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a heart like that, you deserve the world

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Kelley doesn’t get sick. Never has, even as a kid. Maybe a cold once or twice when she was really young but nothing else. So when she starts coughing in the middle of her workout and can’t stop, she doesn’t think anything of it. She must have inhaled something, so she chugs her water and it helps for a few minutes. When she gets home, her whole body is sore, which she attributes to the 10 miles she ran on the treadmill. But then she gets the shakes. And she’s cold, no, she’s freezing. It’s not to say that Atlanta in December is balmy, but she always kept her thermostat pretty high.

The next morning, she’s still shivering under the comforter. It hurts to move, it hurts to breathe. Kelley’s never felt like this before, never felt like her head was about to split open, or like her throat was made of sandpaper. She doesn’t know what to do, go to the doctor? No, that would require getting out of bed which was not a possibility right now. Call her mom? No, she’s 31 years old, mom shouldn’t have to come take care of her. Plus, Kelley’s parents went to visit her sister for the week. What else was left? She had almost resigned herself to dying right there in bed, when she realizes it.

Emily.

Emily was in Atlanta for the off-season.

Emily was only a phone call away.

Even reaching for her phone was agonizing. She laid it on the bed and turned the speakerphone on, too exhausted to hold it up to her ear. The line picks up after the second ring.

“Hey Kel, what’s up?” She says in a sing-song voice. Kelley can hear music playing in the background.

“Son…” It’s more like a groan than any actually talking but that’s about all she can manage.

“Kel? Kelley, are you okay?” Now she sounds scared.

Even before she speaks, she can hear Emily on the other end scrambling, saying something muffled to another person.

“Sick. Help.” It sounds like Morse code.

“Kel, I’m coming. Where’s your spare key?”

“Under the mat.” Kelley is fading, this conversation zapping her of whatever energy she had.

“I’ll be there as quick as I can.” But Kelley was already asleep.

 

 

Hours later, Kelley’s eyes flutter open at the sound of a metal pan hitting the floor. She hears someone in the kitchen curse and try to make the sound stop. Who was in her house? How did they get in? What time is it? She wills herself out of the bed, still wrapped tightly in her quilt.

“Hello?” It comes out raspy, barely audible.

“Shit. Kel, I’m sorry I woke you up.”

Kelley walks into the room and sees Emily, her blonde hair tucked into a tight bun, though Kelley notices that some pieces have come loose.

“Sonny? What are you…?”

Emily makes her way around the counter to get a better look. “You called me, do you remember?”

Then it came back to her. “Yes, I do now, I’m sorry. I think I’m better now though, you don’t have to stay.” And then her body betrays her, sending her into an uncontrollable coughing fit.

“Yeah, sure sounds like it.” Emily says, sarcastically. “Here, come sit on the couch for a while and I’ll put your sheets in the wash. I made some soup too. Just sit tight for a minute.” And she guides Kelley to the couch, taking one of Kelley’s hands in hers and the other on Kelley’s shoulder. She sits down, curling her feet underneath her, and waits for Emily to come back. Just as Kelley’s eyes start to droop, Emily is taking away the comforter, much to Kelley’s protest.

“Hey!” She whines.

“I brought you a new one, Kel. Let me wash this one and then you can have it back, okay?” Emily’s voice is soothing, and so is the hand rubbing circles on Kelley’s back. She releases her grip on the blanket, momentarily frozen, and then is immediately covered with another. This one is warm and she wraps it tight. “I fluffed this one in the dryer so it would be a little warm.”

“Thanks.” Kelley tries to smile but it’s too much work. Emily had already gone back to the laundry anyways.

When she comes back, it’s with a small bowl of soup. “Alright Kel, time for you to try and eat something. Do you want it here or in bed?”

Even though the thought of moving makes Kelley tired, her bed is way more comfortable than this couch. She looks up at Emily, a few more of those blonde hairs sticking out at odd angles, and says “bed.”

Emily smiles and helps Kelley off of the couch. As soon as she stands, Kelley is overcome immediately by a wave of nausea. Her head swims and her stomach twists. Before she can help it, she pukes all over the hardwood floors and Emily’s shoes.

