Sam climb in and Nicole tossed her the keys so that she could drive them to the hospital.

She ran her fingers through Waverly's hair and stroked her cheek, concern for her wife written all over her face. Waverly began to stir and Nicole let out a deep breath as she continued to softly stroke her wife's face.

They pulled up to the hospital and Sam parked the car in front of the emergency entrance before running inside to get help. Before Nicole knew what was happening Waverly was being pulled from the car by a man dressed in hospital scrubs and Nicole reluctantly let go of her before getting out of the car and following them inside.

A nurse met her in the waiting area as she moved to follow the doctor as they wheeled Waverly into an exam room. "I'm sorry miss but you'll have to wait out here."

Nicole looked over at the nurse and she could see tears forming in her eyes, "She's my wife, I should be with her."

"I understand but I need you to wait here," the nurse reached out and squeezed her arm reassuringly, "Give me a minute and I'll see if there's any information."

Nicole nodded and watched her go, reaching up she gripped her arms with her hands, it took all of her willpower not to run after the nurse . She looked up as she felt a hand on her shoulder to find Sam standing there, "Any news?"

"Not yet."

"Haught, listen to me. I know you're worried but she's going to be okay, she fainted." She shook her head, "What the hell happened, and why am I not surprised that it involves Stephanie?"

Nicole turned towards her, "I'm not sure myself but I think that that woman is Waverly's mom. And, I really don't think Steph had anything to do with this, she seemed as surprised as the rest of us."

"But, didn't Stephanie say that she was her mother?"

Nicole's eyes widened as the realization sunk in, "Holy shit, does this mean that Wave and Stephanie are sisters? This whole thing doesn't make any sense and I sure as hell don't want her as a sister-in-law."

Sam clapped Nicole on the back, "Well, it doesn't look like you have much of a choice there sport."

Nicole opened her mouth to respond but quickly closed it again as she noticed the nurse approaching them from down the hall.

The nurse smiled at her, "You'll be happy to know that she's fine. She's awake and asking for you. Come on, I'll take you to her."

Sam grinned at her, "Go on Haught, I'll wait right here for you."

Nicole nodded and followed the nurse through a set of double doors to a curtained off area where she found Waverly propped up on a hospital bed.
Waverly saw her coming and held out her arms towards Nicole who gladly stepped up to the bed and wrapped her arms around her wife.
She pressed her face into Waverly's hair, "I was so worried Wave, I was so scared baby, I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you."

"I'm okay Nic, I just need you to tell me that this was all a dream." She paused as Nicole pulled back to look in her eyes, "Just tell me that none of this actually happened." Tears were streaming down her face.

Nicole reached out and wiped Waverly's tears with her thumbs. "I wish I could tell you that Wave but I can't, It wouldn't be true and I can't lie to you."

"What am I going to do Nicole? Why would she just leave us?"

Waverly began to sob uncontrolably and Nicole's heart broke for her, she pulled Waverly into a tight hug and kissed the side of her head , "It's gonna be okay Wave, we'll get through this together, shh it's gonna be ok baby."

Nicole couldn't begin to understand what Waverly was going through but she knew that Waverly was going to need all of her support in the upcoming days. If her suspicions were correct, and she completely believed that they were, Waverly was in for an even bigger shock and Nicole wasn't sure how she was going to handle it.

*****

The next morning they lay together in Nicole's room, Waverly had finally fallen asleep and Nicole held her in her arms, determined to make her feel as safe as possible. She had asked her family not to disturb them and so far everyone had respected her wishes and had left them alone.

Nicole reached across Waverly and picked up her phone so that she could check her text messages. She was waiting to hear from Wynonna about when she would be arriving. She had called her sister-in-law and told her what had happened and after Wynonna got over the initial shock of finding out that her mother had made a reappearance, she told Nicole she would be on the next flight there and she was bringing Gus with her.

Waverly whimpered in her sleep and Nicole put her phone back on the nightstand and wrapped her arms tighter around her wife. Nicole placed a soft kiss on top of her head and Waverly sighed and snuggled closer into Nicole's body. She absently stroked Waverly's head as she thought about everything that had happened.

It wasn't just thinking about the things that had happened over the past two days but everything that had happened to Waverly since they started seeing each other. Waverly had suffered and Nicole was trying hard not to blame herself, but with each thing that happened to Waverly how could she not. Stephanie's vendetta against Waverly was a prime example of this. If she had only been honest with Stephanie about her feelings changing, then maybe this whole thing could have been avoided. She was beginning to feel guilty about all the pain Waverly was feeling and the fact that to some small degree some of it was her fault.

She knew that Waverly would be the first person to tell her that that wasn't true, that these events had started long before they had met but Nicole couldn't help feeling this way. All she wanted to do was protect Waverly but in her mind she was causing her more pain becuase of the people that Nicole had brought into her life.

Her mother's treatment of Waverly was unforgivable, the woman had not even made an effort to get to know her wife. She had hoped that if her mother sat down and actually had a conversation with Waverly that she would have changed her mind about her. Any hope that Nicole had about that died the minute her mother had opened her mouth. Nicole had put up with a lot of things from her mother over the years and had held her tongue but there was no way in hell that she was going to back down when it came to Waverly. If it came down to choosing between the two women there was no competition. She loved her mother but Nicole would choose Waverly every single time.

Nicole hadn't been surprised to see Stephanie and her father at the Christmas party but Waverly's mother showing up like that had thrown her for a loop. She had never met Stephanie's mother and her ex girlfriend hadn't talked about her so Nicole had just assumed that she was out of the picture.

Nicole sighed, she had wanted to remove Stephanie permantely from their lives but now with the revealation that she and Waverly were sisters the chances of that happening was most likely zero percent. She was beginng to suspect that the two women didn't just share a mother but a father too. She had thought that it was an odd coincidence that the two of them had the same birthday but when she found out she had no reason to suspect that it meant anything at all. Wynonna's comment about their mother being huge while pregnant and Gus's reaction to it only confirmed in her mind that which she already suspected to be true, Waverly and Stephanie were twins. For the time being Nicole would keep her theory about Waverly's parentage to herself until after they had spoken to Gus and got some answers.

*****

Gus and Wynonna arrived that afternoon and Robert led them into the library where Waverly and Nicole were waiting for them. Wynonna held out her arms to her sister and Waverly quickly got up and rushed over to her, crying as Wynonna wrapped her arms around her sister.

Wynonna just held Waverly as she cried, she wanted to get to the bottom of things but at the moment Waverly's well being was more important.

When Waverly finally stopped crying, she let go of her sister and took a step back. "I can't believe this Nonna, she's been here the whole time."

"We're gonna get the truth out of her Wave, even if I have to force it out of her. I'm not going home until I find out what the hell this is all about. She has a lot of shit to answer for and I plan on having a long talk with her but first," she turned towards Gus, "You need to tell us everything you know."

Gus sat back in her chair, she took a deep breath before speaking. "What you need to understand is that Sylvia is my baby sister. The way you feel about Waverly is the way I felt about her when we were growing up. There are some things about your mother that you two don't know about."

She turned towards Nicole, "Do you think I could have some water?"

Nicole nodded and got up off the couch to get it for her. She sat back down on the couch and Waverly joined her. Nicole reached out and took Waverly's hand and waited for Gus to continue her story.

Gus took a drink and set the glass on the table, "When Sylvia turned seventeen she started to show signs that something wasn't right with her. She would be happy one moment then out of the blue she would become severly depressed. Mom and dad took her to the doctor and they diagnosed her with bipolar disorder and put her on medication for it. The medication appeared to do the trick and she seemed to go back to normal. Then she met Ward and things began to change again."

She got up out of her chair and began to pace back and forth across the room, "She really did love him and they were so happy at first and then Willa and Wynonna came along and Sylvia told me that her life was complete. But Ward and his damn drinking ruined everything." She stopped pacing and turned to face the three of them, "When he started hitting her, I tried to get her to leave him but she kept telling me that it was her fault for making him mad. Things continued like this for awhile and it got worse when Sylvia got a job at the local bar to help pay the bills."

Gus picked up her water and took another drink, "Things seemed to settle down and it wasn't long before Sylvia discovered that she was pregnant. When it was almost time for the baby to be born, Sylvia showed up at the house with a black eye and a split lip. She had the girls with her and said she was leaving him for good this time. She asked if she could stay with us until after the baby was born and Curtis and I agreed." She sat back down in her chair and faced Waverly. "About a week before you were born I found Sylvia crying in the living room and I asked her what was wrong. She told me that she had cheated on Ward with a man who was in town on a business trip. She told me that baby was his and not Ward's and that Ward could never find out because she was afraid of what he would do to her or the baby."

Nicole looked over at Waverly to see how she was taking the news and she was surprised to see that she was calm and listening intently to what her aunt was saying. Nicole turned her attention back to Gus and listened as the older woman continued.

"The night you came into this world Waverly is a night I'll never forget. Snowstorms in March aren't unheard of but the blizzard that hit that night was unexpected and we had to help Sylvia through her labor by ourselves because the doctor couldn't make it to the house. Your mother gave birth to a baby girl and as she held her new daughter she stared at her head full of blonde hair and her face fell. Then out of the blue, her labor picked back up again and a second baby girl was born. This one was the spitting image of her mama and came out crying. At the sight of the second baby's brown hair Sylvia smiled. We placed both babies in her arms and she looked at the baby in her right arm and said softly that she was naming her Stephanie. The baby laying on her left side would be named Waverly."

Wynonna interupted her, "So your're saying that Waves and Stephanie are twins. So what happened, why would mom give up one of her babies."

"I was getting to that Wyn. Your mother was planning on going back to Ward and she could have never passed off a blonde haired, blue-eyed baby as one of Ward Earp's children. She begged me to call Eric, so I did."

Waverly spoke for the first time, "Who's Eric?"

"Eric Davies, he's your father."

"Oh." Waverly leaned into Nicole, needing her strength and support. She wasn't sure she really wanted to hear anymore, but in the end decided that she needed to hear Gus out. She needed to know the truth.

Gus continued, "Eric came to the house and Sylvia handed him Stephanie and asked him to take her. She told him that she couldn't provided for her because she already had two other daughters to raise on her own. He agreed and took the baby with him when he left."

Nicole looked up at Gus with a confused look on her face, "Wait a minute, you said she told him that she had two other daughters but actually she had three, did she not tell him that she had given birth to twins?"

Gus shook her head, "No, she never did. He never knew until last night that Waverly even existed." She swallowed and continued, " Shortly after the babies were born, she took her three girls and went back to her husband and Ward never knew that Waverly wasn't his biological daughter."

Wynonna sat back in her chair and glanced over at Waverly before looking back at her aunt, "So what I want to know is why the hell she left us with him. I mean, she had already left him once because he was an asshole, so why in God's name would she leave three children alone with him, it doesn't make any sense. And why didn't you ever tell us any of this?"
Gus looked down at the floor, "Because I promised her I would never tell you because if Ward found out about Waverly she was afraid of what he would do to her."

"So not only did Mom abandon us but she lied, to daddy and to Eric. So many people's lives have been changed by this, maybe even ruined. What's wrong with her?" Wynonna leaned forward in her chair, "I will never understand why she did what she did."

"So it's true then, she's my sister?" Everyone in the room turned towards Waverly as she spoke, "I always felt that something was missing from my life and now I know what it was." She turned towards Gus and stood up pointing a finger towards her, "And you knew! All this time you knew the truth and you kept it from me, from all of us! You let me believe that a horrible man was my father and kept me from knowing about my sister!" She turned towards Wynonna, "Our sister."

"I'm so sorry Waverly."

Waverly was angry, "You're sorry! That's not good enough! You are just as bad as that terrible excuse of a mother that we were cursed with and I don't want to hear any more from you."

Gus stood up and held up her arms, "Yes, I'm sorry, I thought I was protecting her and to be perfectly honest I had no idea where she was."

Waverly huffed out a laugh, "Honest? So, now you want to be honest! You thought you were protecting her but what about her daughters? Who was protecting us? Where were you when daddy was drunk and angry and taking it out on us for momma leaving? Where were you when Wynonna and Willa went to school with bruises all over their bodies and half-starved from having no food in the house?" She took a step towards her aunt, "Where were you, huh? Where was she!?" Waverly was shouting now and Nicole stood up and placed a hand on her shoulder.

Waverly didn't pay attention to the comforting hand laying on her shoulder, she was too angry and all that anger was focused on her aunt. "We were children, we should have been protected!" She pointed at Gus, "How dare you stand there and try to justify what she did! I will never forgive her and I don't know if I can ever forgive you either!"

The tears were coming and Waverly pulled away from Nicole and ran from the room. Nicole watched as Wynonna got up and went to follow Waverly, "Upstairs, third door on the right." Wynonna nodded and left the room.

Nicole turned back around and looked at Gus, "Is that the whole story or is there more? Because I have a feeling that you're leaving some things out, maybe something that you think might be too much for them to hear?"

Gus sat down into the closest chair and Nicole had to strain to hear her next words, "When Sylvia told Ward she was leaving for good he threatened her. He told her he would kill her and the girls if she tried to take them. She was halfway out the door with them when he came back with his gun."

"Jesus, I'm glad I never met that man or I would have had some things to say to him." Her face was angry for a moment before turning back towards Gus, "I still don't get why you didn't help her. You could have gotten them away from him."

Gus looked down at the floor, "I didn't know until years later, Sylvia sent me a letter and that's when Curtis and I went and took Waverly out of there." She looked back up at Nicole, "I thought that she ran off with Eric out of guilt for giving him the baby. If I had known the truth I would have gotten them all out of there, you have to believe me."

Nicole sat back and let out a breath, "I believe you but I still don't understand why you never told Waverly any of this until now." Gus went to speak and she held up her hand to stop her, "I'm not going to keep this from Waverly, we don't keep secrets from each other. I don't know what's going to happen going forward between you and your niece but you need to prepare yourself, Waverly may never get past this."

"I'm so sorry Nicole, will you tell her that for me?"

"Yeah, I will." She reached over and took Gus's hand, "Give her time, okay." She stood up, "I'll have Robert take you to your hotel. I don't think it's a good idea for you to stay at the house, I don't want Waverly anymore upset than she already is."

Nicole turned to leave and as she walked away she thought she heard Gus say, "thank you." She nodded her head and left the room, the only thought in her head being the need to get to Waverly. She had an overwhelming urge to hold her in her arms and tell her that everything was going to be all right. As she walked up the stairs she braced herself, Waverly needed her now more than ever and Nicole was going to be there for her no matter what.

*****

Nicole lay in bed on her side facing Waverly, watching her sleep. It had ben three days since Gus had told Waverly about the circumstances surrounding her newly discovered family members. Waverly was resting peacefully for the first time since her mother's reappearance and Nicole took this as a sign that hopefully Waverly was climbing out of depressed state she had fallen into. Waverly had barely left the room and pretty much had stayed in bed, only getting up to use the bathroom and eat the food that Nicole brought up to her.
Nicole reached out and traced Waverly's jawline with her finger, Waverly was her whole world and she missed her smile, missed her laugh. Over the past couple of days Waverly had been distant, barely saying anything to Nicole. The only time that Waverly had even allowed any physical contact between the two of them was at night while they slept.
Wavely sighed softly in her sleep at Nicole's touch, she rolled over onto her side and wrapped her arm around Nicole. Nicole reached out and pulled Waverly closer, pressing her face into Waverly's hair inhaling the scent of her shampoo.

Waverly stretched and opened her eyes to find herself snuggled against Nicole's warm body. Wrapped in Nicole's arms she forgot about the past few days and a feeling of safety and contentment washed over her. If she could stay like this forever she would but she knew that it wasn't a possibility so for now she would remain in the safety of Nicole's arms. Nicole was the stability she needed and she would always be grateful to her for being there for her while her life was so chaotic.

She nuzzled her face closer into Nicole's neck and placed a soft kiss on her throat. She smiled as Nicole dropped a kiss onto the top of her head. She pulled back slightly so that she could look at Nicole's face. "I've been thinking."

Nicole stared back at her, "About what?"

"I'm thinking that you need to take me dancing more often." She smiled at Nicole, "You never told me what a great dancer you are."

"That can be arranged, but Wave you gotta leave the bedroom if you want to go dancing." She reached out and ran her fingers through Waverly's hair, "I've missed you Wave." She dropped a kiss onto her forehead, "You've been through so much and I want you to know that I'm here for you, no matter what."

Waverly reached up and placed her hand against the side of Nicole's face, "I'm sorry I shut you out, it's just that things have been so hard and I didn't want you to have to deal with all of this too."

"Waverly, we're in this together, for better or worse remember?"

"I know, but..."

"Hey, no buts here, we're in this together and that means that we will deal with whatever life throws at us together. It doesn't matter to me who you're parents are Wave, you are still you and nothing could ever make me not love you."

Waverly's face lit up at this and she grabbed Nicole's face in her hands and kissed her on the lips, "How did I get so lucky?"

"No baby, I'm the lucky one to have found you." She pulled back and looked at her wife, "Hey, you know what today is?"

"Of course I do," Waverly reached underneath her pillow and took out a small square box, handing it to Nicole, "Merry Christmas Nic, I love you."

Nicole took the box and shook it. "What is it?"

Waverly laughed, sitting up she grinned at Nicole, "Open it!"

Nicole scooted up the bed and leaned back against the headboard. She looked down at the box and then back at Waverly who was practically bouncing with anticipation. She lifted the lid off of the box and took out a key, holding it up. "You gave me a key? What's it for?"

"You'll have to get up and dressed to find out, it's outside."

Nicole gave her a confused look, "What's outside? Come on baby, just tell me what it is."

Waverly shook her head and began to back away from Nicole, "Nope, these lips are sealed, you'll just have to come with me to find out."

Nicole reached out and grabbed her arm, pulling Waverly back into her body, "As much as I want to find out what you got me, I'd rather stay here with you." She pulled Waverly down on top of her and smoothed the hair from out of her eyes. "I've missed you Wave, you disappeared on me and I don't like how that feels."

Waverly looked into Nicole's eyes and reached up, running her fingers through Nicole's hair, "I'm so sorry Nic. I never meant to hurt you but you need to understand that everything I thought I knew about my life has been a lie."

Nicole looked down at Waverlry with tenderness in her eyes, "Not everything Wave, I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. I promise you here and now that I'll never ever keep anything from you, we'll never have secrets between us." She leaned in and kissed Waverly before pulling away and getting off the bed.

Waverly looked at her in amazement, "Where are you going?"

Nicole threw on her bathrobe and grinned at her wife, "To go find my present, are you coming?"

Waverly shook her head and laughed, "Of course, just give me a minute to get dressed."

"Just put on your robe and let's go!"

Waverly did just that and reached out her hand towards Nicole, who took it and led her out of the bedroom and down the hall.

It was still early and they seemed to be the only people awake in the house so they walked hand and hand downstairs and out the front door. Nicole paused and let out a squeal of joy when she saw what was waiting for her in the driveway. She turned towards Waverly, "Is this for real?"

"Yes! Wynonna helped me pick it out because I really know nothing about motorcycles."

Nicole took two steps towards it, "Wave, this isn't just a motorcycle this is a 1200 Stage One Screaming Eagle!" At Waverly's confused expression she continued, "This is the best Harley out there and I love it!."

Waverly couldn't help but smile as she watched her wife examining every inch of her gift. The look of pure joy on her face was worth the price of the machine and Waverly had to admit that she couldn't wait to see Nicole riding it, especially while wearing the motorcycle jacket that was currently wrapped in a box beneath the Haught's oversized Christmas tree. She felt a prescence next to her and turned her head to find Nicole's mother standing there with a frown on her face.

Eleanor watched as her daughter happily sat down on her newest possesion. Without looking over at Waverly she said, "I take it I have you to thank or this?"

Waverly cautiously answered, "Yes, she really wanted one."

"Why would you do this? I hope you realize how dangerous those things are." Eleanor turned back towards the house, "I hope to God that nothing bad happens to her because you thought that this was a good idea." She huffed out a breath and walked back inside, shaking her head.

Waverly briefly watched her go before returning her attention back towards Nicole who was walking back towards her, "So, you like it?"

"Like it, Waverly, I love it!." She wrapped her arms around Waverly, picked her up and swung her around, "I have the greatest wife in the history of wives!"

Waverly laughed, "Nicole! Put me down." Nicole did just that but didn't remove her arms from around Waverly's waist. "I'm glad you love it." Waverly leaned up and Nicole dropped a kiss onto her lips.

"Was that mom I saw out here a minute ago?" Nicole asked after pulling slightly back.

Waverly nodded, "She wasn't too pleased about the present I got you."

Nicole rolled her eyes, "That doesn't surprise me but enough about her, why don't we head inside, join the family and open our presents." She pulled Waverly closer, "Then...we can spend the rest of the day together, just the two of us."

Waverly sighed, "Sounds like heaven but I should call Wynonna, I need to find out if she's talked to Willa about what's happened."

Waverly's voice was becoming shaky and Nicole could see tears forming in her eyes. She hugged her tighter and kissed her forehead. "I know you don't believe this now, but everything's gonna be okay, I promise."

Waverly looked up at Nicole, "Actually I do, just knowing that you're in my corner makes me believe it. Come on, let's head inside."

Nicole took her hand and led her inside.

*****

"No, Nicole, I already told you that I don't want to see him." Waverly turned away from the window to face her wife. "I've got nothing to say to either of them."

"Wave, I really think you should hear him out, she kept him in the dark about you and he never even knew you existed." Nicole took a step towards Waverly and continued, "I've known him for a couple of years, he's a decent man Wave."

Eric had stopped by the house two days after Christmas and asked Niocle to speak to Waverly on his behalf, because she was refusing to see him. All he asked was to speak to his new found daughter and he told Nicole that hewanted to get to know her.

Nicole was now standing in front of her wife trying to convince her to meet with him. She reached out and grasped Waverly's hands, "He just wants to get to know you, why don't you meet with him. He might be able to answer some of your questions...and if you want me to come with you I will."

"I don' t know Nicole, it's just too much."

Waverly tried to turn away but Nicole held onto her hands and wouldn't let her. "Baby, I don't want you to do anything you don't want to do but I think it will do you good to at least talk to him and get his point of view."

"If we go, you need to promise me that I won't have to speak to my mother."

"Whatever you want Wave." She squeezed Waverly's hands reassuringly, "And if you start to feel uncomfortable we'll leave okay?"

Waverly leaned up and kissed Nicole's cheek, "You always know just what to say to me don't you?"

"Please, you're giving me too mush credit here, all I know is that I love you and I want you to be happy. It's been killing me seeing you like this and I really think that if you talk to him it may help you start to heal a little bit. But, it's up to you what you want to do and whatever decision you make I'll support you."

Waverly bit her bottom lip and thought about everything Nicole had just said. After a minute or two of thinking she made a decision. "You're right, he deserves a chance to at least speak to me and I'm starting to think that I'd like to get to know him too. I just can't wrap my brain around why my mother allowed all of these lives to be ruined, I don't understand."

"Maybe after you speak to him things will be more clear, maybe he can give you some insight on why she did this."

"When I called Wynonna she was still pretty upset with the fact that mom is here and that we have another sister. She told me that Willa wanted to come but she's on bed rest until after the baby is born." She paused for a moment, seeming to get lost in thought before continuing to speak, "I just can't get over the fact that I have a twin sister and that she's your ex girlfriend Nicole. My mind is completely blown. After everything she's put us both through I don't know how to deal with that."

Nicole didn't answer her at first because she really didn't have an answer to the particular situation. Stephanie being Waverly's twin sister was not something Nicole wanted to think about at that moment. She shook those thoughts from her head and turned her attention back towards Waverly. "He said that if you're willing to meet with him we could come over to his house for breakfast tomorrow. He assured me that neither Stephanie or your mother will be there unless you want them to be." She stopped talking when she noticed the look in Waverly's eyes.

"Okay, we'll head over there is the morning. But right now I think I'd like to go to bed."

"What? It's the middle of the afternoon baby, do you want to take a nap?"

Waverly shook her head as she backed Nicole towards the bed, "Nope, I want to go to bed but I don't think that there's going t be a lot of sleeping involved." She felt Nicole's legs hit the bed and she gave her a push. Nicole fell backwards on the bed, pulling Waverly down with her. She landed on top of her and for the briefest of moments braced herself onto her hands so that she could stare down at Nicole's face before lowering her head and kissing Nicole's soft lips, "Yep definately not going to be alot of sleeping going on this afternoon."

"Is that a promise?"

Waverly smirked at Nicole, "Nope it's a fact." She swooped in and began to kiss Nicole with urgency. She felt like she needed to make up for lost time and she was determined to make the most of the afternoon wrapped in her wife's arms, showing her exactly how much she loved her.

Chapter Text

"Are you sure you don't want me to go with you?" Nicole sat on the bed and watched Waverly get dressed. "Can I at least drive you over there?"

Waverly walked over to Nicole and put her arms around her shoulders, "Of course you can." She reached up with her hand and played with the hair on the back of Nicole's neck, "It's not that I don't want you there when I go to talk to him, I just really feel like this is something I need to do on my own." She leaned down and pressed a kiss to Nicole's forehead, smiling as she felt Nicole wrap her arms around her waist.

Nicole pulled her closer and Waverly ran her hands through Nicole's hair, "I love the way you feel the need to protect me, but I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself."

Nicole pulled back and tilted her head up so she could look at Waverly's face, "I know that, it's just that you've been through so much." She lowered her eyes, "And I kind of feel responsible for some of it."

"Wha..., what are you talking about?"

"If it wasn't for me Stephanie wouldn't..."

"Nicole, look at me." She put her finger underneath Nicole's chin and raised her head, "You can't blame yourself for any of this, because I don't. I will never be sorry for meeting you and I don't ever want to find out what my life would be like without you in it." She placed her hands on either side of her wife's face, "I love you and I don't ever intend to find out, I never want to know a world where you don't exist."

Nicole just stared up at her, tears forming in her eyes, "Waves..."

Waverly lowered her head until she was inches away from Nicole's lips. "Shhh...all you need to believe is that I love you and I'm going to spend the rest of my life with you and that includes whatever life throws at us." She closed the tiny gap and softly kissed Nicole. She ended the kiss and pulled back, "As much as I'd like to continue this, I really do need to go."

Nicole pulled her into another kiss before letting her go and standing up. She held out her hand and Waverly took it as Nicole led her from the room.

*****

Waverly sat across the table from Eric, they were currently sitting in silence each enjoying a coffee. Waverly set her cup on the table and cleared her throat, "So, you wanted to see me?"

Eric took a drink of his coffee and said, "Is it okay that we're sitting out here? I always feel peaceful when I'm outdoors." He set his cup down of the table and looked over at Waverly.

"Of course, it's beautiiful out here, you have a lovely home."

Eric seemed nervous, "I asked you here because I felt like we needed to talk, seeing as I am your father." He paused for a moment, "I'd like to get to know you, if that's all right with you."

She nodded, "I'd like that."

He smiled, "I'm glad to hear that Waverly."

Waverly sat back in her chair, "My whole life I felt like something wasn't right, that I was missing something and it turns out I was right."

Eric looked out towards the yard before turning back towards Waverly, "You have to believe me when I tell you that I had no idea you existed, but if I did, I would have come and gotten you. I would never have let Sylvia leave you with him. She told me about what her life was like with Ward and I can't imagine what you went through."

Waverly took a deep breath and let it out slowly, "It wasn't easy, he wasn't the nicest person and Momma leaving only made things worse."

He shook his head, "I can only imagine what you all went through but there's something about your mother that you don't understand."

Waverly held up her hand, "I don't think I want to hear about her right now, I'm here to get to know you."

"Fair enough, we don't have to talk about your mother if you don't want to. But on another note I feel like I should apologize for Steph's behavior towards you and Nicole."

Waverly look shocked, "She's a grown woman, you can't blame yourself for the things she's done." She huffed out a breath, "Did you know that she tried to drown me?"

A pained expression washed over his face, "She told me that it was an accident, it wasn't, was it?"

"No it wasn't, when she found out that Nicole and I were married she got really angry and pushed me into the pool."

He sighed, "Look, I know that you don't want to talk about your mom but she wasn't around a lot when Steph was growing up and I think that I overcompensated for this by spoiling her. Everytime Sylvia would leave Stephanie would cry for days, I would feel so bad for her, like there was nothing I could do to help her."

"She would just leave? Well, that's something that the two of us have in common, having a mother who left us. This makes me so angry, I could just..."

Eric interupted her, "No, that's not the way it was. Sylvia would get so depressed, so much so that she would have to be hospitalized. She spent most of our marriage in and out of institutions and unfortunately most of your sister's life."

"I don't know if I'll ever get used to the fact that she's my sister, she's done some really awful things to both of us. Honestly, I tried to apologize to her for how things ended with Nicole but she wouldn't listen."

"That's because she has severe abadonment issues, at least that's what her therapist told me. Her behavior made sense after that." He picked up his coffee and took another drink before continuing, "I'm sorry, I know you didn't want to talk about your mother or Steph, but I felt like it was important for you to understand some things about them. We have plenty of time to get to know each other, I'm not going anywhere."

"I really would like that and I'm not going anywhere either."

"Good, because it's not everyday that you find out that you have a daughter you never knew existed."

"Look, I know that you know Nicole from before but I would love it if we could have dinner sometime, just the three of us."

Eric sat back, " So tell me, Nicole treats you right?"

"Of course, she's the love of my life, and the best thing to happen to me."

"Then that's all that matters, how about you speak to Nicole and get back to me on a time."

"Sounds like a plan." She took out her phone and sent a text to Nicole, letting her know that she was ready to go. "Nicole should be here in a few minutes so in the meantime, tell me some things about you."

*****

Nicole dropped Waverly off at Eric's house and drove to the country club to meet her father for brunch. She got out of her car and tossed her keys to the valet before turning towards the front door.

She took two steps and stopped in her tracks as her mother came through the door, followed closing behind by a woman who looked vaguely familiar to Nicole. The pair were laughing and Nicole arched an eyebrow as the woman put her arm around her mother and whispered something into her ear. She found the whole thing strange and stood watching them walk down the sidewalk and around the side of the building.

She shook her head and continued into the building, pushing the thoughts of the scene she had just witnessed. She walked into the dining room and smiled as she saw her father seated at the table waiting for her.

Thomas looked up as she approached and stood up, holding his arms out towards his daughter. Nicole hugged him and they sat down across from each other at the table.
As Nicole picked up her menu she looked over at her father and asked, "So, what was mom doing here?"

Thomas looked surprised, "Your mother was here?" He cleared his throat and picked up his own menu, "I think she was playing tennis this morning, I can't keep up with her schedule."

Nicole shrugged, "Must have been her tennis partner I saw her with."

"Probably." He looked over his menu and waved the waiter over to them. They ordered their food and as the waiter left her father said, "So, I hear you're on track for a repeat this year."

Nicole smiled and nodded, "Yeah I'm undefeated this year, haven't lost a single race and coach is very pleased with my progress. My grades are good and I've never been happier."

"I can tell." He reached over and squeezed her hand, "Nicky I'm glad that you've found someone like Waverly to share your life with." He took a drink of his coffee and continued, "How's she holding up, all things considered?"

Nicole sat back in her chair, "It's been tough on her. I can't imagine what she's going through, to have such a bombshell dropped on you like that out of the blue, I don't know how she's coping with it, I really don't."

"All you can do is support her and let her know you're there for her."

"Thank you for being so supportive, I don't know what I'd do if I didnt have it."

