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Crossing Boundaries

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Year 1

“I don’t want to get up.”  Christen played with Tobin’s fingers that were intertwined with hers.  Sunlight was peeking through the breezy curtains, cueing them to start the day.  A low moan came from Tobin’s throat, her eyes still tightly shut while laying on her back, barely covered by the crisp white sheets in Christen’s bed.  


She rolled on her side, propping herself up with arm to take in the girl half asleep beside her.  She ran her fingertips lightly across the top of her shoulder and down towards her wrist, drawing little circles along the way.  A second deep moan came Tobin, but this time it had a hint of arousal with it.  “We could procrastinate a little bit if you open your eyes,” she teased.  Instead of opening them Tobin threw back the covers that were hiding her half naked body, exposing herself for anyone to see.  “Go ahead, procrastinate.”


It made Christen laugh and as tempted as she was, she kept her affection PG.  Tobin started to kiss her back unhurriedly before setting her head back on her pillow.  “Can you believe it’s been a whole year?” she asked idly.  


“Yes and no,” Christen told her.  “It feels like forever because I can’t remember what things were like before this but at the same time it’s all still new and exciting.  It feels new every day.”  Her response elicited a smile from Tobin.  “Yeah, I know what you mean.”  They laid in bed for a bit longer, tracing each other’s bodies but stopping before anything went too far.  Plans for the day prohibited them from having too many interruptions to their schedule so Christen eventually was the first one to break their comfortable position.  “I’ll make coffee if you want to shower or whatever then bring the suitcases downstairs.”  She watched Tobin’s eyes roam over the two large suitcases they had packed for their upcoming trip to London where Christen was a guest speaker for a foundation she supported.  It thrilled her that Tobin was willing to come with her all that way to support her, especially knowing the amount of cameras and upkeep involved. Secretly though, she knew their trip to Barcelona was her real interest in the trip.  “Mine is all ready to go,” she informed her as she started down the few steps to her new kitchen.  


After a year, they had the perfect scenario for them; Tobin’s place in Portland, hers a rented place settled in the beach towns of Los Angeles.  They were free to come and go as they pleased but often coordinated schedules so they could be together.  After a lengthy separation in the spring during the NWSL season, they’d realized that being apart wasn’t something they were keen on and made serious effort to make sure it wouldn’t happen like that again.   


Although the focus of the trip was Christen’s speaking engagement, they had made some plans to take time off from their hectic schedule that was 2016.  Professionally, it certainly had ups and downs including the disappointing exit from the Olympics, individual awards and honors, NWSL semifinals losses and numerous opportunities off the field.  Overall, they chalked the year up to be good but not yet great.  Tobin’s mind ran through the calendar, picking out her favorite moments (mostly involving Christen).  Before she almost drifted back to sleep, a voice carried up the steps, “do you need help carrying the suitcases down?” Shoot, I need to get moving.  Peeling off her tank top so she could get in the shower, she called back “Yeah I need help!”  


Christen met her at the top of the steps, both girls empty handed.  The look on her face was clearly puzzled, trying to understand why she was standing in only underwear and a sports bra.  “I need help in the shower,” Tobin smirked, reaching out to pull Christen in.  Their scantily clad bodies rubbed up against each other, Christen’s hands resting on Tobin’s forearms as her mouth opened ever so slightly so she had full access. They treaded backwards, sloppily fighting for control with their tongues, a hint of coffee on Christen’s lips.  A low moan escaped from Tobin’s throat as her hands traveled south, overtop  and then underneath of the soft pair of shorts she still had on. They only paused to turn on the water, the top setting which was just the way she liked it, while both discarded the remaining clothes they had on.  


“After you,” Tobin gestured.  The water hit her immediately, taking her breath away with just how hot it was.  Beads trickled down into her warm hair before a pair of dry hands encircled her waist and collected the drops.  Tobin laid her chin into the crook of her neck, fitting perfectly against her while she hummed a song that was likely in her head from all the music they played throughout the day.  Christen was more than used to the background noise now while they did the little things like clean, cook, etc. because that’s the way Tobin liked it.  To her credit, she found that it relaxed her or inspired her in almost any situation.  


A wave of overwhelming love spread through her while they stood underneath the pouring water.  Surely, her leftover mascara was smudging the rims of her eyes but by now she didn’t care.  Tobin seemed like her no matter what she looked like, despite attempting to always be the best version of herself.  Before she could ask Tobin to use her own hands to wipe it away, she felt those same fingers gravitating lower and it didn’t matter that this was likely the thousandth time she had done this because it still felt incredible.  She allowed her head to fall back into Tobin’s shoulder while she spread her legs a little wider so the hand could tease and toy with her, unaware of whether it was the shower or her own body that made it so easy to enter.


