Dec. 17, 2022

12 Days of Ficmas: Beneath Your Snowman Sheets - Chapter Four

12 Days of Ficmas: Beneath Your Snowman Sheets - Chapter Four

Chapter Four: Miss You Too, Loser - Fanfic reading of Beneath Your Snowman Sheets

It's the fourth day of Ficmas! Chapter Four: Miss You Too, Loser - Fanfic reading of Beneath Your Snowman Sheets 

Fanfic reading of Beneath Your Snowman Sheets by New54321 (Twitter @StaceyE706)  by Jen G. (Twitter @Jen_Z_Green) edited by Anne H.B. (Twitter @WynaughtP)
*original fic is 8 chapters. It has been broken down into 12 chapters by the author for the purposes of this audio.

Waverly has been Nicole’s best friend since they were four years old.

She’s been the unrequited love of her life since they were six.

Eighteen years ago, on the day Nicole fell in love beneath a makeshift sprig of mistletoe and a set of special Christmas bedsheets, she made her best friend a promise.

That one day, when they were grown, she would take Waverly on the date of her dreams.

This Christmas, will Nicole finally get to make good on her promise?

★ Support this podcast ★

Chapter 4 - Miss You Too, Loser

“That was Coldplay and ‘Christmas Lights’, and you’re listening to Spark Radio UK! Stay tuned as we play the top ten Christmas songs of all time next, in our countdown of the twelve days to Christmas 2017.” Waverly jabbed her fork into a roast potato with significantly more force than was really required. The radio was playing quietly in the background of their bullshit family dinner, and Waverly had half a mind to turn it up, and let the blaring opening notes of 'Last Christmas' drown out the goddamn gush-fest pouring out of her unwanted house guest's mouth. "I've heard a lot about you guys, Nicole never stops talking about you," Shae simpered, her voice honey sweet and naturally polite. "Especially you, Waverly! It's so nice to finally meet you all." Waverly shoved her potato into her face just to stifle her scoff. She knew full well her face was saying everything she wanted to anyway. But what she didn't know, was why. Why was Shae making her so uncomfortable, just by being here? It wasn't like she was jealous. Why would she be jealous? She had nothing to be jealous of. It was simply that Nicole’s new girlfriend was there for their movie night and Waverly absolutely did not like it. She had only gotten a chance to see Nicole once for three days since last Christmas, and now that they were both at uni, they'd been talking considerably less than they used to. And she wanted this time to catch up with her best friend. Without this… unnecessary distraction. Not because she was jealous. But because she missed Nicole. She was also irrationally irritated because for some bullpucky reason, Shae's presence meant they were having to have a sit-down dinner with their families before they could slink off to their movie night, and that was not the goddamn tradition! Gus had insisted it was because they were twenty now and that it was 'high time they started joining the adults' tradition', but Waverly knew full well that that was utter bullshit. Gus had simply wanted to gush over Shae. Everyone was gushing over Shae. Over the fact that she was pretty, and that she was studying medicine, and that she had won Nicole’s heart, and even Wynonna was asking questions Waverly had never believed her sister would even have the vocabulary to ask. "How did you guys meet?" Wynonna smirked, pointing between Nicole and Shae with a fork full of roast parsnip. "Wild party? Sordid uni sex dungeon?" Waverly huffed, spearing another roast potato with a stab so aggressive it sent gravy splashes flying across the tablecloth. She busied herself wiping them away with her napkin, just to keep from having to listen to this nauseating meet-cute. More than anything, she was flat-out goddamn pissed that Shae was simply really lovely. She had no idea why that was so annoying, and frankly she didn't want one. She was quite content stewing in her unnecessary hatred of someone who absolutely did not deserve her hatred, and who she couldn't find anything to hate about anyway. "Then I tripped, and my books went flying everywhere! And my coffee flew over the chairs in front, and spilled all down the girl I'd been desperately trying to find an excuse to talk to for months," Shae laughed, covering her face with her hands as the two families chuckled around the table. "It was so embarrassing!" Waverly rolled her eyes, throwing her gravy-stained napkin back onto her lap as she pushed her carrots around her plate aimlessly with her fork. "Sounds rather convenient to me," she muttered. "What do you mean?" Waverly blushed, her eyes flicking up to meet Shae's as the table fell quiet, and all eyes turned to face her. "Oh, well… uh… nothing!" She stammered, sitting herself up a little in her seat. "Just that uh, you were… lucky. That of all the people in that lecture theatre, you… you happened to spill your coffee on… on the one person you needed an excuse to talk to… it's-it's convenient." Waverly swallowed thickly, her eyes flicking almost ashamedly to Nicole’s as Shae chuckled. The sound was light, but Waverly could hear the awkward discomfort behind it and she immediately felt guilty for whatever in hell was going on with her this evening. God, she was supposed to be the nicest person in her school. She'd won a prom award and everything! And now she couldn't even hold a conversation with her best friend's girlfriend without trying to rip holes in everything. She exhaled slowly as she watched the corners of Nicole's lips twitch, and her eyes glint almost gold for a flickering moment, in familiar tell-tale signs that the redhead was biting back her amusement. Waverly bit back her own smirk. If Nicole was amused, she probably agreed. And that made Waverly feel a little less crazy. Even if she was still being very unnecessarily hostile to her perfectly pleasant