"Nicole, you're my daughter, what kind of father would I be if I didn't show you how much I love and care for you. And, I really like Waverly, I'm proud to call her my daughter too."
He stopped as the waiter brought them their food and as Nicole began eating he asked her, "What I want to know is when are you two going to give me a grandchild?"

Nicole almost choked on the bacon she was eating, "What? Dad, we haven't been married that long and we're both still in school and Waverly wants to go to graduate school next year. I don't think either of is ready for kids and we haven't even talked about that yet." She grinned at him, "But, if and when we decide to have a baby, you will be the first person I call, I promise."

"I'm gonna hold you to that sweetheart," He grinned at her and they spent the rest of their time together talking about Nicole's plans for the future. After Nicole received Waverly's message letting her know that it was time for her to pick her up, Thomas walked his daughter to her car and waved as she drove away.

*****

Nicole pulled up in front of the house and was disappointed that Waverly wasn't waiting outside to meet her. She turned of the engine and sat in her car for a few minutes before taking a deep breath before getting out and walking up to the front door.

As she got to the door a car pulled up and came to a stop right behind her's. Nicole recognized the car and drew in a deep breath, preparing herself for the upcoming confrontation with her ex.

The driver's side door opened and Stephanie stepped out of the car, her gaze instantly zeroing in on Nicole who wished she was anywhere else at that moment. She cringed as Stephanie marched straight towards her.

"What and the hell are you doing here Nicole? You've made it perfectly clear that you don't want anything to do with me, so what do you want?"

Nicole rolled her eyes, "I'm just here to pick up my wife, she's here visiting..." She stopped as her gaze moved past Waverly and landed on the woman standing behind her. She couldn't help but stare, the woman was an older version of Waverly and just as beautiful.

"Waverly is here?" Hearing Sylvia's voice for the first time startled Nicole out of her staring and she nodded. "I'd like to see her."

"Mom, you promised me we were going to spend the day together."

Sylvia turned towards her daughter, "Not, now Stephanie, if you're sister is here I'd like to..."

Stephanie stomped her foot, "She's not my sister, mother!"

"We talked about this Steph." She took a step towards her as she spoke, "Your father and I..."

Sylvia's voice trailed off and Nicole heard a gasp coming from behind her, she turned around to find Waverly standing there with her mouth open. "Wave?"

Waverly stared straight at the group in front of her and at the sound of Nicole's voice seemed to snap out of whatever trance she was in. Nicole? Can you take me home now?"
"Of course sweetheart." Nicole held her hand out to Waverly and she took it.

The two of them walked towards the car and past the other two women. Stephanie stood with her arms crossed and as Nicole opened the door and helped Waverly into the car she rolled her eyes and stomped into the house.

Nicole closed the car door and turned towards Sylvia, "I know that you want to talk to her but she's not ready. She's dealing with a lot right now and I'd appreciate it if you would give her the space she needs to heal." She walked around the car and got in, she glanced over and saw Sylvia walk into the house before turning towards Waverly.

She reached out and took her hand, "Hey, are you okay?" She could see tears forming in Waverly's eyes and she pulled her into a hug. "How about we get out of here and go back to the house?"

Waverly buried her face into Nicole's neck and let the tears flow, Nicole ran her hands up and down Waverly's back and after a few minutes Waverly began to calm down. Nicole leaned back and brushed the hair out of Waverly's face before placing a soft kiss onto her forehead. She pulled back and turned the car on, as she put the car in drive Waverly grasped her arm and wouldn't let go, leaning her body into Nicole's. They stayed that way during the entire drive back to Nicole's parents house.

*****

Nicole eased herself from Waverly's side which wasn't easy due to the fact that her wife had a death grip on her shirt. She had woken up from a dead sleep and Nicole was struggling to remember the dream she had just experienced. The only thing she could recall is that it had something to do with her mother. When Nicole was in high school and couldn't sleep, she would get up and swim laps to take her mind off of whatever was bothering her. She reached into her dresser and pulled out a simsuit, putting it on before grabbing her robe and quietly exiting the bedroom.

She made her way down to the pool and dove in, thankful for the fact that her father had installed an indoor pool. She swam laps for the next hour, reveling in the feel of the water as she cut a path through it. As much as she loved Waverly she needed a tiny break from everything that had happened, she needed to take the time to clear her head and be objective.

She sprinted towards the wall and when she felt the tile against her hand she stopped and leaned against the side of the pool, catching her breath. She crossed her arms and layed her head on them while she idly moved her legs through the water. She sighed as her thoughts came back to Waverly. It frustrated her that her wife was in pain and there was nothing she could do to help her. Maybe what they needed was some time away before the semester started. They could just pack up and leave for a couple of days, take their minds off of this mess that they were caught in the middle of.

She got out of the pool and made her way over to the changing room. She stripped off her suit and hopped into the shower before stepping out and toweling herself dry. She grabbed a robe and made to exit the room but the sound of her parent's voices made her pause. They were arguing and the last thing she wanted was to get caught up in more drama.

Neither of them saw her standing in the doorway and she watched as her father walked into the room with her mother close on his heels.

"Don't you walk away from me Thomas!"

Her father stopped and spun around, "I'm done talking about this Eleanor, she's happy, leave her be!"

Her mother looked angry, "I'm telling you that that girl is after our money! Why won't you listen to me?"

"Her name is Waverly and she's married to our daughter so you should probably use her name. I'm done listening to you go on and on about this Eleanor, in fact I'm done with alot of things. I've turned a blind eye to the things you've done over the years because I love you but I can't do that anymore."

Her mother looked stunned, she reached out and grabbed her husband's arm, "What do you mean?"

He looked down at the hand griping his arm, "I mean end things or you can move out."

"I'm not going anywhere!"

"Then for God's sake do the right thing for once in your miserable life Eleanor!" He turned away from her, "After everything you've done I will never understand how you can have such a problem with our daughter being gay."

Eleanor stared at him, "How dare you bring up the past, I'll have you know..."

Thomas turned back towards her, "The past huh? Stop lying to me! I'm not stupid, I know where you go every damn night and I know who you're with!"

"I'm not going to stand here and listen to your accusations anymore!" She turned and walked towards the door.

"Our daughter saw the two of you together this morning, you could at least try to be more descreet." He shook his head, "Do you think she's not going to figure out what's going on? She's not stupid Eleanor."

Her mother looked shocked but quickly recovered, "So you're spying on me now!"

No one needs to spy on you, it's not like you even try to hide what you're doing. Give us all a little credit here."

"I'm going to stand here and be mocked by the likes of you!" She spun around and stomped towards the door.

Her father watched her leave, "That's it Eleanor, just walk away, it's what you do best."

She stopped and Nicole expected her to turn around and continue the argument but she didn't, she just stormed out of the room.

Nicole thought about what her father had just said, did he mean that her mother was having an affair with another man? She looked up as her father walked past her and out of the room, she was relieved that neither of them had seen her standing there.

Suddenly, Nicole's knees began to buckle and she slumped against the wall as her dream came flooding back into her mind. It wasn't so much a dream as a memory of something she had witnessed when she was a child. She was so shocked by what she had seen and so scared of her mother that she had blocked the memory of that night out of her mind. But now she knew the truth and everything was beginning to make sense now. She brought her hand up to cover her mouth and her eyes widened as she finally remembered what her mother's dirty little secret was.

"Nicole?" She looked up when she heard Waverly calling her name. "Are you in here?"

She stepped out of the changing room and answered, "Yeah, I'm here."

One look at Nicole's face told Waverly that something was wrong and she rushed over to her, "Nic, what's wrong?"

"Oh my God Wave, how could I have forgotten?"

Waverly was confused, "Forgot what?" She reached up and smoothed the still damp hair out of Nicole's face, "Honey, you're starting to scare me a little."
Nicole looked down at Waverly, "I'm in shock, I...I...can't believe that she would do this to my father."

"Wait a sec, are you talking about your mom? What did she do?"

Nicole led Waverly over to a row of lounge chairs and they sat down, "I remember it so clearly now. I was seven or eight years old and daddy was away on a business trip. I remember waking up scared because it was storming outside and he was gone so i went to find my mother. I opened the door to my parents bedroom and I saw something."
Waverly grasped Nicole's hand, "What did you see?"

"She was laying on the bed and oh God, she wasn't alone. I remember seeing them on the bed, naked, arms and legs entwined and then she looked over and saw me and screamed at me to get out."

Waverly's eyes widened, "You caught her with another man? Jesus, what did you do?"

"I ran back to my room, I was so scared of her that I must have blocked out what I saw."

Waverly reached out and wrapped her arms around Nicole, pulling her into a hug, "Our mother's have that in common, both of them cheated on their husbands."
Nicole pulled back, "No Wave, it wasn't like that, you don't understand. The person in bed with my mom wasn't another man."

Waverly's mouth dropped open in shock, "You mean..."

Nicole nodded, "It was a woman, and I don't know if I'll ever get that image out of my head Wave." She bowed her head and brought her hands up to cover her face, rubbing her temples. "I thought that all this time she was just a homophobe, turns out nothing could be further from the truth."

"I don't know what to say Nic, other than this makes her a really big hypocrite."

"Yeah, I guess it does."

"You want to know what I think?" Nicole nodded and Waverly continued, "I think that the two of us should pack up our things and get the heck out of here as soon as possible, what do you say?

"I'm thinking that's an excellent idea and how soon do you want to leave?"

"We can leave in the morning if you'd like."

Nicole stared into Waverly's eyes, "I was just thinking about the same thing earlier. I'd like to take you somewhere for a couple of days, just the two of us. We could actually take the honeymoon we really never had."

"Perfect, it's what we both need after all of this crap that's landed in our laps since we've gotten here." She smiled at Nicole, "Why don't we go back upstairs and we can talk about where we want to go." She stood up and took Nicole's hand, pulling her to her feet.

Nicole and Waverly held each other's hands as they left the room and didn't let go until much later when they were laying in bed, both fast asleep.

Chapter Text

Waverly and Nicole returned to school and their lives settled back into a kind of peaceful lull. Waverly concentrated on her studies while Nicole had classes and swimming. She never lost a race that season and the ntational championships were quickly approaching. Nicole was confident that she was going to easily defend her title and as she rode home that night on her motorcycle she felt more than ready. She would be lying if she said that she was more than a little disappointed that Waverly wouldn't be able to join her at nationals, but she understood that it was impossible for her to go because she would be busy with finals.

She walked into their apartment to find Waverly in the kitchen. The music was blasting from her IPod and she was dancing around while she cooked dinner. Nicole stood in the doorway and watched her for a minute with a huge grin on her face.

Waverly spun around and jumped when she saw Nicole standing there, she brought her hand up to her throat and had a startled expression on her face, "Jesus Christ Nic, you scared the shit out of me!"

Nicole laughed and moved into the kitchen, wrapping her arms around her wife's waist. "I didn't mean to scare you baby, I was just enjoying the show so much I didn't want you to stop." She dropped a kiss onto Waverly's forehead.

"It's a good think you're so sweet or I might be tempted to smack the crap out of you for that."

Nicole wiggled her eyebrows, "Maybe later?"

Waverly blushed, "You're too much!" She pulled away and swatted at Nicole with a dish towel, "You wish I'd smack you around." She shook her head and grinned at the pouty face Nicole gave her, "But if you play your cards right tonight then maybe I will later."

Nicole moved past her towards the bathroom, "Promises, promises." As she left the room she said over her shoulder, "I'm gonna hold you to that." As she walked into the bathroom she could hear Waverly's laughter coming from the direction of the kitchen.

When she was finished, Nicole came out of the bathroom to find Waverly sitting at the table waiting for her to join her. Before she sat down she placed a soft kiss onto the top of Waverly's head, "This looks great Babe, thanks for cooking."

Waverly smiled over at her, "How was practice?"

"I had a meeting with coach tonight, he wants me to get there a couple of days early to prepare for nationals." She reached over and took Waverly's hand, "I really don't want to go so early but if he thinks I need to then I probably should."

Waverly looked up from her plate, "You're going to do great honey, I'm so proud of you."

Nicole took a bite of her food, "Thanks, and Wave, I love you."

Waverly winked at her, "I know you do." She looked back down at her plate, "And I adore you." She looked back up to find Nicole staring at her with deep affection.

"You do?"

Waverly nodded, "You know I do, you're my world Nicole Haught."

Nicole's breath hitched and she stared into Waverly's eyes, "You keep saying things like that and we're not gonna get through dinner."

Waverly dropped her gaze and smiled, "Finish your dinner, there's plenty of time for that later."

Nicole sat back in her chair and looked over at Waverly who was continuing to eat. She picked up her own fork and dug back into her meal. They spent the rest of their meal making small talk and after they finished eating Waverly sat on the couch to study while Nicole cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes.

After determining that the kitchen was suitably clean, Nicole walked into the living room and sat down on the couch next to Waverly, watching her study. "Hey Wave."

Waverly continued to look at her book, "hmmm."

"There's something I don't understand. If you and Stephanie are twins then how are you graduating with me this spring? Steph is two years younger than me."

Waverly closed her book and put it on the table next to her, she turned towards Nicole and stated, "So am I."

Nicole looked confused, "But that doesn't make any sense."

Waverly looked up at her, "I'm smart."

"Well yeah I know that."

"No, I mean really smart. I graduated from High School when I was sixteen and started college that fall, I had to transfer here when I was eighteen. I would have come here sooner but I was under age and they wouldn't let me come here by myself because I'm from another country."

Nicole just stared at her with her mouth hanging open.

Waverly met her gaze and raised an eyebrow, 'What are you staring at?"

"You, I can't help it." She turned a slight shade of pink, "Beautiful and smart, that's so hot." She sat back and grinned, "My wife is so hot...did I ever tell you about my librarian fantasy?"

"Oh my God Nicole!" Waverly's face was a deep shade of red, "Maybe I shouldn't have told you."

Nicole reached out and took her hand, "No, I'm glad you did, I think you're incredibly hot anyway but now, it's going to be even harder for me to keep my hands to myself."

Waverly blushed, "And here I am sitting over here thinking that you're the hot one in our relationship. Never would have guessed how wrong I was about that."

Nicole stared at her in disbelief, "Do you really not know how beautiul you are?" She reached over and took Waverly's hand, "Can you imagine that if it were possible for us to have kids how gorgeous they would be, not to mention how smart and athletic..." Her voice trailed off as she looked over to find Waverly staring at her, "What?"

Waverly looked surprised, "You want to have kids?"

Nicole nodded, "I do, but I don't think either of us are quite ready for kids yet, and we have plenty of time." She squeezed Waverly's hand, "If I'm being perfectly honest here, I never even thought about having kids until I met you. When I look at you I see the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, the mother of my children. I love you so much, I've never loved anyone like this."

Waverly looked down at their joined hands and grinned, "I've always thought about having kids, but who says I'm the one who's going to be having all the babies."

"Babies? How many are we tallking here?"

Waverly looked up and Nicole could see the devilish gleam in her eye, "Oh, six or seven." Nicole's mouth dropped open again and Waverly laughed.

Nicole recovered quickly, "I was thinking two or three, but if all of our kids look like you then I'm game."

"No way, we need to have at least a couple of little red-headed babies running around!"

"So, you're saying you want to have little ginger babies, you know what they say about gingers"

"Shut up!" Waverly reached over and playfully smacked her on the arm, "I happen to think that ginger babies are gorgeous and I'm married to a ginger so I don't appreciate you implying..."

Nicole interupted her with a kiss, "I was only kidding baby."

"I know sweetheart, but seriously I worry about what kind of mother I'll be. I just want my kids to have a better life than I had."

Nicole pressed her forehead to Waverly's and whispered, "And they will. Wave, you are going to be the best mom."

"I'm glad you think so."

Nicole leaned back, "I know so, how could you not be?"

Waverly didn't think she could love Nicole any more than she already did but at the moment she found herself falling deeper in love with her. She leaned in and kissed her, reaching up to wrap her fingers in Nicole's hair. She broke the kiss and murmured, "I think we should take this to the bedroom." She got up off the couch and pulled Nicole with her, "Come on."

Nicole let Waverly lead her into the bedroom, "So does this mean we're going to fufill my librarian fantasy?"

Waverly stopped and shook her head, "What am I going to do with you."

"Hmm, I have a few ideas..."

Waverly looked up at her, "Nicole, you really need to stop talking now."

Nicole arched an eyebrow and smiled as Waverly reached for her, shutting the door behind them with her foot.

*****

The next morning Waverly crept out of their apartment, shutting the door quietly behind her so that she didn't wake Nicole. She made the short walk to the diner and placed an order of coffee and pancakes to go.

She sat at the counter reading the newspaper while she waited for her order to be ready the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. Waverly knew that this could only mean one thing, someone was watching her.

She looked up and her breath caught in her throat when she saw who was standing there, it was Stephanie. Waverly was surprised when she didn't find anger in Stephanie's eyes, instead of anger she found an odd expression on her face. Waverly stared at her as she approached, waiting for a nasty comment to be hurled her way.

Deciding to go on the offensive instead Waverly asked her, "What do you want?" She wasn't going to back down from Stephanie ever again.

Stephanie held up her hands, "I just want to talk, can I sit down?"

"We've got nothing to say to each other."

Stephanie looked like she'd been slapped, "That's not true Waverly, you're my sister."

Waverly huffed out a breath, "I have two sisters already, I don't need another one. What makes you think that after everything you've done I would even want to consider having a relationship with you?"

The man behind the counter brought Waverly her order and she took the bag and her coffees from him and stood up. "I've really got nothing to say to you, not a damn thing." She turned and left the diner.

She heard footsteps coming up behind her and she stopped, turning around to find Stephanie approaching her, "I want you to leave me alone."

Stephanie opened her mouth as if to speak, she sharply inhaled and quietly said, "I just want to apologize to you. I'm sorry for making your life hell."

Waverly stared at her for a moment, "So tell me something, did our father make you do this, or was it our mother?" Waverly began to walk down the sidewalk and was surprised to find Stephanie was walking beside her.

"I did a lot of thinking after I found out about you and I realized how crazy I'd been acting. It was my fault that Nicole broke up with me, I just didn't want to accept that, I couldn't handle that she left me." She took a deep breath, "Will you stop for a minute?"

Waverly stopped and turned towards her waiting for her to continue, "When you were little, did you feel like there was something missing from your life? I never knew what it was but when I found out about you everything made sense."

Waverly nodded, "I felt it too."

Stephanie smiled at her, "Twins, huh?"

Waverly nodded, "I'm still trying to wrap my head around that."

"Look, I know that I can't change what's happened but I'd like to think that maybe someday you can forgive me for the things I've done." As she turned to leave she remembered another thing she wanted to tell Waverly, "Dad will be here at the end of the week and I know that he would really like to see you."

"I'll talk to Nicole and see if we have any plans, but I can't guarantee anything."

Stephanie gave her a little nod and turned away, "I'll see you around."

As Waverly watched her walk away she had mixed emotions swirling around in her head. A part of her wanted to believe what Stephanie had told her but another larger part of her screamed that she was lying and not to trust her. She was conflicted and felt the need to get home as soon as possible, she needed to see Nicole and tell her about what had just happened.

She turned around and hurried the rest of the way back to their apartment.

*****

Nicole paced back and forth across the living room in front of the couch where Waverly was sitting, "Don't tell me that you're actually buying her bullshit!" She stopped and put her hands on her hips, "I can't believe that you would even consider..."

Waverly stood up, "Do you think that I can ever forget what she put us through?"

Nicole just stared at her, "So are you gonna help me understand why the hell you would want anything to do with her."

"She's my sister Nicole."

"So this changes the fact that she's crazy? Am I supposed to ignore the fact that she almost killed you?" She stared at Waverly with an incrdulous look on her face, "So what now, we're just supposed to go have dinner with her as if everything is just fine and dandy?" Nicole threw her hands into the air, "Everything is not fine Wave, and never will be. She put us through hell, are you forgetting that?"

Waverly reached out towards Nicole, but the redhead pulled away. She looked up at Nicole and said, "You weren't there Nicole, she apologized and she really did look like she meant it. I don't trust her but if there's a chance..."

Nicole scoffed, "A chance for what, to be one big happy family? If you think that's even possible then you my love are in idiot!"

Waverly snapped her head around and looked over at Nicole, "What did you just say?"

"I said you're being an idiot, how can someone so smart be so stupid?"

Waverly took a step towards Nicole and reached out with her index finger, poking her in the chest, "Don't you ever tell me that I'm stupid! How dare you!"

Nicole could tell by the expression on her wife's face that she'd gone too far but she was too angry to take the words back. Before she could stop herself the next words tumbled past her lips, "If the shoe fits."

Waverly gave Nicole a push with her hands, "And you my dear are an asshole! Screw you!" She stalked past Nicole and went into the bedroom, slamming the door behind her.

*****

Nicole left right after their fight and headed straight for the gym. She was feeling frustrated, not only with Waverly but with herself. She knew that she should have never called Waverly stupid but damn it she was being blind to the situation. Believing anything that Stephanie said was dangerous because she had proven time and time again that she was unstable. Her main concern was for Waverly's safety and letting Stephanie into her life was comprimising that. She just couldn't understand why Waverly couldn't see that there were ulterior motives to everything her ex girlfriend did.

Nicole could understand why Waverly would want Stephanie to be a part of her life, hell when she wasn't acting crazy Stephanie was acutally a good person. She just never let people see the real her. She had a vulnerability about her that few people knew about and unfortunately she rarely let it show causing people's perception of her to be negative.
Nicole finished her workout and entered the locker room to shower and change. As she stood under the hot water she thought about how certain parts of the two women were so similiar. They were both stubborn to a fault and so damn beautiful. They also shared a fear of being abandoned and Nicole could only assume that it was because of Sylvia. In Waverly's case she had been abandoned by her entire family at one time or another. Stephanie had spent many years without her mother and it had affected her emotionally.
She had taken a psychology class last semester and she remembered reading about how twins share a rare bond that most people couldn't understand. Nicole could only imangine that being seprated from each other at birth had negatively affected both women. Waverly had told her that she always felt that there was some missing piece from her life and Nicole found herself wondering if Stephanie felt the same.

She wrapped a towel around herself and sat down on a bench. In her mind she wasn't being unreasonable about this and she was going to have to make Waverly see things from her point of view. The problem is, she wasn't sure how she was going to accomplish this. She knew that her words had hurt Waverly but she needed her to see that letting Stephanie into her life was a monumentaly bad idea.

She wondered what Sam would say if she were there, "She'd probably say that I was being a paranoid idiot, or she might say that I'm completely justified in my thinking." She looked around as she realized that she had spoken out loud, relieved to discover that she was alone in the room. She got up and opened her locker, quickly getting dressed.

Her text tone sounded and she took out her phone expecting it to be Waverly, instead she found a message from Sam saying she would be in town the next day. Nicole texted back that she would love to meet up for lunch tomorrow. She put her phone in her pocket and headed home, worried about what she was going to find when she got there. They hadn't fought before and Nicole didn't like the fact that they were mad at each other but she'd be damned if she was going to back down from her position. As she got closer to their apartment she was filled with a sense that it was going to be a long couple of days because she knew in the back of her mind that Waverly wasn't going to back down either.

*****

Waverly heard the front door to their apartment slam she took out her phone and called the one person she knew she could talk to about her fight with Nicole, she called Wynonna. As soon as Wynonna answered the phone Waverly burst into tears.

"Waves? Are you okay, what's wrong? Talk to me Baby girl."

"Nicole and I got into a fight and she..." She let out another sob, "She called me stupid."

"Waverly, I'm sure that Nicole doesn't think you're stupid." She paused as Waverly began to cry again, "You need to calm down and help me understand what happened. You two never fight so it must be something pretty bad."

Waverly stopped crying long enough to tell Wynonna what had happend at the diner and the conversation that she'd had with Stephanie. Then she told her about her conversation with Nicole, "She wouldn't even hear me out about it Nonna. She jumped to conclusions and made me feel like shit for even considering letting my own sister into my life."

"Well, I can't say that I blame her Wave, I mean she did make your lives hell. I realize she's our sister but honestly do you want to take a chance that she might turn on you at any moment."

"I'm really good at reading people and she really did seem sincere. I know she did some terrible things Wyn but she's family."

"I know that Wave, she's my sister too but I don't know if I can ever trust her enough to let her in. Especially because of what she did to you. You almost died and if that would have happened I don't know what I'd do."

"You're right, but I have to at least try."

"Just be careful Wave, okay."

"I'm not naive and i wish everyone would quit treating me like I am. I know what she's done, but I just having a feeling about her." She took in a deep breath. "I'll be careful, you don't have to worry about me."

"Good, and while I got you on the phone, Willa was asking when you're going to make it home to meet your new nephew."

"Nicole and I were planning a trip there after school lets out but now, I don't know what's going to happen. Tell Willa that I can't wait to see her and meet that precious little guy."

"I will and Wave, I love you."

"I know you do and I love you too. Thanks for listening, I'm feeling a little bit better about the whole thing."

"That's what big sisters are for. Get some sleep and just talk to Red about how you're feeling."

"I'll talk to you later Nonna."

"Bye Waves."

Waverly ended the call and sighed, they definately needed to talk but she didn't know how they were going to work through this. Nicole was stubborn and Waverly had a feeling that things weren't going to get resolved quickly.

*****

Nicole had been right about two things, Waverly wasn't backing down from their fight and she was stubborn as hell. They had barely spoken that week and Nicole found herself missing just spending time with Waverly talking and laughing. Sam hadn't been any help in the advice department because she understood where both of them were coming from. Although she was happy to see her best friend she left the diner feeling disappointed that she wasn't any closer to resolving things with her wife.

By the end of the week Nicole had stubbornly refused to go with Waverly to have dinner with her father. Instead of going to meet with him she called and said she couldn't make it. After hanging up the phone Waverly stormed into their bedroom and slammed the door behind her.

Nicole sat down on the couch and hung her head, things had steadily gotten worse and she had no idea how to fix their current situation. She was leaving in the morning and the last thing she wanted was to head into the national championships distracted like this. She stood up and stomped towards the bedroom, determined to resolve this. She turned the handle and found that it was locked.

"Waverly open the door!" When she got no response she banged on the door, "Open the damn door or I swear I'll break it down!"

The door flung open and Waverly stood there not saying a word. She stared at Nicole and waited for her to speak, "Well?"

Nicole looked at Waverly, she mised her so damn much, all she wanted was to take her in her arms and forget all about their fight.

"Are you just going to stand there or do you have something to say? If you're just going to stand there I need you to stop wasting my time because I have studying to do." She began to turn away and Nicole reached out, grabbing Waverly's arm. She turned her back around and pulled Waverly into her body, her head swooping down to capture Waverly's lips.

Waverly tried to push Nicole away but Nicole had a death grip on her arm and wouldn't let her go. As Nicole continued to kiss her, Waverly's anger began to dissolve as she was filled with other more intense emotions. She had missed Nicole so much over the past few days and as Nicole's kisses intensified she found herself getting lost in the sensations that Nicole's lips were sending throughout her body.

Nicole backed Waverly towards the bed, briefly breaking their kiss so that she could pull Waverly's clothes off of her body. She gently pushed Waverly back onto the bed and quickly removed her own clothes before joining her on the bed. Nicole lay on top of Waverly, trailing kisses down her body until she reached her destination.

When Waverly felt Nicole's mouth on her she wrapped her fingers into her hair trying to pull her impossibly closer. It didn't take long for Waverly to tumble over the edge and Nicole returned to once again capture Waverly's lips with her own. Waverly moaned as she tasted herself on Nicole's lips, she reached up and pushed Nicole onto her back, determined to give as good as she got.

Much later, Waverly lay across Nicole's chest enjoying the feel of her wife's arms wrapped around her back. "I'm still mad at you."

Nicole ran her hand up and down Waverly's back, "I know baby, and I'm sorry. I don't think you're stupid, far from it actually." She placed a kiss onto the top of Waverly's head, "I've missed you."

"I've missed you too." Waverly's eyes were heavy and she yawned, "We should probably sleep because we both have to get up early tomorrow."

Nicole sighed, "Yeah we probably should."

"Do you want me to move?" She asked even though she secretly hoped that Nicole would tell her no. She held her breath and released it as Nicole shook her head.
"You don't have to." she answered Waverly in a sleepy voice and as she drifted off to sleep she could feel Waverly's steady breathing against her chest.

*****

Nicole spent the next few days getting ready for nationals. Keeping busy kept her mind off of other things, mainly the unresolved issues that were hanging between her and Waverly. She threw herself into practice and by the time it was ready to compete Nicole just knew that she was going to win it all. The only dark cloud for her was her wife's abscence. Nicole wanted nothing more than to make Waverly proud and she always swam her best when she knew that she was there watching her compete.

Nicole as expected blew the competition away the first day and as she rode the elevator up to her room she was dreading spending the night alone. She missed her wife and even the fact that her family had flown in to watch her compete did little to ease the ache in her chest. The one person that nicole wanted there with her during this important time wasn't there and Nicole had to fight the urge to drive all night in order to go and get Waverly and bring her back here.

She sighed and opened the door to her hotel room, not bothering to turn on the light she grabbed her pajamas and headed into the bathroom. After getting ready for bed Nicole walked out of the bathroom and towards her bed. She climbed in and went to pull the covers up when her arm bumped against something. Nicole let out a startled scream and leapt quickly out of the bed reaching for the light in order to see who in the hell had snuck into her room and was sleeping in her bed.

"Well, that was a quite a greeting Nic."

Nicole turned on the light and found herself staring at a welcoming sight, "Waverly?"

Waverly raised and eyebrow and smirked, "Were you expecting someone else?"

Nicole shook her head, "I wasn't expecting anyone at all." She gave Waverly a huge grin, her dimples practically popping out of her face, "Not that I'm complaining but what are you doing here, I thought you had finals."

"I did. I talked to my professors and asked them if I could arrange to take them earlier than everyone else so that I could be here with you."

Nicole climbed back into bed and reached out for Waverly who slid over into her arms without hesitation. "Thank you Wave, you're being here means the world to me."

Waverly reached up and ran her fingers through Nicole's hair, "Where else would I be?"

"Wave?"

"Hmmm?"

"I don't want to fight anymore, it hurts too much."

Waverly leaned in and kissed Nicole's temple, "I don't want to fight anymore either." She kissed her again, "And just so you know, you looked really good out there today."

Nicole pulled back so she could look at Waverly, "You were there?"

"Mhmm and watching you swim today I realized something."

"What's that?"

Waverly placed a kiss onto Nicole's neck, "Just how much I've missed seeing you in your speedo." Nicole blushed and Waverly continued, "I was sitting there surrounded by all of these women who adore you and I'm smiling the whole time because I get to say that you're mine. And that sweetheart makes me the happiest woman in the world. I love you and I'm so proud of everything you've accomplished. I want you to promise me something."

"Anything."

"I want you to go out there tomorrow and win because you are Nicole freaking Haught and you are unstoppable."

Nicole was at a loss for words, she swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat and as she listened to what Waverly was saying the tears began to fall from her eyes. Waverly reached up to wipe them away and Nicole reached up took her hand, bringing it to her lips. "I love you Wave and having you here right now means more to me than you'll ever know."
"I'm so glad I'm here with you but honey, you need to get some sleep, you've got a big day ahead of you tomorrow and you need yorur rest.
Nicole reached over and turned off the light, she lay down on her back and Waverly snuggled into her side. Nicole yawned and gave Waverly a kiss goodnight before drifting off to sleep content to be in her wife's arms.

