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A Soccer Love Story

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Lexa Woods is a warrior.

She is a competitor.

She is the goddamn Commander.

When Lexa had gotten her first call up to the senior national team at the young age of 18, her unshakable demeanor and immediate impact when she stepped onto the field had earned her the nickname.

She was the youngest on the team at the time, but it was a position she thrived in— Lexa had been taken under the wings of the all-time greats, learning and growing from the likes of Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly and Tobin Heath, to name a few.

Aptly nicknamed “The Commander” by her teammates, Lexa lived up to the hype. Under their tutelage, Lexa had soon become a household name and by the time she was 25, had helped the U.S. Women’s National Team earn gold at two Olympic games and keep the championship trophy in the U.S. at the past two World Cups, the last time happening a mere month ago.

So yes, Lexa lived up to her nickname.

But she certainly didn’t feel like it, as she clung to Heather’s jersey.

In fact, Lexa was pretty sure she might have accidentally wiped some snot on the older woman’s jersey, she was bawling so hard.

“Pull yourself together, Commander,” she heard from behind her, though it was said in the teasing lilt she knew so well. Lexa took another shuddering breath and turned around before latching onto Carli, whose arms wrapped around Lexa as she buried her face into her mentor’s shoulder.

“Whoa, who broke the Commander?” Lexa heard, and she took a step back to glare at Tobin, though the effect was lost due to Lexa’s tear-streaked face.

“So I guess you told her, huh?” Alex asked, appearing next to Tobin and giving Lexa a small, understanding smile.

“I don’t—I can’t…why?” Lexa asked, the words escaping her as she felt a pair of arms wrap around her, and turned her head slightly to find Ali standing next to her.

“It’s time, Lex,” Ashlyn said patiently, giving Lexa a pat on the arm.

“We’ve all thought about this for a long time now,” Heather continued.

“And what’s a better send off than winning another World Cup?” Carli asked, shrugging.

“But the Olympics…surely you can wait another year to retire,” Lexa reasoned, waving her arms around as she paced back and forth.

“Lex,” Amy said, stepping into Lexa’s path. She placed her hands on Lexa’s shoulders, forcing the younger girl to meet her eyes. “It’s ok,” she said. She smiled sadly at Lexa, giving the midfielder’s shoulder a squeeze. “We have talked about this with our families, with our friends, with ourselves—we’re all talked out.”

“We didn’t plan on retiring all at the same time,” Ali said, picking up the conversation. “But it’s just the way it happened.”

“They’re still going to finish the victory tour,” Becky added.

Kelley nodded, patting the youngest player’s arm. “We’re going to send them off right,” she said. “A victory tour to remember.”

“But it also means there’s going to be a lot of new blood being brought up,” Carli continued. “And you’re one of the leaders of this team now,” she said, looking Lexa in the eyes. “It’s going to be your job to get them in shape for the Olympics.”

Lexa took another deep breath, wiping the stray tears on her cheeks with the sleeve of her jersey. She looked around the room, taking in the faces of the women who have helped shape her soccer career. When she was first called up to the senior national team, she had only been a sophomore in college, and despite the cool demeanor she was known for, she had been terrified.

Lexa had been called up just before the Olympics, a few months after the USWNT had won their second consecutive World Cup. There had been a “mass retirement”, as the media had called it—and Lexa had gotten the call from Jill Ellis, telling her to report to her first training camp.

The first person to greet her had been one of the assistant coaches, who had met Lexa at the entrance of the hotel the team was staying. She had arrived a few days later than everyone else because of her finals schedule, which didn’t help her nerves. Lexa didn’t know what to expect, but she certainly never imagined that Abby Wambach would be the first one to greet her as she stepped off of the bus.

Abby had a warm smile and made Lexa feel more relaxed, and then she was taken to a room where the team meeting was being held—and immediately she was nervous again. The duo had stepped through the door and immediately all eyes were on Lexa.

Carli Lloyd.

Heather O’Reilly.

Becky Sauerbrunn.

Ali Krieger.

Alex Morgan. Tobin Heath. Julie Johnston.

Holy shit, Lexa was in the presence of her childhood idols.

