Dec. 14, 2022

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

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

Chapter One: What's Tradition? - Fanfic reading of Beneath Your Snowman Sheets

It's the first day of Ficmas! Chapter One: What's Tradition?
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?

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Chapter 1 - What's Tradition?

"That was Slade's ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, and you're listening to Spark Radio UK here in Berkshire as we count down the twelve days to Christmas 2003." Nicole frowned as the radio blared loudly through the wall, somehow managing to ring over the tinny sound of Waverly’s TV playing ‘The Snowman’. She didn't know who was playing the radio. Maybe Waverly’s sister Wynonna, or Waverly’s Auntie Gus. But it was loud, and it was a bit confusing when there was lots of other noise too. She blinked, listening hard to try to stay focused on what Waverly was saying instead. They had built a den. They’d gathered every possible sheet and blanket and duvet cover they could find from Waverly’s room, and Wynonna’s room, and the shelves of the laundry cupboard that Nicole could reach, and they'd stretched them out over Waverly’s bed and her dresser, so that it made a tent. It was big. Much bigger than Nicole, and they had filled it with wrapping paper and some tinsel, and lots of Waverly’s toys pretending to be Christmas presents so that it looked like Santa's workshop. “Quick, Gumdrop!" Waverly exclaimed, her hand landing on Nicole’s arm like it was something very important. "If we don’t have all the toys ready by tonight then all the children won’t have presents for Christmas day!” Nicole scrunched her nose. “Why does my name have to be Gumdrop?” she complained. “Why can’t I just be Nicole?” “Because Nicole is a person name!” Waverly told her, in her soft voice that sometimes sounded a bit bossy. But Nicole liked it all the same, because Waverly was her best friend. “You have to have an elf name, you’re supposed to be pretending!” “Nicole? Waverly?” Nicole snapped her head around at the familiar sound of her mum’s voice, calling above the sound of the TV and the noisy radio. “I’m not Waverly, I’m Twinkle!" Waverly poked her head through the little curtain of her special Christmas sheets, with the snowmen and the reindeer. "And Nicole is Gumdrop!” “Is that right?" Nicole's mum chuckled. "In that case, Gumdrop honey, could you come out here for a moment please?” Nicole grumbled, picking at the ends of her woollen sleeves. Now even her mum was calling her Gumdrop and not Nicole. She guessed she didn't mind really. If Waverly wanted her to be Gumdrop, she would be Gumdrop. She always just did whatever Waverly asked her to when they played games, because she didn't want to ever say no. She didn't like it when Waverly’s eyes got sad. But she did like it when Waverly’s smile got big, so she always did things that would make that happen. Nicole stumbled over several piles of wrapping paper, and Waverly’s plush Little Miss Sunshine cushion as she pushed through the curtain, her little legs picking up speed as she ran to meet her mum. Nicole’s mum knelt down beside her, a big smile on her face as she wrapped Nicole up in a warm hug. “I’m leaving now, honey, okay?” she said softly. Nicole nodded. She understood. Her mum was going out, so she brought her to Waverly’s so they could play together while she wasn't at home. “For your date with Mr Nedley?” Nicole checked. Nicole knew what a date was. Nicole’s mum had told her that Mr Nedley was going to pick her up and they were going to wear nice things, and go to eat in a nice place and maybe hold hands, and that it was called a date. And it meant when someone you might want to marry takes you somewhere and treats you all nice and makes you feel special. “Yes, darling." Nicole’s mum smiled, her eyes twinkling. “In fact, Mr Nedley asked me to give you girls these.” Nicole’s mum held out her hand, producing two chocolate lollies wrapped up to look like smiling santas. Nicole thought it must be one for her, and one for Waverly. Waverly would be happy about that, and her smile would get big. “Thank you,” Nicole said, to make sure she was polite like her mum liked her to be. “Will you be alright with Waverly and her aunt tonight?” Nicole’s mum asked. "I'm Twinkle!" Nicole laughed. It was funny hearing Waverly’s bossy voice in the den, and Nicole’s mum laughed too. “Alright sweetie, I love you lots.” Nicole’s mum