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Stop Making Me Tell You (I Love You)

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Hope’s sitting on her bed in her room, scratching her pencil against the lined pages of her notebook when her door opens. Her head immediately shoots up to meet Kelley’s gaze before she breaks out into a smile that matches the shorter girl’s. She’s setting aside her rough draft and speaking almost on autopilot, “Hey, Kell.” Her voice is soft and gentle here, in her own space. A space that not many people are allowed to invade, save for maybe Carli. Despite that, Kelley has always had the privilege of being welcomed here.

“Hi baby.” Kelley pads toward her girlfriend. “Your mom let me in, she said you were working on that paper for Dr. Satan.” Hope resists the urge to roll her eyes at Kelley’s nickname for her environmental science professor. Hope had elected to take the class online over the summer so she would have more time during the year for soccer.

“Well, it is on desertification, so you aren’t completely far off, I guess.” The younger girl rolls her eyes at her girlfriend before she lays down next to her and puts her head in Hope’s lap. The keeper started carding her hand through her girlfriend’s hair, enjoying the way Kelley subconsciously (or maybe slightly consciously) leans into it. “So, dearest,” Hope teasingly begins, “what brings you by unannounced? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not loving this paper, but I thought we agreed we weren’t going to try and do homework together after your finals last month?” Kelley fights down the blush at the mention of that very disastrous study session that ended in them having sex for the first time.

***
Karen, Dan, and Jerry had been off visiting some military schools which Kelley had gotten out of because she had finals and an SAT lined up for the following week. Naturally, Kelley had invited her super smart, and coincidentally super sexy girlfriend over to help her, since Hope had gotten an impressive 1410 on her SAT the previous year. Hope also was an English whiz (she was probably going to major in some English field when she got to college next year), which was helpful because Kelley had a much easier time deciphering bond enthalpy and atwood machines than she did deciphering Shakespeare.

Things had started off fine, they had tackled a third of the SAT review packet when Hope had asked why they couldn’t work on something else. Kelley, of course, agreed almost instantly because Hope was giving her that sly grin. The one that said “I’m in control here, and you’re gonna deal with it” which translates to “I’m Hope Solo, I’m sexy as fuck, and right now you wish we were alone so I could show you how good I am with my hands.” Okay, so maybe Kelley was just horny, but she had only seen that smirk during soccer before, so excuse her for finding it difficult to breathe now that she was actually, completely, alone with her gorgeous girlfriend.

Soon enough they were laying in Kelley’s bed, reveling in the skin on skin contact and quietly confessing their love for each other. It was not the first time either one of them had said it, but it felt extra special somehow.

***
“Earth to Kelley. I’d ask where you went, but, I think we both know exactly where, or rather when you were.” Hope smirks at her girlfriend knowingly.

Kelley only pouts up at the goalkeeper, “It’s not my fault you’re so attractive.” A beat passes where Hope waits for some sort of cheesy pick up line, but she doesn’t hear one. Instead, Kelley feels words well up inside her until they just pop out, “Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky to be able to love you.” The words are sincere, despite being completely impulsive, and god if Hope didn’t just melt down. The moment has gone from suggestive and playful, to mushy and warm, but the keeper wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love you, too, Kell. So much that I wonder what an amazing hero I must have been in a past life to get to have you. Of course, you aren’t an object, and you certainly don’t belong to anyone other than yourself.” Kelley almost scoffs, but thinks better of it at the last second. No use letting on exactly how whipped she is. Tobin would mock her endlessly if she ever found out the extent of Kelley’s love for Hope. Regardless, the usually stoic keeper’s slight ramble was really sweet, and reminds the defender of her original purpose for visiting the Solo household.

“Alright, Hopey. Enough mush. I came over here for a reason, so get up, put on some clothes fit for hiking and meet me down in the kitchen.” Kelley stands back up and smiles once more before giving her girlfriend a quick kiss and exiting the bedroom.

When Hope goes downstairs, she is greeted by Kelley humming a tune and dancing around while wiping down a wet countertop. She raises an eyebrow at the action when she sees two full water bottles on the opposite counter. Kelley is a real klutz sometimes. Deciding not to sit around like a stalker for any longer, Hope speaks, “So, Kell, where are we going hiking?”

Kelley jumps a little and drops the sponge into the sink before sheepishly turning around at the older girl. “I’m not going to ruin the surprise. Be patient, love.” Hope rolls her eyes, but manages to avoid asking questions as they walk out to Kelley’s old Toyota Camry.

They put on the radio and carry a light conversation as they drive toward Kelley’s intended hiking trail. Once they get off the highway, Hope knows they’re going to her favorite trail.

“I can’t believe I didn’t realize we were going to go up to Gill Pond.” Kelley looks over at her and smiles mischievously.

“That just means I did my job correctly.” She says cheekily, and Hope just leans over to kiss Kelley’s cheek as they head on toward the base of the trails.

“Technically, I figured it out before we got here, so I don’t know if you kept the secret well.” Hope says as they pull into the small lot. Kelley resists the urge to snark back because she does have one more surprise for Hope.

“Either way, we’re here now.” Kelley puts the car in park and they both get out, Hope holding a water bottle for Kelley to take, before realizing the other girl is opening the trunk. Kelley pulls out a backpack and two fishing rods, effectively silencing the question on Hope’s lips. “Not so bad at surprises now, am I?”

“Thanks Kell. I really appreciate it.” Hope smiles and reaches to put the water bottles in the backpack before taking one of the fishing rods. She then turns her palm to Kelley for the other girl to interlace their fingers.

As they start up the trail, Kelley steals a kiss. “I just figured you might want a break. We haven’t seen each other since last weekend, and I want to make the most of this summer before you fly out to UDub and we’re thousands of miles apart.” Hope feels her heart swell.

“Don’t worry too much about the distance, Kell. We won’t be separated for that long, and I know Stanford is looking at you already. No need to be humble, babe.” Hope squeezes her hand gently and they continue on the trail. Once they reach the pond, they sit and lazily fish until the sun starts threatening to set, talking about nothing of importance, but somehow it means everything to both of them.

On the way back to the car, they start talking about Kelley’s chances at getting into Stanford because the defender is feeling a bit inferior. Hope tries to reassure her, but it takes some time before Kelley feels confident of her abilities both on and off the pitch. Hope finds it incredibly attractive how smart her girlfriend is, and doesn’t hesitate to tell her as much, “Kell, your intelligence is actually really hot.”

Kelley smirks and looks back at the keeper and says, “Let’s get back to my car and you can show me just how smart and hot you think I am.”

Hope takes off into a quick jog (so as not to expend too much energy on just getting to the car).