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Something Special

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As soon as Emily walked into the room, she regretted ever letting her former teammates force her into this. She was stood in the corner of her old high school gym, looking around at the groups of people who were awkwardly sharing small talk over finger food, her eyes scanning the dark silhouettes for the shapes of her friends, the only reason she was here right now. Eventually, she saw the sight of a blonde ponytail above the sea of heads, bobbing out of time to the bad music being played over the rented sound system.

Smiling at Sam’s attempt at dancing, she weaved her way through the crowds, before seeing the back of Rose’s head, sliding up behind her and wrapping her arms around the shorter girl’s waist in a loose hug. Rose turned to see her high school best friend, before squealing and throwing her arms over Emily’s shoulders.

“Sonny!” she shouted over the music, successfully catching the attention of the other girls in the small huddle, and before she knew it, she was in the centre of a group hug; Sam, Mal and Abby also getting in on the action. Emily let out a laugh, genuinely happy to be here with some of her best friends, as she tried to simultaneously hug them all back.

When Emily had received the email about the ten year high school reunion that her entire graduating class had been invited to, she had instantly rolled her eyes before deleting it from her inbox. As much as she loved her old soccer teammates, some of whom were still close friends, she couldn’t think of anything worse than going back to her old high school and having to spend the evening hearing her ex-classmates brag about their incredible lives and successful jobs, while eating shitty canapes and drinking bad wine. If it weren’t for Mal and Rose begging her to make a stop in Denver for the night, to break up her journey home to Georgia for the holidays, she never would have agreed to this, but ultimately knew she’d appreciate an excuse to see some of her closest and oldest friends.

Emily had moved to Colorado before her junior year and had attended Golden High School until she graduated. Her parents had since moved back to Georgia, so she hadn’t found much reason to visit her old hometown once she had moved away for college, apart from the occasional visit to see Mal, who still lived locally.

Emily had had a pretty good high school experience. She had been an easy going teenager, who’s laidback style and chill attitude made her likeable and approachable, and to the dismay of her parents and her teachers, a nightmare in the classroom. She wasn’t one of the most popular girls in school, unlike her twin sister was, but was well liked by most people. She was sporty and was well known by the other students for being a star player on the soccer and basketball teams. Emily also knew that being one of the few openly gay girls in her class meant that a lot of people knew her name, and she got a lot of attention, which was sometimes unwanted, from girls and guys alike, because of that.

She hadn’t been in any relationships in high school, still being new to the whole ‘liking girls’ thing herself, but she had been outgoing and confident, which translated into people perceiving her as a flirt. She often found herself at parties, after a few too many beers, with some random girl underneath her on a guest bedroom mattress or pinned against a bathroom door. She wasn’t known as a player, since most of the girls she slept with were “straight” or had boyfriends, so they never spilled about their time together, but if she had to admit it, she had gotten around in high school.

And college.

And after she graduated.

Now ten years and a few relatively-long-term relationships later, she was still single, a fact she knew would be silently judged this evening by all of her old classmates, but she was happy. The blonde woman now owned her own art studio and gallery in Portland, a dream she had had since she first went to a photography exhibition when she was ten years old. She loved that she could tell incredible stories through visual work and share her personal passion for art with so many people.

A couple hours and a few drinks later, Emily found herself sat on a bench in the designated smoking area, where she had escaped to a few minutes earlier for a much-needed cigarette, and some fresh, mountain air. As much as she loved spending time with her friends, she was overwhelmed by the amount of social interaction this event required of her, and was fed up with repeating her employment and relationship status over and over, to people she vaguely knew but who still felt like complete strangers. Just as she took another drag of her cigarette, she heard a voice from over her shoulder.

“Those things will kill you; you know?” it said. Emily jumped in her seat, the noise startling her. She slowly turned, as she exhaled through her nose, shrugging slightly, ready to speak up and defend her unhealthy smoking habit, but the words got stuck in her throat as she saw the blonde stood before her.