The players from the 15ers—the American heroes who had finally brought the World Cup back to the United Sates and—holy shit, Hope Solo was there as the newly appointed goalkeeper coach, and Abby Wambach was still standing next to her, and everyone was staring at her and she was only vaguely aware of Jill introducing her to the team.

Lexa had the presence of mind to give a slight wave, but her face was starting to burn up with all eyes on her. Walking to an empty seat, she turned slightly to see Ashlyn Harris giving her a slight smile. And then, in what was perhaps the most embarrassing moment of her entire life, she had taken her sweater off, forgetting that she had thrown on the first shirt she could find before racing to her last final, and then to the airport because holy shit she was on her way to her first senior national team camp.

Which wouldn’t have been an issue, except the shirt she was wearing was a freaking Alex Morgan jersey.

Lexa was at her first senior national team camp, surrounded by her idols, quickly turned teammates, and she was wearing a player’s jersey.

A player who was literally sitting two rows in front of her.

Lexa internally cursed herself, and then cursed her professor for having an 8 am final time, and then cursed herself again for not recognizing what she had thrown on in her haste to make it to her final on time.

Slowly, as to not draw attention to herself, she tuned into the camp schedule Dawn Scott, the head strength and fitness coach, was going over while discreetly attempting to put her sweater back on.

And then Dawn was done, and the lights were back on, and she hadn’t been able to get her sweater back on before Ashlyn had turned to face Lexa, giving her a wide smile.

“Hi,” Ashlyn said, sticking her hand out. “I’m Ashlyn,” she continued, and pointed to the girl sitting next to her. “This is Ali.”

“I know,” Lexa had blurted out, immediately groaning at the zero amount of chill she had as she met one of her favorite players. “I mean, hi, I’m Lexa. It’s nice to meet you,” she continued, shaking Ashlyn’s hand.

“Yo, Woods!” she heard, and turned around, seeing Tobin Heath standing in front of her with—Lexa immediately tried to quell the blush she knew was spreading across her face, thankful that her tanned skin would lessen the effect, because standing next to Tobin, smiling with her signature pink pre-wrap in her hair, was Alex Morgan.

“Welcome to camp,” Tobin continued. “Tobin,” she said, gesturing to herself. “This is Al,” Tobin said, putting her arm around the forward next to her.

“Lexa Woods,” Lexa said, reaching down to grab her bag. “Do you know who I can talk to about my room assignment?” she asked, determined to get out of the shirt as soon as possible, hopefully before she was introduced to the rest of the team.

“You’re actually rooming with me,” said a voice next to her, and Lexa turned once more to face Kelley O’Hara. “And we have a few hours before we have to meet in the weight room, so I can show you to the room now.”

Lexa smiled, the welcoming looks on everyone’s face relaxing her. She stuffed her sweater in her bag and slung it over her shoulder. “Thanks,” she said, forgetting for a moment about her predicament.

Until—

“Whoa, check it out, she’s got a two-star shirt,” Meghan Klingenberg said, joining the circle of teammates, Morgan Brian standing next to her.

“You need to upgrade your shirt, dude,” Morgan chimed in. "We've got more stars than that."

The comment made everyone focus on Lexa’s shirt, and she saw Ashlyn smirk.

“Alex Morgan fan, huh?” she asked, and Lexa groaned, bringing her hand up to cover her face as the team laughed.

Lexa only removed her hand when she felt a tug on her shirt. She opened her eyes to see Alex Morgan smirking in front of her, blue-eyes twinkling. Alex held her hand out and Abby handed her a sharpie, and she proceeded to sign Lexa’s shirt, while she was wearing it.

The fan girl in Lexa just about died screaming.

The soccer player Lexa, the one who just got called up to her first senior national team camp almost died as well—but mostly from embarrassment as the rest of the team continued to howl with laughter as Alex signed Lexa’s shirt.

“Flattery will get you everywhere,” Alex said, capping the sharpie and taking a step back.

“Well, this is officially the most embarrassing moment of my entire life,” Lexa said, cheeks burning.

“Ehh, you’re only eighteen, kid,” Heather said. “You’ll have a bunch more in the future.”

“Great,” Lexa muttered.

