Alex’s not sure when she fell asleep but she was next to Nicole, her arm wrapped tightly around her and it was all that mattered. A few hours later, she could feel an empty space next to her, reaching out, her hand was met by the cold empty sheets. Cracking an eye open, Alex realized it was already morning, but it must’ve been either really early or the sky was very cloudy. The small amount of light making its way in to the room through the curtains illuminated the figure sitting in front of her. Nicole was sitting by the edge of the bed, her back facing Alex and not a stitch on her body, her blonde hair a beautiful mess. Alex let out a soft sigh; she would never get tired of that sight.
“Hey,” She almost whispered, propping herself up on her elbows; something seemed to be bothering Nicole and Alex hoped she wasn’t having second thoughts.
Nicole brought her head up, noticing for the first time Alex was awake. Turning her head slightly, she responded, “Hey.”
“Are you okay?” Alex hesitated.
She chewed on her bottom lip, replying after a moment. “I don’t know about this.”
Alex sighed, letting herself fall back against the pillow.
“Last night was great, don’t get me wrong.” Nicole lied back down, pulling the comforter over herself. “I just…I don’t know.” She propped herself on her elbow, turning to look at Alex.
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”
“That’s the thing, I do want to.”
“Then why not? Because I’m getting a lot of mixed signals here.” She tried, bringing her hand to tuck in a loose strand of hair behind Nicole’s ear. “I know why you’re worried…but not everyone is going to turn out like that.” Alex cupped her cheek, gently stroking it with her thumb.
Nicole leaned into her hand, “I know.”
“And I can promise you I will never do anything to hurt you.” Alex brought her hand away. “If I do anything even remotely close to that, I think I deserve to have my gun used on me.”
Nicole finally smiled, “That should be at least a little reassuring but I don’t know how to use a gun.”
“Really?” Alex asked in surprise. “I should take you down to the range some time, show you how.” She smiled back. “If you want.”
“Yeah, that sounds kinda cool.” She leaned forward, kissing Alex. Alex leaned into the kiss, smiling against Nicole, she couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, this could work… The two of them lay in bed for a couple more hours, Nicole eventually drifted back to sleep but Alex couldn’t. She lay there still, her arm around Nicole holding her close. She wanted to make the most of this moment, soaking it in as much as possible because for a moment, everything was alright; and Alex didn’t have anything on her mind other than Nicole.
Nicole woke up when she felt Alex getting out of bed, finally managing to open her eyes, she spoke, “Morning.”
Alex looked at her with a smile – she’d only bothered to pull on Nicole’s t-shirt from last night – and replied as she opened the bathroom door, “Morning,”
“You didn’t sleep again, did you?” Nicole asked knowingly.
She shrugged, “You were a bit too distracting.”
She laughed with a nod, not wanting to move from her bed. A part of her wanted to go back to sleep after the night they’d had, her body still sore; but another part of her wanted to get Alex back into bed and have a repeat of last night.
Alex stepped into the bathroom, forcing Nicole to have to look away from her legs which seemed to go one for days. She heard the shower turn on for before Alex poked her head out through the door, “Join me?”
“When is Ophelia getting back?” Alex asked, sitting down on the bed, buttoning her shirt.
Nicole picked up her phone from the nightstand, glancing at the screen before putting it back down. “Shit,” She muttered under her breath. “Ten to fifteen minutes. At most” She let the towel she was drying her hair with fall on the floor. Nicole began to walk over to her closet to get a t-shirt, wearing nothing more than her jeans and bra.
“Wait, wait, wait.” Alex caught her by the wrist, pulling Nicole to sit her down on her lap.
Nicole gave in, her legs on either side of the brunette and Alex’s hands resting on her waist, “Hmm?”
“What do we tell them?”
“Well,” She said as she started buttoning up Alex’s shirt, her finger tips brushing against the perfectly defined abs Nicole remembers all too well from the past night. “They seemed to have had their fun trying to get us together…”
“I mean we don’t have to tell them.” Nicole told her. “We can go on like this but I don’t see why we have to go up to them and say “Hey guys, we’re kinda together now, we should’ve probably listened to you sooner.””
Alex laughed. “So you just want to see how long it takes them to figure it out?”
“Yes.” Nicole closed the last button and looked up. “It probably won’t take them too long but yeah, it should be fun.” She gave her a quick kiss, leaving Alex wanting more. “You’re gonna be late for work.” Nicole teased as she began to get up.
“Are you always like this?”
“Like what?” She asked, faking innocence.
Walking out of the room, Alex walked straight towards the front door with Nicole behind her. Yes, she was being a tease but Nicole was right, Alex would be late for work today, she might not have the time to stop for coffee at The Hourglass. She stifled a yawn as she opened the door; Nicole definitely wore her out.
“Can you blame me?” She asked rhetorically, “You on the other hand…”
Nicole let out a giggle before she could stop herself. “I’m probably going to fall asleep halfway through the day so…”
“I’ll see you later then…?” It wasn’t intended to come out as a question, but Alex wasn’t really sure.
