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Crossing Boundaries

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Tobin laid awake in bed, staring at the ceiling tiles without blinking.  But she wasn’t even thinking of what she looking at.  Instead, she was thinking intently about the whirlwind that was the last 4 weeks of her life.  Glancing to her left, she saw the clock read 2:42 a.m.  Normally, she’d turn the t.v. on to see if anything was on to occupy her mind but she was back in camp for the victory tour, sharing a room with Christen Press.

 

Tobin liked when she was set up to room with Christen.  They both took sleeping very seriously, although Christen was more serious about the amount of hours she had scheduled whereas Tobin just liked the actual act of it.  Still, Tobin found that sharing a room with Christen allowed thoughtful conversation and a considerate roommate.  

 

“What’s wrong?”  The sound startled Tobin.  

 

“Sorry, did I wake you?  I didn’t mean to.  We have a few hours until we have to be up, so go back to sleep”, apologized Tobin.  

 

“How would you wake me?” laughed Christen.  “You’ve been silent.   I was just awake, scrolling through Instagram and I  saw you move and stare at the clock.”

 

Tobin hadn’t see the light from Christen’s phone.  “I can’t sleep even though I’m so exhausted.  I feel like my mind has hasn’t stopped in months.  My family, this team, moving, Shirley…it’s just been a lot to balance lately and I want to give each area my full attention.  So I guess in order to do that, it means less sleep”.  

 

“Ok,” Christen said slowly.  “But what can you do at 2:30 in the morning that will help you with any of that?”  

 

“Good question, I guess not much except for making notes in my head that I’ll forget in the morning,” Tobin said.

 

The light flipped on. “Ah!” Tobin’s eyes tried to adjust quickly as she pulled the sheets even further up her face.  “Oh stop, you’re fine” Christen claimed.  “Planning is something I can help with, let me get a pen.”

 

Tobin watched Christen swing her legs over the edge of the bed.  A hot August night in Pittsburgh, she was only wearing a pair of black cotton shorts and a white tank top that hugged her hips closely.  Tobin tried not stare, but she did find Christen attractive.  She almost thought everyone already knew this; it was kind of an unspoken understanding from everyone on their team.  Both girls were friendly, sometimes flirtatious, but nothing serious.  Tobin was with Shirley and Christen had dated here and there throughout the past two years.  Tobin admired the way Christen handled her breakups, if you’d even call them that. She was friendly and supportive to the people who meant the most to her, even if their situations left them in less than ideal situations.

 

“Tobin?”  Christen was standing over her waiting for their eyes to meet as Tobin realized she’d been caught lingering of the sight of Christen’s legs.  When they finally did meet, it was mixed with softness and embarrassment on both ends.  “Ok, well…I think you should map out the dates of the next two months to determine where you need to be and how you can fit everyone in.”

 

Her hands reaching for the pen and paper Christen had found, Tobin sat up resting her back against the headboard.  Christen knelt at the base of the bed with her phone open to the tentative national team schedule from August-October.

 

“I need to go to Paris at some point, maybe twice.  Shirley can’t come here with her schedule, so I’m going to have to go see her.  I went in February for a week between camps, so I know exactly how to manage the time and travel.”  

 

“Whoa three times this year, that shows you’re really in it,” Christen acknowledged with her eyebrows raised.  “Well, I mean, I usually go to see her because I’m familiar with Paris and I like to see other people, too” Tobin half lied.

 

It was only a half lie because while she did like to see old teammates and her favorite Parisian spots, she kept mentioning to Shirley that she was making arrangements in Portland to spend time together and working in the conversation about getting an NWSL contract to set up their future together.  Shirley seemed to play along with Tobin’s excitement  about the possibility of being together in Portland, but Tobin knew her heart wasn’t quite in it..maybe.  While Shirley made comments about settling down and starting a family, which to be honest terrified Tobin since was younger and not ready for that, she also had lot of goals to accomplish for both PSG and the Costa Rican national team.  It seemed to Tobin that their time apart from each other was spent working on individual goals and the little time they had together was trying to fit each other into the big picture of their lives.  Tobin was proud of her and encouraged Shirley at every turn, but the balance of long distance and living separate lives was tough.  More often than not, it was Tobin offering to travel and find some flexibility in her schedule.

 

“…and so that’s when I knew.” Christen finished.  Tobin stared blankly into Christen’s green eyes.  “I’m sorry, I just missed what you said.”

 

Christen’s eyes smiled back at Tobin, “it’s ok, I was just saying I think it’s really great of you to go back and forth like you do.  I know how hard that is and how hard a long distance relationship is to keep up.  It says a lot about you and the type of person you are in a relationship.”  “Thanks, I try really hard to keep up with the people I love and spend quality time with them,” Tobin offered.  

 

“Well I guess you just don’t love me then, yet” Christen joked.  The statement made Tobin’s heart skip a beat.  “I, uh..” Tobin stammered.  Laughter slipped through Christen’s grin and she playfully put both hands to her heart.  “You just keep breaking my heart, here!”

 

Tobin knew Christen was kidding, but it still rubbed Tobin in a guilty way.  She liked Christen; she really did.  Sometimes more than she should and so she kept her at arm’s length so she wouldn’t get too close.  “Ok, enough, you’re making me feel bad!” Tobin squealed with her arms flailing.  

 

When the pair finally settled down and finding a small window of opportunity to visit France, Tobin looked up at Christen with appreciation.  She was glad to have Christen with her, she felt calmer and happier in the moment.  “Ok, now I’ve wasted a half hour out of your sleep schedule, so get back to your own bed and let me worry about this at a decent hour.”  

 

Christen reluctantly moved off of Tobin’s bed, collecting the pen and paper from her hands and placing them between them on the nightstand.  When she bent over quickly, Tobin could see down her top, exposing more than she should be seeing. Climbing into bed, Christen flipped off the light and rolled the opposite direction of Tobin’s eyes, indicating she hadn’t caught her looking…again.

 

But it was what Christen said after a few moments of silence that really caught Tobin’s attention.

 

“Well, all I know is if it were me, I’d be the one making the trip to see you every chance I had.”



…………………………

 

Christen’s POV

 

Did I really say that out loud?  Did she not hear me or is she choosing to ignore it? Christen had death grip on the comforter pulled to her chin.   Her mind was racing.  While some people thought she was shy and somewhat timid, she was actually pretty bold when it came to flirting and communicating with girls she liked.  But Tobin is different, she was a friend first and they worked together.  She had to watch her words and more importantly her eyes and hands.  Before she knew it, Christen heard light breathing sounds from the other side of the room, signaling Tobin was finally asleep. She didn’t hear it.

 

The next morning, Christen moved quickly to turn off the alarm before it wailed even louder.  Looking over, Tobin was in the same position she fell asleep in, but her eyes were wide open.  

 

“Morning, I’m going to head out early to grab a coffee and mediate, want anything?” Christen blurted out.

 

Tobin looked at her with a smile, face bare from makeup and hair clinging to the pillow.  “Coffee, all the coffee,” she said.

 

Christen moved about the room, feeling Tobin’s eyes following her.  She stopped to turn on the tv, hopefully giving her a distraction since Christen wasn’t feeling exactly her best at the moment.  Over the years the entire team has come to know each other very well and seen all their lowest points while living together, but Christen tried a little harder around Tobin.  She rushed to brush her teeth, pull her hair back and make sure she looked presentable in her clothes before heading out.  

 

Now seeing Tobin sit up in bed with the remote to her chin and a game on the tv made her smile before she said, “Ok, I’m out, I’ll be back for breakfast!”  

 

Feeling the fresh air and the morning sun, Christen moved quickly down the sidewalk to a Starbucks.  When she got to the front of the line, she realized she hadn’t even asked Tobin what kind of coffee she wanted.  She knew she liked different things, but wasn’t sure if she should guess or ask what she was in the mood for.  Pulling out her phone to text Tobin, she already saw she had a message from her.  

 

Tobin: Cappuccino, please :)

 

Grabbing a fruit cup before she paid, Christen thought back to her comment the night before.  I do like Tobin, I’ve always liked her.  But it’s wrong, she’s in a relationship.  It’s wrong of me to make any comments that put her in that spot.  And it’ll probably push me even further away from her if she realizes how I feel.  But then again, I catch her saying things or more frequently looking at me in the same way I look at her.  Maybe this isn’t one sided..?

 

Christen’s thoughts went back and forth for the next 15 minutes while she attempted to mediate outside on a bench, her purchases in front of her.  At the end of 15 minutes, she realized she wasn’t getting far and mostly was focusing on getting back to Tobin before breakfast.  To be honest, this team does have cliques.  Christen came in a weird time and didn’t have a “core” of good friends.  She had friends of course, but she spent most of her time with Cheney and Whit, sometimes Kling and JJ but separately.  She loved Ali, but she was mostly occupied by Ashlyn in this environment during free time.  Tobin herself was good friends with Alex, HAO, Amy and Cheney, but in reality she was friends with everyone.  Who didn’t love to be around Tobin?  It meant for Christen that she had small opportunities to be around Tobin, which is where she really wanted to be.  

 

Walking quickly back to their room, she saw the door was opened when she got there.  Sprawled across her bed was Becky, who was intently watching  the TV with Tobin.  Christen’s heart sank a little bit, but she put on a smile anyway.  “Morning Becky, you’re up and moving early!”  

 

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep last night and heard the door slam when you left, so I came over to see if Tobin was up.”  Christen’s eyes shifted to Tobin, who was already looking at her.  “Looks like we weren’t the only ones who were up late last night” she acknowledged to Christen.  

 

Becky’s head whipped to look at Tobin, a puzzled look on her face.  Even though people were generally aware that Tobin and Christen had a bit of chemistry and looked at each other a little differently, they all knew they had never acted on it.  Tobin noted the look and shook her head back and forth.  “Just up talking about what the rest of the year look like for all of us.  Chris, do you have my coffee by any chance?”  

 

Christen hadn’t taken her eyes off of Tobin the entire time.  “OH, yes, sorry, here.”

 

“I wasn’t sure if you saw my text, is it a cappuccino?”

 

Christen nodded, “sorry, my hands were full so I didn’t reply.  But yes it is.”

 

“You da best.”  

 

Turning around, she felt a flutter in her stomach.  With a half smile and skip step, she also let Tobin know there was a fruit cup in the bag on the tv stand for her and she’d see them both at breakfast a little later on..



One of the first to arrive at breakfast, Christen grabbed a plate and linked her arms in Ali’s.  Ali and Becky had been roommates, so she was awake from Becky’s movements.  “What looks good?” she asked, knowing Ali would say everything.  Sitting down with a plate full of stuff she probably shouldn’t have first thing in the morning, she saw people file in the room in twos and threes.  Eventually when she had cleaned her plate, she saw Tobin come in alone.  Anticipating she would go straight to the buffet and then to a different table (since hers was full with JJ, Ali, Ashlyn, Crystal and Kling) she kept talking and pushing crumbs around her plate.  After a moment, she felt something bump her chair and looked back with a quick look of annoyance.  She looked up to see Tobin carrying a chair and trying to squeeze if between her and Kling.  Surprised, Christen made room quickly for her to sit.  

 

Tobin sat cross legged on the chair, drinking a second cup of coffee and eating a half a bagel from her hand, no plate.  She must have seen Christen’s looking at her choices because she said, “the fruit cup filled me up, just something small for now.”  Christen blushed, somewhat pleased with herself for knowing Tobin would appreciate the fruit cup.  But as conversation continued at the table, she couldn’t help but think, why did she come sit next to me?

 

The rest of the day meant meetings and practice, meetings and practice. Tomorrow was game day, so at least tonight they would be able to have some time for dinner outside of the team environment.  When they were finally back in the room, both girls flopped on their beds without removing of their practice gear.  “My legs are killing me, I feel so dehydrated and cramped,” Christen whined.  Tobin only groaned.  Truth was, they hadn’t been doing a whole lot of intensive training in the last month.  Christen saw Tobin’s exhaustion as an opportunity.  “Want to just skip dinner and get room service tonight?” Her question was met with a moment of silence. Her heart was already moving up her throat when Tobin said, “no, let’s go out.  We’ll be upset if we hole up in here all night and not see the city a little.”  

 

Tobin had a point, as tired as they were, open practice had been so fun and so far she was liking what she saw of Pittsburgh.  Others had ventured off to Kling’s childhood home and a few girls made reservations at the steakhouse beside their hotel.  


“Ok, well, you pick while I’ll shower first.”   Turning into the bathroom, Christen felt the smile she had come to have on so frequently in the last few days creep up again.  

Chapter Text

 

Tobin waited patiently for Christen to turn on the water and get into the shower.  It was then she took out her phone to catch up with Shirley.  Even though it was late in Paris, she felt obligated to check in and see how her day was.  After a few minutes of trading their daily itineraries, Shirley noticed she was half-whispering.  “are you not supposed to be one the phone?  Why are you whispering?”  Tobin listened to the water running from the bathroom.  “No, it’s fine, just tired and laying down before dinner.”  Hesitantly, Shirley accepted Tobin’s response and kept going.  “Well, I know you can’t come for my birthday, but if you think about it, I won’t have to wait too long to see you.  And then after that maybe again in November if we’re lucky?”  Tobin hummed in agreement.  She was excited to see Shirley again and spend some time figuring out how to make it even more time.

 

“Yeah, and maybe you can get an early break from PSG and come to the States for a mini-trip before Christmas?”  Shirley went silent.  “Hello?”

 

“Tobin, I wish.  I just don’t think it’ll happen.  We’ll have to see what you can do, or if you can spend a few days in Costa Rica with me,” she cooed.  

 

It was exactly the type of conversation that made Tobin wonder how much a future they really had.  She didn’t like conflict and didn’t want to have to beg Shirley to consider making arrangements to come see her.  Rather than make an argument, Tobin sighed and said “yeah, we’ll see.  Ok, I have to get going, Christen and I are headed out to dinner shortly.”  “Well, tell her and the rest of the group hello and have a good time.  Talk to you tomorrow morning, love you!”

 

The line went silent and Tobin took the phone away from her ear. Shirley had assumed they were meeting as a group.  I wonder what she’d really think if she knew it was just the two of us going.  Tobin snapped back to reality as Christen leapt across the room in a short towel.  “Sorry! I forgot my pants!”  

 

Tobin barely got a glimpse of Christen’s dark legs, covered in beads of water but looking very lean and quite honesty, beautiful.  She knew in a few minutes they’d switch places and she’d get ready quickly.  Too tired to really put any effort into her appearance, she grabbed a pair of shorts and t-shirt.  When Christen came out wearing a pair of black pants and casual t-shirt, she dropped the shorts and grabbed a pair of ripped jeans and a simple black cotton shirt.  She didn’t want to look ridiculous next to Christen especially if they were going somewhere….shoot. Tobin realized she forgot to look up a place while Christen was in the shower.  

 

As if Christen had read her mind, she said “So did you pick a place or are you still thinking about it?”.  Tobin gave herself a few seconds whether to lie or be honest and for one of the first times she chose the first option.  “I texted Kling for recommendations, just waiting to hear back.”  Before getting into the shower, Tobin made sure to grab her phone and search Yelp for ideas while locked in the bathroom.

 

……………………………....

 

Leaving her hair to air dry since Christen had mentioned she was starving at least twice in the five minutes Tobin was back in their room meant it would be wavy and not ready to put back in a ponytail for a little while.  Luckily the early evening air would let it dry a little faster while they walked the three blocks to the restaurant she had picked.  Tobin found a spot that was highly recommended but wasn’t too fancy, and she thought it would meet Christen’s standards.  Just as Tobin was about to tell Christen that the restaurant was was to the left after she exited the revolving doors of the building, the door jammed and Tobin flew into her back. Her arms raced past Christen’s hips and her chest was pressed up against her back with her head slightly  resting on her shoulder.  

 

Christen grabbed Tobin’s wrists as though she was still falling and needed to catch her.  “Are you okay?”  Stilling at the the overstimulation from all of their body parts touching, Tobin didn’t say anything.  Christen took a step forward and turned around to face her.  “well you look okay, goodness, that was scary for a second.”  Still a bit in shock, she followed Christen out and watched her ask what seemed to be a concierge or security guard type for directions to the restaurant.  “He says we go left now!”

 

Tobin already knew this, but she allowed Christen to lead the way.  Tobin liked adventure and exploring new things, but she also hated to make decisions.  Having someone else in control of things felt good and she trusted Christen to get them where they needed to be.  When they got to the large brass door in front of the restaurant, Tobin took a quick step to open it for Christen for which she was rewarded with a genuine smile.  

 

Over the course of the next two hours, which flew by, Christen and Tobin chatted about everything from the events of the past month to their plans for the small time off in November to their families.  

 

“So you’re going to South Africa for that long?  That’s incredible.  I really hope you’re able to see and meet the people you want.  I think it would be awesome to do that,” Tobin gushed.

 

“Yeah and I’m really hoping it becomes a thing, like I can continue doing projects for GrassRoots. Oh! And the Buzzer for FoxSport wants me to sign on to do some episodes for them!”  Tobin’s eyebrows arched in impressment.  She admired Christen’s ability to wear all these hats and knew she would do well with both opportunities. “You’re everywhere, you’re going to need a nice vacation by the end of the year,” she said.

 

‘Rumor has it that Hawaii is on the tail end of our victory tour, so that could be a nice place to relax,” Christen shrugged. Tobin’s eyes lit up. “I would be so stoked.  I have friends in Hawaii and oh my gosh, the surfing.”  Christen replied, “slightly different ideas of a year-end vacation but still nice.  But since it could be a year-ending vacation, that also means Chen will be gone by then.  How are you feeling about that?”  

 

This wasn’t the first time Tobin had been asked this recently.  “I’m torn because I am so happy for her and I know she’s thought a lot about it, making the decision to start a family.  On the other hand, I’m being a little selfish and want her to stay around for my sake.  I just love her and I’ve been on this journey with her for years.  It’s hard to imagine it without her.  To be honest, I don’t know how much longer Amy will be here either.  She’s been hinting that she might be ready for a second baby and we’re all realists around here, her playing time hasn’t been very much lately.”  

 

Tobin finished her confession, noticing Christen’s eyebrows were burrowed, looking intently at her.  She looked concerned, but it felt comforting to Tobin to have someone to talk about this with who was also close to Lauren.   

 

“Yeah I hear you, I mean I spend time with everyone here and there, but Lauren is my rock around here,” Christen admitted.  “I feel like I’m losing my go-to person.”

 

“Well, since we’ll both be without our favorite girl, we can be each other’s go-to,” Tobin said with a hint of a smile.  Trying to read Christen’s reaction, she saw what she thought was a flash of excitement.  But Christen replied cooly, “if you say so.”  

 

The girls settled the check and on the way out of the restaurant, Christen continued to rave about her salad and tacos.  “Man, that was the best thing I’ve had in the past few weeks, I could come here again for sure.”  Pleased with herself for picking a great restaurant, Tobin bragged, “See?  I’m already your go-to girl, I picked a place you liked.”  

 

“Or maybe Kling is my go-to girl?”  

 

Tobin was confused.   Why would Kling be her go-to all of a sudden?

 

“You know, she picked the restaurant?”  

 

Right.  Tobin forgot the little white lie she told Christen.   Two lies I’ve told tonight,  I need to stop.  I don’t like it.  Why would I lie?  I’m not doing anything wrong.  I have a friend and I have a girlfriend.

 

The rest of the walk back to the hotel was silent, but comfortable.  It was actually more of a stroll then a walk, as though they were trying to prolong their time together.  It was only about 9 o’clock, but each girl was tired and tomorrow was an afternoon game.

 

“Want to go to bed?”  Christen asked as they walked down the hallway towards their room.

 

Did I hear her right?  Tobin thought.  “Excuse me?”  

 

Christen stopped.  “To sleep, Tobin.  Are you okay?  You seem a little jumpy today, definitely not yourself.”  

 

Yeah, because I can’t seem to stop analyzing every word you say to me today.  And I’ve told two lies, even if they were small and not that important.  

 

“I’m sorry, I’m fine. Just still really tired from last night.  Yeah, let’s get ready and head to bed. I’ll put the tv on to fall asleep to,” Tobin apologized.  

 

As they were moving past each other effortlessly brushing their teeth, changing clothes and turning down their beds, Tobin again noticed how conflicted she felt being in Christen’s presence.  She liked being around her, talking to her.  But she also felt her pulse quicken when they were close in proximity or Christen looked at her for longer than a few  seconds.  She slid into her own bed, ready to put her thoughts to rest for the night.  Christen wasn’t far behind, dressed in an oversized t-shirt and the same pair of cotton shorts from the night before.  

 

Stop looking, stop looking, she’s your friend. Turn off the lights. “Can you set an alarm for tomorrow while you have your phone out?”  

 

“Sure, I’ll do 7:30 to be safe.”  

 

“Sweet, just enough time to grab a coffee somewhere besides team breakfast.  Tomorrow I’ll grab them for us since you went today,” Tobin offered.

 

“No, don’t do that.  I’ll come with you.  I’ll need to be up and moving,” Christen objected.  


“If you say so.  It’s a date,” Tobin closed her eyes and drifted off.   Just a little friend date.

Chapter Text

Tobin was asleep already.  Her face finally looked so peaceful, after a day that somewhat worried Christen.  She was jumpy today.  I bet she totally heard what I said last night and it made her uncomfortable.  Do I bring it up tomorrow on our coffee date, or do I let it go? Date.  That’s what she said it was.   She did make an effort to sit with me this morning, and we did go out to dinner just the two of us.   She wouldn’t have done that if she was uncomfortable.  I mean we’ve always been friends, but we definitely treat each other a little more delicately than normal friends.  

 

Christen’s phone vibrated, interrupting her thoughts.  

 

Kling: I’m glad you liked it, but I’ve never been! I’ll have to try it.

 

Christen: Oh sorry, I thought you recommended it to Tobin?

 

Kling: Not me, but sounds like Tobin knows how to pick a spot! Did you two have fun out?

 

Christen had texted Kling on the walk back to the hotel, thanking her for suggesting the restaurant.   Tobin said she asked Kling for a recommendation?  Maybe she didn’t like the ones she gave.  Huh.  

 

Now Christen was the one who couldn’t seem to fall asleep.   Why am I overanalyzing all of this.  Just be yourself.  She has a girlfriend for goodness sake! She turned to face the middle of the room, looking straight at Tobin who is still passed out.   I like her.  I know I do, but do I continue to grab moments here and there or do I be honest with her and tell her the truth about how I feel?  No, that’ll make it weird.  We’d never be able to go out like we did tonight, just the two of us.  Maybe I continue to be her friend and if it’s meant to be, I get a shot somewhere down the line.   Christen spent the next hour with her eyes closed, imagining what that would even look like.  She’d love the opportunity to go on a real date with Tobin. You can do this, just be patient... and just like that, Christen was asleep and her peaceful face matched the girl’s across from her.

 

…………………………………….



“GAMEDAY!”  Tobin was enthusiastic the next morning, buzzing about the room looking for a hat to put on.  Christen was pleased to see any apprehension she had was gone.  “Excited much?” she asked.

 

“Heck yeah.  I figure with only a handful of games left this year and so many changes happening, I want to be excited and make each one count.  We’re lucky enough to keep it going, but this is the end of the road for others.  I want to do my part in making it special for them,” Tobin explained.  

 

Could she have a more perfect answer?  “That’s a really good way to look at it.  Maybe I’ll jump on the bandwagon.  Let’s get this party started!”  Christen jumped a little too spastically out of her bed, landing with her hands on the ground to catch her from fully falling.  She stood up, turned around to face Tobin as she giggled.  For a second, she thought she saw Tobin’s eyes travel back up her body to meet her eyes.   Was she looking...again?  Nope. Not today, New day, just friends. STILL friends.  

 

“Ok well I’ll get dressed and hopefully not almost break my ankle before gametime.  Coffee date, let’s do this!”

 

Christen busied herself in the bathroom, quickly getting ready to head out the door.  Once last check in the mirror and she added a smile as she thought about Tobin’s eyes roaming over her.  Little did she know, Tobin was outside the door smiling about the exact same thing.

 

…………………….

 

Tobin’s POV

 

On to Tennessee. I can’t wait to see my family.  Holy heck, 100 caps.  That’s a long time to be here.  I wonder if it’ll be as much fun as the Pittsburgh game.   Tobin looked out the window then back to Alex.  “Have you met my cousin before?  I can’t remember?”  

 

Alex absentmindedly flipped the pages in her Vogue magazine, “mhmm.”

 

“Oh good, well I think he and his wife want to grab dinner with us after the game if you want to come.”  

 

“Mhm.”  Tobin waited for Alex to give her a little more, but nothing came.  She knew Alex, she was thinking of something, or someone and her thoughts couldn’t be interrupted until she was ready.  Tobin picked up her phone, knowing she had about 20 minutes to kill before they would be off the bus at their hotel.   I wonder who my roommate will be this round?  Christen again?   As she was thinking about it, she saw a text pop up from Christen.  

 

Christen:  I shouldn’t have had that second coffee this morning. My legs and hands are shaking!

 

Tobin: You’re the opposite of Alex right now.  A corpse might be livelier.

 

Christen:  I definitely am way more fun than that.

 

Tobin: For sure.  

 

Christen:  Looks like you’ll get some of my energy, see ya soon Roomie Round 2.  

 

Tobin looked up to see Dawn moving through the bus handing out assignments and schedules.   Christen, again.  Ok, good.  Pittsburgh was fun, mine as well keep it going.  

 

“Are we together this round?” Alex asked as she slipped her magazine in her backpack.  

 

“Welcome back, and no.  I’m with Christen again, sorry.”  Tobin replied.

 

“Ok so then see you again in September, I assume. You were basically MIA in Pittsburgh until we went out after the game.”

 

“I was not, sometimes I just don’t feel like getting a manicure or going to a steakhouse.  I made other plans.  We went out after the game together.”  Tobin became a little defensive, already eyeing the undertone of Alex’s message.  

 

“Oh stop, i’m just kidding, it’s fine.  But yes, I want to come to dinner tonight with your cousins.  Big day for ya!”

 

“ So you do listen when I talk? Nice to know.”



Checked in and getting ready for practice, Tobin waited for Christen to unpack how she prefers before suggesting she join her tomorrow night for dinner with Alex and her cousins.  

 

“Absolutely, sounds great!”  Christen appeared genuinely excited for the invitation to land at her feet.  Tobin felt a wave of relief rush over her, but didn’t doubt Christen would agree to come. She picked up her shoes and sat on the bed to put them on.  Christen stopped right in front of her, reaching around to grab the sunblock from behind her.  But at the moment, Tobin didn’t realize this was what she was doing.  Tobin outstretched her arms into an awkward position, as though she was waiting for a small hug.  Christen bent down, and with one hand put it around Tobin’s back.  “Uh, happy for you? You’re welcome?”  

 

Tobin let go quickly.  “Sorry, I thought you were hugging me!”

 

“I’d take a hug anytime, but no, not what I was after at the moment!” Christen giggled.

 

Tobin felt the heat rush to her cheeks and she let out a toothy grin.  “My bad.”   But it was so good, her hair smelled like those high end salon shampoos and her skin was so soft. Nope, stop. Don’t even go there.  

 

“I don’t even know why I’m really putting this on, it’s supposed to storm most of the day today and tomorrow.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we have to shorten or cancel the game.” Christen circled the lotion in her palms before putting small amounts on her cheeks and nose.  

 

Tobin groaned.  She hated the idea of her cousin coming all the way to Tennessee and being rained out. “I hope not, that would be such a shame.  Plus would we even make it up? NWSL playoffs and other victory tour games are already schedule.”

 

“Beats me,” Christen answered.  “But forget I said it, let’s go. It’s going to be a good practice, a great game and even better dinner with your cousins tomorrow night!”  She helped Tobin stand up off the edge of the bed with one hand.

 

Tobin looked at Christen, turned to mirror her body and wrapped both of her arms tightly around her back.  “Now I’m giving you a hug for real.”

 

……………………………………..

 

Well, Christen was right.  Rain delay. Or more like thunder and lightening and we almost died delay.   Tobin sat in her locker eating a peanut butter and jelly waiting to be called back onto the field.  Others were mingling, playing games or watching the tv in the corner.  Tobin finished her last bite and looked down the row to Lauren’s locker.  Sitting on the floor was Christen and Whitney, the three of them chatting about something passively.  Tobin wiped her hands and moved to sit next to Christen, not seeing the glance between Lauren and Whitney as she did.  “My hair is going to be so wavy in a few minutes and if we go back out with rain, it’ll be worse,” Tobin groaned.  

 

“Since when do you care what your hair looks like?” Whitney asked.

 

Glancing at Christen, Tobin sputtered, “I care sometimes.”

 

“It looks good like that, I think it looks like beach hair.  You could even keep it for dinner tonight if we ever get there,” Christen said as she looked over Tobin.  

 

Lauren looked at Whitney again, the intent of the gaze to signal she suspected some light flirting going on. “Dinner, huh?”

 

Tobin stared at Lauren, gently reminding her that it wasn’t what she was thinking.  In fact, Lauren and Whitney were both invited previously to the dinner but she wasn’t sure if they were going to come or not.

 

Before it could go any further, someone walked into the locker rooms and said “alright, we’re back on! Get yourselves together to re-start in about 5 minutes.”  Tobin hopped up, made a point to bring a couple of things out to the sidelines in case she wanted to change after being subbed out, which she anticipated.  

 

The rest of the game was just as fun as the first meeting against Costa Rica in Pittsburgh. Shirley wasn’t there, but she did know a bunch of the other players.  After being subbed out in the second half, Tobin watched the rest of the game from the bench.   Is it wrong that I like when Shirley isn’t playing better?  It’s sometimes a distraction to what I need to be doing on the field.    Tobin watched players zoom by in front of her, the field slick from rain.  She pulled a hood over her head to keep it from continuing to get wet.   Christen said my hair looked wavy, maybe I won’t really do anything to it tonight when we go out.  She looked at Christen in the middle of the field, her own hair tightly wound in a bun.   It looks good like that and she’ll be able to re-do it for dinner.  I definitely like dark hair.   Since when did Tobin care about her, or more importantly what her teammates hair looked like during games?

 

……………………………..………...

 

“I can’t get warm!” Christen whined back in the hotel room.  I’ll put on a jacket for outside, but I feel silly wearing a sweater when it’s so humid and hot out..”

 

Tobin waited patiently on her bed for Christen to decide what she was going to wear.  She knew Alex wouldn’t be ready anyway. Others had said they would stop by the restaurant when they could, so she wasn’t going to wait on them.  “You’re fine, wear whatever is comfortable for you.”  

 

“But you have a tank top on, it’ll look silly when I’m sitting next to you,” Christen said.  

 

“So you’re sitting next to me, huh?  Claiming your seat already?”  Tobin joked.

 

Christen didn’t say anything as she finished putting her own high neck sweater tank top into place.   Did I embarrass her?  I was kidding, but I’d love if she sat next to me.  “ Ok, let’s roll.  I want don’t want to keep my cousin waiting much longer and I know Alex will need someone to get her moving.”  

 

The girls opened the door to see Alex about to knock, hand in mid-air.  “Perfect timing! I’m ready and I’m hungry.”  


Alex swung around and started to lead the girls down the hallway.  Tobin looked over at Christen and gave a look, silently communicating how surprised she was.  They continued downstairs and out into the night air for a few blocks until they saw Tobin’s cousin standing in the restaurant by the hostess stand.  Re-introductions and pleasantries exchange, they all sat down and immediately opened their menus to order.

Chapter Text

Christen looked up across the table to answer Tobin’s question.  “I’m not sure, I might have a drink.  Why not?”  I wish I was sitting next to her, but this is the second best thing - looking right at her.   For a moment earlier, Christen thought she saw the disappointment in Tobin’s face when she saw her cousin and Alex choose opposite sides in the booth first.  I’m imagining it, and she was teasing me earlier.  This isn’t about me, it’s about Tobin celebrating and see her family.  100 caps is an awesome accomplishment, I’m so happy for her.

“Definitely have a drink.  I’m paying!”  Tobin’s cousin told her.  “Absolutely not, you came all this way.  Let me take care of it.  It’s a night for you to enjoy with Tobin,” she replied.  She looked at Tobin who was giving her a smile that said thank you.   Totally worth paying the bill.

Conversation was light between the group, but Alex dominated most of it, telling old stories about Tobin from when the first met up until now.  The two had a great relationship, balancing each other out and being supportive.  Tobin was a great friend to everyone; caring and encouraging, relaxed and up for anything.  

“....so now every time she’s in France I make her take a picture of someone eating a baguette.  She always finds someone!”  

Christen looked to Tobin who was laughing in slight embarrassment as Alex told the story. “I’d like to see a collection of those,” she said.  

“There’s a lot! GIrl goes to Paris every chance she gets!” Alex laughed.  Christen’s eyes darted to Tobin.   Not always by her choice.   Tobin was already looking at her, but didn’t say anything. Say something.  No, don’t.  Last time you commented on that situation it was a little too forward.   Now Tobin spoke.

 “Maybe I’m just realizing that I’m the one worth being visited.”  Her eyes didn’t leave Christen’s when spoke.

Alex’s face turned up into a semi-confused face.  “Ok, last beer for you. All sentimental and deep, I see.” 

Christen broke the eye contact with Tobin first, responding to Alex in order to decrease the light tension.  “Time to put her to bed!  100 caps in and she’s asking like a grandma who can’t have more than one!”   I can feel her still looking at me.  She DID hear me the other night.  Is this her way of telling me she heard me, or did she actually take it to heart.  Don’t bring it up again unless she does.

They all got their leftovers and Christen made her way to the bathroom before they left.  When she came out, Alex was hovering by the door while Tobin was saying goodbye and taking pictures her cousins. They chatted briefly about their plans for the next day and heading back home.

“Guys, come back, take one with us”.  Still registering what she heard, Christen hesitated.  Tobin’s “yell” wouldn’t cause even a mouse to deafen.  Alex moved ahead of her, so she followed in her footsteps.  She wasn’t sure where to go since Alex stood on one end, her cousin on the other with Tobin sandwiched in the middle.  

“Chris, go on the other end of Alex, it’ll balance us out,” Tobin nodded.  Smiling at the camera, she snaked her arm lightly around the back of her cousin, brushing Tobin’s knuckles.   Flutter.  Instead of moving them away, she went right back and left her hand partly on top of Tobin’s.   Perfect.

Christen was ignoring her previous thoughts. I’m not avoiding any of this much longer.

………..

 

“I checked under my bed, but if you find anything that belongs to me, just call me.  I’ll get it from you next time,” Tobin informed Christen as they were packing up.  

“Maybe I’ll just keep it.  I like your clothes.”  Now she was just being bold again.  Christen went out last night with a few of the girls after the game, separately from Tobin.  She still felt slightly buzzed, or at least not 100% herself.  “Or if you can arrange it, an in person delivery, although I bet that’ll be more expensive that UPS or FedEx.”

Tobin continued to fold things without looking up from her suitcase. “Definitely more expensive, but probably a more exciting delivery.”  Christen liked this, the flirting and bantering.   This is what i’d like all the time.  It’s fun, she’s fun.  

“Ok well, that should be it.  I need to move before they leave without me.  That coffee run took me way longer than it should have this morning.”  Tobin stood up and started to move towards  the bed where Christen was still lying, holding her warm coffee with both hands.

“But worth it to me, cheers,” she said as she held it up in the sky towards Tobin.  Tobin rolled her eyes.  

“Cheers yourself.  Talk to you soon?”  Christen was used to hearing “see you soon”.  She nodded, unsure of what to actually say.  

Tobin paused at the corner of the bed.  Christen tried to read her expression and movements.   Why is she pausing?  Is she waiting for me to get up to walk her out?  Am I supposed to respond with something else?  Say bye? She’s looking at me like I am.

“Ok…..well…have a safe flight.” She was embarrassed at the unsteadiness in her own voice.  

Tobin looked back at the bed where she had slept, looked at Christen and said, “yeah, you too,” as she walked out of sight.

Christen glanced at the bed where Tobin had looked.  A perfectly laid black t-shirt sat on the edge of the bed.  

 

…………….

 

“This has to all be in my head, right?  I mean we’ve always been a flirtatious, but nothing meaningful or serious.  She is with someone, she’s off limits.”  

 

A few days later, Christen sat in her aunt’s house getting ready for a red carpet event for a magazine, talking to her sister on the phone.  “I don’t know Chris, I wasn’t there, I can’t judge.  What can you even do if she is in a relationship?”  

 

She sighed heavily.   Nothing.  I can’t do a thing.  We work together, we’re friends. It’d be too risk to do anything.   “You’re right.  It’s stupid, I just...I just felt like maybe something had changed by the way we were this week.  You know, like something had shifted in her mind and we were on the same page.”  The conversation didn’t go much further.  Christen knew that she would continuously be at a dead end with Tobin unless she made a move.  She had to accept it and keep going with her life.  So many exciting things were happening to her, she had to capitalize on that first and foremost.   I won’t even get to be near Tobin if I’m not in camp or preparing for my job.  

The next round of games in September meant a small break from the NWSL and preparing for her sister’s wedding.  While she was thrilled for her sister, she was sad to miss the second game.  It meant less time in the rotation for her to be seen and less time with her teammates.

The next few weeks flew by, training and doing promotional things for FoxSoccer and other small organizations.  A few texts from Tobin were exchanged here and there, mostly pictures of their beaches, coffee recommendations, etc.  Christen decided not to bring up the t-shirt.  She didn’t trust herself to keep the conversation civil and on a friendship level.  A few days before the September camp, Tobin was the one who mentioned it.

 

Tobin:  What are you packing for this camp?  I can’t figure out what the weather will be like this time of year in those places.

 

Christen:  Just essentials, I’m only there for the first game.

 

Tobin: I forgot.  I’ll pack my basic black tee…….oh wait

 

Christen:  Already in my suitcase.

 

Tobin: Ok, liar

 

Christen:  Excuse me? I’ll take a picture to prove it!

 

Tobin: Oh I believe you’re telling the truth about that.. I meant you lied about in-person delivery.  

 

Christen: I am delivering in person!  

 

Christen: Don’t blame me for being so irresponsible with your belongings!

 

Tobin:  And don’t blame me for hoping you would follow through.  

 

Tobin: :) :) See you soon!!!!

 

Tobin put her phone back on the kitchen counter where she sat. That was a little overly flirtatious. I shouldn’t lead her on like that. She didn’t bring the shirt up. That was so unlike me to do that. Why did I do that? I certainly don’t look at her like friends should do. My relationship is good. I love Shirley, I do. The breaks away from each other can be hard and I’m sure this is just distracting me from knowing it’s just a phase. I have to keep it cool around Christen. Friends, just friends.

Tobin’s thoughts were interrupted by a door slamming in the background. Her mom must be back from her trip to the store. It felt so good to be in her favorite place. She had considered a quick trip to Paris, but decided against it. MY family is important, I need to spend some time with them, too. She had spent her time bouncing up and down the East Coast seeing each of her siblings and parents. It was tiring, but she felt so good spending time with each of them. Because of all the things going on during the victory tour, she wasn’t sure when she was technically celebrating her 100th cap. She felt badly about putting pressure on her family to make last minute arrangements, so she shrugged it off and decided this was a better way to see them all.

Each day after the last games, she had contemplated texting Christen. She enjoyed the time they had spent together and wanted to keep it going into the next camp. It made her feel guilty whenever she talked to Shirley, who by the way, had again mentioned she wasn’t going to alter her plans for November to come see her. She started to feel a slight resentment towards her, something she wasn’t used to feeling. I just need to get to Paris and everything will be back to normal. We’ll be good again.

“Everything ok, honey?” Tobin’s mom asked as she moved around the kitchen.

“Yep, fine. Happy to be here no matter how tired I feel,” she replied smiling.

“Good to have you here.” Tobin felt her mom press a kiss to the top of her head. “You’re always missed.”

“Only another day until you have to miss me again.”

“I’ve already started.”

Chapter Text

Tobin got off her plane to Detroit.   Not a beautiful city, but a beautiful day - that’s for sure.   She spotted a few of her teammates walking further up the terminal, suspecting they had just landed too.  “HAO, BECKY, WAIT”.  

 

Tobin quickened her pace to meet them.  Lazy, brief hugs were exchanged as they tried to keep moving with the flow of traffic.  “Best view of the city of I’ve seen so far is you two.  I really am not a fan of Detroit.”  Hao laughed, “It’s a little rough around the edges, but I think ticket sales were actually really high.  Only thing that matters is what happens in that dome.  It’ll be a fun one.”  

 

Tobin nodded in agreement.  As she walked through the ‘no re-entry’ point to the team vans waiting, she could see a huddle of people with a silhouette that was familiar, with dark hair.   Maybe Detroit won’t be that bad.

…………………………………………………….

 

Tobin tossed aside a shirt and pair of shorts she was going to change into before the team meeting and dinner that night.  It felt good to get back into the swing of playing and being in a team environment after almost two weeks off.  She had enjoyed the time bouncing around, seeing her family and spending time in her favorite places.  But the game was the ultimate for her; there was nothing like it.  Kelley was animated and rolling around her own bed, talking about the things she had done in her time off.

“Are you okay, Kelley?” Tobin turned around to ask her.  

“Uh, yeah, why?”