“Oh, Kelley.” Emily says, kicking off her shoes and placing the soup bowl on the coffee table. “Come on, honey, let’s try to get to the bathroom.” She supports Kelley as they walk down the hall, basically dragging her. Even though her stomach is threatening to erupt again, she thinks about how Emily called her “honey”.

They make it to the bathroom just in time. Emily holds Kelley’s hair and rubs her back, all while talking to the brunette. Telling her everything is okay, you’ll feel better soon, and all the other tropes, sprinkling her own little anecdotes every once in a while. But it feels good when Emily talks to her like that, it feels good knowing she’s there. It feels like it’s been hours, but finally, there’s nothing left to throw back up. Kelley leans against the wall of the bathtub, breathing heavily. Emily has brought her a bottle of water and sits back down next to her. Kelley drinks the whole thing and lays her head on Emily’s shoulder.

“Thank you, Son.”

Emily just squeezes her hand. “Ready to try and make it to the bed? I’ll bring the trashcan.”

Emily pulls Kelley to her feet and walks her to the bedroom. Once there, she helps Kelley into the bed, clothed in fresh sheets. Once Kelley is snuggled in tight, Emily steps back.

“I’m gonna go clean up out there, okay? Yell if you need me.” She gives that soft smile again, this time including her signature thumbs up.

“Can’t you stay?” Kelley whines before even realizing what she’s saying.

“I don’t think you want dried puke on your floors. Definitely wouldn’t get your security deposit back.” She winks.

“No, but… “ Kelley protested.

“Let me go clean and then I’ll come back, okay?”

“Promise?” Kelley hates that she sounds like a five-year-old but Emily is the only thing that’s making her feel better right now.

“I promise, Kel. Now, get some rest.”

When Kelley wakes, the sun is starting to set and the colors fill her bedroom. It’s almost pretty until the light makes her head spin. She curls into her blankets and realizes they’re moving. Tilting her head up, she sees Emily. She’s sitting next to Kelley, her back straight against the headboard, reading. Emily, the person that had watched Kelley vomit and then stuck around to clean it up, was still here. Kelley snuggles in closer and Emily absentmindedly starts stroking Kelley’s head while she reads.

“Good book?” It’s easier to talk this time.

Emily looks down at Kelley, who had wedged herself up against Emily’s side.

“Well, hello there! How are you feeling?” She smiles.

“Like death warmed over. Though, I have had a pretty good nurse taking care of me.”

“Seems like she’s not doing too great if you’re still sick. I’m going to need to see credentials.”

“I’ll see if I can get ahold of her.” Kelley winks and then buries her head into Emily.

“But really, are you feeling better than you did earlier?” Emily is back to sounding concerned.

“Not much, but I can talk now, which is nice.”

“I don’t know, it was nice and quiet while you were passed out.” Kelley rolls her eyes.

Just as she is about to respond, Kelley’s nausea comes roaring back, barely giving her enough time to reach the trashcan on the other side of the bed. Emily puts down her book and lays on her stomach next to Kelley, rubbing her back. Kelley can’t imagine how awful she must look right now, but Emily, Emily looks good.

Kelley shakes her head, pushing the thought out of her head. This is a fever dream, that’s all. Emily is here to help, as a friend, that’s it. Emily had dropped whatever she was doing to come sit beside Kelley as she puked her guts out because that’s what friends do, right?

Emily pushes Kelley’s hair back, tying it in a knot of top her head. She goes into the bathroom and returns with a thermometer and cool towel, which she lays across Kelley’s neck. The cold shocks her and she protests.

“I know it’s cold Kel, but you’ve got a bad fever and this will help. We have to get you better.” All Kelley can do is groan and Emily chuckles. “Glad to hear you agree.”

 

 

It’s been almost a full 24 hours since Kelley called Emily and she hasn’t once said something about leaving. Emily spent the night in the guest room and after her shower, walked out of the bathroom wearing Kelley’s clothes. Clothes that suited her well, Kelley thought.

“Kel, do you think about taking a shower? The hot water will probably help. I can get it started if you want. And then I can change your sheets again.”

The thought of showering and getting clean was enticing to Kelley, but the physical act of it seemed exhausting. She managed to pull herself out of the bed and stagger to the bathroom, where the steam was already filling the room. Emily was setting out towels and a change of clothes.

