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Learning Is Fun

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“And I packed you some granola bars and some water and Gatorade for afterwards so you’re not starving on the way home, I put it in your gear bag already.” Christen states as Tobin is checking her bag once more, making sure she has everything she needs.

“Thanks, babe,” Tobin says, looking up at her, “I appreciate it.” She slings the strap of her bag on her shoulder, “I gotta go,” she says, stepping close to kiss her, “and thank you for last night,” she smiles, “it was incredible,” she smiles, referring to the bath and the amazing oral sex Christen insisted on giving her before they went to sleep.

Christen smiles, “Remember to have fun,” she states, “and just soak it all in,”

“I will,” Tobin promises, kissing her once more, “I love you,”

“I love you,” Christen walks with her to the door, “knock them dead!” She calls out from the doorway, “Don’t forget your helmet!”

Tobin had decided to bike over to the park, it was fairly close and she didn’t want to deal with trying to park. She also didn’t want Christen to drop her off and pick her up, claiming the ride would give her time to pysch herself up and the ride back home would give her time to decompress. It’s in the mid-fifties so her thick hoodie is perfect and it’s not too cold that she’d need gloves.

 

 

XXXX

 

 

Tobin skids to a halt, dismounting her bike and leaning it against one of the u-shaped bike racks just outside the door to the Timbers Office gate on 20th Avenue. It’s here that she should enter the park, so she collects herself for a minute, slowly removing her helmet, then her heavy hoodie, fixing her ponytail and taking a few deep breaths as she locks her bike and then heads in. She’s greeted by some friendly staff members in the entrance directing her to the sign in table.

She signs off on the insurance form and a release for filming. Apparently, tryouts are filmed for further review and all participants must sign off beforehand. Once she’s returned the forms, she’s given a large numbered sticker to put on the front of her training top. Tobin presses it on and is directed to a group of other hopefuls gathered near the hallway. The woman unrolls a strip of athletic tape and Tobin writes her last name on it in bold letters and the woman applies it to her back. The group is led through the halls, turning a few times to reach the tunnel to the field.

As they filter out onto the pitch, Tobin glances around at the near empty stands, thinking of how wild it is that she’s here doing this. It feels strange to be in the park and it be so quiet. It’s almost a reverent silence. They’re given instructions of where to stow their bags and told they should get ready and they’ll begin the stretching portion momentarily. Tobin glances around as she gets her turf cleats on, glad to see a few faces she thinks are around her own age. She imagines there’s over a hundred women assembled here. She’s looking around as she follows the stretching routine. There’s hardly any talking, the vibe Tobin gets is everyone is in their own zone. She smiles to herself, thinking of Christen encouraging her to soak in all in.

After the warmups, they get sorted into groups and begin passing drills. Tobin introduces herself to her teammates and after looking rather shocked, they introduce themselves to her. They get a good energy going and when they get to rotating through for shooting drills, Tobin finds herself calling out to them when they hit nice shots and soon the whole group is encouraging each other.

They get sorted into new groups, doing short sided scrimmages. Tobin is having fun, she feels like she has the ball on a string, her passes are spot on, her shots curling beautifully. When they ask for volunteers to take corners, Tobin raises her hand.

 

 

“The one in the orange cleats,” she says, elbowing the man next to her, “watch her corners,” The small group watch as Tobin sends in another beautiful one, meeting the head of one her teammates who puts it in the back of the net. They are huddled way up high in a box above the pitch.

“I’ve been watching her,” he replies mildly, "she's hard not to miss."

“She plays like a Brazilian,” one of the other women enthuses, “I’d love to see her go against Marta,”

“I’m telling you Mark,” Christine Sinclair says, “she’s the real deal.”

Mark Parsons looks at her, “Where she been?”

“Working, playing pickup,” Sinc answers. “Just watch, that’s all I’m saying,”

They all watch as Tobin gives high fives to her teammates when they take a short break. “Team player,” Mark murmurs.

“Just wait until you see her go one v one,” Emily Menges says, “she’ll make them look like fools.”