“You haven’t taken a breath in a few minutes, just making sure you won’t run out of air,” Tobin sarcastically informed her.  

“Oh shut up, I’m trying to fill you in since I haven’t gotten to talk to you much.”

“I know, I’m just kidding.  I’m glad you had some good time off.”

“Well now I didn’t hear from you, did you head to Paris this week?  Not that I’d be able to tell from anything other than you confirming it yourself,” Kelley scolded.

 

Tobin knew what she meant.  She liked to be private about her off the field relationships and life.  SHe didn’t mind if others included her in social media posts and enjoyed seeing friends’ pictures, but it felt weird putting her relationship with Shirley out there for others to comment on or critique.  It wasn’t that she wasn’t comfortable with herself or the relationship, she just felt that some things didn’t need to be paraded around.  

 

“Nope, not this time.  I’m leaving right after Birmingham though for a little under two weeks, so I’m excited.”   I need to be there.  I need to figure this all out.

 

Good for you.  How is Shirley?  Have you talked anymore about her possibly coming to Houston next season?”

 

Tobin wait a moment in order to phrase her response carefully.  “Yes, we have.”   And she says yes but her actions say otherwise.

 

“That’d be great for you guys.  I’m assuming she isn’t coming to Syd’s wedding though, right? Still pre-season?”

 

“Yeah, in fact I’m not even going. I have some other things I need to do when I get back from Paris and it’s on the same day.”

 

Before Kelley could answer Tobin, a light knock could be heard on the door.  The roommates glanced at each other as if to ask each other if they were expecting anyone. Kelley popped up and go to the door before Tobin even moved.

 

“Chris-tex with a delivery for T. Heath.” Christen walked in the room holding a perfectly folded black t-shirt in her outstretched hands.  The gesture made Tobin laugh. “I hope you’re not looking for a tip because this delivery is WAY past the standard shipping of 7-10 days.” She looks so cute standing there like that.  Her smile is so pretty.

 

“I’m not even going to ask,” Kelly rolled her eyes.  “You two are both so weird.”

 

“Oh, stop it.  Here take it, Tobin.  I wanted to get it to you before I forget and leave right after the game.”  Christen made her way a little closer to Tobin to hand off the shirt.  Tobin smiled then nodded at Christen, letting her know she was thankful for having her shirt back.

 

“That's right, your sister’s wedding.  Did you decide if you were bringing a date or just going to suck it up and mingle?” Kelley asked.

 

She looks nervous.  No, maybe that’s embarrassment.  It’s ok if she goes alone.  I’ve gone to weddings by myself when I’ve been dating someone.  Maybe she is dating someone and just doesn’t want to talk about it?

 

Christen’s eyes darted between the two girls.  “It’ll be a lot of family and friends so I figured I didn’t really need a date. Camille is coming by, Nima is in town.  And besides when you’re in the wedding, you don’t have a lot of free time before, you know?”   Oh good, no date.

 

“Yeah,” Kelley nodded enthusiastically, “then you can decide if there’s anyone there that catches your eye!  And speaking of other weddings, Tobin just told me she wasn’t going to Syd’s wedding.  Did you know that she wasn’t going?”  Tobin looked at the carpet.  She didn’t want to be berated for her decision.  More importantly, she didn’t want to know Christen’s immediate reaction.  

 

“I didn’t, but we’ll miss you Tobin.  I guess that means I get my date Chen all to myself that weekend!”  Tobin looked back up. No date for that weekend, either.  

 

Christen’s eyes looked sad to her, even though she was smiling.  

 

“Paris…?” she asked softly.  Tobin could only nod.  

 

“Girlllll, go ahead.  You deserve it, get some!” Kelley roared.  Tobin winced at the phrasing.  She didn’t even dare look at Christen now.  But truth is, she couldn’t have.  Christen was already half out the door.

 

…………………………………………

 

Christen let the door hit her palms and back as she stood in front of it, waiting to close.   She’s still going to Paris.  This was all in my head, my imagination.  I should have known that. Stop acting like anything would have changed.

 

“You back, Chris?  I want to grab a coffee before team meeting.  You wanna come?” asked Alyssa.  

 

“Coffee sounds great.  Give me a minute and I’ll go with you,” she acknowledged.

 

I need to stop focusing my attention and energy on Tobin.  If what I thought was real, she’ll come to me.  She has to, otherwise I’m interfering with her relationship. Spend time with others.

 

That’s exactly what she did.  For the next few days and even game day, Christen made a point to avoid Tobin in the hallways, meetings, meals.  She didn’t try to make it obvious and still gave a friendly wave or smile when Tobin was near her, but didn’t engage any further.   Now that I’m aware of it, it seems like she is always around.  This isn’t going to be easy.  For once maybe I am thankful I won’t be here for the full camp.

 

Christen carefully packed her backpack for the game in Detroit, packing all of the essentials.  Alyssa had already made her way to a training room to get taped, so she was on her own to head down to the bus.  As she opened the door and looked back into the room one more time to make sure she had everything, Christen continued to move forward through the frame.

 

“Ah! Chris!”  Christen shook at the sound.  Tobin and Kelley were standing in front of her door, a Starbucks cup in mid air almost to her forehead.   Smooth, Christen.  

 

“I didn’t see you!” she exclaimed as she took a second to smooth her clothes and readjust her backpack.

 

“Clearly.  Coffee for the road?  We picked one up in case you wanted it, but if not I’ll drink it,” Tobin informed her.

 

“No, I’d love it if that’s alright.  I’m gonna need caffeine to get me through the next couple of days.  Thanks,Tobin.”

 

“Uh you can thank me, I paid for it,” Kelley interjected.  

 

“Well then thank YOU, Kelley.  Aren’t you so humble?”

 

The three walked down the hallway sipping their coffees as the started to get on the bus.  Tobin took her usual seat in the aisle, sitting with Alex.  Christen’s eyes watched her as she stooped to put her things down before sitting in the chair.  Kelley kept moving,  jumping two rows behind her.  

 

“Chris sit with me today, I feel lonely,” Kelley whined.  Christen took her eyes off of Tobin’s who were looking up at her as she sat down.  

 

Christen didn’t say anything, but moved to sit down to accept Kelley’s offer.  She was grateful to have the coffee before the game, giving her a little jolt of energy.  She knew she was starting and wanted to make the most of her opportunity despite the opponent.   I was doing pretty well ignoring Tobin until now.  And I feel like I just made a fool of myself, stumbling and then giving her the credit for the coffee as though Kelley wasn’t there.   Sipping the coffee as they pulled out onto the road to the stadium, Kelley turned to her.  

 

“So have you thought anymore about who you’d be interested in at the wedding?” she pressed.  

 

“Honestly, no I haven’t Kel.  I’m not really interested in anyone right now.  It’s better just to be focused on my family and sister this weekend.”  

 

With her eyebrows raised, Kelley challenged her.  “Oh sure, nobody. Right.”

 

She knows.  I can’t let on that I know she knows.  That’ll be like confirming it and admitting it.  No.

 

“Yep, nobody.”  Christen stared straight ahead and turned up her music.  



…………………………………………………

 

“Have you seen my other shoe, Alyssa? I can’t find it and I need to be out of here.  If I miss my flight I am totally screwed!”  Christen was panicking.  Post-game she spent a little too long signing autographs, reveling in the 5-0 win.  It had been fun, with her even scoring in the half, but now she had left too little time to pack up for her flight back to California.  

 

“It’s been sitting on the desk since the last time you asked me.”  

 

Apologetically, Christen gave her a smile.  She was on edge and she knew it.   I need to go.  Maybe Kelley has the right idea, I should put myself out there at the wedding, maybe there will be someone to meet.

 

“Well that’s it, I think,” she said.  “Alright, ‘Lyss.  I’m out, have a good trip to Alabama and I’ll catch up with you sometime next month!”  Christen pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head and and took her rolling suitcase behind her.  As she turned right out of the door to the bank of elevators, she considered going down a few doors to another room.   No, you don’t need to say goodbye, you wouldn’t say a special goodbye to any of your other teammates. They’re both probably sleeping anyway.  

 

She kept moving down the hallway, to the lobby and to an Uber she had ordered for the airport.  Each step of the way, she felt a little more proud of herself for resisting the urge.  After she had finally settled at her gate, she pulled out her phone to kill some time.  She had a message waiting for her.

 

Tobin:  Have fun!!!!

 

She laughed.  Tobin had also sent a selfie of her and Kelley making ridiculous faces.

 

Christen: Thanks! You too, have a fun trip!

 

Tobin: Gracias. My ankle is bothering me. Not sure it’ll be the best :(

 

Christen felt confused.  Why would that matter?  She would still be able to travel after all.  Even crutches don’t keep people off of a plane.  Then Christen realized she was talking about the second game in Birmingham.

 

Christen: Bummer.  

 

Tobin: Wish you could come, I think you’d really like it there.

 

Birmingham?  Not exactly on Christen’s bucket list of trips.

 

Christen: Yeah, maybe they’ll schedule a game there again down the road.  

 

Tobin:  Doubt it’ll be anytime soon with the Olympics then Euros after that.  No time to do a tour.  

 

Now Christen was really confused.  What in the world is she talking about? Maybe she does mean to Paris…?

 

Tobin:  Anyway, have a safe flight and tell your sister congratulations!!!

 

Christen tried to process the conversation that just happened.  She wasn’t sure what Tobin meant.  Was she saying she wished I could go to Paris with her?  Just us or to like, see the city with her and Shirley? Why does she do this to me? How can she make me feel like this when she says so little? I keep thinking I should give her space and try not to be too flirty, it’ll only hurt me...but then I see this and think she’s flirting? Do not engage. Do not engage.

Christen: I will, I’ll send you pictures! Have fun yourself.

Off to Los Angeles she went.

Chapter Text

She was enjoying herself.  Her family was in town, her best friends would all be together and for once her thoughts weren’t concentrated on Tobin.  The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner was a lively event with people floating from table to table to catch up.  Christen found herself telling the same anecdotes from the summer for the people who wanted to hear first hand how it felt to be a World Champion.

 

“So Christen, is it hard to adjust after you’ve come back?  I’m sure you’re just on cloud nine.  Does it bring you closer together as a team?”   Some closer than others.

 

“It’s been really fun so far on the victory tour.  I think once we finish the year out, we’ll be back to business to keep it going for the Olympics. There’s going to be a lot of transition, I think.”

 

“Well I just don’t know HOW you do it. It must be exciting though.  Are you dating anyone? I imagine it would be tough to keep up with your schedule.”   Why is my love life everyone’s concern lately?  

 

“No, not dating anyone.” I wish, though. Changing the subject, Christen started, “I am so excited for tomorrow. I think the weather is going to be just perfect.”  Christen kept her tone lively, but looked at her sister.  She knew her sister would help transition the conversation because she was well aware of how conflicted Christen had been in the past few weeks.  Lucky for her, no one broached the same subject for the rest of the night.

 

The wedding was even more fun and Christen was smiling ear to ear.  She took a moment to sit down with her friend Camille, who had been a good friend since playing at Stanford together. Her family lived nearby and they’d all kept a close relationship over the years so it made sense that they were invited to the wedding.  

 

“Tell me everything  - are you exhausted?  How do you  feel about the next year and January camp?  What’s going behind the scenes?”  Camille wanted to know it all.  Christen didn’t even know where to begin.

 

“I mean I feel okay.  I have some personal goals and things I want to work on, but overall it’s good.  Everyone’s in good spirits.”

 

“Bummer, I was hoping for some drama.  Always makes things interesting,” Camille sighed.  

 

Feeling a buzzed from having a drink in her hand all night, Christen started to open up.  “Well there’s no on the field drama at the moment.  Just my own personal hell.”  

 

Camille narrowed her eyes.  Christen looked right back at her with a “Yep, I just said that” smile.  She sighed and continued, “I’ve noticed over the past few months that I just really like someone and it’s not a possibility.  It makes life a little tougher being around.  So when I’m in camp, I am -”... “WAIT!”  Camille threw her arm out at Christen, sitting on the edge of her seat.  “It’s someone on the team?!”

 

Blushing, Christen nodded.  Camille knew Tobin; in fact last year they had all spent time at Christen’s house and hung out for the weekend with other friends including Kling, Allie Long, Olivia Schough when the Swedish national team was in town.  “It’s Tobin.” This was the first time Christen had admitted this aloud to anyone beside her sister.  She chalked it up to the champagne.

 

“Interesting.”  Camille narrowed her eyes as she sank back into her chair.  

 

“Oh come on, you didn’t know.  Did you?” Christen asked.

 

“I mean no, but looking back if I had to pick someone, she would have been my first guess.  Just how you acted around her and it wasn’t like you did with Meghan or Allie when they were in town last year.”  Christen nodded in agreement.  She couldn’t argue that point, she knew how she handled interactions with Tobin.  “I think you should just go for it.  Why not?  Look how you’ve handled things with Olivia, Vero when they ended. You’re good keeping friendship above everything else, so if it didn’t work out, you’d be fine.”

 

“One problem, she’s still dating Shirley.”  Christen looked down at fingers toying with the stem of the flute in her hands.  

 

“Yeah, well..all I’m saying is you have a lot more access to Tobin than she does.”  

 

“No! That’s not me, I’m not going to interfere in anyone else’s relationship.  If it’s meant to be, she’ll come to me,” Christen protested.  And that was it.  She had made a definitive statement about possibility of a future with Tobin.  She would let Tobin live her life and she would focus on all of the exciting opportunities she had in the coming weeks.

 

Later that night, Christen crawled into bed, pulling a stray bobby pin that was sticking out of her hair, her face wet from scrubbing off the makeup from the wedding.  She went through her texts from throughout the day that she had missed, mostly from people commenting on the wedding or that they were excited she was back in L.A. and wanted to catch up.  One of the messages caught her eye.

 

Tobin:  Gorgeous!   She had attached the picture Christen uploaded to Instagram with a picture of her and her “lucky” date, aka her dog. It was so cute; she had this grin like she was a real person smiling. Christen knew Tobin liked dogs so she’d show her hers often.

 

Christen: Doesn’t she look so cute? Look at her smile and flowers!

 

Tobin had sent the text message much earlier in the day and with the time difference, Christen suspected she was already in bed.  She turned off her lights and drifted off to sleep.  She was already asleep when she got a reply.

 

Tobin: Yeah, I guess the dog is cute too.



……………………………………



Gameday.  Bittersweet day.   Tobin laid awake the next morning staring at the ceiling.  She was going to be honored for her 100th cap and her brother was coming all the way to Birmingham from South Carolina, but she wouldn’t play.  Her ankle was bothering her and she couldn’t take the risk in a meaningless friendly.  Still it was a beautiful day out and she was going to make an effort to really enjoy it.  Also, she had to look forward to her trip to Paris in less than 48 hours.   This is good, I’m excited for Paris.  I need to be in the same place as Shirley to really look at our relationship and figure it out.  I’m being too forward with Christen and this will help put it behind me.

 

She looked at her phone.  Christen had replied to her message, but then again it was two hours later on the west coast so she might still be sleeping.   The best thing is for her not to reply. We’ll ignore it and move on.   And Christen didn’t reply.  Tobin went through the motions of gameday even though she wasn’t playing.  Having her brother in town really meant a lot to her and having some of the spotlight was special.  After the game, she went out with some of her teammates for dinner, having a couple of drinks and watching highlights on their phones from the game.

 

“Al, you could have broken my ankle jumping on me like that!”  Tobin laughed watching the replay on Cheney’s phone.  

 

“I was so excited, I couldn’t help it!” she squealed back.

 

Tobin looked through some of the other media on twitter from the game, seeing comments about the eight goals, gifs of different plays.  Then she saw a re-tweet from Christen promoting the game, including about Tobin and her 100th cap.   That was sweet.  She was still watching. That’s as far as Tobin would allow her thoughts to go.



………………………………………………..

She enjoyed the rest of the evening and got a good recovery workout the next morning.  She made a promise to herself not to answer any text that came from Christen, not out of disrespect but just so she wouldn’t cross any more boundaries.  It was almost time for her to head to the airport to catch her flight to Paris, so she wanted to focus on all of the things she wanted to discuss in person with Shirley.  

 

Tobin boarded her quick flight to Chicago so she could connect to Paris.  Sitting next to her, Julie pressed her  on the details of her visit.  She was headed back to the Windy City for only a day so she could pick of the rest of her belongings after the Red Stars NWSL season came to a close after losing in the semis.  

 

“So what happens when she’s training or has to travel?  Do you go with her?”

 

Tobin explained she used the time to do some things on her own and that she tried to coordinate the visits for home games.  

 

“I like to go to the games to see the people I played with, the coaches.  Sometimes I’ll hop in a training session if they let me just to keep up the routine of getting competitive touches on the ball,” she explained.

 

“Yeah.  Well I’m sure it’ll be easier to when she comes here to play.  Even if she’s across the country in say Boston or Jersey, it’ll be easier to travel for long weekends or whatever.”

 

That’s exactly what I said to her a few weeks ago.

 

“Yeah.  I moved out from our place I shared with Allie and Alex in Portland after we got back from Canada and rented a place that would be good for us to use as a homebase if she comes here.  You know?  It was time to kind of do the adult thing,” Tobin saw Julie nodding in agreement.

 

“Are you going to to live in the same place in Chicago next season, or maybe room with someone?” she asked JJ.

 

“Nah, I mean it’s nice having your own space.  My NWSL season is the exact opposite of the NFL, so I want some place that has some privacy for Zach and I.”

 

Tobin gave a knowing smile.  “I know how that is.  But it can be nice to have roommates, always someone around.  What about Christen?  She’s in Chicago with you.”

 

“Oh yeah, I mean we see each other and do stuff together, but living together is a different story.  I’m sure we’d get sick of each other.”  

 

Processing what JJ said, Tobin thought.  I bet it’d be fun to live with Christen.  I enjoy rooming with her when we’re on the road.  She’s organized, she likes to go out, has her priorities in order.  I’d also probably get myself in trouble. “You’re probably right.”

 

It wasn’t long before she was gearing up for the next leg of her trip, an 8 hour flight to be exact.  Tobin popped a piece of gum into her mouth.  She wouldn’t arrive until early the next morning Paris time, so she wanted to keep herself feeling fresh.  She’d try to get some sleep eventually, but taking off still made her feel a little uneasy despite doing it literally thousands of times over her lifespan .  I showered before my flight, so I should be okay.  I’ll just change my clothes and wash my face before I get off the plane.   She smiled to herself as she imagined seeing Shirley waiting for her at the airport, anticipating an embrace that was full of love.  

 

Tobin settled in her seat, turning up the sound in her headphones from her laptop.  There were a few men’s European games on that would pass the time.   She was a junky; couldn’t get enough even in her spare time.  Eventually she fell into a deep rest, her body relaxed but her mind thinking about different things.  

 

Her legs look so good.   Tobin barely got a glimpse of Christen’s dark legs, covered in beads of water but looking very lean and quite honesty, beautiful.  She knew in a few minutes they’d switch places and she’d get ready quickly.  Too tired to really put any effort into her appearance, she grabbed a pair of shorts and t-shirt. Christen turned around.  “I forgot pants, sorry!”  Tobin stared at her and said “you look great without them.”  Slowing spinning, Christen’s eyes became wide as she made eye contact with Tobin.  “Oh really?”.   “Yeah, and I can’t even see the best part of them.”  Their eyes were locked, but Tobin noted that Christen let the towel she had been clutching around her midsection to drop the floor, exposing a small pair of nude seamless underwear, cupping and hitting all the right curves.  Her bra was a shade dark, but the way Christen filled it out made Tobin’s pulse quicken.  She had seen Christen in a bikini before but this was different.  She sat up on her bed, straightening her back and cocking her head to the side as if she was studying the girl in front of her.  Christen bit her bottom lip and made her way to the side of the bed where Tobin was.  Her fingers slid across the top of the bedspread as she moved, slowing her pacing.  Tobin swung her legs over the edge, her face meeting top of Christen’s pelvis.  She wanted to reach out and touch, feel her.  She didn’t.  Christen was staring down at her, eyes blazing but also hinting she was unsure of what to do next.  It was a few moments before Tobin put her hands on Christen’s hip bones, pulling her closer.  “Come here.”  That was it.  Christen swooped down swiftly but pressed the most gentle kiss to Tobin’s lips. Her hands grasped either side of her head, her palms felt the silkiness of her hair.  Tobin gave Christen’s hips a tug, pulling her against her body as she non-verbally told Christen to move on top of her.  They spent what felt like the longest minute of her life exploring each other’s mouths, gently but furiously.  Tobin felt Christen’s hand move slowly down her stomach, circling and stroking every inch.  Knowing where this was going, she pulled at her own pair of Nike shorts to give Christen the opening she desired.  Christen didn’t waste any time. Her fingers traced the outline of Tobin’s simple cotton underwear, feeling through how ready she was for her.  Whimpering, Tobin grabbed the hand and moved it exactly where she wanted it.  Christen pulled back from Tobin’s mouth.  She wanted to look at her while this happened.  Using just her forefinger, she pulled a corner of her underwear to the side and moved her thumb up and down.  It immediately gave Tobin’s body an electric jolt.  This is so good.   She gave Tobin a half smile as she started to move a little quicker.

 

Feeling an even bigger jolt, Tobin’s eyes fluttered open to see the back of an navy blue leather chair, grey hair peeking from the top it.  She had landed in Paris and her immediate thought was now I really need to change my clothes.  




Chapter Text

Tobin stepped out into the cool morning air in Paris, eyes searching for her girlfriend waiting to help her load her bags into her car.  When she spotted Shirley, she immediately smiled from ear to ear.  Her previous thoughts evaporated and in the moment she was just happy.  

 

“SHIRLEY! Par ici!”  Tobin waved her hands in the air so the shorter girl could see her.  Their grins matched as they quickly moved in stride to embrace.  “I’m so happy to see you!” she exclaimed as she tightly wrapped her arms around her girlfriend’s back and nuzzled her head in her shoulder.  Stepping back, Shirley returned her enthusiasm, looking at her from head to toe.  

 

“You look good.  Come on, let’s get you back so you can take a quick nap and be ready to spend some time together after training.”

 

“I’m not sure napping is the first thing I want to do.”  Tobin gave Shirley a sensual look.  “But I’ll lay down if you lay down with me.”  

 

Shirley’s eyes widened.  “You are so bad.  Let’s go.”

 

……………………….

 

The girls laid in bed, arms and legs intertwined and bare.  

 

“I need to get up, I can’t be late for training this morning,” Shirley informed Tobin.

 

“No, stay.  I’m sure they’ll understand,” Tobin lied, knowing it would not be a good excuse and Shirley would likely get in trouble.  

 

“I’ll be back before you know it, just go grab a coffee or stay in bed a little longer.  We can pick this up when I get back.”  

 

“Mmmm. I like the second idea.  And the first.  Maybe I can have both.”

 

Shirley smiled at Tobin as she forced herself to sit up and put her shirt back on.  She left the room to use the bathroom and gather her things to leave.  Tobin watched her movements as she went back and forth down the hallway. This feels right.  I knew I just needed to be here with her.   Tobin slowly got out of bed herself, dressing in the scraps of clothes scattered across the room.  She grabbed an extra hoodie and a snapback from her suitcase to keep warm when she went outside.

 

“I’m leaving, I’ll be back in a few hours.  Bisous!” Shirley called from somewhere in the foyer.  Before Tobin could make it out of the room, the front door had slammed and silence filled the apartment.  The morning light filled the apartment and Tobin made her way to stand in front of the large windows overlooking rooftops in the city.  She opened the latch to one of the windows and made her way to sit on the edge.  Feeling happy in the afterglow of her morning in bed, she turned on her iTunes from her phone to play some Bob Marley.  She admired the view for a while, taking in the beautiful day.  She picked up her phone to take a picture that showed her reflection in the mirror but also capturing the background of the rooftops.   I’ll put it on instagram, it’s discreet enough for just my family and friends to know.   That’s how Tobin felt about her relationships.  She was open with the people that meant the most to her and while she didn’t exactly hide it from people, she never felt the need to publicly announce the choices she made or explain her lifestyle.  Shirley tended to be a little more forward and revealing to people and that was fine with her, it just wasn’t her speed.  

 

The next  three days, there was a routine building for Shirley and Tobin.  Wake up, spend time re-discovering the physical side of their relationship, off to training, lunch, free time for Tobin to explore, out and about in Paris.  As it got dark, they’d stay in and cook sometimes making it through the recipe, other times abandoning the stove for the bedroom.  Tobin felt it was a blissful time.  Even Shirley acknowledged how good it felt for Tobin to be back in Paris as she cut some vegetables on the chopping board.

 

“You know, you could just ask for a loan to PSG on your offseason, then it could be like this all the time.”

 

“I can’t, I told you.  It’s an Olympic year first, so I have to be in the U.S.  It has to be that way for at least the next year.  After that, I don’t know what it’ll look like, but I think it’s been made clear that if anyone wants to be apart of national team camps, you have to be there.  And I like Portland, why would I want to leave?” Tobin questioned.

 

“Me.”  Shirley’s voice held a little touch of annoyance.

 

Sighing, Tobin said “I know that, I get it.  But I thought we had talked about this.  Doesn’t Houston have your rights?  If you come to play in the U.S. we will be able to have so many months together.  And we can schedule long weekends and see each other play.  Wouldn’t it be nice to Skype in the same time zones?  Plus you’d be closer to Costa Rica so you’d be able to make it back and forth from there more often.“

 

“And I get what you’re saying.  But I also feel like I’m invested here and I want to win the Champions League Title.  I want to give it a year or so,” Shirley explained.

 

“Ok so let’s say in a year it doesn’t happen.  Do we take it year by year?”

 

“I don’t know, Tobin.  Let’s be honest, if I came over this year you’d be too busy anyway with Olympic preparation and then going to Brazil.  So why can’t we wait?”

 

It felt like the argument had come to a head.  Tobin didn’t know what to say anymore.  She wasn’t angry at Shirley’s feelings or choice, but she didn’t know how to keep their relationship moving forward while spending so much time apart.   This is why I act the way I do when I’m around Christen.  It’s easy.

 

“Let’s say this: why don’t we enjoy the rest of your time here, have our  visit in November and then we’ll see what happens.  We’ll have time to think about it, it’s not like the preseason for the NWSL starts right away.  We have a few months.”

 

Tobin processed the idea and nodded in agreement.  She rounded the corner of the kitchen island and buried her nose in Shirley’s hair.  Wrapping her arms around the front of her stomach, she pulled Shirley closer.  “That’s fine.  We’ll see what happens.”

 

At that moment, Tobin’s phone buzzed from across the kitchen.  She gently let go of Shirley’s waist to go retrieve it, wondering who it could be.

 

Lauren Holiday:  When do you get back from ol’ Pair-ie?  Want to spend a few days together before Syd’s wedding?  

 

Tobin: I get back the 6th, but I’m not going remember?  I have some other things I need to go to.  I’m headed to Jersey then Portland.

 

Lauren: :(  

 

Tobin: I’m sorry!

 

Lauren Holiday: I understand, we’ll catch up when we get into camp.  Amy is leaving soon so I’m just feeling lonely.  I’ll  see if Christen wants to come early before the wedding.  Tell Shirley hi!

 

Tobin placed her phone back on the counter and looked at the direction of her girlfriend.  I wonder what Chen would think if I told her how I’ve been acting towards Christen.  Probably not good considering I have a girlfriend she likes and Christen is a good friend of hers.

 

………………………………………..

 

Christen scrolled through her instagram.   She stopped at the two pictures picture Tobin had posted back to back, both in black and white.   Looks like she made it to Paris safely. She swapped her phone in her hand for Khalessi, one of her dogs, and pulled her in close to her chest.  It was a gorgeous morning in LA and she planned on spending it with her family.  She was recovering from her night out with some of ‘the gals’ at the Fifa ‘16 launch party.  She’d had fun with them, posing on the red carpet and talking with people from the soccer and entertainment world.  One of her former teammates from Stanford was there, so she got to spend some time with her, too.  Although she knew Tobin hated the spotlight and preferred to fly under the radar, Christen wondered if she ever regretted having to spend so much time making transcontinental trips  and missing opportunities with her teammates.  Probably not, I’m sure she’d prefer her relationship over an event any day.   That’s it.  I said I was going to busy myself and move on from this.   She picked up her phone and went back to Tobin’s profile.  She marked it so that any more pictures would be hidden from her feed; twitter too.  Out of sight, out of mind.

 

The next few days she made a point to spend her mornings training in the fall sunshine and her afternoons  walking the cliffs near her family home.  She made plans with friends from high school, who continued to remain close post-graduation.  She had to get the quality time in quickly because in a few days, she started filming for the Buzzer, had a PETA event and magazine shoot and then would be off to Kansas City for Sydney’s wedding. She had picked out a gorgeous black dress with netting that accentuated her every curve.   Classy, but sexy t hought Christen.

Maybe I’ll meet someone.   She started to organize her weekly schedule when she heard her phone buzz.  

 

Lauren Holiday:  Girlfriend, want to come early to KC and help me shop for a dress next week?

 

Christen: Ah! Wish I could.  Booked until the day I’m supposed to leave :(

 

Lauren Holiday:  Send me a picture of your dress.  I’m not sure what I want to wear yet

 

Christen snapped a picture, sending it Lauren’s way.

 

Lauren Holiday:  Damn girl, I’ll have the hottest date at the wedding!

 

Christen: If you play your cards right, you might get luck that night ;)

 

Lauren Holiday:  HAHA! Funny.  I’ll be your wingwoman instead.  

 

Christen: Good. I’ll be scoping the scene for sure.

 

Christen smiled to herself.  She would miss Chen after she left next month.  Lauren was such a calming presence for her and they got along so well.   I wonder what she would think if I told her about how I feel about Tobin.  She’d probably be uncomfortable - she’s been good friends with Tobin for years and knows Shirley well.   Christen kept organizing her clothes into piles and putting things into separate suitcases/bags.  Sitting on her bed, she pulled out her notes for the PETA event and the Buzzer segment, rehearsing in out loud.  

 

After a bit she put the cards down.   Maybe I do need to talk to someone who knows us both well.  Maybe she’ll have some insight that I don’t.   With that, Christen decided she’d make a point to feel  Lauren out sometime after the wedding.

 

……………………………………………….

Chapter Text

The next week seemed to fly by.  Tobin was looking forward to seeing her family again in the next few days, but she also knew it meant transitioning back to a long distance relationship with Shirley.  Since their conversation in the kitchen, the subject hadn’t been brought up again.  Instead, they spent their time wrapped up in each other and exploring places they hadn’t been in France yet.  

 

Her stomach started to churn while she was packing.  A strange feeling of remorse was settling in and she wondered why she didn’t just plan for another week in Paris.  Grabbing a shirt that was mixed in with Shirley’s laundry she thought r ight, Shirley has a life here too.  She can’t entertain me all week.

 

“I don’t want you to go.”  

 

Tobin looked up already feeling her eyes watering up.  “I don’t want to go.”

 

Their last few hours together were spent outside in the sun, people watching and stealing touches here and there. Tobin made a promise to herself she wouldn’t bring up the NWSL contract or coming to Portland again, just so she could leave with the good feeling she had and avoid any tension in the weeks to come.



………………………………………………………….

She was happy.  She was back on the daily grind of working and truly enjoying her first experiences in front of the camera.  Her PETA shoot turned out beautifully and she had a good time at the red carpet event with her friend.  In the past few days, Tobin wasn’t even a thought in her head.  Getting ready to board her flight to KC, Christen  sat at the gate going through her planner of upcoming events.  On the itinerary was a trip to Stanford with Kelley, going to the USMNT game in Pasadena and a bachelorette party for her friend.    I really overbook myself this month.  Which was good thinking.

 

Sydney’s wedding was a mini-reunion of the national team and a few familiar faces from playing all over the world. It would feel different since they were all dressed up and there were no pressures of training in between.  They had met at an indoor arena to play some pick-up, but it was nothing more than fun.  Christen felt relaxed in this environment, especially without Tobin to make her feel tense.  After the gorgeous sunset ceremony and during cocktail hour, a few of the girls sat back with drinks in their hand in a lounge area.  They were discussing their plans for the next two weeks before they had to be back in camp for the Brazil games.  Someone, Christen unsure of who, brought Tobin up.

 

“She’s back, yeah.  I only know because I saw her instagram.” Oh right I hid her from my feed.

 

“Why didn’t she come then?” She’s busy.

 

“I know she said something about plans with family.” Yep.

 

“I don’t know how she does it, going back and forth like that.  I wonder how long she’ll keep that up.” I hope not much longer.

 

Kelley put her two cents in.  “I don’t know,” she shrugged.  “All I know is last time we were talking about it, they weren’t on the same page.”

 

Christen’s head turned quickly in Kelley’s direction to listen closely.  

 

Kelly continued.  “I feel bad for her because she makes all these sacrifices because that’s just who she is and then Shirley takes advantage of it. It’s one of those things when they’re together, it’s good and when they’re apart it takes a lot of work.”  

 

The conversation went on for a few minutes, mostly speaking  of concern for Tobin’s happiness and well being.  Christen didn’t dare say a word.  Slowly, people started to filter other directions before it was just Lauren and Christen sitting.

 

Christen turned to Lauren, “Can I talk to you about something?  It’s going to be weird, let me just start with that.”

 

“Should we move somewhere more private?”  

 

Christen thought for a second, “no,  it’s fine.”

 

“So you’re not dying? Pregnant?”  Lauren laughed to herself.  “I’d like to know how the second one happened if so.”  

 

Christen smiled.  “Hey just another advantage of liking girls.”

 

Lauren didn’t reply, so Christen knew she had her attention and it was time for her to continue.  Taking a deep breath, she started.

 

“I appreciate you looking out for me and wanting to be my wing-woman tonight.”

 

“No problem.”

 

“It’s just...I don’t...I can’t focus on meeting someone right now.  It’s too hard.

 

Lauren looked puzzled, but intrigued.  “Why’s that.”

 

Christen continued, “my mind is occupied by someone else.  Someone you know very well and I know how awkward this is but but it’s….”.  She stopped.

 

Lauren straightened her head.  “Tobin.”  

 

Christen’s head shot up.  “Yes. How’d you know?”  

 

Lauren laughed.  “I’ve figured for a while now.  You were awfully quiet during that last conversation.”  

 

She nodded.  “I know.  I feel bad even talking to you about this.  But I don’t know, I also feel weird not saying anything to you. You’re our friend so I need to vent and maybe get some insight.  I hate when people keep bringing up my love life and suggest I ‘find someone’.  At this point, it’s no use.   I just need space and a little time for it to pass, right?  Am I crazy?”

 

“Hmm. I see.  Have you ever thought about talking to her about this?” Lauren asked.

 

“Definitely not.  It would make it too hard to be around her.  We work together, you know?  She’d probably be nice about it, but it just wouldn’t be the same after that.”

 

Sitting in silence for a few seconds, Lauren grasped Christen’s hand before she continued.  “This is hard; you’re right.  But it’s because I love both of you.  If she’s happy in her relationship, then I’m happy for her and feel like it’s not fair to test that.  But I also don’t want to see you suffering at the same time. Part of me wants to tell you to talk to her about it because it’ll either open or a close a door for you.”

 

“Exactly, I keep telling myself ‘no’ and I need to stay away from it, but I can’t help myself.  It’s starting to weigh down on me.”  

 

Lauren sighed.  “I think the best advice I can give you right now is to give it some time. Figure out if it’s worth saying anything to her about and think about how you would approach the subject and what you would say for every reaction she would have.  Sometimes Tobin doesn’t react how you’d expect.”

 

“That’s good advice.  You’re right.”  Christen let go of Lauren’s hand and started to stand up.  “I’m so sorry to do this here and now.  I just needed to get it off my chest.”  

 

“I get it,” Lauren said standing up with her.  “And speaking of chests, I was going to ask if you saw that girl in the floral dress with blonde hair but I’m guessing that point is moot now?”  

 

Christen smiled.  “Well, I guess it can’t hurt to look.”

 

………………………………………………….

 

Tobin sat on her sister’s back porch, scrolling through her social media.  From somewhere inside the house she could hear squeals of delight from her sweet nephew.  It brought a smile to face, but she didn’t look up.  The pictures from Syd’s wedding were rolling in and she was happy to see her teammates and friends having a good time.  She stopped on the picture Christen had posted of her and Chen.   They look great. Her eyes shifted to the girl standing on the left and studied it a little more, from head to toe.   She is so gorgeous, my gosh.   Tobin hadn’t spent much time on social media while in France, so she went back to Christen’s profile to see what else she was up to.   I haven’t heard from her, so I guess she’s been busy.   Her profile had reflected just that.   Wow, she’s been busy.  Maybe I’ll catch up with her when we get back to camp.  

 

A message popped up from Shirley, who was likely getting ready to go to sleep since she had a game the next day in the afternoon.  It was almost one a.m. in Paris, so Tobin was surprised to hear from her.  

 

Shirley: Can’t sleep.  Missing you.

 

Tobin: Miss you too :)

 

Shirley: What are you doing?

 

Tobin: Waiting for Cole to go to bed so Katie and I can sit outside and split a bottle of wine.

 

Shirley: :( Jealous

 

Tobin: Go to sleep, you’ll be tired tomorrow morning. I’ll catch up with you then.

 

The sliding door opened up and Tobin saw her sister theatrically tip toe and close the door gently.   “He is so cute but bedtime might be my favorite part of the day.”

 

“Well you’re doing a great job, I love him.  I wish I could see him more.”

 

“Us, too.”

 

“Can I ask you a question?”

 

Katie was pouring herself a glass of red wine from the already opened bottle on the table.  “Yeah of course, what’s up?”

 

Tobin felt most comfortable with her oldest sister, so she wasn’t feeling embarrassed or shy when she asked “When did you really know that you were ready to get married, or like that you knew the person you were marrying was the right one?  Was it easy or did you just know?”

 

Katie stopped in her tracks.  “Are you thinking of getting married?”

 

Tobin smiled.  “I mean not really, I guess I’m more asking about how you felt about it. Like was it a moment or a feeling?”

 

Sinking back in her chair with her eyes looking up to the darkening sky, Katie hummed. “Hmmm.  I mean I guess I just hit a point where I thought I didn’t want to be with anyone else, I couldn’t imagine going through all the things in life you have to look forward to with anyone else.  I just knew.”

 

“So it just happened?  It was easy?”

 

“Honestly?  Yeah, it was.  Are you having doubts about your own relationship?

 

Tobin sighed.  “Not about Shirley, but I guess just the way the relationship is going.  It’s hard, you know?  The long distance.  I don’t know how much longer I can really keep this all up without a little flexibility on her end.”

 

“You guys have done a pretty good job over the last year and change.”

 

“And notice who made almost all the trips….”  Tobin glanced at her sister. “I feel like when she comes to see me, it’s out of her own convenience.  Tobin felt the tears starting to well in her eyes.  “I just, I feel so confused lately. All around me I see people making choices together and getting to do things together every day.  I don’t get to do that.  It hurts sometimes.  I’m happy when we’re together but it doesn’t last. I  just want us to be happy.”  Katie moved closer and wrapped her hands around Tobin’s neck.  “It’ll work out how it’s supposed to, Tobin.  And I can promise you, if it doesn’t, there will be someone else who is lucky enough to have the love you want to give and who will give you all the love you deserve”  The picture Tobin had studied on her phone earlier of Christen floated in her mind.

Chapter Text

Christen popped a big multi-vitamin before she boarded her flight back to California.  She was trying to rehydrate quickly, knowing she had to be on national television later that evening.  She was going to be tailgating with the American Outlaws for the USMNT-Mexico game  and doing some interviews as part of her new gig with FoxSoccer.  

She was feeling a little better after talking about her feelings for Tobin with Lauren, somewhat feeling hopeful that Lauren didn’t shut her down completely.  Christen rationalized that if Lauren knew Tobin was completely happy or her feelings were, she’d tell her to back off completely.  She also felt a little nervous that others were catching on quickly after Kelley and her girlfriend stumbled alongside her, walking back to their hotel rooms last night.

 

“See anyone that caught your eyes tonight?”

 

She shook her head.  “Nope.”

 

“Uh huh, probably because the one who catches your eyes isn’t here tonight.”

 

Christen ignored her rather than feed into her game. “How much have you had to drink tonight?”

 

“Too much.”  They both laughed.  “Go to bed, please.  If I don’t see you sometime tomorrow before I leave, I’ll call you so we can work out our plan for Stanford this week.”

 

Christen looked up at the other passengers at the gate, trying to suppress a smile. Kelley kills me.  I wonder if she’s teased Tobin about this?  At least she’d know before I would ever tell her.  C hristen moved through the rows of her flight to find her seat .  Up, up and away; onto the next adventure she thought.   And one day closer to being back in camp.

 

………………………………

 

She looks great. Tobin watched Christen’s smile flash across the TV screen at her sister’s house  in HD.  Her toes hung over the end of the couch as watched intently.  She had seen Christen’s instagram post earlier about hanging out with the AO and looked like so much fun.   I’m gonna text her.  She probably won’t see it until later, but oh well.

 

Tobin: Looks like fun!!! I’m watching

 

She didn’t have to wait long for a response.

 

Christen:  It’s awesome, you would LOVE it!

Tobin: Wait weren’t you on tv 20 seconds ago?  Get to work.

