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“Well…let’s hope we both survive this weekend.”

Kelley ungracefully threw her luggage across the room–her frustration was palpable.

“Kel. Calm down. It’s one game. We could be back on the road tomorrow. Just chill.”

Emily tried to ease Kelley. She knew she was one of the few people in this world that could prod Kelley’s fire with little to no backlash - but even then, she knew how hard to press and when to drop it.

The death glare across the room was cause enough to shut her mouth.

After news broke that a Washington Spirit player broke protocol, the team was forced into lockdown for the next few days in their hotel rooms in Portland.

Kelley was already on edge with the upcoming Olympic Roster picks, and had noticeably been more tense with any jokes about her age and skill level on the younger Washington team.

And ever since her trade to the Spirit, Emily and Kelley’s relationship had started to take on a new type of investment.

Kelley, forcibly at first, became a sounding board for her. Three teams in under one full year made Emily feel like shit. Kelley could understand, but reassured the younger player it wasn’t her fault, but rather the leagues lack of coordination.

Even though Kelley had always been a role model type for Emily, the nagging pull at her heartstrings never stopped – even after years of learning far too much about the woman and dealing with her ruthless personality.

The line between mentor and friend was blurred long ago, early in her national team career, and their new relationship as best friends and full time team partners had made it harder to ignore how compatible they were outside of soccer.

Emily had thought she countered her crush on Kelley after they had admitted their mutual attraction years ago – making an agreement that talking about sex, other women, or just general feelings towards their attraction to women was normal.

It’s what other girls gossiped about, anyways – at least that’s how Emily rationalized it.

And in no way was it done to sustain the sexual tension between them without actually confronting it.

Kelley had her long-term girlfriends, and they both had never been single at the same time- making it far easier to reject the idea that something between was even possible. It also helped to keep their relationship professional…sorta.

“Aubrey said they have a bar downstairs.” This piqued Kelley’s interest, a soft spot and past time activity Sonnett knew would wear down the brunette’s bad mood.

“I’ll call us up some drinks, we can put on some basketball and we’ll call it a night. Textbook weekend hangout, right Ms. Kelley?”

Kelley smirked, trying to disguise the blush that crept up her cheeks. “Fine, I promise no repeats of last time…and only if it’s on your tab.”

--
The night in question occurred late one evening after a grueling training session with the Spirit. The two made use of Emily’s rooftop access attached to her recently moved in apartment.

A few too many glasses of cheap champagne, the heat of the summer, and the buzzing of the city beneath them made them feel a rush of excitement- like they both of were on the precipice of a new chapter in their lives.

It’s still unclear who made the first move, but they found themselves wrapped tightly together in a blanket watching the cars move down below the city’s lights.

“You still intimidate me sometimes, Kel,” Emily had blurted out, disrupting the otherwise quiet rooftop ambiance. Her southern drawl was more noticeable after the few drinks they had – it didn’t surprise Kelley that the wiry blonde was already veering on the side of tipsy.

“Okay, sometimes that’s my goal…but explain,” she jabbed the blonde, creating more distance between them after breaking the silence.

“I don’t know. It’s stupid I even said it. I thought it’d be funny to say… sorry.” She could see the red creep up to Sonnett’s cheeks and the tips of her ears, unsure if it was the alcohol taking affect, or if it was genuine embarrassment. She hated that Sonnett did this – back tracking any conversation that meant letting someone else in on her feelings.

“I hate that. Don’t be sorry. Explain, before I make you say it.”

Sonnett rolled her eyes and let out a deep sigh, “I guess even right now. It feels like you always know exactly what you want, what your next step will be.”

Kelley quirked her eyebrow and a few beats of silence pass - she could feel Sonnett physically shift to make her point as clear as possible.

“I always think you’ll leave. Leave me as a teammate and as a friend. I’m like zero competition compared Alex, and I know it’s not like that in your head. But she’ll come before me, and then I have no one. Linds and Rose and Mal are still my girls. But you’re the closest thing I have to a mentor and friend in one.”

She sips the last of her drink, and watches the way Kelley places her hand on her own. A gentle yet reaffirming touch.