She hadn’t properly seen Lindsey Horan, in person, in years. Being a queer woman who lived in Portland, she had obviously seen her on the field at Thorns games and had even gone to see a couple of National Team games with her ex-girlfriend when they had played nearby, but seeing her six feet away, under the fluorescent parking lot lighting, made Emily lose her breath.

The taller woman was dressed casually, in a pair of ripped, dark gray jeans, and a smart black tank under a black jacket, with white Adidas sneakers on her feet. Her long blonde hair was falling over her shoulders in soft waves, and her hand was clutching a beer. Emily sat frozen for a second, kicking herself for not realising, that, of course, the younger girl would be here.

Out of everybody in their graduating class, Lindsey Horan was, without a doubt, the most accomplished. A decade after finishing high school, she had a World Cup and an Olympic Gold medal to her name, as well as several MVP titles and a huge online fanbase. The international soccer star had been one of the only people at school who Emily was intimidated by; the girl who carried herself with such professionalism and confidence as a seventeen-year-old student, that she seemed unapproachable within the walls of their high school.

Emily wasn’t surprised she had turned down a UNC scholarship to play professionally abroad, given the teenagers talent and passion for the game. Although Emily had never had the chance to tell her, she greatly admired the decision she made. Lindsey Horan: the girl who opted out of high school soccer, to focus on her club career; the girl who had represented her country internationally for as long as Emily had known her; the girl who had forged her own path to achieve her goals, blazing her own trail that no one in the American women’s game had walked before, was one of the bravest people Emily had had the pleasure of knowing.

The two women weren’t particularly close as teenagers, however they had spent junior year sharing a desk in their calculus class. Lindsey, who was a math genius, had spent many lessons, trying to help Emily understand the problems they were tasked with solving, and was probably the primary reason that the shorter blonde hadn’t failed that year. Admittedly, the crush that Emily had on the other girl was the only thing that made her show up in the first place, and when Lindsey was absent from school so she could travel with various youth teams, Emily always found herself missing her presence and the flirty banter they shared in class.

Emily had liked Lindsey from the moment she first saw her. Not only was the girl gorgeous, and exactly Emily's type, but she was also one of the nicest people Emily knew, and when they hadn’t shared any classes their senior year, she had felt a little bit heartbroken. Lindsey came to watch as many of their soccer team’s games as possible, when she had time in her busy schedule and, on occasion, would join their team’s practices, always looking for opportunities to improve and grow as a player.

Lindsey Horan with a ball at her feet was magical, and Emily often found herself on the field messing up passes under the gaze of the midfielder or fumbling with the ball when she knew the taller girl was nearby, distracted by the sight of her classmate in shorts and tank tops, often sweaty, and so, so beautiful, under the Colorado sun.

High-school-Lindsey had been untouchable. She never dated, and Emily still had no clue what her preferences were, even if the logical part of her brained begged that she couldn’t be straight. Between classes, she was constantly surrounded by the guys she trained with on the boys’ soccer team, but honestly, she was a lone wolf, who lived and breathed her sport. She was the type of person who came to school so she could get her diploma and get out, not to party or make friends or get into relationships.

It was part of the reason why Emily was so shocked to see her here tonight, because Emily knew that the women stood in front of her, who was currently mocking her smoking problem, had much better things to be doing with her time than pretending to care about what her old classmates had been up to over the last decade. Emily also knew that she wasn’t the kind of person to attend a high school reunion to purely rub her success in the faces of other people, as she had always been so modest about her talent and her accomplishments.

Emily rolled her eyes at the girl’s comment, a fact that she’d be told by countless people since she started smoking in college.

“You sound like my mom,” Emily responded, taking another drag of the cancer stick, before stretching her legs out in front of her, watching the taller girl as she bounced on her heels, contemplating her next move.

The soccer player took a sip of her beer, before walking towards Emily and sitting next to her on the wooden seat. She was close enough that Emily could feel the other girl’s body heat through her own sweater, silently appreciating the warmth in the cold evening. Lindsey sat still for a moment, both girls waiting in the surprisingly comfortable silence for one of them to say something. In the end, Lindsey spoke first.