Sinc laughs, “Just because she did it to you?”

“Shut up,” Emily growls, but a smile is on her face.

 

 

Tobin almost feel bad after nutmegging yet another defender. Once she gets the ball back, she looks up and sees her forward making a run and she slides a perfectly weighted ball for her to one touch in stride and blast it at the net. They blow the whistle and gather the teams, encouraging them to take a water break.

“Heath!” one of the coaches calls out, waving her over.

“Hey,” Tobin greets them, squirting some water in her mouth.

“You play forward too?” he asks, looking at her over his clipboard.

“I have,” Tobin nods, “I’m usually a middy, but I’ve played forward and right back.”

He nods, “Get in with the forwards this next round.”

“Sure thing,” Tobin nods with a smile and then turns and trots back to her group.

They switch more players within the two groups before starting up again. They have at least six stations of small sided games going on, the mini fields all lined with short cones.
On one play, Tobin gets into the box with the ball, seeing two defenders converge on her and the other striker lingering nearby. She angles over and then flicks a back heel pass her teammate fumbles from not expecting it, turning the ball over.

When the mini games are over, they blow the whistle and meet in the center of the pitch. One of the coaches informs them they would receive an email tonight to letting them know if they are invited back for tomorrow. They inform the group to rest up. Tomorrow will consist of more in depth drills and designed plays and then the beep test. After that, they thank everyone for showing up and dismiss them.

Tobin and others linger on the pitch, doing some stretches afterwards. When she retrieves her bag and helmet, she smiles at the note Christen attached to her little baggie of snacks, eating a granola bar as she slowly finishes up and changes into her gymshoes and slides on her thick hoodie.

She makes her way out of the stadium, feeling as if she’s floating as she makes the quick ride home.

 

 

XXXX

 

 

“Ooooohhhh!” Tobin groans loudly, “Oh Chris,” she moans, “don’t stop, that feels so good,” Christen is presently stretching out Tobin’s left leg, moving it slowly to really get a deep stretch. Tobin is on the floor, on top of Christen’s yoga mat, freshly showered and Christen has insisted on helping her stay loose.

“Okay?” Christen asks after a few minutes, looking down at her, giving her an expectant look.

“Yeah, thanks,” Tobin replies, sticking her hand for Christen to pull her up.

“How do you feel?” Christen asks, curious as to how she felt after the tryout.

“Pretty good,” she nods, “They’ll do a beep test or something tomorrow,” She had received an email earlier in the evening from the Thorns, inviting her back tomorrow for the rest of the tryouts.

Christen frowns, “That sucks,” she crinkles her nose at the memory of the tortuous test she suffered through in college.

“I think I’m going to go to bed, babe,” Tobin says, coming close and hugging her, “thank you for today,” she says, “I really appreciate everything you’ve done,”

When Tobin had arrived home after the try out, Christen had an ice bath prepared for her, having run out to the liquor store to buy some bags of ice and fill the tub with cold water. She had food for her, Gatorade and a foot massage. She helped stretch her out early in the evening and now right before bed.

Christen pulls back and kisses her, “It was my pleasure,” she says, “I’ll be in in a little while,” she says.

“Good night,” Tobin smiles and kisses her softly.

“Good night,” Christen smiles back, “sleep fast,” she says, watching as Khaleesi follows Tobin to the bedroom, intent on getting some snuggle time with her.

 

Christen will always get a flutter in her chest when she slides into bed and Tobin senses her in her sleep, reaching towards her. She rolls on her side, Khaleesi groaning as she moves to the foot of the bed as Christen embraces Tobin, placing a soft kiss on her forehead before she settles in.

 

XXXX

 

 

Tobin opts to drive the next morning, feeling she wouldn’t want to pedal home on her bike after doing a beep test. She’s done four of them with Garga during her training, pleased to see progress with each one she’s taken. He’s never told her where she stands on the level of the pros, just telling her she’ll be fine.