*****

They sat around the table in the hotel restraunt the next evening and celebrated. Nicole beamed as her friends and family congratulated her on her victory, it was a moment that she would never forget and Waverly being by her side made it that much sweeter. They celebrated until late that night, finally stumbling back to their room at one A.M. They were both feeling the affects of the alcohol they had drank and they didn't even bother changing into their pajamas, both just stripping down and tumbling onto the bed.

They woke up much to early the next morning for Nicole's liking but it was necesssary because they would be heading home that day. They said their goodbyes to Nicole's family and put their bags into the small trailer that Nicole had purchased to haul her stuff in behind her motorcycle.

They put on their helmets and Nicole climbed onto her bike in front of Waverly. Before she started the engine she looked over her shoulder and asked, "You ready?"

"I've never been more ready for anything in my life."

Nicole started the engine and Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole's waist as they left the parking lot of the hotel. She had ridden on the back of Nicole's motorcycle a couple of times but never for this long of a trip. As they hit the highway and Nicole sped up Waverly tightened her arms around her wife and simply enjoyed the ride.

They were both so wrapped up in watching the scenery speed by as well as being so close to each other that neither of them saw the car pulling out from the side road. The driver slammed on his brakes but it was too late, the front of his car made contact with Nicole's motorcycle and there was a sound of metal hitting metal and a scream from Nicole as they were thrown from the bike.

Waverly lay on the pavement in a daze, everything seemed to be in a fog. She felt something sticky on her face and she reached up to wipe it away, noticing blood on her hand when she pulled it away from her face. She tried to look around but it was getting hard for her to stay awake, she needed to find Nicole. She tried to sit up but a shooting pain in her back made her rethink doing so. "Nicole?" She weakly called out but got no answer.

She could hear sirens in the distance, getting louder with each passing second. It was getting harder for her to focus on her surroundings but she managed to turn her head as she caught a flash of red out of the corner of her eye. She saw someone lying a few feet from her and she instantly knew it was her wife.

Nicole was laying there not moving and Waverly noticed that there was blood all around her, and her leg, something was wrong with her leg. "Nicole!" she managed to cry out weakly but Waverly was losing the battle to stay awake. She whispered Nicole's name one more time before everything faded to black.

Chapter Text

Eleanor Haught stood over her daughter-In-law's hospital bed and smirked down at her. It had been three weeks since the accident, and Waverly still hadn't woken up. A part of Eleanor wished that she would so that she could tell her exactly what she felt but unfortunately for Eleanor, Waverly remained in her coma.

She turned towards the doctor next to her and asked, "Is there a reason why she hasn't woken up?"

The doctor looked up from his chart, "She suffered an extensive head injury, the helmet she was wearing was completely cracked in two and we're not sure how much damage there is to her brain."

"So there's a chance she may never wake up?"

The doctor gave her a hopeful expression, "Possibly, but we're hoping for the best."

Eleanor inhaled sharply before speaking, "Hopefully things will turn out the way we want them."

"How is your daughter Mrs. Haught?"

" As well as can be expected, she has a long recovery ahead of her."

"I wish her all the best, they showed the swimming national championships on T.V. and I watched her race, she's a remarkable swimmer."

"Thank you." She watched as the doctor left the room and turned back towards a sleeping Waverly, "And you, I hope you never wake up for my daughter's sake!" she hissed down at the younger woman, "This is your fault, you've ruined my daughter's life and I'll never forgive you for this, never!"

Eleanor turned to leave and before she reached the door she turned back around to say, "You will never see Nicole again." With that, she turned and left the room.

 

*****

 

Eleanor stopped just outside of her daughter's hospital room. She braced herself before she entered because she was about to do what she needed to do to ensure her daughter's future.

She walked inside and sighed as she saw her daugher laying on her hospital bed. Nicole's leg was wrapped from hip to ankle with bandages and it was raised up in traction. Nicole had gone through two surgeries on her leg and the doctors were optomistic that Nicole would be able to walk again. She had been devastated when they told her that her swimming career was more than likely over.

Nicole was staring out of the window and at the sound of the door opening she turned her head with a hopeful expression on her face. Nicole's face fell when she noticed that it was only her mother in the room with her.

"Mom, where's Waverly? You said you were going to bring her here."

Eleanor sat down in the chair next to the bed, "I know honey, but she said she couldn't come."

Nicole looked stunned, "What are talking about? Where is she? I can't believe that she wouldn't come see me."

"I'm sure she has her reasons."

Nicole stared at her mother, "What kind of reasons would she have to not come and see me? This doesn't make any sense. Does she know how bad I'm hurt?"

Eleanor sighed, "I'm afraid she does sweetie." She sat back in her chair with a pained expression on her face, "She knows Nicky, I told her everything. I didn't want to have to tell you this, but she doesn't want to see you. She said she can't handle seeing you like this."

Nicole looked horrified, "What? I don't believe you! She loves me and she would never leave me like this when I need her! I want you to call her right now!"

Eleanor leaned forward towards Nicole, "I didn't believe it at first either, she seemed so devoted to you."

Nicole was quickly becoming agitated, "I don't believe you mother, now tell me the truth, where is my wife?" She was shouting and the monitors she was hooked up to were starting to beep like crazy.

Eleanor reached out and took Nicole's hand, "Nicky, I know it's hard for you to believe but if she loves you so much then where is she? You would think that when she got out of the hospital two weeks ago that she would have come here first."

Nicole was stunned, "Two weeks ago? Are you sure?"

"I'm so sorry, I didn't want to tell you because I didn't want this to affect your recovery."

"I need to call her, if I talk to her then maybe..."

She was interupted by the nurse coming into the room to check on her, "Ms. Haught, I need you to calm down." She turned towards Eleanor, "You're going to have to leave ma'am she can't have all this stress on her."

Eleanor looked over at the nurse, "Of course." She stood up and smiled down at he daughter, "I'll be back in the morning, try to get some sleep okay?"

She could see the tears forming in Nicole's eyes but instead of comforting she turned and left the room, she couldn't risk her resolve slipping and thought it best if she headed out before she let that happen.

 

*****

 

Nicole reached for her hospital phone and dialed Waverly's number, just as she had done every night for the past four days. She got the same result every single time she called, it went straight to Waverly's voicemail. Nicole hung up and burst into tears. She couldn't understand why Waverly was shutting her out, it didn't make any sense to her and as she sat there sobbing she decided right then and there that she didn't care what happened to her. If Waverly wasn't in her life then it wasn't worth living.

Over the next couple of days Nicole refused to eat or do any of her exercises. The doctors were concerned and they explained to Nicole that if she didn't continue with her treatment then there was a very good chance she could lose her leg.

Nicole didn't care, her heart was broken, without Waverly in it nothing mattered to her. Not even a visit from Sam could cheer her up.

Her friend came into the room and was shocked at Nicole's appearance, whatever she was feeling she pushed it down and didn't let it show on her face, "Hey Haughtstuff, how the hell are you? So tell me, where's that gorgeous wife of yours. Eleanor said she got out of the hospital, I would have thought she'd be here with you."

Nicole looked angry, "Well obviously she's not here, she doesn't want to see me." Nicole looked away from her and stared at the wall.

"What the hell are you talking about, Waverly is totally devoted to you, I don't get it. Who told you that she doesn't want to see you?"

Nicole looked back over at her friend, "My mother. She talked to Waverly and she told her that she can't handle seeing me like this. If that's the way she thinks then I don't want her here anyway. Obviously she doesn't want to be with a cripple so it's best if she stays away."

Sam stood up, "Haught, you are not a cripple! I don't ever want to hear you say that again, now you get that shit right out of your head, get off your ass and do what the doctors tell you to!"

Nicole cocked an eyebrow at her, "And if I don't? What do you care?"

"You're like a sister to me Nicole, and I can't believe that you are just going to give up like this. What the hell happened to you?"

"Waverly, Waverly happened to me Sam! She took my heart and crushed it and I don't know if I can live without her. I love her so damn much and it's killing me."

Sam started walking towards the door, "I'll be back Nic."

Nicole watched her walk away towards the door, "Wait, where are you going?"

"To fix this." Sam said over her shoulder as she wallked out the door.

 

*****

 

Twenty minutes later Sam was banging on the door to Waverly and Nicole's apartment. "Waverly, open up! I need to talk to you!" She knocked again and waited as she heard footsteps approaching from the inside of the apartment.

She was surprised to find Wynonna standing on the other side when it opened up, "Where's Waverly?" She demanded, "I need to speak to her."

"She's not here. She's..."

"So tell me where the hell she is because I need to ask her why in the hell she would refuse to go and see her wife. Nicole is devasted and refusing to listen to her doctors, she's heartbroken and it's your sister's fault."

Wynonna stared at her with an angry expression on her face, "Listen big and tall, I don't know who the hell you think you're speaking to but next time you need to at least say hello before you start throwing around accusations about my sister. She's not here because she's in the hospital. Waverly's been in a freaking coma since the accident" Wynonna swallowed and took a deep breath before continuing, "I don't know what kind of bullshit someone's been feeding you about Waverly but I'm telling you here and now when I find them they aren't going to be happy. And seriously, do you honestly think, knowing my sister and how much she loves Nicole that she wouldn't spend every second of the day by her side? If you think any different then you're an idiot and you can kiss my ass."

"What do you mean she's in a coma? Nicole thinks that Waverly doesn't want to see her because she's a cripple and she's devestated by that. And, why should I think that you give a shit about Nicole, you haven't even come to see her in the hospital."

Wynonna stepped aside and gestured for Sam to come inside, "I'm sorry about that. As soon as we heard about the accident we came here and I've been spending everyday with Waverly just hoping she'll wake up. The doctors don't know when or if that will ever happen."

Sam sat down on the couch, "This whole thing sucks Wynonna, if she doesn't wake up I don't know what Nicole will do. She doesn't even know if she'll be able to walk right again and she can pretty much say goodbye to her swimming, but if she loses Waverly for real I don't know she'd handle that."

Wynonna sat down on the couch next to her, "So you still didn't tell me who told Nicole that line of shit about Waverly."

"I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count. I guess I never realized how much that bitch despises your sister."

Wynonna stood up, "Stephanie? Was it her?"

Sam shook her head, "No, it was Eleanor Fucking Haught. She's sunk to a new low with this one. She's treated Nicole like shit for years and now I swear she's finally trying to destroy her."

"Well, you and I aren't going to let her get away with it. We might need some help to stop her."

Sam looked surprised, "You mean..."

"Yeah Waverly told me about Stephanie reaching out to her and if she's serious about wanting to be part of our lives we're going to find out. And I think we're going to get a little help from a certain congressman."

 

*****

 

The next morning Sam headed over to the hospital to visit Nicole, and to tell her the good news. She walked into the Nicole's room and found Eleanor there talking with Nicole's doctor.

"Eleanor, I didn't expect to see you here." She pulled the older woman into a hug, "I came to see how Nicole's doing."

Eleanor looked over at her, "Where else would I be? I've been here everyday for my daughter." She turned back towards the doctor and the two of them walked out of the room together, leaving her alone with Nicole.

Sam looked around and noticed several bags sitting around the room, "What's going on, what is all this stuff?"

Nicole just sat on the bed, an empty expression on her face, "Mother wants to move me to a private rehab center, she's making the arrangements."

"When are you going?"

Nicole gave her a blank stare, "Today."

"You can't go Nicole." She moved over and peeked out into the hallway, waving someone over. "You can't leave, don't let her take you away from here, do you really want to go?"

Nicole shrugged, "I don't really care, if Waverly doesn't want to be with me then there's nothing for me here. I..." She stopped talking as she noticed Wynonna standing at the foot of her bed.

Sam reached out and closed the door, "We have something to tell you."

Wynonna looked down at Nicole, "Wow Red, you look like shit."

Nicole glared at her, "Gee thanks, I guess having your whole world turned upside will do that to you. What do you want because I'm not in the mood for it, if Waverly sent you then I don't want..."

Sam interupted her, "Shut up for a minute, we don't have a lot of time until she comes back." Sam moved to stand next to Wynonna, "There's a reason Waverly hasn't come to see you and it's not the reason that you're mother gave you."

Nicole looked between the two of them, "I don't understand."

Wynonna spoke up, "Waverly hasn't come to see you because she can't."

"Why the hell not? Doesn't she love me, doesn't she know how much I need her right now?"

Wynona held up her hand to stop Nicole from talking, "She's in a coma Red, she's been in one since the accident."

"But my mother said..."

Sam huffed out an angry breath, "She's been lying to you Nicole, Waverly is here in this hospital on the fourth floor, I saw her myself before I came here."

Nicole looked confused, "She's been here this whole time and my mother knew and she let me think..."

Her voice trailed off as the door to her hospital room opened. Eleanor walked through the door and stopped in her tracks when she noticed Wynonna standing there and the words she was about to speak died on her lips. She eyes traveled from Wynonna to Sam before landing on her daughter. She opened her mouth to speak but after seeing the look on Nicole's face she thought better of it.

Nicole fixed her with an icy glare, "Before you start to speak I'm going to give you a chance to tell me the truth. Where is my wife?"

"Nicole..."

"Don't you dare! You've been lying to me for weeks, telling me horrible things about Waverly and made me feel like shit. Why did you do this to me? I'm your daughter!"

"I did this to help you Nicole."

"To help me! No, you did it for yourself because you are so jealous that I'm living the life you never could!" Nicole noticed the shocked look on Eleanor's face, "Oh yeah, I know all about your dirty little secret Mom. I know all about..."

"How dare you!"

"No mother, how dare you! I want you to leave, I don't want to see you again." Eleanor didn't move, "GET OUT! You are no longer my mother, I don't know you." She turned towards Sam, "Will you go ask the nurse if it will be possible for me to go up to the fourth floor?"

Sam nodded and left the room.

Wynonna stared over at Eleanor who still hadn't moved, "Hey Red, you want me to remove her from the room for you?"

Nicole glanced over at her sister-in-law, "If you wouldn't mind."

Wynonna took a step towards Eleanor, "You should leave before I get really angry. I don't like you and I hate what you did to Nicole. The most pathetic thing about all of this is that you can't see what an amazing woman your daughter is and how happy my sister makes her. Go now or I'll physically throw you from this room."

She took another step and Eleanor got the hint, spinning on her heels before leaving the room.

Wynonna turned back towards Nicole after Eleanor had left, "Jesus Red, and I thought my mother was bad, she's got nothing on that bitch." She sat down in the chair next to Nicole's bed. "Waves is going to wake up, I know she is and when she does she's going to need you Nicole. So, I don't want to hear anymore about you not following the doctors orders or I'll kick your butt all the way down that hallway outside." She reached out and took Nicole's hand, giving it a squeeze. "You make Waverly happy and that's all I've ever wanted for my baby sister."

"Thank you."

 

*****

 

Nicole was disappointed when her doctor informed her that she wouldn't be able to go up to the coma ward. He told her that it would be too difficult to transport her into the ward while she was still confined to a hospital bed because there were mulitple beds in there and it would be too difficult to maunever her through there.

The thought of Waverly laying up there alone was the incentive that Nicole had been missing. She now had a reason to do her physical therapy, it hurt like hell but Nicole was determined to get out of that hospital bed as soon as possible.

The doctors told here she was making great progress but she was going to need one more surgery to repair the damage to her knee and ankle. It wasn't healing as quickly as they would have liked and in Nicole's opinion it was another setback to keep her away from Waverly.

She cursed the day that car had pulled out and changed their lives forever. She remembered seeing the car out of the corner of her eye and feeling terrible pain ripping through her leg. She had been told that the car had struck her directly on her leg and the doctors had been amazed that the amount of damage it had caused hadn't been enough for her to lose her leg.

The day of her surgery arrived and Nicole woke up that morning to find an unexpected visitor sitting in the chair beside her bed. "What do you want Steph?"

"I just wanted to check on you, to make sure that you're okay. I can go if you want me to. I'm really sorry this happened to you." She got up from the chair and turned to leave but Nicole stopped her.

"Wait." At the sound of Nicole's voice Stephanie turned back towards her, "Have you, um...have you seen her?"

The blonde smiled down at her, "Yeah, I've been here everyday, visiting her. I talk to her and I like to think that she can hear me."

"I'm sure she can." She smiled over at Stephanie and asked her, "Can you do me a favor?"

"Depends on what it is."

"The next time you visit Waverly can you tell her that I love her?"

"No, I can do you one better, we can make a recording of you telling her yourself and if she hears your voice then maybe, just maybe..."

Nicole looked stunned, "You'd do that for me?" 

"Of course I will. I still care about you Nicole and I've been meaning to tell you that I'm sorry for everything that's happened, for all the shit I did to you and to Waverly." She took out her phone, unlocked it and handed it over to Nicole.

Nicole pressed record and spoke into the phone, "Hey Wave, I miss you so much and I want you to know that I'm trying my hardest to get to you but it's a little difficult right now. I'm fighting for us and I need you to fight for us too. I love you so much and I can't wait to look into your beautiful eyes again. See you soon." She handed the phone back to Stephanie, "Thanks for this."

"No problem. I really am sorry Nicole and I hope that someday maybe we can be friends, for Waverly's sake." She turned and walked out of the room.

Nicole watched her leave, "Well that was... interesting. I hope for all of our sakes she's telling the truth, because if she's not there's going to be hell to pay."

 

*****

 

Nicole's surgery was a success and her doctors were very pleased with the progress she had made over the next couple of weeks. She sat in her bed and eagerly waited for the nurse to come into her room. Today was the day that Nicole was going to walk for the first time since the accident and Nicole knew that the sooner she got up and moving around the sooner she would be able to go up and see Waverly.

The nurses helped her to her feet and Nicole felt a sharp pain shoot up from her ankle all the way up her leg. The pain was so severe that her leg almost buckled under her. Nicole's knuckles were white as she tightly gripped the walker and she took in several deep breaths until the initial spark of pain ran it's course. Nicole used her walker to take six steps to the other side of the room and six steps back to her bed.

After a few days of walking back and forth across her room Nicole was starting to feel better, each time she got up the pain was lesser and lesser. But on this particular day Nicole woke up and felt that something wasn't right. She pulled back the blanket and her eyes grew wide as she saw her leg. It was twice the size of her uninjured leg, she reached out and immediately rang for the nurse.

*****

Stephanie sat by Waverly's bedside and watched her sister sleep. She had done so many terrible things to her and she was truly sorry for having done them. She knew she couldn't change the past but hopefully when Waverly woke up they could get to know each other and have a future together.

She leaned forward and put her phone next to Waverly's ear, playing Nicole's message just as she had done everyday for the past week. Everytime she found herself hoping that hearing Nicole's voice would force Waverly to wake up but when it didn't work she found herself siting there disappointed.

She reached out and played the recording again, getting the same result. She looked up to find Wynonna standing on the other side of Waverly's bed.

Her eyes met Wynonna's piercing blue eyes and they stared at each other for a minute before the older woman asked, "What are you doing? If you're trying to hurt my sister so help me..."

"I'm not, I swear. Nicole made a recording of her voice and I come here everyday to play it for her, I'm hoping that it will help her wake up."

Wynonna looked incredulous, "She gave you a recording, wow I never would have taken her for a naive person. To trust you after everything you've done..."

Stephanie stood up, "Do you think that I don't beat myself up over that every single day?"

Wynonna raised an eyebrow and scoffed, "No, I really don't. Family doesn't do the things you did to each other."

Stephanie slapped herself in the chest with her hand, "I had no idea that she was my sister! Or, that I was related to any of you. When I found out I was shocked, I went from being an only child to having three sisters, one of them being my twin."

"Wynonna took a step arond the bed and got into Stephanie's personal space, "That still doesn't excuse what you did, do you honestly think that if she wakes up she'll ever be able to forgive you for what you did to her?"

"When she wakes up."

Wynonna looked surprised, "What?"

"She's going to wake up, she has to." Her voice was barely a whisper, "She's got to..."

They were interrupted by a small sound coming from behind them. Both of their eyes widened as spun towards the bed.

Stephanie grabbed Wynonna's arm, "Did you just hear that?"

Wynonna took a step towards the bed and took Waverly's hand within her own, "Wave?"

Waverly let out a breath and both women stared down at her as she said in the tiniest voice, "Nicole..."

Wynonna sucked in a breath, "Waverly?"

The sisters let out a small cry of joy as Waverly for the first time in almost two months opened her eyes. "Nicole...where are you?"

Stephanie looked down at Waverly then over at Wynonna, I'll go get the nurse.

After she left the room Wynonna smiled down at her sister, "Nicole's downstairs baby girl, we're gonna get her for you okay?"

Waverly smiled, "Heard her voice, need to see her."

"I know sweetie, I know."

She looked up as Stephanie rushed back towards her with a grim look on her face, she grabbed Wynonna's arm, "I need to talk to you."

"What's going on?" she protested as Stephanie pulled her away from Waverly's bedside, "What happened?"

Stephanie's face was white as a sheet, "Nicole had a complication, she's been rushed into surgery and Wynonna, she may lose her leg after all."

Both of them turned to find Waverly staring at them with wide eyes and Wynonna took a deep breath and walked slowly back to her sister to tell her what was going on.

Chapter Text

"Help me out of my bed Wynonna."
The two sisters looked over at Waverly in unison and Wynonna said, "Are you serious? You just woke up from a coma Waves."
I don't care, Nicole needs me." She reached out and grasped the rail on the side of her bed, "Are you going to help me get out of this bed or do I have to pull myself out of it?"
Stephanie grabbed Wyonna's arm, "Is she serious?"
Wynonna nodded, "Oh yeah, she's stubborn, if we don't help her she'll drag herself down the hallway to the elevator if she feels like it's what she needs to."
"I'm right over here, I can hear you." Waverly glanced over towards them again, "Well, don't just stand there..."
Stephanie nodded, "I'll get a wheelchair." She rushed out of the room and qucikly returned pushing the chair in front of her.
They were easing Waverly into the chair when the nurse walked in, "What do you think you're doing?"
Wynonna looked over at her, "What the hell does it look like?"
The nurse took a step towards them, "Why is she out of her bed and... awake? When did she wake up?"
Wynonna scratched her head, "Um...a little while ago."
"And you didn't call someone? She needs to be in bed until the doctor can examine her. If you don't get her back into bed immediately I will call security"
Waverly glared up at her, "No you won't! My wife needs me and nobody is going to stop me from going to her, do you understand? I swear that if you don't move my sisters will move you, so I suggest that you get out of the way."
The nurse looked shocked, "I'm going to get the doctor." She turned and left the room.
Waverly looked up at Wynonna, "Let's go! Hurry up you two!"
Stephanie ran ahead and pushed the elevator button as Wynonna quickly pushed Waverly down the hall towards her. The elevator opened and the three of them rushed inside, Stephanie closed the doors as the nurse and a couple of doctors hurried towards them.
Stephanie let out the breath that she didn't even know that she was holding, "Wow, that was close."
Waverly looked up at her and smiled, "Thanks for helping me."
"Of course, that's what sisters are for right?"
Wynonna grinned and slapped Stephanie on the back, "You got that right blondie!" The elevator dinged and the doors opened. "Okay Waves lets go find your girl." She pushed Waverly out into the hall as Stephanie followed close behind.

*****

"Why wasn't I called before my daughter was rushed into surgery?"
The nurse looked up from her desk, "There wasn't time Mrs. Haught, we had to get her in there as quick as possible."
"I need to see her doctor as soon as possible."
The nurse picked up the phone and dialed a number, she spoke to someone briefly and hung up. She turned towards Eleanor and said, "Someone will be out soon to speak to you."
Eleanor began to pace back and forth, she looked up as a woman dressed in scrubs and a surgical gown approached her. "What happened to my daughter?"
"She had a clot in her leg that caused the blood flow to get cut off to her leg. It caused quite a bit of damage to the tissue as well as the bone. If we can't repair the damage we may need to amputate the leg."
Eleanor looked worried, "Will that save her life?"
"Like I said, if the damage can't be repaired and she shows sign of infection then yes, it will save her life."
"If it comes to that then I want you to do it."
They both looked up as a voice interrupted them from the side, "You most certainly will not do that. Nicole wants to keep her leg."
Eleanor looked at Waverly angrily before turning back towards the doctor, "Ignore her, she..."
The doctor held up her hand, "Look, I need to get back in there, so I need a decision. Mrs. Haught..."
"Yes." Both women answered at the same time and the doctor looked between the two of them before her eyes fell onto Waverly.
"And you are?"
"Waverly Haught, Nicole is my wife."
The doctor held out her hand, "It's nice to meet you."
"Thank you." She said as she shook the doctor's hand. "I want you to do everything you can to save her leg. She's a swimmer so she's going to need it."
The doctor turned to leave and said over her shoulder, "We'll do our best, don't worry she's in good hands."
Waverly watched her walk away, she turned her head to find Eleanor staring daggers at her.
Eleanor took a step towards her but Waverly sat in her wheelchair refusing to back down, "You have something to say?"
"How dare you interfere with my daughter's treatment!"
Waverly could feel herself getting angry, "NO! How dare you!"
Eleanor took another step towards her, "She's my daughter and what I say..."

"NO, you don't! You don't get a say in this, Nicole and I are married, she's my wife! I've held my tongue and kept quiet against my better judgement but I'm not keeping quiet anymore. The way you speak to me and especially the way you treat Nicole is going to stop! Nicole is an amazing person, she's so loving and kind and the most extraordinary woman I've ever met. But you can't see that, all you see is that your daughter is married to another woman. Everything else about Nicole doesn't matter to you because you are so afraid that all I'm going to do is take all of your money. I have news for you, I don't care about money like you do, all I want is Nicole. She's my world and I can't imagine my life without her in it. I want to spend the rest of my life with her and we've talked about having a family some day. I love her so damn much and I don't know what I'll do if she doesn't come out of this. So, I'm not going to sit here and let you make a decision that I know that Nicole wouldn't want. We're not doing anything like that unless we have no other option, do you understand what I'm saying?" She took a deep breath and her voice softened slightly, "Do you really want to be the one who has to tell her that we made this choice when there were other options?"
Eleanor sighed and turned away from Waverly, "Are you willing to risk losing her? I'm not going to stand here while the most logical choice is being ignored by you. If she dies, it's on you, are you sure you can live with that?" She crossed the room and sat down in a row of chairs alone.
Waverly looked over at her and shook her head, "I don't get her."

Wynonna put her hand on Waverly's shoulder, "None of us do and Wave, you don't know the half of it."
Waverly looked around the waiting room, "Where are Nicole's dad and brother? I can't believe they aren't here."
Wynonna sat down so she could look Waverly in the eye as she told her what had happened with Nicole's mother and what she had done to Nicole. Waverly's eyes grew wider with each word that left her sister's mouth. She shook her head in horror as the realization of what Eleanor had done sunk in. Before she could explode with anger she took out her phone to call Nicole's father but before she dialed his number she looked back over at Wynonna, "So, how long was I in the coma, how long has it been since the accident?"
Wynonna took a deep breath, "Almost six weeks."
Waverly's face fell, "So Nicole has been thinking this whole time that I didn't want to be with her anymore because that's what she," she said pointing over towards Eleanor, "led her to believe. Why didn't anyone tell Nicole that I was in a coma? You would think that since we're married someone would have told my wife about my condition."
Stephanie sat down next to Wynonna, "I have a feeling that she had something to do with that." She nodded her head towards Eleanor. Reaching over she squeezed Waverly's hand, "Don't feel too bad she hated me too."
"That doesn't really surprise me," Waverly picked her phone back up, "I'm calling Tommy, he should know what's going on with his sister."
Waverly hung up the phone and let her sisters know that Tommy would be arriving in the morning along with his father. Neither of them had been pleased to find out that Eleanor hadn't called them about the accident, and Waverly was sure that when they got there it wasn't going to be pretty.
They looked up as a doctor approached but Waverly could feel her heart sink as she realized that it wasn't Nicole's doctor standing in front of her, it was hers. He insisted on taking her back upstairs for an examination and he assured her that as soon as there was any news about Nicole that she would be informed immediately. Waverly also made him promise that he would move her into a room closer to Nicole's.
The doctor was pleased with Waverly's progress and it appeared that she wasn't going to have any permanent damage to her brain from the accident.
"So, can I go back down now? I'm waiting for news about Nicole."
"I'm afraid not, we need to get you to your room so that we can monitor your recovery."
Waverly looked up at the nurse who was wheeling her towards her room, "You have to promise me that you will tell me right away when there's any news about Nicole." At the nurse's confused look Waverly gave an exasperated sigh, "Nicole Haught, she's my wife and she's in surgery right now."
"I'll make sure of it Mrs. Haught." She wheeled Waverly into a room that had two beds in it.
"I thought I was getting a private room?"
"I was told to bring you here, that's all I know. Let's get you into bed."
The nurse helped her into bed and left the room, giving Waverly a last minute assurance that she would be told as soon as there was any word of Nicole's condition.
She sat there staring at the doorway and just waited.

*****

Waverly dozed off sitting up in her hospital bed, some time later she was jolted awake as someone came in to remove the other bed from the room. He didn't say a word to her, just pushed the bed out the door without a backward glance.
She reaced out and pressed the button for the nurse. The nurse answered after a few seconds and Waverly asked her, "Is there any news about my wife?"
"Hold on a minute and I'll come in to talk to you."
Waverly drummed her fingers on the mattress as she waited for the nurse to come in. After what seemed like an eternity the nurse walked into the room to check on her. Before Waverly could open her mouth to speak the orderly pushed her new roomate into the room.
She tried to look past the nurse to see if she recogonized the person in the bed but her view was obstructed by the nurse who was checking her vital signs. The nurse attending to the other patient reached out and closed the curtain between them and Waverly sat back in a huff.
She looked over at the nurse, "So, are you going to give me any news about my wife or am I going to have to get out of this bed and go to every damn person in this hospital until I find out...
"Wave...."
Waverly's head snapped around towards the curtain seperating the two beds, "Nicole? Honey is that you?" Her heart stopped as she waited for an answer.
Waverly jumped as the curtain was quickly yanked aside, "Can you keep it down please, people are trying to get better over here!"
"Wynonna! What the hell are you doing, where's Nicole?"
Wynonna gestured over her shoulder towards the bed behind her, "Red? She's right over there Baby Girl."
Waverly looked past her sister and saw the object of her affection laying in the next bed over. A huge grin spread over Waverly's face and her face lit up as Nicole held out her hand towards her. Without breaking their gaze she said, "Nonna, help me get up."
"You heard the doctor Wave, you aren't strong enough yet." She moved over towards her sister's hospital bed and unlocked the wheels before pushing Waverly's bed over right next to Nicole's.
Wynonna watched as Waverly reached out and took Nicole's hand in her own, she turned and walked out the door, leaving the two of them alone.