“There she is. Just toss your clothes outside of the door and I can add them to the wash, okay? I left everything for you but holler if you need anything.” Emily smiles at her.

The hot water does feel good. She massages the shampoo in her hair, helping to relieve the pressure in her head. She thinks about what would have happened if Emily hadn’t come. No matter what, it would have been awful. Having Emily around makes everything a little better. She always seems to have that effect though. Every time she walks into a room, she makes it just that much brighter. At practice, games, team dinners, and wherever else, she shows up and soon, everyone is smiling. She loves to goof around and play pranks, just like Kelley, but it’s obvious she just wants to make others happy, make them smile. And Kelley adores that, adores her. But maybe not in the way she’d always thought. Kelley finds herself thinking about how nice it was when Emily held her hand earlier that day, how good it felt to wake up next to her. Did she have a crush on Emily Sonnett?

She thought back to the first time she met Emily. It was her first call up to the senior national team, she had just graduated from college and was eager to make her mark and earn Jill’s attention. She wasn’t as goofy then as she is now, or, more likely, she hadn’t shown her full personality to them yet. Emily made the Olympic roster, even if just as an alternate, which meant Jill did see something in her and Kelley saw it too. After the Olympics is when Jill has decided Kelley was going to be a defender, a position she’d never played before. She sought out advice and help from the others on the team like Becky and Ali, but Emily came to Kelley first. Offered to help Kelley train, especially in the off-season when they’d be in Georgia a lot. And Kelley takes her up on it. They work together a few times a week, trying to get in a defensive mindset. But then, all of a sudden, it’s NWSL season and Emily is across the country in Portland while Kelley was still in New Jersey.

That is, until last year when Kelley got traded out to Utah. Thank god for Christen and Becky, without whom she might have gone stir crazy. Kelley isn’t a cold-weather person. Sure, a weekend spent snowboarding every once in a while, but now she was stuck there. One of the few good things about the move was that she was that much closer to her friends in Portland. Tobin, Lindsey, and Emily were all just a two hour plane ride away. Last off-season, just after Kelley and Christen both settled in Utah, their friends from Portland came out for a ski/snowboard weekend. This time, Kelley got to be the teacher. She got to show Emily how to get up on her board, how to ride the lift, and share her insider knowledge while they sat at the bar inside the lodge. It had been the best time she’d had since moving out west. Having Emily around was like having a piece of home with her. She thought about the last night, when they all shared the giant hot tub, when she saw Emily in that black bikini. Before she lets herself think about it anymore, Kelley shuts off the water and steps out of the shower.

Yeah, she’s got it bad.

 

 

Later in the afternoon, Emily did leave. But she was coming back. She had gone out for more medication and soup, plus a stop at her own house to grab some overnight things. Meaning, she was planning to stick around for a least another night. While she was gone and Kelley still had some energy, she calls Alex.

“Wormy, how are you feeling?”

“How did you…?” Kelley never told Alex she was sick.

“Sonny called me. She wanted to know what your favorite kind of soup was, which I thought was bizarre since you hate soup. Then she explained you were basically on your deathbed and she was nursing you back to life.”

“That’s a little dramatic.”

“Really? Because she also told me you puked all over her.”

“Since when are you and Sonnett best friends? Was I replaced and you forgot to tell me?”

“She wishes.” Kelley can practically hear the eye roll through the phone. “There’s just one person we both care very much about.”

“Baby Janice? Cause I swear if Sonnett meets her before me I’ll riot.”

“No dummy, you.”

Her? Emily cares very deeply about her? Since when? “Al, I think the pregnancy hormones are getting to you. Sonnett is a friend, she was the only person nearby.”

“Only person nearby, huh? Kel, did Sonny tell you where she was when you called her?”

“No? What does that matter?”

“You should ask her.”

Emily wasn’t due to come back for another couple of hours, meaning Kelley had more than enough time to marinate Alex’s words. What did it matter where Emily was when Kelley called? Why did Alex think it did? Before she could work herself into a tizzy, Kelley’s head laid back against the pillow and closed her eyes, the image of Emily in that bikini popping up again before she fell asleep.

