I'll Be Right Behind You

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Chapter 15

“So you two are okay now…?” Robin asked hesitantly as Alex sat down next to Nicole at their usual booth at Grounders.

“Yeah, yeah.” Nicole muttered, taking Alex’s hand and intertwining their fingers under the table.

It had been a week since they’d…gotten together? Alex wasn’t sure what to call it but yeah. And since then she’d learnt something new about Nicole, she couldn’t keep her hands off of her. Whether it was to hold her hand or slide it down her pants, Alex wasn’t really complaining. It was also clear that Robin and Ophelia were growing suspicious and it was only a matter of time till they figured it out. Nicole and Alex really wanted to drag it out, the longer the better – the looks on their faces when they finally figured it out will be priceless. Helios and Lincoln weren’t reading too much into it, even before things got weird between Nicole and Alex, according to them, they were pretty much like this.

Lincoln had told Ophelia that she was overreacting – but that wasn’t news to anyone really – but he too had to agree that maybe something was different between the two when they were leaving and Alex helped Nicole into her jacket and they almost linked arms but stopped when they realized they weren’t alone.


Nicole clenched her jaws as she stormed out through the front door, her mom trailing closely behind her. “Nicole wait.”

She kept walking. Her car was parked only a few feet away; she needed to get away from here. There was a reason Nicole hadn’t shown up the last two years; literally no one actually wants her there. And them pretending that they do is worse than saying it straight out. She should’ve just said no and spent the night with Helios, Ophelia and Robin.

“Nicole!” Her mom called out again as she unlocked her car.

“What?!” Nicole spat out, turning on her heel suddenly. “What mom?”

“Come back inside.” Abby tried to calm her down.

“Are you kidding me?” Nicole asked. “After…that? I don’t think I really want to.”

“It wasn’t that bad.” She offered.

“Bye mom.” Nicole said as she got into her car and closed the door, starting the engine.


Walking in to her apartment, Nicole could feel the calmness overwhelming her. The living room looked like a Christmas bomb had gone off; the tree by the window on the far end of the apartment wasn’t too big but Helios and Ophelia had gone all out with the decorations, and the wrapped boxes under it made it look like something out of a postcard. There were Santa Clause and Rudolph everythings all over the place and the entire apartment smelled like cinnamon. Robin was in the living room with the Blakes, refusing to wear a Christmas sweater yet again but settling for a reindeer hoodie complete with antlers. Helios and Ophelia on the other hand were in the most ridiculous Christmas sweaters Nicole had seen them in till now. Alex and Lincoln were already here; she was wearing one of her t-shirt’s she’d left here the last time Alex stayed over and Lincoln was wearing a hoodie similar to Robin’s – courtesy of Ophelia, Nicole figured. A small smile tugged at the corner of her lips, momentarily forgetting why she was upset. However, it didn’t last too long and before the others could even say hi, memories of earlier that night rushed back.

“Nicole?” Ophelia called out when she noticed her best friend storming through the apartment towards her bedroom. She didn’t stop, Nicole didn’t even seem to hear her. “Hey,” Ophelia called out again, taking of after her, slightly concerned.

The door slammed shut behind Nicole without another word. Everyone silent and looking at the door intently as Ophelia knocked on it softly, “Nicole?”

“I’ll be out in a minute O,” Came her voiced, muffled through the door.

No she won’t. “What happened?” Things never went well with Nicole and her mom, let alone her entire family.

Silence…

“Nicole?” She tried again, slowly cracking the door open.

“Leave.” Her best friend said to her.

“Okay…” Yeah something definitely happened, Ophelia stepped back, closing the door.

She looked at Robin for help but instead of coming up to the door, she looked at Alex. “You’re up commander smolder.”

Alex mouthed a confused ’what?’ but stood up nonetheless. Where did commander even come from? She really wanted to ask Robin but was more concerned about Nicole at this point. Walking up to her door, Alex knocked softly before slowly opening it and beginning to step inside.

“Bad…bad idea, Alex…” She could hear the others call out to her as she stepped inside and closed the door behind her. First thing she noticed was that the room was relatively dark, only the small lamp on the night stand turned on. Nicole was sitting on the edge of her bed, elbows on her knees and her head resting in her hands. “Hey…” She started carefully, almost waiting for Nicole to tell her off. When she didn’t, Alex approached her, sitting down on the bed next to her. “What’s wrong?”