pulled her tight, giving her another big squeeze like Nicole liked best, and a kiss on her cheek. “Have fun with Twinkle, and be good, alright?” Nicole nodded, watching quietly as her mum left. She felt a little bit sad about her mum going out, but she looked very pretty and very smiley, and Nicole liked that. She liked it when people were smiley. Mr Nedley was smiley, even under his bushy moustache. She liked Mr Nedley, so it was okay that he came round to her house sometimes. And she liked being with Waverly, and with Aunt Gus and Uncle Curtis, so it was okay that she was staying there tonight. She gripped the sticks of her lollies tight in her hands, and she waited until she heard her mum finish walking down the stairs before she pushed her way back through the sheets and into the den. She handed Waverly her lolly, her tummy feeling full of happiness when Waverly’s smile got big, and Nicole could see the crinkles in her eyes and the big gaps in her teeth where the tooth fairy had taken some. “Your Mummy looks pretty," Waverly whispered. Nicole nodded. Her mum did look pretty. Her mum always looked pretty. "Do you think it would be fun to go on a date?" Waverly asked quietly. Nicole thought about it. She didn't know if she wanted to marry anybody yet, so maybe a date was just for grown people, like her mum. But it sounded nice to be treated special. "Maybe." "I think it looks magical in the movies," Waverly whispered. "Like you're a princess, in a pretty dress and someone gives you flowers." Nicole sat down on the floor, next to all of Waverly’s teddies, and she ate her lolly while she thought about it. "I think I can't wait to go on a date, when I'm grown," Waverly whispered, extra quiet. Then she giggled, like it was a secret. Nicole smiled, her tummy feeling full of happiness again. "I'll take you on a date when we're grown," she whispered back. "It'll be the best date in the whole world." Waverly took a bite of her lolly, her face scrunched in thought as she flopped down amongst the scattered, brightly coloured cushions. "Can two girls go on a date?" she asked. "I think you have to go on a date with a boy, Nicole." "Why?" Nicole asked. "People who love each other go on a date, don't they?" "I thought it was just for boys and girls. Like Aunt Gus and Uncle Curtis," Waverly said. "And your Mummy and Mr Nedley." Nicole felt a bit confused. Her mum didn't say that it had to be a boy. She said it was someone you might want to marry. Nicole didn't think she wanted to marry anyone yet because she was only six so she wasn't grown, but if she was going to marry someone she thought she would probably like it to be Waverly. "I dunno," she said, a little bit muffled around a mouthful of her lolly. "But I don't wanna go on a date with a stupid boy. Boys aren’t very nice. I'm gonna take you on a date, Waverly, you can be my princess." Waverly giggled again, her eyes doing that thing where they went all small and crinkly at the edges, and Nicole felt really happy because she liked that laugh. It was her favourite one. "We won't be grown for a long time, Nicole," Waverly giggled. “You have to wait.” Nicole nodded. Waverly was right, it would be a couple of years, probably, before they were grown. Then Nicole smiled, her tummy feeling a bit excited. She had a great idea of how to treat Waverly special, when they were grown. "Yeah but when we are grown, I'll take you to get a white hot chocolate at Hetty’s cafe like your favourite! 'Cause we’ll be grown and we won’t have to wait for Uncle Curtis to take us, so I'll be allowed to do it." "With marshmallows?" Waverly smiled, big and bright and chocolatey. "Definitely!" Nicole nodded her head. She held out her hand, to show the number five on her fingers. “Five little ones!” “Waaazzuuuuuppp!” Nicole jumped as Wynonna’s loud voice shouted outside their den, and she started to shake and hit the sheets that made the roof. “No, stop it Nonna!” Waverly shouted. “Stop it, you’re ruining our game!” “Your mum’s ruining the game," Wynonna sneered, shaking the sheets a little harder for a moment. Nicole wrinkled her nose. How could her mum ruin the game when she was on a date with Mr Nedley? And Waverly didn't even have a mum. The sheets around them billowed and shook as Wynonna jumped down, crawling clumsily over Waverly’s My Little Ponies as she pushed her way into the den. Waverly looked annoyed, but Nicole smiled. She liked Waverly’s sister. She was twelve, and some of the other children in Nicole’s class at school thought she