They were on a schedule for sure, but this was one area of their life together they never hurried.  Each girl had the opportunity to explore and be explored at the pace they wanted, making sure it wasn’t a wasted moment.  Finally completely satisfied and leaning against each other, Tobin spoke.  “We should take a real shower now, right?”  A smile spread across Christen’s face, water falling from her eyelashes.  “Probably. I want to get something to eat and run a few errands before we have to head to the airport.” Tobin kissed her shoulder, “then let’s get ourselves ready for Europe.”




They had rushed around the London hotel room all afternoon, both dressed in plush hotel robes and surrounded by a mobile makeup and hair team.  Christen giggled to herself, watching Tobin sit ever so still as eyeliner was applied.  Tobin rarely wore any makeup; she didn’t need it.  But when she did get all dressed up, she couldn’t help but swoon over her.  


“You look gorgeous,” she heard Tobin say as she spun around in a dramatic circle, making her dress lift off the ground.  It was a compliment she received often, Tobin never shy to tell her she liked the way she look.  “You always say that!”


Normally she’d be overly nervous to get up in front of 300 plus people and speak, but being there together calmed her.  Tobin was never far behind, offering encouraging smiles or saving her from situations that would make her blood pressure rise.  The last part of her speech, she found the brown eyes in the crowd and visibly relaxed, pretending they were just rehearsing for the hundredth time. It was like they were the only people in the room.  “You were awesome,” Tobin told her, squeezing her hand tightly underneath their table.  


“Have I said thank you yet for being here?” she whispered back.


“Only about twenty times.”  They looked lovingly into each other’s eyes, Christen leaning in for a quick kiss.  “That’s not enough, get ready to hear it a few more tonight.”


But after their late night, it was Tobin who was saying thank you over and over, Christen sliding her bare body upwards to find her mouth.  “Hmmm,” she heard her sigh.  “We should sleep since we’re going to be out all day tomorrow but oh my God, I would stay up all night if we could keep doing that.”  


“In that case, we’ll sleep on the flight to Barcelona.”  




Christen watched endearing video she took of Tobin in pure joy at El Clasico.  While she really wanted to go herself, this was a dream come true for Tobin and she couldn’t have been happier to be there with her.  “Look at that smile! So cute,” she gushed, taking a sip of her drink.


They were on their third night in Barcelona, having their last dinner.  “Did you have fun too?” Tobin asked. “Oh yeah, it was great.  I’m really happy you suggested we go, I would have never thought we could make it all work.”  Smirking, Tobin told her “you know me, I don’t think you need a plan, just a purpose.”  It was true, Tobin did what she wanted, when she wanted without much thought.  Somehow though, it always turned out to be okay, great even.


“You picked up the check last night, let me get it tonight,” she offered.  No protests came from across the table and she signed her name to the receipt.  “Thanks, babe,” Tobin politely told her.  


When they finally left the cozy restaurant, Tobin pulled her into a doorway along the dimly lit cobblestone sidewalk that would take them back to the hotel.  Their lips connected, slow and sweet, both licking up the remains of their bottle of wine.  Tobin’s hands cradled her head while her own rested gently on her arms, not wanting them to move.  As they started to break away, Christen’s eyes fluttered open to see Tobin staring intently at her.  “Do you know how perfect this all is?”


She was right.  It had been the perfect night, perfect trip, perfect year.  “I think that’s an understatement.”  


“Do we have to leave Barcelona?  I seriously love it.” Tobin wasn’t complaining, just sharing her new infatuation with the city.


“Oh yes, I can’t wait to show you Sweden.  If you think this is perfect, it’ll redefine the word.”  




Glowing in their post orgasmic bliss, Christen wrapped her hair into a loose ponytail.  “Do you want to go outside yet?”


“You hate the cold,” Tobin reminded her, eyes still closed and pressed partway into the pillows on their snug bed.  


“I know, but we can bundle up.  I’m surprised I even have to ask if you want to go do something.”   She watched her girlfriend roll over and open her eyes.  “I didn’t think this place would be this…” she groped for words to describe her feeling.  “I don’t know, more than perfect.”