 

 

“Honey, I’m home!” Emily’s voice sings as she closes the door to Kelley’s apartment. Kelley hears her, but is still too tired to call back, let alone get up to greet her. Luckily enough, Emily comes to her, dropping her duffel bag at the door. “How are we feeling, Kel? Looks like you’re getting some color back, though there wasn’t much to begin with.” She winks.

Kelley rolls her eyes. “Takes one to know one, pasty.”

“Well, at least your sense of humor is starting to come back!” Emily laughs. When Emily laughs, she uses her whole body and the joy radiates off her. Kelley liked seeing her laugh, wanted to make her laugh all the time. “That’ll be good to have when you’re taking care of me once I catch whatever it is you’ve got.”

Part of Kelley is upset with herself; she hadn’t thought about her illness being contagious. She didn’t want Emily to get sick, she wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone. Well, there might be a few people but that’s beside the point. The other part of Kelley wanted to be selfish. Sure, it’s not ideal circumstances, but she would get to spend more time with Emily.

“I’m not cleaning up your puke.” Kelley jokes, forcing her thoughts to the back of her mind. Emily makes eye contact and narrows her eyes.

“We’ll see.”

It’s then that Kelley sees another bag in Emily’s hand. “So, what did you bring me?”

“Nothing fun, unfortunately. Some more ibuprofen, saltines, some over the counter flu stuff. Well, I did bring you some chocolate but if you’re just going to throw it up, I’ll save it for myself.” She grins. Kelley rolls her eyes.

 

 

Emily stayed at Kelley’s apartment for a week. By then, Kelley was almost back to her old self and feeling better. But when Emily did leave, her mood diminished almost immediately. She thought back to Alex’s comment about where Emily was when she called. Kelley had never asked but she wasn’t sure why. Was she afraid of the answer? Or was it an answer that would make her happy?

Soon it was Christmas. Kelley spent the day with her family, unwrapping gifts and drinking eggnog. She was never a big fan of the drink until her dad gave her a glass spiked with alcohol, then she understood the appeal. She might have had one glass too many when she decided to text Emily.

Kelley: Merry Christmassssss

Kelley: Hope Santa was good to you

Kelley: I miss youu

Emily doesn’t respond, which drunk Kelley took offense to, shoving her phone into the couch cushion and leaving the room. It wasn't until the next morning, when she was turning the house upside down, that she saw Emily’s response.

Emily: merry christmas kel

Emily: i miss you more

Kelley doesn’t know how to respond. She had waited too long and probably looked like she was ignoring Emily now, which was the exact opposite of what she'd meant to do. She thought about going to see her, but that might scare her, Kelley might blurt something out.

Kelley: I’m sorry, my little cousin hid my phone yesterday

Kelley: I heard you missed me : )

Emily: ehh, i got over it

Kelley: Really?

Emily: who is this again

Kelley sends her the middle finger emoji.

 

 

Emily never did seem to catch Kelley’s illness. She attributed it to her “tough immune system”, though Kelley said she just got lucky. They texted back and forth frequently over the next week and right up until Emily came back from Portland one last time. They were supposed to leave for January camp the next day when Emily calls. Kelley had been in the middle of packing her bag. First real camp since the world cup, her first shot at proving herself to the new coach, and for her ankles to prove they were up to the task. When Kelley picks up the phone and hears her. Emily's voice was barely audible.

“Kelley...”

“What happened?”

“I guess I wasn’t that lucky after all.”

“I’m on my way, Em.”

When Kelley got to the apartment, Emily was lying on the bathroom floor, half asleep. Kelley surveys the scene, picking Emily up and carrying her bridal-style to the bed. She crawls into the fetal position and Kelley covers her with blankets. She looks so tiny, her already small frame curled into a tight ball. Kelley made to leave the room and start making her something to eat, but Emily grabbed her hand.

“Please stay with me.” Kelley climbed into the bed next to her without hesitation. “What am I going to do?” Emily cries into Kelley’s side.

“What do you mean?” Kelley strokes the top of her head, running her fingers through blonde hair.

“If I’m sick, they won’t let me stay at camp!”