*****

Neither of the two women noticed Wynonna leaving the room. Nicole stared over at Waverly, hardly believing that she was there. "You're here," her voice was full of wonder, it was if she couldn't believe that Waverly was there right in front of her.
Waverly had tears in her eyes as she nodded, "I'm here Nic, I'm here." She reached up and placed her palm against the side of Nicole's face and smiled, "I love you so much."
Tears started falling from Nicole's eyes as she pressed her face against Waverly's hand. "I...I can't believe you're really here. I've missed you so much baby, I thought that you..."
Waverly reached out with her other hand and stroked Nicole's hair, "Shhh, I know. I would never leave you Nicole, never. I'm so sorry that she let you think that I would do something so terrible to you when you needed me the most. You know that if I could have been there I would have been."
"I know you would baby," Nicole moved her face to the side and placed a soft kiss onto Waverly's palm, "I'm so glad you're okay, when I learned the truth all I could think about was getting better so that I could get to you."
Waverly scooted closer to Nicole and propped herself up on her elbow, she looked down at her and smiled before leaning down and kissing her. She pulled back and stared into Nicole's eyes, "We're going to get through this together. When I made my vows to you I meant every word and I'll continue to mean them for the rest of my life, nothing is going to change that Nicole."
Fear entered Nicole's eyes, "Wave, what if I...what if I lose my leg and can never swim again?"
"Wouldn't matter to me honey, nothing could ever make me stop loving you."
"I love you Waverly Haught, I love you." Nicole reached up and pulled Waverly in for another kiss.
The nurse came into the room and they broke apart. "What are you two doing?"
"Looks like I'm kissing my wife." Waverly said with a smile, "You got a problem with that?"
The nurse held up her hands, "Nope, but we're going to have to move your bed back over there where it belongs." At Waverly's pained expression she continued, "She just had major surgery and she's at risk of infection so we need to make sure that her recovery goes as it should, okay?"
Waverly reached down and gave Nicole one more quick kiss before nodding at the nurse who moved her bed back where it belonged. By the time her bed was locked back into place Waverly glanced back over and find Nicole already sleeping.
She looked up at the nurse, "She's going to be okay, right?"
The nurse gave her a reassuring smile, "It's looking very optimistic but she's got a long recovery ahead of her. I think having you here is going to do her a world of good though." She finished checking Nicole's monitors and left the room.
Waverly lay in her hospital bed and looked over at her wife, watching her sleep. It wasn't long before she found herself falling asleep as well.

*****

The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months and Nicole's progress slowly improved. Waverly would go to class then head over to the hospital to spend the evening with Nicole before heading home to work on her thesis. She would get a few hours of sleep a night then head out to start the whole process again.
Waverly walked into Nicole's hospital room on this particular afternoon to find it empty. She walked down to the nurses station to ask where Nicole had gone to. The nurse told her that Nicole was in the physical therapy room and would be down there for awhile. Waverly thanked her and went back into Nicole's room.
She sat down in the reclining chair next to the bed and looked around the room, there were cards pinned to the wall and a vase full of flowers sitting on the table close to Nicole's bed. She smiled as she noticed the framed picture that sat next to the flowers.
It was a picture of the two of them taken at their wedding. They both looked so happy and Waverly sat back and remembered how beautiful Nicole was that day. She blushed as she remembered what had taken place after the wedding. She had fallen deeper in love with Nicole during their wedding night and she suddenly realized exactly how much she missed her wife. Although she missed being intimate with Nicole the thing she found herself missing the most was holding her close while they slept.
Waking up and staring at Nicole's empty side of the bed made her miss her wife more and more every day. She took comfort in the fact that Nicole was getting steadily stronger. Nicole was determined to not only walk again but she had it in her head that she would be back to competing within the next year. Waverly would stand by Nicole and support her but she was afraid that Nicole's wish of winning an Olympic medal would never come true.

*****

Nicole had fought through the pain and the set backs and was now getting around pretty good with the help of a walker. As she walked back and forth across the physical therapy room one thought ran constantly through her mind, she could do anything as long as Waverly remained at her side.
She was motivated by the thought of getting back to their lives and quite possibly starting a family soon. They had a lot of things to discuss but they could wait until Nicole was stronger. She knew that they had time to start a family but after the accident it was making her think that they needed to accelerated their plans.
She had missed their graduation ceremony but Waverly had brought her dipolma to her and proudly showed it to her. The pride on her wife's face at the fact that Nicole had graduated with honors had made her heart skip a beat and she had to fight the urge to pull Waverly down into bed with her and kiss her sensless, among other things.
Nicole missed Waverly so damn much, missed waking up in her arms, missed holding her close in the night, missed hearing Waverly scream her name as she fell apart beneath her. It had bee so long since the two of them had been together like that and Nicole wanted nothing more than to get out of the hospital for that reason alone.
Waverly looked so tired, Nicole could see it written all over her face. So this evening when she was wheeled back into her hospital room to find Waverly asleep she asked the staff if Waverly could stay until she woke up. She settled into her bed and watched her wife sleeping peacefully in the chair. She listened to Waverly's steading breathing and it wasn't long before Nicole had drifted off to sleep as well.

*****

She could feel someone watching her, Nicole was having the best dream and something, a feeling broke her from that dream. She was being watched.
She slowly opened her eyes to find Waverly standing over her, staring down at her. "Wave?"
Waverly reached out and ran her hand through Nicole's hair before leaning down and placing a soft kiss on Nicole's lips. She pulled back slightly before leaning in again for another kiss, this one more demanding. Nicole reached up and threaded her hands in Waverly's hair, holding her in place while she kissed her back.
Nicole's hand wandered down Waverly's back before hooking her hip and pulling her onto the bed with her.
Waverly gasped, "No Nicole, I'll hurt you."
"No Wave, you could never hurt me." Nicole brought her lips to Waverly's again."
Waverly broke their kiss, breathing heavily she managed to say, "I don't want to hurt your leg Nic."
Nicole shook her head, "You won't."
Waverly's breath caught in her throat as Nicole began to trail kisses along her neck, "Oh God Nicole, I don't want you stop. I want you so much."
Nicole stopped and pulled away, "I've missed you so much baby, I'm never letting you go again." She brought her lips back to Waverly's throat as her hands feverishly trailed a path down her wife's torso, pausing briefly to unutton and unzip her pants. She slipped her hand inside and moaned as she felt exactly how turned on her wife was.
"Jesus Wave." She ran her finger through Waverly's wet heat and slipped a finger inside, capturing Waverly's mouth in an attempt to muffle her cries and moans as she brought her closer to release and when Waverly finally fell over that edge she buried her face in Nicole's chest as she silently screamed out her orgasm.
Nicole held her close and waited until Waverly came down to Earth, placing soft kisses on her temple, "Are you okay Waves?"
Waverly nodded, "I'm better than okay, I love you Nicole."
Nicole tightened her grip on Waverly, "I love you too baby. I've missed this, being this close to you." She felt Waverly's hand wandering over her body and Nicole reached out to grab her wrist to stop her.
Waverly looked confused, "What's wrong Nic? Don't you want me to touch you?" She asked dropping her gaze. She could feel the hurt creeping up and suddenly she was unable to meet Nicole's gaze.
Nicole smiled down at her, "Of course I do, but having you this close is enough for me right now." She put her finger under Waverly's chin and raised her head so she could look into her eyes, "I don't want you to ever think that I don't want you, you are the most important thing to me Waves and if I have to spend the rest of my life proving it to you I will."
Waverly pressed herself into Nicole's neck and sighed before disintangling herself from Nicole, "I should probably get out of this bed before someone comes in here to check on you." She placed one last kiss onto Nicole's lips before she climbed out and stepped down on the floor. She reached down to fix her clothes and jumped as the door to Nicole's room opened and the nurse came in. She spun around so that her back was to the door and qucikly refastened her pants as Nicole looked on in amusement.
After she got everything put back into place Waverly turned around to find Nicole smirking at her. Nicole looked past the nurse and wiggled her eyebrows at Waverly. She brought her hand up to her mouth to stifle the giggle that was threatening to escape her lips as her wife flirted with her.
Nicole watched the nurse leave the room and after she was gone she turned her attention back to her wife who was standing there with an odd expression on her face. Nicole became concerned, "Wave, Baby what's wrong?" She held out her hand and Waverly walked towards her, "What's going on in that pretty head of yours, huh?"
Waverly crossed the room and took Nicole's hand, "I just realized that we missed our anniversary. How could we have forgotten?"
"Wave, with everything that's happened, are you really surprised?"
"Well no, but Nicole, you only get one first anniversary and we missed ours!"
Nicole squeezed her hand and rubbed her thumb softly along the back of it, "Baby, it's okay. When I get out of here we'll celebrate okay?" She stared into Waverly's eyes, "And, I'd rather celebrate with you after I get out of here when it's just the two of us."
Waverly leaned down and brought her lips to Nicole's. She became lost in Nicole's lips before the need for air made it necessary for her to pull back. "I love you so much and I am so happy that you're okay. I was so scared when I woke up and they told me that you were..."
Nicole interrupted her before she could finish, "Hey, we're both okay, we're alive and together and that's all that matters."
Waverly reached out with her other hand and softly stroked the side of Nicole's face as she smiled down at her. "As much as I'd love to stay here all night, I should probably go. You need your rest and I need to work on my thesis tomorrow morning before I come back to visit you." She reluctantly removed her hand from Nicole's grasp as she turned to leave. She stopped and turned back around placing one last kiss on Nicole's lips before leaving her alone in her hospital bed.

*****

Waverly drove home from the hospital and thoughts of everything that had happened since Nicole's surgery enterered her mind. Nicole's father and brother had arrived the next morning and she would never forget the scene she had witnessed between Nicole's parents. To say that Thomas Haught had been angry with his wife for not telling him about their daughter's accident was a gross understatement. He had been livid and all of his anger was centered on Eleanor who in Waverly's opinion deserved everything that had happened next. Thomas had finally had enough, he had told his wife that he was divorcing her and when he found out that Nicole had also kicked her out of her life her told her to leave and that she would be hearing from his lawyer. Eleanor had tried to argue with him but the appearance of her son had put a stop to any thoughts she may have had about winning the argument.
Waverly had been relieved that Nicole had been taken out of the room for tests and had missed the excahange between her parents, the last thing Nicole needed was more stress on top of everything else she was dealing with at the moment.
The hospital staff had been surprised to learn that what they had been told by Eleanor wasn't true. Eleanor had told them that Nicole was in the process of ending her marriage to Waverly when the accident had occured, even going so far as to having divorce papers with their names on them drawn up as proof. Since Eleanor was on the board of directors for the company who owned the hospital the staff had no reason to doubt what she had told them.
With her web of lies crashing down on her Eleanor had stormed out of the hospital. Before she made her exit however she had pointed a finger at Waverly and told her that she wasn't done with her yet. "You've messed with the wrong woman girlie and you're going to regret this!" Waverly had been shocked but the amount of hatred that she could feel coming off the older woman. She had shaken her head silently and looked up to find Eric Davies standing in the doorway, taking in the whole scene.
Waverly looked at him from her hospital bed and was startled as he quickly approached her. "You don't know how happy this makes me that you're awake. We thought we lost you." He paused for a moment and took a deep breath before continuing, "We've been here everyday praying for a miracle, that somehow you would wake up."

"We, as in you and Stephanie?" Waverly had asked the question so softly that he had to strain to hear it at first.
"No, we as in your mother and I."
Waverly's face fell, "Oh."
He had reached out and taken her hand, "I know that you said you're not ready to see her but when we heard about the accident she insisted that she come with me. This may be hard for you to believe, but she really does love you Waverly."
Waverly just looked at him, thinking carefully before she spoke, "I can't worry about that right now, my only concern is for Nicole. I'm not even going to think about anything else until I know that she's going to be okay. So if you'll forgive me I'm going to repeat what I already told you before, I'm not ready to have a relatationship with her and honestly I may never be."
His face fell, "I understand." He stood up and squeezed her shoulder, "I always liked Nicole, she's a good kid. What about you, what did the doctors say bout your recovery?"
They're going to keep me here until I can my strength back and walk on my own. My doctor also said that he doesn't feel like there will be any permanent damage to my brain and I should make a full recovery."
"That's good news! Be sure and keep us posted about Nicole, will you?"
"Yeah, I will, thank you for coming."
She watched him leave and wondered if maybe she needed to rethink things where her mother was concerned. She was broken from her thoughts by the sight of Nicole being wheeled back into their shared hospital room.

*****

Waverly parked the car and took the elevator up to their floor. As she left the elevator she noticed a woman standing outside of their apartment. She watched as the woman knocked on the door and waitied for a response from inside.
She continued down the hallway towards the woman and asked, "Can I help you?"
The woman turned and Waverly stopped in her tracks, "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Waverly I...I just wanted to talk to you for a moment, just wanted to see you." She noticed the look on Waverly's face and debated on wether or not she should continue, but continue she did, "Is that any way to greet your mother?"

Waverly just stood there in the hallway, staring back at her mother, not knowing quite what to say.

Chapter Text

Waverly stood in the hallway staring over at her mother who just stood there looking back at her. After a few minutes she opened her mouth and spoke, "So, are you going to tell me what you want or am I just going to have to guess?" She paused to give Sylvia a chance to speak and when she didn't take the opportunity Waverly threw up her hands and continued, "Look, I've had a long day and I have a lot of stuff to do tonight before I go to bed...I don't know why I'm tell you any of this." She walked up to the door and unlocked it before opening the door and stepping inside.

"Waverly, wait, I just want to talk to you." Sylvia took a step forward but at the look on her daughter's face she decided against coming any closer.

Waverly closed her eyes for a moment and sighed, she had a feeling she was going to regret it but she reached out and opened the door wider, "Come in."

Sylvia walked past her into the apartment and looked around the living room.

Waverly walked over to the couch and set her purse down on the coffee table, "I apologize for the mess, it doesn't usually look like this." She crossed her arms and watched as her mother looked at the picture hanging on the wall next to the door.

She turned towards Waverly, "Is this Nicole?"

Waverly looked at her and answered cautiously, "Yeah, that was taken on our wedding day."

"She's very beautiful." She turned around and looked at Waverly, "Tell me, does she make you happy?"

Waverly nodded, "Very, she's the love of my life." She gestured towards the couch, "Do you want to sit down?"

As Sylvia sat down she said, "I'm glad that you're happy Waverly and I was relieved to hear that you've recovered from the accident."

Waverly sat down on the other end of the couch, she took a deep breath and said, "Why are you here? I know it's not to make small talk because it's been seventeen years and you've had plenty of time to..." She stopped herself before her anger could rise to the surface. "I just want to know one thing, why?"

"Waverly, I..."

"I just want you to help me understand how you could have left us with that man. Do you know what we went through, do you? He was a drunk who would beat us and half the time we didn't have food in the house. You knew what he was like and you just left, walked away without a backward glance. What kind of mother would do something like that?"

Sylvia looked over at Waverly with tears in her eyes, "I know that nothing I can say to you can make up for what I've done. I love you girls and the last thing I ever wanted to do was leave you with Ward."

"But you did."

"He didn't give me a choice, he threatened me and I knew that if I let with you girls he would track us down and carry out his threat."

Waverly was puzzled, "What did he threaten you with? What could have been so bad that you would leave us with him? You are our mother, you have an obligation to protect your children from danger."

Tears were forming in Sylvia's eyes, "He said he'd kill all of us if i tried to leave with you girls. I didn't believe him until he pulled out his gun and I was so scared Waverly. I wasn't afraid for me, I was afraid for you girls and I knew that if he ever found out about you..." She choked back a sob, "I knew that he would do something bad to you. He was such a bastard and I wish I had been stronger, but I just couldn't cope. I asked your aunt to keep an eye on you girls before I left."

Waverly looked down at the floor for a moment before returning her gaze to her mother, "Gus and Eric told me about what you've gone through before and after you left. I can sympathize with you but I'm not ready to forgive you for leaving us there and for never telling my real father about me. He could have helped you get us out of there!"

Tears were falling from the older woman's eyes, "I know that now but I wasn't in my right mind and I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, you were my babies and I let you down, I'll never be able to forgive myself for that."

Waverly stared at her mother and she could feel herself begin to soften towards her. She reached out and took her hand within her own and gave it a small squeeze. "Would you like to get something to eat? I'm starving and maybe we can get to know each other a little better, or I can fix something."

Her mother gave her a small smile, "That would be nice. Would you like some help?"

Waverly stood up, "No, it's okay. I'll just whip something up real quick."

Her mother stood in the doorway of the kitchen and watched Waverly cook, "So, tell me about Nicole, what's she like?"

Waverly glanced over at her, "You never met her? I'm surprised because she dated Stephanie for a long time."

Sylvia shook her head, "I was gone for awhile and I missed so much over the past couple of years, I was in a hospital."

"I know, Eric told me. I'm so sorry."

"You don't have anything to apologize for, I'm better now thanks to my medication." They walked back to the dining room table and sat down. "So, tell me about her."

"Nicole is beautiful inside and out and makes me feel like I'm the only person in the world who matters. I've never felt like this about anyone before and I intend to spend my life with her."

Sylvia took a bite of her food and swallowed before continuing, "Eric told me she's a champion swimmer."

"She's a two time national champion and was on track for making an Olympic run but now since the accident..." her voice trailed off. She sighed and continued, "But now, I don't know."

"It can't be easy on either of you."

Waverly sat back in her chair, "It isn't easy, but as long as we have each other we can face anything."

Her mother reached out and patted the back of her hand, "I admire your optimism and I hope you're right." She held up her hand when Waverly opened her mouth to speak, "Having said that I can tell that you truly love her and believe me that alone is going to get you both through Nicole's recovery."

Waverly smiled over at her and continued eating her meal. They made small talk and before Sylvia left that evening the two of them made plans to get together sometime in the near future.

Her mother left and as Waverly closed and locked the door she smiled to herself. She locked up and headed off to bed. She fell asleep with thoughts of what had transpired between her and Nicole that afternoon and she fell asleep with a contented smile on her face.

 

*****

 

Waverly entered the hospital the next morning with a spring in her step. Everything seemed to be going her way. She had Nicole in her life, she had reconnected with her mother and Willa would be coming for a visit in a couple of months with her nephew. Things were looking up for her and she couldn't wait to share the news with Nicole.

As she was approaching Nicole's room a hand reached out and grasped her arm. Waverly jumped and looked up, starteled at being so rudely grabbed by...Eleanor Haught.

She snatched her arm out of the other woman's grasp and glared over at her, "What the hell do you want?"

"I want to know how my daughter is doing, no one will tell me anything and Nicole refuses to see me."

Waverly raised an eyebrow at her mother-in-law in disbelief. "Are you really surprised by this? After everything you've done to her, and to me? Is it really that surprising that Nicole wants nothing to do with you?"

Eleanor took a deep breath, "I only tried to do what's best for my daughter. It's all I've ever wanted."

"Have you ever considered asking her what she wants? She has a mind of her own and can make her own decisions." Waverly took a couple of steps away from Eleanor before stopping and turning back towards her, "All Nicole ever wanted was to feel loved by you, unfortunately you couldn't give that to her. I feel sorry for you." She turned back around and continued towards Nicole's room without looking back.

 

*****

 

Waverly pushed her irritation down before she entered Nicole's room. She walked in to find the doctor talking to Nicole. Waverly put her purse down on the chair and walked over to Nicole, placing a kiss on her cheek in greeting. "So, what's going on?"

Nicole reached out for Waverly's hand and she took it without hesitation, "The doctor here was explaining what they're going to do during my next surgery."

"Another surgery? I thought you were coming home soon."

Nicole looked Waverly in the eye, "My latest scans showed a complication."

Waverly looked over at the doctor, "What complication? What's going on?"

The doctor looked over at Nicole and Waverly and cleared her throat, "We thought we had repaired all the damage done to the knee during the last surgery but it appears as if we missed some of it."

Waverly looked between Nicole and the doctor before returning her gaze to the surgeon, "What do you mean you missed some of it? You assured us that you fixed all of it, I don't understand."

"There was more damage and scar tissue than we anticipated. The swelling also made it difficult for me to see everything in the knee during surgery. There's a tiny tear in one of the ligaments, it should be an easy fix."

They both looked over as Nicole spoke, "What if we don't operate on it, I'm not sure that I want to go through another surgery right now."

Waverly looked shocked, "Nicole, are you serious right now?"

Tears began to form in Nicole's eyes, "I...I just don't know if I can endure another Surgery Wave, I've had three surgeries in the last three months. I don't know if I can take any more pain."

Waverly's heart broke for her wife and she turned her attention back towards the doctor, "If she doesn't have the surgery, what will happen?"

"We can monitor her progress but she may have more difficulty walking. I want her to continue with her physical therapy. If the tear worsens then surgery will be necessary." The doctor turned her attention back to Nicole, "If you continue to progress with your walking then we can send you home, how does that sound?"

Nicole wiped her eyes and let out a deep breath, "Sounds like heaven." She reached out and took Waverly's hand, neither of them noticed when the doctor quietly left the room.
"Do you think I'm being ridiculous Wave?"

Waverly reached out and tucked Nicole's hair behind her ear, "Honey, I want you to do what's right for you and if you don't want to have the surgery I'll support your decision."
Nicole began to cry again, "I'm just tired of being in this room, tired of waking up alone and not being able to hold you. I miss you so much Wave, I miss our life."

Waverly reached out and wiped the tears from Nicole's cheeks. "I miss you too Nicole, it's been so lonely without you at home but what I want is for you heal and recover, okay? I love you so much and you are the most important thing in my life and that's all that matters."

Nicole grasped her wrists, "I love you Waverly and I just want to go home."

Waverly leaned in and placed a soft kiss on Nicole's forehead, "Everything's going to be okay, no more tears, okay?"

Nicole smiled up at her, "Anything for you baby. Would you like to go for a walk with me?"

Waverly smiled back at her, "I'd love to."

 

*****

 

Two weeks later Waverly arrived at the hospital along with Sam. Waverly felt like she was walking on air because today was the day she was finally bringing Nicole home. She was grateful for the fact that their building had an elevator because without it Nicole would have struggled to make it up to their apartment.

As they rode the elevator up to Nicole's floor Sam looked over at Waverly and asked, "So, have you talked to her yet about moving?"

"I wanted to wait until she got out of here to bring it up, I just think she'll be more comfortable closer to her family. I just need to wait and see what she has to say about it."

Ever since the accident Waverly had been thinking about what the future had in store for them. The first thing they needed to to was concentrate on Nicole's recovery and Waverly had come to the conclusion that they should move closer to Nicole's family and move into an acutal house. She had the money that she had gotten from her mother and Waverly wanted to use it to buy their first home. She knew that Nicole was it for her and the desire to put down roots and maybe start a family was strong within her. She hoped that Nicole still felt the same way about having children. They had talked about it before the accident but those plans had understandably gone to the back burner.
As they stepped off the elevator and towards Nicole's room her excitement at the prospect of finally having Nicole home with her made her heart soar.

 

*****

 

Nicole was sitting up in the arm chair in her room waiting for Waverly to arrive to take her home. She couldn't wait to finally get out of this place and have some quality alone time with her wife.

Her progress had been nothing short of remarkable and she was getting around pretty well now with the aid of crutches. The doctors were very optimistic that with time Nicole would be able to walk without the aid of crutches or a cane. The one thing that Nicole had been afraid of asking the doctors was if she would be able to swim again competitively.
She pushed those thoughts from her mind as she looked up to find a ray of sunshine entering her room. She opened her arms and grinned as Waverly approached her chair, pulling Waverly into her arms she whispered into her ear, "Hey baby, I'm so happy to see you."

Waverly kissed her on the cheek and leaned back in Nicole's embrace, "You ready to go home?"

Nicole nodded, "More than ready." She looked past Waverly and her face broke out into a huge smile, "Hey stranger, what are you doing here?"

Sam smiled back at her, "Haven't been to visit for awhile and thought I should come spring you from here."

She brought her attention back to Waverly, "I'm just waiting for them to bring in the paperwork, as soon as that happens I'm all yours."

Sam cleared her throat, "If you don't mind I'll take some of this stuff down to the car." She picked up a couple of bags containing Nicole's belongings and walked out of the room with them.

At the sound of the door closing behind Sam Waverly leaned in and placed a soft kiss on Nicole's lips. "I can't wait to finally be alone with you, I've missed you."

"Not half as much as I have baby." Nicole kissed Waverly and tried to pull her into her lap.

The door opened and Waverly quickly straightened up as the nurse came into the room with Nicole's paperwork along with an empty wheelchair. Nicole quickly signed her discharge papers and used the arms of the chair to stand up. Waverly made to help her but Nicole waved her off, moving slowly towards the wheelchair before lowering herself into it. She winked at Waverly and said, "I got this."

Waverly smiled down at her wife and walked next to her as she was finally wheeled from the room and down the hall.

 

*****

 

Waverly opened the door to their apartment to find her wife sitting in her usual spot on the couch playing video games. In the two months since she had come home from the hospital Nicole had spent most of her time sitting on the couch playing games or watching movies and Waverly was concerned that she wasn't following the doctor's orders and exercising every day.

Nicole looked up as Waverly approached her and smiled before asking, "Did you pick up my pills?"

Waverly placed a kiss on her cheek, "Of course." She handed the bottle to Nicole before asking, "Did you do your exercises, or did you play games all day?" Waverly looked around their apartment and frowned at the messy state of it.

"Yeah I did." Nicole opened the bottle of pills and took two out picking up her bottle of water and swallowing them. She sat back on the couch and held her hand out to Waverly with a grin, "I missed you today."

Waverly sighed, "I missed you too but Nicole look at this place." She gestured at the pile of dishes and assorted cans and bottles on the coffee table. "I know you're in pain, but is it too much to ask for you to pick up after yourself?" She sighed again and began to gather up the things from the table.

Nicole dropped her hand and awkwardly stood up, grabbing her cane, "I'm sorry Waves, hey, I'll get it."

"It's okay, I'll take care of it." She was visibly upset and Nicole was mentally kicking herself as she saw the exhaustion written all over Waverly's face. She watched her walk into the kitchen and heard her put the dishes in the sink.

When Waverly came back into the room Nicole was waiting for her, "I'm sorry baby, I know how tired you are and you shouldn't have to come home and deal with a mess. Come sit with me and I'll rub your back."

"What about dinner?" Waverly asked her as she sat down.

"I ordered in, I hope you don't mind." Nicole sat down next to her and motioned for her to turn around. Waverly complied and Nicole began to rub her shoulders and back. Nicole leaned in and placed a soft kiss on the back of Waverly's neck as she massaged the tension from Waverly's body.

The food arrived and Nicole got up to answer the door. Waverly sank into the couch, competely relaxed and tingling all over from having Nicole's hands on her. She reluctantly got up off the couch and joined Nicole at the table. As she ate dinner she kept staring over at her wife and thinking about all of the things she wanted to do to Nicole.

Things hadn't been that great in that department and Waverly missed the deep connection that they had shared prior to the accident. Nicole had barely let Waverly touch her during the last two months and Waverly was frustrated, she needed Nicole and she began to suspect that Nicole was ashamed of the way her leg looked.

She got up from the table and walked around it, standing in front of Nicole. She stepped between Nicole's legs and wrapped her arms around her neck. Nicole looked startled by the contact, "What are you doing Wave?"

"What do you think?" She leaned in to kiss Nicole and before Nicole could turn her head she moved her hands to the sides of her wife's face. "Listen to me Nicole. I love you, everything about you and you are perfect to me. There's nothing that could make me love you any less, you hear me?"

"Waverly I..."

"No, Nicole, I love you and I want you so much." She could feel tears building, "Please don't push me away again, I can't take it. I need to touch you honey, please Nicole."

Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly's waist and pulled her close, burying her face into Waverly's chest. She pulled back slightly, "I love you too Wave and I'm afraid that you are gonna take one look at my leg and run away. I'm afraid that you aren't gonna love me because I'm not the person you married."

Waverly ran her hands through Nicole's hair, "You are the same person that I married Nicole, the same person that I love. Marrying you was the best thing I've ever done and nothing could ever change the way I feel about you."

Nicole looked up and searched Waverly's face for the truth and as she stared up at her wife she found it in her eyes. "I love you so much Wave, I'm just so afraid that you're going to leave me because before I met you swimming was the most important thing to me, and now that's gone and now I don't know what to do."

Waverly smiled down at her, "We'll figure it out together, okay?" She reached down and took Nicole's hands, pulling her to her feet, "Now, not another word and come with me because I plan on showing you how much I love you for the rest of the night." She turned and led Nicole slowly to their bedroom.

Before she reached back and closed the door behind them Nicole said, "I like the sound of that."

Chapter Text

Nicole lay on her right side, since the accident she couldn't get comfortable unless she was laying on her back and she absolutely couldn't sleep on her left leg. Nicole sighed and the fear washed over her again. She was afraid that now that her life had changed Waverly would no longer love her. She had tried to avoid looking at her leg and finally yesterday morning she had taken a close look at it in the mirror and the sight of it had made her burst into tears. The scars that ran the length of her leg would never go away and they would be constant reminders to her that her life would never be the same.

The doctor had told her that she would be able to get around but she would probably have some discomfort for the rest of her life. Nicole huffed out a breath at the word discomfort, that doctor had no idea how much pain she was in. Her leg hurt all the time and she didn't dare tell Waverly how much it hurt because the last thing her wife needed was to worry about Nicole when she should be studying.

Speaking of her wife, Nicole sighed and smiled because Waverly was currently pressed up against her back. She could feel Waverly's bare breasts pressed up against her and she could feel her steady breathing against the back of her neck. Nicole needed to get up to take a pain pill but Waverly's arm wrapped tightly around her waist was preventing her from doing so, that and she was totally opposed to the idea of moving away from the woman who was snuggled up against her. So she resigned herself to the fact that she would just have to bear the pain until it got too much for her to handle.

She closed her eyes and thought back to the previous couple of hours and what had taken place since Waverly had led her into the bedroom. She had finally relented and let Waverly touch her. Waverly had taken full advantage of it and if she were being honest, Nicole would never complain about that. When Waverly had removed her pants she had gotten very nervous because deep down inside she was afraid that her wife would take one look at her leg and run away. To her surprise Waverly hadn't run off or acted repulsed by the leg's appearance. Instead she had smiled up at Nicole and told her how beautiful she is and her reassuring tone had helped to soothe Nicole's fears.

Being as gentle as possible, Nicole slowly removed Waverly's arm from around her waist and eased herself out of bed. She grabbed her cane and made her way slowly down the short hallway towards the bathroom. She entered the room and opened the medicine cabinet, grabbing her bottle of pain medication. She took two pills and quickly swallowed them, washing it down with some water from the sink. She put the bottle back into the cabinet and closed the door to it, finding herself staring at her own reflection in the mirror.
She leaned her weight on the sink as she stared at herself in contemplation. She had always been so confident and sure of what her future held for her but now, she had no idea where she was headed in life. She had planned on making a living off of the endorsements that had already been coming her way but now, well those plans had gone right out of the window the moment that car pulled out and struck them. Everything seemed to be at a standstill and she really didn't know what she was going to do now that the door had slammed on this particular chapter in her life.

The one thing that she was sure of was that she loved Waverly more than anything else in this world. She had been so afraid that Waverly would get tired of being married to a cripple and leave her. The thought of that happening turned Nicole's insides cold because at this point in time the only thing keeping her grounded was her wife and she knew that she couldn't lose her.

"Nicole?" She looked up to find Waverly standing in the doorway to the bathroom, "Honey, are you okay? I woke up, you were gone and I was worried."
"I'm fine baby, just needed to use the bathroom." Her eyes drifted down to find Waverly standing there wearing nothing else but an old t-shirt of Nicole's. She pushed away from the sink and reached out towards Waverly, taking her hand, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

Waverly squeezed her hand and gave her a crooked grin, "Why don't we head back to bed." Her grip on Nicole's hand tightened as she tugged her towards the bedroom.