“Yeah,” She muttered, leaning in for a kiss.
Alex could feel her bottom lip between Nicole’s teeth, tugging gently when her phone went off, “Sorry.” She pulled away, digging it out of her pocket. “Detective Woods,” She sighed. After a moment, Alex covered the mouthpiece, turning to speak to Nicole, “They found something, I have to go. I’ll see you later.”
“Call me when you get out.” Nicole told her and she smiled back, going back to her call and walking away.
Hanging up, she noticed a figure walking her way. After a moment, Alex realized it was Ophelia. Fuck, this is going to raise questions. And she really didn’t have the time for that right now so Alex held her phone against her ear, hoping Ophelia would think she was still talking to her partner and just keep walking. She gave Ophelia a small wave as she walked past and to Alex’s relief, she didn’t say anything other than a small “Hey,”
“WHAT THE HELL NICOLE?” Ophelia asked, bursting in through the door, making Nicole jump.
“Jeez O,” She rolled her eyes “What?”
“THAT WAS ALEX.”
“Stop yelling, and yes it was…”
“Why…?” Ophelia asked after a beat of silence, she still wasn’t sure what was going on with the two of them. “Are things…okay with you two?”
Nicole only shrugged, turning to the coffee machine, pressing the on button.
Her roommate was suspicious. Just over 24 hours ago, Nicole wouldn’t even talk about Alex and yesterday morning Helios told her the two of them were talking again. And today she was walking out of their apartment? Something was up but Ophelia didn’t really know how to bring it up without having Nicole shut her down. It took her a second but Ophelia finally found something to question her friend on. “You’re hair’s wet.” She commented.
Nicole turned to face her, unsure of what her friend was implying. “Yes that’s what happens when you take a shower…”
“You don’t shower in the morning.” She replied, shaking her head. “Unless…”
Now she knew what her best friend was implying. Nicole turned around in an attempt to not let Ophelia see the look on her face.
“Unless you sleep with someone.” She let a beat of silence pass, waiting for Nicole to reply. “NICOLE.”
“No.” She stated, composing herself and looking back at her friend.
“Yes,” She nodded vigorously. “You say it’s round 2, some times 3. Which was it this time?” Ophelia smirked.
“Neither.” It was round 4, Nicole thought, so technically, she wasn’t lying.
“You slept with her!” Ophelia exclaimed, disregarding what her best friend was saying.
“We didn’t…” She tried.
“Someone’s happy today.” Was the first thing Alex heard once she’d gotten to the precinct. Her partner had probably noticed her a little…off the past week although Alex thought she’d done a good job at pretending to not be effected by it. She’d only smiled it off, not wanting to elaborate. But as the day went on, Alex found herself lost in her thoughts; about Nicole, last night…Nicole. It was a slow day, mostly going through missing persons’ reports trying to find who their victim was because his fingerprints weren’t in the system. That made it even easier to get lost in her thoughts.
“You seem tired.” Caris commented as Alex covered her mouth with the back of her hand, losing count of how many times she’d yawned in the past hour. “Long night?” She asked, her tone suggestive.
Alex narrowed her eyes slightly, tilting her head in confusion. “Uhh…”
She immediately set down the file which was in her hands, “Was it Nicole?”
“What?!” Alex asked, almost defensively. It wasn’t really a surprise to Alex that the first person that came to her mind was Nicole. Caris was a damn good cop and if you’re someone’s partner for about 2 months, Alex figured, you’d know who they hung around with. “I highly suggest you go back to your work Officer Harvey,” Alex told her, her tone straight and formal.
“Okay…” Caris picked up the file, holding it up to hide the smirk. She pretty much just told me it was Nicole.
Alex looked away from her partner and buried her face in a new file, trying to hide the redness that was creeping up her neck and to her cheeks.
Ophelia’s on to us.
Alex and Caris were in interrogation when Nicole’s text came through so she couldn’t open it for another few minutes. Knowing it was Nicole because no one else really texted her when she was at work, it was the first thing Alex read after walking out.
That was quick. What made her question it?
Nicole was on her laptop, “working” when her phone finally buzzed. Alex’s question made her think for a little while before replying.
I’ll tell u later. How’s work?
Can’t seem to catch a break.
Just as she pressed send, the phone on her desk rang. Hoping it was something related to the case, she picked it up.
“You should invite Alex this year.” Robin said from the kitchen to Nicole and Ophelia who were in the living room, trying to figure out what to watch.
“Invite her for what?” Nicole looked up at her friend.
“Christmas dinner.” Ophelia replied from next to her.
It didn’t surprise Nicole that Ophelia knew what Robin was talking about when she didn’t. “Umm…” Nicole wasn’t really sure where this was even coming from. They hadn’t talked about it and she assumed it would be the same as every other year; Ophelia, Helios, Robin and herself. Only difference this year being Lincoln.