Christen: It’s delayed! I’m getting ready to head through the gates now.

Tobin: Awesome.  Have fun.  Send pictures!

 

After a minute went by, Christen texted again.  This time it was a video, mostly of her forehead with fans in the background yelling and chanting.   “OK, AOs of Pasadena, say hi to TOBIN HEAAAATH!”   A panorama of the crowd came into view, somewhat shaky.  They were wildly cheering and it made her smile even bigger.   How awesome is this.  I’m actually a little jealous right now.

Tobin:  So cool, I’m jealous!!!

Christen: I’ll sign you up for the next one!

 

During the rest of the pre-game, Tobin idly thought about  what that would be like.  She would actually be able to go to events like this and have the time to be out and about if she wasn’t going back and forth all the time from Paris. Her thoughts had actually started to shift more to what it would be like to be with Christen at the game, talking about it, being in the crowd together, sitting close.   What can I text her back to keep this conversation going?

Tobin: I’m there!

 

Christen must have been inside the gates because she didn’t answer the rest of the night.  She was just being nice.

……………..……….

 

T obin exited the doors of the PDX airport sometime in the mid-afternoon a few days later.  Home sweet home, at least for a few days.   Her last few days in Jersey were relaxing and she felt a little better since her outburst to her sister.  She thought she was just being dramatic for a moment and since she rarely ever had those moments, she figured she was just due for one.  She had settled into her new place in Portland, first by going grocery shopping and getting the necessities.  In the store, she wandered up and down the aisles trying to figure out what she was in the mood for.  Tobin liked all types of food, but wasn’t the best chef per se.  

 

Tobin: What should I get for the game tonight, I’m hungry.

Shirley: Let’s make it interesting.

Tobin:  ?

Shirley: If Costa Rica wins, you have to publicly eat and declare your love for pico de gallo.

Tobin: Gross. And US wins…?

Shirley: They won’t.  

Tobin: If the US wins you have to come to Portland for part of December break.

Shirley: Better get the ingredients while you’re already there.

Tobin was excited for the game; mostly because Shirley didn’t outright veto her wager.   She was SO excited she did the unthinkable - she tweeted about it.   That’ll really cause people to talk. The banter between them was cute and for a moment Tobin felt like she had normal relationship.   Her joy didn’t last too long, however and the US ended up losing.

Shirley: I want photo evidence!

Tobin: :( :( :( :(



The next day, she posted her photo evidence on instagram for all to see she kept her end of the bargain.  Shirley even retweeted and regrammed the post.  Part of her was hoping Shirley would say, “I’ll come anyway” but the offer never came, even when she tried to set her up for it.  The next few days Tobin kept herself busy getting ready for camp and picking out some furniture designs for her new place.  In the meantime, she found the resentment growing (one sided of course) between her and Shirley. Out and about in Portland, she couldn’t help but feel a little lonely, wondering if her apartment would ever be filled with another person. Later that evening  when the e-mail notification came through reminding her she had less than 2  weeks until her next flight to Paris she felt a pit deep in her stomach.  Something was grabbing at her and although she tried to shake it, something told her this could be her final trip to Paris.

Chapter Text

Christen threw her phone down.   “Ugh.”  She had just seen the twitter banter between Shirley and Tobin, making her feel both annoyed and disappointed at the same time.  She was out with friends and didn’t want it to ruin the rest of the evening.  She had felt good about their last exchange and was hoping it would continue going into camp, where she had resolved to finally say something to her.  

 

Now as she and Kelley sat in their hotel room getting ready to be honored at the halftime of the homecoming football game, Christen made notes in her phone about what she wanted to say to  Tobin and how she would go about it.  It was just like Christen to write out this kind of declaration; organized for everything.   Tobin would never do anything like this. She flies by the seat of her pants, always.  

 

“What are you working on?” Kelley questioned.

 

“Nothing. Just some things I have to do.”   Christen finished writing ‘continue to be friends’ under the long list of points she wanted to make.  She looked over her list and felt it was complete.

 

“When do you get to camp?”  

 

“I actually get there pretty late since I have the bachelorette party in San Diego.  I’m catching a late flight the evening of the 17th. “  Christen moved off of her bed and started to gather her things to get in the shower.  She was still sweaty from the training session she had hopped into with the current Stanford soccer team.  

 

“Nice.”  Kelley was listening to Christen, but texting at the same time.  She waited for her to get in the shower before moving off of her own bed to start getting ready.  She already realized she forgot her good face moisturized, so she went into Christen’s bag on her bed to dig for hers, knowing she wouldn’t mind.  As she sat down on the bed to apply it, she glanced at the planner Christen had been working on.   Geez does she schedule when to go to the bathroom too?   She did a double take as she was looking away.   Does that say Tobin?  Kelley made sure the shower was still running before picking up the planner to take a closer look.    OMG.  What does this mean?  OMG.  ‘I’m not asking you or suggesting you leave your girlfriend’, OMG.  I didn’t think anything was going on between them for real.   ‘I felt  I needed to tell you or else I’d regret it, I’m hoping this will help me move on’.  OMG.

 

The water shut off and she heard Christen moving about in the bathroom.  Leaving the planner in the exact same spot she had found it, Kelley moved silently to her bed .  I can’t let her know I saw this.   CHristen emerged from the bathroom with a smile and said, “much better.”  Kelley returned the smile and immediately picked up her phone to text Tobin.

 

Kelley: We need to talk.



………………………………………………………

 

Tobin sat in her apartment waiting for the Chinese take-out to arrive.  Her agenda this evening was to head to the stadium to watch the Timbers game with some of her Thorns teammates and then do laundry that had been piling up.  A buzzing on her phone made her turn around in the kitchen where she was taking plates from her cabinets.  

 

Kelley: We need to talk.

 

Tobin: What’s wrong?

 

Kelley: Nothing has happened between you and Christen, right?

 

Tobin: What do you mean?

 

Kelley: Like, you’ve never hooked up or anything

 

Tobin: No, why?

 

Kelley:  I’m just asking.  Is everything ok with you and Shirley?

 

Tobin: Yeah I think so?? Why are you asking me all this?

 

Kelley: I said I’m just asking.    

 

Tobin: There has to be a reason you’re ‘just asking’.  Did she or someone else say something?

 

Kelley: She didn’t say anything.  Look all I’m gonna say is from here on out, I think you need to cool it with the flirting.  I don’t think you realize the effect it has on her.

 

Tobin: I’m flirting with her?

 

Kelley: OH BS you know you do.  

 

Tobin couldn’t think of a comeback, because what Kelley said was true.  She tried to justify it as harmless and actually that it was more of a friendly banter than flirting. But Kelley had a point.  

 

Tobin: She said something to you, didn’t she?  Is she upset with me?

 

Kelley: No, I don’t think she’s upset.  I just think you have to consider her feelings and take a better look at the relationship you two have.

 

Kelley was right.  But for the rest of the night she couldn’t shake the feeling that she had.  She felt like she had done something wrong, but at the same time, she wanted to know more.   Maybe Christen has the same feelings I do.  I need to talk to her. Tobin had resolved to talk to her when they got to camp.

…………………………………………….

 

Christen was sitting back in a booth in a VIP lounge at a club in downtown San Diego.  She was celebrating one of her good friend’s bachelorette and surveyed the scene in front of her.  Everyone seemed to have a good time as the music bumped and blared, not giving them a chance to talk without being in close proximity.  

 

“Having fun?”  Christen turned her head to nod.  Truth was, she had a nice buzz going on and felt pretty good.  A couple more drinks and she was bouncing up and down on the dance floor with friends, belting out the words to the songs playing above.  She took a brief break and flopped down on the couch grabbing her phone.  She felt confident in herself at that moment, and quite frankly, drunk.  She opened a text to Tobin and let the words start flowing:

 

Christen: Bring an IV to camp!!!   She put a picture from earlier in the night with friends, clearly out in the club with her eyes a bit glazed over from drinking.

 

Tobin: Ha! That’s the worst. Looks like you’re having fun though

Christen: More fun if you were here.

 

Tobin: Haha, yeah right. I don’t know if that’s my scene

 

Christen: I’m here, that would make it your scene.

 

Tobin:  I’d have fun watching you try to walk after you’ve had that much to drink

 

Christen: I’d make you carry me back to our room.

 

Tobin: So I’d be a babysitter? I’d have to put you to bed!

 

Christen: And then you could join me.

 

She felt like she was on pins and needles waiting for Tobin’s reaction. She closed her eyes and swayed to the music.  Finally, she felt it vibrate in her hand.

 

Tobin: Tempting.

 

Christen smiled ear to ear re-reading the single word text.  She felt good, euphoric.  She thought about ending it right there, knowing how quickly the conversation could turn into disappointment.  She moved to put her phone back in clutch and get ready to round everyone up to head to their rooms for the night.

 

She missed an immediate incoming text.

 

Tobin: I think we should talk about this again when you’ve had a little less to drink.

 

Chapter Text

Christen rolled over at the sound and feeling of someone rustling beside her.  Peeking her eyes across the bed, she saw her sister staring right back at her.   “My head.”

 

Christen groaned in agreement.  She was usually good about how much she drank, but last night got away from her.  She sat still for a few minutes before getting up to use the bathroom and brush her teeth.  Before climbing back into bed on top of the covers, she reached for her phone out of habit.  She froze when she saw a text from Tobin.

 

Tobin: I think we should talk again when you’ve had a little less to drink.

 

OMG.  What did I say to her?   Reading back through their brief conversation, Christen felt the blood rush out of her face and her heart stopped beating momentarily.  She couldn’t believe she said all this, although she could remember texting Tobin last night.  Without a word she handed the phone to her sister to see what she had done.  

 

“It’s not that bad.  It’s really not.  You didn’t profess your love for her or anything,” she said trying to calm Christen down.  

 

“Yeah but oh my god, I basically told her we should sleep together.” Christen had her forearm draped in front of her eyes.

 

“And notice she didn’t shut you down…”  Christen lifted her head and provided a snippy reaction.  “She said we needed to talk when I wasn’t drinking meaning she didn’t like it and it wasn’t ok to say.”  She felt horrible.  How am I going to face her at camp tonight?  This is awful.  She probably thinks I’m a lovesick puppy.

 

“Do I text her back and apologize?  Or just wait for her to bring it up?”

 

“I think you wait for her to bring it up.  If she’s upset, you’ll know when you see her.”

 

Christen nodded. “True.  I was going to talk to her anyway so maybe I’ll just wait to gauge her reaction in person.  Whata way to start this camp.”

 

Christen tried her best to be a good bridesmaid the rest of the day and not let the previous night alter the good mood of the group.  When she got back to Palos Verdes, she had just enough time to take a quick nap before her flight departed in a few hours.  

 

I still can’t believe I said that to her.  I guess they’re right, honesty comes out when the alcohol goes in.

 

Daydreaming, Christen thought about what the scenario she had built through text would look like.   Falling into a deeper sleep, she imagined staring into a pair of gorgeous brown pupils, flecks of amber all around.  Her hands were around Tobin’s neck clutching as her back sank into her mattress. Tobin’s arms moved to free themselves from around Christen’s torso and she started to stand up.  Christen didn’t let go of Tobin’s neck, but rather gave it a gentle tug to bring her back closer.  Tobin didn’t hesitate and swung her legs over her body, straddling her.  Turning her head at just the right angle, shebrushed her lips against Christen’s and closed her eyes.  Christen felt her body melt under her as she moved her hands further down Tobin’s back, scraping her fingernails over her shirt.  She pulled at the hem of Tobin’s shirt, trying to get it off gracefully but quickly.  Tobin smiled mid-kiss, leaving Christen to explore her lips with her tongue.  Sucking and biting, she felt something inside her grow.  Tobin reached for the straps of Christen’s dress and slid off her shoulders, exposing the top of her chest.  Her hands worked circles over her body, making Christen’s breaths heavier.  They paused briefly, only to remove the top layer of clothing, leaving both in their undergarments.  Sitting up facing each other, their hands and mouths intertwined with Tobin’s reaching  the spot that had been heating up over the past few minutes.  It felt like heaven as she was stroked and teased.  “More!” Christen groaned.

 

“More what?”  Christen’s head snapped up to see her sister standing in the doorway of the bedroom.  

 

“Nothing.  Go, I have to take a nap.”  Christen snuggled back into her pillows and closed her eyes, hoping her dream picked up right where she left off.

 

…………………………………………

Tobin jammed the last of her clothing into her suitcase.  She had everything she need for the two games, trip to the White house and finally, to Paris for 6 days. She was going to UNC on her way back from Paris, so she texted HAO asking if she was able to crash at her house to do some laundry before the game.  When it was finally closed, Tobin lugged her suitcase to sit by the door before she sat on her couch to kill some time.  She looked at her phone for the 100th time that day; still nothing from Christen.     Do I start the conversation now or do I wait until I see her this afternoon?  I hope she meant what she texted me, I need to talk to her before I go to Paris.

 

Sometime between when she went to bed and woke up that morning, her tune had changed.  She decided she was going to talk to Christen and apologize for putting her in a difficult place.  If Christen returned her sentiments and feelings, she would go to Paris to get the rest of her things and put her relationship with Shirley on hold.  It wasn’t the most moral thing, but Tobin couldn’t put her feelings in limbo any longer.   Even if I wasn’t feeling this way about someone else, would Shirley and I make it?  Christen really isn’t the biggest factor in this.  For my own happiness, I need to take a step back and examine what I need.   Tobin decided against texting Christen so she could instead look at her and try to decide how Christen felt about her.  If her intuition was correct, it’d be a positive conversation.  She picked up her phone and re-read what Christen had texted her last night.  You still have a girlfriend.

Chapter Text

Tobin sat on the bed of her hotel room, arms around Amy.  Caught up in her romantic fantasies and predicament, she had almost forgotten this would be the last games with Chen.  It was kind of an emotional time, especially for ARod. She won’t stop crying.

 

“I’m fine, really. I’ll be okay,” Amy blubbered.  

 

“It’s hard, I know, but it’s not like we won’t see her.  We’ll be okay.” She has to be pregnant, she’s just over the top right now.

 

A light knock at the door made Tobin freeze.  She knew people were starting to arrive to the hotel and with every sound she heard she tried to determine if it was Christen.  

 

“Guys?”  Excited, but  also slightly disappointed Tobin let go of Amy to tell her to get the door - Chen was here.

 

The three sat of them sat on her bed just talking, laughing and making the most of their last moments together.  They were scheduled the next day to do a final “New Kids” video and made a decision to get breakfast the morning of the White House before their flights took them to different destinations. Soon after more bodies filled their room including HAO, Kelley, Moe, Alex and Crystal.  When Alyssa came in to join much later, Tobin hadn’t noticed at first that Christen was standing timidly behind her.  Tobin gazed at Christen from head to toe.  She felt her heart skip a few beats as she moved her head to catch Christen’s eyes.  Eventually, Christen lifted her head from the ground and they found each other.  Flashing a reassuring smile at her, Tobin waited for a response.  All Christen could seem to do was give a quick pursed smile and move her eyes across the room to where Moe was talking.   What was that?

 

Tobin couldn’t stop staring at Christen the rest of the evening.  At one point she got up and asked if anyone wanted a drink from the vending machine and made a point to give Christen a subtle “come with me” look.  Christen ignored it.   She really must be embarrassed.  Or wait, did I do something wrong?   She came back in and instead of reclaiming her previous seat, she sat on the floor right next to where Christen was leaning, back against the chest of drawers holding the tv.  There were side conversations happening all around the room, so Tobin found a moment to talk to Christen in hushed tones.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Christen didn’t look at Tobin.  “Yep, all good.”

 

Tobin was buying it.  “Do you maybe want to go for a walk or something?”

 

Christen still didn’t look up.  “Not now.”  

 

She wasn’t going to force Christen into a conversation, but now she felt a little panicked.   Maybe I misread the entire situation.   “Coffee tomorrow morning?”  

 

“Yeah we’ll see.”  At least it wasn’t a no.  

 

One by people people filed out of the room just as they had come in.  Since it was Tobin’s room, she wasn’t planning on going anywhere and figured she’d just text Christen once she decided to go.  Finally, it was just her, Amy and Christen.   Amy has no clue right now that I want her to leave and Christen is probably hoping she stays as a buffer.

The three of them had the tv on, watching Sportscenter highlights from the day.  Christen had moved onto the bottom of Tobin’s bed when people left so she could have a better view of the tv.  Tobin had the best view though, staring straight ahead at the outline of Christen’s body.



Before Tobin could text Christen after she left the room last night, Tobin had fallen asleep.  An alarm brought her to life the next morning.   Doing the math in her head, she realized she couldn’t possibly have time to ask Christen to coffee before training.  She and Amy made their way to breakfast where Tobin immediately spotted Christen in the middle of a full table.   I’ll get to her eventually.   She sat next to Whit and focused on the conversation at her table.  Eventually, she saw Christen move past her own table and she lifted her head, again searching for eye contact.  Christen met her gaze and this time offered a warm closed mouth smile, eyebrows lifted.   That’s better.  Making progress.

 

As much as she wanted to jump up and go follow her, Tobin fought the urge and remained seated.  Her phone buzzed a few seconds later.  

 

Christen:  Want to grab coffee this afternoon between meetings?

 

Tobin: :) Yes

 

She was already counting the minutes.



…………………………………………..

 

Christen moved down the hallway towards the team bus for training with Cheney.  “I asked her to go for coffee this afternoon.  I was so cold towards her last night, I felt bad.”

 

“Well good, you two should talk.  You’ll feel better.”

 

“You’re right.”  Christen had an extra pep in her step.  She hadn’t counted on Tobin acting the way she did last night.  She had expected a hesitant response, maybe awkwardness.  But it was like she was looking forward to talking, having an opportunity to be alone.   I made it hard for her, I don’t want to give her the wrong message.

 

Practice for this friendly was a little different.  They worked on set pieces, defending  a little more since Brazil was a much tougher opponent than the previous ones on the victory tour.  Christen found herself on the sidelines with Tobin occasionally, since both weren’t starting.  They both were nervous; it was obvious.  But it felt good to Christen.  She felt as though they were possibly on the same page and maybe this conversation was going to be better than she thought.  

 

As practice ended, everyone shed the gear for the bus and walked in different directions.  Tobin was behind Christen, but she didn’t slow down to wait.  She figured she’d just text her on the bus to figure out their plans for coffee because in all honesty, she didn’t want her teammates to overhear and ask to join.

 

Christen:  I want to shower first before we grab coffee if you think I’ll have time?

 

Tobin: OK

 

Christen: I’ll be quick, maybe 20 minutes tops?

 

Tobin: I’ll wait for you in the lobby

 

Christen: Great

 

Taking one last look in the mirror before she left her room, Christen ran her fingers through her hair.  She looked presentable enough, but wished she had a little more time to dry her hair.  She left Chen in the room, hoping to sneak out before any questions were asked about her whereabouts.  Seeing Tobin leaving her room at the same moment, she called out. Hey, perfect timing!”  Tobin looks amazing.  She always looks so effortlessly sexy, hair tousled with a natural look.

 

Tobin grinned back at her.  “Perfect”.  There wasn’t much said between the elevator ride down to the lobby and out into the streets of Seattle.  “Where to?” Christen asked.  Tobin looked around, “I think there’s supposed to be a good cafe down the end of that street, on the left corner we could try?”  As they walked, their hands briefly slid against each other, causing friction they both felt.  There was a guarded excitement in the air  at the moment, Christen couldn’t care less if she actually had coffee.  She just wanted to talk to Tobin, to sit and look her in the eye as she told her exactly how she felt.




……………………………

 

The girls sat across from each other, holding their coffees and both having an internal struggle about what they should say first.

 

“Mmm. Mine’s good.  Yours?”

 

“Yeah, really good, thanks.”

 

Silence.  

 

Christen bit the bullet first.  She was trying to picture everything she had written down in her planner, all of the points she wanted to make sure to make.  It wasn’t what came out of her mouth.

 

“I’m really sorry if I made you uncomfortable with those texts the other night.  I just had way too much to drink, which I never really do, I don’t know, I’m just sorry.” Christen had to cut herself off, she was starting to ramble.

 

Tobin gave her a reassuring smile.  “It’s ok, it made me laugh.”  She gave Christen a moment to include anything else she wanted to say, but she didn’t.  So she took a deep breath and started in.

 

“I like being around you, Christen.”

 

“I like being around you, too.”

 

“And I didn’t feel uncomfortable.  Well, I mean I guess it was uncomfortable in a way, but not for the reason you’d think.”

 

Christen felt the blood rush from her cheeks.   What does she mean?

 

“I’m so sorry, Tobin. Really, it’ll never happen again. I don’t want it to affect our friendship and I thi-”  

 

“Christen. Relax.” Tobin cut her off. “I said it was okay.  I meant it was uncomfortable because it puts me in a position where I really have to think about how I feel when you say stuff like that to me. I think that over the last few weeks my feelings have surprised me and I’ve also been going through this struggle with my relationship with Shirley.  It’s taken me a little while to realize the truth.”

 

She had to break eye contact at the drop of Shirley’s name.  It felt wrong to be discussing this before she had a conversation with Shirley. She still felt as though she loved Shirley, but she realized she couldn’t deal with the format of the relationship anymore.  It was time to move on and give the feelings she felt growing a fighting chance.

 

Christen nodded.  “I understand.”  She didn’t know where this was going quite yet.   Is she letting me down gently or is there where I tell her exactly how I feel.   

 

“Can you be patient with me?”  Tobin still hadn’t looked up from her hands fiddling with the cup in front of her.  

 

Christen had no idea what this meant.  But she couldn’t muster the courage to ask questions.  And for the life of her, she couldn’t think of a word she had written down earlier.

 

“Yeah.  I guess I can?”  Her tone left it as more of a question than a statement.  

 

“Good.  Thank you.”  Tobin smiled as she reached out to squeeze Christen’s hand before changing the subject to her excitement for some competitive games.

 

As they walked out of the coffee shop, their spirits couldn’t be more opposite.  Christen felt confused, albeit a little disappointed in where they stood.  Tobin on the other hand was soaring.  She felt like she had admitted to Christen that she wanted to be more than friends.

Chapter Text

Gameday again, thought Christen.  She was glad she had something to distract her from overanalyzing every little movement Tobin had made in the past 48 hours.  She was still uncertain of where they stood because from her own understanding Tobin was still with Shirley.   Be patient.  Whatever that means..   They’d gone out together in a large group the night before for dinner, but ended up sitting a few people away from each other.   It would seem to obvious if I tried being near her all the time now.  I’ll do what she asked and let her come to me, I guess.    They did trade a few texts between meetings and during free time, though.

 

Tobin:  What are you up to?

 

Christen: Just watching t.v. and finishing my nails.

 

Tobin: Same minus the nails

 

Christen: I’ll come do yours if you want?

 

Tobin: You can come to my room, but I’ll pass on the manicure :)

 

This made Christen feel good and somewhat hopeful - Tobin was still flirting with her.  She decided against going to Tobin’s room, unsure if Amy would be there.  She felt it was better for Tobin to make any big gestures or moves.

 

Christen: You’ll be sorry when you see mine later!

 

She continued to let her nails dry while she sipped carefully on her coffee.  Cheney was spread out on her bed talking on the phone to Jrue about their plans for her final game in Orlando in a few days.   I’m really going to miss her.  She waited for her to finish before she started to tell her about the other coffee she had two days prior.

 

“....so now I’m confused.”

 

Cheney sat looking at her with a ridiculous grin.  “Christen.  I think she was telling you she likes you and that maybe she was asking you to wait while she sorted the other stuff out.”

 

“You think?”

 

Lauren nodded enthusiastically.  “I kind of do. Oh my, imagine if the two of you started dating.  My heart would be so happy!”

 

Christen smiled at the phrasing.   Dating.   “We’ll see what happens.”  She uploaded a picture to instagram to promote the game, using a picture of her smiling looking right at Tobin.

 

……………………………….

 

Tobin felt mixed excitement going to Orlando.  She was so sad to be losing Chen after today, but was looking forward to another good match against Brazil and the White House visit.  More importantly, she just wanted to get her trip to Paris over with.  She was schedule to say for a whole week, but wasn’t sure what was going to happen after the discussion with Shirley.  She was going to be honest with her;  but it just wasn’t working anymore.  Part of Tobin feared she’d get really upset and wouldn’t understand.  Another part of Tobin feared she’d give in and say she’d come to the US, giving her everything she needed and then she’d be forced to choose between her and the growing feels she had for Christen.   No, this can’t be about Christen.  There were issues before you even started realizing how you felt about her.

 

She and Christen hadn’t had any further discussions about the situation, which is exactly how Tobin intended to keep it for now.   They had a few interactions since, but nothing that would put her in any position to make a poor decision.  

She loved that Christen had put the picture on Instagram with them both in it.   That’s a good picture.  I love how she’s smiling right at me.

 

Grabbing her gear and getting ready to head out of the hotel, Tobin hugged Amy who was a blubbering mess.  She had decided it was a happy day and there wouldn’t be any tears from her. She went through all her game day motions, none superstitious but definitely helpful.  In the locker room, Christen’s locker was directly across from hers due to the setup of the room.  She watched her get ready and how she talked to herself in preparation.   She is so cute.  On cue, Christen looked up and saw her looking.  She gave a big smile first by wink that sent a warm feeling right to Tobin’s heart.  She stood, getting ready to go out  but in the cluster of people doing the same thing, her hand swatted the back side of Christen. She just couldn’t help herself.

 

….

 

What a send off Tobin thought as she looked around the stadium.  It had turned out to be such a great game and everyone was in good spirits.  As the team rounded the stadium waving to fans, she saw Christen walking a few feet in front of her with Amy.  She walked up behind her, squeezing her by the shoulders then pulling her into a half hug.  They smiled at each other as Christen grabbed Tobin’s right wrist hanging from her shoulder.  “All dressed up and nowhere to go,” Tobin giggled.  She had only played a half but Christen didn’t  play at all today.  No one expected a lot of minutes on the victory tour as new faces were in and retirements took precedence.  Christen laughed back, unbothered by the comment, knowing it wasn’t a dig.  She dropped Tobin’s hand but moved in closer to her body as they walked. “And I’m still sweating, it’s so hot!

 

They walked a few more yards like this, just enjoying the company of one another as they finished up their lap.  Eventually, Tobin unwrapped her arm from around Christen and they spaced out to talk to other people. On the bus ride back to the hotel she pulled out her phone out and saw she had a text waiting from Shirley.

 

Shirley: Good game, babe! I found a stream to watch.  Come to me now!

 

Tobin felt bad.  Shirley really did love her and this wasn’t going to be easy.

 

Tobin: Thanks! Going out with everyone tonight and then we’re off to D.C. early tomorrow morning.  

 

Shirley: And then to see me!

 

Tobin: Yep!

 

She tried to keep it short and shy away from being overly excited. Besides, it physically pained her to say things that she just didn’t feel right now.  She couldn’t lie  

 

Christen: Are you going out with everyone tonight?

 

Tobin: Yeah, I think I am.  Are you?

 

Christen: Yeah I am

 

Tobin: Good, can’t wait!

 

Her response back to Christen was the truth, she still couldn’t lie.



……………………………………….

 

On their flight to D.C.everyone was really relaxed and a bit quiet.  They’d had fun the night before celebrating with family and friends in the Orlando area, ready to have the entire month of November off before heading to Hawaii in early December.  Christen spent the flight checking off things on her “to-do” list for her upcoming trip to South Africa in two weeks.  Secretly, she also looked for time to suggest she and Tobin see each other.  She felt as though an entire month was way too long to go without seeing her, knowing there was something possibly happening between them.  

 

She looked up and thought for a minute.  I never really asked Tobin what her plans were this month.  Last I remember she was talking about possibly making a trip to Paris but I don’t know if she ever decided to.  Would she still go now?   Christen weighed Tobin’s options for her.   She might just break up with Shirley over the phone because she doesn’t want to make the trip.  Or maybe they already broke up?  Maybe Tobin isn’t going to break up with her and that’s why she asked me to be patient.   She wanted to know, badly, what Tobin was going to do but felt weird asking for her.   I don’t want her to think I’m pressuring her or entitled to information - we’re not there yet.

 

They didn’t have much time once they touched down in D.C.  They put on practice gear and headed straight to fields to do a mini-clinic with underprivileged children in the area.  A chilly evening, they were wrapped in coats and sweaters.  Oh my gosh it’s cold.  I am a California girl for sure.  Oh! While I’m thinking about coats, I have to get my leather jacket back from Tobin.  Christen had lent her prized black jacket to Tobin when they went out in Orlando the previous evening,  since she claimed she wanted to look a little more dressy.  She knew Tobin liked her jacket, so she offered it up. They had gone their separate ways that night before getting back to the hotel and she had forgotten all about it. But she looked so damn good in it.

 

After the clinic, they had a team dinner at the hotel since they had to be up and ready the next morning for the White House visit.  She was laying in bed opposite of  Whit, her roommate at the momen t.  

 

“I am so nervous for tomorrow.  I want to hug him.  It’s on my bucket list!”

 

“Chris you just can’t hug him.  You’ll have to ask first of you’ll likely get tackled by Secret Service.”

 

They laughed at the thought of it, knowing it might be entirely true.  Christen kept her smile going as Tobin texted her.

 

Tobin: Want to come with ARod Chen and me for breakfast tomorrow morning?

 

Christen:  Aw that’s sweet.  But don’t you want to go just the three of you?

 

Tobin screenshotted a conversation between her and ARod that showed Tobin asking if she cared if Christen came.  ARod indicated she didn’t mind at all.

 

Christen: What did Lauren say?

 

Tobin: She’s my roommate, she suggested it actually and I think it’s a great idea.

 

Matchmaker Cheney, thought Christen.

 

Christen: Yeah, just tell me when

 

Tobin: 9:00.  I think we’ll get ready and then go right from there over to the WH.

 

Christen:  Great, I’ll come to your room when I’m ready

 

Tobin: Sounds good :)

 

………………………………..

 

It was a restless night of sleep a few doors down in Tobin’s room.  She still had all these feelings buzzing about.  Sentiment about their last day together tomorrow as “The New Kids”, nervousness about seeing Shirley, excitement about seeing and being with Christen.  She again laid on her back looking at the ceiling.   Last time I laid like this Christen was in the room with me.  How have I not seen this all these years?  Maybe I did but pretended it wasn’t anything.  The girl even helped me find time to visit Shirley. Tobin shot up in her bed.   I didn’t tell Christen I was going to Paris tomorrow.  It never came up in conversation.  I have to tell her so she knows the reason.  Tobin settled back into bed, dreaming of the green eyes she had become so familiar with lately.

 

When she woke up the next morning felt she felt  less excitement as the previous days.   Big day.  She quietly tiptoed to the shower so she could get in before Cheney since her hair took a while to do.   My mom would be so upset if I didn’t do my hair to meet the President.   Tobin smiled to herself. Getting dressed up was a rare thing, but she had to admit that when she did, she felt pretty good.   Maybe I’m also trying to impress someone else.

 

Ready to go with Cheney touching up her lipstick and ARod standing against the wall, texting, Tobin glanced at her phone.  It was about time to leave, but Christen wasn’t there yet.  She was about to go get her so they wouldn’t be late when Christen opened the latched door and strolled in, looking picture perfect.   Oh my gosh, she looks so good.   Tobin’s eyes traveled up and down Christen’s bare, smooth legs that seemed to be endless.  Her dress was an appropriate length for the WHite House visit, but it wasn’t exactly matronly.  She couldn’t stop.  Finally adjusting her eyes to her face, Christen was grinning from ear to ear.  

 

“You look really good,” Christen said.

 

“You look...”  Tobin couldn’t find a word at the moment, trying to lift her jaw from the floor.

 

Cheney broke the obvious sexual tension in the room and said “We all look good, now let’s eat since I’m hungry.”

 

Throwing on the warm jackets they had for the crisp October morning air, they walked closely down the block to a coffee shop.  Tobin allowed herself to walk in tandem with Christen, brushing arms and stealing glances when she had the chance.   I want this all the time.  This is what it should feel like..   When they got inside the shop, she made sure to sit next to Christen, scooting her chair at an angle so their knees were touching under the table.  At one point while Amy was distracted and Lauren went to get extra napkins, Tobin rested her hand on the top of Christen’s leg, giving it a brief squeeze.  The look between them would have been obvious to anyone paying attention.  Tobin could see it in Christen’s eyes and smile, she felt the same way.   It’ll only get better.  

 

They didn’t have long before they had to make their way into the White House and as soon as they got inside, they broke out from their little bubble.  Others had started to arrive and move about the different rooms, posing for pictures and waiting to meet everyone.  Growing restless after an hour, Tobin found a chair sitting in the reception room.  Whit leaned against a column and Cheney stood hovering over Tobin.  Spying Christen out of the corner of her eye, she motioned her head to tell her to come over.  Watching her move seductively towards her (not on purpose), Tobin thought Thank goodness I’m already sitting down because she is enough to knock me over.  I’d love to run my hands and fingers up and down those legs and just past the hem of that dress.  She looks amazing.   Christen stood smiling at Tobin, indicating she wanted to join her on the chair.  Making as much room as she could, Tobin slid back, crossing her legs.  She watched Christen sit down in front of her, her dress folding just low enough that made Tobin’s imagination wander even further.  She draped her arm over the handrest, tickling Christen’s arm as it moved.

 

Cheney smiled at the vision in front of her and Tobin recognized the smile immediately.  She knew that Cheney had an idea of what was going on.  

 

“Let me take a picture of you two.  Christen and I already got one together.”

 

Christen handed her phone over to her and sat up a little straighter.  Tobin moved forward, getting a whiff of the perfume and shampoo that smelled so good coming from Christen.  

 

“Perfect.  You two look so good together.”  Tobin peeked over Christen’s shoulder to see if she was right.  

 

“I think so, too.” Christen said.  Tobin fought every urge to put her chin on Christen’s shoulder and nuzzle her neck and hair.

 

A booming voice interrupted Tobin’s indecent thoughts as they were informed that they would be moving to the press conference and what the format of it would be.  Everyone frantically started to fix their outfits, smooth fly away pieces of hair.  Christen up stood directly in front of Tobin, giving her a nice shot of her backside.   I just want to reach out and grab her.  Spinning around, Christen offered her hand to help Tobin up.  She felt the gentleness of Christen’s tiny hand locked with hers which made her heart skip a beat.  

 

“Ready?”

 

“Let’s do it.”

 

As they were walking in a long line  to make their way into the room, Whitney unknowingly dropped a small bomb on Christen.  

 

“Tobin what time does your flight leave? Will you get in late to Paris?”

 

“Uh...in a few hours.”  She didn’t want to look at Christen.  She wasn’t sure if she knew or not, or had even heard Whitney ask.  She kept walking, finally looking up as the line halted in front of her. Trying to read the back of Christen’s head, she decided she didn’t care if they were about to be in the same room as the President of the United States, she was going to tell her.

 

……………………………………

 

Christen tried to keep the smile on her face as she was walking into the same room as Barack Obama, a feat most in their life would never have.  But her heart was hurting a bit, hearing that Tobin was going back to Paris in a few hours.  She wasn’t convinced it was a bad thing; that Tobin was just taking care of business in person.  Still, it hurt to picture her going there, being with Shirley and aching for her presence in her own life.

 

She got herself together in just time to walk in, single file.  She was right next to Tobin, with her on her right.  Luckily, the podium was faced away from them, so she didn’t have to stare at Tobin.   I’d be caught on live stream with my eyes all over her if it were the other way around.  Tobin had looked like a bombshell that day.  Christen liked her typical tomboy, relaxed look but the way she looked in that dress….stunning.  A little bit of makeup brought out her facial features even better and she was just irresistible.  When they were sitting in the cafe earlier, Christen got a quick sense of what it would feel like to have Tobin’s hands on her body.  The moment was too brief and she had wanted  to slide her hand further up her leg.  

 

Now, she wasn’t sure of what to do.  She concentrated on the speakers and Obama.  It really was a moment she tried to savor; something she would be able to tell her family and friends about for years to come.  As the ceremony was about to conclude, the media requested pictures of the group.  She felt everyone shuffling around, trying not to fall off the bleacher-like steps but compacting together to fit in the picture.  Christen tensed up a bit when she felt Tobin’s hands on her ribcages, trying to move her to an ideal position and guide her body. Whipping around to face the camera, she accidently hit Tobin in the face with her hair.  Saying a quick “sorry”, she heard Tobin say “oh, shit”.  Christen kept smiling for the camera but she was actually laughing at Tobin’s choice of words in the presence of so many important people.  

 

People were getting ancy as they waited to be dismissed to a second room to meet President Obama individually.  She felt Tobin moving, so she turned slightly to face towards her.  Not wasting any time, Tobin said:

 

“So I’m going to Paris after this, to break it off.”

 

“I heard”.  

 

Christen’s face was a bit solemn, watching Tobin fidget.  Their eyes didn’t meet.

 

“I thought so, but wanted you to hear from me.”

 

Christen couldn’t say much except “thank you.”  She thought she’d feel better to hearing that from Tobin.    Let her do what she needs to do and be empathetic.  This is what you wanted for heaven’s sake.  It’ll work out so snap out of it.

 

It didn’t take her long to do so, because she suddenly realized she was shaking the leader of the Free World’s hand while a beautiful girl who in so many words told her she was making room for her in her life was standing beside her.  



……………………………………………

 

She had a nervous smile on.  Tobin had to tell her.  She was waiting for any break in the ceremony to tell Christen.  Before she could, she was slightly tortured staring at the girl’s profile, trying to pretend she was listening to the speeches happening just past the view she was really looking at. She to have to heard Whitney earlier.  But she should know I’m only going because it was planned a while ago.

 

When they had to bunch in to take pictures, she was unsure of where to put her hand at first, wanting to grab Christen’s hips or even hands to gently steer her in the right direction.  Instead she settled for awkwardly balling her fists and moving her by the midsection.  At the end, she got a faceful of Christen’s dark long locks.  

 

“Oh shit”.

 

“Sorry.”

 

A selfie that she was sure they weren’t in allowed her a second chance to touch Christen, this time opting for one hand on the shoulder and the one away from the camera around her waist.  She was reluctant to let go, but knew it was probably inappropriate. Her heart was beating and moments later her chance to tell Christen came.  As if in slow motion, she felt Christen turn towards her.  The nervous smile didn’t leave her face as she looked at their feet.

 

““So I’m going to Paris after this, to break it off.” She thought for sure those standing around her could hear the thumping in her chest.

 

“I heard”.   I can’t tell if she’s mad.

 

She couldn’t stop fidgeting.  She couldn’t look up.  

 

“I thought so, but wanted you to hear from me.”


And that was the end of conversation.

Chapter Text

 

The gals roamed the back of last few rooms of the White House they hadn’t seen and made their way to take a few pictures  on the back lawn where a helicopter was due to take the president away.  Soon, they’d be dispersing themselves to have the month off from all soccer duties.  Some would meet up in Chapel Hill to be honored at halftime of the football followed by the Cosmopolitan’s Women of the Awards.  Some would take time off for themselves and finally get a vacation in before heading to the final stretch of the victory tour.

 

Originally, Tobin had planned planned her November trip around the UNC game, but she hadn’t made plans for the awards.  It just wasn’t her thing to walk a red carpet all dressed up.  Suddenly though, she wished she had.  Just to be around Christen for those few days before she headed to South Africa would have been a good thing.

 

One last group photo and people started to trickle away from each other.  Tobin desperately wanted a moment alone with Christen before she had to leave for the airport.  She figured they could have that moment back at the hotel.  What she hadn’t counted on was that Christen was asked to stay behind and be apart of the press conference for Abby Wambach, who was announcing her retirement.  

 

“Hey, want to walk back to the hotel now?”  Tobin had reached out to grab Christen’s arm as she was walking in front of her.

 

“Oh.  I can’t yet, I have to go to Abby’s press conference.  Do you want to wait for me?”  Christen suggested.

 

Tobin knew it was getting late and she would miss her flight if she stayed.  Although she was half-tempted, she decided no.  If she did that, she wouldn’t have the opportunity again to do what was right.  She had to go to Paris.

 

Christen must have read the conflict in her eyes, because she said “go.  We’ll catch up later.”

 

Tobin wrapped her in a hug, holding on to the touch and smell of Christen, wishing they could stay like that for the rest of the afternoon.

 

Cheney gently broke up the moment, telling her it was time to go.  Giving Christen one last smile, she turned to leave and couldn’t bear to look back.  She couldn’t have explained her feelings at the moment if she tried.  Part of her was upset to separate from Christen, but excited to possibly pick up where they left off as soon as she got back.  She also felt a wave of dread, knowing what she was going to do next and realizing how hard it was going to be.

 

………………………………………

 

Christen forced a smile and stood politely at Abby’s press conference.  She didn’t mind being there, mainly because she realized exposure was good for career incase she needed a backup after playing.  But something was tugging at her - the feeling of wanting to go after Tobin to tell her everything she was feeling and that she wanted her to come right back from Paris to be with her.  

 

She walked back to the hotel with Alex, who was also heading to the airport at the same time she was.  

 

“I am so ready for a long break,” Alex complained.

 

“Yeah me too.  Although mine is pretty busy so I can’t say it’s much of a break,” Christen agreed.