“May I?” she questioned, head nodding towards the cigarette held between Emily’s long fingers. Emily shot her a curious glance, before passing the item to the other women, watching her raise it to her lips.

“Fucking hypocrite,” Emily muttered under her breath into the quiet space between them, adjusting her messy blonde bun with her now, free hands, as Lindsey let out a breathy laugh as she took a second drag, before passing the cigarette back to the other girl who matched Lindsey’s actions. Lindsey shrugged, before smiling at Emily.

“What my coaches don’t know won’t hurt them, right?” she questioned, sending a wink in Emily’s direction, as the artist leaned forward to put out the cigarette in the ash tray on the table in front of her. “Plus, I need something to distract me from how boring it is in there” Lindsey admitted, nodding to the gym doors behind her. Emily laughed, and busied herself with putting her lighter back into her purse. After a beat of silence, Lindsey spoke up again. “How’ve you been, Em? It’s been a while” she asked, and Emily melted at the use of the nickname.

No one at school called her that, except for Lindsey. The team and all her friends and teachers had called her Sonnett, or some variation of that, to avoid confusion between her and her sister, but the blonde was an exception. Emily hadn’t had a chance to correct Lindsey the first time the short word slipped out her mouth but had quickly grown to love the nickname. It made her feel special then and it made her feel special now. Even after all these years she loved having Lindsey’s attention on her.

Realizing the girl had asked her a question, she sent a soft smile in her direction.

“Good, thanks... yeah, really good” she stammered out, and at the sight of Lindsey’s questioning gaze she kept talking, knowing that if Lindsey was bothering to ask, she was genuinely curious about what she’d been up to and, because unlike the soccer player, Emily's career highlights weren’t readily available online. “I finally got my own gallery, so I’m keeping pretty busy with that. Um… my parents are back in Georgia so it’s nice to be home more often, but I don't get the chance to come back to Colorado much anymore.”

“Mal told me you’re living in Portland” she prompted.

Emily was shocked she knew this information, but simultaneously not surprised, since she knew Mal had kept in touch with Lindsey over the last decade and still saw her pretty regularly when they were both in town. And Mal was one of the biggest gossips she knew.

“Yeah, I moved up there after I graduated, so it’s been, what… 6 years now. I got a job right out of college and never left.” Emily smiled, because it was true. Portland had her heart, and she loved the life she had built for herself in the city.

“I’ve never seen you around” Lindsey added, which made Emily chuckle.

“It’s a pretty big city Linds, so that doesn’t surprise me.” She nudged the younger girl with her shoulder, loving the easy conversation, feeling like she was in that eleventh grade math class all over again, and like ten years hadn’t passed between now and the last time they had spoken. “I come to your home games quite often though, so I guess I’ve seen you from a far. And on every single Thorns ad all over the city. I can’t escape you” Emily laughed, with an eye roll.

Lindsey smiled at that admission, and Emily felt all the forgotten feelings she had for the girl come flooding back at the sight of the dimple in Lindsey’s cheek and the light in her green eyes. Time had made her even more beautiful and seeing her up close, in person, made Emily’s heart race.

“Anyway, how about you, Miss Olympian?” Emily said with a smirk. “Congrats, by the way, on everything” Lindsey’s eyes lit up at the mention of her soccer achievements, and a bashful look appeared on her face at the compliment.

“Thanks” she said, “I still kind of can’t believe it. It’s been pretty wild” she added with a laugh.

“I can,” Emily responded, earning herself a look from her old classmate. “I mean, I always knew you were going to go far” she continued. Emily decided to get all her fangirling over with now. “I’m proud of you, by the way. For everything you’ve done, for the role model you’ve been. I’m proud to have known you and to have seen you grow as a player. You’ve had an amazing career. It’s been fun to follow and inspiring to watch.” Emily said with a soft smile, as Lindsey blushed a deep red, fidgeting with the paper label on her beer bottle, feeling shy and embarrassed from the praise.