guest. "Well, I think it's very romantic, don't you darling?" Nicole’s mum crowed, patting Nedley's shoulder affectionately. "Of course," Nedley assured. He smirked, his eyes sparkling with something far too knowing as they fixed on Waverly’s. "And sometimes these things need a little… push." Waverly blushed. She had no idea why. She had no idea what that meant, or why Nedley was looking at her that way. No idea. At all. Ludicrous. Waverly turned her attention back to her meal, inhaling deeply as she speared another potato. She just had to get through dinner, then they could put their movie on and Waverly would get to sit beside Nicole, not look anywhere but the screen, and pretend it was just the two of them. By the time the meal was over, Waverly could barely look at Shae or Nicole. She packed them both upstairs, needing a moment to collect herself as she prepared the popcorn for their movie. This was absurd. She was being absurd. Shae was lovely, and she looked at Nicole like she was the world. And Nicole deserved to be looked at like that, because she was the world. She deserved to be looked at the way she looked at Waverly. But… with romantic feelings behind it. Feelings Shae had. And Nicole clearly had back. And Waverly was being irrational and childish and unfair, and she needed to get a grip. What did she want? Nicole to be her world? For her best friend to never fall in love, and to just forever look at Waverly and only Waverly that way? It was preposterous. She blew a harsh breath out through her cheeks, steadying her nerves as she balanced the three bowls in her arms and headed for the stairs. She needed to lighten up, and be welcoming to Shae. For Nicole’s sake. Because Nicole was her best friend, and still her favourite person in the whole world, and she deserved Waverly’s support. She felt her body relax a little as she made her way up the stairs towards her room. She could do this, she was a nice person. She let a smile grace her lips as she approached her bedroom door, shifting the bowls onto her hip as she reached for the handle and pushed. Then she froze. The room was shimmering; the canopy draped a little higher than usual this year in anticipation of the third occupant, meaning the lights glowed a little brighter across the space. The movie was playing the title screen music, and the jingling, sparkling tones mixed with the glow of fairy lights were filling the room with a soft, festive kind of joy. And Nicole was making out with Shae. On Waverly’s bed. Leaning back against Waverly’s wall, her hands running through Shae's dark hair as she held her close. And Waverly’s stomach plummeted. Holy Christmas elf, that did not feel nice. She swallowed, shaking her head as she fought against the urge to run. It was fine. Nicole was kissing her girlfriend. What was wrong with that? There was nothing wrong with that. Other than the fact that it was her bed and it was their canopy and it was just a bit of an icky, shitty thing to do to make out on someone else's bed, but there was nothing wrong with Nicole kissing someone else. That was not the problem. It was not jealousy. Frankly, Waverly didn't even know why the idea formed in her brain. It obviously wasn't that. She huffed loudly as she made a deliberately noisy show of stomping into the room, and kicking the door shut behind her with more force than was really necessary. Nicole immediately jumped back, her eyes wide and her cheeks flushed as she pushed herself upright against the wall, putting a bigger space than was particularly natural between herself and Shae. As her eyes found Waverly’s, they flashed painfully apologetic, and the brunette huffed harder. She flopped down unceremoniously beside Nicole, not making eye contact as she pushed two of the three bowls into her best friend's hands. There was a long moment of awkward silence as Waverly reached for the remote, wordlessly pressing play on the movie as she avoided all eye contact with Nicole or with Shae. Until Nicole leaned in, nudging her softly with her shoulder. She flicked her eyes up to meet sheepish, concerned mocha, and Waverly melted instantly. "You okay?" Nicole mouthed wordlessly, her lips directed away from Shae. "I'm sorry!" Waverly wilted. It didn't matter what the situation, or how intense Waverly’s emotion, or how long it had been since she'd seen her, Nicole Haught still had the ability to calm Waverly’s soul with just a look. And she didn't deserve to feel guilty right now. She'd done nothing wrong. "Yeah," Waverly whispered, smiling softly as she nodded. "You don't need to be sorry. I just missed you." Nicole beamed, her eyes softening into the warm comfort Waverly loved so much. "I missed you too," Nicole murmured, wrapping an arm around Waverly’s shoulders and tugging her into her side for a moment. Waverly melted into Nicole’s touch, grateful for the contact and the scent of vanilla that was so familiar and comforting to her. She was almost certain she felt warm lips press a kiss to the very top of her head, but the touch was so light she couldn't be sure. Then, before she could even begin to be ready, Nicole released her hold, and her arm dropped from around Waverly’s shoulders. And then the movie was starting, and Nicole’s arm was nestled around Shae, not Waverly. And Shae's head rested on Nicole’s shoulder, not Waverly’s. And despite every effort to keep her eyes trained on the screen, Waverly could see the slender hand tracing nonsense patterns over Nicole’s thigh as the opening credits rolled. And it all felt like wank. And maybe she did know why. But also she didn't know why. And she absolutely could not consider it right now. But it didn't pass Waverly by for even a second that this was the first time in a long time that Nicole hadn't made a single comment about their hot chocolate date. And for the first time in thirteen years, Wynonna didn't even try the mistletoe kiss.