 

After a few minutes of walking in comfortable silence, Alex took Christen by surprise.  

 

“So are you planning on seeing Tobin anytime this month?”

 

“I don’t think so...why?”  she tried to play it cool.   Does Alex know something is up?  I’m sure she does.  She and Tobin are pretty close. But that would mean Tobin would have talked to her about me.

 

Alex didn’t reply verbally, but rather gave her an “oh come on” look with her lips pursed.   She knows.  Does everyone know?

 

Back at the hotel, Christen’s head was swimmin g.  Everyone must know by know.  But do I look dumb?  I mean she is still with Shirley.  Oh my God do people think I’m some sort of homewrecker? No, she couldn’t be.  T obin had been questioning her relationships for a few months, before I sent those texts or made it clear to her.  She looked at her perfectly packed suitcase in front of her before zipping it up to hit the road.   Oh no.  Tobin still had her leather jacket and she had wanted to wear it to an event next week.  She’d have to look for another option now, knowing there was no way Tobin would send it the whole way from Paris .   She wouldn’t even dare ask her to do that right now.

 

She sat in one of the vans that would take players and staff to the airport to make their flights.  Bored, she went through all of her social media.  Vero had posted a really pretty picture that morning and she liked it.  She was still on good terms with her, maintaining a friendship that didn’t survive a romantic relationship.  I told Tobin I knew it wasn’t going to work with Vero when she was halfway around the world and I couldn’t see or talk to her when I wanted.  Trying to sync our schedules was just too hard and left me feeling empty most of the time.  That’s exactly how Tobin feels, I bet. A light bulb went off in Christen’s head.  This is why she told me to be patient with her.  I know how conflicted I felt when I decided to it was better to remain friends then continue with Vero.  She just needs to get over the hurdle and she’ll be fine.  



Eventually, her flight home lifted her 30,000 feet into the air. Staring out the window, she could only imagine Tobin doing the same exact thing.

. ……………………………..

 

Tobin was waiting for takeoff on the runway but didn’t turn off her phone yet like she had been told to.  Scrolling through instagram and ignoring a text from Shirley, she saw Christen had liked Vero’s latest picture.  A ping of jealousy went through her. Her mind flashed to the idea of Vero with Christen and it made her stomach flip flop.  It wasn’t anything she wanted to imagine.  She quickly turned off her phone before she could do any more damage and closed her eyes to stop thinking of someone else’s hands all over Christen.

 

Her mind couldn’t stop wandering into the realm of Christen and other relationships.  She knew she was friendly with these people still, but it just made Tobin a little jealous.  This was a new feeling; Tobin never thought she had a real jealous bone in her body.   I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about Shirley.  But maybe I do what Christen does - try to be friends with Shirley.  Maybe that’s the approach I need to take.   She nodded to herself.   Yeah, I’ll explain to Shirley that this wasn’t an easy thing to decide and that I want to continue a good relationship.  I do need to be careful with how quickly I pick things up with Christen, though. Give myself a little time in between. I can’t let Shirley think that I’m doing this because of Christen.  She’ll find out eventually if things go the way I hope with Christen and I don’t want the last two and a half years to seem like a lie because it wasn’t, I really did love our time together and it was special.  Especially when I was in Paris.  Tobin smiled to herself.   The beginning was really good.  It was exciting and new being in a relationship with another woman.   She was grateful to Shirley for bringing her out of her shell and showing her it was okay to feel the way she did when they met.   

 

No going back now she thought after the airplane lifted higher and higher into the air and falling into a light sleep.

 

………

 

She landed in Paris only to see some light rain and cloudy skies.   Matches my mood , Tobin thought.  She turned on her phone hoping to see a message from Christen but there wasn’t one.  She decided to let Shirley know she had landed and would be out as soon as she grabbed her bag.  She wasn’t sure how much time they would have together tonight since tomorrow was a game day.  She of course would still go to the game, opting to discuss their relationship status later in the week.  When she finally saw Shirley, she was genuinely happy.  Something about being in her presence still made her feel good, knowing the love they had shared over the past few years.  It didn’t hurt that Shirley was thrilled to see her either.     Tobin had her arms wrapped around Shirley, feeling the familiarity of her body and scent. This is going to be harder than I imagined.

 

The girls made their way back to the apartment just as the town started to come alive for the early morning.  Tobin was exhausted despite sleeping a little on the plane, so she made a beeline for the couch as she made her way inside.  Shirley raised her eyebrows and suggested they go into her bedroom instead.  

 

Tobin didn’t want to go there.  She knew what might start to happen if she put herself in that position and felt it wasn’t right.  Instead she proposed that Shirley go back to sleep for a few hours and then sneak out to training without disturbing each other.  She knew it was a lame excuse and read the confused expression on Shirley’s face.  

 

“I’ll be quiet. Just come to bed with me or here, make room on couch so we can lay together.”

 

Tobin shifted her body so Shirley could lay on the opposite end.  Shirley slid onto the couch, grasping at Tobin’s legs and holding them to her chest.   She already knows somethings up.  She gave her a smile and closed her eyes, hoping to avoid any questions at the moment.



……………………………………………………

 

Flipping through her planner on the morning she arrived back in California, Christen saw she had a busy week scheduled that began with shooting segments for the Buzzer.  When she got there the staff was so welcoming and kind, asking about the Brazil games and more importantly the visit to see Obama.  Before the cameras started rolling, one of the producers asked if it was ok to include pictures from the visit that had been added to Twitter and Instagram.  Of course Christen didn’t mind, but she had an idea.  She asked if they’d include one more. The segment was only about a minute long so of course it didn’t take long for them to edit and playback what they had.  Christen smiled at the result and couldn’t wait for others to see it.  

 

Next up was some time at home with her friends and family, preparing for her trip to SA.  She needed a costume for a halloween party they were all going, but decided she would opt for something a little different with her friend.  She was busy but it still didn’t distract her from thinking about how things were going halfway across the word in Paris.  Should I text her?   No she said be patient. She’ll come to you…..you hope.   Checking Tobin’s social media, all she saw was a few supportive tweets for different games.  She seems like she’s in a good mood, maybe everything went well.   Her thoughts turned a little negative .  Or maybe she’s happy there and decided not to go through with it.

 

She wanted so badly just to hear from her, to get some kind of gauge on the situation at hand.  The only thing she could think of was to text a link of her interview from the Buzzer to her and hope she’d like it as much as she did.

 

…………………………………………………………...

 

Tobin woke up and pulled on her pants.  She felt awful.  Not because the sex she had the night before was bad by any means, but she just felt it was wrong.  She wasn’t looking at Shirley the same way anymore.  Sure she was attractive still but each time Tobin was close to her, she kept imagining Christen.  The scent from her hair, the look of her tanned skin that reminded her Christen spent time in the California sun with very little clothing on and the way her eyes smiled even bigger than her mouth when she looked at her.  

 

Shirley shifted in the bed that night to wrap her arms around Tobin’s back, burying her head behind her neck and into her hair.  Tobin stalled at the gesture, but knew it was coming. Usually, she’d turn around to meet Shirley’s gaze and let her hands wander underneath clothes and get them off as soon as possible.  Shirley’s hands worked their way under Tobin’s sweatshirt, reaching around to rub her stomach while flirting with the waistband of her shorts.  She did the only thing she could think of that might put her off.

 

“It’s that time of the month.”

 

Shirley moved closer.  “Doesn’t bother me,” she whispered.  

 

Tobin swatted her hand.  

 

She felt Shirley pull on her, wanting her to turn around to face each other.  She gave in and was met by a seductive smile. It wasn’t long before she felt Shirley’s mouth over hers, open slightly to allow her tongue to find the inside of Tobin’s.  Tobin went with it, partly because it did still feel good and partly because she knew having the conversation now would be bad.  

 

Shirley was eager to feel Tobin on her.  She ripped off Tobin’s shirt in one swift movement, catching her by surprise.  Her hands worked their way over the thin straps of her tank top, then cupping the bottom of her breasts. Tobin couldn’t get into it.  As she rolled over on her back, she made a decision that she wasn’t proud of but helped her get through what was about to happen.

 

She closed her eyes and imagined a pair of green eyes looking back in hers, hair tickling her face as Christen moved overtop of her.  Every touch she felt now she pretended was coming from a hand that was tiny and delicate, smooth and silky.  Tobin imagined the silhouette of Christen’s curves caressing over her own. Her chest sliding over her as she moved further down - down onto her stomach as she lifted that glorious ass in the air.  She pictured her resting her own hand on top of Christen’s head, gently guiding it lower to where she could no longer contain her excitement and desire.  I’m not going to last like this.  She brought her own hand on herself, replacing what Shirley had started.  Of course, Shirley put her own over top of Tobin’s as their mouths fought against each other.  She was right, she wouldn’t last long.  Tobin imagined Christen’s tongue swirling around the pool of wetness she had between her thighs while her eyes were burning into hers and watching how much she enjoyed it.  She let go and found a release from deep inside of her, moaning.

 

“Tobin. Yes. Yes. YES.”

 

Shirley deepened the kiss as Tobin finally came back to the reality of what was happening.  She broke off the kiss and smiled at Shirley, rolling away from her onto her side.  She felt movement behind her but closed her eyes as though to signal she was going to sleep.

 

“What are you doing?”  Shirley’s voice was surprisingly soft.

 

“That was good, I’m just really tired now.”  

 

“Ok, well maybe tomorrow we can pick this up again.”

 

“Mmmm” Tobin acknowledged, already falling to a blissful post-orgasm sleep.



Now, Tobin was faced with going to Shirley’s game this afternoon as a supportive girlfriend.  Before they went out to get a coffee and take walk, she turned her phone back on and realized she had missed a text for Christen.  Feeling her pulse quicken, she made sure Shirley was distracted before opening it.  A link popped up.   What’s this?  She watched Christen’s segment unfold as she was talking about the team’s visit to the White House.   So pretty.   The middle of the video brought a shock to Tobin. Her own face flashed across the screen in one of the pictures that had been uploaded - the one of her and Christen sitting together in the chair.  A widespread smile creeped out as she paused the video on the picture of the two of them.   Cheney was right, we do look good together.

 

Her thoughts were interrupted by Shirley who was now standing in front of her.  

 

“Ready to go, babe?”

 

Tobin shoved her phone in her pocket quickly.

 

“Yep.”

Chapter Text

Tobin was back in the apartment trying to decide what to wear to the game that day.  Fans at PSG often recognized her still, so she hated to dress in anything too relaxed.  Knowing it was still chilly on an overcast day, she contemplated putting a hoodie on.  Then she saw packed on the very bottom of her suitcase was Christen’s leather jacket.  She had meant to give it back to her in D.C. but forgot and then didn’t want to just leave it lying around for her track down. Tobin pulled it on over the two layers she already had on, checking herself out in the mirror.  She put her hair up in a messy, twisted bun giving herself the seal of approval.  Pulling the inside of the color to her nose, she searched for any scent of Christen that she could detect.   Nope, just leather.

 

She went through the motions of being at the game, including dodging questions as to why she was in Paris.  Her answer of ‘my girlfriend plays here’ never seemed to be an appropriate response.  Sometimes it meant being linked back to coming to PSG again, but it didn’t really bother her. The game itself was decent as she made mental notes about teammates she’d face in the coming tournaments next spring and summer.  Post-game she made it out of the stadium as quickly as possible, texting Shirley that she’d meet her at the apartment.  Right before she got there however, Shirley was calling her.

 

“I wanted to go to dinner with you.  It’s almost been two and a half years so I thought it’d be a good night to go out and enjoy ourselves.”

 

Tobin sighed, but she didn’t mind being out in public where things wouldn’t lead to sexual temptations or behavior.  

 

“I can meet you out.  Where at?”

 

She turned around to navigate her way back towards the stadium, bracing herself for what was about to happen.

 

…………………...…………………..



Still nothing from her.  Maybe she didn’t like that I used that picture.  Should I ask her?  No.    Christen felt the familiar pins and needles sensation waiting to get a text back from Tobin.  She tried to do the mental math of what time it was in Paris, but kept getting confused.  

 

Eventually, she found herself deep in meditation and a long walk with her dogs along the cliffs of her parents home.  Soaking up some sunshine, she breathed a little easier. She sat down in the grass, nestling her dogs on either side of her.   This feels so good.   Not realizing how tired she actually was, she felt herself drifting off.  

 

A buzzing startled her.  She opened her eyes to see her phone light up with Tobin Heath scrawled across the screen.   She’s calling me.  

 

“H-Hello?” Her voice was timid.

 

“Hey.  It’s me.”  

 

“Hi.  What’s up? How are you?”

 

“I wanted to tell you something.”   This is it.

 

“Ok…”

 

“I’m back from Paris and I want to see you.”  Her heart soared.

 

“I want to see you, too.  When?”

 

“How about now?”  Now? “Turn around.”

 

Christen spun quickly, phone still to her ear.  

 

Tobin was about 50 yards away, closing in on her with rapid steps and a smile plastered to her face.  She looked beautiful; stray hairs flying in the wind behind her with sunglasses covering her eyes.  She must have come right  from the airport because although there was no sign of a large suitcase, she had her brown leather travel purse draped over her shoulder and the plain white t-shirt she wore.  Christen leapt to her feet, startling both of her sleeping puppies underneath her.  Neither girl said a word as their arms weaved around each other, grasping tightly.  Tobin lifted Christen just enough to give her air under her feet for a small spin around.

 

“You’re here! When did you get here?”  Christen squealed.

 

“I landed about an hour ago.  I wanted to surprise you.”

 

Christen was more than surprised; she was elated.  “I just can’t believe it.  Come on, let’s go back into the house so you can put that down and we can talk,” Christen gestured toward the bag Tobin was carrying.  They walked in sync towards the back of the house, Christen’s dogs safely in tow.  Tobin found Christen’s hand as they approached the patio, bringing it to her mouth and placing a soft kiss to it before gently putting it back by her side.  

 

The gesture again surprised Christen, but she was just so happy in the moment.  Her parents weren’t home, so they had some space to sit and talk.  She couldn’t wait to hear what brought Tobin back so quickly and straight to her.  

 

There wouldn’t be any talking at that moment.  Once safely inside, Tobin discarded her bag on the floor as quickly as Christen let go of the dogs’ leashes.  Tobin embraced Christen, lifting her up so she could wrap her legs around her.  For the first time, their mouths met.  Christen could taste all of Tobin, sweet and calming.  Her tongue rolled over hers, gently but filled with on-going need and want.  Her hands were on either side of Tobin’s neck, cradling her.

 

“Chris…”

 

“Upstairs…”  She felt like this moment was forever in the making and she didn’t want to wait a second more.

 

They didn’t make it up the steps.  Tobin laid  Christen down flat across the sofa in the living room, climbing on top to straddle her.  Christen pulled at the v neck of Tobin’s shirt, bringing her in to continue what they had started in the kitchen.  After a few minutes, Christen’s patience was shot.  She sat up, meeting Tobin’s eyes as she peeled off her own shirt first and then Tobin’s.  Unhooking her bra from the back, Christen was looking at Tobin’s bare chest.

 

“Mmm…..” Her mouth worked over Tobin, sucking and twisting  while humming to herself.  Tobin was running her fingers through Christen hair and down her back.  

 

“Chris...we should…..talk”

 

She didn’t want to hear it.  All she wanted right now was the taste and touch of Tobin.

 

She grabbed Tobin’s back to lay her down in the opposite direction.  She was in control now.  She moved her mouth to the top of Tobin’s jeans, undoing the button and zipper and laying a trail of kisses along the way.  Tobin helped her slide them down, revealing only a small pair of black boyshorts.   Delicious.  As good as she thought Tobin looked in that moment, she wasted no time sliding them down so she could put her hands inside of her.  Slipping  one finger in, she heard Tobin moan and ask for more.  It was easy enough to add another finger; she clearly wanted her, too.  Picking up the pace and establishing a circular rhythm, Christen knelt down to allow her tongue to roll over Tobin, near where her fingers were working.  She was met with squeal of delight while her muscles contracted all over her body.  Christen knew Tobin was close as her tongue swirled deeper and deeper.  Finally, she felt her convulse from underneath of her.

 

“Oh my God, Christen, oh my God.”  Christen laid her head on Tobin’s bare stomach. She could feel her own rapid beat almost outpacing Tobin’s.  Lazily, she lifted her head and looked through the haze of lust occurring right on her parent’s good couch.  Tobin smiled at her, stroking her hair away from her face.

 

“Chris….Chris….”

 

Just as she was about to answer Tobin, she came to.

 

“Christen?”

 

She looked up to see her mom standing over top of her.  Looking around, she realized she had fallen asleep outside in the backyard, her puppies safely tucked underneath of her.  Her phone in hand, there was no missed call or message from Tobin.

 

…………………………………………….

Chapter Text

Tobin saw Shirley standing in front of the restaurant she had texted her the address of.  She gave a brief smile as she walked up.  Without saying so much of a word, she swung the door open to allow Shirley to move through it first.  

 

“Thanks.”  Shirley’s gratitude didn’t sound sincere, but rather a bit passive aggressive. She can tell something is wrong.

 

As they sat down, their water poured water into their glasses.  Giving them a minute to look at the menus, Tobin watched Shirley psych herself up.  She raised her water glass and said “to two and a half years.”

 

Tobin didn’t return the gesture, but gave a sad smile.  

 

“Que pasa?”  

 

Tobin looked around the room, weighing her next words very carefully.  

 

“It’s been a good two and almost half years.”

 

“It’ll only get better.  To two and a half more.”  Shirley raised her glass a little higher, waiting for Tobin to pick hers up.

 

Here it goes.  “I don’t think it will.” Shirley’s face went blank, almost unreadable as Tobin kept going. “I don’t think we’d able to survive another year like the past one.”

 

Shirley calmly set down her glass in front her.  “What do you mean by that?”

 

Tobin exhaled loudly, feeling her voice starting to tremble.  “I can’t do this, Shirley.  I feel like I’ve done all I can and it just isn’t working.”

 

“I thought we talked about this last time we were together.  We were going to take it month by month and see what happened?”

 

She had to say it. Just say it.  “I don’t think you’re going to make anything happen.”

 

Shirley looked a bit panicked.  Her voice picked up, rapidly pleading to Tobin. “I thought you understood when I said  there were things that I wanted to do first but if I have to, I’ll come to the US.”

 

Tobin shook her head.  “I never said you have to, that’s the point.  I would have thought you’d want to come on your own, that you would see how hard this has been for the past year and take the opportunity to make it better.”  

 

A few moments of silence passed before Shirley tried to defend herself.  “Tobin, I do want to be with you and I do want to come to the US to be closer to you.  I  have worked so hard in my life for my career and everything I have.  You’ve seen that.  I have had to fight for every opportunity.  Now I’m playing well, getting better every day and I’m a captain.  It’s hard to walk away from.”

 

“I understand that, too.  But we spend way more time apart then with each other.  And it seems that I’m the one that always has to make the sacrifices of traveling and working around your schedule.  I’m not blaming you, I’m just trying to tell you that it’s not working.  I cannot do another year of this.”  Her heart was beating so fast, it was a wonder it hadn’t popped out of her chest.  

 

“So what are you saying, you’re done?”

 

She started to choke back the tears and lump forming in her throat. She closed her eyes.

 

“I’m so sorry.”

 

It was like a dam bursting.  Liquid streamed from the corners of her eyes. Small noises came from deep in her throat.  

 

Shirley didn’t say anything.  

 

Tobin opened her eyes, blurry with tears.  She could barely see the outline of the face looking back at her.  Wiping the wetness away with one hand, she saw the pain in Shirley’s eyes.  

 

“I don’t want this to end, I love you.”  Shirley’s voice was small and meek.

 

Tobin wanted to grab Shirley’s hand and squeeze it for comfort.  She still felt love for her, but it was no longer the same.   How do I explain that?

 

“I care about you so much and I will always care about you.  I don’t want either of us to have to do things we really don’t want to do or resent each other.  I still want to be apart of your life.”   

 

Shirley nodded and put her head down.  “What if I decided next year to come overseas?  Would we be able to try again?”

 

Tobin didn’t know what to say.   I don’t know where I’ll be then.   “I think we have to take this time apart and see what happens.  You know what they say, if it’s meant to be, we’ll find a way.”

 

Shirley rolled her eyes at the line she used.  

 

“I mean, I’m just saying that I want you to do what is best for you and your career.  If that means coming overseas then great.  I just don’t want our relationship to feel like it’s an obligation.  If it works out that we’re in the same place at the same time, great again.”  

 

Shirley looked as though she was processing what Tobin just said.  “So you mean you want to just take ‘time off’ for now and see where we end up next year?”  

 

Is that what I’m saying? No. No, that’ll just set us up for arguments.   Tobin shook her head briefly.  “No, I think that’ll make things worse.  For both of us.”   

 

Silence again.

 

“I guess you made up your mind and I can’t change it.”  

 

Tobin looked down at her hands gripping the edge of the booth she sat in. “This is hard for me, believe me.  It hasn’t been easy.”  

 

“I don’t want you to leave me yet.”

 

Tobin looked up, surprised. “What do you mean?”

 

Shirley had small tears forming in her eyes.  “I’m not ready for you to leave.  Can you just stay until when you were supposed to?”  

 

“Of course, I wasn’t planning on leaving.  I mean unless you wanted me to, but -”

 

“No, please stay.”  

 

There wasn’t much more of a conversation after that.  Long stretches of silence filled the time, especially as they were eating.  When Tobin picked up the check at the end, Shirley took a jab at Tobin.  

 

“We should split it, since now we’re just friends.”

 

………………………………………………….

 

Unlocking the apartment door, Shirley moved quickly into her apartment and straight to the bathroom.  Tobin didn’t know what to do next.   Where do I sleep?  What do I do?  She felt gutted and emotionally drained.  And surprisingly, she hadn’t prepared to feel this way.   I thought I’d be more relieved instead of upset. Am I making the right choice?

 

She thought about calling someone for a second opinion.  My sisters? No.  Allie? No.   She went through a mental checklist of everybody that would help her work through her decision.  No one seemed to fit the bill.   Christen.   I want to talk to Christen.  I’ll know if I’m making the right choice  based on how I feel when I talk to her.  

 

Tobin stood up, making her way towards the bathroom.  She paused to listen to what was happening on the other side of the door.  “Shirley?”  

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine, I’ll be out in a minute, sorry.”

 

“No, no it’s fine.  I just want to make sure you’re ok.  I, uh..”   I don’t want to go outside to call Christen now if she’s really not okay.  “I’ll just wait for you out here.”  

 

She sat on the edge of the couch. Eventually Shirley made her way into the small living room and surveyed the scene.  Tobin had sat right in the middle of the couch and quickly realized Shirley was trying to determine where to sit.  She scooted over to her right, making room.  

 

Shirley sat down, sinking back in the couch while pulling her knees to her chest.  “Now what?”

 

Tobin looked around the room.  “Want to watch tv?”  

 

“That’s not really what I meant.”

 

Damn it, round two here we go.   “I don’t know, Shirley.”

 

“I can’t believe this is happening.  When did you decide you didn’t want this anymore?” Shirley’s voice was strong, somewhat on the attack.

 

“I think it’s been building up over the last few months.  I felt really good about our last visit but when I got home it went back to feeling a little lonely and honestly, I started to resent you.  I shouldn’t feel that, ever. “

 

Tobin tried to keep eye contact with Shirley.   She kept going. When I came to terms  that you were probably not going to come to Portland or even the US any time soon, I realized it wasn’t fair to either of us to keep up with this.  It’s just too hard.  If I let it go any further, I think we would end on really bad terms which is not what I want at all.  I want to still be apart of your life and have a friendship.  I care you about you a lot.”

 

Any trace of anger disappeared from Shirley’s face.  “I understand.  It’s going to take me a while, though.”

 

Nodding enthusiastically, Tobin agreed.  “Of course, feelings don’t disappear overnight.  I feel the same way.”

That night, Tobin decided it was best to sleep out on the couch. Shirley tried to convince her it was ok to stay in the same bed, but she didn’t trust herself.  If they were truly going to establish and maintain a friendship, the lines had to be drawn.  She had four more nights in Paris to get through before heading to Chapel Hill.  Playing with her phone in the dark, she thought about calling Christen now.   Shirley will hear me and the last thing I need is her thinking I cheated or there’s someone else.  Well, maybe there is someone else.  She decided to settle for a text instead.  

 

Tobin: Hey

 

It took almost twenty minutes for Christen to reply

 

Christen: Hey yourself!

 

Tobin: What are you up to?

 

Christen: I’m just getting ready to head out to dinner with family.  You?

 

Tobin: Just about to go to sleep. Enjoy dinner, I’ll talk to you later.

 

Tobin put down her phone.  She wasn’t sure what she was going to say to Christen when she had texted her, but she was sure that now wasn’t the moment to tell her what happened.

 

Christen: Are you ok?  

 

Tobin: Yeah.

 

Christen: I’m not convinced.  Are you still in Paris?

 

Tobin: Yeah.

 

She was hoping her short replies would give Christen the hint that she didn’t want to discuss what was going on . The wound was still open and needed time to heal.   I probably shouldn’t have texted her then.

 

Christen:  Oh.  Do you need to talk? if you need me, I will stay back. I can call you.

 

Tears found their way to her eyes.  Her thoughts and hormones were all over the place.

 

Tobin: I’m okay, thanks.  I’ll  text you later.   

 

Christen: I hope you will.

 

She dried her eyes with the back of her hands.   Get it together.  Give yourself a few days and some space before you involve Christen in all this.  Wait til you leave Paris and you’re settled before you start on something else.  Tobin closed her eyes and made an attempt to go to sleep. She felt lonely sleeping by herself, knowing someone on the other side of the wall wanted to be curled up next to her, filling that void.  That night, she had a very life-like dream of her back in Portland in her own bed.  Except this time the  loneliness was gone as she wrapped her arms around a dark haired, green eyed beauty who was more than happy to be there with her, in her city.

 

………………………………………….

Chapter Text

Christen tried hard to concentrate on the conversation with her family at dinner.  She had butterflies in her stomach after the conversation with Tobin.   She texted me….from Paris.  That has to be a good sign?  But she was short and not her positive self.   She had to stop herself from analyzing the brief encounter.   Wait until she’s supposed to be back, then ask her what happened. Just be supportive now.

 

It still put her in a little funk.  She wanted the next few days to fly by because knowing Tobin was back in the US would automatically mean she wasn’t with Shirley.  She busied herself with another Buzzer segment, doing errands and training.   While at the Buzzer two days before Tobin was due to leave Paris, she realized she had never responded to the clip she had sent her.  Using it as an excuse, she gave in to text her.

 

Christen: Back filming today.  They must think I’m you with the things they have me doing!

 

She inserted the video clip or her trying to balance a ball between her shoulder blades without much luck.

 

Tobin:  That’s easy.  You can do it!!!

 

She’s in a better mood today, Christen thought .

 

Christen:  I can’t! My last video was better.  Did you watch it?

 

Tobin: Loved it

 

Her heart skipped a beat.   She didn’t mind the picture was in there.

 

Tobin: I have to go but can I call you on Friday?

 

Christen: Yes absolutely

 

Tobin: :) I’ll talk to you later

 

She wanted to explode right there in the offices of FoxSoccer.  She assumed Tobin had accomplished her mission in Paris and Friday would be the conversation to open the gates of whatever was happening between them.  It put a pep in her step and suddenly she was a magnet for productivity and happiness.

 

……………………………………..

 

Tobin put her phone back in her pocket with a grin on her face.  Christen’s text had brought a momentary sense of hope for her.  The past three days were challenging as she and Shirley tried to navigate the new terms of their relationship.  At times it was uncomfortable, including when they had to explain what was happening to Lindsey Horan, a good mutual friend of theirs who was playing for PSG at the moment.  Tobin tried her best to keep conversation light and upbeat, avoiding anything that had to do with the two of them.  Eventually, it became more than Shirley could seem to handle.

 

“This is just weird, Tobin.  I’m supposed to shut my feelings off and pretend for the next two days that were ‘buddies’?”  

 

“I know.  Would you feel more comfortable if I just left?  Or ask Lindsey to stay with her?”

 

Shirley seemed to contemplate the idea for a second.  “No,” she sighed.  “Just stay.”

 

Tobin had been sitting on the couch watching tv while Shirley went out grocery shopping.  Normally, they’d do the chore together, but this gave them an opportunity to spend some time apart and reduce the mounting tension.  When the text came through from Christen, she was all too happy to respond..   It’s her.  I wish I could  call her and hear her voice.   She was in the middle of typing ‘can I call you now?’ when she heard the sound of footsteps and bags at the door.  Editing the text, she settled for asking if she could call Friday, the same day she was due back in the US.   Home soil, fresh start.

 

Shirley came in with shopping bags hanging from each arm.  Tobin stood up to help her unload the contents into the refrigerator and help her start a late dinner.  

 

“What can I help with?”   

 

“Do you want to just go out or order?  I’m too tired to cook anything.”  Tobin weighed her options in her head.  



“Maybe we could just order something, I don’t really feel like getting ready to go anywhere.”  They found a cafe they both liked and placed a to-go order.  They put on their coats to walk down the few blocks, taking in the sights and sounds of a lively Parisian evening.

 

“It’s so cold out tonight. I wonder when the first snow will be” questioned Shirley.

 

“I think you have some time before that happens.”

 

They continued to discuss the weather, reminiscing about the time they took in a men’s PSG game in the snow.  They had parkas on and blankets spread across their laps.  They barely made it to halftime before ditching the stadium for the tv in Shirley’s warm apartment.  

 

When they reached the restaurant, it was lit up with string lights and beautiful decor characteristic of Paris.  

 

“I’m going to miss this.” Shirley said.

 

It took Tobin moment to register that she meant the company, not the cafe.

 

“Me too.”

 

……………………………………………….

 

Tobin looked around Shirley’s apartment one last time to make sure she had everything she needed.  She had a little more in her suitcase then when she came to Paris this time.  It was sad sorting through all the items she had previously left behind, but she knew it was for the best.  She and Shirley had found some peace in her last two days there, spending time doing things they both enjoyed and hitting all the little places they favored over the years.    

 

“If you left anything I can just send it to you.”  

 

Tobin nodded.  “Thanks, I think I got everything though.”

 

They had decided it was best for Tobin to just take a cab to the airport, rather than risk an emotional scene for everyone to witness.  

 

“I should go, I can’t miss this flight.”  She wanted to make sure she was back in North Carolina early enough to get some sleep and be ready for the UNC-Virginia women’s game that night.  

 

Shirley took a nervous step towards her and they embraced, standing for for a few minutes in the same spot, not daring to move.  Tobin felt a wave of sadness.   This is for the best.  It’ll all be fine. We’ll be fine.  I’ll be fine.   When they eventually separated, she could see Shirley’s eyes were blotchy and her cheeks were tear stained.  

 

“I’ll let you know when I get to the airport.”  

 

“And when you land too?”

 

With a smile she said,  “Of course.” Tobin said.  She meant it, too.  She was being honest when she told Shirley she cared for her and wanted to remain in her life.  It wasn’t going to stop once she left.

 

Tobin spun her suitcase around, dropping it to roll across the foyer to the front door.  She looked back one more time to see Shirley standing, helpless and distraught.  “Bye, Shirley.”

 

“Bye, Tobin.”

 

She moved down the hallways and flights of stairs, lugging the heavy suitcase behind her.  IT was difficult to get it down the stairs but she managed to do it all by herself.  When she finally settled in the cab, she looked up to the window of the apartment she had just left.  She wasn’t quite sure, but she thought she saw the silhouette of Shirley standing and looking down right at her.   It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.   A silent chant went through her to calm her down and settle the rising nerves she had.

 

A few hours later, she didn’t feel much better as she sat in her seat of the plane next to the window.  When she took off, emotions overtook her body.  Most of it was from mourning the part of her life that had just left her, but the other part was a sense of freedom she now had.  

 

……………………………………………………

 

It’s Friday.  Christen’s eyes snapped open to realize it was the day she had anticipating.  It was 7:30 am Pacific time, which meant 10:30 am Eastern time. Is she back yet?  Probably not yet.  You’ll know when she calls you. The minutes were creeping by.  She would know since she her eyes barely left her phone.  Finally, by noon she couldn’t take it any longer.  I’m going to text her.

 

Christen:  Hope you had a safe flight!

 

Five minutes.  Ten minutes.  Half hour.  An hour.  Nothing.

 

She’s still in the air, I bet.  

 

Around dinner time, an answer came.

 

Tobin: Hey, thanks.  It was long.  Sorry I didn’t call, I crashed on HAO’s couch and now we’re going to the game.  What are you doing?

 

Christen’s heart sank.  She’s not going to call me.

 

Christen:  I’m going out with some friends tonight.  Have fun at the game!

 

Tobin: Thanks.  It’s good to be here.  

 

She didn’t reply .  What’s the use, she’s busy and it’s not like she’s going to keep a conversation going. A few minutes later, she phone lit up again.

 

Tobin:  Wearing your jacket tonight :)

 

Christen: Oh yeah?  I’m going to need that back eventually you know!

 

Tobin: You’ll just have to come and get it then.  I love it

 

This was an opportunity to for Christen to test where they might be at.  

 

Christen:  Tell me where to meet you and I’ll be there to get it.

 

Tobin: Wow you must really love this jacket

 

Christen: I also like the girl who has the jacket.

 

She held her breath.   Here we go...  

 

Tobin: Then let’s make plans for you to come get it.

 

Christen: Sounds good to me.

 

There was more flirty banter throughout the night as Tobin was at the game.  She didn’t want to take up her time since she was back with her friends, but it felt so good to re-connect with the Tobin she had come to know and in all honesty, possibly love.  

 

Christen:  Ok, go watch the game.  I know you’ll be busy tomorrow but I’ll be around if you still want to call me.

 

Tobin: I will, I promise.  

 

She was so excited.  She knew in her heart this was the beginning of something between them.   I did what she asked, I was patient.  I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.   Christen went to bed that night, sleeping soundly knowing Tobin was back and more importantly, most likely available to be hers.




……………………………………..

 

As soon as she had landed, Tobin decided a nap would help her out.  I’ll wake up in a new place, new start.  

Then she remembered.  Shoot, I said I’d call Christen.   She wanted to, she really did.  But she also knew that she should reset emotionally before talking to her.  Almost forgetting to text Shirley that she had landed, she pulled out her phone.

 

Tobin: Landed!

 

Shirley:  Good.  Miss you already.  

 

Tobin: Have a safe trip yourself.   PSG was off for an away game the next day.  She’d watch it of course, because after all was said and done she still cared about the relationships she had left behind in Paris.  But she knew better then to return any sentiments with Shirley.  

 

Now on HAO’s couch, She rolled over, covering her back and pulling the blanket up over her face.  She went to sleep, knowing that when she woke up, everything would be much different.

 

“Tobin?” The voice was light as she felt something rub her shoulder.  Sleepily, her eyes adjusted to the light and figure hovering over it.  It was HAO, trying to wake her gently.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“It’s time to get up if you want to go to the game.”   Right, what time is it?  Did I sleep long?

 

Pulling out her phone from underneath the blanket, she was distracted by the name of the person who had texted her instead of looking at the time.  She shot up, taking HAO by surprise.  

 

“I’m gonna head out if that’s ok.  There’s stuff in the shower for you if you want.  Just let Dave know when you want to leave and he’ll drive you over to the stadium.”

 

“I should shower, but it’ll take too long.  I’ll just brush my teeth and wash my face quick.” Tobin stood up.  “Can you wait a couple minutes for me?”

 

“Yeah no problem.”

 

Tobin moved her way down the hall to the bathroom, grabbing her purse in the meantime. She found her travel toothbrush and borrowed some toothpaste found inside the vanity.  She did her best to smooth out her hair and put it into a messy ponytail.  

 

“HAO? What’s the weather like outside?”

 

“It’s definitely cool. I’m gonna put on a jacket or sweater,” she called from somewhere down the hall.

 

Tobin went through her suitcase in her head. I know just what jacket I can wear.

 

Making a mad scramble out of HAO’s house, they got to the game a little later than they had wanted to.  Finding the rest of their crew, including Ali and Moe, they took their seats with some of the UNC personnel in the stands.  Tobin was enjoying herself, laughing and getting into the game.  From somewhere in her pocket, she felt her phone buzz.   It’s Christen!   Looking slyly to either side of her to see if anyone was paying attention to what she was doing, she opened the message.   She knows I’m back and I promised to call, whoops. S he apologized knowing how Christen might be upset with her for not following through.   She said it was fine . Don’t leave her hanging, keep talking.

 

She wanted to send a picture of her in the jacket, but didn’t want to raise questions around her.  In fact, Tobin hadn’t shared with anyone yet about what happened in Paris. As far as they all knew, she was still with Shirley.  Tomorrow, she thought.  I’ll tell them tomorrow.  Christen was already bringing a smile to her face.  I really do like her and now I don’t have to feel guilty about it.

 

Her mouth dropped when Christen’s flirting turned into a declaration.  She does like me.  I want to tell her I like her too, but this isn’t the right way.  I need to tell her what happened in Paris and for her to understand that rushing into anything isn’t smart for either of us right now.  I don’t want people to look at her as a “rebound”.  

 

Still, she kept texting Christen throughout the game.  A sense of hope filled her when Christen ended their current conversation with Tobin promising to text her later.  And she meant it.  Tomorrow was a new day, a new chapter in her life and the title of would be called Christen.

Chapter Text

 

Back at HAO’s house that evening with a few of the other girls,  Tobin found a small opening to tell them what was going on in her love life.  Ali had asked how her visit went and if she had plans to go back before the end of the year.

 

“Actually, no.  I won’t be going back to Paris again,” she informed them.

 

“Why? Is Shirley going to sign a contract to play her?” Ashlyn asked excitedly.  Over the years, her teammates and friends had taken a liking to Shirley and Tobin had appreciated their support and kindness.

 

“No.”  

 

Everyone’s faces appeared to be confused as they were trying to piece together what Tobin had just said.  

 

“Did you break up?” HAO gently questioned.

 

She nodded.  “We did.”

 

“Oh my God, Tobin! Are you okay?” She was met with immediate concern and a few silent offers for a hug.  

 

“I’m fine.  It was a long time coming and it just seemed like the best time to do it.  I’ll be fine.”  And Tobin believed her own words, she knew there was something else out there that could make her happy.  

 

All the girls in the living room appeared a bit shocked, but mostly supportive.  “I mean, I knew you guys were having some issues with the long distance but I thought you’d just work them out and she would come here.”

 

Tobin smiled at Whit.  “Yeah, I kind of did too but enough is enough you know?  It’ll be hard for a little bit I’m sure but it’ll all be okay.”  

 

The conversation steered away from Tobin’s relationship woes and onto other things.  She was grateful to not have to discuss it at length, mainly because she felt there was someone else she wanted to talk to about it first.  

 

Just as they were about to disperse to their own spots for the night, Tobin’s phone lit up beside her without her seeing it.  Whitney was next to her and tapped her back to get her attention.  Without a word, she dipped her chin towards the phone.  Tobin looked down and saw it.   Christen texted me. Looking back up at Whitney, she was met with a look that said ‘what is that’ with a hint of a smile.  Tobin ignored the look, praying that Whitney would know better than to say anything aloud to the others.  She didn’t open Christen’s text, but instead texted a blank message to Whitney to show her.  

 

We’ll talk tomorrow it said.

 

Smiling even bigger, Whitney just nodded to her.  

 

Great, Tobin thought .  Now I have to explain this and it’s going to look so bad.

 

………………………….

 

Christen couldn’t sleep so she decided to text Tobin later that night.

 

Christen: Are you up?

 

She had to wait about ten minutes for a reply, but it eventually came.

 

Tobin: Yeah, maybe that long nap wasn’t the best idea earlier.  We have to up super early tomorrow for the game.

 

Christen: I can’t sleep either.

 

She didn’t get a text back yet.  A few minutes passed.  Maybe she can’t talk now.

 

Her reply came, but not in the form of a text.  Tobin was calling her.  

 

“Hello?” she said lightly, almost whispering.

 

“Is it okay to call now?”  Tobin asked.

 

“Yeah, yeah of course.”

 

She could tell Tobin was hemming and hawing a bit.  

 

“How are you? Christen asked.

 

Pausing before she answered, “I’m okay. Happy to be back.”

 

Just ask her.  “How was your trip.”

 

Another pause.  “It was okay.  Wasn’t exactly a vacation.”

 

“Oh yeah?”  I want her to tell me.

 

“I broke up with Shirley.”   There it is.  

 

“I’m sorry, Tobin.”  

 

She heard a laugh on the other end.  “No you’re not.”

 

Now Christen laughed.   She’s right.  “Well I kinda am.  I’m sure it wasn’t a good feeling for you.”

 

“Anyway….” Tobin didn’t finish her sentence.

 

“Can I ask you something?” Christen waited for Tobin to say yes or no.

 

“Yeah what’s up?”  

 

“Why did you want ask to call me today?”  She had a feeling she already knew the answer, but wanted to hear it right from Tobin.

 

Hearing a release of breath into the phone, Tobin started.  “Honestly, I think I’ve known for awhile that my relationship with Shirley wasn’t going anywhere and I needed to gather the courage to end it.  You’re right when you said it wasn’t a good feeling, but in the middle of all of it, I thought about you.  And you were the only person I really wanted to talk to about it as weird as that sounds.  But I knew I needed to make sure I wasn’t still in a relationship before I could tell you that I realized just how I felt about you. That’s why I asked you  to be patient with me.”