“Told you.” Christen reached over to remove the sheets hiding their figures, telling Tobin it was time to go.  They had some free time but they were scheduled to have dinner outside, taking in the Northern Lights.  “Go get ready babe,” we’re gonna have the best time.”  They both shimmied out of their spots, Tobin headed to the bathtub and her to sit in the chair that had a direct view to the Swedish forest. She couldn’t have described a more romantic spot to celebrate their first year together.  


A few hours later, they looked ridiculous in their oversized snowsuits and protective gear covering their extremities while huddled next to a fire. “This is so cool,” she beamed.  “Tobin, look.  That color is just amazing.  Oh! Did you see that?”


“It’s insane.” Tobin’s hands were wrapped around a steaming mug of cappuccino. “Have you ever seen this before during your time here?  I never asked.”  Christen shook her head.  “No, first time for me too.”


“I know we’ve thrown out the word perfect a lot, but seriously Chris, this is.”  Tobin tried moving closer to her, but the puffy suit got in her way.  “I love being here with you and can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.”


“That makes two of us,” Christen agreed.  “Best trip; perfect year.”




Year 2


“Do you have the tickets?”




“Wait did you grab the bag of cards and put it in my carryon?”




“Did –“


“Hey!” Tobin halted Christen with a swing of her arm to keep her from going past her again.  “Don’t rush, we won’t miss this flight. The security lines are not that long and we double checked that we had everything.”  Instantly, she saw the reflecting pools of green that were her girlfriend’s eyes grow softer.  “I know, just nervous” she told her, a swift kiss placed on her lips.   


Shaking her head, Tobin tried to reassure her.  “Don’t be nervous.  They’ve already met a hundred times and it’s not like there’s anyone who’s the weird uncle or doesn’t get along.”  The girls were headed from LA to New Jersey, where they were going to spend Christmas together this year – with both families.  It worked out that they all would be in the state at the same time so Christen’s aunt offered to have a Christmas Eve celebration that merged the two families in full for the first time.  All of Tobin’s siblings, her mom would be there as well as Christen’s grandmother, aunt’s family and her own.


It took an attempt at mediation with ear plugs and an eye mask on their direct flight to get her to relax.  Tobin herself was really excited to have such a streamlined Christmas this year where she didn’t have to make any big plans or figure out how to get to everyone.


 Squeezing her hand during the descent into Newark, Tobin peered out the window to the cloudless, but frigid sky.  Home sweet home.  Christen removed her accessories, looking a little more peaceful and serene now.  “Better,” she told her without even being asked.  They barely separated hands when they landed, grabbing their carryon bags and navigating to the luggage carousel.  Christen’s uncle was going to pick them up and take them to their house for the night before going to her sister’s tomorrow before the party.  


“Got it?”  Tobin questioned, watching Christen struggle to get ahold of the handle of the large suitcase.  Not waiting for a reply, she stepped in front and jolted it upright and off the belt.  “There. What the heck did you pack?”


Christen looked a little embarrassed.  “Only about ten different outfits for tomorrow night.” 


And she looked great in every single one she tried on in the guest bedroom of her sister’s house.  It took a little convincing that the pleated black shirt and silky red top were her favorite (mostly because of the length that showed off her legs) and eventually Christen decided it was the one.  In the back of her mind, she thought the necklace Christen had her eye on for months would have been the perfect Christmas gift and perfect option with her outfit, but she’d squashed the idea of getting each other anything this year.  “We don’t need anything from each other, I just want to be able to spend the day together,” she was told.


Agreeing, Tobin relented and decided not to buy it for her.  If anything, she could get it for another occasion or after the holidays just because.


“You’re gorgeous,” she told her as she snapped back to the moment.


Christen smiled, “You always say that.” 


“And I always mean it!” 




Her sister’s house was quiet when they got back from the very successful party; they’d come back a little over an hour earlier to put her nephews in bed so ‘Santa would come visit.’


Their families had meshed together so well, not an odd pair in any of the rooms. What Christen had been so worried about she’d never understand and per usual, Christen’s dad took the spotlight and entertained everyone before her own mom had given a very nice speech about getting the chance to be together and saying how happy she was to get to know everyone better. They hadn’t spent that much time together as they floated around, making sure to talk to each and every person there.  When it was about time to go home, Christen nuzzled into her side.  “Ready to go?  I haven’t talked to you all night.”


Always cold, she held Christen tightly.  “Let’s go talk then.”


In the warm foyer, Tobin took of her own coat then hung up Christen’s before retreating to the kitchen.


“I have a surprise for you,” Tobin told her, holding out a plain red gift bag with tissue paper peeking out the top. 


“Tobin!” Christen squealed, “we said no gifts!”