Once the team finally calmed down, Lexa had in fact followed Kelley to their room where she changed her shirt.

And well, if she nicely folded her Alex Morgan shirt and placed it in a separate section of her bag, smiling the entire time, well that was nobody’s business but her own.

“Lexa?”

She was broken out of her reverie as Alex said her name, placing an arm around Lexa’s shoulders.

“We’re going to be ok,” Alex said, their teammates nodding around them. “I’m not sure how yet, but we’re going to figure it out together.”

Lexa nodded, wiping her face one more time.

She could be the leader this team needed.

There were only five months until Olympic qualifiers, and while they still had a good chunk of their core team, Carli was right—there would be a lot of fresh blood being called into camp. They needed to fill those roster spots, and Lexa was determined to live up to the legacy her mentors were leaving behind.

* *

“Clarke! Hey, Clarke! Oi, Griffin!”

Clarke shot up at the sound of her last name being barked like an order, opening her eyes and looking around wildly.

“Wha—what? What’s happening?” she asked, looking around, her eyes landing on her best friend, Raven Reyes. “Rae? What happened? What’s wrong?”

Clarke took in her best friend’s demeanor, noticing she was leaning a little harder on her cane than normal. She stood up from the couch, stretching her arms as she did so. She looked down at the table, where dozens of studies on muscles and bones and other medical journals were spread out, left open from when she had been reading through them the night before.

“What’s up?” she asked again, swiping her face with her hand and trudging to the kitchen. She poured herself a cup of coffee and took a sip, sighing happily before turning around to face her friend.

Raven shrugged her shoulders. “Not much,” she said, leaning on her cane.

Clarke narrowed her eyes, staring at her friend. “Liar,” she said, putting her coffee down and stepping closer to the other girl.

“You’re a liar,” Raven scoffed, though she walked over to the couch and plopped herself down.

“What do you need?” Clarke asked, standing at the edge of the couch.

“Well, I wouldn’t say need…” Raven said, fiddling with her leg brace. “But like, if you had the time—I mean, if you wanted to…maybe you could,” she continued, gesturing to her leg.

Clarke gave a slight chuckle, knowing her friend was asking for help but was reluctant to clearly ask for it. The hit and run accident that had put Raven in a leg brace permanently had happened when they were in high school, and Clarke had discovered a newfound respect for her best friend’s resilience as she watched Raven battle back against the odds, relearning how to walk at the mere age of 17.

“Lay down on the couch,” Clarke instructed, and Raven grinned as she swung her legs up onto the cushions and laid back.

“Thanks Griff,” Raven said, smiling at her friend.

“Yeah, yeah,” Clarke said, deftly unbuckling Raven’s leg brace and putting it aside.

“You’re my most favorite doctor, you know?” Raven asked, sighing lightly as Clarke started to massage her leg.

Clarke snorted. “Last week you told me that I was the reincarnation of the devil in human form.”

“You ate all of my cookies!” Raven exclaimed.

“I did not eat all of them,” Clarke protested, gently bending Raven’s knee and putting more pressure on the muscles in her calf.

Raven quirked an eyebrow. “Oh? Then who did?”

“Perhaps our third roommate?” Clarke asked.

“Lies,” Raven said, waving her hand in a dismissive gesture. “Octavia doesn’t eat cookies, and I know you know that.”

“Yeah, well—”

Clarke was cut off as her phone rang, and she glanced down to see the number for U.S. Soccer. “Sorry Rae, I’ve gotta take this,” Clarke said, giving her friend an apologetic look.

She reached over, hitting the answer button before wedging the phone in between her shoulder and ear.

“Hello?” she asked, going back to massaging Raven’s calf.

“Hi, Dr. Griffin?”

“Yes, this is she,” Clarke responded, moving higher up Raven’s leg.

“My name is Dawn Scott, I’m with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team,” the caller continued. “I’m calling to officially offer you the position of team doctor and trainer.”

Clarke stopped massaging Raven’s leg, ignoring the questioning look on her best friend’s face.

“Wait, seriously?” Clarke asked. She quickly cleared her throat. “I mean—wait, seriously?” she repeated.