 

*****

 

Nicole was pacing back and forth in their apartment waiting for Waverly to get home. She was out of pain pills and Waverly was supposed to stop at the pharmacy and pick up her refill. It was taking her forever to get home with them and with each passing minute Nicole was becoming more and more agitated. Did her wife not realize how much pain she was in? It was taking every ounce of willpower that Nicole had not to take out her phone and call Waverly because it would have ended in her asking Waverly where the hell she was.
She heard Waverly's key in the door and before she could make it over there to open it for her wife, Waverly opened it and entered their apartment, her arms full of groceries. Nicole limped over to her and took one of the bags from her, she led the way into the kitchen and put the bag on the counter.

Nicole leaned against the counter and watched as Waverly put the groceries away. When Waverly finished she took a small bag out of her purse and handed it to Nicole while placing a kiss on her cheek.

"I missed you today honey, how are you feeling?"

Nicole didn't answer at first, she was too busy taking the bottle of pills out of the bag and opening it. She popped a couple of pills into her mouth and washed it down with the bottle of water that Waverly handed her. She noticed the questioning look on Waverly's face and asked, "What?"

Waverly placed her hands on Nicole's chest, "I'm worried about you."

Nicole reached up and ran her hands up and down on Waverly's arms, "I'm fine Waverly, why are you worried?"

Waverly took a deep breath, "It's just that you seem to be taking an awful lot of pills and the pharmacist said that we shouldn't have refilled that for two more weeks."

Nicole dropped her hands away from Waverly, "Jesus Waves are you monitoring my pills now? I'm sorry that I'm in pain and the only thing that gets rid of it are these." She picked up the bottle and shook it at Waverly.

"No sweetie I just worry about you, that's all." She leaned up and kissed Nicole on her lips, "I love you."

"You don't have to worry about me, I'm fine." She smiled down at Waverly, "I promise, I'm fine."

"Good, then you," She leaned up and kissed Nicole again, "Can take me to dinner."

Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly's waist and pulled her into her body, "Or, we can order in and spend some quality time together."

"I like the sound of that."

 

*****

 

Waverly sat in the Library at school, she didn't want to go home. She just couldn't deal with Nicole at the moment. Nicole and her outbursts of anger and her unpredictable behavior. Her wife was becoming someone Waverly didn't recognize anymore and she was at a loss at what to do. She loved Nicole, adored her but this version of Nicole was not the loving and kind person she had married. This person that was currently living in their apartment was barely a shadow of the Nicole she knew.

In the past two months Waverly began to suspect that Nicole had become dependent on her pain medication and an incident that had happened last week had pretty much confirmed her suspicions.

Wynonna had come for a visit and Nicole had Waverly had taken her out to dinner. Nicole had barely spoken during their meal and she had sat there tapping her silverware on the table and looking everywhere but at her wife and sister-in-law. She seemed off and Waverly had leaned over to her to ask her if she was feeling okay.

"I'm fine Waverly, stop asking me!" As Nicole snapped at her Waverly jerked away, startled by her tone.

Waverly opened her mouth to apologize but Nicole beat her to it. Nicole reached out and took her hand, "I'm sorry baby, I'm just in a lot of pain right now."

Wynonna looked between the two of them and could tell that something wasn't quite right between them but for once she held her tongue. She would however be speaking to Waverly about it later because if Nicole was abusing her sister in any way then Wynonna would make sure that it would be the last time.

They finished their meal in relative silence and headed back to Nicole and Waverly's apartment. Nicole limped in first, not waiting for either of the Earp Sisters to come inside before removing her shoes and flopping down in her usual spot on the couch.

Wynonna looked at Waverly who shrugged and turned to lock the door.

Nicole looked over at Waverly who was rushing by, "Babe, can you get me my medication?"

Waverly looked over her shoulder, "Sure hon, give me a minute, ok? Bathroom."

Wynonna sat on the other end of the couch and watched as Nicole bounced her right leg up and down and drummed her fingers on the arm of the couch. "Are you okay, Nicole?"

"Yeah, why do you ask?"

"You look a little..."

Nicole cut her off, "I just need my medicine, I wish Waverly would hurry up, I'm overdue." She awkwardly stood up, "I'll just go get it." She took a step and her foot got tangled up in the shoes that she had removed from her feet before she sat down. Nicole cried out as she hit the floor and she lay there not moving a pained expression on her face.

Waverly had walked back into the room in time to see Nicole fall. She rushed over to Nicole to help her up, "Are you okay Nicole?" She reached down to help Nicole up and was shocked when Nicole smacked her hand away. "Let me help you Nicole."

"I don't need your help!" Nicole struggled to her feet and stood facing Waverly, "If you would have gotten my pills sooner I wouldn't have had to get up to get them myself, it's your fault I fell Waverly!"

Waverly looked hurt, "I'm sorry Nicole, I..." She took a step towards her wife but Nicole reached out and pushed her away.

"I don't need your sorry, I just need you to do what I ask!" She opened the pills and took two of them, swallowing them without water before continuing, "This is all your fault, all of this!" She gestured towards her leg, "All," she took a step towards Waverly who involuntarily took a step back, "Your," another step forward, "Fault!"

Waverly was both terrified and shattered, she was rooted to the spot as Nicole advanced towards her. The guilt she had been holding onto since the accident written all over her face.

She looked on as Nicole was grabbed from behind and hauled backwards away from her. She breathed out in relief as she saw her sister with her arms around her wife.

"Nicole!" Wynonna was shouting, "Stop this shit right now, you need to calm down before I knock you on your ass!" She flung Nicole onto the couch.

"Don't hurt her Nonna!" Wynonna looked over as Waverly spoke, "Please, don't hurt her."

Wynonna took a deep breath and turned towards Nicole who appeared to have calmed down.

Realizing what she'd done Nicole looked up in horror at Wynonna before turning her attention to Waverly, "I...Waverly, I'm..."

"You look a little tired there Red, maybe you should go to bed."

One look at Wynonna's face told Nicole that she meant business and she nodded. She got up and went into their bedroom, closing the door behind her.

Wynonna immediately turned towards her sister to find Waverly staring at the closed bedroom door with tears streaming down her face. She walked over to Waverly and pulled her into a hug, letting her sister cry it out into her shoulder. When the tears stopped falling the two of them sat down on the couch together.

Wynonna spoke first, "You want to tell me what the hell that was?"

"She's in pain Nonna, she doesn't know what she's doing."

"Waverly, you and I both know what's wrong with her. It has nothing to do with the pain in her leg and everything to do with those pills. She's addicted to them isn't she?"

Waverly dropped her head and nodded, refusing to look at her sister as she admitted the truth. "It's all my fault, I bought her that motorcycle, this is all my fault."

"Waverly, what happened to Nicole was an accident, there's no way you could have known when you bought it for her. It's not your fault and I know that you're feeling guilty but Waves, you need to quit blaming yourself."

"I know Nonna, I just feel so damn guilty because her hopes and dreams are gone now and I can't help but feel that it's my fault."

"You sound so much like Mom right now, blaming herself for daddy's drinking. That was no more her fault for that than it's your fault that Nicole is hooked on pain meds."

Waverly lowered her voice, "The doctor told Nicole last month that he was weaning her off of those pills and she should have been out of them by now." She glanced towards the bedroom before continuing, "I usually pick up her refills but she hasn't asked me to."

"Then where the hell is she getting the pills?"

"I have no idea." Waverly took a deep breath, "I love her Nonna, I love her so damn much and it kills me to see her like this. The way she acted tonight, that's not my Nicole."

"No kidding, I thought I was going to have to kick her ass."

Waverly glanced back over at her sister, "I would have stopped you."

"Psssh, you would have tried." Wynonna reached out and took Waverly's hands into her own, "You and me, we're gonna help her get through this okay?"

Waverly nodded, tears in her eyes. "Thank you."

 

*****

 

Nicole closed the door to their bedroom she walked towards the bed and let out a shaky breath before her knees gave out and she quickly sat down on the bed. Questions were racing through her mind and she was powerless to stop them. How could she have done that to Waverly? She hadn't been able to stop herself and she was having a hard time understanding where the anger had come from. She was suddenly ashamed and fear swept through her that she was going to lose the one thing in her life that was keeping her going, Waverly.

She just wished that Waverly could understand how much pain she was in. It was so unbearable at times and it would consume her. If Waverly would just try to understand what she was feeling then maybe just maybe...She cut herself off from these thoughts. She knew in the back of her mind that Waverly blamed herself for the accident and she had tried to reassure her wife that she didn't blame her.

The doctor telling her that she wasn't going to be getting anymore pills had shaken her to the core. Nobody understood that she needed them, she couldn't get through the day without those pills and she had panicked. She had called her mother and asked for help and of course her mother had refused to help her, not that it was really that big of a surprise. She knew that she was nothing than one big disappointment to her mother and the woman had never even tried to hide that fact from her.

Her mother was a dead end so Nicole turned to the one person she knew could help her. The one person who never seemed to have trouble getting any kind of drugs for people when they needed them. She knew that if Waverly ever found out where she was getting the pain medication she would be devastated and Nicole just couldn't bring herself to tell Waverly where she was getting them from. Nicole couldn't be the one to destroy that relationship with Waverly, not when it was so new.

As hard as she tried she couldn't stop these thoughts from flooding her brain. All she wanted to do was curl up next to Waverly and sleep but now she had messed that up. She wouldn't blame her wife if she didn't want to come near her, hell now that she thought about what she had done she knew that she had scared Waverly and she never wanted to be the cause of her wife's fear. What kind of person was she? She was supposed to protect Waverly and she had failed at that.

She put her head in her hands and began to cry, she was a failure. A failure at swimming, a failure as a daughter and now a failure as a wife. That one word echoed through her brain over and over again, she truly was a failure and Nicole began to sob into her hands.

She was so distraught that she barely registered that the door to the bedroom had opened and she didn't even look up when she felt hands moving softly through her hair. She instinctively knew who it was and she reached out, wrapping her arms around Waverly's waist, pulling her close and burying her face into her wife's body.

Nicole cried into Waverly's stomach while her wife softly stroked her hair. "I'm so sorry baby, I'm so sorry."

When the tears stopped and Nicole had calmed down, Waverly leaned her head down and placed a soft kiss onto the top of Nicole's head. "I love you Nicole, I want you to remember that, okay? I love you and I'm here for you honey."

There was a lot they needed to talk about but Waverly just held Nicole, held her in her arms and comforted her the rest could wait until morning.

 

******

 

Waverly had tried to talk to Nicole about her behavior and her problem but Nicole wouldn't listen to her. She kept telling Waverly that she had it under control and not to worry about it. But worry about it she did and she was at the end of her rope.

So nearly a week later she found herself sitting in the library, not wanting to go home quite yet and waiting for her sister. Wynonna and Waverly were planning something, something that Waverly feared would end her marriage to Nicole. She had come to the decision that she would no longer sit back and do nothing while Nicole slowly killed herself with her addiction.

They were going to have an intervention and their family had promised to show up. Willa's husband was a counselor and he had agreed to travel along with Willa to help them out. Sam was also coming and surprisingly enough Eleanor had agreed to be there as well.

They would meet up at Nicole and Waverly's apartment and agree on what would be talked about before Sam brought Nicole home. Sam had convinced Nicole to go to the movies with her and Waverly had urged her to get out of the house and spend some time with her friend.

Her phone pinged and she opened to find that Wynonna had sent her a text. She couldn't make it that evening, something had come up but she would see her on Friday. Waverly sighed and resigned herself to the fact that she would have to go home. She felt like she was lying to Nicole and was finding it harder and harder to look her in the eye knowing what would take place at the end of the week. Her deepest fear is that her wife would think that she was betraying her. Even though she knew that it was for the best she still felt terrible about it. She couldn't back down though even though a part of her wanted to do just that.

She sighed and got up, as she left the library she collided with someone who was walking in. "Oh excuse me," She looked up to see who it was and was met by a dimpled grin, "Nicole! What are you doing here?"

"I was looking for my wife, have you seen her?"

Waverly grinned up at her, "Maybe I've seen her, what does she look like?"

Nicole put her finger under her chin and pretended to think hard about it, "Well, she's really short, has long brown hair, hazel eyes, and she's drop dead gorgeous."

Waverly stared up at Nicole, "Drop dead gorgeous huh?" She reached out and grasped Nicole's waist, pulling her towards her.

Nicole looked shocked as she wrapped her arms around Waverly, "What are you doing ma'am? My wife's not going to like this."

"Oh, I think you're wife's going to love this." She rose up on her tiptoes and placed a kiss on Nicole's lips. She leaned back in Nicole's arms and stared into her eyes, Nicole seemed like her old self again, she seemed to be back to normal and Waverly looked away as guilt began to build within her when she remembered what was going to happen later that week.

She dropped her eyes and pulled away, missing the confused look that Nicole was giving her. As Waverly moved to step away from her Nicole reached out and gently grabbed her arm, "What's wrong Baby?"

Waverly shook her head and gave Nicole a small smile, "It's nothing." She reached up and cupped Nicole's cheek, "You know I love you, right?"

Nicole leaned into Waverly's touch, "Yeah I do and I love you too Wave. I actually came here so I could take you to dinner. I figured you must be hungry because you haven't been home all day."

Waverly nodded her head, "Yeah that would be nice, what did you have in mind?"

"Pancakes!" They said together laughing as they turned and walked down the sidewalk towards the diner.

 

*****

 

Over the next couple of days Nicole seemed normal, she didn't have one outburst or show of temper and Waverly suspected it was due to the fact that Nicole had somehow received more pain medication.

By Friday the guilt had built within Waverly to the point where she was considering calling the intervention off. Seeing Nicole whistling while she helped Waverly clean their apartment didn't help make her decision to keep her evening plans any easier.

She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't hear what Nicole had said to her which prompted the red head to come over and wrap her arms around Waverly from behind. Nicole placed a soft kiss on Waverly's neck as the shorter woman placed her hands on top of Nicole's. "Are you sure you don't want me to stay tonight?"

Waverly felt a wave of guilt wash over her and she was glad she wasn't facing Nicole at the moment or her wife would have known something was wrong. She took a deep breath and said, "No, I want you to go spend time with Sam. You don't get out of the house enough and it will do you good to have some fun. Besides, my sister is coming over and I'm sure you don't want to ...."

Nicole held out her hand, "Say no more." She dropped another kiss onto Waverly's neck as she pulled away, "I'm going to get dressed."

Waverly watched her limp into their bedroom and closed her eyes as the familiar sound of a pill bottle shaking came from the bedroom. "You're doing the right thing," she whispered out loud. She found herself wondering if the fact that she betraying Nicole was the right thing to do then why did she feel so shitty about it?

A short time later Sam showed up and Waverly gave her a hug, quietly thanking her so Nicole couldn't hear. As Nicole leaned in to kiss Waverly goodbye, the shorter woman found herself struggling to fight back the tears that were threatening to spill from her eyes.

Nicole looked concerned, "What's wrong Waves?"

"I just love you that's all, and I'm so happy that Wynonna is coming to visit." She reached up and wiped the tears from her eyes, "No worries, I want you to go have fun."

"Wave.."

Waverly smiled up at her and pressed a kiss to her lips before turning towards Sam, "Take good care of her, ok?"

Sam winked at her, "I promise." She reached out and tugged on Nicole's sleeve, let's go Haught!"

 

******

 

A few hours later Nicole and Sam returned to the apartment to find it full of her and Waverly's family members. She paused inside the door with a puzzled expression on her face. She looked over to find Waverly sitting on the couch between both Willa and Wynonna.

Waverly was staring at the floor but she looked up when Nicole asked, "What's going on here?"

Willa's husband Michael was leaning against the far wall and he was the first to speak, "Why don't you have a seat Nicole." He gestured towards the only open chair available, one of their kitchen chairs that sat directly across from Waverly.

She sat down and really looked around the room, they were all there, every last member of her family. They sat around her living room staring at her, waiting or something but Nicole wasn't sure what exactly was going on.

She looked across the coffee table at Waverly, "So, you want to tell me what's going on here Waverly, or do I have to guess?"

Waverly didn't speak and as the realization of what was happening began to dawn on Nicole her eyes widened then narrowed as conflicting emotions hit her all at once.

Michael began to speak, "Nicole, we've all come here to today because we're concerned about you."

Nicole wouldn't look at him she just kept staring at Waverly, the hurt and betrayal she was feeling was written all over her face. "So, this is what, some kind of intervention because you," She pointed at Waverly, "Think that I have a problem."

"Nicole, Waverly asked me for my help in staging this because you have a problem." Michael continued.

Wynonna spoke up, "It's true Red, I saw it myself."

Nicole tore her eyes away from Waverly and looked around the room, she was angry, "So you all thought that it was okay to go behind my back and talk about something that's none of your business."

Nicole's father stood up and faced her, "We all love you Nicole and we want you to get help."

"I don't need help, I'm perfectly fine!" Her eyes narrowed as she spotted her mother standing behind the couch, "What the hell are you even here for? I asked you for help and you refused so I want you to get the hell out of my house!"

"You're my daughter and I do love you Nicole."

Nicole huffed out a breath, "You...love..me! Wow, do you even believe that mother? You've never loved me." She turned towards her father and pointed, "And you, you just sat back and let her treat your children like shit! Where were you when we needed you!?"

She heard a movement coming from her right and looked over to find Wynonna standing up.

"I don't want to hear from you Wynonna!" Nicole was shouting and she didn't even care.

"Well tough shit Red, cause you're going to listen to me. Everyone in this room loves and cares about you and whether you want to hear this or not we want you to get help. If not for your sake then for Waverly's."

Nicole was no longer looking at Wynonna, all of her attention was focused on her wife who was still refusing to speak. She knew that this was all Waverly's doing and by God she was going to explain herself! "Waverly, look at me! Look at me God Damn it!" Waverly kept her gaze towards the floor and Nicole continued, "How could you do this? How can you sit there and embarrass me like this? This should have stayed between us, but you had to go and drag our family into this, help me understand why you did this, because I'm having a hard time understanding here."

Waverly finally looked up at Nicole who was surprised to see determination in her wife's eyes. "You need help Nicole."

"I need help? I'm in pain Waverly, the only thing keeping me going is my medication."

"Bullshit Nicole! The doctor said you don't need them anymore. Do you think that I don't know what addiction looks like? The man who raised me was a raging alcoholic. You scared me last week and I can't afford to feel unsafe and I shouldn't be afraid of the person I love, who loves me. I love you more than I love myself but I can't stand here and watch you self destruct."

Nicole looked shocked, "Waves, don't do this."

Waverly refused to crack even though every part of her being wanted to make everyone leave and take Nicole in her arms. "I'm not doing anything, you are Nicole." She paused and took a deep breath, "I love you but I can't do this anymore Nicole, you need to make a choice. You can have me, or you can have the pills but you cant have us both." Waverly wanted to cry but she forced herself not to and did the hardest thing she had ever done in her life, "You can either get help for your problem or you can get out."

Nicole just stood there, not really knowing what to say. Her emotions were written all over her face, shock, betrayal and finally anger. She didn't say a word as she stood up and walked out the door.

Chapter Text

Waverly sat on the couch staring at the closed door, unable to believe that Nicole had left. She actually walked out of their apartment, walked out on her. She fought back tears as she thought about the last thing she had said to Nicole, it was her fault that Nicole had left, she had done this and she couldn't blame Nicole for walking away. Had she done the right thing? As the minutes ticked slowly by she began to realize that what she had done was for Nicole's own good, she could only hope that her wife would be able to see it that way too.

She stood and and walked across the room to where Sam was standing, "I need you to go and find her."

Sam stared down at Waverly and frowned, "Waverly..." Waverly's expression made Sam's voice trail off.

"Can you just make sure that she's okay? She forgot her cane and she has trouble walking without it sometimes."

Sam nodded, "Any idea on where she might be?"

Waverly thought about it for a moment, "Check the park, she likes to go there when she needs to think about things or she's sad."

"I'll find her, I promise." Sam paused, "And Waverly you did the right thing."

"Then why do I feel so shitty about it? Why is this so hard?"

Sam reached out and pulled Waverly into a hug, "Because you love her and you never want to hurt her but she was hurting herself and needed to know that what she's doing needs to stop. I love her like a sister, you know that right?"

Waverly started to cry as Sam held her, all she could do was nod her head against the taller woman's shoulder.

Sam gave her one last squeeze before pulling away, "Everything's gonna be okay, I'll go find her."

Waverly thanked her and Sam walked out of the apartment. She turned around and looked at the remaining members of her family. Eleanor left without a word and Nicole's father promised that they would have dinner soon.

Tommy stopped in front of her before leaving and asked Waverly if she needed him to stick around. Waverly smiled up at him, "That's not necessary but thank you for the offer."
He reached out and squeezed her hand, "For what it's worth, you did the right thing okay and don't let my sister guilt you into thinking that you didn't. If you need anything I'm only a phone call away."

He left and Waverly returned to sit back down on the couch. Willa's husband walked out of the guest room carrying his son and he looked over at Waverly, "Do you want to hold him?"

Waverly nodded, "More than anything." She beamed down at her nephew and marveled as he let out a tiny yawn before opening his eyes and staring up at her. "Hey there little man, I'm your Auntie Waverly, it's so nice to meet you." She turned towards her sister, "He's beautiful Willa."

Willa beamed over at her sister and took out her phone, she snapped a picture of her baby sister holding her son. This was a special moment and she wanted to capture the image so she would have a reminder of this moment. As she watched Waverly speak softly to her son she hoped for Waverly's sake that Nicole would come to her senses and get the help she needs.

 

*****

 

Nicole left their apartment and walked to the park, she was angry, angrier then she'd ever been in her life. She had expected this from her parents but Waverly, that was a betrayal that Nicole wasn't sure she could ever forgive. She had this under control, couldn't Waverly see that? She needed her medication to handle the pain in her leg, and she couldn't function without it. Waverly was the one good thing left in her life and now she didn't know what she was going to do without her.

She sat down on a familiar bench and hung her head in her hands. Waverly had given her an ultimatum to make a choice and Nicole had walked out. Waverly probably thought that she had chosen the pills but in reality Nicole hadn't. She had felt attacked about something she didn't see as a problem, but as she sat there she remembered what had happened last week and suddenly she felt ashamed by her behavior towards Waverly.

Her leg began to stiffen up and Nicole got up and limped off towards campus. She wasn't sure where she was headed she just knew that she needed to go anywhere but here. She didn't want anyone to find her and she just walked aimlessly until she found herself standing in front of a familiar sight, the fountain that sat in the middle of campus.

Nicole sat down on the edge of it and fought back tears as she played the events of the evening over and over again in her head. The hurt and betrayal weighed heavily on her mind and she was still undecided on what she was going to do.

She stared off across the campus and she was stuck by a memory, it was a moment she would never forget. She had told Waverly about it on their wedding night and now she could remember it like it was yesterday.

She had been sitting in this very spot, waiting for Stephanie to get out of class and of course the woman was taking her time, even though she knew that Nicole was waiting on her. It was a sunny day and she sat there people watching when she caught sight of Waverly hurrying down the sidewalk past her. She watched as Waverly tripped over something, dropping everything that she had been holding onto. Papers were everywhere and a breeze picked up, scattering the papers everywhere. Nicole sat there, mesmerized by the sight of Waverly Earp fighting a losing battle and she stomped her foot in frustration as several of the sheets of paper blew away beyond her reach. She wanted to get up and help the stranger gather up her papers before they all blew away but suddenly she couldn't move. There was something about the woman who suddenly had appeared before her, something familiar, something she couldn't quite put her finger on.

They had a class together, Nicole couldn't even remember which one it was now but she would catch Waverly staring at her from across the room. Even though they were strangers Nicole felt drawn to her and she asked around until she discovered her name. She began to see Waverly everywhere around campus and she would find herself sitting on this very fountain almost every day just hoping to get a glimpse of Waverly. If she would have been more aware of what was going on in regards to this woman that she had never met she would have realized sooner that Stephanie wasn't right for her. Stephanie was beautiful but in the back of Nicole's mind she knew that the blonde wasn't the marrying kind. Nicole knew that what she wanted most out of life was to find someone to settle down with, and she had been so lucky that she had found that person.

She thought back to that night at the pool, the night that Waverly had been so nervous that she had tripped over that damn chair. As soon as she heard the brunette speak she knew in her heart she had met the one, the person who she was meant to be with. Nicole hadn't admitted it to herself at the time but it didn't make it any less true. The truth of the matter is that she had fallen in love with Waverly at that moment and there was no turning back from there. She knew in her heart that she would love Waverly forever.
These memories flooding into her mind made her happy and sad at the same time. Happy because they were filled with images of the love of her life and sad because she feared she had screwed everything up, that she was going to lose her wife over this. She shook her head, there was no way in hell she would let that happen. She loved Waverly more than anything in this world and she'd be damned if she let anything ruin that. She made her decision and she chose Waverly, she chose her love over the pills.

Now the question was how was she going to accomplish this? As soon as she asked herself the question she knew the answer, she was going to do what she always did, face it head on and win in the end.

She stood up and sucked in a breath as a wave of pain swept through her body. She had been sitting too long and her leg had stiffened up, she awkwardly took an unsteady step and then another before slowly making her way towards their apartment, back towards home.

 

*****

 

Waverly was pacing back and forth across the living room of their apartment. Everyone had finally left and she was alone with her thoughts. Glancing at the clock she noted that two hours had passed since Nicole had walked out the door. Two long, excruciating hours of worry and guilt building within in her and still no word from Sam.

With each passing moment her anxiety grew until she finally picked up her phone, determined to call Sam and see if the other woman knew any information regarding the whereabouts of her wife.

A text message came through from Sam telling Waverly that she had been unable to find Nicole and the news made Waverly worry even more. Waverly sent her a text back and asked Sam if she could come over in the morning and help her search for her wife.

There was a soft knock on the door and Waverly stopped pacing in order to answer it. She opened it slowly and had to steady herself when she saw who was standing on the other side.

"I uh, forgot my key." Nicole's voice was so soft that Waverly could barely make out what she had said. "Can I..."

Waverly stepped aside and walked into the kitchen, refusing to look at Nicole as the other woman shut and locked the door. She stood with her arms crossed and her back to Nicole and wouldn't even turn her head when Nicole said her name, "Waverly."

Waverly took in a deep breath, "You left Nicole, I really don't think there's anything else to say."

Nicole stood in the doorway to the kitchen, "There's plenty to say. Waverly, will you look at me please." The brunette stubbornly stood there staring into the sink. "I know that I left but I needed time to think. You were all here and I felt ganged up on, I was upset but I'm here now."

Waverly turned to face her wife and Nicole could see tears in her eyes, "Yes, you're here but what does that mean exactly Nicole? Are you here to tell me goodbye? Because if it is then please just go because I can't take this, I can't..."

Nicole walked over to Waverly and wrapped her arms around her wife, ignoring the fact that Waverly's crossed arms formed a barrier between them, "I'm here because I love you more than anything Wave, more than my own life and I choose you." She took a step back so that she could look Waverly in the eye hoping that she would see the truth within her own eyes, "I choose you baby, nothing is more important to me than you." Nicole began to cry, "I'm so sorry that things got so out of control but I'm going to fix this, I promise."
Waverly uncrossed her arms and reached out to wipe Nicole's tears away with her thumbs, "No, we're going to fix this, we're going to do this together. I love you so much Nicole Haught and together we can accomplish anything."

Nicole nodded and pulled Waverly into her body, tightening her long arms around her wife's waist. She wasn't sure how long they stood there wrapped in each other's arms but Nicole was sure of one thing, that she didn't want to ever let go.

 

*****

 

Waverly sat in her aunt's kitchen and sipped her coffee. She had come for a visit because she thought that it was time to have a talk with her aunt and forgive her. After all Gus was the closest thing to a mother that Waverly had and she would always be grateful to her for taking her in when she had needed her.

Waverly needed something to do to take her mind off of how much she missed Nicole. It had been twenty-eight days since Nicole had entered the rehabilitation program and Waverly was looking forward to her getting out and coming home to her.

Leaving Nicole at that place had been one of the hardest things Waverly had ever done but if it meant that her wife would get the help she needed and kick her addiction then it would be worth it in the end. She just missed her so much, one of the rules was that Nicole couldn't have contact with anyone in order to concentrate on her recovery and Waverly missed just talking to her everyday, she missed the sound of Nicole's voice.

She had spent the last week with her sisters and Waverly had fallen completely in love with her nephew. So much so that it made her start thinking about starting a family with Nicole. She had gotten her Master's degree right before the intervention and she was waiting to talk to Nicole about their future and where they were going to live. Waverly didn't really care where they ended up as long as Nicole was with her and they were together. They could work out the details later, right now she needed the next two days to pass quickly and she couldn't wait until Nicole was in her arms again.

She walked into her bedroom and was immediately flooded by memories of Nicole, blushing as she remembered what had taken place on their wedding night in this very room. She changed into her pajamas and climbed into bed but she couldn't sleep.

She thought back to the night of the intervention and she felt blessed that Nicole had returned that night. Waverly had been terrified that Nicole wouldn't be able to forgive her and that she had lost her forever. In the end love had won out and Nicole had chosen her, nobody had ever done that before she met Nicole and it had made her love her wife even more.

As she drifted off to sleep she was filled with not only a sense of anticipation at the thought of being reunited with her love but also a sense of contentment when she thought about the future. And right now her future was looking extremely bright and Waverly smiled as she fell asleep.

 

*****

 

Two days later Waverly waited at the airport for Nicole's flight to arrive, she was filled with nervous excitement and practically bounced in place as the minutes slowly ticked by. She began to people watch and smiled as she watched the happy couples and families reuniting. She could feel eyes on her and she looked up, a huge grin spreading across her face as she saw the object of her affection descending towards her on the escalator.

Waverly rushed forward as Nicole stepped off of the escalator, launching herself into Nicole's arms. She immediately began to place kisses on her face as Nicole held her tighter to her body.

Nicole buried her face into Waverly's hair, "I've missed you so much baby." She pulled back for a moment before dropping a kiss onto Waverly's lips. "I've missed you so much."
Waverly leaned back within the circle of Nicole's arms, "How are you feeling?"

"I'm good, really good." She leaned in and placed a quick kiss onto Waverly's mouth, "In fact, I've never felt better, now that I'm here with you."

Waverly reached up and ran her hands through Nicole's hair before tucking a strand behind her ear. She looked up into Nicole's eyes and gave her a little smile, "I thought you might be tired so I got us a hotel room. Unless you want to make the drive back to my aunt's house."

"I'm not really tired," Waverly's face began to fall and Nicole pulled her close again and whispered in her ear, "A hotel room sounds like heaven right about now, as long as I get to be alone with you."

A shiver ran down Waverly's spine at Nicole's words and she pulled Nicole in for another kiss. She reluctantly broke away and grasped Nicole's hand, pulling her towards the exit. "Wait, do you have a bag to pick up?"

Nicole gestured to her backpack and gave Waverly a smoldering look, "Nope, got everything I need right here."

"Good, let's go." Waverly tugged Nicole out of the airport and to her rental car. She drove the short distance to the hotel, parked and led Nicole to the elevator. They spent the entire elevator ride making out and when they reached their floor they got out of the elevator walking quickly down the hall to their room.

Waverly put the key card into the lock while Nicole wrapped her arms around her waist from behind. She nuzzled into Waverly's neck and when the door opened the two of them stumbled into the room together.

Waverly turned in Nicole's arms and pushed her back into the wall, her hands gliding down Nicole's torso before grasping the hem of her t-shirt and pulling it over her wife's head. Her lips immediately found Nicole's neck as she placed several kisses there before capturing that perfect mouth with her own. "I've missed kissing you, I never want to stop," Waverly breathed against her lips.