“I shouldn’t have gone.” Nicole said without looking up.

“What happened?” Alex asked, placing her hand on Nicole’s back in an attempt to comfort her.

“No one wants me there.” She said simply, bringing her head up to look at Alex. “And they keep pretending that they do and it’s so fucking annoying.” Alex didn’t say anything, only moved her hand up and down her back. “Then someone slips up and says something which has either to do with Finn or my sexuality because obviously, I am nothing more than those two things.”

Alex pulled her closer and Nicole rested her head on the brunette’s shoulder. “I honestly don’t know what I did to be reduced to that.”

“I’m sorry.” Alex muttered, kissing her hair.

“And no one even tries to apologize.” She looked up at Alex. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they’re playing some sick game of who can make me leave the quickest.”

“They’re terrible people.” Alex concluded. “But probably not that terrible.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised.” Nicole told her. “Then there’s my mom with her “family’s more important than anything else” bullshit. Like no, mine sucks, they don’t even want me around.”

Alex lets a few seconds pass, trying to think of something to say. “But they do,” She told Nicole. “Your family does want you around,”

“Yeah right,” Nicole scoffed.

“Let me finish,” Alex continued and Nicole sat up straight to look at her. “From what I’ve seen the last few months, your family’s on the other side of this door, Robin and Helios and Ophelia. They’re your family; they love you for everything you are and wouldn’t change a thing, and they want you around no matter what.” She stopped, waiting for Nicole to say something but she only smiled so Alex continued. “And they’re all waiting for you.” She stood up, holding out her hand for Nicole.

“Thanks,” She told Alex as she pulled herself of the bed.


Ophelia and Robin stared almost in disbelief as Alex walked out of their friend’s room with Nicole only a few minutes later. Helios only watched with a small smile on his face and Lincoln was still unsure of what was happening despite Ophelia having explained it to him. Neither of them spoke, only walked up to the living room in silence to join their friends.

“Are you okay?” Helios asked once Nicole and Alex had sat down. Robin was on the couch with Ophelia and Lincoln, and Helios on the floor, closer to the Christmas tree, giving him an awkward view of the TV screen. Nicole and Alex sat down on the floor by the couch, resting their backs against it.

“Yeah,” She gave him a small smile. “What are we watching again?” Nicole turned her head to look at Robin and Alex followed.

A Christmas Horror Story.” She told her friend before looking at Alex. “Lincoln tells me you’re not one for horror movies, so I went for the least scary one I could find.”

She tilted her head slightly in confusion; something Nicole had picked up on about Alex and found utterly adorable. Alex could see Nicole smiling at her but she did her best to not let that affect her; that smile was…it was distracting. “I don’t like horror movies; that doesn’t mean I’m afraid of them.”

“Sure thing.” Robin nodded, dismissing her.

“She doesn’t scare easy.” Lincoln told the others. “There are only a few things that can actually scare Alex.”

She nodded in response.

“Commitment and dating being one them, I assume.” Ophelia added. “I mean, otherwise you would’ve asked Nicole out by now.” That caused everyone in the room to laugh other than Nicole and Alex who only glared at Ophelia.

As the movie started, Alex’s arm found their way around Nicole, both of them completely unaware of the confused and slightly suspicious looks they were getting from their friends. Lincoln and Helios were taken aback by it considering how they had barely seen the two of them with each other the past two weeks and how the week before, they weren’t even talking. Ophelia was mostly suspicious; seeing Alex leave their apartment that morning and then Nicole and Alex not even being seen around each other more than a handful of times the past two weeks made her feel like they were doing it deliberately. Not because they didn’t want to see each other but because they didn’t want to be seen with each other. And Alex’s arm now around Nicole? Yeah something was definitely up. Robin seemed to be somewhere between her best friend and the guys. Unsure, she exchanged a confused look with the others who only gave her the same look and Ophelia shrugged.

Other Blake

10:01pm

This is weird

She sent a text to Robin, not wanting to say anything out loud.