 

Christen didn’t know what to say back.  

 

Tobin kept going.  “I like you a lot, Christen.  And I think you feel the same way about me.”

 

“I do.  I think I always have.”

 

She could feel Tobin smiling through the phone.

 

“Yeah, I think we both have.”

 

Christen still didn’t know what to say.

 

“But…..”   Uh oh.

 

“I don’t like the sound of that ‘but’” she said.

 

“No, no. Just listen.  I ended my relationship with Shirley only a few days ago.  And I’m serious when I say I like you.  I just think this is a big thing, you and me.  I want to be sure that we’re on the same page going forward because the last thing I want or we need is for us to royally screw this up.”

 

She nodded to herself.  “I know what you mean.”

 

Tobin continued.  “So maybe we just take it really slow for now.  Kind of keep it to ourselves and see if it’s something we really want to pursue.”

 

“I think that’s smart,” Christen agreed.  As much as she wanted Tobin to suggest they pick things up right away, she knew it wouldn’t be right.  The last thing she wanted is for Tobin to do is confuse her feelings for her.  

 

“So we do that, then?  Just keep talking?”

 

“Sounds good to me.”  

 

She heard Tobin’s voice relax a little.  “So then let’s talk.  How was your day?”

 

Twenty minutes later they hung up the phone, leaving Christen feeling like something special had begun and she would do her damndest to keep it going.

 

……………………………………….

 

Tobin woke up early the next morning feeling carefree and jubilated.  What a good day this is going to be.  Her conversation with Christen felt like the shackles on her heart and mind had been lifted; she was turning a new page.  She got ready, applying some light makeup and getting dressed in her UNC gear.  They would all meet at the stadium, with the FIFA WC trophy waiting for them to raise at halftime to the crowd.  Old faces filled her view as she walked through the tunnels and hallways, none sweeter to her than the one of her old coach.  

 

They were ushered into a VIP suite to watch the game.  Quickly though, she felt some of the weight come back when Whitney pestered her during the first quarter of the game with too many sets of ears around for Tobin’s liking.

 

“Tell me why Christen was texting you that late last night?”

 

“Because she had something to say me I guess.”  Tobin knew it was a smartass response but couldn’t help herself.  She wasn’t going to make this easy, especially after she and Christen had agreed to keep it to themselves.

 

“Yeah ok.  Please tell me what’s going on.  I know there is something going on between you two.”

 

What could she say to her.  

 

“Tobin I’m friends with Christen too.  I know she likes you. And you magically just ended your long term relationship.  ”

 

“Really?” Tobin turned to her, trying to act like this was new information. “I didn’t know that.  Did she say something to you?”

 

Whitney reached forward to grab her phone from the pocket of her jacket and simply said “yes.”

 

Tobin figured it was better to be honest with the people she loved, not wanting anyone to make assumptions that were untrue and immoral.

 

“I finally realized, it’s just  texting and when we’re together it’s totally different.”

 

“Who Shirley or Christen?”

 

Raising her eyebrows, Tobin realized the statement could apply to both.  “Both. I just mean that with Shirley the long distance was too much to keep up with and most of our relationship is spent through the phone or a computer screen.  It’s not enough.  When we were together it was good, but that wasn’t very often.  Then with Christen,  we text here and there and I want more.  When we’re together I have to fight every urge in my body to avoid her.  It wasn’t the way things are supposed to be.”  

 

Whitney shook her head.  “I can’t believe this is finally going to happen.”

 

“Stop! Nothing is happening.  Not yet at least.  Please don’t go blabbering this around, we only talked last night and decided to take everything really slow and figure it out together.  We really don’t want people to know right now just in case.”

 

“Well I for one am very happy about this.  I think you two would be perfect together.”  Tobin smiled at Whitney’s approval.   Maybe everyone will be okay with it.


They enjoyed the rest of the game and a dinner at an old coach’s house afterwards.  Every once in awhile, she’d send a quick text to Christen letting her know what she was up to or inquiring about what she was doing.  It already felt normal and comfortable between them.  She silently prayed it would work out how she imagined in her her head

Chapter Text

Christen had to get her stuff in order for the next few days.  She had two red carpet events, training and then off to South Africa she went.   I wish I could see Tobin.   She knew it wouldn’t happen though, their schedules just wouldn’t allow it.   Tobin should be on her way back to Portland soon she thought.  Tobin had mentioned she had an event at the Nike headquarters later in the week but she wasn’t sure which day.  

 

Christen:  Where in the world are you now?  I can’t keep up with you.

 

Tobin: Still in Chapel Hill.  Headed to South Carolina to see my brother for a few days.

 

Christen: Too far.  Wish you were coming tomorrow night to the event.

 

Tobin: :(  Me too.  I’m sorry.

 

Christen:  I’m trying to sort my outfits for the next few days.  I was GOING to wear that jacket to one this week but someone confiscated it from me…..

 

Tobin: I told you you’d have to come and get it from me if you want it that badly.  

 

Christen: I definitely would if I could.

 

This was the new normal for them.  Christen looked forward to sharing her days with Tobin and in return being apart of hers.  She tried not to be too forward, just so Tobin wouldn’t think she was rushing her.  

 

Christen:  Is it ok to call you later? I’m off to train for the rest of the morning.

 

Tobin: Yep :)

 

On their call that night, they laid out their agendas for the next few days so they wouldn’t be confused.  Tobin was due back in Portland mid-week before her event.  Christen tried to find a day or two she could fly up to surprise Tobin in Portland, but it wasn’t looking realistic.  She just had too much going on.  

 

“.....So then I have that event in Portland on Saturday.”

 

“Ok.  I leave for South Africa that morning.”

 

“Will we be able to talk while you’re there?”  Tobin asked.

 

“I think a little bit.  I mean obviously I shouldn’t be calling since I’ll be roaming.  But I think I can text here or there, or e-mail for sure.”

 

“Oh good. I was worried we’d have to wait until you were back to talk.”  She sounds relieved.

 

Christen smiled.  “I don’t know that I’d last that long.”  

 

Tobin chuckled.  “You’d manage somehow.”

 

But Christen didn’t want to have to imagine going without Tobin anymore.  She was hooked.  The only thing that could make her want her more is to actually see her and feel her when they talked.  It was something she was aching to do.

 

The next day she was getting read for the Cosmopolitan Women of the Year Awards with a bunch of her teammates. She so badly wanted to tell some of her friends what was going on with her.  But, she knew Tobin might be upset with her if she let the cat out of the bag.   I guess I don’t even know what I would say to them.  We’re dating?  No you actually have to go on a date for that.  We’re ‘talking’?   I talk to everyone so what would that even mean?   As her thoughts were running through her head about what she would even define their newfound relationship as, she was interrupted by Ali holding a gift box in front of her.  

 

“What’s this?” she questioned.

 

Ali looked at her with a knowing smile.  “Open and you’ll see.”

 

Christen was so confused.  “Is it from you?”

 

Giggling, Ali said “nope. Not me.”

 

“You’re making me nervous, just tell me what it is!”

 

Ali wouldn’t budge.  “Just open and see.”

 

Lacing her fingers around the box, she used her fingernail to slit the scotch tape on either side.  Shaking off the top to the box she caught a glimpse of what was inside.  

 

Excitedly, she read the small note on top of the leather jacket she had been missing.



Christen,

 

I wish I could deliver this in person! This was the fastest way to get it back to you - hope you don’t mind that I had to tell Ali.  Enjoy the night, you’ll look great.

 

Tobin



She couldn’t believe it.  Christen looked up at Ali, trying to determine just what Tobin had told her.  “When did you get this?  In North Carolina?”

 

“Yeah, I was about to leave when she stopped me and asked if I would bring it you.  I thought maybe she had just borrowed it until I saw the note she wrote.  I had to beg her for details.”

 

Heat and red blotches found their way to Christen’s cheeks.  “Oh my gosh.”  

 

Ali sat down close to hear, clearly understanding the conversation should be discreet.  “So now I want to hear it from you.  What’s happening, when did this start?’

 

Sitting back, Christen contemplated what exactly she should say.  “I mean I guess it just started.  I knew she and Shirley weren’t doing that great and we were getting closer.  We didn’t have real talk about it until the day she got back from Paris.”

 

“So are you dating? I asked Tobin that but didn’t really get an answer.”   Why didn’t she answer.  Maybe she’s still unsure like me.

 

“I don’t know what you’d call it,” she replied honestly.  “We’re just taking things slow and seeing what happens.”

 

“I am so happy for you.”  Ali couldn’t stop smiling.  

 

“I’m so happy myself.” Christen gave Ali’s hand a small squeeze and then stood up.  “Come on, I need to touch up my makeup before getting in my dress.  I need to look good if I wanna keep the girl.”



…………………………………………….

 

Tobin looked at the pictures rolling in on Instagram and the selfie that Christen had sent her of her in her dress.   She is stunning.  She just couldn’t believe she was looking at a girl who could possibly be hers.  It was the one time in her life she wished she went to a red carpet event, just so she could be close to Christen while she looked like that.  I doubt we’d make it into the event.

 

She was safely tucked on her brother’s couch watching a movie with him.  Her mind started to wander about the conversation she had with Ali the previous evening and how Christen reacted to the delivering of the jacket. She re-read the text she had sent her earlier.

 

Christen: You are amazing.

 

Tobin: I’m guessing my delivery got there safe and sound?

 

Christen: Yes.  It was so sweet!

 

Ali had pressed her hard on the details of the note, something Tobin hadn’t intended her on seeing.  Actually, Tobin had to rewrite the original she had started on to let her know that Ali now knew what was going on.  She didn’t really mind telling Ali herself, she just didn’t want Christen to be embarrassed or upset.

 

“Tooooobin!”  What is that!  Is this like a love note?”  

 

“No, Ali.” Kinda.

 

“You wish you could deliver it in person?  That’s not a regular note.”

 

Keeping her head down and turning the paper away from Ali she said, “Go away, I’ll let you know when it’s ready.”

 

“Uh uh, no way.  Spill it.”  Ali moved her body to stand right next to Tobin so she had no escape.

 

“I don’t know what you want me to tell you?  I have to give her the jacket back and I thought it’d be easiest to do it this way. “ Simple enough.  I don’t have to elaborate.

 

“Yeah okay, but saying you wish you could deliver it in person and wrapping it up like this is a little above and beyond.  What is going on between you two?”  

 

She looked up trying to decide what to say that.  FInally, she just told the truth.  “I’m not exactly sure.  I like Christen.  We’ve been talking a little bit.”

 

Ali beamed and gave a quick squeal of delight.  “No way.  So you’re dating?”  

 

Slow your roll, Ali.  “ We, um …. You do realize I just got out of a relationship like a week ago?”

 

Ali kept pushing.  “Which means now you’re free to date Christen.”

 

“I told you, I like her Ali.  There’s not much else I can tell you about this.  I thought this would a nice thing to do for her so if you could just deliver it that would be great.”  There was a slight edge to Tobin’s words.  Christen wasn’t going to get off easy when she was given the box, so she had to revise her note to indicate Ali already knew.

 

She said it was amazing.  Actually she said I was amazing.   Tobin smiled to herself.  Just before the end of the movie, she got a text from Christen that had a picture with her ultimate girl crush, Sophia Bush.  For years, Christen had let everyone know how hot she thought she was and she was always her response when people discussed celebrity crushes.

 

Tobin:  Watch those hands.

 

Christen: I’m fan-girling so hard.  I can’t help it!

 

Tobin: I meant her, tell her to watch those hands on you.

 

Christen: Only one pair of hands I’d want on me right now…

 

Tobin: Can’t wait to see you

 

That night when Tobin went to sleep, she made sure no one was around before she looked back at the pictures Christen had sent her.  Something about them just put a small fire in her.  All she wanted to do was slide her fingers around her neck onto her bare shoulders to feel her soft skin.  She wanted to undo her hair to let it flow free and curly, the way she liked it.  Mostly, Tobin wanted to see Christen drop her dress to the floor and step out of it, giving her a show.  She reached her hand down into the pair of sweatpants she was wearing underneath the blanket, tightly covering her body.  Rolling her head back and closing her eyes, she visualized Christen standing in front of her with very little on, undoing her bra to allow her to spring free.  Tobin circled her fingers gently around, teasing herself.  She could feel how slick she was just from imagining Christen.   It would be even worse if I could touch her.   She froze at the sound of someone moving from deeper in the apartment.  Quietly pulling her hand back out, she’d have to keep waiting a little longer to get any guilt-free pleasure from Christen.



………………………………………………………..

Chapter Text

The next two weeks rolled by quickly.  The communication between Tobin and Christen was constant at this point.  Christen couldn’t believe it was all finally coming together.  Although she was half a world away in South Africa, she wrote daily e-mails to Tobin letting her know what was going on and how excited she was to see her right after the holiday in Hawaii.  She needed to provide Tobin with a bit of comfort after learning of the Paris attacks.  Christen knew how many people, including Shirley, she cared about in that city and how traumatic it must have been knowing she was just there a week earlier.  

 

Christen fully understood that Tobin should still feel a little badly her relationship just ended.   I can’t expect her to open up right away. Still, she made sure that she made her intentions and her feelings very transparent to Tobin.

Good morning!

 

We walked through some of the nicer neighborhoods today.  I was able to speak to some of the boys and girls who are able to play organized soccer and pick their brains about the things they like and dislike.  I hope that I’ll be able to take some of their ideas and translate them to the kids in the poorer neighborhoods here.

 

I’m ready to get back in a few days even though this is just the most incredible place and feeling.  I wish I was able to see you right away but I’m happy you’ll get to see your family for Thanksgiving.  Miss you, can’t wait to be with you in Hawaii and finally have some time together.  

 

Christen xx

 

She hit send, knowing it could be hours before she got a response.  Tobin was in Manhattan Beach with Kelley for a few days to relax and train before going back to Portland then to the East coast for Thanksgiving.  She finished getting herself ready to head out for dinner when she heard a ding come from her laptop.




Good evening! (I finally figured out the time difference)

 

So cool.  Sounds like a good day. Pictures are awesome!!! Just going to train for a bit this morning with Kel before we head to the beach for a little.  I leave tomorrow to go back to Portland since she’s going to Georgia for Thanksgiving.

 

I had to let it slip to someone else about us.  I already knew Kelley figured out we both liked each other so I just ended up telling her about us last night.  Hope you’re not mad :)   

 

10 more days……..!!!

 

Tobin



Us. I love the sound of that.  Christen smiled at the countdown Tobin had clearly put together.  10 more days and we’ll finally be able to be together.

 

……………………………………………...

 

Kelley had cornered Tobin immediately when walked into the Manhattan beach apartment.  

 

I can’t believe you didn’t call or text me sooner about this.  Was the breakup awful?  How’d Shirley take it? Does Christen know?”

 

Tobin tried to weave around her.  “Yo calm down. You were too busy going through your own thing and I wasn’t going to send out like a PSA or anything.”

 

In the past few weeks, Kelley and her girlfriend had broken up, too.  She knew Kelley was still upset about it and she had offered to take a few days to visit since she wasn’t doing anything anyway.  That’s when she told Kelley what had happened in Paris, but let her know she’d explain more in person.

 

“I’m actually surprised you didn’t hear it when you all were together last week. Ali, Kling and HAO knew.”  

 

Kelley shook her head.  “Nah, no one said anything.  Maybe they just figured you should be the one to tell people.”

 

“If that’s the case, then good.  I don’t like the drama.”

 

Kelley smirked.  “So there’s drama huh.  I asked you, does Christen know?”

 

Tobin contemplated avoiding the question, but knew Kelley would be on her especially after she had warned Tobin about playing with Christen’s feelings.  Figuring the cat would be out of the bag once they got to Hawaii, she gave in.

 

“Yeah. She knows.  She knew it was going to happen before I went.  We talked about it a little.”

 

“Ooooohhhhh reeeaaaaaaalllllly.”  Kelley was all but jumping up and down.  “And so did you talk to her after you got back?”

 

She smiled. “Yeah, I’ve talked to her every day.”

 

“Oh my God this is so great.”  

 

Tobin blushed.  “I haven’t been able to see her, but I think when we get to Hawaii we’ll maybe figure things out.”

 

She saw Kelley’s face fall a little.  “You think? Maybe? You haven’t made plans?”

 

“Well no. I mean we said we would, but nothing definite yet.”  

 

“Ok well let’s come up with something.  Take control, you know she’s into you but you on the other hand just broke up with someone.  You gotta show her you’re serious.  You are aren’t you?”

 

She took a second to think to herself.  “Yeah, I really like her.”

 

Kelley slapped her shoulder.  “Alright then, let’s make it happen.  Maybe you could find time to go to dinner just the two of you.  Or on the first day when we have some free time go out and do some sightseeing.  You can’t just hang out at the hotel because then it won’t be like ‘a date’.  Take her on actual date and see what happens.”

 

Tobin let Kelley’s suggestion process. “Yeah.”  She started to think.  “I’m gonna see my friends who live there too so maybe I can bring her along with me.”

 

Frowning, Kelley said “That’s not a date.”

 

“I know, I’m just saying it’s something we can do during the week.  I think I’ll ask if she wants to go to dinner and then maybe we can shop.  She has pretty good taste and I still need some stuff for my apartment.  It’ll be casual but we’ll get time alone.  

 

Kelley’s smiled returned.  “Now that can be a date.  C’mon let’s open this bottle of wine and go outside.”

 

A real date.



……………………………………………

 

Tobin exited the airport in Hawaii, already feeling the abundant sunshine on her face.  The last few days and crept by, probably because this was the day she was anticipating.  Christen wouldn’t arrive until later in the day and they’d have to go to evening training to get their legs loose after the long flight.  Some of the girls had already been in Hawaii for a day or two so at the hotel there wasn’t a large crowd of people convening when she walked in.  

 

She found the team representative in the lobby to get her room assignment and roommate.  Kelley.   Well at least she knows I’m supposed to be spending time with Christen so I won’t have to sneak around. Then she realized she actually didn’t care.  She liked Christen and it was nothing to be embarrassed about or hide.  In fact, of the people who already knew, the responses were really positive and supportive.

 

I should do something special for when Christen gets here.   Upstairs in their room, Kelley was hanging up bathing suits that she had used when she was out with some of the other girls.  Moe’s sister lived in Hawaii and taken them to the beach where she frequents for an afternoon in the sun.  Tobin took out her phone to text her own friend, wanting to map out a plan for when they would see each other.  She wanted to make sure she had enough time to ask Christen out so she made it clear it was a date and not just a casual thing.  Her friend was quick to reply, asking if she wanted to get together the following evening for dinner after work.   Actually, that’s a not a bad idea.  Christen and I can go out the night after that when we’re all settled in and not feeling the jet-lag as much.  

 

“Did you ask her to go out one of these nights yet?” Kelley called from inside the bathroom.

 

“Trying to figure it out right now.  We’re supposed to go to Pearl Harbor in two days so maybe after that? We can sneak out from there.”

 

Waiting for Christen to arrive felt like eternity.  She got a text from her when she landed and listened to every sound outside the door to see if it was her.  

 

A light rap at the door made her heart rate spike.  Before she could jump off her bed to open it - which was very unlike Tobin who was usually cool and calm as a cucumber - Kelley got to the door.  They had been unpacking and listening to music, watching the gorgeous sunset and illumintation from their balcony.  

 

“Chrriiiiisten, allllooooooohhhhhaaaaaaa.”  Tobin moved to see past Kelley, noticing the lei around Christen’s neck presumably from the airport.  

 

A mega-watt smile found her eyes as Christen barreled past Kelley towards Tobin.  A little leap and her arms were around Tobin.  Tobin buried her face into Christen’s neck, her own arms holding tightly to her back.  

 

“Looks like you’re about to get lei’d for the second time today.”

 

Shooting a glare at Kelley, whispered into Christen’s hair.  “I’m so happy you’re here.”   

 

“Ok I’ll leave you two for a little to, ya know, get reacquainted. Just not on my bed please.”

 

“Shut up, Kelley.”

 

They were alone.  Together and finally alone.  Their fingers interlocked, they found a seat on Tobin’s bed.  

 

“I think we should sit on Kelley’s bed just to piss her off,” Christen joked.  

 

Tobin smiled back at her.  “We’ll wait til we hear her coming back just so she thinks we did.”  She studied Christen’s fresh face and the way the light hit her hair.  Her eyes looked so pure and calm and they were were looking back into hers.  

 

She didn’t want to wait any longer.  She had to touch her, feel her and taste her.  Her eyes roamed over Christen’s lips, trying to warn her what she was about to do. Instead it was Christen who came to her.  It felt like an electric shock going through her body.  The floodgates were open and she didn’t want it to stop.  There was no lack of passion as their tongues clashed over each other.  Tobin found Christen’s bottom lip and gave it a quick nibble.  Christen groaned at the sensation, pulling her in closer.  She put her hands back on Christen, trying to remain PG for now, but felt her fingers slipping lower and lower.  

 

“Tobin…”  

 

She pulled away.  “What’s wrong?  Is this okay?  I’m sorry.”

 

Christen giggled.  “Of course it’s ok, I think I was the one who kissed you.  We said slow, just stopping myself before I went too fast for you.”

 

She’s perfect.   “Yeah, yeah.  No, I mean it’s good.  I’m  more than okay with it..”  She leaned back in to give her a small peck on the lips. “I’m happy to see you.”   

 

“As much as I want to do this all night with you, I should go back to my room and unpack..  Do you wanna come with me?  Or I can come back in a little bit when I’m all finished and we can pick this up again?”

 

Tobin agreed to go up with Christen to her room to keep her company while she organized her stuff.  She watched her sway in front her gesturing while she talked about someone who entertained her on her flight.  Tobin didn’t hear a word she said.  She was drowned by the vision in front of her, already addicted to the taste and feeling Christen had given her.

 

Christen opened the door to her room she was sharing with Kling, Tobin pulled it closed quickly and pushed Christen up against the side wall.

 

“Tobin, I-”

 

Her mouth was overtop of Christen’s so quickly she couldn’t finish what she was about to say.  Her hands found their way to Christen’s back side, gripping it tightly.  Suddenly she pulled at her, lifting her up just an inch off the ground.  Christen helped her out and jumped to wrap her legs around Tobin’s waist, letting her arms dangle over her shoulders.   Oh my God, I want her right now.   She moved one hand to support Christen’s back and neck walking slowly over to a bed.  She laid her down gently, legs still wrapped around her own waist, watching her uneven breathing as she looked down on her.  Grabbing at Tobin’s shirt, Christen smiled.  Tobin knelt down, kissing her again.  She opened her mouth to let her tongue slide over Christen’s, tasting the simple sweetness of her.  She broke the kiss in order to move down her jaw and onto her neck.  She felt Christen’s chest rise.

 

Christen’s hands worked through the loose strands of Tobin’s hair.  Wrapping it around her wrist, she slightly jerked Tobin’s head up so their eyes met.  A slow smile spread across Tobin’s face.  She moved to the other side of Christen’s neck, gently sucking and grazing her teeth over inch of skin she could find.  Unsure how far she should she could at this point, she tested the waters.  Moving down Christen’s neck, her lips moved their way to the base of her throat.  She rubbed the tip of her nose to the top of Christen’s v-neck t-shirt, which didn’t show any cleavage but Tobin knew it wasn’t far away.  Christen got the hint and readily accepted what Tobin was saying.  She started to pull the bottom of her shirt up when a loud bang outside of the door stopped her.

 

Tobin jumped up and off of Christen, almost falling backwards into the bed opposite of her.  Christen sat up, now sitting stiffly on the the edge of the bed just as the door started to open.  Kling walked in with a case full of water bottles.  

 

“This thing weighs more than me.”  

 

It had to be slightly obvious something was going on, because Kling stopped in the path she had been walking.  Her eyes darted between the two girls sitting opposite of each other with no t.v., no conversation and Christen looking slightly disheveled.  

 

“Hey Tobin.”

 

“Yo Kling what’s up?”

 

“When did you get here?”

 

Tobin tried her best to play it cool.  “Earlier this evening but I, uh, saw Chris and offered to help her get settled before we head out to training.”

 

“We just have a meeting tonight, change of plans.”

 

Christen interrupted, “See, Tobin?  I was right.  I was just trying to tell her that when you came in but she was arguing with me.”  Tobin winked at her, knowing Kling couldn’t see her face.   Nice try.

 

Ok...anyway when you two are done doing whatever you’re really doing meeting is downstairs in the conference room.”  Kling spun around and left the waters sitting on top of the kitchenette refrigerator.  

 

When the door shut safely behind her, both girls silently laughed and smiled at each other. “We were not very smooth,” Christen said.

 

“This is gonna be a lot harder than we thought,” Tobin agreed.

 

They sat staring at each other for a few moments, both contemplating what to do next even though there was clear thing they wanted to do.

 

“Maybe…” Tobin started.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Maybe we don’t need to be like hush hush about it.  I mean some people already know so you know it’s gonna spread eventually.  Would you care if people knew?” Should we care?

 

Christen’s lips turned up into a small smile she was clearly trying to stiffle.  Looking like she was really considering what Tobin had asked, she eventually said “No, I’m ok if people know.”  

 

“Good.  Ok.  So we just kind of do our thing and if people ask we’ll tell them we’re getting to know each other?”

 

“We already know each other, Tobin.  We could say we realized we like each other more than friends and we’re seeing where it goes?”

 

Tobin nodded.  “I like that.  It’s the truth, right?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Settled then.  Alright finish up what you were doing so we can go down to the meeting.”  She rose off the bed she was sitting on.

 

“Wait you mean like...taking off my shirt for you?”  Christen was sincerely confused.

 

“As much as I wish for that, no.  I meant unpacking or whatever.”  Tobin was also very sincere with her wording.

 

“Oh I’m fine, I’ll do it later.”


“Alright then let’s go down.”  Tobin left the room first, waiting for Christen to follow in her footsteps.  Once outside the room and walking down the hallway, she felt Christen’s fingers ghost over hers.  Grabbing them and intertwining her own, Tobin said “We could just walk into the meeting like this, then we wouldn’t have to say a word.”

Chapter Text

 

“As much of a celebration as this is, we are only eight months out now from the Olympics.  I want to really start piecing together the puzzle as to what we need to do to improve and working as a unit on connecting in the final third against teams who will pressure us a little more.”   

 

The meeting turned out to be a presentation of framework for the next 4 games.  It was all leading up to Abby’s retirement send-off so much of the focus had been on that instead of the next three games.

 

“I understand we’re in Hawaii and it’s gorgeous and Trinidad and Tobago isn’t the fiercest of competitors, but we still have a job to do.  I’m constantly evaluating each of you and that’s something you should keep in mind as we finish out the year.  End on a good note so we can head into January camp with some fire and positivity.”

 

Christen and Tobin had walked into the meeting together, but no one really noticed.  They broke their hands apart as they got off the elevator and moved across the lobby, as to not shock anyone quite yet.  Christen spotted JJ sitting by herself in a chair, texting, so she gave Tobin an asking look.  Tobin nodded back at he to say go ahead and they separated.  As she sat down she tracked Tobin moving to sit with Amy and a few others across the aisle.  

 

During the meeting she was trying her best to focus.  She knew her position on this team was not safe by any means as her playing time had dwindled throughout the years.  It was her resolution to make herself better and improve the areas of her game that Jill wanted to incorporate into the big picture.   Christen’s thoughts became sidetracked as she replayed what had happened in her hotel room earlier.   We almost were caught. If it were even just a minute later…. She thought about what would have been happening between them if they stayed on the path they were heading.   Too soon.  It’s too soon to do anything like that with Tobin.  Her body told her it wasn’t too soon, but her head had already thrown up the red flag.  

 

It was a big step to even be considering to date a teammate like this.  Sure, Ashlyn and Ali managed to make it work but there were so many risks involved. What if we decided we really didn’t like each other?  What if we broke up?  What if our coaches didn’t like it?   Christen shifted uneasily in her chair.  She was starting to panic, thinking of all the horrible possibilities.  JJ looked out of the corner of her eye at her, checking to see what the movement was about.  

 

“Sorry.”  

 

She did a casual glance around the room to see if anyone else was as distracted as her when her eyes landed at a pair looking right back at hers from across the room.  Tobin gave her a small smile and her hands in her lap gestured like she was texting.  Confused, Christen cocked her head to the side.  

 

“Phone”  Tobin mouthed.

 

Christen discreetly pulled hers from her  zip-up sweatshirt pocket.  She saw Tobin had texted her.

 

Tobin: Pay Attention.  

 

Typing one letter at a time so she wouldn’t get caught, Christen sent one back.

 

Christen: Can’t. Distracted.

 

Tobin: I’ll distract you later. Pay attention now.

 

Christen slid her phone back in her pocket.   I’ll have to talk to her about taking things slow physically, too.  I don’t wanna mess this up.

 

By the time the meeting was over, it was getting pretty late.  She felt exhausted and wanted to get a good night’s sleep before training tomorrow.  Clusters of girls roamed the hallway of the floor the team was staying on, some watching tv, some gorging on food from the vending machines.  Christen made her way to Tobin and Kelley’s room where she only found Kelley.  

 

“Hey.  Where’d Tobin go?”

 

“Can’t get enough already, huh?  She said something about  going to your room I thought.”

 

Christen hadn’t passed her in the hallway, so she was certain that couldn’t have been true.  

 

“Hm.  I didn’t see her.  Alright, well I’m off to bed Kel.  Night.”

 

“Alright, see ya.”  Kelley turned back around to finish typing whatever she was working on at her laptop.  

 

Christen stepped out into the hallway and started down towards her room.  As she got closer, she hear laughing inside the room, both very distinct in character.

 

The door was open and inside sat Kling and Tobin on opposite beds watching something clearly amusing on tv.

 

Tobin’s face lit up at seeing Christen walk in.  “There you are.”

 

Christen wasn’t sure how they didn’t see each other previously, but eyeing three coffees on the nightstand, she figured out Tobin had made a coffee run to the lobby first.

 

Following Christen’s eyes to the nightstand, she confirmed her suspicions.  “I got coffee.  Decaf don’t worry.  Want one?”

 

“Absolutely.  Christen strolled over to see which type she wanted before offering one to Kling, who accepted one as well.  She faced the tv they were watching but at the moment felt she didn’t know what her next step would be.   Do I stand here?  DO I sit in the chair?  Do I just get into my bed where Tobin is?  

 

“Here, I’ll move over.”  Tobin patted the space next to her on the bed.  She didn’t hesitate to fill it, knowing it was Tobin’s idea.  The three girls watched the football game that was on tv, but Christen wasn’t really interested.  Her heart was beating slightly quicker, feeling the tension coming from Tobin. Every little move of a finger or graze of legs made her ache to be touched more.  

 

“Do you two need me to leave?”

 

Kling looked straight forward at the tv, stone cold serious face.  

 

Christen looked over at Tobin and they grinned at each other.  “No, we’re fine,” Tobin said.  Truth was Christen had hoped she said yes.  “Guess we need to add one more person to the list who knows,” Christen whispered.

 

“I’m pretty sure everyone knows with the way you two are looking at each other, texting during meetings and oh yeah you were making out when I walked in earlier.”  Tobin couldn’t stop smiling while Christen’s mouth dropped.

 

“How did you know?” she squealed.  

 

“Uh I’m not blind and I’m pretty sure I could hear you before I even opened the door.”  Kling’s tone was unrecognizable.  Is she mad about this or something?   “And….Kelley is telling people.”  

 

Tobin sat up a little straighter.  “I guess that means we don’t have to tell people then?  We can just let Kelley do it for us.”

 

“Well I would have LIKED to hear it from you guys.” Kling said with a hint of dramatics to her voice.

 

“I’m sorry Meg, this is all so new and weren’t sure how or when we were going to tell people.  Kelley figured it out along the way.” Christen was sincere and hoped Kling would accept her explanation.  

 

“Yeah, yeah.  So do you need me to leave?”  

 

Tobin’s eyes stayed focused on Christen’s as she answered the question again.  “No, we’ll behave...for now.”

 

…………………………………………………………………..

 

Tobin wandered back to her own room for the night, knowing how tired Christen was.  She was adorable when she was tired; little yawns that stretched out her face, eyes tightly closed.  She felt her nuzzing into her just under her armpit.  Tobin laced her arm around Christen, stroking the length of arm gently.   She thought Christen was nodding off as she and Kling continued their conversation about the game they were watching.

 

“I should go,” she whispered to Christen.  “I’ll let you sleep and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

 

Christen’s eyes fluttered open, trying to focus in order to see Tobin looking down at her.  “Mmm. Don’t go.” Maybe I can just stay in here tonight. No, I shouldn’t.  Not yet.

 

Tobin lifted herself from the bed, gently removing her arm from around Christen.  She pulled the blanket back up overtop of her as she watched Christen roll to her stomach.  

 

“See you tomorrow Kling.”

 

“See ya later.”

 

Back in her room, she and Kelley weren’t quite ready for bed so they sat outside in the dark on the balcony, looking at the lights illuminating the beach and mountains in the background.

 

“Yo this is so sweet.”  Tobin pulled out her phone to take a picture.

 

“Send it to me, I’m gonna post it.”  Kelley said.

 

“Take your own.”

 

Kelley was scheduled to go surfing and sea diving in the afternoon tomorrow, but Tobin thought she’d like to spend more time with Christen if possible.  

 

“You sure you don’t wanna come?”  

 

“Nah I think I’ll just hang around tomorrow after training.  Maybe hit the beach here instead,” Tobin insisted.  She had started to formulate a plan in her head to ask Christen on a real date.  She needed the help of her friend tomorrow night to make some restaurant recommendations, but that would be the easy enough. It was the part of mustering the courage to make it clear it was a date without being too cheesy or immature.  Flowers and a note?  Something simple.  She’d probably like that.  

 

Tobin talked through her idea with Kelley who was on board.  “Yeah I’m sure the concierge downstairs can do the delivery.  Or do you wanna give it to her yourself?”  

 

She thought about it, going back and forth.  “No, I think I want her to be surprised, so I’ll have it delivered.”  Tobin felt content with her decision and turned her attention to Kelley.  “How have you been feeling?  You good?”  Kelley smiled. “Yeah, I’m okay.  It’s getting better,” she assured her, Coldplay playing in the background.   Up and Up.. exactly.

 

………………………………………………..

 

Training the next morning was a little rough.  The turf was horrible and the jet lag had settled in.  It was a light morning, but it didn’t feel like it.  Getting touches on the ball here and there, Tobin’s legs begged for it to end.  Her mind also wanted it over so she could continue focusing on her new favorite thing: Christen.  The sun bore down on them all, producing beats of sweat and perspiration up and down their legs and necks.  I can’t look at her like this, it makes me want to put my mouth on her and trail it up her toes to her thighs and into….. Getting a visual in her head, Tobin poured a water bottle over her head and down her neck.  Calm down, stop.  

 

She hated to admit it but the same thoughts kept her up last night.  She was a pile of sexual frustration by the time morning came.  Normally she’d need a few alarms and hits at the snooze button, but she was wide awake by 7.  She decided it was better to get the flowers ordered first thing so she wouldn’t be caught or teased by anyone so she quietly crept out of bed and down to the lobby after brushing her teeth.  

 

“Ok so that’ll be $65.95 and delivery will be between 2-4 pm this afternoon,” the person over the phone told her.  

 

Tobin pulled out her debit card to read off the information to the worker.  Before hanging up, she stopped and asked if it was possible to leave a card at the front desk to place in with the flowers.  Slightly embarrassed to have to say what she wanted to the person on the other end, she figured it would also be more meaningful to hand write the note to Christen.   When they said it was okay, she told them she’d leave it at the front next desk for them.

 

Searching for something nice enough to write on, she came across some of her teammates heading outside to get some morning stretches and a work out in.

 

“TOBS, whatcha doin’ up already?  Wanna workout with us?”  Crystal and Ali offered to wait for her.

 

“Nah I’m good.  I’ll catch up with you later.”  Before anyone could ask her any questions, she turned around and moved quickly to the bank of elevators.   There’s pen and paper in our room. I’ll just have to make do with that.  As the elevator doors open, she lurched forward, hoping to get up there quickly.  What she hadn’t counted on was someone moving towards her out of the elevator with the same quick pace.   WHAT THE FU-.   She felt a scolding hot sensation trickling down the front of her shirt, her hands and everywhere in between. The figure it front of her was most familiar as they apologized profusely.

 

“Tobin I am so sorry, I didn’t see you.  Are you ok? I’m SO sorry.”  Christen tried using her own hand to wipe off the liquid streaming all over Tobin.  

 

“Yeah, it’s fine.  Just a little hot.” She didn’t want to make Christen feel bad, but it actually really hurt, especially what was lodged in between her sports bra.  

 

“I went to your room with coffee but when Kelley answered and you weren’t there, I thought maybe you’d come down to the beach.  I wanted to get it to you while it was still hot.”

 

Tobin smiled at the irony.  “Technically I do have it and it’s definitely hot.”

 

Christen didn’t find the humor comforting.  Her face of porcelin looked fragile and uneasy.  Tobin picked up the remainder of the Starbucks cups from where Christen had placed them and took a drink from one.  “See? Still hot, still good.  But now I need a shower before training.  Come up and finish your coffee with me.   I’ll finish the note later.

 

They rode in silence back upstairs to their designated floor.  Entering Tobin’s shared room, Kelley looked her up and down.

 

“What happened to you?”  

 

“Just a minor mishap.”

 

Kelley looked past Tobin to Christen, who looked guilty.  “You’re supposed to have her drink the coffee, not throw it on her.  See when you like somebody you do nice things for them, not mean things.”  The humor still wasn’t helping.  Tobin could see Christen tense up, visibly upset at what had happened.  

 

She put her arm around her, pulling her into a side-hug.  “It’s not big deal.  It was a nice gesture.  And now it gives me an excuse to invite you into the shower with me.”  She wasn’t sure whose jaw dropped first or further - Christen’s or Kelley’s.  “Guys, I’m kidding, relax.”  Tobin pulled over the shirt she was wearing to reveal a heather gray Nike sports bra.  Luckily she had one on this morning because more often than not, she chose not to wear one to bed. “But if you want to come in and keep me company, that’s fine too.”  Before Christen had time to react, she clarified her statement.  “I mean sit outside the shower while I’m there.”

 

The tension in Christen’s body language slowly melted away.  Her eyes however could have burned a hole right through Tobin.   I wonder if I have the same effect on her as she does on me.  Testing her hypothesis further, she turned to open the bathroom door, shimmying out of her sweatpants to reveal a simple cotton pair of underwear.  Looking back, she saw Christen finally had a smirk on her face.   Oh yes...she’s definitely affected.   It was somewhat unusual for Tobin to do something like this.  She had been in and out of locker rooms all her life and in relationships, but this was...different.  She dressed conservatively, didn’t show off her body on purpose.  But right now, that’s all she wanted to do - to tempt Christen into touching her.

 

She turned on the water, making sure it was just the right temperature before she pulled her bra off and let it fall  to the floor beside her. Her back was now to Christen, so she couldn’t see the reaction.  Trying to save something for the imagination, she left her underwear on as she stepped inside the shower. She pulled them down to her ankles and then dangled them over the top of the shower, dropping it.  

 

Christen hadn’t said a word, but she heard her sit down on top of the toilet seat. Tobin drenched herself under the water, feeling it move over top of her.  Closing her eyes, she pictured the girl on the other side of the curtain and what it would take to get her in the shower with her.   Probably too fast, don’t scare her off.  She peeked around the corner of one curtain.  “Still here?”

 

Christen smiled up at her.  “I’m here.”

 

Tobin showered mostly in silence, except for humming here and there.  It felt a little awkward to make small talk as she was naked and Christen was a few feet away.  When she was done she reached out to grab the hotel towel.  There wasn’t one waiting for her.  “Shoot, Chris?  Can you hand me a towel?  Silence.  “Chris?”

 

Tobin stuck her head out to see the dark haired girl standing in the open door frame holding a towel with her fingertips with a sly look on her face.

 

“Oh come on! It’s getting cold!”  

 

“Oh no,” Christen replied.  “I know exactly what you were doing when you got into that shower.  Tease me and I’ll tease you right back.”  It was going to be a standoff.

 

“What do I have to do get it?”  Tobin would play her game, no problem.  

 

Christen tapped her chin, pretending to think.  “You let me look, but you didn’t let me touch.  I want to touch.”

 

The joking evaporated quickly.  Tobin wanted to rip open the curtain and let Christen look, touch - whatever she wanted to do to her body.  She also knew how quickly things could escalate and reminded herself that despite being adults this was all new to them.  “Come here.”  

 

Sauntering towards her, Christen opened the towel, covering her view of Tobin as she opened the curtain and stepped out.  Christen wrapped the thick material around her body and Tobin pulled her in closely.  The stood momentarily with their arms wrapped around each other before Tobin took a step back to readjust the towel.  Christen’s eyes were glued to her body, most likely hoping to catch a glimpse of what was underneath.  When she was settled, Tobin threw her hands up to show they were empty.  “Now I can use these.”  