“Thank you,” she said, still avoiding Emily’s gaze. “I guess I need to thank you as well. You actually played a huge part in my decision to go abroad, and honestly I probably wouldn’t have made it so far without you.” Emily’s eyebrows shot up in confusion, instantly wracking her brain for a time she’d given the younger girl advice, coming up completely empty.

“I did?” she asked. Lindsey nodded at her. “How?” Emily questioned further.

“This one time in class, back in the summer of junior year, when I was helping you with a calc problem, and you were solving it a different way than we had been taught. I was getting so frustrated at you for doing it wrong, and you were being so fucking stubborn because you were insisting your method was right.

“And in the end, you got the correct answer. I remember you looked at me and said, you know Linds, sometimes just because someone tells you to do something one way, doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do it successfully. You then said something cheesy about choosing your own destiny but that stuck with me, and I know you were just talking about math, but I clung to those words like a lifeline when every adult in my life was telling me to go to college.

“So, thank you for that, and for giving me the bravery to make that move, because it’s probably the best decision I ever made.” Emily turned to look at Lindsey for a second, their knees touching, scanning her green eyes for an appropriate response to the information the soccer player had had just dropped on her. Emily couldn’t move, completely overwhelmed to hear that Lindsey had taken something she’d once said as an off-handed joke so literally and had changed her life because of it.

Her heart was pounding in her ears and she couldn’t form words. She didn’t think the other girl had ever given her a second thought outside of the four walls of their math classroom, but she felt flattered to have impacted the blonde’s life in some way. She paused, looking at Lindsey still, resting a hand gently on her upper arm, as she wracked her brain for words.

“You’re welcome, I guess. Glad to be of service.” She said with a laugh, giving Lindsey’s bicep a gentle, comforting squeeze, trying to ignore the heat that rushed through her body at the feeling of the athlete’s strong muscle under her fingertips.

Lindsey just smiled back, looking shy and vulnerable, before changing the subject.

“So, tell me about your studio…” she prompted.

-

Emily shifted her weight to her other leg as she waited for Lindsey by the doors of the gym. The girls had spent the better part of an hour sat outside, sharing the remainder of Lindsey’s beer, as they caught up on each other’s lives. They talked about everything; their shared time at high school, Emily’s time at college, Lindsey’s time in France, soccer, their plans for Christmas, their separate lives in Portland and their careers, the conversation flowing like it was between two old friends. At some point relationships had come up, when Emily made a passing comment about Lindsey’s, now, ex-boyfriend.

“Oh no… that’s um, not a thing any more actually” she had stammered out, and Emily suddenly felt bad for bringing it up.

“Shit, I’m sorry Linds. It’s just I saw you with him recently after a game, and presumed it was still going on.”

“No. No, it’s ok, we’d been off and on again for months. We broke up for good just after the season ended. Honestly, we should have done it a long time ago. We’re both a lot happier for it” Emily had stayed quiet, not sure where to go with the conversation. “How about you? Do you have anyone waiting for you back home.” Lindsey questioned, suddenly looking shy.

“No” Emily shook her head, taking a sip of the beer Lindsey had offered her “There have been a few people over the last few years but nothing that’s lasted.”

“Are you looking?” Lindsey asked quietly, her voice barely a whisper. Emily met her eyes, an incredulous look on her face.

“Are you not?” she responded, not breaking their gaze, as her foot gently linked around the soccer players ankle, their bodies close together, knees knocking on the bench. Emily was nervous being this close to Lindsey, and felt warmth making its way up her body and rising up her neck. They stayed like that for a heated second, before a loud group of ex-classmates who Emily didn’t recognise, spilled out the doors, into the smoking area, causing the tension between them to quickly dissipate.