Robin nodded as she typed out her reply and hit sent.

Robin

10:01pm

Nicole and Alex?

Ophelia looked up at her, giving her an unimpressed look.

Other Blake

10:01pm

No Lincoln’s xmas hoodie

Other Blake

10:02pm

OF COURSE IM TALKING ABOUT NICOLE AND ALEX

Nicole and Alex were oblivious to the texts now being passed not only between Robin and Ophelia but also Lincoln and Helios. As the movie rolled, Nicole found herself moving closer to Alex. She also found Alex doing her best to not react to the movie in front of her; she may have said that she wasn’t afraid of horror movies, but from what Nicole could see…she was anything but. Two thirds into the movie Nicole leaned in towards Alex’s ear, her lips almost touching Alex, “Are you okay?” She whispered.

Alex felt herself stiffen at Nicole’s close proximity. “Yeah, yeah,” She breathed out. “Why?”

She only shrugged and said, feigning concern. “You don’t seem to be enjoying the movie.”

Alex looked at her, unimpressed, not saying anything.

Nicole was just about to place her head on Alex’s shoulder when she suddenly realized their friends were right there. This is exactly why we haven’t been hanging out around you guys. Since they’d gotten together, Nicole had found herself almost incapable of keeping her hands off of Alex; whether it be just to hold her hand or…something entirely different.


They were halfway through opening presents when Nicole handed Alex a relatively small. “You didn’t have to…” Alex told her as she unwrapped the box. They had agreed to no presents because it was their first Christmas together and it felt like too much pressure. Obviously Alex had stuck to that agreement…not.

“Well you did,” Nicole responded as Ophelia handed her the small box which was addressed to her from Alex.

“Wow.” Alex smiled as she pulled out the coffee mug from the box. “This is great, thank you.” It was a plain white mug with a silver gun’s handle. Alex held the mug, her hand wrapping around the handle the way it would around her gun’s grip. “Thank you.” She thanked Nicole again.

Smiling, Nicole unwrapped her box to find a flat velvet box. She would’ve probably been worried if it was smaller but instead she just looked at Alex suspiciously as she slowly and deliberately lifted the lid. It was a small pendant on a chain with a three-headed dragon, the sigil of her favorite Game of Thrones house. “This is so cool, oh my god.”

Alex smiled, clearly pleased with herself. “I’m glad you like it.”

“It’s great.” Nicole smiled, and before her brain could tell her body to stop, her lips were already on Alex’s. It took them both by surprise and Alex’s body tensed for a moment before relaxing and kissing back. It was a short kiss but Nicole lingered with a small smile, realizing how their friends were probably reacting.

What the hell Nicole?!” Ophelia exclaimed, as they pulled apart, doing their best to not look at their friends.

“Are you two serious right now?” Robin asked.

Alex bit her bottom lip in an attempt to hide her smile. This is precisely why Nicole didn’t want to tell them but to let them figure it out…well they did kind of give it away.

“Yeah…” Nicole finally spoke.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Ophelia asked.

“It was more fun this way.” Nicole shrugged.

“How long have you two…?” Helios trailed off.

Nicole and Alex exchanged a look before the brunette spoke. “About two weeks.”

TWO WEEKS?” Everyone exclaimed simultaneously.

Nicole laughed and Alex allowed herself to smile. “Hey, you guys drove us nuts trying to get us together, so we thought we’d let you guys suffer for a little while.” Nicole told her friends.

“But we were right.” Robin told them.

“Yeah, but you still drove us nuts.” She repeated.

“You guys did kind of deserve it.” Alex added. “And it took you longer than we thought.”

“Oh no you don’t.” Robin shook her head. “Don’t go around taking your girlfriend’s side already.”

Alex clenched her jaws at the word “girlfriend”. It was probably a little childish of her but having Nicole referred to as her girlfriend felt…strange.

“Yeah,” Ophelia nodded. “You want to be on your good side so that when she’s mad at you, you know there’s someone who’s going to talk her down.” She added and Robin and Helios nodded.

Nicole rolled her eyes. “Shut up and go back to opening your presents.” She told them as Alex – finally – put her arm around Nicole, pulling her closer and placed a small kiss on her cheek.

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