She’s so focused, she doesn’t realize she’s the last player still running during the test. It’s pretty quiet on the pitch, nobody here is encouraging her on, so she digs deep and imagines voices in her head of Kelley and HAO screaming at her for one more, of Christen shouting to keep pushing. She only can hear the beeps, she doesn’t hear the voice listing the level and when she finally bows out, she falls on her knees, panting on her hands and knees, crawling to line up once more. She gets to her feet and the beep sounds and then sees the coach walking towards her, a smirk on his face.

“Nice job,” he says, clapping her on the back, then turns to the small group. There’s only about twenty players here today, compared to the over one hundred from yesterday. It makes Tobin feel good that she at least made the cut for the second day.

With the hope of possibly receiving yet one more positive email from the Thorns, they were handed each a bag of Thorns swag, a training top, scarf, water bottle, and a magnet of the upcoming season schedule. This time, they were told it could take a week for hear back. The were assured everyone would be contacted with an answer one way or the other.

 

 

“I’m so tired,” Tobin whines from the couch, “let me sleep,”

“Ice bath,” Christen says sternly, “come on, let’s go.”

“It’s so cold,” Tobin whines, slowly getting up from the couch.

“You’re a furnace, you’ll live,” Christen says, unable to stop chuckling at her.

“You’re right,” Tobin sighs heavily, leaning against her as they walk to the master bathroom, “it’s for my own good,”

“Yes, dear,” Christen smiles at her, “get those clothes off.”

Tobin warms up quickly after the ice bath when Christen joins her in the hot shower and then drags her naked self onto the bed and fucks her senseless.

 

 

XXXX

 

 

“So?” Kelley questions as she slides into the chair across from Christen’s desk. She’s looking at her expectantly.

“What?” Christen asks, taking a sip of her lukewarm coffee. They have a planning period right now at school, usually the time they both wolf down their lunches since they have recess duty right after lunch, making their own lunch time short.

“How did she do?” Kelley asks, “Did she make the team?”

Christen smiles at her, “She made it to the second day of the tryouts,” she explains, “and she’ll hear one way or the other if they want her. It could be for the practice squad, they don’t just hand out contracts to the team.”

“How did she think she did?” Kelley asks, “Were there Thorns players there? Was Mark there?”

“Why don’t you just call her?” Christen arches an eyebrow at her, “She’ll be glad to tell you,”

“Okay,” Kelley nods, “we should get together soon anyway, hang out, you know?”

“We could do a game night at her place, if you want,” Christen offers, knowing Tobin wouldn’t mind at all.

“Yeah, that sounds awesome!” Kelley agrees excitedly, unwrapping a granola bar and beginning to wolf it down. “As long as you promise not to play Monopoly,” she says with a full mouth.

Christen rolls her eyes.

 

 

XXXX

 

 

“So, that’s how you enter the grades,” Tobin finishes, looking over to see Alex lift her head to nod at her.

Lindsey elbows Emily, “You got it?”

“Yeah, it’s easy,” she replies, “what about Allie?”

“Yep,” she grins, “no problem.”

“Tobin, this is one of the easiest platforms to use,” Kling states, “we can totally tweek this however we want.”

“Sweet,” Tobin grins, “I’m glad Jesse choose it, because it’s not too scary for those teachers that aren’t into tech much.”

The group is in Tobin’s barn, reviewing the PERT software. The five women have left their jobs, now becoming official PERT employees. Kling left her IT place, gladly putting it in the rearview mirror of her life.

Tobin nods at them. “Okay,” she says, “see the tab in the bottom corner? That lets you edit the grades.”

They all nod. This is the second training meeting of the entire curriculum they’ve completed and they all feel comfortable with it.

“So, Harry,” Tobin says, “you ready?”

“Yep,” Allie says, flicking the remote and putting a map up on the screen, “what do you guys think of this?” she asks. “I think it only makes sense for us to focus first on Portland, get the rest of the schools that don’t have PERT already and get them on board. They’re smaller districts we didn’t target with Portland P.E.. So, we tackle those and then just keep expanding the circle. Keep it local for now and then just focus on the west coast first.” Allie has taken the lead as Sales Manager, working with Tobin and Jesse to map out a controlled growth effort for PERT. She dove into it, relishing the opportunity to showcase her organizational skills and set realistic goals for the team.