 

Tobin reached for Christen’s chin, tilting her own head to the side to place a light kiss on top of her lips.   She’s warm.   Christen met her contact and opened her mouth a little wider, inviting Tobin to go deeper.  The feeling made the hair on Tobin’s arms rise and suddenly she pressed her whole body into Christen.  As Christen threw her arms around Tobin’s neck, they moved backwards in sync into the bedroom area.  Kelley had vacated the room, probably sensing what was going to happen.  Christen took Tobin by surprise, pushing her back onto Kelley’s bed.  The look between them was smoldering; it was clear how badly they wanted each other.  Christen pushed her knee between Tobin’s legs as she put her hands on either side of her torso.  Tobin laid flat, looking up with a mix of desire and admiration. She’s so sexy.

 

“So now I can touch?”  Christen hadn’t waited for Tobin to answer her question.  One set of  fingertips ran down Tobin’s exposed thighs.  When they started their way back up, Tobin felt an immediate rush and pulsating between her legs.  Sitting up on her elbows, she tracked Christen’s fingers movement.   She swallowed a lump in her throat and dipped her head backwards; the sight was so stimulating and turned her on.  Christen’s mouth found her exposed neck, her warm breath covering it.  She felt Christen move her other hand to the top of the towel covering her. They dipped just below where it was tucked, grazing the top of Tobin’s cleavage.

 

“Chris?”

 

“Hmmm.” Her mouth was still working on Tobin’s neck.

 

“We should…..we should……”

 

It was hard to form a thought, let alone a sentence with her body in overdrive.  

 

Christen pulled back slightly, finding Tobin’s eyes.  “What’s wrong?” she asked.

 

“This feels so good.  God I want you.  Tobin lunged at Christen’s swollen lips for a brief moment before pulling back again.  “We just should slow down.  I don’t want to do anything you’ll regret tomorrow.”

 

Christen rolled to Tobin’s side.  “I know what you mean.”   Good we’re on the same page.

 

“Yeah I mean we should just wait a little bit before we….do any of that.”

 

She was met with agreement again.  “I think that’s smart.”  She looked at Tobin. “Thanks.  It actually means a lot that you’re taking this seriously.”  Her hands gestured between them as she talked.

 

Smiling at her, Tobin pushed Christen’s stray hairs back. “I am.  I’m also seriously turned on by you right now.” She placed a kiss on Christen’s cheek.  “Now go and let me change before I come to my senses and rip both of our clothes off and make poor decisions.”

 

Christen reluctantly crawled off the bed and out of the room.  Before the door was even completely shut, Tobin had the pen and notepad in her hand.  She knew exactly what she would write now.


………………………………………………………………...

Chapter Text

 

Christen walked back into her own room to get ready for the morning she had ahead of her.  SIlently though, she cursed herself for going too far with Tobin so quickly.  It was clear Tobin wasn’t quite ready for what was about to happen since she pulled herself back.   She did just get out of a relationship, she might need some time.   She pushed open the door to her room, finding it empty.  Maybe I’ll get a shower too before training.  No, just wait until after.

 

She dressed in her gear and packed her bag so she’d be ready to leave in a short bit.  It wasn’t long before she heard her stomach rumbling .  I skipped breakfast.  It was worth it… A hint of a smile spread across her face as she imagined Tobin spread out in front of her, nothing on but a towel and bare skin underneath.   We should sit down and actually talk about maybe some guidelines for this.  All we’ve managed to do is go at each other like a couple of teenagers.  We need to get out of the hotel and spend some time with each other, like a date. She wants that, right?  She said she was taking it seriously.  Christen convinced herself to ask Tobin to go to dinner tonight, just the two of them.  That way she could start the conversation about how she felt and what she wanted from Tobin.  This time, unlike when they went for coffee back and she lost every thought that she had written down, she would speak up to let Tobin know her feelings.  

 

She made her way downstairs with her gear in tow.  Looking across the lobby the first person she saw was Tobin.   She’s everywhere.   Studying her momentarily, she could see Tobin holding something and explaining it to the person at the front desk.   What is she doing?  Tobin must have completed the conversation because she stuck out her hand to the man’s and turned to walk to the doors.  Unseen, Christen slipped stealthily across the front desk.

 

“Hi, uh, can I have some extra towels in room 808?”  Her neck was craning to see what was laid down on the  desk.  It was an upside down envelope, opened.   Probably just a card or mail she forgot she needed sent out.   Christen sheepishly moved outside and onto the bus, somewhat disappointed in herself that she felt the need to follow Tobin’s every move. As she moved past the aisle where Alex was sitting in the window and Tobin was in the aisle, she felt something grab her hand.  A tight squeeze held it for a second and it dropped, she found herself blushing right in front of everyone to see.

 

Training had been a fun one, even though it was still pretty light.  Sweat poured down her back, making her legs glisten in the Hawaiian sun.  Once in a while, she felt as though she was being watched.  Trying to locate the source of her uneasiness, she found Tobin scanning her entire body.  Christen considered giving her a flash of what she wanted to see, but thought it’d be better to wait until they were alone with no witnesses.  When training had ended right before lunch, she texted Tobin asking if she wanted to go to dinner tonight.  Better ask her now before she makes plans with Kel or something.



Christen:  Dinner tonight?

 

Tobin: I can’t tonight. I’m seeing my friend who lives here :(

 

Christen: No problem!

 

Her heart sank a little bit.  

 

Tobin: Want to hit the beach this afternoon for a little before I meet her?

 

Just like that, her heart was firmly back up and in place.

 

Christen: Yeah after lunch I just need to shower and then we can go. I’m gross.

 

Tobin: Maybe I’ll keep the towels from you this time and no you aren’t. I can’t stop staring.

 

Christen couldn’t wait to get back on the bus and to the hotel.  The sooner she did, the sooner she’d be able to spend more time with Tobin.  It was like a drug at this point; one she was addicted to.  The worst part of it, they hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of their relationship.  After team lunch, she was tucked safely back in her room and raced Kling to the shower.  “Sorry, I’m just really gross,” she offered.  

 

When she was finally ready she texted Tobin who already informed her she was on the beach and waiting patiently for her. Christen walked slowly outside, scanning the pool deck.  JJ waved her over to where she and Crystal were hanging out.  “Hey girl wanna lay out with us?”

 

“Oh I was going to meet Tobin on the beach but I’ll catch up with you a little later?”

 

JJ and Crystal shared a knowing look.  Christen caught it immediately.  “What?  What was that?”

 

Crystal snickered a little.  “Already attached at the hip, huh?”  She rolle her eyes in response.  “No, we’re not.  We haven’t even really spent any time together.”  She felt a little defensive now, having to provide a reason for her agenda.

 

“It’s okay Christen,” JJ said softly.  “We understand.”

 

Gaining the approval of her friends, she pulled her sunglasses down and found the edge of the beach.  Tobin wasn’t hard to spot, sitting up on a towel with a snapback in place and watching the surfers.  Christen knew Tobin probably preferred to be in the water than watching, but she had made the choice to stay here with her instead.  

 

“Hi.”

 

Tobin looked up through her sunglasses at Christen, giving her a once over.  “Hey.  Sit down.”  

 

Christen laid out her own towel and plopped her bag safely on top.  It was hot but she felt awkward stripping down right away when Tobin still had on a pair of shorts and loose tank top.  “It’s beautiful out here.”

 

“Mmm.  The water is so blue.  The people who live here are so lucky; they do this everyday.”  Tobin’s eyes didn’t leave the water when she spoke.   She’s adorable. She’s so into this.   A half hour passed before Christen couldn’t take it anymore.  She reached to pull her shirt off, revealing her bikini top.  The action made Tobin finally break eye contact with the view ahead.  Christen felt her eyes moving over her skin as she rubbed suntan lotion down her arms, thoroughly and some sensually. Tobin rolled onto her stomach, scooting back so she could keep Christen’s body in her sight.    “Do you want to get in the water with me?”

 

Christen hadn’t actually planned on getting the water anytime soon.  She was more of a lay-out-and-read type of girl when it came to the beach.  Not wanting to turn Tobin down, she accepted and stood to remove the shorts she had on.  Tobin did the same and bent over to throw her hair up into a messy bun.  They stood standing adjacent, taking in each other’s long and lean legs, mounts of cleavage peeking from their bikini tops, sculpted abdomens.

 

“Too bad this is a public beach,” Tobin breathed.  

 

“We don’t have to stay in public long,” Christen retorted.  

 

The water was warm but refreshing.  Little schools of fish were at the shore break, swimming at their feet.  Waves crashed around them as the treaded deeper into the water.  Finally finding a spot that was out of harms way from surfers, they bobbed up and down as they talked.  

 

“So you’re excited to see your friend?”

 

Tobin gushed.  “Oh yeah.  She’s been a family friend for years and since they moved out here we hardly get to see them.  It’ll be good to catch up with her.  I was kind of hoping she’d show me some good spots around here.”

 

Christen paused before bringing up what she really wanted to talk about.   Just say it. You’re allowed to tell her now how you feel.   “I know we can’t tonight, but I would love if we could still go to dinner together soon.”

 

Tobin kicked a little closer to her.  She reached out and arm underneath of the water  and pulled her in.  “We will.  I promise we will.”  It felt like final statement, one that wasn’t going to be discussed further right now.  Floating together, Christen pressed her lips against Tobin’s swiftly.  “Sorry, I had to.”  She was met with an eyeful of teeth as Tobin beamed back at her.  Under the water she felt Tobin’s hand slide lower on her back, brushing over her bottom.  “Had to.”  No one could see what they were doing from the beach, it was a moment that was theirs to be playful while still knowing neither of them could cross the line they had set earlier in the hotel room.  Christen moved her own fingers to trace the top of Tobin’s bikini bottom.  The gesture set Tobin’s eyes on fire. “Didn’t you say something about not having to stay too long?” she murmured.  

 

Smiling, Christen moved Tobin’s hand from her backside and dipped under the water.  “Ok, I’ve swam, I’ve seen the beach and now I’m ready to go.”  Tobin’s eyes lit up in delight and they paddled back to shore.  Gathering their stuff sloppily, Christen wrapped a towel around her waist while Tobin threw on a tank top.  Walking quickly up the beach, Tobin steered towards the side of the hotel, opting for a different route inside. Christen fumbled with her bag, trying to find a hotel key to open the side entrance.  Once inside, Tobin grabbed the bag from her hands and threw it to the floor.  Pressed up against the wall, they were all mouths and hands.  It wasn’t picture perfect because neither could seem to slow down their pace.  Christen’s fingers found their way under Tobin’s tank top and under her bikini top.  Moaning into her mouth as she work her hands under the thin material, Christen cupped her hand around Tobin, massaging gently.  “Upstairs” Tobin pleaded frantically between kisses.  Taking the lead, Christen scooped up her belongings and yanked Tobin’s hand behind her.  Going slow was no longer an option; she didn’t care.  She trusted her body to know it felt right and this was more than anyone she had ever wanted.  

 

“Your room or mine?” Tobin asked as they leapt up the flights of steps.  Almost out of breath, Christen panted “Yours.”  

 

Tobin opened the door, looking around to make sure they were alone.  Kelley had gone out for the day so it was safe for now.  Not wasting any time, Christen watched Tobin toss aside the towel hanging from her hips and ripped off the tank top that was now blotchy from the saltwater.  Christen threw her things on the bed, mirroring Tobin’s actions.  Staring at each, Tobin asked “you’re okay with this?  Christen was sure she was.  “Are you?” she questioned back.  

 

The reaction from Tobin surprised her.  One moment she seemed to be burning a hole through her in desire.  Now, she looked unsure.  “Yes, I mean, no.  Well yes, I do want to do this.”  Christen took a step back.  The mood was killed on her end.  She could see Tobin seemed conflicted and couldn’t help but think it was because of her.   She doesn’t really want this. She’s not ready.

 

Tobin continued.  “I want to be all over you, in you actually, but I don’t want you think it’s all I want from you.”  Christen shook her head.  “I’m getting mixed messages here, Tobin.”  Closing the space between them, Tobin reached out her hands.  “I know, I’m sorry. I can’t help it, I have bad self control.”  

 

CLosing her eyes, Christen tried to clarify the comments she had heard.  “So I’m hearing is you’re saying you are unsure of us so you don’t want to go too far because it could be a mistake.”

 

Tobin touch Christen’s shoulders.  “NO! Not at all.  I’m saying that I really want this to work and I want to do it the right way.  I don’t think jumping into bed right away is the best way to begin a relationship.  And I can’t help myself every time I look at you, you’re all I want.  I have a hard time stopping myself.”

 

Christen was following every word and putting together what Tobin said.  “I see.”  

 

Wrapping her in her arms, Tobin sighed. “Talk to me.”  Christen didn’t know what to say.  One part of her was thrilled Tobin was considering a future together and the other part of her tried to talk herself off the ledge from thinking she was the reason Tobin halted their interaction.

 

“It’s just confusing.  I think I get and appreciate that you want to make sure it’s the right time, but part of me can’t help but think you’re just not ready for another relationship.”  Tobin pulled back to find Christen’s eyes.  Keeping them locked she reassured her, “this has nothing to do with that.  In fact, that’s why I want to pull back a little.  I don’t want you to think I’m moving too quickly because of that or that you’re just a ‘rebound’.”

 

Christen understood now.  “So maybe we set a timeline.  We wait a certain amount of time before any physical contact?” Tobin’s eyes were now filled with horror.  “No physical contact? She squeaked.  

 

Laughing, Christen shook her head.  “No, I mean I think what we’ve done so far is ok.  Clothes on, innocent stuff.  We are in camp too so we should probably wait until it’s over until we consider going any further.”

 

Looking relieved, Tobin agreed.  “You’re right.  I hadn’t even thought of that.”  They took a few moments to linger and hold onto each other.  Christen nuzzled herself into the crook of Tobin’s neck.  “So this is okay?”

 

She couldn’t see her but felt Tobin smile.  “Yeah, this is okay.”  Christen trailed light kisses up at down Tobin’s neck.  Tobin stooped down to find her mouth, kissing her with a different, slower sense of urgency.  It was pure and filled with what felt like love. “Chris?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“We should go back down to the beach or something.”  Christen agreed.  “Do you mind if I spend some time at the pool with JJ and Crystal?”  

 

Wildly nodding Tobin said, “of course. You don’t have to ask.  I’m gonna shower now and just hang out until I need to leave.  Be lazy for a little bit.”  It was only three thirty, but it made sense for Tobin to hang back.   

 

Christen gathered her things from the bed and looked back at Tobin.  “Have fun tonight if I don’t see you before you leave.”  Tobin gave her a sly smile.  “I’m sure I’ll hear from you.”  Unsure of why she said it the way she did, Christen ignored it and opened the door.  When she got down to the pool and found an empty chair to drag over beside Crystal, her phone rang.  In a little bit, she was about to realize just what Tobin had meant.

 

……………………………………………………………...



Tobin let her hair air dry as she paced through her hotel room.  She was going to be picked up by her friend around 4:30 to go to her house and then out for dinner.  It was almost  4 o’clock and the flowers and note she had written Christen had to be coming any minute.  She was particularly excited now since their conversation back in the hotel room.   I hope she’ll realize I mean what I said, it had nothing to do with getting into a new relationship or being unsure about her .

 

She picked an outfit and grabbed a sweater to put over top of her shirt.  The nights could get a little chilly in Hawaii this time of year, especially with the wind.  Tobin laid down on the bed, turning on the t.v. to see what could distract her for the next half an hour.  It was a beautiful day out and she felt guilty for spending time inside, but figured she’d have time the next few days.   She reflected on what she ended up writing on the note, anxious about its delivery any second.








Christen,  

 

I think I always knew we would end up here.  I’m asking you to take the first step with me this week.  Let’s make it a date on Thursday night, the first of too many to count.

 

Love,

Tobin

 

It was simple and honest; not too gushy but definitely forward enough. She didn’t like to admit it, but Tobin definitely had a romantic side to her.  She genuinely enjoyed doing things for others and making those she loved feel special.   Love?  Maybe? It’s not far off.  

 

By the time she was cruising down the highway in the passenger seat of her friend’s car, she hadn’t heard from Christen .  I hope they got there okay.   She didn’t want the thought of something bad to distract her from having a good time tonight.   You’ll hear from her later, don’t worry .  Her pep-talk must have not worked because part way through dinner her friend asked if she was ok.

 

“Yeah, good. This is really good steak.”

 

“Do you have to be back by a certain time?  You keep looking at your phone.”

 

She was truly apologetic.  It wasn’t like her to be attached to her phone.  She hated when others couldn’t pay attention to the things around them all because their eyes were glued to their devices. “I’m sorry.  I was waiting to hear from someone and I’m just surprised I haven’t.”  She was pressed for details  so she spilt them.  “It’s new but I’m starting to see someone I’ve been friends with for a long time.  I’ve always liked her but the timing seemed to be off.  It became really obvious a few months ago and I’m excited to see where it goes.”

 

Her friend matched Tobin’s excitement.  “That’s great.  The time difference is hard in Hawaii so just wait if you haven’t heard from her.  Try again later maybe?”  

 

“I doubt that’s the problem,” she chucked.  “It’s actually someone from my team.”

 

Eyes wide and intrigued, her friend asked who it as.  “Christen Press.”  The way her name rolled off her tongue felt like magic.  She loved hearing her name and the effect it had on her. Tobin also loved that this gave her the opportunity to talk about Christen for a few minutes, gushing.  

 

“I wanna meet her.  Think you can steal some time tomorrow night, too?  I’ll take you guys down to some of the beaches and we can all grab a bite together if you’re up for it.”   Tobin contemplated the idea.  She of course didn’t have any qualms about it, but she’d have to ask Christen.  “Yeah, I’ll let you know when I get back tonight if that’s ok with you?”  

 

After a walk on the beach to see the beautiful sunset, Tobin was ready to head back to the hotel.  Promising to text about their plans tomorrow night, Tobin shut the car door and walked through the sliding doors of the hotel.  She pushed 8 on the button bank of the elevator but when she got to her floor, she wasn’t sure which room to go to.  Deciding to head to her own first, she could see that Kelley had latched the door and it was already opened.  


Busting inside she didn’t see her roommate.  Instead, Christen was sitting on the side of the bed, holding the note she had written her in hand.

Chapter Text

 

Christen’s head jerked up to see Tobin standing in front her.  “Hi” she said softly.

 

Tobin continued walking slowly over to her.  “Hi, what are you doing here.”  She leaned against the table opposite of the bed Christen was sitting on.  

 

“I kept checking to see if you were back so Kelley finally left the door open for me before she went out.”

 

Tobin smirked at her.  “And why didn’t you just text me? I would have let you know when I’d be back.”  

 

Christen held up the note in her hand.  “I didn’t think this deserved just a text.”   So she did get it.

 

“Ah-ha.  So you got the flowers.”  Tobin was dripping with anticipation, she wanted to hear just how Christen reacted to the delivery.

 

“I did…..Tobin…..they were….”  She struggled to find words, but her body language was the only thing Tobin needed to figure out how she felt.  Tobin stood up off the edge of the desk and went to sit next to Christen.  Finding the back of her head with her hand, she pulled her in closer.  Christen’s hands shot up to grab either side of Tobin’s face and they met each other’s lips, feverishly.  It was the ultimate.  She felt like it was an out of body experience, like she was watching herself from afar in this bubble of desire.  Christen broke off the kiss and sat back leaving Tobin almost puckering mid air.  

 

“It was perfect.  And so thoughtful.  I wanted to say it in person instead of texting.”  Tobin could appreciate that, so she silently forgave Christen for making her suffer through dinner.  “In that case,” Tobin paused to give Christen a kiss on one side of her cheek, “how do you feel about making it”, another kiss to the other side, “two dates?”.  

 

“What do you mean?”  Christen inquired.  

 

“My friend wants to meet you.  Think you can spare some time tomorrow night?”  Tobin’s eyes roamed over the low cut t-shirt Christen was wearing.   I’d like to put my hands and mouth down there.  

 

“Yeah, I’d love to meet her.  That sounds great.  Thanks for asking me.” Tobin hummed at Christen, not totally hearing her answer to the question.  She was hyperfocused on Christen’s chest.  She must have sensed she was being oggled since she pulled her shirt up and over her shoulders. Tobin looked up to see Christen laughing at her.  She leaned in to kiss her, placing her hands lightly over top of Tobin’s thighs.  They fell over each other during the embrace, positioning herself to straddle Christen.  She pushed aside the hair on top of her head to give her a clearer view of the green eyed beauty.  “Don’t worry, I remember our deal” she breathed into Christen’s neck when she poured her mouth into her.

 

They spent the rest of the evening intertwined and messing up the perfect bed beneath them.  The boundaries of their earlier agreement were tested occasionally, but they stayed true to their word.  It didn’t matter to Tobin, she was happy enough for to be touching Christen in any way she could.  Kissing her and feeling her skin so close gave her more pleasure than she’d ever known before.  

 

When their mouths were dry and they needed some air, Christen suggested they go downstairs to get a drink and some fresh air before going to sleep.  “Actually do you mind if I stay up here?  I don’t think my legs are capable of doing much right now.” Tobin laid on her back with her hands behind her head as she watched Christen get her key and wallet off of the desk.  

 

“Oh.  No.  Yeah, ok. I’ll see you in the morning then?”  

“You’re not going to come back?” Tobin asked.

 

“Well I just thought it was almost time to head to bed so….”

 

“It is.”  Tobin made her tone simple, clear.  

 

“Ok?”  Christen was visibly confused.

 

“Come back and sleep here.”  Tobin gestured to the empty space next to her.  

 

“What about Kelley?”  

 

“She won’t fit with us but I’m sure she won’t mind sleeping in her own bed.”   

 

The joke made Christen smile. “Ok, give me ten minutes and I’ll be back.”

 

Tobin watched her leave the room, missing her the second she was gone.  She needed to get ready for bed before she came back so she allowed herself to use the bathroom, brush her teeth and take out her contacts.  Opting to put her glasses on in case they’d watch tv, she did a once over in the mirror to make sure she looked acceptable.   First sleepover.  

 

I t was one of the most peaceful nights of sleep she’d ever had.  And that was saying alot since she was typically a good, sound sleeper.  The curves of their bodies fit together just right as Christen’s head hovered above hers on the pillow and Tobin clutched her arm  to her chest.  She could feel Christen kiss the back of her head before drifting off.   I could do this forever.

 

……………………………………………………………………………..

 

Christen woke the next morning before her alarm went off.  She stared into the back of a head of hair, disoriented for a moment.  

 

It’s Tobin.  I’m in Tobin’s bed.

 

She drew herself closer, wanting to inhale the scent of her.  The close contact made Tobin stir from underneath her.  Stealing a few small kisses on her bare shoulder, Christen could feel the content through her body.  Tobin rolled onto her back to see Christen’s face.  

 

“Morning.”

 

“Hi.”

 

“HI”.  Kelley was sitting up on her own bed, coffee in hand.  

 

Tobin groaned.  “When did you get here?”  

 

“This IS my room, thank you very much.  I came in last night when you two were passed out.  Thank God I missed the main event.”  

 

Christen waved her hand at Kelley.  “No, there was none of that.  Relax.”

Feeling the urge to use the bathroom, Christen stood up relinquishing herself from Tobin’s touch.  “I should go, I’ll see you in a little bit at breakfast.”

 

“Byyyyye Christen.”  The smirk on Kelley’s face was enough for her to slap it off.

 

She tried to quietly enter her own room and luckily she did since Kling was fast asleep.  She was so small in her bed, it looked like a child.  Beside her own bed was the vase of fresh Hawaiian flowers.  The smell was invigorating, and now one she would associate with Tobin forever.  Toying one of the petals between her fingers, she smiled.   She really wants this.   Christen got herself fixed up for breakfast and woke Kling up on her way out.  

 

FInding almost the entire team and staff were already at breakfast, she found a seat at a table away from Tobin.  It was pathetic and she knew it, but she felt separation anxiety already.   I just want to be able to be near her.  See her, talk to her, listen to her.   It almost wasn’t enough for her to know they would be spending time together for the next two days and if she had her way, they’d spend the nights together again too.  Christen couldn’t believe how well she slept the night before while she cradled Tobin.  Tobin had passed out before her with the tv on in the background.  Not wanting to wake her up from her new state of slumber, she reached around to glide glasses off of Tobin’s face.  She shifted her own body to lean up against her, taking in the warmth radiating from Tobin’s body.  Almost immediately, Tobin rolled to her side allowing Christen to press up against her.  Giving herself some room, her nose settled on top of the long strands of Tobin’s free flowing hair.  It was soft and silky, soothing against her cheek.  Before she knew it, she was asleep but continued the same bliss she felt in real life in her dreams.

 

The day went quickly as training and strategy minutes seemed to fly by.  The atmosphere around the team was fun; likely because they were still on a high from their decisive wins but also because their location was like heaven.  Not the actual pitch per se, but the weather and local atmosphere radiated positivity.  When they were back at the hotel, Tobin went out with Kelley to the beach to watch the surfers, hoping they’d get some time in of their own.  This was okay with Christen who savored the free time she had to decide what she’d wear the next two evenings and spend some time with her other friends on the team.  

 

Right before dinner, Christen texted Tobin asking for the game plan.  From what she understood, they would be just grabbing a quick dinner with friend but she still wanted to be prepared so she could make a good first impression.  It felt important to her that Tobin was willing to introduce and include her in her world outside of soccer.  She felt a little disappointed when she got a reply from her.

 

Tobin: We’re gonna leave in like twenty minutes if that’s cool.  Beach first then dinner.  Nothing fancy.  Kel is coming too.

 

Christen didn’t want to be a brat or make Tobin feel badly for inviting Kelley, but she looking forward to this evening being a little more intimate.   I always have tomorrow night.

 

When Tobin knocked on her door, she was ready to go.  Opening the door all she could see was a very bold Hawaiian shirt.  Kelley was certainly milking the Hawaiian experience.  Tobin stood behind her, greeting her with a grin.  When Christen mocked Kelley’s outfit, she found Tobin giving her what she thought was an apologetic smile.  The trio made their way outside, taking one of the team vans to the address they were expected at.  While Tobin offered to drive, Kelley made a beeline for the passenger seat despite Tobin’s obvious displeasure.

 

“Why don’t you sit in back so Christen can read the directions from me.”

 

“I hate sitting in the back.  It’s a short drive, I’ll help you navigate.”

With a look, Christen told Tobin it was okay and that she accepted Kelley’s position.  She felt a hundred times better when they got out of the car and Tobin walked in stride next to her, grasping her small hand in hers.  It was a small declaration of her comfort now that they were in public.  

 

Dinner was great.  Christen thoroughly enjoyed the company of Tobin’s friend and Kelley was surprisingly on her best behavior.  There were no awkward comments about the newfound relationship, but it was clear that’s exactly what it was.  As she was talking about her plans for Christmas with her family Tobin snaked her arm around the top of Christen’s chair, stroking Christen’s clothed shoulder with her thumb.  Unaware, or at least she assumed, Tobin’s thumbed moved higher  up the back of Christen’s neck.  The sensation was sobering, giving her chills.  It was oddly erotic to her as she felt Tobin was intimately touching her for everyone to see.  

 

At one point, their eyes met as she tried to concentrate on what Tobin was saying.  Tobin must have been thinking the same thing because she stammered through her sentence without breaking the eye contact.   There was an electricity in the air, possibly noticeable to everyone but Christen didn’t care.  Only one person mattered to her at this point.  

 

The four girls hit a different beach that was recommended.  The sunset from the rocks was simply amazing and they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a few pictures.  Picking a flower that matched the swirl of oranges and yellows in the sky, Tobin slid it behind Christen’s ear.  

 

“Beautiful.”

 

The gesture made Christen tremble, feeling her fingertips brush against her and linger down her cheek.  Tobin put a flower in her own hair and Kelley followed suit.  They took the opportunity to take  some group selfies as the waves crashed up on them from the rocks.  Splattering their shirts, the saltwater felt enjoyable on the warm evening.  As Tobin took a picture with just her and her friend, Christen studied her.  The natural wave in Tobin’s long honey colored hair was perfection.  She had a snapback on but the combination of her soft smile and flower in her hair ignited something deep in Christen.  She felt she was looking at someone (or something) she could really love.  Tobin looked back up at her, clearly not concentrating on the on-coming flash from the phone.  The end result was actually a good picture, but you could see Tobin’s eyes looking up to the space where Christen had previously occupied.  

 

Eventually, the three girls decided to shed their outfits and take some time in the water for a swim.  Jumping, diving and playing around, Christen felt carefree.  She also felt that slow burn deep in her stomach growing as she looked Tobin over from head to toe in her bikini.  Knowing they had previously agreed to wait before going any further with the physical portion of the relationship, she tried to stifle the ideas spinning in her head.

 

When they were back at the hotel, she tried to separate from Tobin when they passed her room but it was clear Tobin was intent on making sure she arrived at her own room safely.  

 

“Oh, do you want to hang out for a little bit longer?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Tobin was a little quiet on the ride back but her body language said the earlier glances and touches were still relevant.

 

When inside, Kling was nowhere to be seen.  Turning around to ask Tobin what she wanted to do, she was met with the weight of Tobin’s lips on her own.  It was furious and fast, slowing Christen’s reaction time a bit.  She took a step into Tobin and raised her arms to steady herself on her shoulders.  Pulling back Tobin’s looked frantic.

 

“Chris?”

“What’s wrong Tobin.”

 

She watched the wheels in her head turn as she chewed on her bottom lip.   She wants to tell me something.

 

“Tobin, what’s wrong?”  

 

Tobin stood up a little taller, now looking awfully confident.  “I don’t want to wait.”

 

Christen knew exactly what she meant but needed to hear the words come from her mouth before making any moves.  “Wait for what?”

 

“I can’t wait.  I want to be with you.  I...I want to know if we can maybe take the waiting thing off the table.  If you’re ready.  If not, it’s ok, I’ll wait, I -”

 

She could see Tobin was slowly backtracking on her statement, something she did not want.  “Tobin.  Stop.”

 

They hadn’t moved from their embrace.  Christen slid her hands to cradle Tobin’s head on either side behind her ears.  “I don’t want to wait either.”

 

Tobin didn’t second guess herself anymore or wait for Christen to say anything else.  Their lips again were interlocked, their tongues working against each other.  Tobin’s hands pulled at the bottom of Christen’s shirt, silently begging her to take it off.  Nipping at Tobin’s bottom lip, she felt it slip over her chest making her briefly separate from Tobin.  With a little force, she was knocked back on the bed.  A devllsh grin plastered Tobin’s face, making her cheeks heat up. Christen reached out with her hands waiting for Tobin to join her on the bed. Slow and torturously Tobin wedged her knee between Christen’s thighs, making her temperature rise.  Her mouth kissed her stomach softly, making Christen moan in appreciation.  Tobin looked up at her.  “More?”  

 

“More.”   She wanted a lot more.





Chapter Text

“Byyyyye Christen.”  

 

Tobin shot Kelley a warning look, not appreciative of her mocking what was happening between them.  She watched Christen leave before saying to her.

 

“Do you have to tease her like that?”  Kelley didn’t look a bit remorseful.  “She knows I’m kidding!”

 

“Maybe, but still.  Just lay off for now.”

 

“Alright, alright.  Now can we go to breakfast? Or are you going to wait for your lover?”

 

Tobin rolled her eyes.  “I thought we just talked about the teasing?

 

“You said Christen, not you.”

 

Rather than start to argue with Kelley, she resigned and rolled out of bed.  A few minutes in the bathroom and she was ready to eat.  When the pair walked into the banquet team, it was surprisingly crowded.  MAking a plate for herself, Tobin kept looking up to figure out where she should sit.   Do I wait for Christen or just hope there is a spot when she gets here?  

She settled for a spot at a half filled table, but by the time Christen arrived 20 minutes later there was no room.  She gave her a small smile, sensing that Christen felt just as disappointed as her.   You’ll see her for the rest of the day.  And evening.  And night if all goes well. Last night….so good.   It was comforting to feel Christen behind her, snuggled into her hair, breathing on the back of her neck.  When she slept her fingertips moved occasionally, rubbing against Tobin’s core.  It was the slightest touch but it was enough to excite her.  When Tobin woke up, she realized her glasses weren’t on.  It was a bad habit she had, forgetting to take them off before she fell asleep.   Christen must have take them off.



It was an exciting day at training with a lot of media journalists and fans swimming in the crowds surrounding the pitch.  Still, Tobin was ready for it to be over so she be outside for different reasons.  She and Kelley had decided to hit the beach today to get some surfing action in.  As much as she wanted to spend the time with Christen, she wanted to make the most of her time in the tropical destination and felt badly about not going with Kelley the day before on her excursion.  Knowing Christen would be okay with it, they settled in the sand to watch the impressive crew in the water.

 

“Yo you wanna get in too?”

 

“Yeah, definitely”

 

The two waded in the water with their boards, waiting for the perfect wave and hoping to not be embarrassed by the professionals around.  

 

“So you’re seeing your friend again tonight you said?” Kelley sat on top of her board, straddled.

 

“Yeah she said something about seeing some of the spots near the cliffs and a quick dinner.”  

 

“Sweet.  Mind if I tag along or do you wanna go yourself?  It’s fine if you do.”

 

Tobin wasn’t sure what to say.  OF course she didn’t mind Kelley’s company and didn’t want to be rude, but the purpose of the get together was really to introduce Christen.  Hoping she wouldn’t mind, Tobin invited her along.  “Yeah come with us.  I think Christen was gonna come too.”

 

“Oh shit I’m not crashing ‘the date’ am I?”  Kelley seemed genuinely concerned.

 

“Nah that’s tomorrow night.  Come tonight.”  It was the truth so no one should feel bad about it.  When Christen texted her after she stepped out of the shower, rinsing off the saltwater from the turqoise ocean, she warned her about Kelley’s impending presence on their night out.  

 

Kelley however, didn’t make it easy on them as she insisted on going to Christen’s room to get her, wedging between them on their walk down to the van and finally sitting up front while Tobin drove.   Can she not let us get even a moment in?   Tobin made sure to find Christen’s side as they walked into the restaurant, aching for just a touch.  She took Christen’s tiny hand in hers, fitting just right.  It was a simple gesture but the weight of it felt huge.  

 

Throughout dinner, she tried to concentrate on the topics they were discussing.  BEside her, she felt Christen radiating and glowering into her .   Don’t stare at her.  She settled for putting her arm strategically around her, raising her thumb to stroke the back of Christen’s shoulder.  When that wasn’t enough, she moved it higher to her neck.   It still wasn’t enough.   I want to touch her..all over..I can’t take it.      She could barely make it through her next sentence, sounding completely different as she stuttered and stammered.   The look between them was electric.   Thank God she can’t read my mind right now.   

 

Giving her a break from her unnatural thoughts, they stood to make their way to the beach her friend had wanted to take her to.  Tobin twisted her fingers around a beautiful flower in the ground, plucking it from its root.  She slid it behind Christen’s her as she was welcomed with a pearly white smile.  Not wanting to break contact, Tobin let her fingertips fall against her cheek.   So beautiful.   Tobin put a flower in her own hair and Kelley didn’t want to be left out, doing the same thing.

 

It was a beautiful sunset that deserved to be photographed.  Taking out her iPhone, she captured the views of both the island and the people she was with.  At one point, she couldn’t focus on the flash in front of her but instead the dark haired beauty standing above her.  Tobin was mesmerized; invirgiorated.  Right there, she knew she wanted Christen in every way possible.    She didn’t want to wait anymore and silently convinced herself to bring this up to her later.  When they peeled of their clothes to jump the cliffs, she felt fluttering in her stomach as she eyed the round curves both on Christen’s front and back.  The fabric of her swimsuit clung to her in all the right places and at all the right angles.  Thankful again that no one was able to know what she was thinking, she tried to turn her attention away from Christen.  

 

Back at the hotel, Tobin was determined to get Christen alone.  She had to know if Christen was okay ok with re-writing the rules of their agreement.   They passed her own room and she charged ahead to indicate she was going with Christen to hers.

 

“Oh, do you want to hang out for a little bit longer?” Christen’s tone was hopeful, but still questioning.

 

“Mmhmm.”  Tobin couldn’t look anywhere but at Christen’s ass swaying in her front of her, her shorts were just enough to leave a little to the imagination.

 

When Christen opened the door, she was relieved to see Kling was nowhere in sight. Before Christen could say a word to her, Tobin charged her.  She almost knocked the poor girl off her feet as she opened her mouth to invite her in.  It was a furious and fast kiss, almost painful.  Tobin couldn’t take it a second longer.  

 

“Chris?”

 

“What’s wrong Tobin.” Nothing is wrong.  What do I say to her?  How do I reassure her that this is what I want to do?  Will she want to do it?

 

“Tobin, what’s wrong?”  

 

Go for it.   “I don’t want to wait.”

 

Christen toyed with her a little.  “Wait for what?”

 

“I can’t wait.  I want to be with you.  I...I want to know if we can maybe take the waiting thing off the table.  If you’re ready.  If not, it’s ok, I’ll wait, I -”  She tried to read Christen’s reaction as she said it, unsure of what she was feeling.

 

“Tobin.  Stop.” Her voice was soft, but firm. They hadn’t moved from their embrace.  Christen took Tobin’s head on either side behind her ears.  “I don’t want to wait either.”

 

Tobin didn’t second guess herself anymore or wait for Christen to say anything else.  Her lips again were interlocked, their tongues working against each other.  Tobin pulled up on the bottom of Christen’s shirt wanting to take it off to get a better view of her girl.  She had to break their kiss to pull it over her head.   Oh my God . That’s it.  She gave Christen a swift push back onto bed, showing her she meant business.  She wedged her knee between her thighs, feeling the radiating heat coming from her.  Tobin leaned down, letting her mouth explore Christen’s stomach.  She was rewarded with a tiny moan.  Tobin looked up at her.  “More?”  

 

“More.”  

 

It was the only signal Tobin needed to dive in.  She wanted to be immersed in every inch of Christen’s body.  She laid a trail of kisses around Christen’s bellybutton, working her way up towards the curves of her breasts that had been staring her down for hours.  Thumbing the bottom of her sports bra, Christen helped her out and took it off. She sprung free long enough for Tobin to get an eyeful before her hot mouth covered each other.  Her tongue swirled and nipped at them, making Christen writhe and wriggle from underneath of her.  Her free hand swam in Christen’s hair, pulling and tugging.  Their mouths met again as their bodies slid against each other.  Eventually, Tobin stood up to take her own shirt off, wanting to feel closer contact.  Pressed against each other she scraped her teeth down Christen’s ribcage, finding the top of her shorts.  In one swift movement, they were off.  Christen’s eyes pleaded at her to keep going.  It was enough to make Tobin combust right there but she had a bigger mission.  

 

Her fingers drew circles on Christen’s inner thighs.  Her skin was warm to the touch; silky too.  Tiny moans escaped from Christen’s mouth, waiting for Tobin put her mouth where she wanted.  Taking it as a cue, she slipped her index finger under the band of Christen’s underwear.  She was met with a warm moisture.  O h my god she’s so wet.  CHristen clutched at Tobin’s hand by her torso.  Taking it as an invitation, she easily inserted one finger into the folds of Christen.  A groan escaped Christen’s lips.  More.  She joined her middle finger with her index and started to rythmically move in and out.  Christen’s hips flexed and she moved deeper against Tobin’s hand.  It didn’t take much or long for her to feel the walls contract against her fingers.  Christen’s breathing was uneven and labored, signaling she had quite the orgasm.  It wasn’t enough for Tobin.  She wanted more of her - all of her..  She moved off of Christen and sat her upright on the edge of the bed.  She shimmied backwards onto her knees to get a bird’s eye view of the tasty selection in front of her.  Looping her fingers around the sides of Christen’s underwear, she pulled it down and around her ankles, eventually tossing them to the slide.  Spreading her knees wider so she had full access, Tobin stared for a moment.  I want to taste her.  She didn’t wait long, pushing her lips into Christen’s bare body.  Her tongue worked in circles, lapping up the pool of moisture coming from her.  S he tastes so good .  Christen’s head was safely gripping the back of Tobin’s head, encouraging her.  “Don’t stop. Don’t stop.”   She kept working, feeling how close Christen was to another orgasm.

 

Slowing down to prolong the moment, Tobin pulled back and working her fingers in and out of Christen.  Their eyes were locked, feeding the anticipation.  Tobin kept eye contact as she added her mouth with her fingers, pushing deeper into the sweet and salty aroma of Christen.  IT was enough to make Christen drop from her propped elbows, head and hair fall into the mattress.  

 

“Tobin….T-Tobin..”

 

She pushed her free hand flat onto Christen’s belly to keep her from squirming.  The pressure instantly hit Christen and Tobin knew she had found her release.  Making sure it was over, she slowly pulled her tongue and fingers back, placing one soft kiss on her.  Tobin stood up between Christen’s legs and hung over her naked body.  She watched Christen’s eyes flutter open at her, a serene  look sweeping over her face.

 

“So good.”  

 

Tobin rolled to her side, propping herself up on one elbow.  “Happy?”

 

“Oh yeah.”  

 

Her fingers played at the ends of Christen’s hair.  She looked up and down the length of her body, small beads of sweat hanging from her neck.  Tobin laid a soft kiss in the crook of her neck.  

 

“My turn.”  Christen flipped herself to face Tobin, looking down at the pants she still had on.  