Nicole moaned and kissed Waverly back, they had been apart for too long and she planned on making the most of their time in the hotel. Her hands dropped to Waverly's waist and pulled her tighter against her, she couldn't get enough. Her hands wandered around to the front of Waverly's pants and unfastened them, her hands sliding inside.

She heard Waverly's breath hitch and before she knew what was happening the shorter woman was pulling her towards the bed. They tumbled onto it and feverishly shared kisses as they removed each others clothing. Nicole rolled Waverly onto her back and her hands began to travel over her body as lips traced a path towards Waverly's sternum.

Waverly reached down and wound her fingers in Nicole's hair and held her in place as she brought her mouth to first one breast and then the other. She cried out as Nicole brought her hand between her legs, touching her where she needed her the most. It wasn't long before Waverly was falling over the edge.

She held on to Nicole as she came down from her high, her wife dropped soft kisses onto her cheeks and throat and Waverly reached up and cupped her cheeks so that she could kiss Nicole. It wasn't long before she was deepening the kisses and pressing Nicole into the bed. As she felt her wife come undone beneath her a thought hit her, she could have lost Nicole and just thinking about that caused her to burst into tears.

Nicole looked up at her, concern written all over her face, "Baby, what's wrong?" Waverly was sobbing and couldn't answer, "It's okay Wave."

"No...no it isn't, I could have lost you and I don't know what I would have done if..."

Nicole interrupted her, "Hey, I'm not going anywhere and when I said that I choose you I meant it. Nothing is more important to me than you, the decision wasn't even hard. When I thought about everything I could have lost I knew that my life wasn't worth living if you weren't in it. I love you, more that life itself."

Waverly buried her face into Nicole's throat and held on to her tightly. "I hear you saying it but it's still hard for me to believe that you chose me in the first place. I've been afraid for so long that you were going to get tired of me and leave."

"That will never happen, I could never get tired of you. Waverly Haught you are the love of my life and I'm going to spend the rest of our lives proving it to you so you need to prepare yourself for all the love coming your way."

Waverly grinned at her and her eyes transformed into the little moons that Nicole adored, "And how much love are we talking here?"

Nicole smiled back up at her, "All the love in the world."

Chapter Text

Nicole woke up and smiled as she felt the warm body snuggled tightly against her side, she didn't move because she didn't want to wake Waverly up. Neither of them had gotten a lot of sleep the previous night, instead of sleeping they had spent their time making up for lost time.

They hadn't been together in a long time, longer than Nicole cared to admit. Her time in the rehab center had made her realize how selfish she had been, how much of a slave she had been to her addiction. She had been ashamed of her behavior towards the person she loved more than life itself and she had vowed to herself that she would never treat Waverly like that again and she was determined to spend the rest of her life showing Waverly how much she meant to her.

The first week in rehab had been hell as she fought through her addiction, not having Waverly by her side during that time had made it even harder. She knew now that not having Waverly there was actually better for her, she needed to prove to herself that she could do it on her own, and she had.

The remaining weeks spent in rehab had done her a world of good. Even though she missed her wife terribly she needed that time to heal. She had spent a lot of time in therapy, dealing with her issues. Therapy had helped her realize that her relationship with her mother had deeply affected her and influenced some of her behavior in the past.

When she had gotten off that plane yesterday she had been excited to see Waverly but she was also nervous. She was worried that everything that had happened prior to her leaving for rehab had changed Waverly's feelings towards her. She had been ecstatic to discover first hand that this was not the case. Waverly had spent the past few hours proving that her commitment to Nicole was just as strong as ever.

She was drawn from her thoughts as two soft lips began to place kisses on her neck, "Good morning baby." She placed a soft kiss onto Waverly's temple and her wife tightened her hold around Nicole's waist. "Hey sleepyhead it's getting late, what time do we have to check out?"

"We don't." Waverly's voice was muffled as she pressed her face against Nicole's neck. "I thought we could stay here a couple of days, if that's all right with you."

"Why wouldn't it be?" Nicole pulled tightened her grip and pulled Waverly on top of her body,placing a soft kiss on her lips she murmured, "It means I get to spend more quality time with my gorgeous wife so you'll get no complaints from me."

Waverly's eyes met Nicole's and the redhead could see love shining in them, "I love you Nicole and as much as I'd love to spend the morning making love with you, I'm starving."
Nicole leaned in and kissed Waverly again, "So am I," she said while wiggling her eyebrows.

Waverly laughed, "I meant for food, will you order us some room service?" She placed a quick kiss to Nicole's forehead and moved to get out of bed, "I'm going to take a shower, if you hurry you can join me."

Nicole watched her walk naked towards the bathroom and she grabbed the room service menu. She heard the water turn on and she quickly ordered breakfast for them, hanging up the phone she rushed into the bathroom and joined Waverly in the shower.

 

*****

 

They lay in bed the rest of the day, never leaving the room. They held each other and talked about a lot of things. They talked about their future and Waverly told Nicole that she had gotten several job offers. Waverly had narrowed the offers down to two, the first being near Los Angeles where Nicole had grown up and the other being close to home in Calgary.

"What do you think?"

Nicole took Waverly's hand and gave it a squeeze, "I think you have a big decision to make." Waverly opened her mouth to speak but Nicole stopped her, "It doesn't matter to me where we live, as long as we're together. I love you and where you go I go."

"I love you too Nicole but I want you to have some input on where we live. What do you want to do? We both know that you will never be happy being a housewife and staying home all day."

Nicole sat up and leaned against the headboard of the bed, "I had a lot of time to think while I was in rehab and I'd like to open a swim academy. I'd like to teach and train kids to be champion swimmers." She paused and glanced up at her wife, "What do you think?"

Waverly smiled at her, "I think that's a great idea!"

"I want to teach kids that maybe can't afford to attend an expensive training school." The expression on Waverly's face made her pause and she asked, "What?"

Waverly leaned towards her, "Have I told you what an amazing person you are?"

"Hmmm, maybe once or twice."

Waverly placed a soft kiss onto her wife's lips, " I love you so much." She sat back on her heels and continued, "I may have made my mind up already."

Nicole raised an eyebrow and asked, "Well, what have you decided?"

"Gus has decided to sell her business and move to Vancouver, she offered to sell us her house at a very reasonable price. Ever since Uncle Curtis passed away it's been hard for her to be surrounded by so many memories of their life together. And Nicole, If it's okay with you I'd like to take the job in Calgary and move up here."

Nicole didn't say anything for a moment and Waverly was afraid her hesitation meant that she didn't like the idea of relocating to Canada.

"I know that this would mean moving away from your family..."

Nicole reached out and pulled Waverly into a hug, "Don't you know that you are my family Waverly? I already told you, where you go I go." She kissed Waverly before pulling back slightly, "Guess I'll have to get used to the winters here and our kids saying eh all the time."

Waverly stared at her, "Kids, did you say kids?"

Nicole nodded, "We talked about this before and I told you I didn't think either of us were ready but Waverly I'm telling you that when I look at you I see the future. I can picture us sitting in that house surrounded by our children and we're happy Waves, so happy."

Happy tears began to form in Waverl's eyes, "I love you so much Nicole Haught, and I can't wait." She leaned in and kissed Nicole, "My sisters are going to be thrilled to have us so close to them, well at least two of them anyway."

Nicole noticed the change in her demeanor and she knew why, "Waverly, I need to tell you something."

Waverly looked over at her wife, "I know Nicole, I confronted her about it and she admitted to giving you the pills. I told her I didn't want to have anything to do with her."
Nicole looked away, ashamed that her pill addiction had caused a rift between Waverly and her twin sister, "I begged her to get them for me, she didn't want to but she did it anyway. I made her feel guilty because she had cheated on me when we were together. I'm not proud of what I've done and I don't want this to come between the two of you. I know that you were making an attempt to get to know each other and I don't want to be the reason why that isn't happening."

"She could have told you no."

"I know that, but she did it for me and I think that maybe she thought that by helping me it would improve things between the two of you."

Waverly looked incredulous, "that's crazy Nicole, why would anyone think that?"

Nicole shrugged, "I can't really speak for her, I'm just guessing here. Honestly Wave it's up to you if you want to have a relationship with her or not, people make mistakes."

"I know that and Honey, I really don't want to talk about that anymore." She leaned in closer to Nicole until there was barely any space between them, "There are other things I'd much rather be doing right now."

"Really, like what?"

"I think you can figure it out my love." She reached down and untied Nicole's robe, opening it to expose the bare flesh of Nicole's chest to her gaze. "You are so beautiful," Waverly said before bringing her hands up to cup Nicole's breasts in her hands, "So beautiful."

Nicole sighed as Waverly leaned the rest of the way to place a soft kiss on her lips. She brought her hands up and wrapped them in Waverly's hair, pulling her closer to deepen their kiss.

They would spend the rest of the evening together like this, wrapped in each others arms, blissfully happy.

 

*****

 

Wynonna walked into the house carrying a box in her arms, "Last one Red, and by that I mean this is the last one that I'm going to carry for you."

Nicole looked up at her from her place on the couch, "Thanks Wynonna for all your help, we owe you one."

Wynonna flopped down on the opposite end of the couch, "Damn right you do." She looked around the living room of what used to be her Aunt's house and took in how different it was now that it was filled with Waverly and Nicole's things. "Where is that sister of mine anyway?"

"She's at work, she should be home in about an hour." Nicole shifted uncomfortably on the couch, "I really appreciate everything you've done for us, this surgery couldn't have come at a worse time."

Wynonna looked over at her sister-in-law, "But everything's fixed right?"

"Yeah, I don't know why I didn't get do it sooner."

"Well, the two of us getting drunk and you falling down those stairs was actually a blessing even though Waves almost killed the both of us."

Waverly had been so angry with the both of them and Nicole grimaced as she remembered her wife storming into the house fully intending on giving her and Wynonna a piece of her mind. Her whole demeanor had changed when she saw Nicole laying at the foot of the stairs holding her knee and crying out in agony. The small tear in her ligament that had remained after the accident became a large tear that could only be fixed with surgery.

Now, she was recovering at home, her plan to search for a suitable location to open her acadamy would have to wait a few more weeks until she was healed enough to get around.
She was so lost in thought that she hadn't noticed that Wynonna had gotten up off the couch until the other woman was handing her a beer before sitting back down.

"If I haven't told you before Red, I'm glad that the two of you have decided to live up here. I've missed my sister more than I realized I would. Thank you for making her so happy."
Nicole reached over and squeezed Wynonna's shoulder, "We make each other happy and I love her, she's my everything."

They both looked up as the front door opened and Waverly came inside carrying a pizza. Wynonna got up and took it into the kitchen as Waverly hung her coat on the rack just inside the door. She turned to find Nicole staring at her from across the room and her face lit up. She put her purse on the table just inside the door and walked over to her wife, placing a soft kiss on Nicole's lips before sitting down next to her on the couch.

"You look tired, turn around." As Waverly turned away from her, Nicole reached out and began to massage her shoulders.

Waverly let out a small moan, "You keep this up and you'll get lucky tonight."

"Eww gross, I'm trying to eat." Waverly opened one eye to find her sister standing over them, holding two plates full of pizza out towards them, "I brought you food anyway."

"I'm sure you ate in the kitchen before you came back in and before you ask me how I know, look down at your shirt." She watched in amusement as Wynonna's gaze dropped down to find a piece of pepperoni stuck to her shirt. The older woman shrugged and removed it from her shirt before popping it into her mouth.

"If you two are going to get all touchy-feely with each other then I think I'll head up to my room." She turned towards the stairs, "It's bad enough I have to sleep with ear plugs to avoid hearing things I was never meant to hear. I really don't want any images burned into my brain because there's not enough bleach in the world to erase anything I may see."
Nicole rolled her eyes and Waverly threw one of the small pillows from the couch, hitting Wynonna in the back of the head as she retreated towards the stairs. Wynonna laughed and ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time before disappearing down the hallway.

The two of them sat together and ate pizza as Wavelry told Nicole all about her day, this was one of Nicole's favorite things, just sitting and listening to her wife talk. In the three months since they decided to move here, Waverly had begun to settle into her new job and Nicole had begun to search the surrounding area for a suitable location to build her acadamey. Of course her little accident had delayed that for the time being but as soon as she was back on her feet she was determined to get the ball rolling on her endeavor.
She was drawn from her thoughts as Waverly closed her hand around her own. "So, have you given any more thought about what we talked about?"

Nicole looked over into her wife's eyes, "Yes I have, but now it's going to have to wait until after I heal completely. But honestly Wave, it's all I've been thinking about and I can't wait." She leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Waverly's lips.

Waverly pulled back, a serious expression on her face, "Are you sure you're ready for this? Because it's permanent and once..."

Nicole took Waverly's hands, "Wave, I've never been more ready for anything, and I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm not scared because I am. It's a big step but together we can do anything."

Waverly excitedly got off the couch, "Good because I've been doing some research and I think I've narrowed it down to a few candidates who I think..." At Nicole's amused look Waverly paused, "What?"

Nicole flashed her a dimpled grin, "I just love that you're such a planner that's all. Okay, show me what you got."

Waverly took her laptop out of her bag and sat back down next to Nicole, she opened it up and pulled up the page of potential donors that she had found. I found about eight suitable donors but I've narrowed it down to three I really like."

Nicole reached over and pointed at the screen, "Hey that one says he's a doctor, we would have a really smart baby."

"Yes, but he isn't athletic and I know you want a child who is athletically inclined honey."

Nicole pursed her lips and read through the list until she zeroed in on one, "What about this one?" She pointed at it with her finger.

Waverly nodded and glanced over at her, "That was one of my top three picks, I thought you might like that one." She said as she reached over and put the laptop onto the coffee table.

"So, are we in agreement? Is this the one?"

"Yeah, wow, I thought this would take a lot longer, you know for us to decide on one." She leaned back against Nicole and sighed as she felt two arms wrap around her waist.

Nicole leaned her chin on Waverly's shoulder, "I'm not really surprised."

"Really, you're not?"

"Nope," She placed a kiss on Waverly's neck, "We know each other better than anyone else and...that one donor fits what we talked about perfectly."

Waverly ran her hands along Nicole's forearms, "So I'll call tomorrow and make an appointment at the clinic." Her breath hitched as Nicole kissed that one spot underneath her ear that drove her crazy. "I think it's time for bed, come on sweetie, I'll help you."

Nicole whispered into her ear, "That means I have to let you go and you feel so good in my arms."

"Well, as heavenly as that sounds the last thing either of us needs is for my sister to come down here and catch us in the act. We'll never hear the end of it if that happens."

"Good point, maybe we should take this to our bedroom, where we can be alone." She released her hold on Waverly and reached for her crutches as her wife stood up. Before she could reach them Waverly had scooped them up and was holding them out to her.

As Nicole got up and properly placed the crutches under her arms Waverly kicked off her shoes and said, "Race You!"

"Very funny Waves." She watched as Waverly stripped off her shirt as she backed towards their bedroom and beckoned to Nicole with her finger.

"Oh that's not fair you big tease!" Nicole began to walk towards Waverly who continued to back away from her.

"No?" She reached behind her and began to remove her bra, letting the straps fall as she moved past the staircase and towards their bedroom with Nicole pursuing her as fast as she could.

As Waverly entered their bedroom she tossed her bra behind her, hitting Nicole in the face. She laughed from inside the room as Nicole pulled it away and said, "You're so going to pay for that."

"Promises, promises, what are you gonna do?"

Nicole entered the bedroom and swallowed as she saw Waverly standing at the foot of their bed, now completely naked. Her hair fell in waves down her back and as Nicole shut the door behind her she quietly said, "You'll see."

Waverly held her arms out to her wife as she walked slowly towards her, "I can hardly wait."

Chapter Text

Nicole walked down the upstairs hall and entered the room they had designated as the nursery, she was carrying a can of paint and a bag full of painting supplies in her hand. The trip to the hardware store and back had taken her less than an hour but she knew that if she wanted to get the walls painted before Waverly came home from work she was going to have to hurry. The pregnancy was progressing nicely and they were excited that in a few short months they would be welcoming their first child into the world.

As Nicole applied the paint to the walls of the room she sang softly to herself and smiled as she remembered when the test results had come back positive and how happy they had been. She would never get over the look on her wife's face, how ecstatic she was, it was memory that Nicole would cherish for the rest of her life. After all the months of trying and failing to get pregnant it had finally worked and Nicole couldn't be happier.

As she finished applying the first coat of paint she put her brush down in the tray and took a step back to admire the progress she had made in the room. They had chosen a gender neutral shade of green because they had decided that they would wait to find out the sex of their baby until they were born.

She jumped as two arms wrapped around her waist but at the feel of soft lips brushing the back of her neck she relaxed back into her wife's body.

"I missed you today, how are you feeling?" Waverly reached down and ran her hands down across her wife's belly, feeling the small bump that now resided there.

Nicole placed her hands on top of Waverly's, intertwining their fingers, "I'm feeling really good." She gestured towards the walls, "What do you think?"

"It looks great honey, but you know you shouldn't be carrying heavy things," She gestured over at the last area where Nicole had been working, "Like that paint can."

Nicole turned in Waverly's arms, "I'm fine baby, and that can of paint wasn't that heavy, so stop worrying."

Waverly smoothed her hand down the front of Nicole's shirt, "I can't help it, you're carrying precious cargo."

"Don't I know it, I'm still having nightmares about the morning sickness, thank God that's over with." She leaned down and dropped a kiss onto Waverly's lips. "And, since I've been working so hard on the baby's room, you can take me out to dinner."

"Oh, is that so?" At Nicole's nod she gave a small laugh, "Okay, let me go get changed and we'll head into town."

"I'll be there in a minute, I just need to clean this stuff up." As Waverly left the room Nicole bent over to pick up the painting supplies, a wolf whistle coming from behind her had her straightening up quicker than she anticipated and she turned to find her sister-in-law sporting a devilish grin on her face. "Wynonna, what the hell?"

Wynonna took a step into the room towards Nicole, "You know if I did chicks I might have been tempted to steal you away from my sister, because that ass of yours is top shelf."

Nicole wasn't amused, "First of all Earp, that would have never happened and second, is that any way to talk to a pregnant lady?"

Wynonna looked shocked, "You're what?"

"Pregnant, you know, knocked up? We were going to tell you this weekend while Willa was visiting but I guess you know now so..." She cut herself off with a shrug.
Wynonna walked quickly over to Nicole and threw her arms around her, "Oh my God Red, I had no idea! Congratulations, I'm so happy for you both. Boy or a girl? You can tell me!"

"We've decided to wait to find out."

Wynonna's face fell a little as she stepped away, "Oh, okay but if you need suggestions for names I have a few ideas."

Nicole shook here head as she made her way towards the attached bathroom, "I'll keep that in mind." As she cleaned out her painting supplies she looked in the mirror to find Wynonna standing there watching her. "Did you need something?"

"So with your condition," She said reaching down and made a circling motion over her own stomach, "I suppose that asking the two of you to help me out with cleaning up the Homestead is out of the question."

"I'm pregnant not helpless Wynonna and that place definitely needs some work, I'll talk to Waverly and see if maybe we can come help out."

Wynonna grinned, "You're my favorite sister-in-law Red, you know that?"

Nicole rolled her eyes at her, "I'm your only sister-in-law dumbass."

Wynonna shrugged and turned around to leave but not before saying over her shoulder, "That's why you're my favorite."

Nicole shook her head and couldn't help but laugh at Wynonna's antics. She knew that in her own way Wynonna loved both her and Waverly and honestly she couldn't have asked for a better sister-in-law than Wynonna.

Nicole made her way down the stairs and into their bedroom to find Waverly wrapped in a towel, drying her hair. "I thought you were just gonna change." As Nicole approached her, Waverly turned around and gave her a sweet smile as she continued to towel her hair dry.

"After the day I had I decided I needed a shower."

Nicole reached out and took the towel from her hands, letting it drop to the floor as she began to place kisses onto Waverly's neck and throat. She reached up and ran her hands through her wife's hair, pressing her face against Waverly's neck and breathing in the clean scent of her, "I love your hair, promise me you'll never cut it." She began to press kisses against Waverly's throat and could feel her wife's pulse begin to quicken beneath her lips.

Waverly let out a gasp as Nicole continued her assault on her neck, "Not that I'm complaining but what's gotten into you?"

Nicole stopped for a moment and looked into Waverly's eyes, "I just love you, that's all."

Waverly brought her hands up to cradle Nicole's face, "I love you too." She placed a kiss on Nicole's forehead, then on the tip of her nose. "I didn't think it was possible for you to be anymore beautiful than you already are, but being pregnant with our baby has made it so."

"You keep saying these things and we won't make it to dinner my love."

Waverly reached up and ran her fingers through Nicole's shoulder length hair, "Maybe that's my plan."

"Oh, so you would starve our child then?" Nicole's stomach growled just then emphasizing her point, "See, the baby is demanding food."

Waverly reluctantly released Nicole and gave her a gentle push towards the bathroom, "Why don't you take a shower and then we'll go eat."

"Are you saying I stink?" Asked Nicole with mock offense.

Waverly held up her hand and pinched her finger and thumb together, "A little babe."

"Rude!" Nicole huffed and walked into the bathroom. She started the shower and stepped inside underneath the hot water, sighing as it hit her sore muscles. She just stood there and let the water cascade down her body, thoughts of their upcoming trip entering her mind. They were flying out next week so that they could tell their families about the baby in person, and Nicole was looking forward to seeing them again.

Waverly's voice startled her from her thoughts, "Hon, are you about done, we have reservations in an hour and you know long it takes for us to get into town."

"Almost done Baby, give me five minutes." She heard Waverly walk from the room and she hurried to finish her shower. A few minutes later she was dressed and heading out into the living room to find her wife waiting for her on the couch. She held out her hand to Waverly and asked, "Ready?"

Waverly reached out and took her hand and they made their way out of the house together, hands intertwined and feeling extremely happy.

 

*****

 

They landed at the airport and as they walked through the terminal, Nicole was plesantly surprised to find her brother waiting for them at the airport. He opened his arms wide and as she hugged him she got the sense that something was wrong, "Are you okay?"

He gave her a shaky smile, "Yeah, I'm all right. We'll talk about it when we get to the house."

Nicole looked confused, "Tommy, what's going on? I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what is bothering you, is it your wife? Did something happen to her?"

Tommy held up his hand, "She's fine and believe me Nicole it will be better if you let dad explain what's going on."

Waverly arrived with their luggage and at the worried look on Nicole's face she instinctively reached out and took her hand, "Is everything okay honey?"

"I'm not sure." She turned back towards her brother, "I'm going to let this go for now but this is giving me anxiety which is something I don't need right now."

As they followed Tommy out of the airport Waverly gave Nicole's hand a reassuring squeeze and some of the worry she was feeling melted away at her wife's touch. Even more of that anxiety left her as Waverly placed a soft kiss onto her cheek as she climbed into the back of the car.

They rode in silence, Nicole sitting between her brother and her wife as their driver took them to her father's house.

They arrived at the house and after leaving their bags by the front door for Robert to take to their room, Nicole immediately went to find her father. He was in the library staring at the floor, a drink dangling loosely in his hand.

At the sound of approaching footsteps he looked up to find his daughter approaching him. He stood up and held out his arms to his daughter who eagerly stepped into his embrace. As they hugged, Thomas told Nicole that he had missed her and as he looked over his shoulder he noticed his daughter-in-law standing there watching the two of them. He let go of his daughter in order to walk over to Waverly and draw her into a hug. "How are you Waverly?"

Waverly returned the hug and said, "It's nice to see you again Thomas, I'm doing very well thank you."

He let go of Waverly and said, "That's good to hear." He walked back over to the bar and poured himself a drink, "You know Nicole, I half expected you to come running back here after experiencing a Canadian Winter for the first time. Can I pour anyone a drink?"

Nicole shook her head, "Nothing for me thanks, Wave?"

"I'm good." She gave Nicole a concerned look and took the few steps needed, stopping right next to her wife, "Honey you look tired, why don't you sit down?"

Nicole smiled at Waverly as she took a seat on the couch and watched as Waverly walked over to Thomas and asked for some water. When she returned she handed it to Nicole who thanked her. This exchange wasn't lost on Thomas and he was curious as to why Waverly was treating Nicole differently this time, it was usually Nicole taking care of Waverly but to his credit he kept his observation to himself for the time being.

Nicole drank the water and placed the empty glass on the coffee table before turning towards her father and asking, "So, do you want to tell me what's going on? Tommy said that you have something to tell me."

Thomas finished his drink and set the empty glass on the bar. He walked slowly over to the couch and sat down next to Nicole, reaching out and taking her hand.
"I want you to hear me out before you say anything Nicole, promise me."

Nicole nodded, "I promise, are you okay dad?"

"I'm fine sweetheart, it's your mother. I've let her move back in here and before you ask me why you need to know that it's for a good reason."

Nicole gave her father a confused look and went to open her mouth to speak but he stopped her before she could ask any questions.

"I don't know how to tell you this other than just tell you, you're mom is sick."

"What do you mean, she's sick?"

"She uh... she has..." He dropped his gaze and Nicole was shocked by the fact that her father, who was never at a loss for words was struggling to find the words.

Her brother took mercy on him and stepped in, "Nicole, mom has cancer."

"What are you talking about, she never gets sick, she...she's the healthiest person I know, this doesn't make any sense!"

Tommy knealt down in front of Nicole, "It's true sis, she has stage four pancreatic cancer and I need you to prepare yourself for what you're going to see when you go up to her room."

Waverly sat down next to Nicole and wrapped her arm around her waist. Nicole was so busy looking back and forth between her brother and father that she barely noticed it, she was too busy trying to see the truth in what they were saying. Waverly looked over at Tommy and asked, "So, what does this mean?" At the look on his face she knew that it wasn't good she swallowed before asking, "How long does she have?"

"We're not sure but the doctors think it's only a matter of weeks now."

"Why didn't anyone call me and tell me?" Everyone looked over at Nicole as she spoke. "She's my mother and you all kept this from me, I don't understand how you could have done something like that."

Tommy layed his hand on Nicole's leg, "We didn't know Nicole, she didn't tell any of us until a few days ago. We knew you were coming here and I didn't think this was something you should hear on the phone."

Waverly looked over at Nicole and her heart broke as she saw tears forming in her wife's eyes. She knew that Eleanor hadn't been the best mother to Nicole but she was still her mother and she could tell that finding out that the woman was dying was killing Nicole.

Nicole turned towards Waverly, "What am I gonna do Wave, she's my mom and..." A sob escaped her lips and she buried her face into Waverly's shoulder. Waverly held her as Nicole began to cry, shedding tears for a mother who had never showed her that she loved her. When the tears stopped Nicole lifted her head and said, "I need to see her."

"Honey, you don't need any more stress right now." She brought her finger up to Nicole's lips to quiet her, "I know you need to see her but I'm worried that the stress is going to..." She cut herself off before she revealed too much.

Her father spoke up, "Your mom is sleeping right now, when she wakes up I'll come get you so you can see her. I don't know when she'll wake up she spends so much time sleeping now and she's hardly ever awake." He paused for a second, noticing the looks that were passing between Waverly and Nicole, "So, do you two want to tell me why Nicole needs to avoid stress, other than the typical reasons that is."

Nicole nodded her head at Waverly as if to give her permission to tell them the truth. Waverly turned towards Thomas and Tommy and spoke, "Well, in light of what we just found out I think we could all use some good news right about now." She reached out and took Nicole's hand giving her the brightest smile before continuing, "Nicole and I are going to have a baby and we wanted to tell you all in person."

Thomas didn't say anything at first, he just stared at them both with his mouth open, Waverly held her breath but released it when the biggest grin formed on his face. He got up and threw is arms around them both. "Congratulations, I'm so happy for you both!"

Fresh tears began to flow from Nicole's eyes and Waverly reached out with her thumbs to wipe them away. Nicole was smiling and Waverly realized that these were happy tears and she leaned in to whisper into Nicole's ear, "I love you."

When they moved apart Tommy reached out and squeezed Nicole's shoulder, "Congrats sis, you two are going to make the best parents."

Nicole reached up and squeezed his hand, "Thank you." She looked back over at Waverly, "It's been a long day and I'm really tired, can we head upstairs."

"Of course." After saying their goodnights they walked together upstairs and entered their bedroom. Nicole sat down on the foot of the bed and put her head in her hands.

Waverly opened Nicole's suitcase and took out a pair of her pajamas before walking over to stand in front of her. "Let me help you get changed." Nicole nodded and raised her arms as Waverly pulled her shirt up and over her head, reaching around she unhooked Nicole's bra and slowly removed it from her. Normally she would admire the view but tonight was all about taking care of Nicole and Waverly gently pulled her sleepshirt over her head. She knealt down and removed Nicoles' shoes and socks, before she got up off of the floor she lifted Nicole's shirt and looked at the now noticable bump protruding from her belly. Waverly leaned in and placed a kiss on her wife's belly and softly whispered, "I love you baby, always remember that mommy loves you and I love your mama too, so much. I can't wait to meet you little one."

She stood up and pulled nicole to her feet, helping her to remove her pants, as Nicole stepped out of them she placed her hands on Waverly's shoulders to steady herself. "Hey Wave?"

"Hmmm?"

Nicole moved her index finger and placed it underneath Waverly's chin tilting her head back, "Thank you."

Waverly stared up into her eyes, "For What?"

"For being too damn good for me, too good for this world." She continued to stare into Waverly's eyes, "For saving me from myself, I'll never be able to thank you enough for that."
Waverly blinked back tears, "Nicole, you never have to thank me for that. I love you and you are my partner in everything. I don't want to think about my life without you in it, you have given me the greatest gift and I'll cherish it forever." At Nicole's questioning look she continued, "You've given me your heart, and it's such a huge heart, so full of love and devotion and I plan on carrying it with me for the rest of my life." She leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed Nicole putting all of her feeling behind that kiss. "I believe that we get one great love in our life and for me you are that great love Nicole."

Nicole pulled her into a hug, "That goes double for me baby, you are my life and I'm never going to let you go."

Nicole let out a huge yawn and Waverly quickly got undressed before crawling into bed and snuggling up next to Nicole. Nicole held her close and she drifted off to sleep within the safety of her arms.

 

*****

 

The next morning they were told that Eleanor was heavily sedated and they wouldn't be able to see her until much later so they decided after breakfast that they would visit Waverly's family and tell them the good news.

Waverly hadn't seen or spoken to them in a few weeks, she had gotten into the habit of calling her parents once a week but work and getting the room ready for the baby she hadn't found the time. She hadn't spoken to Stephanie since confronting her about giving Nicole the pills and she was nervous about seeing her again since thier relationship was not on the best of terms at the moment.

As they pulled up in front of her parent's house her heart jumpd into her throat and she was suddenly very nervous about telling them their news.

Nicole could sense her wife's anxiety and she reached over and took her hand as they sat in the car. "Hey, it's going to be okay Waves, we got this. If you don't want to stay we can tell them and leave."

Waverly weaved her fingers within Nicole's , "You always know the right thing to say, don't you? To make me feel better."

Nicole brought their joined hands up to her lips and placed a soft kiss onto the back of Waverly's hand, "It's becauase I love you Waves, more than I ever thought possible."

"And I love you sweetheart, we won't stay long because I know that you want to see your mom. I'm sorry that she's sick Nicole."

Nicole let out a deep sigh, "Yeah me too." She took a moment to compose herself before asking, "Are you ready?"