Kelley looks down and smiles at her. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

“But how...?” Kelley could see Emily’s sick brain working too hard.

“We’ll figure it out, Em. For now, just rest.”

 

 

Whatever illness Emily had caught, it didn’t hit her the same as Kelley. She complained of terrible body aches, describing it like her body was on fire. Her headaches were closer to migraines and she could barely stay awake. Kelley was really worried for her and wanted to take her to see a doctor, but Emily insisted she would be fine. Kelley consulted a friend from college that is now some big-whig at a hospital in New York, who told her that Emily was probably suffering from a very intense migraine that may last a few days. She needed rest and plenty of fluids, plus she needed to eat, even when she doesn’t want to. But if she got worse, she needed to go to the hospital.

Luckily, by the time they had to be leave for the airport, Emily wasn’t throwing up anymore, but she was incredibly weak. She used Kelley as a crutch, letting her almost carry Emily to the car. She passed out with her head on Kelley’s shoulder and slept soundly for the whole ride, at one point shifting herself and basically hugged Kelley in her sleep. When they arrived at the airport, Kelley took Emily’s bags with her own and put them on one of those carts so that Emily wasn’t weighed down. Emily keeps a hand on the cart as they walk to their gate, using it for support.

Their flight is delayed two hours and Emily sleeps with her head in Kelley’s lap. Kelley is pretty sure she saw a couple girls taking photos of them, but she didn’t care. All she cared about was making Emily comfortable and doing all she could to get her healthy.

Kelley walks behind Emily as they go down the gangplank to the plane, just in case she needs to catch her. They find their seats and as soon as she sits, Emily is out again. This time, it seems like a more peaceful sleep. She’s snoring lightly, which Kelley will mock her for once she’s better, and snuggled into Kelley’s neck. She thinks it feels like two puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. In her sleep, Emily unintentionally leaves one hand on Kelley’s thigh and, as the plane took off, Kelley places her hand on top.

When they land, Emily is jolted awake and, if not for her seatbelt, would have fallen out of her chair. Kelley helps her up and they make their way off the plane and to baggage claim, where some other members of the team were waiting.

Lindsey, Mal, and Rose saw them first and Lindsey made a move to jump into Emily’s arms. If Kelley hadn’t wrapped her arm around Emily’s back, the two blondes would have keeled right over.

“Sonny I missed you so much! Did you not sleep on the plane? You look tired.” Lindsey says.

“Yeah you look pretty awful.” Rose jokes and Mal smacks her lightly.

Emily was ready for this though. “Kelley snores like a car horn so I didn’t really sleep much.”

“Hey!” Kelley yelps, still keeping her arm around Emily, lightly rubbing her thumb up and down. “It is not that loud!” Kelley can keep up with a lie, even if means making herself look dumb.

“Okay, Kel.” Emily says sarcastically.

They make their way to the van that was picking them up. The younger girls start piling in, Lindsey grabbing Emily’s hand to pull her into the back, but Emily starts swaying on the spot. Kelley recognizes it before the others and puts her hands on Emily's shoulders to steady her.

“I’m not ready to part with my little peach! We may not be bus buddies, but we’re van buddies today!” This time she wraps her arm around Emily’s shoulder, Emily leans in just an inch.

The look on Lindsey's face is a mixture of hurt and confusion. “Oh, okay. Are you sure you’re alright, Son?” Kelley pretends not to take offense to the insinuation Emily must not be right because she wants to sit with her.

Kelley swears can feel Emily thinking. “It’s all good, Linds. Kelley is kind of obsessed with me and I’ll humor her a little longer.” She laughs but Kelley can tell it takes all her energy to do so. They climb into the van and Emily lays her head on Kelley's shoulder, whispering into her ear, “Thank you.” Kelley squeezes her hand.

By some miracle, they are rooming together, somehow, the stars aligned for them. As soon as they close the door, Emily all but collapses onto the bed. Kelley rushes over to her and sees the tears running down her face.

“It hurts so much.” She chokes out, clutching her head.

Kelley turns out all the lights in the room and bends down to her side. “Oh, Em.” She coos, stroking Emily’s side. “It’s okay, everything is okay.”