was really scary, but Nicole thought she was funny. She had a nice face. Some people had nice faces and some people had scary faces, like Mr Del Ray at school, but Wynonna had a nice face. Waverly always said Wynonna was a bit annoying but Nicole knew that Waverly loved her sister a lot. Nicole thought she would like to have a sister like Wynonna. Wynonna reached a hand out, ruffling Waverly’s hair with her fingers. “Get off!” Waverly demanded, scrambling backwards to get away. Wynonna laughed, ruffling for a second longer before she pulled away. “Oh my god, guess what?” Wynonna said. “What?" Waverly snapped, her little fingers brushing the hair out of her red face. "And you’re not allowed to say that, that’s swearing!” “Pfft, says who?” Wynonna scoffed. “Says Aunt Gus!” Waverly folded her arms, shooting Wynonna a pointed look. “Yeah, well Aunt Gus can eat my shorts," Wynonna laughed. “Nonna!” Waverly scolded. Nicole giggled. It was funny, like in 'The Simpsons'. Waverly's Aunt Gus said Waverly was a bit young to watch 'The Simpsons', but Nicole’s mum let her watch it sometimes. She didn't tell Waverly in case Waverly was upset that she couldn't watch it. “What do you want, Nonna?” Waverly demanded, her arms still folded across her chest. “You two…” Wynonna whispered, "are under mistletoe.” Wynonna held up a branch with some prickly leaves on it. It had some red berries in the middle. Nicole thought it looked a bit like holly. She knew what holly was, because she helped her mum put it on their Christmas wreath, but Wynonna said it was mistletoe so that must be something different. Nicole didn't know what mistletoe was. “So?” Waverly said. “So, haven’t you seen the movies?” Wynonna smirked. Waverly scrunched up her nose. “It means you have to kiss!” Wynonna whispered. “Kiss who?” Waverly asked. “Nicole, you muppet!” Wynonna laughed. Nicole frowned. Why did the branch with the berries mean Waverly had to kiss her? “Wynonna, they’re like, three!" Wynonna’s friend Mercedes scolded. "What's wrong with you?" Nicole jumped again. She didn't even know Mercedes was here, but she was outside the den. “No I am not three, I’m six!” Waverly stomped her foot, and Nicole felt a bit sad, because Waverly's eyes did that thing where they went really small and her forehead was really wrinkly, and it meant Waverly was upset. Nicole didn't like it when Waverly was upset. “Really?” Mercedes ducked down, her face appearing in the entrance of the den. “When did that happen?” “Yeah, and Nicole is nearly seven," Waverly remarked. “Yeah, Mercedes, they’re six and nearly seven." Wynonna smirked. “Plenty old enough for mistletoe.” “It’s a sprig of holly, you dick, and they’re literally babies! That is not old enough to kiss," Mercedes retorted, flicking Wynonna’s ear with her finger. “Now leave the children alone! I wanna watch 'I’m a Celeb'!” Waverly stomped her foot. “I am not a baby!” Wynonna narrowed her eyes, studying her sister’s face in sinister amusement. “Prove it." She grinned, holding the branch up above Waverly’s head. Waverly frowned. She looked at the branch, her eyes clouding as she considered her task. Then she turned, grabbing Nicole’s face with both hands, and leaned forward to plant a messy kiss on her cheek. Nicole’s cheek felt a bit sticky, and she thought there was probably some chocolate on there, but the kiss made her smile grow really big. Wynonna whooped, throwing her hands in the air as she threw the holly branch behind her. She clapped her hands in triumph as Mercedes chuckled. Nicole felt like she was a bit shy, but she didn't know what for. Only Nicole’s mum had ever given her a kiss before, and her Grandma before when she was little. Waverly giving her a kiss made her tummy feel a bit funny, but it felt like a nice thing. “Can we go watch now, loser?” Mercedes demanded, tugging at Wynonna’s jumper. Wynonna grinned. She reached a hand out, ruffling Waverly’s hair again, and then Nicole’s, before ducking out of the den and disappearing from view. “She’s so annoying," Waverly huffed, sticky fingers coming up to flatten her hair once again. Nicole smiled because it wasn't flat, and now it had some chocolate in it. “She’s not so bad." Nicole shrugged. “You still wanna play?” Waverly asked. “We still have to save Christmas?” Nicole looked at Waverly’s face, and thought she looked like she hoped Nicole would say yes. Nicole smiled. When Nicole smiled, it made Waverly smile. “Yeah," Nicole said. "What do we do, Twinkle? How do we get it all finished in time?”