“Yeah, Lincoln’s coming and I don’t think Alex has any plans.”
Nicole thought for a moment, her friends were right, Alex probably didn’t have any plans. “Yeah, I’ll ask her.”
Her friends grinned. “So things are okay between you two now?” Robin asked.
“Yes.” She sighed.
Alex texted Nicole as she made her way to her car in the station’s parking lot.
Closed the case, heading out now. Are you home?
Nicole replied a minute later.
Yep. U can come over but Robin and O are here.
A little under 15 minutes later, there was a knock on the front door and Ophelia was the one to practically run up to answer it. She wanted to know what changed between her and Nicole in such a short amount of time. But before she or Robin could ask anything, Nicole shut them down saying there was nothing to talk about. Alex sat down next to Nicole on the couch with Robin sitting on her spot on the floor and Ophelia next to her because she had the popcorn and Nicole didn’t want any. Although the TV was on, they weren’t really watching whatever was on. Robin and Ophelia were mostly talking to Alex about her week because although they’d seen each other, it was quite awkward and they didn’t really talk much.
Robin left about an hour later saying how she had to be up early for work and unlike Nicole and Alex, she actually needed sleep in order to get through the day. Ophelia didn’t stay up much longer either, suspicious about Nicole and Alex even when she walked away to her room. It was pretty clear to her that Alex was probably going to spend the night but Ophelia wasn’t really sure what that meant right now.
“So…” Alex started as Ophelia’s door closed behind her and her arm found their way around Nicole’s shoulder. “You said they were already on to us?”
Nicole leaned in towards her. “Yeah, you know how Ophelia can be.” She didn’t really want to explain why Ophelia suspected something. “Oh I wanted to ask you something.”
“Hmm?” Alex turned her head to look at Nicole.
“Do you have any plans for Christmas?”
“No…” She replied. “Why?”
“Come over for dinner. Like an actual Christmas dinner; Ophelia and Helios go all out. It’s always just the four of us but Lincoln’s coming this year so…”
Alex smiled. She doesn’t really remember the last time she celebrated Christmas; with work and everything, it just didn’t happen. And there wasn’t anyone around other than Reyna; they’d probably just get together for a drink or something after getting off work but that was about it. “I’d love to but I have to work.”
“When do you get off?” Nicole asked. She’d thought Alex might have to work that night, so it wasn’t a surprise.
“Come over then, no one’s going to sleep before at least 2am. It’s dinner, followed by a Christmas horror movie and then presents.”
“Presents at night instead of in the morning?” Alex asked.
“Yeah,” Nicole laughed to herself at the memory. “Our first Christmas after…leaving home really; I was visiting Bell and O, and Robin decided on the last moment to come over as well. But we were all caught up the entire day; Robin’s car broke down and I was kind of forced to spend the day with my mom and her family. So we didn’t actually get to meet up until like 10.” She explained. “The next two years were kind of the same – something or the other held us up the entire day and after that, we kind of just decided to do that every year. Only now it’s planned out better and with actual food.”
Alex smiled before asking again, “Why a horror movie though? Shouldn’t it be just a Christmas one?”
“I’m not really sure how we got to that to be honest,” Nicole said after thinking about it for a minute. There was no real reason why they watched a horror movie – a Christmas themed one, but still – on Christmas. “So, you’re coming?” She asked after a beat of silence.
“Sounds like it’s a family thing with the four of you.” Alex gave her a small smile. “Are you sure they’ll be okay with having someone else over?”
“Yeah, yeah, absolutely.” Nicole nodded. “Robin and Ophelia brought up asking you to join us before I could bring it up with them. “
“Okay,” Alex nodded, leaning in to kiss Nicole.
“You are coming this year right?” Abby asked, standing in Nicole and Ophelia’s kitchen. Nicole had only just gotten home from class to find her mom already at her apartment. She hadn’t been answering any of her calls, only replying with texts saying she was too busy and couldn’t talk. Abby had had enough and decided to just show up at her daughter’s apartment when she got back home.
“I can’t.” Nicole replied simply, standing opposite her mom, her back against the kitchen counter.
“And why not?”
“Really?” She looked over at her roommate who was sitting in the living room, doubtlessly listening in on what her friend and mom were talking about instead of watching TV. “They’re gonna burn the house down without me.”
“She’s right.” Ophelia called out. “Me and Helios shouldn’t be left alone without someone responsible, especially with Robin around.”
Abby didn’t pay attention to her. “You didn’t come for our Christmas party the last two years. Everyone wants to see you.”
“Do they mom? Do they really?” Nicole exaggerated.
“Fine.” Her mom sighed. “Just show up for a couple of hours then you can get back to Ophelia, Helios and Robin.” She paused before muttering under her breath, “Obviously they mean more to you than your family.”
“They do.” She forced a smiled at her mom. “But fine, just a couple of hours.”