Rolling her eyes, Tobin told her just to open it.  “It’s not really a gift.  Just open it!”   


Hesitantly Christen pulled out the paper piece by piece and reached in to find two champagne flutes.  “For me?” 


Tobin pulled on her hand and into the family room just off of the kitchen.  She watched Christen’s face light up from the reflection of the fireplace going with the Christmas tree twinkling off the walls.  An ice bucket with a bottle of champagne was sitting on the coffee table, a couple a small plate of cookies too. 


“You said you wanted time together today and this was the only chance I had to do something special with just you.” She took the glasses from Christen’s hand and started to pour.


“You did this?” Christen asked in shock.  Tobin smiled, “well I didn’t set it up, I had elves that helped.  But yes.”  Her girlfriend had a look that could have melted her to the core. 


They curled up against each other, watching the faint stars blink outside of the window, and the reflection of the twinkling lights above them.  The really hadn’t talked, just enjoyed the company of one another.  Almost empty now, Tobin swished around the liquid in the champagne bottle.  “Can we go outside and have the rest there?  It’ll be nice.”


She could see the disdain for the cold weather that Christen was trying to hide.  “Sure, whatever you want babe.”  She’d do anything for me.  Heck, I’d do anything for her. Instead of getting their coats, they wrapped up in the comfy blankets that were on the couch. 


“Merry Christmas, babe,” she said as they clinked glasses, breath showing in the night air.  Christen’s body sunk in against her own on their seat.


“Love you. Merry Christmas, Tobin.”



Year 3


“I guess I like it, do you?”  Tobin stood over top of her laptop on the kitchen island, squinting intently. 


“Yes. And the price is a steal even if we match the asking price.”  Tobin looked like she was contemplating the statement, but didn’t say anything.  “It has everything on our checklist and we wouldn’t have to do anything in terms of upgrades.”


Christen waited another few moments for her girlfriend to continue the conversation.  Eventually, Tobin closed the laptop and looked up at her.  “Let’s go see it one more time then we’ll make a decision right there.  You know me, it’s more of a feeling then sitting down and looking at everything on paper.”  She rolled her eyes, they’d been to this house every day this week and she wasn’t sure their realtor would be happy with a fourth request.


Hands up in the air, Christen told her “you call, then.  You know my vote on this. I’m going to switch some laundry over so let me know when we’re going.”


Fifteen minutes later, they were on the elevator down to the parking garage beneath their building.  For three years they’d called this place in Portland a part-time home but with each passing day, they craved something a little bigger and permanent.  House hunting had put their relationship to the test the past few months, trying to compromise and find something that would be beneficial for them both. What they hadn’t accounted for at the time was that the single and townhomes in the city were way more expensive than they were willing to take on and the limited inventory of the market. 


She wasn’t going to come right out and tell her, but Christen suspected Tobin was leaning more and more into just finding a bigger condo downtown.  That was what she loved, walking around and exploring the city she was used to calling home.  In all reality, a condo probably was a better option since for now Tobin would live there alone and then eventually they would only be there sporadically but this house was too good to be true.


Christen was happy to have something right outside the city that would give her a piece of serenity and quiet.  Their place in LA was just minutes from her parents, in the beach town of Hermosa.  They had access to the beach, restaurants, downtown LA, etc.  Anything and everything they wanted was at their disposal. In her eyes, this house would be their future getaway place when they needed to relax and decompress, maybe give them a chance to experience the winter season if they were in the mood.


“You know,” she commented, “I’m willing to spend a little more if it’ll make you happy. We can keep looking at other options.”  Tobin looked over at her for a moment, taking her eyes off the cars crossing in front of them.  “Let’s just see what happens.”


So they went upstairs and downstairs, in and out of all the rooms, moving in silence past one another.  Her finger trips trailed over the smooth granite counter top that faced the large windows revealing tall trees covered in snow.  “We could do Christmas or New Years here with our family.  There’s plenty of space and it would be beautiful”, Christen suggested imagining a sparkly tree in the corner of the family room. 


“Hmmm” Tobin hummed, looking out the window.  Four bedrooms, three bathrooms.  A fireplace and bay windows, new appliances and high ceilings in the the family room. It’s everything we wanted! What’s she unsure about? If we don’t put an offer on it today, it’ll be gone and we’ll be back at square one.


“Can we have a minute?” Christen asked their realtor.  He politely bowed out of the kitchen, leaving them alone.  “Babe,” she said moving to stand next to Tobin.  “I really like this house.  But I don’t want to do this unless you’re 100% sure because the last thing I want is for you to be unhappy while we’re here.”