“You have offers placed at your feet. And you have millions of ideas of what can make you better. Then I’m here…waiting for direction. Waiting for you, or coaches, or even my parents to tell me what I should do next.”

Emily sinks into the flimsy outdoor couch they were sharing, looking anywhere but Kelley’s direction.

“It scares me that you’ll leave. Because you can… and eventually you will.”

Out of instinct, Kelley wanted to smother the blonde in affection.

She knew the blonde was more deliberate and calculated with her touch, so she settled for what she thought was a safe bet- a chaste kiss on the cheek.

Wrong choice.

As she leaned in, Emily turned to look at her, and what was supposed to be a cute and very platonic display of affection, quickly turned into a full-frontal peck on the lips.

An honest mistake.

Emily created space between them, obviously shocked, but otherwise tried to downplay her reaction.

Kelley matched her response, but truthfully didn’t mind it much. It wasn’t the first time she had kissed one of her friends, accidentally or not.

“I’m not going to leave you. Like ever,” Kelley didn’t dwell on the kiss, and instead moved her hand to the top of Sonnett’s thigh to let her know, nonverbally, this wasn’t uncomfortable for her.

“You had a shit card dealt to you last year, but I think you being here with me, and closer to your family, is what you need right now in your life.”

She watched as Emily wrapped her hand around her own. Still avoiding eye contact, but seemingly steadier than what she was a few moments ago.

“Being away from Lindsey, and away from that old version of you… you aren’t a rookie any more, you’re easily one of the best in the world. Being here will show you that. I’ll make sure of it.”

--

After that night, their bond as teammates grew stronger – Kelley’s criticism of Emily was clinical and sharp, both feeding off each other’s tactical breakdown of film sessions, and it showed. Kelley backed off on the field, letting more control sway to Emily’s right back position.

As friends, they became inseparable. Even at national team camps, Kel’s usual spot next to Alex on the bus or team dinners shifted. Lindsey noticed this instantly, weary of what was happening between the blonde and Kelley.

Emily looked at her phone, desperately trying to ignore the way Lindsey’s words made her blood run cold. It wasn’t obvious to her initially, but Lindsey’s jealousy was undeniable now. The most recent texts were from the last camp together, with the taller blonde obviously pouting about their lost time together.

Lindsey: I’m not saying you guys are being weird. But I deserve some Sonnshine too.

Lindsey: I know I have Ty. But you were first.

Emily couldn’t keep up with the façade anymore. For years, it was her and Linds. Conjoined at the hip, never straying far from each other– like the pull of a magnet to another.

After the years of repression, never actually voicing she was in love with Lindsey, her heart couldn’t take it anymore. Kelley offered herself as a shield from it, and Emily willingly accepted with the trade.

“You made sure to get me the good stuff, right?” Kelley asked, pulling Emily out of her daze.

“Yeah, only the best for my old woman. Cranberry juice on the rocks. Even got some fiber supplements for ya.”

--

After wasting enough time recreating videos and awkwardly greeting room service mid dance, Sonnett had loosened up and encouraged Kelley to drop the stress, without fear of getting her head ripped off.

Sonnett had ordered them a six pack of whatever local craft beer was popular during this season, and a basket of chicken tenders – a food craving that never died.

“Kel, I’m not gonna lie to you, this game sort of sucks,” Emily says, playing with the tab of the beer. She loves sports, but two basketball games in, almost three beers deep, and no food left, she had run out of past time activities to keep her entertained…and quiet. Mostly quiet.

“Can we do something, maybe make up a game, or try and see who can do the most pushups…I’m so bored.”

“Pushups? What makes you think you would ever beat me at something like that? I would destroy you.” Kelley jokes, subtly flexing her bicep as Sonnett paces between their beds.

It was no secret, Kelley was one of the most vocal players about her fitness- Sonnett would brag too if she could keep up with rookies when she was in her 30’s. But what Kelley didn’t admit was how she obsessed over it.

Her competitiveness was an amazing quality as a teammate, but at times it could, and had, hindered her relationships.

Emily had picked up on it early in their friendship, how small and insignificant chores or routines always had to have a winner – at first it seemed endearing, but the mentality quickly bled into much larger and consequential activities, like drinking, body counts, and even how those intimate experiences unfolded.