Dawn laughed, answering Clarke with a chuckle in her voice. “Yes, seriously,” she said. “Your resume is quite impressive, you had several outstanding letters of recommendation and your interview went quite well.”

“Wow, thank you!” Clarke exclaimed. “I mean—thank you!”

“Thank you, Dr. Griffin,” Dawn continued. “Plus, between you and I, it helped that one of your references was Raven Reyes. If you’re friends with Reyes, then you clearly know your football. That girl is one of the best assistants I’ve had.”

“Oh god, don’t inflate Raven’s ego anymore,” Clarke said jokingly, to the sound of Raven’s protests.

Dawn laughed again, before talking again. “Alright Dr. Griffin, can I assume this means you’ll take the job?”

“Absolutely,” Clarke said, grinning.

“Great. Someone will be in touch soon with the necessary paperwork,” Dawn said. “Congratulations again. I look forward to seeing you at the next team camp.”

“Thank you so much,” Clarke said. “I look forward to seeing you too.”

Clarke hung up, placing her phone on the table in front of her. She turned back to Raven, continuing her ministrations on Raven’s leg.

“Sooo…” Raven prompted.

Clarke feigned nonchalance, shrugging her shoulders. “What?” she asked.

“Don’t play with me, Griffin,” Raven said, flicking Clarke in the forehead.

“Ow! Is that any way to treat your best friend?” asked Clarke, scowling and rubbing her forehead.

“When she’s being annoying, yes,” Raven said, crossing her arms. “Are you going to tell me what that phone call is about?”

“Oh, that?” Clarke asked. “It was nothing,” she hummed, gently bending Raven’s knee back and forth.

“Coy doesn’t suit you, Griff,” Raven said. “Now spill.”

“Well, I think you and I are going to be seeing a lot more of each other,” Clarke said.

“How is that even possible?” Raven asked. “We already live together. Unless—” Raven placed her hands on top of Clarke’s, sitting up. “Don’t fuck with me right now. You got the job?”

Clarke squealed, unable to keep it in. “I fucking got it,” she said, grinning.

“Clarke! I knew you would!” Raven said, and Clarke yelped as Raven wrapped her arms around the doctor, Clarke landing on top of Raven.

“Holy shit, we get to travel together and watch soccer and you get to meet the team, they’re so awesome, and oh my god, there’s so many places we can—”

“Slow your roll, Reyes,” Clarke laughed, placing her hand over Raven’s mouth and cutting off her rambling. “Ew!” she said, removing her hand as Raven licked her palm.

“When do you start?” Raven asked, ignoring Clarke wipe her hand on Raven’s shirt.

“Next camp,” Clarke said, smiling.

“This is so awesome!” Raven yelled. “The victory tour just got so much better.”

“Yeah, but now we have to tell Octavia that—”

Clarke was cut off as their front door swung open with a bang, revealing their third roommate and best friend.

“You guys!” yelled Octavia, hand gripping her phone tightly, eyes sparkling with excitement. “I—what are you doing?”

Clarke and Raven looked at each other, realizing they were lying on the couch, Clarke on top of Raven.

Clarke shrugged, before standing up. “Just chilling,” she said. “What were you saying, O?”

“I just got off the phone with Jill Ellis,” Octavia said, voice becoming louder as she continued. “As in Jill Ellis, coach of the senior national team. I got the call!”

“Holy shit!” “No fucking way!”

“I’m reporting to the next team camp, bitches!” Octavia yelled, laughing as Clarke launched herself into the soccer players’ arms. Raven stood up from the couch, limping slightly over to the other two girls and joining in on the hug.

“O! This is amazing!” Raven yelled, slinging her arm around the girl’s shoulders. “I knew you would get the call soon. Looks like we’re all going to camp!”

“Wait, all?” Octavia asked, pulling back slightly.

“Griff here is the new team doctor!” Raven said, grinning.

“Seriously?” Octavia squealed, pulling Clarke into another hug. “Holy shit. You guys, this is going to be the fucking best!”

“Soccer and my best buds,” Raven said, slinging an arm around each of them. “Yeah, this is going to be the fucking best.”