〜〜〜〜〜〜 🎄 〜〜〜〜〜〜

“That was unlikely contender Ladbaby, and their charity effort for this year’s Christmas number one! We all love a sausage roll at Christmas, don’t we? Next up we’ve got Wham, and you’re listening to Spark Radio UK, as we count down the twelve days to Christmas 2018.” Nicole frowned a little at the sheer volume of the radio, and of Shae singing along with it, and she put a finger to her ear in an effort to block out the sound as she stepped out of her bedroom and into the hallway. "I'll see you next year though, I promise," she urged into the phone, her heart hurting at the audible disappointment in the small voice on the other end of it. "And I'll come home in the summer instead, and maybe we can take the kayaks out over the river? Like we used to?" Nicole winced at the soft silence, and she leaned back against the hallway wall as she waited for her best friend's response. She hated saying the words. She hated that she wasn't going home this year. And she hated that Waverly clearly hated it too. "Yeah, that…" Waverly paused, her breath catching just enough to hear, and Nicole let her body slide down to the floor. Waverly cleared her throat. "That would be nice. Would you…" Nicole held her breath at the pause, and the unfamiliar strained tone to Waverly’s voice. "Would you come alone?" Nicole exhaled slowly. She glanced to her side, at the slightly ajar bedroom door, and the barely visible shapes of her girlfriend moving about behind it as she packed their bags to go and spend Christmas on the Isle of Wight, with Shae's family. She felt her heart sink immediately at Waverly’s words, and the meaning she knew was behind it. Nicole was all too aware of the impact her relationship had had on her friendship with Waverly. And she knew exactly why. Nicole had been hopelessly, uncontrollably, and unrequitedly in love with her best friend for fifteen years. For most of her life. And it was time to let that go. She had tried to shift the focus in her mind this past year. Being around Waverly since Nicole had been with Shae had been harder than it ever had been before. It had wracked Nicole with guilt every time, and she knew she'd acted differently because of it. And she'd tried to switch her feelings for Waverly off. She really had. She'd tried her hardest to concentrate on Shae, and to give her girlfriend her whole heart. Like she deserved. But she could feel the strain of her love for Waverly both in her relationship with Shae, and in her relationship with her best friend. And she couldn't bear the memory of the glazed, almost empty look in Waverly’s eyes when Nicole had showed up last Christmas and then again over the summer with Shae. A look so deliberately schooled, so deliberately hidden, in a way Waverly never did around Nicole, that she could only assume it meant her best friend was hiding pain. And she couldn't bear the thought that she was hurting her best friend, because she couldn't control her own stupid goddamn feelings for her. Couldn't bear the fact that the only way that she could stop hurting her like that, was stop loving her like this. But Waverly was Waverly. And Nicole would never not love her. Couldn’t not love her. So she didn't know what to do. "Yeah, Wave, I'll…" she sighed, leaning her head back against the wall as she closed her eyes. "I'll come alone. I promise. Just you and me, like before." Nicole could practically hear the responding soft smile, and she chuckled. She swallowed her regrets down as she whispered her goodbyes, and hung up the phone. She exhaled slowly, taking one last moment of composure, before