Lindsey took her beer back from Emily, tipping her head to the clear sky and draining the contents. Emily couldn’t tear her eyes from the woman’s strong jaw and neck, as she swallowed. Lindsey lowered the empty bottle, turning to look at her former classmate again before she asked,

“Want to get out of here?” When Emily’s eyebrows shot up in surprise at the suggestive question, the taller woman quickly added to her statement “- to grab another drink someplace else. Get some decent beer. There’s a nice bar not far from here." Without thinking Emily found herself nodding. It wasn’t even a question, because when it came to this woman in front of her, the answer would always be yes.

So, Emily found herself outside, waiting for the woman she’d been crushing on for over a decade to grab her coat, as she sent a message to the group chat with her other high school friends to let them know she was ditching them. She didn’t mention where she was going or who she was with, knowing she’d never hear the end of it from the group of women, but assured them she’d be present at the brunch they had already planned for the following morning, before her afternoon flight to Atlanta departed.

As she locked her phone, already groaning at the influx of messages she was receiving from a curious Rose and Mal, she saw Lindsey heading out of the building, now with her coat on, typing into her phone.

“An Uber will be here in two” she said with a smile, grabbing Emily’s hand as she pulled her towards the main road, where the car was picking them up.

-

An hour later, Emily found herself tucked into a dark corner booth, in the back of Lindsey’s favorite bar. The space was lively and the dancefloor was crowded with people who were enjoying the music, moving under the dim lights of the room.

Emily could see why Lindsey liked it so much. It was the perfect place for a local celebrity to remain anonymous, and to enjoy a fun night out in peace, the shadows of the tall booths making it hard to distinguish faces from even a small distance away.

The women were on their second round of drinks, and were sitting close, bodies adjacent to each other, lower legs tangled under the table. Emily’s hand was resting over Lindsey’s knee, her finger’s drawing light circles over the skin exposed by the rips in her jeans. Lindsey had an arm behind Emily, wrapping it loosely around her waist, leaning in close as they spoke over the loud music. Her fingers were hooked through one of her belt loops, and every time Lindsey’s hand touched Emily’s bare stomach and grazed her toned muscles, Emily felt heat rush from her head to her toes, and between her legs.

She was turned on, and couldn’t believe that this woman, who’d been on her mind for years, and had always seemed so out of her league, appeared to be interested in her. Emily had enough experience with women to know when someone was coming on to her, and Emily hoped she was right with her guess of where this night was heading.

The song playing in the bar changed to a well-known chart topper from a few years ago and Emily felt the woman next to her move slightly to the music. Emily sat up straight, backing out of the booth.

“Come dance with me” she asked, offering a hand. Lindsey met her eyes, and shook her head no, as Emily gave her a pointed look. If Emily Sonnett was anything, it was stubborn. Lindsey quickly conceded, finishing the remains of her drink, before following Emily to the dance floor.

Emily hoped the other woman was still behind her as she started to dance, making her way into the crowded floor, moving her hips in time to the music. The artist was a free spirit and as Emily twirled with a laugh, she saw Lindsey, frozen in front of her, eyes glued to her body and the skin that was now exposed as her white shirt creeped up with the movement of her arms above her head. Emily stilled and looked Lindsey dead in the eyes, a pang in her chest telling her that both women knew exactly where this evening was going, and Emily knew, as soon as Lindsey grabbed her hand and pulled her close, their bodies moving together effortlessly in the sea of people…

Emily knew that tonight she was going to end up in Lindsey's bed.

-

Emily could feel her heart pounding in her ears, as her hips rolled to the music. Lindsey’s arms were secured around her waist from behind, her fingertips exploring the shorter girl’s abs as they danced. Emily felt like she was flying, leaning back against the strong body of the woman behind her. She felt safe in Lindsey’s arms. Emily laughed under her breath.

If only high school Sonny could see me now!

After a while, her legs started to ache, and her lungs started to burn from the exercise. She turned to face the taller girl and rested her head on her shoulder, slowing down their movements, arms wrapped around her neck, holding her close, taking a breather. As if Lindsey could sense the shift in Emily’s mood, she ducked her head, her lips gazing over Emily’s ear, as she asked if she wanted another drink.

Emily nodded, reaching up to speak to the girl over the loud music, her lips grazing her cheekbone.