Kelley only left the room for the team dinner. She explained to the new coach that Emily was getting over a headache caused by the plane ride. She could see Lindsey in her peripheral, listening and then, slowly, nodding her head. Dinner was great, it was nice to see all her friends again, but she worried about Emily. As soon as seemed appropriate, Kelley excused herself, taking a plate back for her roommate. When she does return, Emily is still passed out on her own bed, the sound of her steady breathing a sign of restful sleep. Kelley keeps the lights out as she gets ready for bed. When she steps out of the bathroom and walks to her bed, Emily squeaks from under her blanket.

“Kelley?”

“What’s the matter, Em?” She rushes to the beside.

“Can you stay here with me?” It’s quiet, almost quiet enough for Kelley to miss it. But she doesn’t.

“Scoot over, sicky.” Emily moves just enough for Kelley to slide under the blanket next to her. Once there, Emily wraps herself around the older defender, leaving her head resting squarely on Kelley’s chest. It feels comfortable, like maybe this is how it should be. Kelley settles with her arm around Emily and closes her eyes.

When the alarm goes off, Emily had managed to fall asleep practically on top of Kelley. Kelley didn’t mind though, if anything she felt more comfortable than she had the previous night in Emily’s guest room. She gently peels Emily off her and quietly slides off the bed. When she does, Emily shifts in her sleep and mumbles something that sounds like “Mmmh... Kel, I... you.” Kelley’s eyes go wide, and she tries not to let herself think for too long about the what the word missing from that sentence might be. She showers in record time and when she steps back out into the room, Emily is awake.

“There she is.” Kelley smiles. “How are you feeling?”

“Better. Not great, but better.” She gives a weak smile.

“A shower and some breakfast will probably help that too. Do you want me to bring you some back?”

“No, I’ll go with you. Everyone probably thinks I’m dying or something. Lindsey texted me asking if she should be planning my funeral.”

“Okay well, chop chop! I’m starving.”

Emily takes about two minutes to shower and get dressed. When she steps out, her eyes still have dark circles underneath, but she gives Kelley a smile that says she was okay. As they make their way down the hall, Kelley is surprised when Emily links their arms together, resting her head on Kelley’s shoulder.

“My hero.” She sighs, her warm breath tickling Kelley’s neck.

“Just repaying the favor.” Kelley smiled down at her. Emily just squeezes her tight, Kelley lowers her head to rest on top of the blonde.

Training that day was fairly light, just getting everyone back into the groove after the time off. Kelley was thankful that she and Emily shared the same position, so she could keep an eye on her pretty easily. The younger defender seemed to be holding her own, a little sluggish but she made up for it with clean tackles and positive turnovers. There was a moment when Emily used the hem of her shirt to wipe her brow, showing off her very defined abs and Kelley tripped over Christen.

“Okay there, Kel?” Christen smirks and Kelley can feel her face flush.



Janice: Tobin told me you and Sonny are being weird, what’s going on

Worm: Weird how?

Janice: Refusing to be in love

Kelley nearly spit her drink out on the bus. With Alex gone, she was without a bus buddy and Emily was a few rows behind her with Lindsey.

Worm: Excuse me

Janice: Don’t even try to deny it, you’re a terrible liar

Worm: Emily is not in love with me

Janice: HA! You’re in love with her!

Janice: But also, she totally is in love with you, she’s even worse than you

Worm: What do you mean

Janice: Did you ever ask her?

Worm: Ask her what?

Janice: Where she was when you called her saying you were sick

Janice: Ask her Kel

Kelley laid her head back against the seat rest. Did she want Emily? She thought back to the first time they met, to the weekend in Utah, to seeing her when Kelley woke up. She thought about how right it had felt this morning to wake up with Emily in her arms. She thought about how much she had worried about her over these past few days and about how the thought of them being separated again devastated her. As the bus pulled into the hotel parking lot, Kelley made a decision.

After team dinner, which Kelley spent the majority of her time staring at Emily and hoping people wouldn’t notice, they were released back to their rooms. The whole way up, sh tried to give herself a pep talk, telling herself that it’s not a big deal, Alex doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and that Emily is her friend. The moment she walked in the door and saw Emily sitting cross-legged on her bed, all willpower escaped her.