 

Christen moved to straddle Tobin on the bed, taking both of her arms and holding them above her own head.  As Christen bent down to lay a kiss on Tobin’s lips, they heard a noise.  Frozen in horror, realizing they both were exposed, Christen yelled out.

 

“WAIT.”

Tobin frantically waved her arms, telling Christen to hop off of her so she could cover herself.  Christen did one better, running to the door and throwing her body against it.  “WAIT!”

 

“Christen?”  Kling yelled from the other side of the door. “What’s wrong?!”


Holding out her hands for Tobin to toss her her clothes, she sputtered, “Wait!  Hold on.  Give me a minute!”  Tobin put her own shirt on, incredibly disappointed she was going to have to wait a little longer to be touched by Christen.

Chapter Text

Tobin didn’t hesitate after Christen gave her the green light.  She could feel Tobin’s mouth on her stomach, quick and light touches that made their way up towards her swelling breasts.  Tobin pulled at her bra and she didn’t wait for her to take it off, doing the dirty work herself.  She swore Tobin’s eyes glazed over as she stared at her bare chest.  Her mouth took as much of her breasts as she could handle, sending Christen’s body into overdrive.  She tingled and ached all at the same time.  The pressure was incredible and made her squirm.  All Christen wanted was to feel Tobin’s mouth near the growing pool between her legs. Before long, Tobin’s mouth was over top of hers, allowing Christen to explore using her own mouth.   So sweet.  Tobin pulled away, standing up and towering over her.  It was easy to see the desire she had for her and she wasted no time taking off her own shirt so she could press down onto her.  Christen wasn’t as lucky to get the view of Tobin she wanted, but she soon forgot as her she felt teeth scraping down her ribcage.  Before she could lift her eyes, she felt a breeze over her lower air, exposed for Tobin. Keep going, keep going.

 

The soft brushing of Tobin’s fingertips between her thighs made her throb.   I want her inside of me. Tiny moans found their way out from the back of her throat, praying she wasn’t being too eager.  She was dripping when Tobin finally made the contact her body was begging for, a single finger pushed through the folds of her body.  It overwhelmed her, making her reach for Tobin’s free hand at her side.  More.  Another finger joined in as Tobin’s long fingers worked their magic at a pleasing pace; up and out, around and around.  Christen titled her hips upwards to take them deep,  hitting back against Tobin’s palm. I can’t last, this is incredible.  She felt herself fall apart around her fingers, seeping.  Barely unable to catch her breath, Christen watched Tobin move backwards off of her body reaching around her love handles to pull her upright.  Weak all over, she sat with little support as Tobin moved onto her knees, staring straight ahead at her naked body. Christen’s underwear came off easily  as Tobin nudged knees further apart, baring everything. Hungrily licking her bottom lip, she watched Tobin put her mouth where her fingers had just given her one of the most pleasurable sensations she’d ever known.  Reaching out, Christen held onto the back of Tobin’s head encouraging her.  “Don’t stop. Don’t stop.”    Don’t ever stop.  She felt Tobin’s tongue inside of her, moving in a pattern that would soon put her over the edge .   It was merciless and just as she was about to explode right into Tobin’s mouth, she felt it disappear.

 

She propped herself onto her elbows to see what she was up to, but found electricity radiating between their eyes. As Tobin’s fingers pumped into her, she watched her mouth meet them while staring into her.   This is the hottest thing I’ve ever seen. Christen threw back her head, falling into the mattress as she came.

 

“Tobin….T-Tobin..”

 

Where there was a fire in her belly, Tobin placed her hand, pushing her back to keep her from moving.   When she came back to earth, Tobin was standing up between Christen’s legs, draping over her naked body.  Her eyes gazed back at the beauty before her..

 

“So good.”  

 

Tobin laid next to her, playing in her hair.  “Happy?” she asked.

 

“Oh yeah.”   The happiest I’ve ever been.

 

She felt Tobin lay a soft kiss in the crook of her neck.   I want to do that again.  I want to make her feel the same way.

 

“My turn.”  Christen flipped herself to face Tobin, looking down at the pants she still had on.  They have to go.

 

Christen moved on top of Tobin, her naked body building up again as she felt the skin to skin contact. She gathered Tobin’s arms together and put them above her own head. Bending down to lay a kiss on Tobin’s lips, she hear a bang outside the door.   Suspended in mid air, completely naked she yelled.  “WAIT.”

Tobin  was frantically waving her arms, telling Christen to hop off of her..  Christen did and bolted to the door to throw her body against it.  “WAIT!”

 

“Christen?”  Kling yelled from the other side of the door. “What’s wrong?!”   Oh I’m only completely naked and in the middle of having sex with Tobin Heath.

 

Trying to get Tobin’s attention so she’d throw her some clothes, she sputtered, “Wait!  Hold on.  Give me a minute!”  Tobin put her own shirt on as Christen melted in sadness as the body she’d been craving was covered up, out of reach again.

 

Sounding extremely confused, Kling just said “okay” and she swiftly opened and shut the bathroom door, securing the lock with Tobin inside.  Placing a finger over lips to tell Tobin not to say a word, she reached past her to turn on the shower. She heard the hotel door open, Kling walking inside.  

 

“Christen you ok in there?”

 

Tobin’s eyes were wide in panic.  “I’m fine.  Just not feeling well so I’m going to take a long shower,” Christen called. Stepping out of her own shorts and tugging on Tobin’s, she nodded enthusiastically, telling her to join her.  Tobin hesitated, eyes darting to the opposite wall and whispering, “she’s going to know I’m here!”  

 

Christen shook her head and stepped into Tobin’s body.  Whispering against her ear she said, “that’s why you’re going to have to keep quiet for this.”  Pupils were dialating right in front of her.  Taking a deep breath, Tobin followed her and took her pants and shirt off.  After she removed the rest of her clothing and stepped into the shower, Christen turned back the temperature to make sure it wasn’t too warm for them.  She felt Tobin slip in behind her, bare breasts digging into her back as her hands found their way to the front of her body, just above her hip bones.  She leaned her back back into her, exposing her neck for Tobin to graze with her lips and teeth.  

 

Tobin’s hand started south, but Christen grabbed them before they found their final destination.  Turning around, she scolded her.  “You already had a turn.  It’s mine now.  But give me one second.  Christen poked her head out of the shower, finding her phone on the vanity.  She opened her Spotify app quickly, blasting a playlist she typically used for pre-game.  When she dipped back under the running water, she let it fall over her head and drizzle down her abdomen.  Tobin was already soaked, but literally and figuratively by the time she put her hands on her.  Christen’s kiss was slow, going deeper and deeper.  She had a strong sense of urge but wanted to make sure Tobin wasn’t cheated.  She tickled the back of Tobin, finding the small of her back and then down over her ass.  She cupped it in her hands right before she bent down in front of Tobin.  Reaching around with her mouth, she gave a small bite to the same area her hands had just explored.  Tobin pulled on her to bring her back up, so she kissed her way up her strong core, over her breasts, rolling her nipples between her fingertips. Tobin’s eyes never left her as she moved.

 

Christen reached her hand down to find Tobin who was more than ready for her touch. She was surprised how easily she slipped not one, but two fingers into Tobin immediately.  Tobin spread her feet apart a bit wider, to likely feel Christen a little deeper.  Picking up her pace, Christen whispered into Tobin’s neck.  “ Come for me like this, babe. ”   There was something different about Tobin that made her feel this way, unashamed of her own body and want someone else’s so badly.  

 

Tobin dropped her head to rest on Christen’s shoulder, steadying herself with one hand wrapped around her bare back.  Christen worked her hand tirelessly putting pressure into Tobin.   She feels so good.   Tobin took her own hand and put it over Christen’s pushing her as far inside of her as possible.  She felt Tobin’s muscles contract but didn’t give her a break.  Almost forgetting she was supposed to be alone, she dropped to her knees, rubbing her thumb over Tobin’s swollen sex as she shuddered above.  Grabbing the back of her legs, she put her mouth into Tobin, sucking and licking at the mixture of moisture she felt.  Tobin began to let out soft groans that made Christen look up quickly.  “Shhh, stay quiet babe.”

 

Tobin nodded back at her, understanding and taking on the challenge.  Using just her tongue to do the work, Christen slowly circled around Tobin’s most sensitive area.  Building an increasing rhythm, added two of her fingers to her work.  Tobin held a hand over her mouth as her knees started to buckle. Humming, Christen wanted to be caught now.  She wanted Tobin to scream over and over, knowing she was the reason why.  Christen moved relentlessly until she felt Tobin come apart.  Even then, she had handful of Tobin’s backside and drug her mouth over her.  Tobin let out a final moan before dropping herself to meet Christen.  They knelt under the now lukewarm water, prolonging a kiss. Tobin searched Christen’s eyes and asked, “now….how do we get me out of here without Kling knowing?”

 

“Good question.”  Christen hadn't considered that when she locked them in.  But it was worth being caught, it was the single most exhilarating  moment she’d ever had.  Christen reached out to get them both towels and pressed against the wall to hear what Kling was doing.  She didn’t want to turn the water off just let, so she tiptoed to the door and opened it quickly.  

 

“Kling?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Shoot.  “Just seeing if you were still here.  Are there any extra towels out there?  I’m freezing and I uh, I only see the small hand towels?”  There were two fresh towels sitting next to the sink.  Oh well.

 

“Nah, want me to call up for some?”  

 

“I’ll pay you ten bucks to go down and get me a few.  I’m gonna freeze!”   Ok, this could work.

 

Kling moaned in annoyance, but stood up off the bed.  “Fine.  Does Tobin need one too?”

 

Christen spun around to see the shocked expression on Tobin’s face.  Shrugging her shoulders she answered, “What?”

 

“Her phone, two bikinis, and a bra are on the floor.  So does Tobin need one too?”

 

Throwing her arms up over her face, Christen laughed.  “Yes….yes she does.”

 

Chapter Text

Tobin slipped out of Christen’s hotel room as quickly as she could.  It wasn’t exactly the ending she had imagined to their first time exploring each other, but she was grateful to not be further embarrassed by Kling seeing her.  Almost sprinting down the hallway to her room she safely arrived to an empty room.  Kelley must have gone somewhere else when they returned and now she was half tempted to text Christen to join her to finish what they started.

 

She didn’t have to make the first move because before she could set her phone down, Christen sent her a message.

 

Christen: I’m so SO sorry!

 

Tobin: At least she didn’t see anything.  You okay?

 

Christen: Yeah.  You?

 

Tobin: Come down here, Kelley’s out.  We can talk and you can stay here tonight if you want.

 

Christen: Be there in a few.

 

About 15 minutes later, Christen knocked softly on the door to announce her presence.  Tobin opened the door shyly, discovering the newfound side of their relationship.  We had sex, this is real now.

 

“Hi.”  Christen breathed quietly as she looked like she was glowing with her hair pulled back into a ponytail and an oversized Stanford t-shirt with a soft pair of cotton shorts on.  Her legs looked hydrated and healthy indicating she had rubbed lotion all over them after Tobin made her grand exit.  Tobin stared at them, remembering them dangling from the bed as they were spread apart around her face.

 

“Hi.”  Tobin moved out of her way to let Christen come further into the room.  Waiting for Christen to say something first, she closed the door with her back to it.  

 

“So where did Kelley go?”  Christen sat on the bottom of her bed, crossing her legs.  

 

“I’m not sure, she’s just not here.”  Tobin inched closer to where she sat.  

 

“Oh.”  Christen looked down and traced the nail polish on her toes.

 

Tobin worked up the courage to be a little bold.  “Chris, I’m glad we didn’t wait.”  

 

Lifting her head to register Tobin’s expression and words, Christen nodded in agreement.  “Me too.  That was amazing.”    Tobin smiled at her confession,  “wanna do it again?”

 

Throwing her head back in laughter, Christen visibly relaxed.  “Not now.  We don’t need another repeat of what just happened.  This is why we SHOULD have waited until camp was over.”    Tobin laughed in agreement but swooped down to place a kiss on her cheek.  “I wouldn’t have made it that long.”  

 

“Wanna watch a movie or something?” Christen slid back onto the pillows, resting her back against the headboard.  Tobin turned to find the remote and tossed it to her.  “Sure, pick something, I don’t care what it is.”  Flopping on top of the bed, Tobin scooted up on her stomach to rest her arm across Christen’s midsection and her head on her shoulder.  “Tired?”  

 

“A little.”

 

Yawning, Tobin reminded her she’d need her sleep.  “Date night tomorrow.”  

 

“I completely forgot after tonight!” Christen exclaimed.  

 

Lifting her head to provide some dramatics, Tobin squealed back.  “You...FORGOT!?”

 

“Do you know where you want to go or what you want to do?”  Christen rolled to her side, burrowing her head into the pillow facing Tobin’s face, arms safely draped over each other.  

 

“I was thinking we’d head out after the Pearl Harbor tour, maybe do dinner by ourselves and then shop a little.  I wanted to check out a few furniture stores if you don’t mind.”  Seeing Christen work the plan through her head, she wondered if it was a lame idea, especially after everything tonight.   Should I have planned something a little more detailed?  Nicer?   Tobin wasn’t one for big grand gestures but rather small intimate ones. She didn’t even know how to go about planning something extravagant but if she needed help Kelley or Alex could help her.   Alex, I haven’t even talked to her about any of this.  Maybe I’ll ask her what she thinks - there’s no way she hasn’t heard by now.  

 

“That sounds good to me.”  Christen’s words snapped Tobin out of her overanalyzing.  

 

“Uh, are you sure, I mean I we can definitely do something else?”  Tobin was suddenly worried, knowing how just how high the stakes now were.  

 

“No, I think it’ll be great.”  

 

A tiny wave of relief went over her as she turned to lay on her back.  “So since that all just happened,” Tobin started gesturing towards the hallway where Christen’s own hotel room was, “should we talk about us some more? I mean like, what do you think of it all?”  She stayed on her back, unable to to look Christen in the eye out of fear she wouldn’t like the reaction she would get.

 

“Do you mean about what we did or overall?  Like in general about us?”  

 

“Us.  I mean I know we talked before about going slow and being patient so we could see how it was going, but now…”  Christen interrupted Tobin before she could finish, sitting up quickly.

 

“I thought you wanted to, you told me first you didn’t want to wait?”

 

Her eyes filled with horror, she sat up to face Christen.  “No, no let me finish. I was going to say we’ve moved quicker than we said we were going to but I’m ok with it and I feel like I’ve done most of the talking in the last few weeks about where I’m at so I wanted to hear what you think.”  

 

Christen didn’t hesitate to answer.  “Oh, well I feel pretty good about how it’s going and where it’s going”

 

Tobin raised an eyebrow.  “Where it’s going?  So you want to keep it going?”   Reading the surprised look on Christen’s face as she asked the question, she re-assured her.  “I mean I want to keep it going too. I just know in our position it’s one of those things where everyone’s going to be aware of it and we’ll probably be asked a ton of questions.  But I’m okay with that.”  

 

“Then let’s keep it going.”

 

It was settled.  Tobin reached out to touch Christen’s hand, giving it a small squeeze.  

 

“Hey do you mind if I don’t stay too long?  I feel so bad for Kling and feel like I should probably stay there tonight.  I’m gonna do my best to smooth it over with her.”  Tobin giggled to herself.  “Is she mad at us?”

 

“No, I don’t think so.  But I feel like I should apologize again. You know her too, she’s going to want the details of this.”  Christen waved between the two of them.  

 

“Yeah, ok.  You don’t have to stick around then.  Why don’t you just go back and I’ll see you tomorrow night anyway.”  

 

Christen leaned in to kiss Tobin square on the lips, parting them briefly.  “Thanks, see you tomorrow,” she whispered before moving off the bed.   Christen and I are together, she thought as she watched the door close.    Not quite tired enough to fall asleep, Tobin texted Kelley and Alex on their group message, asking where they both were.

 

Kelley: We’re both in Alex’s room.

 

Tobin: Can I come or do you two wanna come back to our room?

 

Alex: Come here since we’re in the middle of a card game.

 

I guess now I’m going to have to tell Alex about Christen and me if Kelley’s already gotten to her.   It’s not that Tobin minded telling Alex about it all, she just knew Christen and Alex weren’t the closest of friends - simply acquaintances.  She didn’t often let her friends influence her actions or care what they thought about what she did, but this seemed to have more weight to it.  How she and Christen handled their relationship could potentially affect their entire team.

 

Strolling into the room, Kelley and Alex were perched on the floor, kneeling over a massive amount of playing cards, looking deep in thought.  Without looking up, Kelley asked, “took a shower, eh?”  Tobin couldn’t believe it.   How does everyone know already?   She put her hands on her hips as she Kelley a piercing look she’d yet to notice.  Alex finally looked up at her.  “So are you gonna me about all this or do I have to keep hearing it from Kelley?

 

“Kelley only knew because she’s my roommate and she snooped a few weeks back.  I wasn’t sure what I should tell anyone until I guess...now?”  

 

“Can we pause the game so I can hear about this?”  Alex shifted her body and attention completely towards Tobin.  

 

Tobin sat down on the floor with them, legs stretched out, arms supporting her from behind.  “What do you want to know?”  

 

“Well for starters when did this all happen? I know you broke up with Shirley a few weeks ago and you looked like you were handling it well but did this happen….before?  Like before you broke up?”  

 

”Oh I can’t wait to hear how you answer this,” Kelley laughed suddenly so interested in the conversation.

 

“Nothing physical happened before we broke up.  I swear.  But I think we both were aware of how we felt about each other and we sorta talked about it.”

 

Alex was wide eyed, trying to piece together the information.  “When did you talk about it?  Three months ago?  Three weeks ago? Three hours ago?”  

 

“RIght before I went to Paris the second time.  Actually the day before.”  Alex whistled.  “You don’t waste any time do ya?”

 

“I know how it looks but I swear we waited and there was no overlap.” Tobin wanted her friends to hear her.  The last thing she wanted was her morals questioned by people that were the closest to her.  “I wouldn’t do that to either of them or myself.  I told Christen that, too.  I asked her to just be patient while I did things the right way.”  

 

“So now…?”  Alex was pushing for more information.

 

“Now I guess we're, kinda, uh, together?”  Her tone had a hint of uncertainty because it was so fresh and new.  But it was definitely what she wanted.  

 

“Good for you guys then.”   Ok, it seems like she approves.   “So what is this shower story I’m hearing?”

 

Tobin thought she was out of the woods only to be pulled back in.  “No clue what you’re talking about!”  

 

Kelley snickered and sneered.  “Kling already told us.”  I guess she is mad.  “ We passed her walking down to the lobby to get towels.  She said since you two used her room this time, you have to use our room tomorrow.”  It made Tobin choke out a laugh.  “I guess Christen and I will have to work on being a little more conspicuous.”  

 

The rest of her night was relaxing.  She spent time with her friends, feeling content and reassured of where she stood with Christen.  The best part of it was knowing it was only just the beginning.

 

………………………………………………

 

Christen knew Kling was being difficult on purpose.  As much as she profusely apologized for putting her in that situation, she swore up and down it wasn’t planned.   “I wasn’t thinking and I’m so sorry Meg!  I’m sure it was so awkward for you.”  Her voice was frantic, but sincere.

 

Finally Kling relented and assured her it was all okay.  “I’m just giving you a hard time, it’s all good.  Next time just text me and I’ll stay away for longer.”  

 

“No, it won’t happen again while we’re here, I swear.  Tonight was kind of spontaneous, not planned at all.  We had even agreed to make sure we waited until camp was over for this very reason.”  Christen wasn’t convinced herself it wouldn’t happen again, but A for effort she thought.  

 

“What are your plans for after camp?  You guys gonna see each other before we start up in January?”  Kling brought up a good point, one Christen hadn’t even given thought to.  

 

“Good question, I guess it’s not that long of a break, only two-ish weeks?  And that includes Christmas and New Years.   And my birthday.   Trying to do some mental math in her head, she figured they could try to see each other right after New Years for two or three days before camp started.   Which means we’d have to go two weeks over the holiday apart.  It was too long for Christen.  She already missed being with Tobin, even though she was just down the hall from her.  Realizing she would be on the East coast most likely during that time bummed her out.  “I don’t know, we will have to see,” she determined.  

 

Kling made a noise to let Christen know she heard her and understood what she was saying.  

 

“Hey Meg I’ll be back in a second, I want to call my mom.  I haven’t gotten the chance to talk to her in a few days.”  

 

The same sound came from Kling, so Christen took her phone out and walked a few feet down the hall into the ice and vending machine room to get a little privacy.  Dialing her mom’s number, she poised herself to fill her in on what had been going on.  She and her mom were close, both as mother and daughter and friends.  Her family was extremely supportive, but not surprised when came out years ago.  

 

“So I was wondering if I invited her to stay a few days with us if you’d be okay with it?  Just sometime after New Years?”

 

“Oh we don’t mind at all, we’d be happy to have her stay a few days.  So it’s that serious, huh?”  Christen’s mom listened patiently to her rattling off the details of her new relationship.

 

“Well I don’t know if you’d say serious, but we’re taking it seriously.  I thought it’d be good for us to spend time before January camp when we’re surrounded by a hundred people.”

 

“Sure, sure.  I’m looking forward to it if she wants to come.  She’s welcome anytime.”

 

“Thanks, mom. I’ll let you know what the plan is if there is one.”  It felt natural talking to her mom about her love life, just like her sisters did with their husband and boyfriends.  It didn’t make a difference who she was and that was something Christen never took for granted, understanding some families weren’t as accepting as her.  Hanging up the phone, she thought about how she’d ask Tobin if she wanted to spend some time in LA.  I don’t want her to think I expect her to come, but I do want her to.  Maybe tomorrow night over dinner I’ll ask about her plans for the holidays and then I’ll feel her out.

 

Crawling into her bed, she couldn’t help but think about how cozy it would be to have Tobin at home with her.  She imagined them sitting around the table with her family, laughing and telling stories or walking the cliffs with her dogs at sunset.  Her thoughts carried into a deep sleep, but not nearly as good as the night she spent with Tobin beside her.  

 

…………………………………………….

 

The next morning practice started off well, only to go downhill quickly.  Christen had woken up practically smiling, feeling refreshed and renewed as a person.  She was excited for her day and mostly the evening Tobin had planned for just the two of them.   When was the last time the two of us went out just us besides for a quick coffee?  Geez.  Pittsburgh?  3 months ago?  

 

She felt like a cartoon character with little birds swirling above her head chasing hearts.  Every time she or Tobin looked in each other’s direction, it was all smiles and heart eyes.  Everyone around them was now well aware of what was going on, but people were respectful enough not to tease them too badly.  At practice during one of the small sided scrimmages, Christen was brought back to Earth when Pinoe went down hard.  Everyone held their breath momentarily, hoping she was okay.  As an athlete, Christen was fortunate enough to never have a major injury but she still felt the pain of anyone who experienced one.   Doesn’t look good.

 

And it wasn’t.  They didn’t have to wait long as they were getting ready for a team tour of Pearl Harbor when they’d heard the news.

 

“Torn ACL,” Ali said looking up from her phone in the van on their way back to the hotel.  “Awful.  Just awful.”  Everyone had been up in arms about the turf they’d been playing on and this raised the stakes.  Some were even suggesting they cancel the match to limit any further injuries.  Hoping it wouldn’t come to that Christen continued to prepare her body for the match.  

 

“That’s a shame.  What horrible timing too,” Christen agreed.  Hoping it wouldn’t put a damper on the rest of the day for the team, she texted Tobin to relay the message.

 

Tobin: I heard. I feel so bad for her.

 

Christen: Me too.  We’re still on for tonight though right?

 

Tobin: ? Of course, why wouldn’t we be?

 

Christen: I don’t know, just making sure.

 

Tobin: When we get back we can change quickly if you want then head out.

 

Christen: Can’t wait.

 

She put her phone back in her bag.  Of course what happened to Pinoe wouldn’t affect us, why would I ask that?  I must be more nervous than I thought.  Well you already slept with her so don’t be shy now.  

 

The tour was amazing.  Long out of school, she still enjoyed seeing new places and learning about history.  She took in the sights and sounds of a place she’d never been trying to absorb all of the information.  She and Tobin had given each other a little space, her mostly tagging along with Alex and some of the UNC girls while she stayed close by JJ, Alyssa and Whit here and there.  I don’t want people to think we can’t do things separately.   But as she stood by the railing of the ship, looking further down the line of people looking into the ocean she spotted her.  It wasn’t hard to find Tobin in a crowd - first just look for her feet.  More often than not, she chose to be barefoot.  Seeing her flip flops on the ground and her feet up one step on the bars, Tobin’s honey colored hair was flowing all around in the gentle breeze.  She didn’t have her phone out like the others around her, but instead she just seemed to be taking in the sights.  Her plain white v-neck fluttered on and away from her body, momentarily showing the curves underneath.  The tiny blue shorts she had one showed her sculpted legs, tanned from the sun.  Christen could have watched her for hours like this.   She looks like a dream, so peaceful and serene.  

 

“Stare much?”  JJ interrupted her thoughts.  

 

“Sorry,” Christen apologized.  She took a step back so they could move on, but not before Christen got one more peek in at her girl.  It was a visualization she’d keep for a long time.

Chapter Text

Tobin peeked at her phone after she got out of the shower. She wasn’t sure what she was going to wear to the Pearl Harbor tour, but thought she’d keep it somewhat casual. Grabbing a plain white t-shirt and pair of blue shorts, she flopped onto her bed before mustering the energy to change. Kelley was in the shower now so she knew she had time to kill before getting ready.

 

She took a minute to call her mom since she tried to talk to her every day, even when she was travelling. Her mom picked up on the second ring.

 

“Hi, Tobs!”

 

Tobin loved hearing her mom’s voice. No matter how old she was, her mom was a constant guide in her life. They started off with casual chit-chat about camp and what her mom was doing for the day before she finally told her about her evening plans.

 

“So Christen and I are going out to dinner tonight, just us.”

 

“Christen Press? That’ll be nice, tell her I said hello. She’s such a nice girl.” She’s not putting two and two together.

 

“I will.” Ah just tell her why. “Kinda a first date.”

 

“Oh my! Tobin!” Her mom seemed surprised by the statement, but not necessarily in a bad way. Tobin went on to tell her that they’d recently taken a liking to each other (terms her mother would understand and probably use herself). Her mom listened and along the way offered some advice, saying she was happy if Tobin was but to be slow since she had just gotten out of a relationship. Her mom knew there was a small period after she got back from Paris where she was still a bit bummed about how everything happened, but Tobin hoped she could see the difference now was because of Christen. I guess I shouldn’t tell her we already moved a lot quicker. She’d faint.

 

“Before I forget to ask you, do you care if I come in around the 22nd for Christmas? Would you be able to pick me up from the airport in the evening?”

 

“Of course honey, just let me know what decide and I will do whatever I can for you.” Feeling full in her heart, Tobin finished the conversation and proceeded to change into the outfit she picked out.

 

She looked in the mirror, her hair wild and flowing, damp from the shower. I could throw on a hat. No, dry it, you want it to look decent later. She grabbed a hairbrush and found the small hairdryer deep in her suitcase. Two things she hated: 1. Drying her hair. 2. Drying her hair with the hotel hairdryers. The ones on the walls always caught the loose ends she hair and usually led to her pulling them out. As she brushed the long strands straight, she imagined Christen doing the same thing down the hall. I wonder if she’s as excited as I am. Tobin found a small beachside restaurant, one that not too upscale, but more than just a burger joint.

 

Kelley stepped out of the bathroom eyeing her. “Whoaaaa she’s drying her hair! She means business!”

 

Ignoring her, Tobin kept going. She thought she’d put on some light makeup too, just a little mascara lip gloss for some shine. You can always do a little more later if you want, Tobin. Taking a final look before slipping on some flip flops, she smoothed her hair away from her face. Not bad.

 

“Yo I’m gonna go to Al’s room before walk down. You ready?” Tobin turned around to see Kelley in the same Hawaiian shirt from yesterday. “You are not seriously wearing that thing again are you? Even I know it’s a fashion no-no.”

 

“I’m in Hawaii! When else can I wear it!?” Tobin raised her hands in defeat, shaking her head. “Let’s go.”

 

When they made their way on the ship, Tobin saw that Christen was walking with Julie. Leaving her to have her own space, she stuck with Alex.

 

“Here let’s take a selfie.” Tobin had her sunglasses on but her view of the camera was blocked by her hair sweeping across her face. She looked at the result.

 

“Alex look at me. You look good, but c’mon.”

 

“Oh it’s not bad, I’m posting it.” Tobin shook her head. Alex lives for social media.

 

The tour ended up being a lot more interesting than Tobin had previously predicted. She was into talking to some of the current service members, asking them detailed questions about their lives and what they did. It fascinated her mostly because she herself could never imagine living in a world where there were so many orders and rules. Admiration and respect were two words that flashed in her mind while talking to them.

 

Eventually, she made her way to the railings to peer out into the vast ocean in front them. Some of her teammates had their phones out, trying to get the perfect picture. That wasn’t enough for Tobin, who needed to see, hear and smell her surroundings. She carefully tossed her flip flops aside and stepped up onto the railing of the ship. Closing her eyes behind her glasses, she felt the breeze roll over her, carrying with it the light smell of fresh flowers. Her visions turned into Christen, standing in front of her on the beach the previous night at sunset, a flower in her hair. The smell would now be embedded into her brain as the smell of Christen. Teetering just lightly, she felt the sway of the waves bumping them up and down. She held onto the thought of Christen for a minute more before finally re-opening her eyes and seeing the endless blue in front of her. Stepping off the railing she looked to her left to see people filtering the opposite direction, Christen one of them in a casual black romper. For a second she considered calling out to her so she’d come stand with her for a little longer, but decided against it. We’ll have all the time we need tonight.

 

…………………………………..

 

So do you need to change? Tobin questioned Christen as they walked side by side into the hotel. They’d made sure they were both in the same van on the the way back, practically sitting so close air couldn’t get between them. Tobin’s hand found Christen’s thigh as they pulled out onto the highway, resting overtop.

 

“Yeah I think I’ll just put jeans on and grab a sweatshirt? Might be chilly out tonight if we want to walk around.”

 

“Good idea, I’ll put on jeans, too.”

 

They met down in the lobby ten minutes later, after Tobin had run a brush through her hair. Good thing I dried it nicely earlier, she thought sarcastically. The wind had taken a toll on her mane, but it still looked half decent. She re-applied some light mascara and collected her things to go.

 

“Ready?” Christen nodded enthusiastically. Here we go. Tobin reached for her hand to help her off the couch and didn’t let it go when she stood up. They decided against taking one of the team vans that night so they could walk.

 

“Hungry?”

 

“Actually I am,” Tobin replied. “I haven’t really had anything all day.”

 

“Me either.”

 

They continued to make small talk about Pearl Harbor when they got to the restaurant. Sitting down outside at a table, Tobin heard Christen ask her something but couldn’t make out what she said.

 

“Sorry, what did you say?”

 

“Oh, uh, nothing, it’s okay.”

 

Tobin tried to decide if she should urge Christen again to repeat what she had said, but figured if it was important she’d just spit it out. “Ok. What a view.” She could see the twisting pinks and oranges in the sky with a few stragglers on the beach in front of her. Christen scooted her chair around the circular table to be closer to Tobin, sharing the view.

 

“It’s so nice. Can you imagine living here?”

 

“I don’t know, I mean the beach and weather is sick but it’s so far from everyone else.” Tobin already knew if she asked Christen she’d say there was no way she’d move here.

 

“No way I’d move here, either” Christen said after a few seconds. Called it. “I didn’t ask because I already knew that,” laughed Tobin.

 

“I know! I can’t imagine living that far from my family. Living in Sweden for that short time was so hard and I knew eventually I would be coming back.” Christen took a sip from her water in front of her before continuing. “ So to live permanently away from them, like hours and hours, is a no go.”

 

Tobin cleared her throat. “So do you like any other cities than LA?” She was fishing for an answer about her future but didn’t want Christen to catch on.

 

“I like New York. But I just prefer the beach. And the weather of California. Once you’ve lived there your whole life, it’s hard for anything else to grow on you.”

 

“Mmhmm.” So she wouldn’t move to Portland or the East Coast. “I like New York, too. My sisters are both close and my family is in Rhode Island over the summers so it’s not a bad drive from there.”

 

Christen kept eye contact as she listened intently to Tobin. “So you want to end up in that area?”

 

It seemed like they were tiptoeing around an important conversation, but one that truly had no weight for the next few years. They wouldn’t need to make decisions like this until their playing careers were over. Hopefully for both this would be years and years down the road. But it still was in the back of Tobin’s mind.

 

“Maybe. Who knows what’ll happen,” she said with a smile slowly spreading across her face. It was a message to Christen that she was willing to include her in these decisions down the road if they were together.

 

“Who knows,” Christen repeated.

 

It was perfect timing as their water came up and asked them if they’d be interested in anything else to drink before he took their order. Tobin hadn’t even cracked the menu but she had made sure earlier they had something she wanted Christen to enjoy. “Sure, can we get a bottle of champagne and two glasses, please?”

 

Christen’s mouthed formed a small ‘o’, taken back by the gesture. It spread to a wide grin as she bat her eyelashes at Tobin. “How’d you know?”

 

“I know these things. I pay attention every once in awhile.” Tobin was already feeling less nervous. When the waiter brought back the glasses and opened bottle, Tobin asked for a minute before he took their order.
Filling the flutes half way, she handed one to Christen. “To us.” Christen matched her eyes and clinked the glass. “To us.” Taking a long sip, Christen sat back in her chair. Normally, Tobin wasn’t the biggest fan of champagne, but tonight she’d make an exception. Hers was quick, followed by a swig of water.

 

“Do you know what you want or do you need a few minutes?” Christen asked as her fingers grazed over the small menu.

 

“Can we do an appetizer? I’m in no rush.” Christen’s head pop up and she tilted it to the side. Closing her menu, she nodded. “Neither am I.”

 

They sat for a few minutes admiring the views, sipping on their drinks. Tobin inched closer to Christen in her chair so she’d be able to take her hand. It wasn’t long before their fingers were entangled.

 

Halfway through their dinner, Tobin realized Christen hadn’t said much the past few minutes. “How is it? Everything okay?” Oh no she doesn’t like her fish.

 

“Mmhmm, it’s good. How’s yours?” Tobin looked down at her steak. “Really good, actually.” Christen put her head back down. What is wrong? Did I say something? She put down her fork and knife quietly and put her hand over Christen’s urging her to do the same. Christen followed suit, slowly looking up into her eyes. “Chris…is - what’s the matter?”

 

“What are you doing after Christmas?” What? Tobin didn’t move. “What do you mean?”

 

Christen sat up a little straighter and took her hand from under Tobin’s, placing them clasped between her legs. “After New Years before camp?”

 

“I- I don’t know yet. I only decided today which day I was going to fly home for Christmas. Why?” Is she working up the nerve to ask me something?

 

“Do you maybe want to come to LA and spend some time with me before camp starts? Like at my house?” She was so nervous asking me that. Make her feel better. “I only get you for a couple days? Can’t we do better than that?”

 

Christen smiled and unfolded her hands. “Do you have any other ideas?”

 

Taking a sip of her water, Tobin followed with “I was thinking we’d take a few days after we go home and then isn’t your birthday coming up?”

 

Christen was beaming now. “Yes!”

 

Tobin laughed. “Ok, so why don’t we leave camp together for a few days and then I’ll make plans after I come back from Florida for Christmas to spend time with you for your birthday leading up to camp. Sound good?” It was actually pretty exciting to her, knowing she’d spend that amount of time with just Christen.

 

“I think I have a few events, but it’s nothing I can’t re-schedule or push around.” Christen looked cautiously excited herself.

 

“No don’t do that, I’ll work around your schedule. I’ll figure it out, babe.” At the drop of the term of affection, Christen lunged towards Tobin, throwing an arm around her neck, bringing her closer. Rubbing her cheek with her nose briefly, she planted a kiss on her temple. “Thank you.” She looks so beautiful when she smiles like that.

 

Tobin turned to face Christen, grabbing her hand dangling from her shoulder. Looking her square in the face, she looked down at Christen’s lips, looking invitingly at her. She placed a soft kiss on them, waiting for a signal that it was okay. She wasn’t sure how Christen felt about PDA. She herself wasn’t a huge fan but a little bit here and there didn’t bother her. Christen matched her, putting a little more pressure and passion into it. Tobin reached her arm around to hold the back of Christen’s head as she slightly opened her own mouth and tilting it to the side. Christen’s mouth pressed down on her bottom lip, pulling on it ever so slightly. Tobin took a turn doing the same, sucking and nipping, tasting the last bubbles from the champagne. Feeling as though it could get out of hand quickly, she drew back slowly, still looking at Christen.

They went back to eating their dinner, but never separating their hands. It was kind of hard for Tobin since she was left handed, but she didn’t mind trying to steady her fork with her right. She’d rather be closer to Christen.

 

“I was nervous to ask you about your plans.” Tobin nearly choked on her steak as she was chewing. “Why? You can ask me anything!”

 

Christen was finished and was just drinking another glass of champagne now. “I don’t know,” she shrugged her shoulders, “I didn’t want you to think I expected you to change your plans or seem too clingy right away. That's what I asked earlier but you didn't hear me. I needed a bit of this to ask you again.” She raised her glass in the air.

 

“No,” Tobin assured her. “No I want to spend time with you. I just am not much of a planner so I hadn’t thought that far in advance. But it’s absolutely what I want to do. I’ll book my flights when we get back to the hotel tonight. We can look at your schedule, too.”

 

“Perfect” Christen said.

 

“Yes, you are.”

Chapter Text

 

Tobin took the check when the waiter placed it on the table and Christen thought about fighting her for it momentarily.  But she was having such a nice night out that she didn’t want to upset her or cause a scene.  The stars were dim but the large moon gave enough light to illuminate the beach in front of them.  

 

The pair had sat for a while after they’d finished dinner, making sure they found the bottom of the champagne bottle and talking.  Christen had a nice buzz going on which had definitely helped when she asked Tobin if she would come to LA for a few days.  The reaction she received was better than she expected.  Knowing Tobin is easy going, she thought a simple, “sure” would have been the best case scenario.  Now she’d have her more than once during their time off and she couldn’t contain her excitement.

 

“So what do you want to do while we’re in LA?” she asked as she watched Tobin scribble her signature on the restaurant copy of the receipt.  

 

“Doesn’t matter to me.  Anything good going on for Christmas?  Beach?”  Tobin sat back in her chair, propping her feet up on Christen’s lap.  She’d discarded her flip flops underneath the table mid-way through dinner.  

 

Running her fingers over the top of them, Christen nodded. “Yeah actually I’m supposed to go to a boat parade the night I get home with some friends.  Amy and Whit are doing an event and I think I’m included in it.  Just signings and stuff.”  

 

“Oh.  Would you rather I wait a few days to come back to LA then?”  

 

“No, no.  I can always skip the signing or we can meet up afterwards.  I want you to meet my friends, they’re a lot of fun.”

 

“Okay, whatever you want is okay with me.”  Tobin withdrew her feet from Christen’s hand.  “You ready to go?  I was thinking we could hit up that furniture store I was talking about before it closes.” Christen saw her glance at her watch to double check the time.  I want to do that for her, she went out of her way to make sure dinner was perfect.

 

“Yes! You lead the way!” Standing up, Tobin took Christen’s hand and led her out of the restaurant.  

 

“Thanks for dinner, it was nice.” She took her free hand, clasping it overtop of the one Tobin had around her other hand, drawing her nearer to nuzzle her neck as she spoke.  Tobin stopped in her tracks, laying her head on top of Christen’s.  Feel a light kiss on top of her hair, Christen burrowed deeper into the crook of her neck.  “Are you sure you don’t want to just go back to the hotel?”

 

Her suggestion must have surprised Tobin because she didn’t answer immediately.  Pulling back, Christen could see she was seriously contemplating it in her head.  Finally, she responded, “I would love to, but I don’t think we’d get too far with everyone there.”   She’s right .  Tobin continued.  “But when we do go back, why don’t you stay with me tonight?”

 

Christen shook her head animatedly.  “Yes.”  She didn’t care it was frowned upon at the moment; it would be worth it.  

They strolled casually along the beach before finding the walkway up to where the furniture store was supposed to be located.  “So what are we looking for in here?” Christen asked.

 

Tobin shrugged.  “Just some decorative things.”  

 

“Styles or colors?” Christen hadn’t seen Tobin’s new place yet but could only imagine how eclectic it might be.  Tobin was one to pick things she liked, not caring if they actually went together or fit a theme. “Hmmm..” Tobin thought out loud.  “I like a lot of natural wood, kind of a mid-century look?  I’m gonna get some things made like table and bench.”  

 

“That sounds good.  So we’ll just browse?”  

 

“Yeah.  Pick out things you like, too.”  Christen looked over at Tobin.  “Things I like?”

 

“Yeah, you know, if there is anything you like just tell me and I’ll get it.  I need some good pillows and like throws for the couch so it’ll be a little more comfy for us.”  Christen was smiling ear to ear.  I haven’t even seen her place yet and she’s already factoring me into it.

 

In the store, Christen weaved in and out of the makeshift aisles, picking things off of the walls.  She picked out a couple of accent pillows for the couches, different in colors and designs.  “Will these go?” holding them up for Tobin.  