“I’m just going for a cigarette,” she said, pointing to the exit. Lindsey smiled with a nod and pressed a chaste kiss to her forehead and let her go, walking in the opposite direction to the bar.

-

Emily returned five minutes later, to find Lindsey back in their booth, two full glasses replacing the empty ones that had previously occupied the table. She slid back onto the seat, and swung her legs over Lindsey’s, not even trying to be subtle anymore. The soccer player’s hand found its way over her jeans, to settle on the inside of the thigh.

Emily felt like she was on fire and wanted nothing more than to drag the younger girl into the bathroom or out to the back alley and finally, finally have her, like she’d been dreaming about for over a decade. Emily sent Lindsey a smile and a thank you, as she reached forwards to pick up her new drink, and took a long sip, leaning back against the cushioned seat, closing her eyes, and taking everything in: the alcohol that was running through her veins, making her feel slightly tipsy; the feeling of Lindsey’s hand on her leg and her strong thigh underneath Emily’s knee; the smell of the woman next to her, a scent that was completely new but, oh so familiar; the steady pulse of music through the bar, a rhythm which matched the blood coursing through her veins, and in between her legs.

Lindsey leaned forwards, bringing her own glass to her lips, before placing it back on the table and turning towards Emily, reaching to tuck a loose strand of Emily’s blonde hair behind her ear, which had fallen free from the bun she was sporting.

“You’re so beautiful,” Emily whispered, bringing her hand up to Lindsey’s face, tracing the woman’s sharp jawline, her hand moving round to settle at the back of the other girl’s neck.

“Did you know, I had the biggest crush on you in high school,” Lindsey admitted. Emily just let out a quiet laugh, her chest feeling like it was going to explode and collapse simultaneously, as she shook her head in the negative. “Why’d you think I came to your practices so often?” Lindsey whispered, her mouth grazing the silver ring that went though the top of Emily’s ear, the piercing which symbolized her first act of rebellion once she left for college.

Emily felt herself shiver at Lindsey’s words and at the feeling of her lips, goose bumps appeared down the back of her neck, the sensation tugging at her core, causing her to sigh into the loud room. She turned her head to meet Lindsey’s gaze, her gaze flicking to her lips for a brief second, before back at the green orbs that were inches away from her.

“I thought it was just me,” Emily responded, before sitting up straighter, tugging Lindsey in closer. The soccer player looked down at her mouth, her thumb running lightly over Emily’s soft, parted lips. The shorter girl let out a quiet moan at the sensation, breathing out a quiet Linds into the shared space between them, and before Emily could move any closer, Lindsey’s lips were on hers.

Emily was expecting her heart to give out when their lips first touched, but instead she was met with perfect silence. As soon as Lindsey’s mouth was on hers, all the noise in the room and in her head faded away. All Emily could focus on was the way the taller girl had captured her bottom lip between her own, pulling her in, opening her up. Slowly, they started to move together, their mouths falling into a perfect rhythm.

Emily had her hands buried in Lindsey’s hair, feeling Lindsey cup her cheek, pulling her closer. Emily swiped her tongue, experimentally, along the younger girl’s lips, before Lindsey’s mouth opened for her. The blood rushed back through Emily’s body, as their tongues met, dancing together like they had done this hundreds of times before, and Emily felt lightheaded. She never wanted this feeling to end, and pulled Lindsey in closer, trying to ground herself to this other person.

Eventually, they had to break for air, both girl’s breathing hard as they tried to catch their breath, Lindsey’s lips trailing down Emily’s jawline, smiling against her freckled skin, as she went. Emily pulled the girl up, meeting her gaze in the dark corner of the room, bringing their mouths together and they were kissing again, this time hungry and needy. Lindsey’s hand edged its way under Emily’s plain white shirt, the taller girl letting out a dirty moan into Emily’s mouth at the feeling of the skin under her fingertips. Lindsey tugged her closer until Emily was half sat on the girl’s lap, her leg draped over her thighs, as the girls shared the best first kiss both of them had ever experienced.