“Hey, Em, can I ask you a question?” Kelley hoped she sounded nonchalant.

“You can ask me anything, Kel.” Emily smiled at her, awakening the butterflies in Kelley’s stomach.

“Alex told me I needed to ask you where you were.”

Emily cocks her head to the side, looking confused. “Where I was? When?”

“When I called you because I was sick.” It all rushes out of Kelley’s mouth before she can stop it.

Emily’s face suddenly flushes red. “Oh.” She looks down at her hands.

Kelley tried to backtrack, “You don’t have to tell me, it’s okay.”

“I was in Portland. I was spending the week there but then you called while I was in the airport.”

Kelley’s mind is racing, not sure what to do with this information.

“So, you were already heading back to Georgia?” Kelley hoped she was right.

Emily was staring down at her hands in her lap. “No, I had just landed in Portland.”

Kelley’s eyes go wide, trying to process.

“You turned around and flew back across the country, for me? I puked on you!” Kelley didn’t know what else to say. She was incredulous, there was no way Emily was telling the truth. It’s not possible that someone would fly across the country, get a phone call from a sick friend and turn right back around. Kelley wondered to herself if there was anyone in the world she’d do that for. And then it hits her, she’d do it if Emily needed her. She knew she would drop anything if Emily called her and needed help. Emily’s voice brings Kelley out of her thoughts.

“Honestly, Kel? I think I’d do anything for you.” Emily looks up, making eye contact.

Before she can stop herself, before she can think of a reason not to, Kelley crosses the room, takes Emily's head in her hands, and kisses her. She can tell Emily is taken aback at first, but soon she melts into it, her tongue finding her way into Kelley’s mouth. Kelley kneels onto the bed, nearly in Emily’s lap and Emily’s hands find the skin just below the hem of Kelley’s shirt. Kelley wraps her arms around her teammate’s neck and tipped them backwards so that Emily’s head rested on the pillow and Kelley goes to straddle her. All of the sudden, there’s a loud knock on their door. Both are caught off guard, Emily sat straight up, causing Kelley to fall off the bed.

“Ow, coming!” Kelley grunts, getting up off the floor. When she opens the door, Lindsey and Rose barge past her and make a beeline for Emily.

“We’re stealing you.” They each grab one of her hands and start leading her out the door.

“Wait, what?” Emily looks around, first at Lindsey, then Rose, before finally landing on Kelley.

“We’re kidnapping you.” Rose says, trying to sound like a movie villain. Emily sends a pleading look in Kelley’s direction.

“Guys, I was about to get in bed. I didn’t do great today and I want to be fully rested.” Emily says. Kelley immediately wants to butt in and tell Emily she did amazing. Though, she’s realizing just how bias she might be.

“Come on, Son! I’ve barely hung out with you! We’re just going to watch a movie or something in my room. I’ll get you back before you turn into a pumpkin, don’t worry.”

Emily looks back at Kelley, almost like she was asking permission. Kelley decided to take the lead this time. “Well I’m about to hit the hay so don’t be too loud when you come in, Son.” When Lindsey isn’t looking, Kelley winks.

“Alright, but I’m picking the movie.” Emily declares as they walk out the door.

Emily: curse you for making me not want to watch harry potter

Emily: and yes, pun intended

Kelley: Whatever do you mean

Emily: we have unfinished business miss kelley

Kelley: I’m pretty tired, I’ll probably be asleep when you get back

Kelley: Those HP movies are long

Emily: if i didn’t think linds would follow me, i’d be headed back now

Emily: don’t be asleep

Emily: please

Kelley: I’m too wired to sleep anyways

Emily: dammit kel don’t say things like that

Kelley: See ya soon

Kelley included a selfie with her last message. Nothing scandalous, just an image of her sitting in bed with a thumbs up. Emily is gone for quite a while and Kelley is losing her battle to stay awake. Opening up the feelings she’d bottled up over the years was exhausting. She curled up under the comforter and was drifting off when she heard the door click open. Emily doesn’t speak when she enters, Kelley hears her kick off her shoes before she walks into the bathroom, where she presumably was brushing her teeth. Did she assume Kelley was asleep? Before Kelley could get out of bed, Emily opened the bathroom door and shut off the light. Suddenly, Kelley can feel Emily slide into the bed, immediately wrapping her arm around Kelley’s waist and burying her head in the space where Kelley’s neck meets her shoulders.