Waverly nodded and let go of Nicole's hand before opening her door to get out of the car. As Nicole came around to her side of the car she reached out and took Nicole's hand once again as they made their way to the front door of her parent's house.

 

*****

 

An hour later they were walking out the door, making promises to come visit before they headed back to Canada. Her parents had been overjoyed to learn that they were going to be grandparents, especially Eric who unlike his wife had no other grandchildren. Things with Stephanie had been awkward at first but Waverly had eventually forgiven her sister for providing Nicole with the pain pills.

Stephanie had been thrilled at the prospect of becoming an aunt and had broken the news that she had met someone and had fallen in love. Nicole was genuinely happy for her ex girlfriend that she had been able to finally move on and that she had found someone better suited for her.

They apologized for not staying longer and promised that the next time they came for a visit they would stay longer. They said their goodbyes and the two of them climbed into the car.

Nicole just sat there gripping the steering wheel and staring out the front window. When she didn't hear the engine start, Waverly looked over at Nicole, not liking what she saw she reached out and placed a hand on Nicole's thigh, "Honey, are you okay?" When her wife didn't respond she said her name, "Nicole?"

At the sound of her name Nicole turned her head to look at Waverly, tears were streaming down her face. "What am I gonna do Waves, she's my mom you know."

Waverly reached out and cupped Nicole's face with her hands, bringing her thumbs over to wipe Nicole's tears. "I know sweetie, I know." Waverly leaned in and placed a soft kiss onto Nicole's forehead, "I love you so much Nic, I'm here for you and we'll get through this together. You and me, no matter what, right?"

Nicole nodded and brought her own hands up to grasp Waverly's forearms and whispered one word, "Together." She let go of Waverly and started the car, before pulling out of the driveway she turned towards Waverly and said, "Thank you."

"For what?"

"For being you and," She reached over and retook Waverly's hand. "For loving me and making me feel so special."

Waverly squeezed her hand and smiled, "That's because you are, you're my best baby."

Nicole couldn't help but grin at that as she put the car in drive and pulled out into the street, She briefly glanced over at Waverly before returning her attention to the street, "I don't why I've been so emotional lately."

Waverly paused, "Um, honey you do realize that you're pregnant right? It's all the pregnancy horomones you've got going on right now."

Nicole kept her eyes on the road as she drove towards her parent's house, "That makes sense, I thought for a minute there that I was going crazy. My emotions have been up and down lately, you must think that..."

Waverly interupted her, "The only thing that I'm thinking right now is how beautiful you are and how happy you make me and how much I'm looking forward to being a parent with you. I can't wait until I'm holding our baby and you don't know how much I wish that our baby looks exactly like you, red hair, dimples and all."

Nicole rubbed her hand across the back of Waverly's hand, "I can't wait either, you are going to be the best mom Waves."

"I hope so."

"I know so."

It wasn't long before they were pulling into the drive at Nicole's parent's home and they walked inside together, Nicole's hand resting on the small of Waverly's back as they made their way inside. Nicole kissed Waverly's cheek before heading upstairs to see her mother, Waverly decided not to go with her so that she could give them some time together.
As she walked into the library, Waverly realized that the couple of times she had been inside this house she had always felt the most comfortable in this room. She had always felt at home surrounded by literature and the books lining the walls of this particular room made her feel at home.

"I used to come into this room when I was a kid, Eleanor would be in a terrible mood and would usually be taking it out on Nicole and I would come in here to escape it."

At the sound of Sam's voice Waverly looked up to find her sitting in a high-backed chair facing away from the door, it was the only way she could have missed her when she came into the room.

Waverly took a seat in the chair next to Sam's, "It must have been awful, Nicole doesn't like to talk about it."

"Some of the things I would hear her say to Nicole, it would make me sick but it wasn't my place to say anything and I was just a kid." She reached over and picked up her glass, taking a drink. "She always treated me decently, probably because I wasn't her child."

Waverly looked confused, "I thought that you and Nicole met and became friends in college. I didn't realize that you've known each other a lot longer than that."

"We had the same swim coach, it's where we met and my parents were...well, let's not talk about that." She took another drink before continuing. "Let's just say I spent a lot of time here, more so than at my own house. Nicole and I both applied to the same college and to nobody's surprise we both got in. Eleanor wasn't too thrilled with Nicole's choice though, she would have perfered that Nicole stayed closer to home."

Waverly sat back in her chair, "Nicole is pretty upset by news about Eleanor, I don't know the woman very well but she seems to me like someone who should have never had children. I mean I'm happy she did or I wouldn't have Nicole but still, she seems like a terrible person and I can't understand sometimes why Nicole wants anything to do with her."

Sam looked over at her, "Look Waverly, the entire time I've known Nicole, all she's wanted is for Eleanor to love her. She would try so hard to get her attention but Eleanor was always so cold and distant towards her. Nicole loves her and always has, I suppose in her own way Eleanor loves Nicole, she just never knew how to show it. I met Nicole's grandparents before they died and if you think Eleanor was cold and unfeeling you should have met her mother. That woman could freeze anyone with one look, she scared me like no one else had before or since."

Waverly sighed, "I guess being forced to deny who you are and being made to live a life she never really wanted had a lot to do with it. I feel kind of sorry for her. It's just hard for me to get past the things she's done to both me and Nicole."

Sam reached over and touched Waverly's arm, "I can see why Haught loves you so much, you're definetely one of a kind and I hope to one day meet someone even half as great as you are." She grinned as she saw Waverly blush, "So, I hear congratulations are in order."

"Yes, and thank you. I couldn't be happier and I can't wait for the baby to arrive but I'm also scared to death of screwing up this baby. I mean neither Nicole or I have the greatest example of parents, I was pretty much raised by a drunk and no mother and Nicole, well we know all about her parents. I just want to get this right."

"I have no doubt that the two of you are going to be the best parents. Nobody's perfect Waverly and you're going to make mistakes but that's all part of raising a child. You just love and support them and things will have a way of working out in the end."

Waverly looked over at Sam and gave her a huge smile, "How is it you're still single? You sit there and talk about how great Nicole is, but if you don't know Sam, you are pretty special too. I know you're going to find someone who is your equal in every way and completes you."

Sam actually blushed at this, "Thank you Waverly, that's good to hear and it means a lot to me."

Waverly looked away for a moment before returning her gaze towards Sam, "I wanted to ask you something. Nicole and I have been discussing godparents for our baby and we have chosen my sister Wynonna and you to be them. That is if you would be willing. I know that Nicole wanted to be here when we talked to you but she's so preoccupied with her mom that I..."

Waverly's sentence was cut off as Sam got up and pulled her into a hug, "Of course I accept and I am so honored and proud that you would choose me." She set Waverly down and wiped at the tears that had formed in her eyes. "I wish you guys lived closer, especially now that I'm going to be living in the area full time." At Waverly's questioning look she continued, "Thomas has offered his company to me to run when he retires. Tommy is a lawyer and has no interest in running this company and nicole doesn't either."

"That's great news and maybe it will give us more of an incentive to come for a visit more often. I'm sure we'll be coming here a lot more after the baby is old enough to travel, we don't want our families to miss out and that includes you." Waverly had to fight back a yawn, "I think I'm ready for a nap, it's been a long couple of days, see you at dinner?"

"Of course. Have a nice nap and I'll see you then."

"Thanks." Waverly leaned up on her tiptoes and placed a kiss on Sam's cheek. It always amazed her that Sam was a good three inches taller than her wife and Nicole was almost five feet, nine inches tall. She gave Sam's hand one final squeeze before turning and leaving the room. She had a feeling that at that moment Nicole needed her and she went to go find her.

 

*****

 

Nicole climbed the stairs and made her way slowly down the hall towards the room now occupied by her mother. She didn't know what she would find in that room and she was doing her best to prepare herself for when she finally saw her mother in person. Earlier that morning her father had told her that Eleanor looked different than the person Nicole was used to seeing. As much as Nicole braced herself it wasn't enough to stifle the shock that washed over her as she walked through the door and saw her mother laying in the bed.

Nicole stood next to the bed and stared down at her mother, at first glance she hardly recognized the woman in the bed. Her mother had always taken pride in her appearance and had spent her fair share of time in the gym. Her mother had always been thin and athletic but the woman in front of Nicole had wasted away to almost nothing.

At the sight of her mother's condition tears began to form in Nicole's eyes. Even though Eleanor had put her through hell for most of her life, she was still her mother and Nicole loved her. The thought of her mother dying with all of this animosity between them made Nicole's heart break in two. As she watched her mother breath with the aid of an oxygen tube she felt all of her anger towards her wash away.

She reached down and took her mother's hand within her own, gently rubbing her thumb back and forth across it in what she hoped was a comforting gesture. At that moment she was struck by a memory, she was very young and sick and her mother had come into her room. Nicole smiled as she remembered that her mother had taken her hand and rubbed her thumb across the back of it in exactly the same way that Nicole was doing now.

Without letting go of her mother's hand, she reached out and pulled a chair next to the bed and sat down. She wasn't sure how long she sat there lost in thought. She could feel eyes on her and she looked up to find herself staring straight into the eyes of her mother. "Nicole?"

"Yeah mom I'm here."

Eleanor weakly squeezed Nicole's hand, "Nicky, you look so sad."

Nicole's breath caught in her throat, her mother hadn't called her that in a very long time. "Mom, why didn't you let me know."

Eleanor turned her head away and Nicole had to strain to hear what she said next, "I didn't think you would come see me."

Nicole's mouth dropped open, "Mom, how could you think that?"

She turned her head back towards her daughter, "You made it perfectly clear how you felt the last time we saw each other, and I didn't think that anything would make you want to see me again."

"Are you kidding me? You're the only mom I have and no matter what, I do love you."

Eleanor gave her a sleepy smile, "That's good to hear and Nicky, I'm so sorry for everything I've done to you and to Waverly. She loves you Nicole, she really loves you, I see that now." She began to drift off to sleep but Nicole reached out.

"Mom, I have something to tell you." Eleanor opened her eyes and Nicole swallowed before saying, "You're going to be a grandma mom, Waverly and I are going to have a baby."

"That's great news honey, I'm so happy for the both of you." Her eyes were becoming heavy, "I'm gonna sleep for awhile, when I wake up you can tell me all about it."

"Okay mom, sounds good." She sighed as she noticed that her mother had fallen asleep. The medication she was on only affored her short periods of time where she was actually awake. Nicole sat in her chair, tears falling from her eyes as she thought about what her life would be like without her mother in it. If her condition was any indication, Eleanor didn't have long and Nicole wept at the thought.

Eventually she got up out of her chair and made her way to her bedroom before her legs gave out, she fell into a heap onto the floor at the foot of their bed, sobbing uncontrolably. She was so distraught that she didn't even notice Waverly coming into the room. She wasn't even aware of her prescence until Waverly was kneeling on the floor in front of her and wrapping her arms around Nicole.

Waverly rocked her in her arms and let her cry into her chest, she knew that the best thing that she could do for her wife was just hold her and let her cry it out. Eventually Nicole's tears subsided enough to allow Waverly to help her to her feet. They made their way to the bed and Nicole just stood there as Waverly helped her change out of her clothes and into pajamas. Nicole stared down at her wife, "Thanks for taking care of me Waves, I don't know how I could get through this without you." Waverly didn't say a word, she just leaned up and placed a soft kiss on Nicole's forehead. Reaching down she pulled the covers back and Nicole climbed into bed. Waverly covered her up and went into the bathroom to change and get ready for bed. It wasn't long before she finished up and was climbing into bed next to her wife. She pulled Nicole close into her body and held her as she finally drifted off to sleep. Waverly lay there wishing she could take the pain away but she knew that the only thing that would help Nicole was time.

Chapter Text

Waverly spent the better part of the next two months traveling back and forth between their home in Canada and Nicole's parent's house in Los Angeles. She hadn't wanted to leave her pregnant wife during this time but Nicole had convinced her that not knowing how much time her mother had left meant that they didn't know how long Waverly would need to take off from work. The time they spent apart was difficult for both of them and even though they Skyped almost every night, it wasn't the same. Waverly missed Nicole so much but she completely understood that Nicole needed to be there for her family.

Eleanor Haught passed away in her sleep, surrounded by her family and Waverly had received the call in the middle of teaching one of her classes. She had immediately hopped on the next plane so that she could be there for Nicole. Her cab pulled up to the house and the front door opened before she even got out of the car. Waverly smiled at the older man standing in the doorway waiting to take her bag for her. "Welcome back Mrs. Haught."

"Thank you Robert." She went to move past him but paused and asked, "Where is she?"

"I believe she's in her mother's room."

Waverly thanked him again before hurrying up the stairs, in search of her wife.

After looking in Nicole's room and finding it empty, Waverly walked down the hall and around the corner stopping in front of a closed door she took a deep breath and reached out towards the door handle. She opened the door to Eleanor's room to find Nicole sitting in a chair next to her mother's now empty bed. She reached out and placed a comforting hand on Nicole's shoulder, and without even looking up Nicole reached up to place her hand on top of Waverly's.

Nicole sat slumped over in the chair and Waverly's heart broke for her. "I'm so sorry Nicole, I should have been here, I..."

At the sound of her voice Nicole turned in the chair, wrapping her arms around Waverly's waist and burying her face into her chest, "Wave..." She managed to say before bursting into tears.
Waverly held Nicole as she cried and placed soft kisses on the top of her head. "I know sweetie, I know. Shh, it'll be okay." She brought her hands up and ran her fingers through Nicole's hair as her tears began to slow down. "I'm so sorry honey, I'm so sorry."

They stayed like that for awhile, Waverly just holding Nicole determined to stay that way as long as Nicole needed her to.

 

*****

 

A week later they were returning to their home in Canada and Nicole was still shocked by what had been revealed during the reading of her mother's will. Her mother had left Nicole everything and she still couldn't believe it. Everything included all of her money and her beach house in Malibu. As they walked out of the office of Eleanor's attorney, Nicole had been in a state of shock and disbelief. She had grown up spending most of her life thinking that her mother hadn't loved her but nothing could have been further from the truth. The letter that had been handed to her had proven this and it was currently tucked away inside of Nicole's carry-on Bag.

Nicole's inheritence guarenteed that Nicole, Waverly and their children would be taken care of for the rest of their lives. Nicole still planned on opening her swim acadamy but now that she had so many resources at her disposal she would be able to make it something great. She would be able to build it from the ground up and it would contain everything she would need to cultivate future champions.

As they rode home in the cab of Wynonna's truck Nicole could feel the excitement building within her and she was anxious to get home so she could talk to Waverly about her plans. Of course it would have to wait until after their baby was born but that didn't mean she couldn't contact an arcitect to draw up some plans.

Wynonna dropped them off at their house and after waving goodbye to her they walked into their house Nicole began to excitedly tell her about her plans for the acadamy. Waverly couldn't help but smile at the fact that Nicole seemed to be finally dealing with her grief. Her mother's death had hit her hard and this was the first time that Nicole had smiled since it had happened.

Waverly followed Nicole into their bedroom and closed the door behind her, watching as Nicole dropped her bags next to the closet door. Nicole was so busy talking that she didn't notice as Waverly kicked off her shoes and reached up, beginning to unbutton her shirt. Waverly dropped her shirt to the floor and said her wife's name.

At the sound of Waverly's voice Nicole finally turned towards her and her sentence died as she f noticed that Waverly was removing her clothes, "Waverly, what are you doing?"

Waverly began to unbutton her pants as she took a step towards Nicole, "What does it look like?"

"It looks like you're taking off your clothes."

Waverly dropped her pants and as they hit the floor she stepped out of them, "That's exactly what I'm doing." Waverly said with an almost predatory grin on her face.

Nicole's brain was ceasing to function as all of her senses were now focused on the shorter woman making her way closer to her, "I can see that but, why?"

Waverly stopped directly in front of Nicole and tilted her head to the side, "If you have to ask then it's been way to long Nicole. And it should be obvious what I'm doing. I want you, right here, right now."

Nicole's breath caught in her throat and a rush of heat began to pool within her lower belly, she reached out and pulled Waverly into her body, quickly capturing her lips in a blazing kiss. She came up for air and leaned her forehead against Waverly's as she softly said, "I've missed you baby, but are you sure that you want me?" She began to pull away but Waverly grasped her arm and wouldn't let her, "I mean, look at me," She gestured down her body, "I'm not exactly sexy right now, with this..." her voice trailed off as she smoothed her hand across her protruding stomach.

Waverly took Nicole's hands within her own, "Nicole, look at me." She paused until Nicole raised her head so she could meet Waverly's gaze, "I love you and I think that you are totally sexy and I've never wanted you more than I do right now." She leaned in and kissed Nicole softly on the lips. "You are beautiful but now, at this moment I find you stunning, and gorgeous, and so incredibly hot that I just want to rip your clothes off and have my way with you." She leaned up and gave her another kiss, "After everything we've been through I will never stop loving you and...I will never stop wanting you."

Nicole smiled down at her wife and kissed her, whispering against her lips, "Well, when you put it that way..." She leaned down and kissed Waverly again as two very capable hands began to remove her clothing.

Nicole kept kissing Waverly as the brunette removed her shirt and bra before reaching up to cup Nicole's breasts. "You have the best boobs," Waverly whispered before running the palms of her hands across them, causing Nicole to suck in a breath at the sensation. "Especially now that they've gotten bigger."

"Waverly!" Nicole said as she pulled back.

Waverly looked sheepishly up at her, "Well they are and they're fantastic by the way." Nicole's face reddened as Waverly continued, "You know what else is fantastic?"

"Do I even want to know?"

Waverly reached down and around Nicole, cupping her backside. She grinned as Nicole sucked in a breath as Waverly gave her butt a squeeze. "You have the best ass, always have and God when you used to wear that Speedo it did things to me."

Nicole pulled back within the circle of her wife's arms, a mock expression of shock on her face, "Why Waverly Haught, are you saying that you objectified me?"

The brunette nodded, "Still do, and I'll continue to do it for the rest of my life, can't help it. You're just so damn beautiful and I love you Nicole Haught." She pulled Nicole into her body and brought her head down so that she could capture her lips.

Waverly wasn't sure how long they stood there kissing, she only knew that she couldn't get enough. It had been awhile since they'd been together like this and Waverly knew that in the back of her mind that once the baby arrived these moments would be few and far between. With this thought in mind she intensified their kisses and pulled Nicole towards the bed, easing her down onto it.

They lay on their sides, facing each other and Waverly reached out, tracing a finger along the side of Nicole's face. "You are exquisite Nicole, I'm so glad you chose me. How di I get so lucky?" She leaned in softly kissing Nicole before pulling back, the look of desire clouding the redhead's eyes sent a surge of heat to Waverly's core and she moved closer again, her kisses become almost frantic as her hands traveled down the length of Nicole's body.

As Waverly's hands brushed over Nicole's belly she felt something move, her eyes widened and she looked at her wife in wonder asking her, "Was that?"

Nicole nodded, "The baby, yeah." She brought her hand down and placed it on top of Waverly's, enertwining their fingers together. She felt the baby kick against their joined hands and her smile widened at the look of amazement that Waverly currently had on her face. "This little one's been moving around and kicking for awhile now, I wish you could have been there the first time. I'm sorry you missed it."

Waverly brought her other hand up and cupped Nicole's cheek, "Hey, you've got nothing to apologize for. So much was happening and I wish I could have been there too but it is what it is and there's nothing we can do to change it. The important thing is that you and I are here together, right here in this moment. I love you so damn much and I love our baby and I never want you to forget that." Leaning up she placed a kiss onto Nicole's forehead. "Now, where were we?"

Nicole kissed Waverly and moved her hand down towards where she needed her the most, "I think we were right about here," she said with a gasp as Waverly slipped inside. It wasn't long before she was coming undone in Waverly's arms and she felt like she was coming home once again.

 

*****

 

Two major events were quickly approaching. The arrival of their baby was getting close and their second anniversary was also right around the corner. Since they had mised their first anniversary, Waverly wanted to ensure that their second one would be special. She had made reservations at a local restraunt close to the University where she worked and Wynonna had agreed to drive Nicole there because she had an appointment.

Waverly looked up from her desk to find Nicole standing in the doorway to her office. At the sight of her wife she put the paper she was grading aside and got up to walk around the desk.

Nicole held up her hand before gesturing towards Waverly's chair, "Please, keep working, I'm early. I don't want to interrupt, I know you have a lot of papers to grade, so, I'll just sit on couch over here. Baby, you won't even know I'm here."

"Are you sure? Do you need me to get you anything, maybe some water?"

Nicole opened her purse and took out a bottle of water, "I'm all set, baby just finish your work and don't worry about me."

Waverly watched as Nicole took a seat on her couch, returning to her chair she continued to grade her studen'ts papers while giving small glances over towards her wife. She looked on in curiousity as Nicole squirmed in her seat, appearing to be unable to get comfortable. "Are you sure you don't need anything?"

Nicole smiled at her but Waverly could sense that it was forced, "I'm just very pregnant and it's impossible to get comfortable." Nicole shifted in her seat and drew in a sharp breath, "Well, that's new." she muttered under her breath as pain shot through her lower back. She reassured Waverly that everything was okay and her wife went back to grading her papers.

Waverly was so engrossed in her task that she barely registered the fact that Nicole had struggled to her feet until she heard Nicole's voice calling out to her, "Um, Waves?"

Waverly didn't look up from her desk as she responded, "Hmm, what's up sweetie?"

Nicole sucked in a breath before responding, "Baby, it's time."

"Time for what?" She looked up to find Nicole grasping the arm of the couch and grimacing, her eyes widening. "Oh my God, are you sure?" Waverly leapt out of her chair so fast that it overturned as she hurried around the desk and over to her wife, promptly slipping in something on the floor. She reached out and grabbed hold of Nicole so she wouldn't fall, "Whoa, did you spill something?"
Nicole shook her head as she sucked in another sharp breath, "No, my water broke."

Waverly looked at Nicole, then down at the floor, then at Nicole again, reality finally setting in, "You...you're in labor and we," she gestured between the two of them, "Are about to become parents." A look of panic beginning to show on her face.
Nicole smiled at this, "Yeah, but I think it might be a good idea if we go to the hospital."

"Of course!" Waverly rushed from the room and Nicole waited for her to return and return she did, hurrying back into the room Waverly wrapped her arm around Nicole's waist, walking with her out to the car. Opening the passenger side door she helped Nicole slowly get into the car before leaning in and kissing her softly on the cheek. "I love you."

Stepping back she shut the car door and as she hurried around to the driver's side she took out her phone and called Wynonna telling her that Nicole was in labor and asking if she could drive to their house and get the bag they had packed for Nicole that was sitting just inside their bedroom. Before Wynonna could respond Waverly hung up and climbed into the car, digging through her purse she began to panic, "Where are my keys, I can't find them!"

Nicole reached over and placed a hand on Waverly's arm, "Baby, calm down, breathe. It's going to be okay."

Nicole's soothing tone caused Waverly to relax and she was able to locate her keys in the bottom of her purse. She started the car and as they drove to the hospital, Waverly held Nicole's hand the whole way. When they got to the hospital Waverly was relieved to find a parking spot close to the entrance, and soon they were walking into the hospital as quickly as they could. Waverly called out for a nurse as they entered the emergency department. "Can I get some help over here?" At the nurses questioning look Waverly looked at her and said, "She's in labor."

The nurse rushed over with a wheelchair and after Nicole sat down in the chair they began to wheel her towards a set of double doors. Waverly walked along beside her and when they reached the doors the nurse turned towards her saying, "We can take it from here, I'm sure she appreciates you bringing her in. We'll keep you posted on her condition."

Waverly stared at the woman with a look of disbelief on her face, her anger bubbled quickly to the surface and she struggled to keep from shouting at the clueless woman standing before her. She took a step towards her and poked her in the chest with her finger to empasize her point, "If you think that I'm going to let you take my wife back there while she gives birth to our child without me you are sadly mistaken! Try to keep me from coming with her and I'll knock you on your ass, do you understand me?"

The nurse stared back at Waverly, her mouth hanging open and Waverly shot her a look filled with daggers. "Are you going to take us back now or are you going to stare at me while my wife gives birth right here on the floor?" Waverly snapped at her.

"I...I'm so sorry ma'am, follow me please." the nurse said, suffiencently chastised.

Nicole reached out and Waverly took her hand within her own. Looking down at Nicole her face softened and her anger washed away, concern for her wife trumping all other emotions at that moment. As the nurse wheeled Nicole into her room Waverly didn't release her hand until the nurse was helping Nicole change into a hospital gown and soon she was settling into her bed.

Waverly stepped away for a moment , taking her phone out of her purse. Nicole shot her a panicked look, "Wave, where are you going? Don't leave, I need you." She began to pant as she felt another contraction.

Waverly retook her hand and helped her to breathe through it. When her breathing steadied Waverly kissed her on the forehead, "I was just going to make some calls, I thought our families should know that the baby is coming. If you want me to stay in here with you I will, you and our baby are the most important thing in this whole world."

Nicole smiled up at her, "I'll be okay, go make your calls, but please stay close."

"Of course, I love you Nicole." She squeezed her hand, "I'll be right outside in the hall."

 

*****

 

Waverly stood in the hallway outside of Nicole's room and called everyone in their family to let them know that the baby would be arriving shortly. The last person she called was Nicole's dad and when he asked how she was holding up she admitted to him that she was nervous. He assured her that she would be fine and he was looking forward to meeting his grandchild.

As she hung up she noticed that the doctor was entering the room and she hurried back inside. The doctor examined Nicole and determined that her labor was progressing nicely but it would be quite a while before the baby was born. The hours passed at a snail's pace and Nicole was becoming increasingly uncomfortable as her labor progressed. At least until the doctor gave her an epidural.

After that, Nicole calmed down and actually managed to rest, at least until her labor began to increase and it got closer to time for the baby to be born. As she became fully dialated the nurse stopped adminestering the epidural and soon it was time for Nicole to begin pushing.

As the contractions became stronger and the pain increased Nicole gripped Waverly's hands and squeezed mercilessly. Waverly took the pain of her hand being crushed in stride and urged her wife to breathe through the contractions. The doctor entered the room and examined Nicole, determining that it was indeed time for her to begin to push as she was now fully dilated.

Nicole began to push with her next contraction and as the pain washed over her she shouted at Waverly that it was all her fault, "You did this!" Waverly tried to comfort her but Nicole was having none of it, "We are never ever having sex again!"

Waverly looked at her with a puzzled expression because that wasn't how Nicole had gotten pregnant but Nicole's death grip on her hand snapped her from her thoughts. The doctor looked up at Nicole and Waverly, "The baby's head is out, I need you to hold off for a moment, no pushing until I tell you."

Nicole felt an overwhelming urge to push, she was so close and all she wanted was to hold her baby in her arms, "I need to push!" She was beginning to panic but calmed down as Waverly reached out and softly ran her fingers across Nicole's forehead.

"It will just be a minute honey, okay? Just a little while and we'll have our baby with us." She leaned down and kissed Nicole on the top of her head.

"Okay Nicole, one more big push and that should do it." the doctor said with an encouraging nod.

The next few moments became a blur for Nicole, she gave one long push and the pain she felt as the baby slipped out of her body instantly washed away as she heard the first cries of her newborn child.

The doctor held up their baby and announced, "It's a girl!"

It wasn't long before Waverly had cut the cord and a now cleaned up baby girl was being placed into Nicole's arms. The tears were flowing from her eyes as she looked down at the tiny wrinkled face of her daughter. She looked up to find a crying Waverly looking back at the two of them, her expression filled with love and devotion.

"Hey little girl, it's so nice to finally meet you." Nicole softly spoke to the baby as Waverly reached out and softly stroked her finger down the baby's cheek. Nicole placed a soft kiss onto the baby's head and smiled over at her wife.

Waverly smiled back, "You did good sweetie, I love you both so much" she paused before softly breathing out, "My girls, my beautiful girls."

Nicole reluctantly handed the baby over to the nurses so they could complete their examination of her and Nicole could deliver the afterbirth. Waverly followed them down the hall to the nursery and watched as they quickly did everything they needed to do and it wasn't long before they were placing the tiny bundle into Waverly's arms for the first time.

Waverly stared down at the bundle in her arms and as the baby let out a tiny yawn she fell completely in love with her daughter. "I've been waiting for so long to meet you and... I knew you were going to be a girl." The baby already had a patch of soft red hair on top of her head and Waverly could tell just by looking at her that their daughter looked exactly like Nicole. As she walked down the hall towards Nicole's room she held her daughter close and looked down at her with so much love and pride in her heart that she thought it would burst.

She walked into Nicole's room and gave Her wife a huge smile, holding up their daughter she said, "There's your mommy, the most beautiful woman in the world." She approached Nicole's bed and handed the baby to her, "So, I know she just arrived but we should probably give her a name."

Nicole looked up from the baby towards her wife, "Do you have the list?"

Waverly shook her head, "No, It's in your suitcase." She looked down at her watch, "I'm surprised that Wynonna isn't here yet." At Nicole's questioning look she said, "I asked her to stop by the house and bring your suitcase so that you and the baby have a change of clothes for the trip home, and I really didn't want to leave either of you for that long." She reached out and gently ran her finger through the small tuft of hair on her daughter's head.

Nicole watched Waverly, falling even more in love with her at that moment, "Well I guess you got your wish from the look of things."

"What do you mean?" Asked Waverly as she moved her hand down to gently rub the baby's back.

"The baby's a redhead, you said you wanted us to have a ginger baby, remember?"

"How can I forget and I can already tell one thing about her, she's as beautiful as her mother." She leaned in and placed a soft kiss on Nicole's lips. "I love you Nicole Haught, and thank you for giving us this precious gift. I don't need to see the list of baby names, I know what I want to name her."

So...tell me, what is it?" asked Nicole.

Waverly leaned in and whispered it softly into Nicole's ear and the redhead began to grin when she heard it, "What do you think?"

Nicole dropped her eyes down to the sleeping baby in her arms, "It's perfect, almost as perfect as she is."

"So we're agreed on the name, then?" At Nicole's nod Waverly picked up the paperwork sitting on the table next to Nicole's bed and filled it out, including the baby's name.

 

*****

 

Wynonna walked into Nicole's hospital room to find Nicole asleep in her bed and Waverly dozing off in the chair next to it. Setting the gift bags she had brought down onto the table and Nicole's suitcase underneath of it she quietly looked around but unfortunately she was unable to locate her new niece anywhere.

Not wanting to wake up the obviously exhausted pair, she walked out of the room and down the hall towards the nursery. Stopping in front of a large window she stared through it into the room. There were only a handful of babies in the room and even if the room had been filled with babies Wynonna would have been able to spot her niece thanks to the tuft of red hair on top of the baby's head. Her heart melted as she looke at the angelic face of the sleeping baby who already looked so much like Nicole.

She knew that the only way she would be able to hold the baby was if her parents were awake so Wynonna made her way back to Nicole's room, determined to remedy the situation. As she walked into the room she found Waverly awake and coming out of the bathroom.

"Good, you're awake, so when do you think I can meet that gorgeous niece of mine?"

Waverly beamed at her words and said, "I'll go get her but when Nicole wakes up she's going to try to feed the baby."

Wynonna nodded in understanding as she watched Waverly leave the room. It wasn't long before she returned with a bundle in her arms and Wynonna melted as the baby gave off a tiny yawn. She held out her hands, "Can I?"