Emily never wanted it to end but didn’t complain when Lindsey slid out from underneath her, picking up her bag and her coat. Emily silently followed, breathing heavy and smiling big, as she slipped her hand into the athlete's, as they made their way out of the bar, and back to Lindsey’s place.

-

The next morning, Emily woke up in Lindsey’s bed, and spent the first couple of minutes of her day convincing herself that this was not a dream. It was still early, and the room was bathed in sunlight, which was streaming in from the window on the opposite wall.

Emily ran her fingers up Lindsey’s strong forearms that were wrapped around her, which moved to pull her in closer as the girl started to stir. They were both naked, legs entwined and hair wild, buried under the warm covers of Lindsey’s king size bed.

At some point in the night Lindsey must have left the room because Emily could hear Ferguson’s snuffles from the other end of the mattress, as he slept by his mom’s feet. She smiled as Lindsey came to, feeling the soccer player placing light kisses down her neck and across her bare shoulder, their bodies fitting together perfectly.

Emily rolled over to look at the other girl, placing a soft closed mouth kiss on her lips, before she was being pulled into Lindsey’s chest. She breathed her in, letting her head rest on the soft swell of Lindsey’s breast, which was now stained with the dark red marks left by Emily’s mouth the night before. Lindsey was the first to break the silence.

“Good morning” she whispered. Emily hummed in contentment, enjoying the perfect start to her day, as she hugged Lindsey back tighter, placing a kiss onto the girl’s collarbone.

“Morning Linds,” she said, her voice hoarse with sleep. “Sleep good?” she questioned.

“So good” the other girl smiled leaning down to kiss Emily’s forehead. “Come shower with me?” Emily had just nodded, giving Fergy a gentle pat on the head, before slipping out of the bed and letting Lindsey drag her towards her bathroom. They spent a minute brushing their teeth, Emily using a spare toothbrush Lindsey had pulled out the bathroom cabinet, as they waited for the shower to warm up.

It felt natural to wake up with Lindsey like this, Emily thought. It didn’t feel like they were old acquaintances, who hadn’t seen each other in a decade.

When they entered the shower, Lindsey reached around Emily’s naked body to close the door behind them, the barbells through the shorter girl’s nipples feeling cold against Lindsey’s warm skin.

Lindsey had discovered them the night before, when she had finally taken Emily’s bra off, and really, she shouldn’t have been as surprised as she was. Emily’s body heated up at the sensation of the taller woman against her, the warmth against her piercings bringing back memories of Lindsey on top of Emily, whilst she was flat on her back, in Lindsey’s bed, her chest heaving, as the athlete leant down to capture the metal between her lips.

They moved around each other perfectly in the small space of the shower, taking turns washing each other’s hair and bodies, and when Emily dropped to her knees, taking one of Lindsey’s strong legs, and draping it over her shoulder, as she started to trail kisses up her thigh to where the younger girl was begging for her, Emily thought that, maybe, she could do this forever.

-

They had stayed in the shower until the water ran cold, and now, Emily found herself in Lindsey’s kitchen, wearing one of the soccer player’s oversized t-shirts. The girls were bustling around the room, dancing to the radio, which was playing country songs, per Emily’s request, as they cooked breakfast together. Emily was in charge of poaching the eggs, since Lindsey had admitted to being incapable at doing so herself, while the soccer player was making coffee for the two girls, and a few minutes later they were sat at the breakfast bar eating their avocado and eggs on toast, bare knees brushing under the counter, talking about anything and everything in between mouthfuls of food and lazy kisses.

Being with Lindsey like this felt so easy, and so natural, and Emily found herself thanking whatever higher being made her and Lindsey’s paths cross again. Emily was dreading going home that afternoon, wanting nothing more than to stay in Lindsey’s house, and in Lindsey’s bed, for as long as the other girl would have her.