“Hi.” Emily’s breath tickles Kelley’s neck.

“Hi.” Kelley turns so they’re facing each other, placing a light kiss on Emily’s lips. It starts innocent, then Emily takes Kelley’s bottom lip between her teeth and rolls herself on top, straddling her older teammate. Kelley reaches up and finds Emily’s hips, her fingers making their way under the flimsy T-shirt Emily had worn to bed. Suddenly, and she couldn’t believe it took so long, Kelley realizes Emily had climbed into bed without pants on, opting for just her underwear.

Emily breaks their kiss, but only to start a full on assault of Kelley’s neck and jaw, running her teeth across her jawline, peppering her neck with kisses. Kelley can’t help herself and starts to play with the hem on Emily’s underwear. Her motions cause Emily to moan in Kelley’s ear, emboldening her. Cautiously, Kelley’s hand dips below and Emily throws her head back, a guttural sound escapes her lips. Emily’s hands were exploring too, lifting Kelley’s shirt and finding their way to Kelley’s breasts and slid down her abs. Her mouth followed closely behind and Kelley can’t hold back the sounds she’s making. Their bodies move together until they’re both coming down from the high, laying side by side.

Emily maneuvers into Kelley’s side, laying her head on Kelley’s chest and wrapping an arm securely around Kelley’s middle. Kelley kisses the top of her head, her hand tracing a pattern on Emily’s lower back.

“I still can’t believe it.” Kelley says, absentmindedly.

“I’ve been told I’m pretty amazing, good to hear you agree.”

Kelley smacks her lightly on the ass. “No you idiot, can’t believe you came back for me. But yeah, you were pretty great.”

“You would have done the same thing. I knew you would if it was for me.” Emily leaves a kiss in the small hollow of her neck.

“I don’t know, if you threw up on me I might have had to kill you.” Kelley jokes.

“Well, at least now you can make it up to me.”

“How do you propose I do that?” Kelley grins.

“Oh, I don’t know. I think that thing you did with your tongue might be just the thing.” She smirks, squeezing Kelley’s waist. They fall asleep wrapped up in each other.



The next day, they don’t tell anyone. It’s more fun to sneak stolen glances at each other. Emily knows that if she wants to make Kelley squirm, she just needs an little peak of Emily’s abs. So she takes advantage of that, walking around the pitch with her shirt riding halfway up her stomach. But Kelley knows how to get her back. Emily can’t help but stare while Kelley did endless squats during their weights session. At one point, she go so distracted she ran into one of the metal apparatuses, earning a laugh from the whole team. It stays like this the whole rest of camp, sleeping in the same hotel bed and then pretending they’re just friends during the day.

Soon enough, it’s time to leave camp. It would have been bittersweet if Kelley and Emily weren’t both headed back to the peach state. When the team arrives at the airport, they all say their goodbyes before heading their separate ways. Ash pipes up amidst the goodbyes.

“Before we all go, let’s take a moment to thank Kelley and Sonnett for putting us all out of our misery and FINALLY sealing the deal!”

Both Kelley and Emily whip their heads around, faces drained of color, which only makes their teammates laugh. Leave it to Ashlyn to announce their relationship to the entire airport.

“How…? You guys knew?” Kelley gaped at them.

“Knew? Kel, the whole team knows you two have been in love for years and there’s only so many hints we could drop! We’re just happy you idiots figured it out.”

Even Lindsey knew. “Well, it was pretty much confirmed when I came to your room that night. I heard you fall out of the bed, and even you aren’t that clumsy.” She giggles.

Kelley and Emily make eye contact. “Well, guess the secrets out.” Kelley says, pulling Emily into her, letting the blonde wrap her arms around Kelley’s neck.

“The worst kept secret in the world.” Ash says. “Ew, gross! No one needs to see that!” She exclaims, seeing the two of them kissing.

“Sorry, Ash. I think you’ll be seeing a lot more of it now.” Emily smiles before turning back to her girlfriend. “I kinda like this one.”