Clarke grinned before stepping back. “Ok, we’re going out to lunch to celebrate! Half an hour! O, go call your brother. Raven, go call the gang. I’m going to call my mom, and then we’re leaving.”

She gave Octavia one more tight hug before the young forward disappeared to her room, squealing into her phone as she called Bellamy. Raven gave Clarke a salute before grabbing her brace and plopping onto the couch, scrolling through her phone. Clarke smiled, grabbing her own phone and heading to her room.

She sat down on her bed with a happy sigh, needing a moment to soak in all that had happened.

Clarke had never imagined her life turning out this way. She had never thought that at the mere age of 25, she would have gotten not only her dream job, but the chance to travel the world with her best friends.

Clarke thought back to meeting Octavia and Raven, and the memory always warmed her heart. Ten years old, Clarke and her mother, Abby, had moved to Seattle, where her mom had taken a new position as the Chief of Cardiology at the hospital there. Clarke and Abby had moved after Clarke’s father had passed away in a car accident—a drunk driver had t-boned her father as he was driving home from his work. Passing the spot everyday on her way to work had proved to be too much for Abby, and so Clarke and her mother packed up their belongings, Clarke said goodbye to her friends, and they moved across the country.

The first day in the new town, Clarke had walked to the park across the street from her new house, kicking a soccer ball as she went along. Her mom had allowed her to go by herself because their house had a clear view of the park, and Clarke had insisted on going by herself.

Clarke had been so sad, losing her father and the familiar place she had grown up in such a short amount of time, and had kicked the ball as hard as she could, not paying attention to where she had kicked it.

“Ow! Hey!” she had heard, and quickly wiped her tear-filled eyes and looked up to see a girl in cleats and a soccer jersey rubbing her forehead, Clarke’s soccer ball in the other hand.

Clarke quickly walked over to the other girl, stumbling over her words. “I’m so sorry,” Clarke had said. “I wasn’t paying attention and I just kicked it as hard as I could and—”

“Hey, don’t worry about it!” the girl said, grinning. “It was a great kick. Do you play soccer?”

Clarke shrugged, fidgeting with the bottom of her shirt. Soccer had been a sport her dad and her had played together, staying out in the backyard after he had gotten home from work until their mom made them stop for dinner. “Kind of,” she responded.

“I’ve never seen you around before! Are you new here? I’m Octavia, by the way,” said the girl, still smiling. “I’m ten. I live at that house right there,” she said, pointing to the house next door to Clarke’s.

“I’m Clarke. I’m your new neighbor,” Clarke responded, still fidgeting.

“You’ve got a great kick, Clarke,” Octavia said. “You want to come watch my game? I’m walking over there now.”

“Well—”

“O!” yelled a voice, and they both turned to see another girl running towards them. “Hey, wait up!”

Octavia smiled and waved at the girl, waiting until she was next to her before speaking again. “This is Raven, she’s my best friend and my teammate,” Octavia said. She gestured to Clarke. “This is Clarke. She just moved here!”

Raven grinned, and it was infectious. Clarke found herself smiling as well. “Hi,” she said, waving.

“Hi,” Raven greeted her. “You coming to our game?”

Clarke turned, glancing back at her house, then back at her new friends. “Umm…let me just ask my mom?” she said, grinning as they both nodded their heads and Clarke turned to run back to her house.

Abby had said yes, thrilled that Clarke had already found friends to play with, and after a brief meeting with Octavia’s mom, where she learned that Octavia’s older brother was going to walk them to the game, had agreed that Clarke could go.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

Octavia and Raven had saved Clarke that day, though she wouldn’t recognize it until they were older. She was lost in the grief she felt over her dad, and at such a young age too. It was only the combination of her best friends and her mom that pulled Clarke out of the pit of despair threatening to consume her when she thought about her father.

The three had remained best friends all through elementary school until the present day, even attending the same college, though Octavia was clearly the only one who continued to pursue soccer, as Clarke studied medicine and Raven studied engineering and nutritional science.

“Hello?” she heard her mom’s voice say, and Clarke shook her head, returning to present day.

“Mom?” Clarke asked through the phone.

“Clarke! Hello, honey,” her mom said, and Clarke could picture Abby’s grin in her mind, making a mental note to visit her mom sometime soon.