pushing herself up to her feet. She grinned as in the bedroom behind her, Shae tried and failed miserably to hit the high notes in Mariah Carey's Christmas banger. Nicole did love Shae. In a very, very different way to the way she loved Waverly. But she loved her. And unlike Waverly, Shae loved her back. So in spite of all the times things didn't feel quite right, Nicole kept trying. Because they both deserved to find love that loved them back. Nicole giggled, bounding through the doorway and launching herself around her girlfriend's waist, tackling her backwards onto the bed as the brunette attempted to fold her pyjamas. "Nicole!" Shae shrieked, her arms and legs flailing beneath the redhead’s body as she pinned her to the mattress. "What?" Nicole wriggled her eyebrows in a deliberately over-suggestive motion as she linked her fingers through Shae's, lifting them to pin her arms up above their heads. She dropped her voice, letting a hammed-up dirty husk run through it. "I was just thinking about giving you a little early Christmas present." Shae scoffed a laugh, shaking her head as she tugged against Nicole’s hold. Nicole felt her heart sink. She knew exactly what was coming. The same rejection that came every time she'd tried to be intimate with Shae lately. "We have too much to do," Shae scolded, "get off and go check the laundry load, you giant geek. Otherwise you'll have no socks!" Nicole sighed, nodding weakly as she rolled over onto her back, allowing Shae to push herself up from the bed. She held her hands out for Shae to help her, and she grinned as her girlfriend grunted in her efforts to tug her up. Nicole’s mind was more than a little hazy as she made her way into the laundry room, and let herself slide down to the floor in front of the tumble dryer. It was Christmas, and she was trying her damned hardest not to think too much about how things just didn't feel the same anymore with Shae. How they didn't feel as connected as they used to. And how she still thought every day about Waverly, and how every time the magic faded a little more with Shae, her feelings for her best friend grew harder and harder to swallow down. And she didn't know what to do, but she knew exactly what to do. She pulled her phone from her pocket, staring at the lock screen. The photo of herself and Shae, at her own twenty-first birthday party. Almost a year ago, when the magic was still alive. Then she unlocked the screen, staring instead at her background photo. The photo of herself and Waverly, on paddleboards on the river in the summer of 2014, with the sun dancing off the water and into the golden streaks in Waverly’s hair, and the crinkles round the edges of her eyes. The photo she looked at every time she felt down. She grinned, shaking her head as she pulled up the message screen. Nicole: Will you save my Christmas kiss for me? For the summer? Nicole grinned as the little ticks turned blue immediately. Waverly: Depends, Champ Hardy might be wrangling for it. Nicole: Don’t you dare, that boy stole enough from me! Waverly: So busy stealing your kisses, he forgot to steal my heart. Nicole grinned, her heart settling for the first time since Shae had told her they would be going to the Isle of Wight this year. Nicole: One day Earp, that’ll be mine too. 😉 Waverly: 🙄👀 Nicole: ☕🍡 Waverly: Coffee and an abacus? Nicole: Hot chocolate and marshmallows, obviously! 😘👸 Waverly: Fine, you giant flirt, I’ll save your Christmas kiss. 😘 Just make sure you come get it soon. Nicole: Yes! 💪🏻 Nicole: Thank you! 🥰 Nicole: Miss you, Wave. Waverly: Miss you too, loser.