Emily had brunch with Mal, Sam, Rose, and Abby later that morning, and knew that she would never hear the end of it if she didn’t show up, so as much as she wanted to bail on her plans and stay in the bubble that she’d created with the soccer player next to her, she knew that she needed to leave. She voiced this thought to Lindsey and the other girl readily agreed to drop her off, instantly knowing the local restaurant the artist was going to. She then stood up and cleared their empty plates, grabbing Emily’s hand and pulling her off the stool she was sat on.

“Come on,” Lindsey said, with a small smile, placing a soft, closed mouth kiss on Emily’s lips, before dragging the shorter girl down the corridor back towards the bedroom. “If we only have a little bit of time left together, we should make the most of it.”

-

Lindsey pulled up to the curb, pushing her car into neutral, as she parked opposite the restaurant. Emily was only twenty minutes late to brunch with her old friends, after both girls forgot to check the time, too occupied with each other to care about being punctual for the artist’s reservation. The last couple minutes of the short drive across the city had been in relative silence, as it was dawning on both girls that this was the end of their time together.

Both of them were unsure where they’d go from here; not knowing whether this was a one-night-only thing or if it was the beginning of something exciting and new. Emily was hoping it was the latter, and prayed Lindsey felt the same way, however she was doubtful, because Lindsey was, after all, Lindsey Horan, a famous, professional athlete, one of the faces of women's soccer, who travelled the world, and knew hundreds of attractive, successful people, all of whom could offer her a lot more than Emily could.

Emily fidgeted with her hands, as she sat in the passenger seat of the now stationary car, unsure of what to do next. Did she kiss her goodbye? Did they exchange phone numbers? Did she just leave and get out of Lindsey’s way, so she could get on with her day and head to the training session she had scheduled for the afternoon?

Fortunately, Lindsey made the decision for her. “Em,” she said into the silence between them. The older girl lifted her head, turning to face Lindsey, who reached out, threading her hand through the strands of Emily’s damp hair, pulling her slightly closer to her. Understanding the invitation, Emily leaned into her, meeting the other girl halfway for a slow, passionate kiss. Emily was on fire and tried to focus on everything she was feeling in the moment; the softness of Lindsey’s lips against hers, the smell of her shampoo, the way her strong thighs felt under Emily’s fingertips and the way her body reacted to the recent memory of how they had felt wrapped around her neck. 

Eventually, they were disrupted by the sound of Emily’s phone, which Emily knew was another message from Mal about her tardiness. She reluctantly pulled her lips away from Lindsey’s, resting their foreheads together as they breathed, and smiled into the space between them. Emily’s mind was blank, expect for one thing...

She couldn’t let this woman out of her life again.

She pulled away from Lindsey, reaching forward into the footwell and rummaging for something in her purse, under Lindsey’s curious gaze. Giving herself an internal congratulations when she finally found what she was looking for, she sat up, slipping a small piece of card into Lindsey’s hand, as the soccer player glanced down to see what Emily had handed her.

She smiled at the artist, and Emily had never been more grateful that she’d decided to be "professional" and get a set of business cards printed, promoting her studio and gallery, all containing her contact details, including her personal phone number on the back.

“Call me when you’re back in Portland?” Emily asked, her voice conveying her uncertainty and desperation about their situation, praying that Lindsey wanted to see her again once they were both back home.

Lindsey nodded, looking relieved that she finally had Emily’s number, leaning over to give her another perfect kiss, as Emily’s hand reached for the handle of the car door.

As Emily stepped out of the car, shouldering her bag, and turning to thank Lindsey for the ride, the blonde spoke up.

“I’ll call you tonight?” Lindsey’s expression was hopeful and nervous, and Emily couldn’t help but grin at her words.

“I’d like that.” Emily replied sincerely. She waved goodbye, closed the door, and crossed the road, before finally entering the restaurant she was meeting her friends in for brunch.

Emily couldn’t wipe the smile off her face, or stop the feeling in her head and in her heart, that told her that this thing between her and Lindsey, a thing that had been years in the making, which had been so unexpected, so perfect, and so, so beautiful, was just the start of something special.