Her and Kelley had never slept together, which Lindsey and Rose endlessly doubted, but a good portion of their friendship was once built on this game of sexual chess.

“Do you remember the night you had a threesome and told me I should’ve been there,” as soon as the question left Emily’s mouth she could feel the words hang heavy in the room. It was such a sudden shift in conversation it almost gave Kelley whiplash.

Typically, their sexcapades were left for drunken nights and hidden text messages – and always considerate of their real-life partners. Their games and tallying marks dwindled once Kelley got together with her current girlfriend, for obvious reasons, and came to a screeching halt once the pandemic officially hit – it was an unspoken time of adjustment for both of them.

“Um, I guess… it’s a little fuzzy now,” Emily stopped pacing and noticed Kelley’s earlier position on the bed had shifted from relaxed to almost defensive.

“I think about it, not often or anything, but sometimes it’ll pop in my head at like…the worst times,” Emily tried to force a laugh, unable to look directly at Kelley.

“Like when,” Kelley’s voice seemed hesitant but obviously intrigued by Emily’s sudden spout of honesty.

Emily nervously picked at her hand, wondering why her brain felt like now was the right time to bring this up.

“Uhh…the night you and Rose decided to… I don’t know, pamper me I guess,” her answer was curt. Her and Kelley both reached for their drinks, hoping it would ease the tension as the room fell quiet.

“Explain…before I go crazy and call Rose to tell her you’re thinking about her underwear. I can promise you, my reaction is going be to minimal compared to hers,” Kelley was getting antsy and hated being led on like this.

Sonnett was aware of this fact, secretly relishing the idea of this turning her on.

“So impatient. I’m sure your girlfriend loves that,” Emily’s comment made Kelley blush. She wasn’t trying to be crude, she knew Kelley could take it.

“I started to get a little…heated when you and Rose wanted to do the face masks. The way Rosie sat on your lap to put it on for you, it was cute – really hot, too.”

Kelley tried to recall that night in detail, but was honestly drawing a blank.

They technically were still discouraged from spending time inside each other’s hotel rooms during national camp. Rose was the rule breaker- not understanding why they could practice together, but not hang out together.

“I could tell Rose was frustrated. With Mal and Lindsey. It’s been weird since we all got traded, but when she asked you to take care of her, I could see your eyes light up.”

Kelley noticed how Emily was running her fingers across the label of the bottle, nervously fidgeting her feet as she led her down this memory.

“Not that I’ve ever thought you guys were like that. I mean, I don’t even know the last time Rose has had sex. Or talked about wanting to having sex. But she was so gentle with you, and you had your hands on her hips, instead of like on the bed, or on her legs.”

They both were sitting on the edge of their own beds – their bodies leaning into the space between them.

“You thought about me and Rose, sleeping together, while you watched,” Kelley dryly asked.

“Yup,” Emily could feel her heart race, and knew that this entire conversation was ridiculous, she didn’t even really know why she was bringing it up, but it felt like it needed to be said.

“What would you have done,” Kelley asked, getting up from the bed to turn down the tv and rummage through her bag.

“Nothing – I was content watching. Or would be.”

Kelley scoffed at that, and settled on the bed next to Emily as the blonde still picked at her empty beer bottle. Emily loved how Kelley looked right now – her soft sweatpants and her hair up in a bun, showing off the fly aways on her neck and sideburns.

“That’s what you like? To watch?” Kelley was teasing, not noticing the way Emily was tracing every part of Kelley’s face with her eyes. The brunette was preoccupied with opening a bottle and pulling out make up wipes.

“Not necessarily.”

“Then tell me.”

Placing the bottle down, she watched as Kelley struggled to remove the wipe from the pouch, “am I making you that nervous?” She quirked her eyebrows, knowing Kelley couldn’t stand other people’s cockiness.

“Tell me.”

She didn’t wait for Emily to start speaking, straddling the blonde as she methodically cleaned the younger’s girls face.

“Kel…” it didn’t sound like a warning, as much as a question. Emily placed her hands on the side of her body, leaning back to make more space between them.

“Em, shut up. If you won’t tell me, let me do this.”