Connecting with the deeper than usual brown eyes, she listened intently.  “It’s not that I don’t like the house.  I do like it.  I just feel like long term we won’t be here that often and so when we are I want to walk and get a cup of coffee with you when we wake up or head over to the stadium whenever I can.  Not that I can’t do that and live here too, it’ll just be different.”  Christen knew her intuition was right; Tobin had fallen in love with Portland because of the downtown culture and she was having a hard time leaving it.


“Jim?” Christen called.


Their realtor stuck his head back into the room, meaning he was probably eavesdropping on their conversation just behind the wall. 


“So, I think you can tell the owners that we love their house and thank you for allowing us to come see it but we’re not going to put an offer on it.  We’re going in a different direction and will be buying something downtown.” 


Tobin beamed at her while their realtor looked defeated.  Leaning in, she felt Tobin nuzzle into her neck.  “Really? You’re the best.”




“Have you seen the box that says “master bathroom?”  Tobin asked, standing overtop of Christen.  Taking her attention away from the task of putting together a lighting fixture for their living room, she gestured towards the front hall.  “I saw it over there earlier. If it’s not there, I probably moved it into our bedroom.” 


They’d found the perfect place the day after they decided not to buy the house.  Instead, they decided to sign a two-year lease for a much larger condo in the same building Tobin already lived in.  Now they would have a little room for guests overnight with their extra bedroom, a larger living room, small patio/balcony and two parking spaces.  They agreed that at the end of the lease, they’d evaluate their needs and see if buying something would be better.


Christen watched Tobin pick up and turn over all their boxes.  When did we get so much stuff?  Her long brunette locks were pulled back into a half bun, her body clothed with a pair of shorts and loose fitting t-shirt despite the nearly freezing December weather outside.  “What were you look for out of there babe?


Tobin stopped searching and looked in Christen’s direction.  “I was gonna unpack all of the towels and stuff. I’m organizing the linen closet.”  While she was bent over, Christen was able to get a peek at her exposed cleavage, cradled by a too tight sports bra.  All she could do in response was hum, not caring where they towels were anymore. 


Their bed had to be disassembled and moved upstairs, one of the many deliveries that had been made that day. “Tobin?  Wanna take a break?”  Her girlfriend had a surprised look on her face, but seemed up for it. “We could order dinner and then relax for a bit? But I do want to get the Christmas stuff out sometime tonight.”


Right, only a week to go.  The girls had decided to do separate holidays this year so that they could spend a few days alone afterwards before heading off to January camp with the national team.  “We’re not going to even be here, are you sure you want to do that?”


Like a small child, Tobin nodded enthusiastically.  “You know I love Christmas.  I’m not saying we have to go get a big tree or anything but the little stuff we have would be nice to have out.”  Their whole relationship up to this point had been so easy.  Compromise was made often, not as a result of a disagreement but rather to increase the other’s happiness. 


“Let’s go get a tree tomorrow morning, then.” 


Smiling, Tobin had a plan to make her happy, too.   “And let’s order Mexican for dinner.”




“Tobin…oh…yes!” Christen’s hands were tangled in the wet strands of Tobin’s unruly hair that was stuck against her own legs.  The searing heat of her lips as they slid over top of her core left her mind-blown before it was over.  She felt a suction as Tobin took her fully with her mouth, sending her head staggering backward against the tiled shower wall. When Tobin had dropped to her knees after a mostly innocent shower that night, she was all too willing to receive. 


“Don’t stop, so good,” she moaned.  How does she get better and better at this?  Laying her tongue flat against the length of Christen while she bucked her hips against it, Tobin felt her body tighten all around.  One last squeeze to her bare behind and Christen exploded. “YES!”


They stood under the lukewarm shower head, foreheads touching, before Tobin dove in for a deep kiss that left her even weaker than before.  Christen allowed her to take full control as she balanced her hands over top of the toned, still tan shoulders.  “That was so good, Tobs.” 


Her compliment was rewarded with a pearly white grin that reached ear to ear.  “You’re gorgeous.  New place, gotta make sure we hit every room.” 


“In that case, when we’re done in here I’d like to take you to the kitchen because I think I’m still hungry if you know what I mean.” A small wink found Tobin’s intrigued eyes and brightening cheeks, “you’re so bad but I’m sure I can help with that.” 


After keeping her promise, the pair cuddled close together on the couch, a movie playing on the TV that neither could really focus on.  It had been a long day but their new place was starting to look like home.  “You know,” Christen said, “we still have to consider what we’re going to do about a place in LA too.”