The groups in approval.

“We were able to snag two booths at the National P.E. convention,” Tobin states, “that’s the last week of March in Denver. Since' we were so late in registering, they're kind of in a crappy part of the exhibit hall, but if we make the booth pop, people will stop by. Ali is working on getting all the stuff we need for the booth, a new display, banners, doing the handouts. She’ll need you guys to proof read stuff and she’ll bring it next week.”

“It was too late for us to get a session or a demonstration spot, so we’ll just be winging it with our booth,” Tobin continues, “I’m going to talk to Chris and see if we can get parent approval and have Kling come in and shoot video of the kids playing PERT games so we can have a monitor in the booth.”

“If it goes well,” Kling says, “and I get a good group of kids, then maybe we’ll talk to their parents and use them for a series of videos and build on that.”

“Once the warehouse is up and running, we can invite kids in to shoot our own videos however we want,” Tobin adds.

“I wonder if Steve is going,” Alex murmurs, “I wonder what he’ll think,”

Allie smirks, “He’ll flip his lid,”

“I talked to Morgan,” Alex says, “she doesn’t think he’s heard about us doing this yet,”

Morgan and Crystal are still working at Portland P.E. having been spared most of Steve’s wrath to date.

"Tobin," Alex says hesitantly, "what are you going to do if you make the team?"

Tobin shrugs, "Well, obviously I won't be able to spend as much time on this as I would want," she says slowly, "but I want to be involved as much as possible, helping to get this off the ground, you know?"

The group nods understanding her position right now. Tobin gives them a nod, "So," she says, "we have to start thinking about the building and how we want to lay it out.”

They all nod and look at the blueprints Tobin scanned in once they put a bid on the building. They were waiting for the closing date to be announced. They had gotten all of the zoning changes made, the licenses were in place to be submitted once they took possession of the building.

 

 

XXXX

 

It’s Thursday night and Christen can feel the anxiety radiating from Tobin as she drives them to their pickup match tonight. She glances over and sees how Tobin’s leg is bouncing and she’s chewing on the inside of her cheek as she looks out the windshield, her expression troubled.

She hasn’t heard anything from the Thorns organization yet. Even an email just thanking her for her time and try again next year. Nothing. Radio silence. Christen knows it’s slowly killing Tobin, this state of not knowing, even if it’s bad news. She had suggested she email them back and Tobin replied adamantly she wouldn’t. Only if she hasn’t heard anything by Monday. The coaches had told the group it could take a week and she wants to respect that, even if it meant she was having trouble sleeping every night, tossing and turning, thinking about the two days of the tryouts, what mistakes she made, mentally reviewing every drill and shot she took.

Christen had texted Kelley and the rest of the group telling them Tobin hadn’t heard anything yet so they would be aware when they arrived tonight. To their credit, the banter is normal as it is every week, HAO teasing Kelley that she’s going to nutmeg her, Ashlyn declaring nobody will get a ball past her.

“I’m a brick wall!” She exclaims, standing there and flexing her arms, grinning maniacally at them.

“You look like a lunatic,” Christen announces with a smile as her and Tobin walk up, “what parent would want you to teach their child?”

“None,” Ashlyn sasses back, “I eat the children,” she grins at them, “they make me strong,”

“Yes, they do,” a voice with a thick German accent says from the side of them, “I eat them too,”

All heads turn to see Nadine Angerer of the Portland Thorns grinning at them. “This is pick up, yes?” she asks, looking at them expectantly. They all nod their heads dumbly.

“We’re just stretching out a little,” HAO finds her voice, “you’re welcome to play,”

Tobin gets her shoes changed out and starts juggling the ball, just wanting to play and forget her worries for a while.

“Can we get in, too?” a voice asks.

Christine Sinclair, Emily Menges and Kathryn Reynolds are there, “Sup, Tobin,” Emily calls.