〜〜〜〜〜〜 🎄 〜〜〜〜〜〜

“There we have it, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis and her contender for this year’s Christmas number one, ‘A Moment Like This!’ Not your usual Christmas entry, but there's no denying that voice! Stay tuned for The Darkness and ‘Christmas Time, Don’t Let the Bells End!’ You’re listening to Spark Radio UK, as we count down the twelve days to Christmas 2006.” Waverly wriggled her arms, her favourite Christmas socks shuffling across the floor in time to the music as she danced around the kitchen. They were her favourite socks because they had funny giraffes on with little Christmas hats, but also because they were fluffy and slidy, and they made it really fun to dance around on the kitchen tiles. Waverly and Nicole were making popcorn in the microwave for their Christmas movie night. They had a Christmas movie night every year now, on the 23rd December, while Aunt Gus and Uncle Curtis, and Nicole’s mum and Uncle Nedley had a dinner party. The grown-ups were all sitting around in the living room, laughing and talking, and Waverly and Nicole were waiting for the microwave to beep with their popcorn. Nicole was leaning on the counter, staring into the microwave to see when the popcorn was done, but Waverly wasn't tall enough to lean on the counter yet. So she was dancing, because she felt happy that it was Christmas, and that she was having her movie night with Nicole. And dancing was her favourite thing to do when she was happy. The microwave beeped, and Waverly grinned as Nicole took the bag out and shared it into two special Christmas bowls, with snowman faces and some snowflakes on them. Nicole handed the bigger one to Waverly. Waverly carried it carefully, her little fingers stretched as they tried to reach all the way around the bowl. She poked her tongue between her lips, concentrating hard as she tried not to drop any popcorn on her way up the stairs to her bedroom. It lasted until the last step. Before Waverly could make it across the hallway, Wynonna launched herself out from her own bedroom, pouncing on her little sister. Waverly squealed, tightening her grip on her bowl as she fought to keep it steady. A little too tight. Her arms jerked, and her bowl jolted, and the air filled with pieces of sweet and butter popcorn. She yelped as her popcorn flew into her own face, across the hall, down the stairs behind her, and all over Nicole. "Give me your tears, gypsy!" Wynonna yelled, wrapping her arms around a squirming Waverly as she began to tickle her. "If you do not give them to me, I will take them from…" "Wynonna!" Gus's stern voice called from the bottom of the stairs. "How many times do I need to tell you, that awful film is not appropriate for your sister!" "Sorry, Gus." Wynonna rolled her eyes, still tickling Waverly. “It’s nice.” Waverly thrashed her arms, fighting to free herself from her annoying sister’s grasp. Her special snowman bowl clattered to the floor. "Get off me!" She wailed. "Guess what…" Wynonna stopped tickling, instead pulling Waverly back into a big cuddle from behind. "What?" Waverly demanded. She was still annoyed, but the cuddle was nicer than the tickling. Wynonna let go, grabbing something from her back pocket and whipping it out in front of her. "Mistletoe time!" Waverly huffed. "Are we really still torturing them with this, Earp?" Mercedes grumbled, leaning in the doorway of Wynonna’s room. "They're still babies." Waverly felt her heart get hot, and she frowned as she started to feel angry. "I'm not a baby!" She growled. She was really annoyed. She was annoyed because her popcorn was all over the floor, but she was also annoyed because she hated it when Wynonna and Mercedes said she was a baby. Just because they were fifteen now, didn't mean that Waverly was a baby. She was nine, and that was plenty big enough not to be a baby anymore. And she didn't understand why Wynonna always got the mistletoe out. She did it last year when Waverly was eight, and the year before when she was seven, and the year before that when she was six. And Waverly still didn't understand why some leaves and some holly meant she was supposed to kiss her best friend. Waverly felt grumpy. But when she turned around to see Nicole, she felt less annoyed really quickly. Her best friend was crouched down on the top of the stairs, picking up all of Waverly’s popcorn and putting it back into her bowl. When Nicole caught Waverly’s eye, she smiled sweetly at her, her cheeks getting little dimples in each one. Then Nicole stood up, handing Waverly the other bowl of popcorn. The one that hadn't been dropped all over the floor. Waverly beamed. She didn't like it when things had been on the floor, and it was nice that Nicole swapped them so that she didn't have to eat the dirty ones. Nicole was a very good best friend. She was Waverly’s favourite person in the whole world. And Waverly didn't understand the mistletoe, but she didn't mind giving Nicole a kiss. She didn't mind because it made Nicole’s smile get big with her dimples, and her cheeks go a little bit red, and Waverly thought she looked cute when she went a little bit red. So she took the bowl with a big smile, then she leaned forward onto her tiptoes, and gave Nicole her best kiss on the cheek, right next to her dimple. Nicole grinned. "What're you grinning at, Little Haught?" Wynonna chuckled. Nicole shrugged. "I like it." "Waverly’s Christmas kiss?" Wynonna raised an eyebrow. "Yeah." Nicole nodded. Waverly beamed. She liked that Nicole liked the kiss. And she liked that it made Nicole smile a little bigger. "Aaawwwh," Mercedes cooed, her hands coming up to cover her mouth. "Well then, good job it's tradition!" Wynonna grinned, reaching out to ruffle Nicole’s hair, tousling the strands that fell loose from the redhead’s plait. Waverly furrowed her brows. "What's tradition?" "Means you have to do it every year," Wynonna explained. She grinned, wrapping an arm around Nicole’s shoulder and pulling her into her side. "Would you like that, Little Haught?" "Yeah." Nicole nodded. Waverly played the word over in her head, picturing the letters and tasting it on her tongue. "Tradition."