Another groan came from Tobin’s throat, this time not out of pleasure.  “We’ve been in this one for not even a full day.”  She giggled, “I know! I’m not saying we have to start today, I’m saying keep in mind what we went through for this and be open to looking if something pops up.”


Tobin angled her head to look upwards at her face.  “We’re still going to buy something, right?  That’s the plan?”  Nodding, Christen told her yes.  “House there, condo here.”


“And we have room in the house in Rhode Island.”


“The best of all the worlds,” she said triumphantly, but joking.  They really had set themselves up for a bright future, laying the groundwork for a stable life. 


“You think we’ll be happy in our homes?”  Tobin asked softly.


“I’m happy when I’m with you and wherever you are IS home.” 



Year 4


“How does my hair look?  Should I put it up instead?”  Tobin interrupted her reading to look at her where was standing in front of the mirror in their hotel room.  “It looks great, babe.  Leave it down.” 


Unconvinced, Christen started twisting the strands of her hair up into a wavy bun.  She was beginning to feel frustrated with a few pieces when she felt before she saw Tobin’s hands wrap around her waist.  “Stop.  You look great.  It’s just a dinner, not the actual engagement party.”


Christen knew she was right and it wasn’t worth getting worked up over, but looking her best was always a priority when she was with Tobin’s family.  Not that they didn’t love her and she didn’t love them – they were just a beautiful family and she liked to fit in. 


“Besides, you’re not supposed to look better than the bride-to-be, isn’t that what they say?” She smiled, appreciative of her ever-so-relaxed girlfriend.  “Okay.  Zip me up would you? Then we can go if you’re ready.” 


Tobin looked her up and down from behind.  “I’d rather unzip, but if you say so.”  She laid a perfect kiss in the space between her shoulder blades, the zipper moved upwards and the black fabric closed in tighter around her body.  Christen ran her hands down the knee length dress she’d chosen for the evening; Tobin’s brother’s engagement weekend.  Now, Tobin would be the only one of her siblings that was technically still single, but almost everyone knew and respected their relationship to be just as meaningful as the others. 


The pair had discussed the concept of getting married for years, mostly in terms of “when we get married”.  They’d agreed that it was probably best to wait until their playing careers with the national team were all but extinct that way they weren’t drawing attention to themselves on a personal level but rather being respected for their professional accolades.  In the back of Christen’s mind she figured sometime next year they’d possibly put a plan together; after the 2020 Olympics and nearly five years together.


2019 had been a good one for them, winning the World Cup again and both of their club teams making it to the final.  Although Portland took home the trophy, Christen wasn’t too upset.  If her LAFC couldn’t have it, Tobin was the only person she would root for. 


“Ready?”  Tobin looked in her eyes via the reflection in the mirror, holding up her hands filled with things she was responsible for that evening.  Nodding, she slipped on her heels and grasped at Tobin’s hands while exiting the hotel room.




Conversation were spread around the long table of close family and friends when Tobin told her she wanted to get another drink.  “You want to come with me to the bar?” she whispered in her ear, pressed up against her side.  Christen just nodded and slipped her hand into Tobin’s, waiting to be helped up off of her chair. 


The two walked hand in hand to the bar in the gorgeous restaurant Tobin’s mom had chosen.  This was the first time in months they’d all had the chance to be together, since their return from France in July.   


“You want anything, Chris?” Tobin asked her after giving her own order to the bartender. 


She thought about it, but ultimately two was probably her limit since they’d be drinking tomorrow night at the big party.  “I’m okay for now, thanks though.”  Christen watched Tobin sit down on a stool, patting the one next to her for her to follow suit.  “You okay? You look tired,” she told her. 


“Yeah, I am a little tired,” Christen admitted.  “I feel like we’ve been non-stop the last few weeks and we go to New Jersey next, then back to Portland, then..”


Tobin interrupted her.  “we don’t have to go anywhere we don’t want to.  If it’s too much, we’ll reschedule and just head home.”  It wasn’t too much and she knew how much excited both of their families were to spend some time with them before the holidays on the East Coast.  Her own aunt lived so close to Tobin’s sister, that it was usually a convenient trip when they were out this way.

“No, I want to go.  I just need some more sleep I think.” 


Pulling her to stand in between her parted legs, Tobin put her hands on either side of her hips.  “Want to get out of here then?  Everyone’s finished and we’ll see them all tomorrow anyway.”  It was really tempting, she thought, imagining sinking into the cozy mattress and plush pillows back in their room.  Her lips twitched, “will they think we’re rude?” 