Tobin turns, her eyebrows shooting high. “Hey guys,” she greets, dribbling the ball towards them, “you wanna play?”

“Yeah,” Kat says, “Em wants to stuff you,” she grins, “get back at you for nutmegging her.”

“You nutmegged Menges?” Kelley’s mouth drops open.

“Hey, I wasn’t the only one,” Menges shakes her head, “hi,”

“Nice to meet you,” Kelley says, shaking her hand, “I’m Kelley.”

While introductions are going around, Sinc motions for Tobin to come sit next to her. She pulls her turf shoes out and hands her a folded piece of paper. “This is for you,” she says, shoving it at her. Tobin sits down and carefully unfolds the paper, her eyes scanning the document.

Christen is watching out of the corner of her eye as she finishes putting her shoes on. The rest of the group is mingling around the Thorns players. She gets closer to them, still keeping Tobin and Sinc in her view.

Tobin looks up at Sinc, “Uh, what does this mean?” she asks her slowly.

Christine gives her a big smile, “It means you get to train with us for the next four weeks until they make the final roster.”

Tobin’s eyes go wide, “For real?”

Christine nods, “For real,” she confirms. “You’ve got a shot to make the roster.”

“Holy shit,” Tobin whispers, looking at the paper again, “I can’t believe it.”

“You deserve it,” Sinc says, giving her a small smile, “you keep bringing it and make it hard for those coaches to not want you.”

Tobin nods, “I will,” she grins, letting out a breath, “you ready to start?” Sinc nods. Tobin stuffs the paper in her bag and they join the group to loosen their muscles.

To their credit, once the ball is put in play, the group of friends lose any feeling of being starstruck from the Thorns players. They end up having a great session, filled with trash talk and good natured ribbing as they play.

Alex is sitting next to Tobin on bench while they take a shift break. She elbows her, “You make it?” she asks. She had seen Sinclair pass a piece of paper to her.

Tobin sucks on her on her lip as she nods, “Uh huh,” she shifts her eyes over to look at her without moving her head.

Alex nods, taking a sip from her water bottle, “so, that’s like working out with them and trying to make the roster, right? You didn’t make the team yet,”

“Exactly,” Tobin murmurs, “I have four weeks to prove myself with them,”

Calmly Alex places her arm behind Tobin’s back and Tobin thinks she’s going to give her a hug, when in fact, Alex locks her arm around Tobin’s neck, pulling her towards her in a headlock, “I knew you could do it,” she whispers in her ear and then her free hand is tickling Tobin’s side.

Anyone looking towards the ruckus would have no clue what was going on except they were messing around. That’s exactly what Christen thinks as she spies them from across the pitch, then gets her eyes back on the game.

“Stop, Lex!” Tobin shrieks, squirming away from her, unable to get loose, “Stop!” When she does, she’s smiling widely at her, “I’m really proud of you,” she says quietly as Tobin adjusts her shirt and takes a drink of water.

“Thanks,” she says, giving her a closed mouth smile back, “I can’t believe it,”

“When are you telling everyone?”

Tobin shrugs, “Maybe at the bar?” she says, looking at the pitch, her eyes following Christen in particular, “I gotta tell Chris first,”

“You want me to announce it?” Alex asks, putting her hands together as if she’s in prayer.

“Sure,” Tobin says, partly relieved, “but it’s only to train with them, nothing is set. It won’t be until the roster is officially released. I suppose they could drop me at any time,”

“Got it,” Alex nods, then she elbows her, “Can I tell them about the building too?”

Tobin chuckles, “Of course,” she says, “I don’t know how much everyone knows about PERT though,” She knows Christen had told her coworkers about Tobin leaving Portland P.E. but she’s unsure how detailed she got with them about her plans. And how everyone else had resigned from there to start up PERT in a warehouse on the edge of the city.

Tobin is still looking at Christen play when she turns and looks over at her. Tobin gives her a wide smile, unable to contain herself and she watches how Christen smiles back, as if she's put two and tow together and knows she's made the preseason squad. Tobin flashes her a thumbs up and Christen responds with her awkward wink as she moves itno position.