“Hi Mom,” Clarke said. “I miss you.”

“I miss you too, sweetie,” Abby said. “How is everything?”

“Good,” Clarke responded. “Great, actually. I’m calling because…well, I got the job with the National Team!” she squealed, becoming lost once again in the excitement of her new job offer.

“Clarke! I knew you would get it! Congratulations!” Abby said, Clarke’s heart swelling with love and pride at her mom’s voice.

“And O got the call!” Clarke continued.

“Oh my goodness! What a big day for you guys!” Abby exclaimed, excitement coloring her tone.

Clarke grinned, nodding her head despite the fact that her mom couldn’t see her. It really was a big day. She continued her conversation with her mom until Raven pounded on her door as a ten-minute warning.

“I’ve got to go Mom, we’re going out to lunch to celebrate with the gang,” Clarke said. “I’ll call you later though when I know more about my schedule, ok?”

“Ok, I love you honey! And I’m so proud,” Abby said.

“I love you too Mom,” Clarke replied, grinning. “Thanks.”

Clarke hung up, flopping back and resting her head on her pillow for a second. She grinned, squealing one more time at herself.

Big day, indeed.

* *

“So, you ready?”

“Yup.”

“You sure?”

“Yup.”

“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.”

“Shut up, Raven.”

“Just saying, you look sort of pale.”

“Is this your version of a pep talk?” Clarke asked, scowling at her friend. The two were sitting in the U.S. team van, on their way to the team hotel. “No wonder O always calls me before her games.”

“Ouch, that was a low blow, Griffin,” Raven said, placing a hand over her heart. She grinned, wiggling her eyebrows. “You know there’s nothing to be scared of, really. Only a few of the players bite.”

“You’re the worst,” Clarke responded, unbuckling her seatbelt as the car came to a stop in front of the hotel. “Maybe it’s a good thing Octavia flew in a day earlier than us. At least you weren’t there to freak her out.”

Clarke opened the door and hopped out of the van, thanking the driver. She grabbed Raven’s cane and handed it to her friend, who stepped out of the van after her.

“So, we’re rooming together,” Raven said, checking her phone. “We just have to go to the team meeting that’s happening in like an hour, and you can talk to Dawn and Jill and they can let you know what’s up.”

Clarke nodded, grabbing her bag and after ignoring Raven’s protests, grabbed her friend’s bags as well.

“You’re gonna do great, Griff,” Raven said, smiling.

Clarke smiled back, nodding her head. “Right, let’s go meet the team,” she said.

The two entered the hotel, walking through the lobby and checking in at the front desk. Dropping their stuff off at their room, the two decided to hang out inside until it was time to go to the meeting. A knock on their door interrupted their debate about tacos and burritos (which believe it or not, was actually on ongoing thing).

“Hi,” Clarke said, swinging the door open to reveal Dawn Scott.

“Hello Dr. Griffin,” Dawn greeted, and stepped into the room after Clarke gestured for her to come inside. “Raven,” she said, nodding at her assistant who was sprawled out on one of the beds.

“Hey Dawn,” Raven said, throwing up a peace sign.

“Please call me Clarke,” Clarke said, smiling. “It’s nice to see you again.”

Dawn nodded her head, acknowledging Clarke’s request. “Nice to see you again too. I just came by to give you a brief overview of what’s going to happen this next week, with training the next couple of days leading up to the next victory tour game.”

Clarke nodded, and settled into the chair at the desk as Dawn went over the schedule, Raven throwing in comments every once in a while, until Clarke had an understanding of what the next week consisted of.

“Basically, your duties will include ongoing physical tests with the players, as well as the needs of the players in terms of pre-game and post-game stretching, and Raven and you will work together to come up with treatment plans and recovery,” Dawn finished. “If you have any questions, you can ask me or Raven.”

Dawn nodded, satisfied, and moved towards the exit. “I’ll see you two at the meeting, where we’ll introduce you to the players. Glad to have you on board,” she said, and left.

“You ready now, Griff?” Raven asked, as Clarke plopped down on the bed next to her. She rested her head on Raven’s shoulder, her friend’s arm wrapping around Clarke.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she responded, and the two stayed in that position watching TV until it was time to go to the meeting.