Tobin laughed, “no. Not at all.  C’mon, I’ll drink this quickly while we say goodnight to everyone.”  She watched her lips meet the cool, burgundy wine in the balloon glass as she slid a twenty across the bar.  “Keep it,” she told the guy.


Another 20 minutes and they were on their way out into the mild December night air.  South Carolina was generally still warm at this time of year and tonight was no exception.  Still, Christen couldn’t wait to curl up under the covers and feel the warmth that radiated from the pretty brunette she called hers.  “Love you,” she spontaneously said to fill the silence.


“Love you too,” Tobin smiled back at her, putting her arm around her shoulders and pulling her in closer.  “Let’s get you to bed.”




A good fourteen hours of sleep had done her well.  Tobin slipped out of bed before her the next morning to go on a run with her sister and grab coffee with her mom.  Christen wanted her to get as much one on one time as possible despite her protests and assurances that she was more than welcome. 


“Do you want to grab something light for lunch before we have to get ready?” she asked, noticing it was almost 1 pm now.  The party started at 4, but they would probably arrive early to help get everything ready and greet guests. 


Tobin’s eyes darted from her to her watch, not answering right away.  “Uh..I..why don’t I order you room service so you can relax and get ready.  I need to run an errand quickly.”  She had been cooped up in the room since last night so getting out to do something sounded great to her.  “I’ll come with you!”


“No!” she heard, a little too excited for her liking.  Tobin was staring at her with a face filled with horror.  “Why not?”  Why can’t I go with her?


Nervously, Tobin clapped her hands together.  “It’ll just be quicker if I go.  It’s uh, something for my sister.  I promise I’ll be back soon so order whatever and I’ll eat whatever you don’t finish.”  And just like that Tobin was backing out of the room, grabbing her wallet and sunglasses before Christen could say anything.  What in the world was that?




Tobin spilled into the hallway of their hotel, lungs heavy from holding her breath the last minute.  She hadn’t counted on Christen wanting to come with her and there was no chance she’d be able to pull it off if she was anywhere nearby.  Opening her texts, she shot one to her sisters saying she would meet them in the lobby if they were ready to go.


It was only a five-minute walk to their destination and the owner immediately recognized her as soon as she walked in.  “Tobin! So wonderful we’re finally able to meet in person after all these months.” 


“Nice to see you, George, thanks for being here and doing this for me.” 


There was some excitement in the air as everything gathered closely to look at what they’d come for.  “Beautiful.”  “Perfect.”  “I love it.” 


“Is this what you were expecting?” George asked.  Tobin shook her head, “better.  Thank you so much.  What else do we need to do?””  The man relaxed and looked at her straight in the eye.  “We’re all set.  The rest is up to you.” 


“Katie, you take the bag.  I can’t risk taking it in my room.”  Her sister was only too happy to oblige, “I might keep it for myself.”  That made Tobin laugh, pushing her with her hip as they walked out of the store. 


When they got to their floor of the hotel, the trio separated and Tobin inserted her keycard into the slot.  “Chris?”


She was in there, hair damp and a towel wrapped around her while eating from a tray in bed.  “Hi babe.  Hungry?” she asked with a mouthful of food.  Even like this, she’s perfect.  “I kinda am,” she confessed and hopped up on top of the bed.  “What’d you get me?”


“I don’t even know,” the green eyes told her.  “I just started naming everything that looked good on the menu.  I didn’t realize how hungry I was.”  They both overindulged for a while before Tobin decided she had to get in the shower.  “You should have waited for me, we could have gone in together,” she pouted.


Christen fired back quickly.  “Maybe I would have if you had taken me on your super-secret errand.”


She knows.  No, how could she? Play it off, don’t give her a chance to ask questions because you’ll give in.  “I just had to get something for Katie that she needed.”  Tobin avoided looking at her while she slipped off her socks and pants.  


“Then why couldn’t I come?” 


Ugh, just stop.  “Chris, she asked me to do something for her and I wanted to help.  I had to be kind of quick and incognito.  Let it go.”


“If you say so, weirdo.” 



Tobin was acting weird all day; she was jumpy and secretive.  At a table with her cousins, someone joked that they would be the next to get married and Tobin nearly spit out her drink.  Was she missing something?  Are we not on the same page? Does she not want to be here with me? On top of everything, they barely had any physical contact that night which was completely unusual.  It felt like every time she was close to her, Tobin took a step or two back and away.