When their time for the pitch is up, they gather along the sidelines as another group comes on to warmup, changing shoes and grabbing their belongings. Sinc, Nadine, Emily Menges and Kat agree to join them for a drink and Allie tells them where they’ll be going.

They spill into their regular bar after soccer, laughing about the match, grabbing a few pitchers of beer and finding tables to shove together. Sinc is sitting across from Tobin and Christen, with Menges and Kat on one side and Kyle, Ali and Ashlyn on the other. Nadine is next to Ashlyn, talking about tattoos.

“I should be thanking you,” Sinc says warmly, extending her hand to Christen, who shakes it slowly, “Why?” she asks, confused.

“Tobin says you encouraged her to try out,” Sinc grins.

“Well, it’s not like I made anything yet,” Tobin says dryly.

“If I was coach, you’d be a lock,” Menges states with authority, “even if it was just to piss off defenders.”

“Here, here,” Kyle raises his glass of water, “she’s a menace.” He sends a wink over to Tobin.

“No, no, no,” they hear HAO saying to Nadine, “don’t bet her that,” she’s shaking her head. They look over and see Kelley is giving Nadine an expectant look.

“We don’t have practice tomorrow,” Nadine grins at her, then she looks over at them, “Em, you drive me home?”

“Oh boy,” Menges says under her breath, rolling her eyes good naturedly and catching the set of keys flying at her, “of course.”

Christen leans over to Ashlyn, “What is going on?”

Ashlyn looks over at her, then flicks her eyes at the rest of them, “Kelley challenged Nadine to a shot contest.”

“Kelley, you have to work with small children tomorrow,” Christen warns. Kelley waves her hand at her, “I got this,” she says confidently as Sinc, Menges and Kat start laughing. “I’ll even let you pick the shots.”

Nadine grins and rubs her hands together, “We bet, yes?”

“What do you want to bet?” Kelley grins at her. Sonnett is rolling her eyes in her seat next to her.

“This will be good,” Kat nods, grinning around the table as they all lean forward.

“You come to the match, yes? Thorns?” Nadine asks.

“I’m at every one of them,” Kelley boasts proudly.

“You make a sign,” Nadine says, looking around the table, “Pen and paper?” Christen digs around in her purse and pulls out a pen and small notebook.

“You carry a notebook, Grandma, really?” Tobin grins at her. “Shut up,” Christen nudges her, smiling.

Nadine is writing something down and slides the notebook to Kelley. Kelley reads it, grinning. She tears off the paper, stuffing it in her hoodie pocket and writes something on the notebook. She passes it back to Nadine who reads it and laughs, nodding her head and ripping the page from the book and handing it and the pen to Ali, who passes it back to Christen.

“What are you betting?” Alex wonders aloud.

“You’ll find out at the home opener, when Nadine loses this tonight.” Kelley grins and Nadine and the Thorns players laugh. They watch as Kelley and Nadine go up to the bar to order some shots.

“You know,” Kat says, leaning in and looking around the table, “Nobody on the Thorns will go drink for drink with her anymore,”

Menges laughs, “Yeah, I’ll be impressed with Kelley if she can hang,”

The rules established between them were that after each shot, the person would have to drink a full glass of water. Any visits to the bathroom would be supervised to make sure there was no vomiting. Peeing was allowed. The water breaks were to allow for the booze to hit in between drinks and minimize the possibility of alcohol poisoning. They shake hand while grinning wildly at each and lift their shot glasses and toss it back.

After watching them for the time it took to take four shots, the group goes back to having conversations, pausing when Kelley loudly announces it’s shot time. “Goonies never say die!” she proclaims, lifting her glass and swallowing it down.

It’s been almost two hours and they’ve closed out the bar tab, the group sitting around and finishing the last of their drinks. Kelley is having trouble standing without a lean, slinging her arm around Sonnett for support. She goes to take her shot and chokes on it a little, setting the half full shot glass down, “I give,” she says defeatedly, sending her fist out across the table for Nadine to punch. Nadine downs her shot to prove her victory and with a devilish smile taps her fist.