There was a pause in their conversation. Emily stopped resisting, accepting that if it was what Kelley wanted, it was gonna happen either way.

She tried not to hum in pleasure as the brunette gently padded and massaged her face as she used the wipe.

“I showered today, you know. Exfoliated and everything,” Emily said, speaking softly and with her eyes shut.

“I can tell. You smell good. Need a clean canvas for the mask though,” before Emily could refute, Kelley had quickly tossed the wipe and was using her hand to spread the clay mask around Emily’s face.

“Don’t move. You’re so squirmy. And no more talking.”

“Yes ma’am.” She didn’t need to look to know Kelley was getting flustered.

She felt Kelley reposition herself, removing herself from her lap and putting her weight on her knees that straddled both sides of Emily’s hips.

“I love that you always wear a bun. I have no clue how you get yours to stay like this.”

“Mm... just for you Miss Kelley.”

“What did I just tell you,” Kelley pinched her cheek, ignoring the blush that had formed there.

Emily tried not to squirm under the soft touch of Kelley, also feeling a slight chill as the mask was put on her face.

“I’m sending this to Rose. Maybe you and her can facetime and discuss your fantasy.”

Emily shuddered at the thought, imaging the horror on Rose’s face if that ever was put out into the world.

Despite the slight reaction, Kelley could tell Emily was genuinely relaxed, watching the slow rise and fall of her chest as she leaned back further into the bed, lying flat instead of supporting her weight with her forearms.

“Let it set for a few minutes, then wash it off. Props to you for not jumping me. Guess the fantasy only works if it’s me and Rose.”

Emily bit her tongue hard. No response is the only appropriate reaction. But the three beers made it hard to rationalize not being honest.

“Not Rose. Just you. It was watching you.”

There was a sudden stillness that seemed to fill the space between them. The admission was honest and true.

“Em.”

She felt Kelley’s hand firmly grip her thigh. Like a cautionary sign.

“Go wash your face.” Kelley’s tone still seemed soft, and Emily was glad that Kelley had decided to finally create space between them again and separate – putting away her things and giving Sonnett a minute to compose herself.

--

“Look Kel, I’m sorry.” Emily walked back into the room, now dimly lit by the tv screen, only giving her a clear view of the two beds every few seconds when the scene would change.

She approached her bed, fumbling around its edge and catching herself as she hit the sharp corner of the frame.

“Fuck,” she still couldn’t tell where Kelley was in the room, but felt the creeping anxiety of her actions clear any semblance of a buzz she might have felt earlier.

She fell into her bed, gripping her shin, praying that it didn’t bruise.

“Don’t rub. You know that’s rule number one,” Kelley finally spoke up.

Her vision finally adjusted to the room, noticing that Kelley was in her bed – and had changed into shorts and a baggy shirt.

“Oh… I didn’t know we were getting ready for bed.” She shifted, trying to take in Kelley’s choice of pajamas.

Kelley gently grabbed Sonnett’s arm, stopping her from getting off the bed.

“Don’t change. Just…let’s try something.”

In that moment, the only thing Emily could think about was her breathing. Not the way her cheeks felt on fire, or the way her thighs pressed together to alleviate some of the pressure that had been built up since they started this tightrope act. Instead she was almost helpless trying not to hyperventilate.

“Kelley.”

Everything in her body wanted to cave in and take the bait.

“I can’t… I can’t do this with you.”

“You don’t even know what I’m going to suggest.”

“What could you possibly want, Kel?”

Her voice sounded panicked, snapping at the other woman. Kelley’s tight grip on her made it feel like somehow, she was interpreting this wrong.

“Calm down…and please just lay next to me.”

The blonde followed the request, keeping a safe distance between them while facing the brunette.

The blonde was unsure how much time had passed, but her heartbeat had regulated and the space between them no longer seemed as daunting as it had when she first stumbled into this situation.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry Kel. I don’t know why I’m like this.”

The brunette understood Emily was asking for forgiveness about the anxiety she carried with her. As if it was something she didn’t understand or sympathize with watching her best friend cope with the emergence of her identity – as a woman, who loved other women, and as a professional soccer player that never got the glorification of the others on the team.