They were scheduled to fly out to New Jersey the next morning with Tobin’s sister so they could stay there for a night or two before going to her own aunt’s house.  Feeling a little uneasy, she considered suggesting they just say at their respective family’s homes to test the waters. 


Maybe I’ll just give her cold shoulder.  So she did.  On the flight she barely said a word but it didn’t matter – Tobin didn’t initiate conversation either.  They were usually comfortable in silence but Tobin talked to her sister, her brother in law, the person in the aisle seat and the stewardess who had recognized them.  Everyone but her. 


When they landed, Christen couldn’t help but feel defeated. Like normal, Tobin got her carryon from the overhead compartment and even took her suitcase, handing over her own lighter carryon for Christen to carry. 


“Do you want to go out to dinner tonight?  Just us.”  These were the first words Tobin had said since somewhere over Virginia.  It took her by surprise but absolutely, she wanted to have a chance to talk to Tobin alone.  “Yes! Anywhere, you pick.” 


They quickly changed when they got back to the house, still quiet and filled with tension.  Tobin had chosen a really upscale restaurant and even took charge of ordering for them.  Almost all the way through dinner, she couldn’t take it any longer.


“Is there something wrong?”  Her voice was soft but firm.  Tobin’s head shot up to look at her from her plate.  “No, why?”


“You’ve been quiet and kinda weird since yesterday.  I just want to know if I did something wrong.”  She watched her face relax into a half smile.  “No of course not.  Everything’s great – you’re great.”  It seemed genuine and so now she felt she could let her guard down just a little, in time for dessert.


“We’ll just have the check, please,” Tobin told the waiter as he passed by.  No dessert? I sort of wanted some chocolate.  “We should get back to the house, you can have something there,” she told her like she’d read her mind.  Resigning to the fact that Tobin was clearly in a hurry to go based on the twelve times she checked her watch, she stayed quiet and silently agreed.


Why does she want to get home so badly?  Look, there aren’t even any lights on.  Everyone’s probably in bed. They sat in the warm car for a few moments before Tobin finally spoke while cutting of the engine of her brother in law’s car. 

“I love you.”


This was what she wanted, no needed, to hear.  “I love you too.”


“Can I show you something?” 


Christen was intrigued.  “Of course.”


Tobin led her inside the still house, through the kitchen and opened the door to the back patio that was now snow covered and ushered her out.  An abundant of candles illuminated the area, creating a romantic scene.  Spinning around to ask what this was about, she came almost face to face with her.


“I have something to ask you, but before I do I want to explain why I’m going to ask that question here.”  Oh my God…is this…it?  Tobin took both of her hands and held them fiercely, slightly shaking from what she suspected was nervousness.  Trying to calm her, Christen leaned in to press a small kiss to her cheek and nodded, encouraging her to keep going.


“The first time I really thought about what my life would like, like getting married and knowing who that person would be, was right here.  It might not make that much sense to you, but it was before we officially got together.  And still, it was you that came to mind.”


Christen fought the lump in her throat that would easily turn into a sob.


“Two years ago, the first holiday we’d planned together with our families, all you wanted from me was to spend time together.  We did that almost day and yet it was the only gift you wanted.  I knew for certain that night, well okay way before probably, but that night when you agreed to come out here and brave the cold for the last glass of champagne, I knew you were going to be my wife.”


The tears were running down her hardening cheeks, likely to freeze at any moment.


“So, I know we’ve talked about the future and waiting a little while longer but I couldn’t resist being in this same spot with you again and thinking, asking if you feel the same way.  Will you –“


“YES!” Christen didn’t even wait for her to finish.  Her arms were wrapped so tightly around Tobin’s neck as she cried out of pure joy.  After a few moments, she let go and stood back to look at Tobin, who seemed surprised.  “You didn’t even let me finish!”


Laughing, Christen told her, “you already knew the answer.”


She pretended to be offended.  “I could have been asking something completely different!”


There was no ruining this moment.  “But you weren’t,” she said softly, drawing them in closer and opening her mouth around the pouting lips.  Tobin’s hands found her back, leaving no room between them, kissing her back. 


“Hmmm,” Tobin moaned before breaking apart.  “You also didn’t let me show you this.”  Reaching into her coat pocket, she pulled out a box.  Christen gasped.  Inside was the most beautiful, large, very large rose gold solitaire ring she’d ever seen. 


“It’s gorgeous!”


“You’re gorgeous.”


Christen blushed, “you always say that.”


“And now you know, I always will.”