“Good going,” she says approvingly, “you’re a good one. Better than the Thorns. Not the best ever, but very, very good.” She laughs. Kelley gives her a lopsided, drunken smile, then turns to Sonnett, “Aren’t you proud of me, honey?”

Sonnett laughs, “I’m so proud, babe,” she says, dragging her off the barstool, “and I’ll be super proud of you if you don’t puke tonight.”

Kelley waves her hand wildly, “O’Hara’s never puke,” she explains, “we only puke and rally.”

Nadine looks perfectly fine, although her eyes are bright and she doesn’t stop grinning.

“Oh, yeah,” Alex says, slapping her forehead, she stands on the footrest of her chair, “guys, Tobin made the cut to try to get on the preseason roster,” she announces, “she has almost a month to try and make the full team.”

A loud cheer goes up and everyone congratulates Tobin, swarming around her, giving her hugs and slapping her back. Christen is standing near the Thorns players when Sinc nudges her, “We’re all pulling for her.”

Alex whistles to get their attention, “Also,” she says, smiling widely, “we closed on the building today,” she announces, “it’s officially ours!”

“I can quit!” Crystal cheers, jumping up and doing a dance.

“So can I!” Morgan proclaims, leaving her chair and dancing with Crystal.

“Wait, wait, wait,” A-Rod says, looking around, “what do you talking about?”

Eyes turn to Tobin for an explanation. She looks around, realizing they are waiting for her to speak. “So, uh, a few of us are working for the this PERT curriculum company,” she says, “and we got an investor to buy a building and we’re going to be working out of there.”

“So, you guys left Portland P.E.?” A-Rod questions, looking at Alex and Allie who nod.

Allie quickly explains how they are going to focus around the city first and then expand throughout the state and eventually the west coast.

Sinc gives Tobin an amused look, “What are you going to do if you make the roster?”

“Play footy,” Tobin grins and then shrugs, “and I’ll be around in the offseason to help out more,” she says, “these guys know what they’re doing,”

They group stands up to leave together, milling around to say their goodbyes. Nadine is hugging Tobin, wishing her good luck on Monday her first official training with the team.

 

 

XXXX

 

 

The next morning, Christen walks down the hall carrying a tray with two coffees in one hand and her iPad in the other, wanting to stop by and see how Kelley is doing before their day starts. She peeks in to the gym, surprised to see it dim, the big lights aren’t on, just the small booster ones are. For a moment she thinks Kelley called in today, but she would have heard about it by now. She already checked her emails and would be informed by the front office if that were the case.

She looks on the far end of the gym and Kelley setting up a utility light stand. She walks across the hardwood floor to her.

“Good morning, sunshine!” She greets Kelley loudly, making her jump.

“Jesus, CP, what the hell?’” she mutters, “Is one of those for me?” she questions, already reaching towards the tray.

“Closest one,” Christen confirms.

“You’re a Godsend,” Kelley sighs, “thank you so much!” She carefully lifts the drink from the holder.

“What are you doing today?” Christen asks, glancing around the gym.

“Oh,” Kelley shrugs, “it’s too cold to take the kids out,”

“It’s February,” Christen observes.

Kelley frowns and nods at her, “It’s too cold to take the kids out, so we’re going to do a blacklight fitness space safari on the moon.”

Christen raises her eyebrows at her.

“It’s an obstacle course with planetary fact sheets to complete.” Kelley explains, then she grins at her, “Plus no bright lights.”

“How’s the hangover?”

Kelley shrugs, “I’ve had worse,” she admits, “but it’s not too bad.”

Christen rolls her eyes at her, “I’ve got to go,” she says, walking away, “hope the kids aren’t too loud,” she grins at her over her shoulder.

“My headache is almost gone!” She shouts after her.

“Doughnuts are in my office,” Christen shouts back.

“You’re a Godsend, Press! A Godsend!” Kelley yells.

 

XXXX