Entering the conference room, Clarke saw that all of the players were already sitting down, the coaches setting up a projector in the front of the room. Dawn looked up and waved the two of them over, giving a nod to Jill who cleared her throat, the room quieting down.

“As you all know, Dr. Jackson left to go back to his post at the hospital, and we’ve hired a new team doctor. Everyone, say hello to Dr. Griffin,” Jill said, gesturing for Clarke to introduce herself.

Looking around the room, she felt slightly intimidated at the sight of nearly thirty world-class athletes staring at her.

Her eyes scanned the room, and stopped on a girl with green eyes who was staring intently at her, mouth slightly agape.

A nudge from Raven had Clarke looking around the room again, and seeing Octavia grinning at her had Clarke smiling as well.

She took a deep breath and gave a small wave.

“Hi, I’m Clarke,” she said.

* *

Lexa scowled as Alex and Tobin laughed at the look on the young midfielder’s face.

“Lighten up, Commander,” Tobin said, giving her a nudge.

“Yeah, maybe you’ll win next time,” Alex said, chuckling.

“Probably not though,” Anya chimed in.

Lexa glared at her cousin. “Don’t you have a goal to go stand in?” she asked.

Anya just laughed again, Alex and Tobin joining in. The four had just finished another round of Monopoly Deal that Alex had won again. Ever since she could remember, Lexa had been trying to beat Alex Morgan at the card game and still had yet to do so.

It was the only team tradition she couldn’t stand.

“So, what do you think of the new kid?” Anya asked.

“Blake?” Lexa asked. “She’s alright.”

“Kid can shoot,” Anya commented. “She got one past me that rocketed right into the upper ninety.”

“She’s fast, too,” Alex added. “I think she can really do well up front.”

“Maybe she’s the next Alex Morgan,” Tobin teased.

“Does that make you the next Abby Wambach?” Lexa asked Alex, grinning.

“Shut up,” Alex said. “I just mean she has a lot of potential. She’s pretty raw though. I think she just needs a good mentor, someone to help her fine tune some things,” she continued, looking pointedly at Lexa.

“What, me?” Lexa asked. “No, I don’t do newbies.”

“You still are a newbie,” Tobin said, chuckling. “You youngin’, you.”

“Shut up,” Lexa said. She sighed. “Fine, I’ll help her.”

“Maybe drop the whole Commander act before you approach her,” Anya said, as she started to clean the cards up, the four of them getting ready to go to the team meeting. They walked out of the hotel room to the elevator. “Don’t want to scare her off.”

“If the Commander can scare her off, then she’s not worth mentoring,” Lexa said.

Tobin and Alex just chuckled, shaking their heads. Lexa grinned at them, leading the way to the conference room as the elevator doors opened.

Tobin and Alex went to sit next to Kling and Moe, the four of them starting to talk immediately. Anya sat down next to Becky, and Lexa scanned the room before her eyes landed on Octavia, sitting in the front row. With a sigh, Lexa walked over to the young forward, sitting in the seat next to her.

“Hey Lexa,” Octavia greeted, smiling.

Lexa nodded at the girl, and Octavia must have taken it as a sign to continue talking. “We’re meeting the new doctor today. She’s actually—”

Lexa was vaguely listening as Octavia rambled on about something, only snapping to attention when she heard Jill clear her throat.

“As you all know, Dr. Jackson left to go back to his post at the hospital, and we’ve hired a new team doctor. Everyone, say hello to Dr. Griffin,” Jill said, and Lexa turned her head slightly to see where Jill was gesturing.

Her mouth dropped open as she saw the blonde haired girl standing at the front of the room.

She was maybe the most beautiful girl Lexa had ever seen.

Then, the girl’s blue eyes locked with Lexa’s, and she felt like she was in a trance.

The girl opened her mouth to speak, and her voice was deeper than Lexa expected, but enticing all the same, pulling her in even further.

Lexa couldn’t stop staring.

“Hi, I’m Clarke,” the blonde haired, blue-eyed girl said.

Lexa groaned internally.

She was so fucked.