“Can you give me your hand?”

Emily nodded, letting her hand fall in the space between their bodies. Keenly watching as Kelley traced the palm of her hand gradually up her wrist. The touch was soft, making it easy to get lost in thought as the motion was repeated over and over.

“Can you tell me something?”

Emily hummed, eyes closed as she loosely focused on the sensation.

“What did you do after that night? With me and Rosie?”

She took a deep breath, letting the soothing touch slow down her thoughts.

“I thought about what part of it made me feel that way. And how it is almost laughable that I’m so touch starved that I could get off on the idea of you taking care of someone else.”

“That’s not a bad thing. It’s a healthy thing.”

Emily opened her eyes, noticing Kelley had her own shut, and was resting on her side with her entire body facing her.

“Healthy?”

Emily reached across, letting her hand cup the brunette’s jaw. Just barely gracing the baby hairs on the back of Kelley’s neck.

“You recognized why it was a turn on. It’s healthy to know what you want. Your issue is you need to ask for it. Tell people what you want…or what you need. Don’t keep it here,” she said as she placed her hand gently on Emily’s chest.

They finally met each other’s gaze.

“I would’ve kissed you. I wanted to feel your neck under my lips. And see if you would moan with my mouth on your body.”

Emily’s admission was brazen. She so desperately wanted to kiss the older woman. But knew it was a line that couldn’t be crossed without Kelley telling her she wanted it.

Kelley bit her lip, her hand still resting on Emily’s chest, feeling how rapidly the younger player’s heart beat was thumping in her chest.

“I would,” Kelley’s eyes were closed again, her breathing was deeper and her voice sounded coarse - a little unsteady.

Emily removed her hand from Kelley’s face, trailing her touch down to Kelley’s waist, gently gripping around her hips to pull them closer.

“You look so beautiful, Kelley. So sweet. And you smell so good. Like summertime back home.”

The brunette let out a shaky breath, something reminiscent of a nervous laugh.

“I am so turned on,” Kelley’s hand had dropped from Emily’s chest, choosing to hide her face in the crook of Sonnett’s neck.

She could feel Kelley’s hips subtly rut against her thigh – there was no real friction, but the sensation of having her hands on Kelley’s body while doing that was making her unravel.

“Kel, I can’t touch you.”

“I know… fuck. I’m so wet.” Kelley pushed further into Emily.

Emily wanted to keep going. It would almost be worse not doing anything now and having to separate and act like nothing happened the next morning.

She found Kelley’s hand, removing her grip from the woman’s waist and trailed it down Kelley’s front.

“Touch yourself.”

She could hear the sharp intake of breath, with Kelley’s face still shoved into her shoulder.

She felt Kelley lower her hand, with Emily’s grip now loosely clinging to Kelley’s wrist – allowing her to feel Kelley’s gradual motion without her touch getting in the way.

The moan that left Kelley’s body as she finally dipped into her shorts and pressed against herself made Emily go stiff.

“Do you like to tease yourself?” She could feel the tensing of Kelley’s wrist and hand under her grasp. Both of them felt like they were gasping for air.

She could feel Kelley move her fingers faster, circling around her clit.

“No…” her ability to process her own thoughts and speak properly was quickly dwindling.

“Fuck Em, please.” She could feel Kelley’s body shutter, nearing her orgasm.

“Touch yourself too. I want you to come with me.”

Emily quickly shoved her free hand down her sweatpants. It wouldn’t take much. She could feel Kelley bracket her hips with her legs – hovering over her as they quickly sped up their motions.

“Watching you do that above me is going to make me come, Kel. I am so close.”

“You’re such a good girl, Em. So pretty. So hot. I want to take you so bad. I want to put my lips on every part of you.”

Emily came instantly after hearing her praise. Her hips rocked into Kelley’s own, feeling the motion of Kelley’s hand against her center.

Kelley quickly came soon after. Her breathing uneven and her lips pressed tightly against Emily’s shoulder. Her moan was muffled, trying to be considerate of their neighbors.

 

--

Rose: Care to explain why Kelley just sent me a picture of you with a face mask on with the caption ‘super secret fantasy league’?