Waverly gestured with her head towards the sink, "As soon as you wash your hands." She watched in amusement as her sister rushed over to the sink. Cooing to her daughter she looked over towards the bed to see that Nicole was now awake and watching them interact.

Wynonna dried her hands and stepped towards Waverly who promptly handed the baby over to her sister. Wynonna grinned and softly spoke to her niece for the first time, "Hi, I'm your Auntie Nonna and you my love are just the most precious thing I've ever seen, yes you are." She looked up to find Waverly watching her with a soft expression on her face. "So, does this little one have a name?"

Waverly smiled as she looked over at Nicole and as her wife nodded she walked over to her sister and wrapped her arm around her shoulder, "Nonna, I'd like you to meet our daughter, Melody Katherine Haught."

Wynonna began to tear up as she heard her niece's middle name and Waverly nodded at her, "You gave her my middle name, really?" She didn't wait for Waverly to answer, her attention returning to the baby instead.

As Wynonna continued to spend time with Melody, Waverly made her way over to Nicole who was sitting up in bed taking everything in, tears falling from her eyes, "Hey, why are you crying?"

"I'm just so happy Wave, she's so beautiful."

Waverly reached out and wiped the tears from Nicole's cheeks, leaning down she placed a soft kiss onto Nicole's forehead, "She's beautiful and so are you. Thank you so much for the best thing you could ever give me, I love you Nicole Haught and I could never ask for a better person to share my life with. The day you chose me was the best day of my life."

They both looked up at the sound of a throat clearing to find Wynonna standing there holding their daughter, "Sorry to interrupt guys but I think somebody's hungry." She handed the baby over to Nicole who eagerly took her daughter into her arms. Wynonna leaned close and to Nicole's surprise dropped a kiss onto the top of her head, "You did good Haught."

Wynonna moved away and the last thing she saw before leaving the room was her sister sitting beside her wife on the bed as she held their daughter. Waverly looked so happy and Wynonna couldn't remember a time that Waverly had ever been before she met Nicole. The sight of the little family sitting on that bed together enjoying each other's company warmed her heart and gave her hope for the future.

Chapter Text

Nicole walked into the swim center, her almost three year old daughter riding on her shoulders. The little girl laughed and grabbed onto her mother's hair as Nicole ducked down through the doorway. "Mama! Faster!"


Nicole reached up and grasped her daughter around the waist, pulling her into arms, "Melly, we're not doing horsey rides today." At the tiny girl's disappointed expression Nicole dropped a kiss onto the top of her head, "Mama has to work for a little bit then afterward we'll play, okay?"


The little girl leaned back in her mother's arms, reaching up she cupped Nicole's face in her hands and looked into her eyes as if she were searching for the truth. It was a gesture that Melody had seen Waverly do to Nicole thousands of times over the span of her short life and Nicole's heart swelled with love for her daughter at the gesture.
As she set her daughter down onto the ground, Nicole quickly said, "Remember what mama told you, stay away from the water."


Melody nodded as she followed Nicole into her office and through to the pool. She reached up and grasped Nicole's hand as she excitedly watched the people in the pool swimming laps back and forth. "Mama, swim!"


Nicole heard footsteps and she looked up as the coach approached her, briefly taking her attention off of her daughter, "How's everything going, Beck?"


As the other woman began to tell Nicole about the progress of their star pupil Nicole heard a splash and a gasp come out of Becky's mouth. She quickly spun around and at the sight of her daughter in the pool she rushed over and jumped in after her.


To her immense relief she saw that her daughter hadn't gone underneath the water, she was floating on her back and laughing. Nicole reached out and picked her up out of the water, holding her close to her body, "Melody Katherine Haught! What are you doing? I've told you a million times..."

 

Her daughter continued to laugh from within her arms, "Mama, I swim!"


Nicole had tears in her eyes, "I can see that, but baby, you can't do that again, only if Mama is in the water with you, okay?"


Melody nodded and Nicole handed her over to Becky before climbing out of the pool herself. Retaking her daughter into her arms she took her into the locker room in order to dry them both off. While she toweled her daughter's hair dry one thought and one thought only ran through her mind, Waverly couldn't find out about this.

 

*****

 

Nicole had been taking Melody to the center on a regular basis and she was amazed at how quickly her daughter had taken to the water, and she could already tell as well, that the little girl was a natural in the pool. She also knew that keeping something like this from her wife was a bad idea. Knowing how afraid Waverly was of the water Nicole knew that the thought of Nicole teaching their daughter to swim at such a young age would terrify Waverly, so against her better judgement she hadn't told her wife about what she had been up to.


So, as fate would have it, on this particular afternoon the inevitable happened. Waverly dropped by the Swim Center to share some news with Nicole, the smile on her face instantly dying as she found her daughter in the pool with Nicole. Standing on the edge of the pool she watched with growing horror as Nicole released the little girl to float on her own.


"Nicole?" Waverly could feel the panic rising as the thought of her daughter drowning in that pool raced through her mind, "Nicole, what are you doing?"


Nicole looked up at her wife and could see that terror on her wife's face, "Waverly..."


"Nicole Haught, get that baby out of that pool right now!" When Nicole didn't immediately remove Melody from the pool she began to get angry, "Nicole, get her out of there before..."


Before she could finish her sentence Nicole interrupted her, "Wave, stop! She's fine." Pausing to lower her tone she continued, "Look at her, nothing bad is going to happen to her, trust me."


"Trust you? How long has this been going on Nicole?" Waverly stood there rooted to the spot, shaking in fear, "I...I can't believe you would go behind my back and..." her words trailed off as she felt the tears coming.


Nicole climbed out of the pool and wrapped Melody in a towel, stepping close to Waverly she held their daughter out to her, "See, she's fine. Do you really think that I would let anything happen to her? I would die first."


She watched as Waverly held Melody tightly to her, reaching out she ran her hand through her wife's hair before saying softly, "She's a natural Wave, she takes after me."


Melody spoke for the first time since Waverly had arrived, "Mommy, I swim!" She looked confused as she noticed the tears streaming down Waverly's face, "Mommy, cry?"


"I'm okay sweetie, I was just worried." Waverly managed a smile as she stared back at her daughter. Looking over at Nicole she said with a serious tone, "I'm not happy with you for keeping this from me but she looked like she was having fun. Okay, you can continue to teach her but you need to promise me that you'll keep her safe."


Nicole wrapped an arm around Waverly's shoulder and pulled her close, "Of course, I love you both more than my own life, you know that right?"


Waverly managed a tiny smile as she nodded her head, they all went into the locker room and she proceeded to get Melody out of her swimsuit while Nicole showered and changed.


Afterward, they left the building and Nicole put the now sleeping child in her car seat as Waverly got into the passenger seat. After climbing into the car Nicole reached over and took Waverly's hand. "I really am sorry I didn't tell you, it's just that I know how you feel about the water and I didn't..."


As Waverly squeezed her hand Nicole's voice trailed off. Waverly looked up at her and smiled. "Honey, I understand but that doesn't mean that you won't be making this up to me later." Nicole started to answer her but Waverly held up her hand to stop her, "Wynonna's going to take Mel overnight because you and I are celebrating."


A confused look passed over Nicole's face, "Did I forget our anniversary? It's not your birthday...wait, what exactly are we celebrating?"


Waverly watched as Nicole struggled to come up with what she was missing, reaching out she took Nicole's hand and gave her a little smile, "No silly, you didn't forget anything." She suddenly looked nervous, "What do you think about expanding our family?"


"Expanding our...wait a second, does this mean?" Nicole asked, her eyes widening in excitement.


Waverly nodded and brought Nicole's hand over to rest on her stomach, "I went to the doctor this afternoon before I came to get you, and yes, I'm pregnant!"


"Baby, that's fantastic! Oh My God, I'm so happy!" She pulled Waverly's hand up to her lips and placed a soft kiss onto it, "I love you so much and i can't wait to meet this little one." She put her hand back onto Waverly's stomach, rubbing tiny circles across it. Leaning across the car she placed a soft kiss onto Waverly's lips, "I love you Wave, I've never loved anyone the way I love you, and I never will."


Waverly reached out and lightly tapped Nicole on the nose before saying, "You better not, I'm having your baby so you're kind of stuck with me." She leaned back in her seat and glanced sideways at Nicole, "And I'd hate to have to bail my sister out of jail after she got ahold of you."


Nicole chuckled, "We wouldn't want that now." Her tone grew serious, "After everything we've been through do you honestly think that anything could ever pull me away from you? I gave you my heart, you own it and I never want it back."


"And I never will, because you are the love of my life and I love this adventure that we're on."


Nicole smiled over at her, "I think I need to get you home so we can start our celebration."


As Nicole started the engine, Waverly looked at her sleeping daughter in the backseat of their car, "We've been through so much but looking at her I know that it was all worth it, every last moment and I wouldn't change a thing. Every time something would happen it kind of felt like we were swimming against the tide, that the odds were stacked against us."


"I couldn't agree with you more and the most important thing I've learned from all of this, is that with you by my side we can accomplish anything."


Nicole pulled the car out of the parking lot and towards their home, she was looking forward to continuing this life with her family and if she were perfectly honest with herself she wouldn't change a thing either and she would never want to.

 

*****

 

Nicole ran into the hospital, a look of concern and worry on her face. She pressed the button for the elevator and as it took her slowly up to the maternity floor a million thoughts ran through her mind and a wave of fear swept through her at the thought that Waverly's life was in danger. Her pregnancy had been normal and after the initial wave of morning sickness it had been pretty unremarkable.


Before she had headed out to work that morning she had stepped up behind Waverly and wrapped her arms around her wife from behind, her hands resting on Waverly's belly. "You are so beautiful," she placed a soft kiss onto the side of Waverly's neck, "I'll be back as soon as I can, if the inspectors weren't coming today I wouldn't leave your side."


Waverly leaned back into Nicole's body, enjoying how good it felt being in Nicole's arms, "I know honey and I understand but I wish you didn't have to go."


Her due date was a little under two months away and Waverly had become clingy. Whenever she was home Waverly would seek her out, it was almost as if she was afraid that Nicole would disappear if she took her eyes off of her. Because of this Nicole cursed the bad timing of this inspection, the need to reassure Waverly was strong within her and the last thing she wanted was for her wife to feel anxious while carrying their child. All she wanted to do was stay home and take care of her wife but unfortunately if she didn't go there was a risk that they would shut her business down and Nicole couldn't afford for that to happen, especially since Waverly was going to be taking a year off from teaching to stay home with their children.


But something had happened and Waverly had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. Nicole had just finished with the inspectors when she had received a frantic call from Wynonna and after that she had rushed to the hospital, hoping and praying the whole way there that Waverly and the baby would be okay. If anything happened to either of them, Nicole wouldn't know what to do, she would be lost without Waverly and devastated if the baby...she shook that thought from her mind as the elevator doors opened and she hurried down the hall to the nurse's station.


"Excuse me, I'm looking for information on Waverly Haught, I was told they brought her here."


The nurse looked up at Nicole and said matter of factly, "I can only give that information to family members."


Nicole ignored the nurse as she continued, "Can you just tell me where she is please...I have to know is she's okay and if the baby..."


"Ma'am I already told you that if you aren't family..." When the nurse saw the look on Nicole's face she paused, the tall redhead standing in front of her didn't look amused but policy was policy.


Nicole was usually a pretty level-headed person but at the moment standing across from that nurse with her smug face she was on the verge of losing it on the unsuspecting woman. Nicole bent down until she was mere inches from the woman's face, "I'm only going to say this once, My name is Nicole Haught, Waverly is my wife and she's pregnant with our baby. I would appreciate it if you would tell me where she is and when I can see her because I'm a little worried here, and if you don't tell me right now security will have to drag me out of here because there's no telling what exactly I'll do to you."


The nurse could tell by the look on Nicole's face that she meant business and she quickly glanced at her computer screen before looking back up at Nicole, "Go through those doors and take the first right into the waiting area, the doctor will be out to talk to you."


Nicole waited for the doors to open and she quickly walked down the hallway towards the waiting room, finding Wynonna waiting in there pacing back and forth. She looked up as Nicole approached and stared at her sister-in-law seemingly at a loss for words.


Nicole didn't like the look on her face and she reached out to grasp Wynonna's arm, "What the hell happened Wynonna?" When she didn't get a response she squeezed her arm with more pressure until Wynonna snapped out of whatever stupor she had been lost in.


"Ow, Red that hurts!" She pulled her arm away and rubbed it with her other hand, "I don't know what happened, one minute we were talking and the next she was doubling over and falling to the floor."


"Have they said anything about her condition, about the, the baby, it's too soon Wynonna, she's only seven months pregnant!"


Wynonna shook her head, "No, only that they were taking her into surgery."


Nicole brought her hand up to her mouth, she had never felt such fear before, the thought of losing not only her wife but the love of her life, was causing a wave of panic to rise within her. Her breathing became labored, "I can't lose her Wynonna, I would die."


Wynonna reached out and took Nicole's hand, "She's strong and stubborn and she's going to be fine, don't you worry."


Nicole opened her mouth to speak but before the words could come out the door opened and the doctor stepped in. "Ms Haught?"


Nicole nodded her head and the doctor gestured for her to take a seat. He sat down in the chair across from her and leaned forward. "Your wife was brought here with preeclampsia, it's a condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus and her blood pressure was too high. This put both the baby and your wife at risk so we rushed her into surgery and delivered the baby by c-section. The baby is in NICU until his lungs fully develop but other than being a little on the small side he's perfectly healthy."


"It's a boy! Wynonna, did you hear that!" Nicole's rush of joy at the news was short lived as she waited for news of her wife, "And Waverly?"


"She's in recovery and as soon as she's awake you can go back and see her but I need to tell you that there was a complication and we had to remove her uterus which means she will be unable to have any more children, I'm sorry." The doctor got up and walked towards the door, "A nurse will come get you when she wakes up."


Nicole thanked him before hanging her head, she didn't know how Waverly was going to take the news and their baby being born early... she wasn't sure how to break the news to her wife. She sat there in her chair and wondered over and over again how Waverly would react to this and she hoped that eventually Waverly would recover fully from it.
The door opened and Nicole looked up to find a nurse standing in the doorway, she stood up and followed the woman down the hall and into a small room where she found Waverly laying in a bed with her eyes closed.


She softly walked towards the bed and sat down in the chair next to the bed, reaching out she took Waverly's hand within her own, rubbing her thumb back and forth across the back of it. Waverly looked so peaceful and the last thing Nicole wanted to do was wake her up so that she could break her heart.


Nicole lay her head on the bed next to Waverly's side, closing her eyes. At the feel of someone softly squeezing her hand she quickly raised her head back up to find Waverly staring back at her, "Nicole?"


"Hey baby, how are you feeling?"


Waverly tried to sit up in the bed but grimaced as a wave a pain shot through her, "Like I've been punched in the gut." She reached for the bed controls and raised the bed so she was propped up. Looking back up at Nicole she said, "Where's the baby, I mean obviously not in here," she gestured towards her stomach, "please tell me that the baby is..." her voice trailed off as a wave of fear gripped her.


Nicole smiled at her, "He's fine Wave, he's going to have to stay in the NICU until his lungs are strong enough to breath on his own but other than that the doctors say that he's strong."


"He? We have a son." Waverly's face lit up as Nicole nodded, "Have you seen him, is he beautiful?"


"No, I wanted to wait until we could see him together, I didn't want to see him without you."


Waverly reached out and placed her hand on Nicole's cheek, "I love you Nicole, more than I ever thought possible."


"And I love you Waverly, more than my own life." She leaned in and placed a kiss on her wife's lips.


"Can we go see him now?"


Nicole stood up and reluctantly pulled away, "I'll go get your doctor, we need to make sure that you are strong enough." Waverly watched as Nicole walked from the room, returning shortly with a man in a white lab coat. Before he could speak Waverly looked at him and stated, "I want to see my son, I need to go see him."


"I understand Mrs. Haught but...."


The doctor looked over at Nicole who was holding up her hands and taking a step back. Unfortunately for the doctor he didn't know Waverly as well as she did or he would have known how futile it was to argue with her wife. "I'll come in and check your incision in the morning, if everything checks out then you can go see him."


Waverly stared at him stone-faced, "Not good enough, nobody's going to keep me from my baby and I don't want to wait until tomorrow to see him. He's laying in there all alone and scared and needing his mother and you expect me to just sit here and not go to him?"


"I understand Mrs. Haught but we don't want to put either of you at risk for infection, please understand that my decision is based on the fact that..."


Waverly pressed herself back into the bed with a huff, "Fine, but I expect to see you first thing in the morning, I don't want to wait any longer than I have to." The doctor left the room and Waverly sighed as she looked over at Nicole. "Honey, where's Mel?"


Nicole smiled, "She's with Willa and from what I understand she's having the time of her life playing with Jackson. The way she bosses that poor kid, I think our son isn't going to know what hit him when it comes to his big sister."


"So, have you given any thought to names, I was sure we were having another girl so I really haven't considered names for..."


Nicole stepped over next to her wife's bed. Reaching out she took Waverly's hand as she smiled down at her, "Well then, it's a good thing that I have all the bases covered, what do you think about Samuel Curtis?"


At the sound of his name Waverly began to tear up, "Oh Nicole, what a beautiful name, I love it."


Nicole bent down and placed a soft kiss onto Waverly's forehead, "I'm glad, you need to rest now baby and hopefully tomorrow we'll be able to see our son together."
"Nicole I want you to go to our son." the seriousness of Waverly's tone made Nicole look her in the eye and she could tell from her expresion that she wasn't going to let Nicole argue with her about this, "I know you wanted to see him together but the thought of him being alone and scared breaks my heart." She began to cry and Nicole could never deny Waverly anything during these moments.


Nicole leaned down again and wrapped her arms around Waverly in an attempt to comfort her but the woman just cried harder, "Baby, shhh, okay, I'll go...shhh." She placed kisses along Waverly's hairline, "I'm not going to leave until you calm down."


Waverly nodded as her sobs began to lessen and Nicole reached up with her thumbs to wipe them away, "Send me a picture, okay?"


"Of course, let me get your phone." She reluctantly let go of Waverly and walked over to the cabinet where she found her wife's phone in the plastic bag that also contained her clothes. Handing the phone to Waverly she bent down and kissed her on the forehead before turning and walking from the room.

 

*****

 

Waverly lay in her bed clutching her phone to her chest like a lifeline. After what seemed an eternity her phone buzzed and she opened it to find a picture that melted her heart. Her son was inside of an incubator with his tiny hand wrapped around Nicole's index finger, it was such a beautiful sight that Waverly began to cry and a wave of frustration washed over her. The urge to get out of bed and go to her son overwhelmed her but as she moved towards the edge of the bed a sharp stabbing pain in her abdomen reminded her of why she couldn't.


She heard the door to her room open and Waverly looked up to find her sisters walking into the room and she grinned as she saw her daughter in Willa's arms. "Mommy!" Willa put Melody down onto the floor and the little girl quickly rushed to her mother's side.


Waverly pulled her into a hug, "Hi sweetie."


Melody threw her arms around Waverly's neck and squeezed, "Mommy, I missed you!"


Waverly brought her finger down and lightly tapped her daughter on the nose, "And I missed you my dear." At her daughter's frown she asked, "Why the sad face?"


"Aunti Nonnie said that I got a brother."


"Yes you do."


The little girl looked around the room, "Where is he mommy?"


Waverly motioned for her daughter to join her on the bed and waited until Melody had climbed up next to her before saying, "He's in a special room until he gets strong enough to come home, do you understand?"


Melody nodded before burying her face into Waverly's chest.


Waverly looked down at her daughter with affection, "Hey, it's going to be okay, he's strong and he's looking forward to meting his big sister. Mama's in there with him and soon we'll all be home."


Melody leaned back into the circle of her mother's arms, reaching up she cupped Waverly's face in her hands and looked into her eyes. It was something that Waverly had watched her do to Nicole at least a hundred times and her heart swelled with love for the tiny human within her arms. "Now, I want you to go with Aunt Willa and I promise that Mama and I will be home soon."


Melody kissed Waverly on the cheek, "I love you mommy."


"And I love you to the moon and back."


Melody hopped down off the bed and took Willa's hand. Waverly looked over at her oldest sister and said, "Take good care of my baby."


Willa smiled at her, "Will do sis and congratulations." Before they left WIlla continued, "I'll be back in the morning, I'm looking forward to seeing that nephew of mine."


Melody waved at her mother as she left the room with Willa and Waverly blew her a kiss.


After they left, Wynonna slowly approached her sister and lay a hand on her arm, Waverly looked over at her hand, "I'm not fragile, I just had a baby, that's all."


"Waverly, you had an emergency, you could have died and I was so scared."


Waverly placed her hand over Wynonna's, "But I didn't and the baby is going to be just fine. Nonna look at me, I'm so happy. When we were kids I never thought I would ever find someone who makes me this happy."


"You deserve it Wave, you really do and I'm so glad that you found Red because before you met her you were pretty boring."


Waverly gave a small laugh, "Gee thanks. You're right though I'm lucky to have found Nicole because she's like the other half of me and I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have her in my life."


Wynonna gave her arm a small squeeze before letting go, "On that note, I'm gonna go cause all this sappy stuff is making me sick." Wynonna winked at her and as she turned to leave she almost ran into Nicole who was coming into the room. Wynonna threw her arms around Nicole's neck and hugged her, "Thank you Nicole for taking such good care of her and making her so happy. You're one of the good ones." Before Nicole could react to this unexpected action Wynonna let her go, cleared her throat and left.
Nicole watched her go, not sure of what happened before turning towards her wife eager to show her the rest of the pictures she had taken of their son.

 

*****

 

Three weeks later Waverly sat on the couch in their living room holding Samuel on her lap and watching Nicole moving about the room with Melody perched on her shoulders. She was surrounded by her family and her heart was full. Her parents and sister, as well as Nicole's father and brother had come to welcome the newest addition to their family and of course Wynonna, Willa and Gus were there as well.


Laughter and noise filled her ears as everyone seemed to be speaking at once and things got even louder when there was a knock on the door and Sam came hurrying in claiming that she was only there to meet her namesake. After a good amount of teasing from Nicole, Sam came and sat down next to Waverly on the couch.
Sam stared at the baby and Waverly handed him over to her and the other woman gently took him in her arms staring down at him in awe and Waverly fought the urge to roll her eyes as Sam referred to the baby as her little wing man.


She sensed a presence standing next to her and she automatically reached out and took her wife's hand, practically pulling her down onto the couch next to her. It wasn't long before Waverly was leaning back against her wife and Nicole's arms found there way around Waverly's waist.


Nicole dropped a soft kiss onto the top of Waverly's head as she held her in her arms and watched the activity going on around them but as always whenever she was this close to Waverly all of her senses were focused on the brunette.


Waverly was right where she wanted to be, she was happy and surrounded by her loved ones. She couldn't have known that when she had tripped over the chair at the pool  that it would be the beginning of quite the adventure. She remembered back to the day that she told Nicole that she was pregnant with Samuel and recalled what she had said, it was like they had always been swimming against the tide and Waverly firmly believed that the struggle they had faced had only made them stronger. As she gazed lovingly around the room, surrounded by her friends and family she knew in her heart of hearts that she could handle anything that life threw at them as long as she had Nicole by her side.

Chapter Text

Nicole glanced at the clock and swore under her breath as she paced back and forth. Her anxiety rose with each tick of the clock as she worried that her daughter wouldn't get there in time to make the race.

She stopped pacing as a steady hand reached out and softly rubbed her arm, "Honey, she'll get here, you need to calm down."

The soft smile that Waverly was giving her allowed Nicole to relax if only for a few moments, "Where is she? This is the biggest race of her life and she's..." Her voice trailed off as a figure rushed into the aquatic center. "Young lady, you better have a damn good excuse for being late, you almost missed what could be your one and only shot..."

Melody interrupted her, "I'm sorry mom, Sammy called and needed me to pick him up, his car broke down."

Nicole held up her hand, "We'll talk about this after you win this, now go get ready and baby girl, good luck." She quickly pulled her daughter into a hug, then watched as Melody hurried into the locker room to change. She turned towards her son, "You're lucky you didn't make her late."

"I'm sorry mama, I was at the library and when I went out to my car I had left the lights on and my battery was dead. You and mom didn't answer your phones so I called her, I was coming here anyway cause I wouldn't miss this for the world."

Nicole couldn't help but smile as he babbled nervously, a trait he had without a doubt inherited from her wife, she reached out and wrapped her arms around her son, "Have I told you lately how proud I am of you? I mean it's not everyday that one of your children graduates at the top of his class and a year early."

Sam dropped his head as a blush spread across his face as he rubbed the back of his neck. Another trait of his mother's and she always found it endearing when the two of them would do it at the same time without realizing it. Their son was so much like his mother in both looks and intellect, but it was his sweet nature that matched Waverly's that she loved the most. A wave of sadness washed over her at the thought of him leaving in the fall to go away to medical school but the fact that he had chosen to attend her alma mater filled her with a sense of pride. She loved her family and she was happy that she was able to fufill the vow she had made to Waverly when their daughter was born. She had been a much better mother to her kids then her mother had been to her and had raised them so that they would never doubt that she loved them. Looking back over the past twenty years, she knew that she wouldn't change a thing.

Nicole looked up as Melody approached them from the direction of the locker room and she grinned as she saw her walking with the familiar swagger that she herself had possessed during her college days when she was at the top of her game. "You ready?"

Melody pulled her swim cap down over her mop of red hair and nodded, "I was born ready, I got this." She winked at Nicole as they announced her name and she turned and walked to her designated starting block.

Nicole turned and walked towards the bleachers, pausing as she found her usual spot had been taken by a familiar face and she smiled warmly at her sister-in-law as she climbed up to join her wife and son. "Hi Wynonna!" she said in that sing-song voice that she knew Wynonna hated.

"Hey Red, hope it's okay that I took your spot, I wanted to come and watch junior crush the competition. It's not every day that your niece has a chance to make it to the Olympics."
"It's fine Wyn, and thanks for coming, she's going to be so excited to see you." Nicole took a seat into the empty space that had magically opened up next to her wife and took Waverly's hand within her own. She felt a surge of pride as their daughter's name was announced over the loudspeaker but this was replaced by a wave of tension as Melody climbed up onto the starting block and waited for the race to begin.

Waverly leaned over and placed a kiss to Nicole's cheek, "Relax sweetie, she's got this." Nicole glanced over at her and Waverly smiled, "I'm having flashbacks right now to when that used to be you and how hot you were in that speedo. Maybe you can model it for me later tonight."

Nicole's face turned a slight shade of red and the only thing that pulled Nicole's attention away from her wife was the sound of the race starting. She anxiously bounced her leg up and down as she watched her daughter quickly take the lead. By the end of the race Nicole was left wondering why she had even worried as Melody not only won the race but crushed the Canadian record as well.

She sat there in shock, barely able to believe that her daughter was heading to the Olympics and would be representing her country. She was so proud of her and her heart nearly burst at the happiness she felt inside. As happy as Nicole was at her daughter's success, a small part of her felt that Melody's success was bittersweet for her. It had been her dream to be where her daughter currently was and she had to reach in and tamp down the twinge of jealousy that was trying to rise within her.

Waverly was jumping up and down and as Nicole stood up she threw her arms around Nicole's shoulders in excitement. "She did it! I'm so proud of her Nicole! Our baby did it!"
Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly's waist and murmured into her hair, "I know baby, I know."

Waverly let her go and took a step back so that she could take Nicole's hand, "Come on, let's go congratulate your mini me." She pulled her wife by the hand down the bleachers and led her over to Melody who was currently being interviewed by the local news.

As Nicole stood and watched her daughter answer the reporter's questions any jealousy she had felt left her as she heard her daughter state that she couldn't have done it without the love and support of her parents. Melody waved them over and as they joined her she wrapped her arms around both of her mothers waists as she continued her interview.

After the reporter finished and had left, Nicole and Waverly wrapped Melody within their arms and the three of them held each other for a few moments before they reluctantly let her go.

"Would you guys be disappointed if I go out and celebrate with the team tonight? I know you had something planned and I promise that tomorrow we will celebrate as a family, okay?"

Waverly looked up at her daughter before reaching out and placing a hand on her arm, "Of course sweetie but I'm going to hold you to that promise." She winked at her daughter as Melody turned towards Nicole.

Nicole smiled at her and nodded and Waverly stood there, never ceasing to be amazed at how much the two of them resembled each other. Melody turned to leave but Nicole reached out and softly grasped her arm, stopping her from leaving. Waverly could feel the tears forming in her eyes as she watched her wife pull their daughter into a tight hug.
"I'm so proud of you Melly, you are extraordinary and I love you with all of my heart."

After a time Melody pulled away and Nicole reached out and wiped away the tears from her daughter's cheeks with her thumbs. "Go on now, have a good time and we'll see you tomorrow." As she watched her daughter walk away she could feel Waverly put her arm around her waist, "She's all grown up Wave, where did our little girl go?"

Waverly reached up with her other hand and placed it onto Nicole's chest, "She's right here honey, in your heart, where she'll always be."

 

*****

 

That night as they lay in bed together Nicole sleepily turned her head and buried her face into her wife's hair. She would never get tired of the feel of Waverly's skin pressed against her own and their earlier activities had left her breathless and even more in love with the beautiful woman who she had chosen to spend her life with. She pressed a soft kiss onto the side of Waverly's head and softly murmured, "I love you."

"Nicole?"

"Hmmmm."

"If you could go back and change anything about your life, would you do it?"

Nicole pulled back and leaned up on her elbow, "In regards to you and me?"

Waverly reached up and stroked Nicole's face, "Anything."

"If I could go back I'd like to think that I would have spoken to you sooner, but honestly the way we met was perfect."

"Perfect?" Waverly threw her arm over her eyes, "That was so embarassing, I fell right on my butt, in front of you. The woman I had the biggest crush on."

"You did?" Waverly nodded her head and removed her arm from off of her face, "You sure didn't act like it, you ran off like your butt was on fire and couldn't get away from me fast enough."

"That's because I thought that I had made a fool of myself and honestly I thought you would never speak to me after that cause I was such a klutz."

"Actually I thought you were adorable." Nicole reached out and ran her finger along her wife's jaw, "And oh, so beautiful."

Waverly turned her face and placed a kiss into Nicole's palm, "So, you wouldn't change anything?"

Nicole stared into Waverly's eyes with conviction and said, "No, not a thing."

"I think that I wouldn't have bought you that motorcycle, you lost so much because of that crash." Waverly looked away finding it hard to meet Nicole's soft gaze.

Nicole softly grasped Waverly's chin and turned her face back toward's her, "Hey, that accident wasn't your fault and I never want to hear you say that it was." She leaned closer to Waverly, "The most important thing is that I didn't lose you because if that would have happened I would have been lost. Look at what we have baby, we have each other and we gave each other the best children we could have asked for. I'm so proud of them but most of all I'm so proud to have you by my side for the rest of our lives."

Waverly could feel tears forming as she saw the truth in Nicole's eyes but if she were being honest Waverly didn't need Nicole to say the words out loud because she knew that they were coming from Nicole's heart and that every word was true. Reaching over she wrapped her hand around the back of Nicole's neck, weaving her fingers into her hair, "I love you Nicole Haught, more than anything." They stared at each other for a moment and Waverly said, "Are you going to kiss me now or..."

Nicole smiled as she felt Waverly weave her fingers into her hair as she pulled her closer, she sighed as she felt Waverly's lips press against hers and she softly said, "Always my love, now and forever."

The End