Taking a second to consider them, Tobin nodded.  “I like them. Do you?”  Christen agreed,  “I do, I think they’ll be good with the color  of the couch you showed me.”  Taking the ones Christen held up from her hands, Tobin planted a kiss on her cheek.  “Done.”  

 

It felt so natural to Christen to be doing this with Tobin.  As she waited with her while she discussed shipping with a store rep, she started to daydream about spending time alone together in Portland.  Christen was used to living with roommates or her family.  She’d never had a place by herself or alone with a significant other.  She pictured them laying on a couch, legs weaving through one another as they watched tv, no one interrupting them or trying to make it out the door for their dinner reservations but getting sucked back into the apartment, unable to keep their hands off of each other.  The privacy might be nice.   Thinking back to their conversation at dinner and how Tobin asked her if she like any other cities, she pieced together what she was really asking.  

 

“I think Portland is a nice city, too.”

 

Tobin withdrew her attention from the paperwork she was filling out in front of her to look up at Christen.  She registered what she said and gave her a knowing smile.  “It is.”



………………………………………………………

 

Tobin took a small bag filled with coasters and papers for shipping confirmations from the store.  She figured it’d be easier to ship the stuff home rather than try to stuff it in a suitcase or buy extra luggage to accommodate it. Slipping her arm around Christen, they walked up the sidewalk towards their hotel.

 

“Tired?”


Watching Christen nod silently, she took her arm away thinking she might be weighing her down as they walked.  “Still want to stay in my room tonight?”  Another silent nod, but she at least got a smile this time.  “Come on, let’s get you back.”  Tobin thought she looked adorable like this;  tired and worn.  Just as she was going to take Christen’s hand she heard her name being said by an unfamiliar voice.  Looking around, she saw a guy about her age giving a half wave.  
Do I know him?

 

“It is Tobin Heath!  Is that Christen Press too? Oh mannnn.”   Must be a fan.

 

“Can I get a picture with you guys? I’m so stoked I’m coming to watch you guys play in a few days.  You have no idea how excited everyone is you guys are here!”  Tobin obliged, looking at Christen who seemingly perked up and was putting on a good face for the guy.  “Sure.”  Wrapping his arm around Tobin, Christen leaned in and the three took a selfie.  

 

“Yo thanks so much.  Good luck girls!”  

 

“I bet I look awful,” Christen muttered under her breath as they walked away.

 

“No, you look good, babe.  We’re just tired.” I love her calling her that.  

 

When they got back to the hotel, Christen told her she’d get herself ready for bed and be down in a few minutes.   She looks exhausted, I bet the champagne didn’t help.   Tobin opened her own room, finding Kelley sitting on her bed reading, laptop open beside her.

 

“Hey!”  Kelley perked up and folded a corner of the page she was on before putting it down.  “How was it?”

 

“It was really good,” Tobin told her.  “We had fun.”  She stood at the foot of Kelley’s bed, wanting to tell her more about it but also not wanting to bore her.  

 

“Yeah, so did you just go to dinner and then shopping?”  

 

Tobin decided to spill every detail of their evening.  Normally she wasn’t so open about her love life but this was exciting and new and Kelley was a longtime friend of both girls.  She was beaming as she told her about their plans before Christmas.

 

“This is getting serious, huh?”

“Yeah, I guess it is.”  Tobin wildly nodded.  “It’s a good thing.”  

 

“Of course it is, I’m happy for you guys.”  Kelley picked up her book to put it on the nightstand.  “Wanna see if there are any games or something on tv?”  Tobin glanced at her phone.   It’s been twenty minutes, hope Christen’s okay.

 

“I forgot to ask, it is okay if Christen stays in here tonight.  I promise we’ll keep it PG.”

 

Kelley rolled her eyes, “you’re lucky I’m your roommate.”  Taking it as a yes, Tobin told her she was going to track down Christen to make sure she was still coming.  As she knocked on the door, she couldn’t hear any movement from beyond it.  After about thirty seconds, Kling opened the door to reveal a very dimly lit room with her squinting to focus on Tobin.  

 

“Hey,” she whispered.  “What’s up?”  

 

Tobin looked at her confused.  “Sorry, are you sleeping?  Is Christen here?”  

 

Kling opened the door for Tobin to come in and pointed towards Christen’s bed.  She was there, still sitting on top of the covers, one hand holding up her chin and fully clothed.   She was so tired, sweet girl.

 

Tobin walked around the bed to reach her better, gently untying the sweatshirt that was around her waist.  She slipped off her sandals, dropping them at the side of the bed.  She took Christen’s cell phone from her free hand and put it on the nightstand beside her.  Trying to decide whether to cover her with a loose blanket or risk waking her completely to pull the covers over top, she studied the face before her.

 

It had been one real date, only a few weeks of talking for her to feel the overwhelming attraction and love she had.   Love?   Thinking back to her previous relationship, she hadn’t felt like this in a long time or at least this quickly about someone.  Lost in her admiration, she almost missed Christen’s eyes fluttering open briefly.  She took it as an opportunity to gently rouse her so she could get under the covers.  

 

“Chris?  Babe...hold onto me for a second.”  Christen sleepily reached out and Tobin pulled the opposite corner towards their bodies.  When it got to them, she rocked Christen the opposite way onto the pillows.  Shuffling to the end of the bed, she pulled the covers under her bare legs and swept the entire blanket over top of her.  Christen was out, there was no waking her up.  Tobin contemplated discarding her belongings right there and jumping in with her, but decided against it.  Let her go, don’t wake her now.   As she pressed a soft kiss to the top of Christen’s head she heard a barely audible voice speak to her.

 

“love…Tobin.”

 

She didn’t know exactly what Christen was trying to say or tell her, but she hoped it was what she thought.  

……………………………

 

Christen woke up the next morning feeling disoriented.   Am I in my room?  When did I fall asleep?  What am I wearing?  A slight headache sunk in as she focused her eyes around the room.   I had a few glasses of champagne and barely any water. Where’s Tobin?

 

Kling was still fast asleep beside her, hair sticking out in every direction from underneath the covers   Reaching for her phone on the side table, she could see it was before 7 am.   Ugh we have to be at breakfast around 8. Checking her messages, she saw one from Tobin.  

 

Tobin:  Let me know when you’re up tomorrow morning.

 

She must have realized I fell asleep here.  

 

Pulling the blanket off of her, she stepped out of bed and onto the cool floor beneath her.   Bathroom, now.   She took phone with her so she could text Tobin letting her know she was up, asking if she wanted to grab coffee with her before team breakfast.

 

Christen: Morning! Sorry I fell asleep last night! Coffee?

 

She finished in the bathroom, wiping her hands on a towel to dry them off when she heard a faint sound.  Coming out of the bathroom, she saw Kling was still sound asleep.  Moving towards the door, she heard it again - like fingers brushing over it.  

 

Quietly and slowly opening it, she saw Tobin standing with a coffee in either hand.

 

“Shhh” she whispered.  “Kling.”

 

Tobin tiptoed past her and crawled onto Christen’s bed.  Christen joined her and they found their way under the covers, closely together.  In silence they sipped on their coffee and enjoyed the close contact of their legs.  Tobin slid down to rest her head on Christen’s stomach, sitting at an awkward angle.  

 

“I’m sorry I fell asleep here last night.  I don’t even remember closing my eyes,” she whispered.

 

“It’s ok.  I came to check on you and then made sure you were comfortable.”  Tobin blew in the opening of the coffee, cooling it down.

 

She did?  That was sweet.  “ You could have stayed here, I’m sorry.“

 

“Don’t worry about it, you were so tired I just wanted you to sleep well.”  Christen ran her fingers over the top of Tobin’s head, her hair back in a messy bun.  “I would have slept better with you here.”  Her voice was at a whisper still, but the tone had an edge to it.  

 

Tobin picked up on the flirting and matched it.  “You wouldn’t have been sleeping if I was in bed with you.”

 

The comment made Christen’s heart flutter.  Feeling her pulse quicken, she pushed Tobin further.  “Oh really, why not?”  

 

She felt Tobin grab her coffee cup and watched her sit up to place them both on the night standing.  Shifting her weight back towards Christen, she sought her mouth, grazing over top of her lips slowly before taking them between her own.  Tobin’s tongue worked her way into her mouth, exploring every inch.  Oh my God, this is a way to start the day.   Pulling back and leaving her breathless, Tobin smiled.  “Because we’d be doing that.”    Oh no, babe.  Way more than that.

 

Not this?”  Christen’s hand slid under the comforter, finding Tobin’s stomach.  She danced her fingers down to the top of Tobin’s shorts, plunging them underneath.  She felt the warmth radiating around her hand and a small wet spot forming on her underwear.  

 

Teasing her overtop of her underwear, Tobin let a silent cry out then “Christen.”

 

Shh.  Kling,” Christen pointed her chin towards the girl sleeping in the opposite bed.  

 

Her hand worked over Tobin’s pulsating core that was flexing and seeking more of Christen’s touch.  Christen pulled her body to mirror Tobin’s facing each other on their sides.  Tobin lifted her right leg to signal an opening for Christen’s fingers.  To anyone walking in the room, it wasn’t obvious what was happening, since they were covered with blankets.  She took her mouth and moaned as she pulled Tobin’s underwear aside, feeling the moisture on her fingers.  Tobin’s eyes were closed and still, but her body was anything but.  Christen inserted one finger into the soft, wet flesh of Tobin.  Knowing she had to be quiet and discreet with her movements, she went slowly.  It was fun watching Tobin slow her own movements to match, savoring the touch and working hard to get where she wanted.

 

Her hand was almost drenched.  She loves this. Tobin’s eyes opened, displaying a different intensity than she’d ever seen.  “Babe…”

 

Christen wanted more access to Tobin.  Slipping her fingers out, she pushed Tobin onto her back and sat up pulling the covers over her shoulders.  She threw her legs on either side of Tobin’s hips and bent down  to kiss her deeply.  Before she could reach down to finish what she started, she heard a voice from across the room.


“So is the shower not available for you guys this morning?”  Kling was awake.

Chapter Text

 

Christen fell on top of her body.  She wrapped her arms around her, embracing her in a big bear hug.  They giggled as Kling waited for a response.

 

“Just making sure she was alive this morning,” Tobin claimed.  

 

“Yeah, ok.  If that’s how they teach CPR these days, sign me up.”  She knew Kling’s words were just a part of her dry sense of humor.  She didn’t think she actually minded their PDA. Ok maybe that’s not exactly JUST a little PDA.

 

Christen felt incredible on top of her, keeping her warm in the surprisingly freezing room.   The AC must be turned up the whole way in here.  She didn’t want to complain, mostly because she could feel Christen’s hardened nipples through her shirt.  She copped a small feel underneath the covers, causing Christen to smirk at her.  

 

“Later,” she whispered into her ear.  The word sent a chill down Tobin’s spine, making her close her eyes in anticipation of more.  

 

“Should we finish our coffee then head down to breakfast?” Christen asked as she started to climb off of her.

 

“Yeah, we have a little time before we should go.”  She grabbed their coffees from the nightstand and handed it to Christen behind her while she faced Kling.

 

“You think we’re gonna play tomorrow?”  

 

Kling rose out of bed to start her day.  “I don’t think so.  Doesn’t seem worth it but we’ll probably decide on walk through today.” Silently agreeing, Tobin sipped on her coffee. She heard a rumble coming from her stomach, telling her she was more ready for breakfast than she thought.  “I’m starving, want to go down and see if they opened the room yet?”  She didn’t get an immediate response from either girl in the room, so she continued.  “I’m gonna go, I’ll see you guys down there when you’re ready.”  

 

Looking over at Christen, she saw she was texting furiously, possibly not even hearing what she was saying.  

 

“Hello?”  

 

“Oh, sorry.  What’s up?”  Christen set her phone down on top of her stomach, gripping her coffee with both hands and looking adoringly at Tobin.  

 

“I said I’m gonna head down to breakfast early.  Wanna come?”  She was met with a look of hesitation.  “I’ll wait for King.  I should probably get myself together before I go down.”

 

Understanding, Tobin pressed a quick kiss to Christen’s lips, catching her off guard.  “Sure.  I’ll see you down there then.  You too Kling.”  She didn’t wait for either of them to give her a formal goodbye before leaving the room, quietly making her way down the hallway where she figured most of her teammates were still sleeping.  Tobin was completely correct, as a door swung open to reveal Lindsey Horan exiting a room.

 

“Hey Linds!”  

 

“Morning.  You’re up early.”  Lindsey’s eyes were wide in surprise, a hint of sarcasm coming from her.  They’d lived together briefly when Tobin was in Paris, becoming really good friends and an even better one to Shirley.  Lindsey was there for the beginning of that relationship and all throughout.  Now that she was coming to Portland to play, or so a deal was being worked out, Tobin felt awkward around her because of the breakup.  Realizing she was most likely aware of what was going on with Christen, she felt nervous about the reaction she was going to get.  Do I bring it up or do I let her ask me?  Does she think I cheated?  Has she told Shirley anything?

 

Uh, yeah.  I went to grab coffee.  I was going to head down to breakfast to see if I could get something.”  Tobin sputtered and stuttered through her explaination.  “Where are you going?”  

 

Lindsey peered through her eyelashes at Tobin.  “Breakfast.  Moe’s snoring.”   Shoot, she knows.  

 

“I’ll come with you.”  Spinning on her heels, Tobin started to walk back towards the bank of elevators.  They stood in silence as they waited for the chime and opening of the doors.  Glancing out of the corner of her eye at Lindsey, she saw her staring straight ahead.   She’s uncomfortable too.

 

So how do you feel about the deal?  You ready to make the move?”  Tobin sipped on the little amount of coffee she had left, trying to savor the flavor.  

 

“I guess, it’ll be good to be closer to my family and friends but it’s a hard goodbye.”  The pair stepped into the elevator, Lindsey pushing the first floor button.  

 

“Yeah, how’s everyone taking it?” Do I tiptoe around this?

 

“I think people knew it was coming.  Still sad to leave everyone though. There’s a bunch of contract negotiations, Kosse is leaving, too.”

 

Bite the bullet.  Just ask her.   “How’s Shirley taking it?”  She felt her own stomach drop at the question, sweat beads forming at the top of her head.  She didn’t get a verbal answer right away, but instead a little look of annoyance.  “She’s fine. She gets it.”  

 

“Oh.  Yeah, good.  I - I, uh just haven’t really talked to her in a few weeks, so uh, I didn’t know.”  Their pace slowed a bit as they were about to enter the conference room.  “Tobin.”  Lindsey’s voice was sharp as she put one hand on her arm.  “I need to talk to you about this.”  

 

Searching the conference room for anyone that might interrupt their conversation, she nodded in acceptance and pulled out a chair to sit.  Motioning for Lindsey to sit next to her, she turned her body to give the conversation her full attention.  Lindsey started first, thankfully.

 

“What’s going on with you?  And Christen?”

 

“Well……”  Tobin didn’t get very far before Lindsey cut her off.

 

“Did you end things with Shirley because of Christen?  As far as I know she’s under the impression it was simply because of the distance.”   Tell her the truth.

 

That’s why I did end it.  It was too hard, too much to keep it going.”  

 

“You didn’t answer me about Christen.”  

 

“I’m not sure what to say.   Please believe me when I say I never cheated, nothing happened with Christen while I was with Shirley.  I think I just realized towards the end that there might be another side to my friendship with Christen.  I really like her and I know the timing of it seems pretty sketchy.”  

 

Lindsey looked to be processing what Tobin said, somewhat unsure of Tobin’s claims.  “When did you realize it?”  

 

“Sometime right before I went to Paris for the last trip.  But I swear I had already decided that it wasn’t working with Shirley before that.  And I would never, ever want to deliberately hurt or do something like that to Shirley.”  Her voice was pleading, almost a whine.   Don’t cry, don’t cry.    “Have you talked to Shirley about any of this?”

 

Lindsey let out a slow sigh.  “No. Of course not.”

 

“I’m sorry, Lindsey.”

 

The apology caught Lindsey by surprise, her voice becoming soft.  “Why?”

 

“I know this puts you in an awkward situation.  I would never want you to lie to her or feel like you have to give her information about me.  Do you think I should tell her?” Tobin hadn’t thought about this before.  In her mind, she figured the distance put a huge barrier between them and she’d never have to explain.  How wrong she had been?

 

“No, not yet at least.  She’s asked me once or twice how you are and if you’re doing ok.  I keep it short.”  

 

Relaxing, Tobin nodded at her.  “Yeah, I’ll probably wait a month or so before dropping it on her.”  

 

“So you think you guys will be...together?  Like it’s a real thing?”  Lindsey had a hint of a smile on her face but was trying her best to keep the conversation civil.  

 

“It’s a real thing.  It’s happening so quickly but at the same I feel like it’s been a long time in the making.”  Not the best choice of words, Tobin.  You just got done telling her nothing happened before the breakup.  “ I mean I just always really thought highly of her and just some harmless flirting.  Nothing that crossed any lines or anything close to it.  Maybe a crush.”  

 

Lindsey wasn’t phased by the wording of her claim, despite Tobin’s anxiety.  “I know what you mean.”

 

Taking a chance Tobin asked, “so we’re okay?  We’re good?”  Lindsey  agreed.  “We’re good.  It might just take me a minute to get used to it.”

 

“I understand.”  Tobin stood up off her chair and gave a half hug around her neck.  “Love ya, Linds.”  

 

“Love ya too, Tobs.  Breakfast?”  

 

“Oh yeah.”  Tobin was already halfway from her chair to the bowl of bagels she had her eye on..

 

………………………………………………………

 

Christen walked into the conference room with Kling, trying to spy where Tobin was sitting.  She didn’t want to make a beeline for the girl but at the same time really wanted to be next to her.  Seeing her with Lindsey and a few of the other younger players new to camp, she backed off and opted for a seat at another table.  Christen realized that she shouldn’t shove their new relationship down everyone’s throats right away and it would be best to remain a little conspicuous for now.  Besides, she didn’t know Lindsey well and was well aware of her relationship with Shirley and Tobin.  I wonder if she knows?

 

Her own question was answered by the end of breakfast, when Tobin stopped by her table to let her know she was going to go up to Lindsey’s room to watch one of the UEFA games on.  She came up behind her, wrapping an arm around her shoulder while she stooped to eye level. It was a little too tight and a little too close for a “friend” hug. Darting her eyes up to Lindsey before she responded, she saw no sign of disapproval coming from the girl witnessing the interaction.

 

“Alright! I’ll catch up with you guys later.”

 

Tobin removed her arm from Christen’s shoulders, sweeping her fingers through her hair in the process.  Tobin took a second  to smooth it out for her, a small but loving gesture.  They looked like two idiots, grinning at each other as Christen watched her rise from her perched position and saunter out of the room with Lindsey.  

 

Christen was thankful Kling kept what happened in their room this morning to herself at the table.  Her thoughts turned more and more what people like Lindsey Horan knew or didn’t know.  A natural worrier, her thoughts overcame her.   Does Shirley know about us?  Did Tobin tell her?  Wait, do she and Tobin still talk? Before Christen was an outsider to the relationship and realized it wasn’t her place to give Tobin any advice or ask questions last month during the breakup.  She just tried to be a calming presence and comfort her when she needed it.  Now with everything going on between them, it dawned on Christen that she had no idea the status of her past relationship.  I need to ask her without sounding jealous.  I’m not jealous, right?  Just curious?

 

She had a few minutes to kill before they were leaving for open training as she was getting ready in her room.  Christen decided to text Tobin rather than show up at her room.

 

Christen: Hi.  You still with Lindsey?

 

Tobin: Yeah, games almost over.

 

Christen certainly wasn’t going to have the conversation anywhere near the proximity of Lindsey, so the conversation would have to wait.

 

Tobin: You can come here if you want.

 

Christen: No, that’s ok.  Can I steal a few minutes after training when we get back?

 

Tobin: You can have more than a few minutes.  Everything ok?

 

Christen: Yes

 

The anxiety had moved from her head to her throat and almost down into her stomach.  She didn’t know why it was bothering her so much - Tobin had not given her a single indication of still being attached to her previous relationship.  Sure, she knew the Paris attacks upset her but it was the same reaction Christen would have had herself.   Don’t freak out, don’t freak out.  Everything is good, everything is fine.

 

She was jittery all throughout practice.  Every touch she took she second guessed, every run she made was a half-step too late.  Hoping no one noticed too much, she tried deep breathing on the sidelines during her rotations.  Tobin caught her eye at one point giving her a concerned look, eyebrows furrowed. Giving her a small sign of reassurance, she flashed a thumbs up and turned her back.  

 

It had been decided during training that they would not be playing tomorrow.  The conditions were awful with turf coming apart from beneath them.  Understanding injury was inevitable if they played, players came together to decide how to handle a statement.  Christen didn’t have much of a voice during the conversation, instead tracking Tobin the entire time from across the circle.  Realizing she should put some distance between them until they had a private moment, she threw her head down and moved out of her line of vision.  She did her best to be in a separate van heading back to the hotel, too.

 

She couldn’t hold it in for much longer when they got back.  Seeking out Tobin immediately, she barged into the room right behind Kelley.  “Is she in here?”

 

Looking around, there was no sign of Tobin being back yet.  

 

Kelley raised her eyebrows at her.  “What’s your deal?  Something wrong?”

 

“I’m fine.  I just need a second to talk to Tobin.  Did you see her come in yet?”  Christen stuck her head back out to see if she was in the swarm of people in the hallway.

 

“She was in my van.  So she’s somewhere here, maybe someone else’s room or recovery.”  Kelley began to strip down from her training gear, possibly getting ready to head to the shower.

 

“If she comes back, tell her I’m looking for her please”  she said trying her best to keep her voice calm and casual.  It wasn’t working.  

 

“Christen.  What’s wrong?”  Kelley had stopped what she was doing to face her.  “What’s wrong?” she repeated.

 

“Yeah, what’s wrong?”  Tobin was coming through the door behind her, the same concerned look still plastered to her face from earlier.  

 

It was a strange feeling she had, both one of relaxation from seeing Tobin and also a wave of panic knowing she had to ask some difficult questions.  She tried her best to flash a smile before asking if they could go somewhere else so ‘Kelley can shower and we can talk’.  

 

“Yeah, come on.”  Tobin reached for Christen’s hand and she saw her give Kelley a puzzled look beyond her shoulder. The two started down the hallway before Tobin wrapped her arm around Christen’s back.  “What’s wrong, you seem upset?  Are you upset with me?”

 

“Where are we going?  Kling might be in my room.  Can we go downstairs or something?”

 

“You are starting to make me really nervous, Chris.”  Tobin’s voice was softer.  

 

“I just don’t want to be around other people and there is something I want to talk about.”  She knew she was being high maintenance but couldn’t help it.  It’s who she was.  Better learn to love it, Tobin.

 

They found a cozy corner in the lobby with two chairs that were out of earshot from most people.  Sinking into the leather chair, Christen didn’t miss a beat.  “I wanted to ask you about Lindsey.” Tobin tried her best to make light of the question, presumably joking to reduce the tension.  “What about Lindsey?  You want to know if she’s single?”  

 

It worked.  Christen stifled a laugh before clarifying her question.  “She’s not my type.  No, I wanted to know if you’ve told her about us.”

 

Ignoring the question Christen asked her, Tobin continued to joke.  “You have a type huh?  Am I your ‘type’?  

 

“We’ll see,” she shot back.  “Did you tell her?”  

 

Tobin sat up straight on the edge of the chair, crossing her legs at her ankles.  “Funny you should ask that.  I actually did this morning.  I ran into her in the hallway after leaving your room and thought it’d be a good time to say something.”  

 

“What’d you say?  What’d she say?”  

 

Nonchalantly, Tobin shrugged her shoulders.  “It’s cool.”  Christen was thankful most times that Tobin was relaxed and didn’t stress over much.  Long winded replies weren’t her thing, but this is one time she was begging for more information.  

 

“What’s cool?  Like she knows and is okay with it?  Or…”

 

Tobin placed a hand on Christen’s knee.  “Chris, why are you so worried about what Lindsey thinks?  She’s fine.  You’ll like her once you get to know her.  Don’t be worried.”

 

Shifting uncomfortably, Christen thought how to proceed with her main concern:  Shirley.   “I...she...she is friends with Shirley.”  

 

“Yes, she is.”

 

“So…”   God this is harder than I thought it would be. “....does she know about us?”  A large lump had formed in her throat.  Reading Tobin’s expression was difficult at the moment.

 

“She doesn’t know.”  

 

“I’m afraid to ask this...how do you know that?”  Tobin’s other hand found her free knee.  She was sitting so close now, steadying herself on top of her.  “Chris, are you still worried I’m not ready for this?”

 

She couldn’t find the words to tell her how she felt.  It wasn’t that she was worried about what was happening between them or their relationship, but she was concerned she didn’t know where Shirley and Tobin stood at the moment.

 

“No,” she confessed honestly.  “I’m not worried about us.  I’m just curious about where you stand with Shirley, like do you talk to her?”  

 

“I haven’t talked to her in about two weeks.  I asked Lindsey this morning if she’d said anything to her because they’re close.  I do think it’d be best that she hear it from me when the time is right.  Is that okay with you?”

 

Christen couldn’t believe Tobin asked her if it was okay.  “Absolutely.  I’m not trying to tell you or insinuate you can’t talk to her.  I just didn’t want to be blindsided, you know?”  

 

Tobin leaned in to give her a soft kiss, allowing her to inhale the scent of both suntan lotion and sweet sweat.  It was a comforting smell to her as odd as it seemed.  Locking eyes, she comforted Christen.  “I know, I would have told you before I said anything to her.  Don’t be worried about either of them.  Lindsey’s just used to seeing me with someone else, you know?  And she’s cool with it, just a minor adjustment.”

 

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Christen returned a kiss to Tobin.  “Ok.  Thank you.”  

 

“So….back to having a ‘type’.  Tell me more about this.”  Tobin’s eyes were clear and light, signaling that everything was okay and there was nothing more to be said about the subject.  

 

“You are my type; my type is Tobin Heath.”  All worries had vanished and Christen was back to being smitten by the girl in front of her.  


…………………………………………………………...  

Chapter Text

Tobin felt a hundred times better after the series of conversations she had with people that day.  Laying on her bed, she texted Alex to see if she wanted to do something together that afternoon.  She and Christen had spent a bunch of time together the last two days and the last thing she wanted to do was neglect her friends.  Kelley wanted to head out to the beach to surf in a little bit so lunch would be a good idea for just her and Alex.  

 

Tobin: Lunch?

 

Alex: Starving. Let’s go now.

 

During their quick lunch at a restaurant within the hotel, Tobin tried her best to steer the conversation from her current romantic life.  She didn’t want it to be the topic of all conversation, especially because Alex was technically her new girlfriend’s co-worker.  It’d take some getting used to balance the relationships she had but it was something that was worth trying.  Alex wasn’t having it.

 

“How’s it going?  You guys seem to spend a lot of time together.”  She sipped on her water while waiting for their meals to arrive.

 

Tobin considered a one-word answer, but knew it wouldn’t fly.  “It’s good.  It’s new, just feeling it all out,” she said casually turning her head to people watch and hopefully change the conversation topic.  

 

“You think it’s gonna be a serious thing?”  C’mon, Al.

 

“I don’t think we’d take a chance on a fling.  So I’d say yeah, I think it is.”  It somewhat baffled her that anyone in this environment would think of her as a person who just casually ‘hooked up’ with a teammate.  It wasn’t Tobin; she was invested in every relationship she established.  

 

Alex was gazing intently at her, clearly wanting to ask more questions about it but eventually let it go.  “I can’t believe how different next year is going to be.”  She was right; Tobin’s steady life from the last two or so years was about to turn upside down.  Alex was headed to Orlando, a new coach in Portland, so many retirements and changes to the National Team were coming.  A new girlfriend.  “Yeah, it’s kinda crazy to think about how different this Olympic Year will be compared to what we just had.  Kinda exciting though,” Tobin acknowledged.

 

They made it through the rest of lunch without her getting the third degree.

 

And it was the same for the next days as they left their bubble in Hawaii.  They didn’t shy away from spending time together here or there, trading glances or stealing touches.Tobin couldn’t believe how comfortable with Christen she felt already, but also so excited.  She wasn’t nervous about what she said or did when they were together and she also couldn’t get enough of her.  Not wanting to overwhelm Christen, she kept to herself how much she was looking forward to spending time with her in LA.

 

They both were playing well as the victory tour continued, despite the continued changes and substitutions.  After a game in San Antonio, Tobin watched for Christen to finish signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.  Timing her exit into the tunnel at the same time, she reached for Christen’s hand once they were safely inside and out of view of the crowd.  

 

“Can you imagine how many more you would have scored if you’d played more than 30 minutes?” Tobin asked smiling ear to ear at Christen, who’d had a hat trick.  Christen’s hands curled around Tobin’s knuckles, bumping hips against each other as they lazily walked.  

 

“I wish we’d get the chance to actually be on the field at the same time,” she retorted.  The pair rounded the corner where the dressing rooms were only to see the bright lights of cameras and media interviewing several players post game.  Quickly withdrawing her hand up and awkwardly pointing to something ahead, Christen fumbled in her steps.  Tobin though was calm cool and collected.  Turning towards her as they continued their walk, she said, “Did you see them?” with a smile on her lips.  

 

Christen shook her head “no” and returned the smile.  Tobin was giggling to herself.  No doubt people had seen them and most likely would get a glimpse of their public display of affection on camera unless the view was obstructed.  When they walked into the dressing room, she could see Christen’s face was rosy from the the mixture of temperature and activity.  Her face however had fallen flat, any trace of jubilation had disappeared.  

 

“You ok?”  Tobin asked as she followed Christen past her own locker.  

 

“Do you think they saw us?”  she asked in a hushed voice.  She’s nervous about fans knowing.

 

Trying not to upset Christen, she played if off. “I doubt it.  If anything, only for a quick second.  It’s no big deal.”  Tobin was used to fans being a little invasive in her own personal life, but Christen hadn’t had that yet.  Christen also was more anxious in general than Tobin, so she understand it was now her role to talk Christen down.  “Get showered so we can get something to eat quick before it’s too late.”  

 

Complying with her request, she watched Christen gather her shower stuff and walk to the other side of the locker room.  Tobin followed, taking her time under the warm stream of water coming from the nozzle above.  Letting it fall into her long locks, she closed her eyes and thought about Christen’s reaction to people seeing them.  It didn’t bother her if people caught on, but now realized the conversation she was going to have next month with Shirley would likely need to come soon.  Heaven forbid if she caught wind of what was going on from social media or someone else confirming it, she’d never live it down or have the chance to remain friendly with her.  Swirling apprehension built in her body as she thought how to go about it.  Realizing it would be best to call her or even facetime if she’d allow it, she promised herself to do it as soon as camp was over. And not while Christen is around.  But of course I’m going to warn Christen.

 

Like all good things, her shower came to an end when the water turned lukewarm from the overusage.  Wrapping herself in a towel she walked back to her locker to put on some clean/warm gear.  Her eyes found Christen’s, who was sitting on the bench in front of her own locker, half dressed.  They were warm, a little grayer than usual.  Seeing her looking fresh and so natural made Tobin’s heart skip a beat.  Tobin flashed a smile before she started to dress herself.  Just as she was about to put her hair up in a messy, damp bun, she felt fingers on the back of her neck.  Spinning around she felt Christen before she saw her.  

 

“Can I stay in your room tonight?” she whispered.  

 

“Yeah...I think.  I’m with Al.  Who are you with, I forget?”  Tobin saw a rolodex of her teammates flashing into her mind.

 

“Ali.”  Hmm, I might feel more comfortable around Ali then Alex right now.   “I guess we should do my room?”

 

Tobin nodded in agreement, thankful she didn’t have to tell Christen what she was thinking.  Ali would fine with Tobin being there.  In fact, she might sneak over to Ashlyn’s room if that were the case.  

 

Back at the hotel, they sat in Christen’s bed under the covers while sharing a pizza with Ali.  The three munched and talked, mouths full as they traded comments about the late night tv show they had on.  Before they had finished all the slices, Tobin took the box off the bed and put it across the room. She’d had enough and just wanted to feel Christen wrapped around her.  It had been awhile since they’d played a game and the effects of it were wearing on her legs and back.  She turned around to see Christen holding the covers back, inviting her in again.   Good God she looks so good right now.   Christen’s hair had air-dried, wild and curly.  Without makeup her skin still glowed and her eyes were mesmorizing.  Silently cursing Ali for not leaving them alone, she crawled across the top of the bed without breaking eye contact.  

 

Falling to her side away from Christen, she felt the warmth of the duvet pull higher just above her shoulders.  Christen was pressed up against her, her legs fitting into the curve.  A hand snuck up around her hip, dancing downward to the top of her shorts.  Hot breath pressed against the back of her ear, “don’t say anything”.  Tobin was confused, but kept quiet.  The soft sound of the tv played in the background as Christen’s fingertips dropped under the hem of her shorts, tugging them lower.  Her movements were slow and deliberate, trying not to be obvious.  Tobin took her  hand to assist her, pulling at the opposite side.  Together, they were able to get them just below her center, giving Christen’s hand full access to her - if she wanted it.  

 

Tobin felt exposed, turned on at the moment.  Soft touches up and down her stomach made her drip with want.  She knew Christen was teasing her, but couldn’t say anything to draw attention to them.  After a minute, she’d had enough and a wet spot was surely forming on the sheets below her by now.  Reaching for Christen’s hand she placed it where she wanted.  “Turn around,” Christen whispered into her hair.  

 

Following her command, Tobin did so, their faces separated by inches.  Christen’s  eyes were something to be lost in at the moment but the contact from her hand brought her back.  She felt Christen thumb over her, collecting the moisture building below.  Tobin grabbed the wrist working against her, steadying herself and giving Christen permission to go ahead.  

 

Unable to watch what was happening to her body, she stayed focused on Christen as she felt one, two fingers slip deep into the pool between her legs.  Her walls shuddered at the contact, building and building.  Their hands were locked as the pace picked up and Christen circled inside her.  It was an incredible feeling; so intimate to be this close without saying a word.  She had to let her body do the talking and let Christen have control.  Her breathing was becoming irregular and she squirmed as she started to feel like she was going over the edge.  CHristen leaned her forehead against Tobin’s, signaling to stay with her and still.  It felt like she was being lifted up and the tension released from her body, contracting around Christen’s tiny hand.  She relaxed her grip on Christen’s wrist as she stared into the pool of green in front of her.  After placing a brief kiss on her forehead, Christen pulled back and brought the magic hand to her lips, taking the fingers she used in her mouth, seductively sucking on them.  The gesture almost made Tobin combust again, right there and then.  She opened her mouth in shock, leaving just enough room for Christen to slip hers overtop and run her tongue against her own.  Tobin could taste herself on Christen’s lips before she pulled away.  Turning over, Christen was cradled into Tobin now, both almost instantly blissfully asleep.

 

…………………………………………………

 

Christen woke the next morning, feeling pretty refreshed despite having played last night.  It was probably because she could feel and also hear the steady breathing coming from the brunette beauty behind her.  She smiled at the thought of what happened right before they went to sleep last night.  It wasn’t uncharacteristic of Christen to take control and she wanted nothing more than to reward Tobin for how she handled her anxious demeanor in the lockerroom.  Tobin was patient with her, giving her comfort over something that most people might be annoyed by.  Insecurity was an ongoing issue in Christen’s life and one that she thought Tobin clearly understood, making her grateful.  

 

If people do see it, I’m going to need to prepare myself.  People may comment on it on social media.  It’s ok, not everyone is paying attention to you, Christen.  Tobin is okay with it, I think.  Put it in perspective, look at the big picture of life.

 

Before she was done psyching herself up, she felt Tobin stir behind her.  “…ok…her...yes..Chris..”

 

What the…

 

“Tobin?” Christen rolled over to tap her, still seeing her eyes were closed and she was talking in her sleep.  Startled, Tobin’s eyes popped open and flickered side to side, trying to orient herself.  

 

“Tobs,” she said again, but softer.  “Are you ok?”  

 

Tobin visibly relaxed and closed her eyes.  “Yeah.  Is it time to get up?”  Christen traced circles into her upwards facing palm.  “No.  You were talking in your sleep.  Seemed frantic, I thought you might be having a bad dream.”

She watched her eyes pop open again, looking like she was trying to recall what was happening.

 

“What’d I say?”   She doesn’t remember.

 

“Were you dreaming?” Christen ignored the question.  She wanted to know why her name was in the context of what she was saying.

 

“I think I was.  Nice to know I’m not the only one who talks in my sleep.”  Tobin now faced her completely, mimicking the position that put her into a deep sleep last night.  A wide smiled spread across Christen’s face as she pushed the baby hairs from Tobin’s forehead.  

 

“I do not talk in my sleep if that’s what you’re trying to say.”  

 

“Yes, you do.  You did the other night when I was trying to get you into bed.”  

 

Trying to remember what she could have possibly said, she drew a blank.  “Tobin, what’d I say?  To you?”

 

Licking her bottom lip, Tobin came closer to Christen’s mouth.  She ghosted her lips across Christen’s speaking softly into them.  “Uh, uh.  Not telling you until you tell me.”  

 

It was useless battle.  Christen didn’t think it was anything too important or revealing what Tobin was trying to say, so she decided to let it go.  “I guess you’ll never know then since you’re so difficult and stubborn.” She pulled back, taking the covers off of her warmed body, revealing tanned legs and arms underneath her pajamas so she could sit up.

 

“Fine. But ‘stubborn’  and ‘difficult’ are pretty far off of what you said about me.”  

 

She froze.  “I talked about you?”   What did I say?

 

Relishing in the attention she was getting, Tobin grinned ear to ear.  “I think you were talking to me.”  

 

Not understanding what that meant, Christen perched herself on her knees, facing Tobin reclined against the headboards, pillow support her neck.  “Like...telling you something? Or asking you something?”  

 

“Telling.”

 

Oh shit, what did I say?!  Growing impatient, she whined.  “Tell me please!”  

 

“I told you, not until you tell me what I said.”  

 

“Yours wasn’t important, I don’t think, just tell me!” she pleaded.

 

Tobin paused, contemplating and torturing Christen simultaneously.  “No.”  She sat up to rub her nose against the length of Christen’s cheek. “I think I’ll wait to hear if you say it when you’re awake.”  

 

Christen sat there, stunned.  She watched her hop off of the bed and round it to go behind her to the bathroom.  Ali was still sound asleep, missing the show in front of her.   What did I say?

 

It was going to bug her for the rest of the day.

……………………………………………………………………...

Chapter Text

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  Tobin felt something on her shoulder and opened her eyes quickly.  She was on her back, staring at the ceiling, a rare position for her since she was used to sleeping on her side or stomach.  An immediate rush of zen washed over her and she knew she had slept soundly.   Probably because of what we did before we went to bed.

 

Christen was calling her name, so she figured it was time to get up and she just hadn’t heard the alarm.  Closing her eyes for one more moment, Christen informed her she was talking in her sleep.   Oh no.

 

She watched her eyes pop open again, looking like she was trying to recall what was happening.  I was having a dream….I was telling Shirley about Christen and it wasn’t going well.

 

“What’d I say?”   She was hoping it wasn’t too revealing or that Christen would piece it together.

 

“Were you dreaming?” Christen ignored her question.  

 

Play dumb.  “I think I was.”  Spin it back to her.    “Nice to know I’m not the only one who talks in my sleep.”  She rolled to face Christen in the same position they were in last night as she felt Christen sweep the hair that was blocking a full view of her.  

 

“I do not talk in my sleep if that’s what you’re trying to say.”   Oh yes, yes you do babe.

 

“Yes, you do.  You did the other night when I was trying to get you into bed.”  She could see Christen replaying the night quickly in her head.  Her eyes started to narrow and her face became tighter.  “Tobin, what’d I say?  To you?”

 

She thought Christen  looked gorgeous when she first woke up and remembering how she felt in the same position the night before, she licked her bottom lip.  Scooting towards her, Tobin brushed her lips across Christen’s as she told her “uh, uh.  Not telling you until you tell me.”  Her nose filled with a mixture of comforting, neutral smells like baby powder and fresh laundry as she breathed in.  

 

She felt and saw Christen pull back from her embrace. “I guess you’ll never know then since you’re so difficult and stubborn.”  When she was sitting up, Tobin eyed her long tan legs, shimmering from the sunlight peeking through the curtains.   

 

“Fine. But ‘stubborn’  and ‘difficult’ are pretty far off of what you said about me.”   Tobin wanted to play this game.

 

She watched Christen freeze in horror.  “I talked about you?”   Oh, she’s worried now, she has no idea.  This is so fun.   Tobin grinned ear to ear.  “I think you were talking to me.”  Her back rested against the pillows and her fingers drummed together as though she was the master of some evil plot that was playing out right in front of her.  

 

Up on all fours and gazing holes through her, stammered “like...telling you something? Or asking you something?”  

 

“Telling.”  

 

Christen’s voice was whiny, almost cracking now.  “Tell me please!”   Make her beg, what can I get out of this? “I told you, not until you tell me what I said.”   I don’t even really care what I said because it can’t be that bad if she’s not upset.

 

“Yours wasn’t important, I don’t think, just tell me!” she pleaded. Good. Nothing bad .

 

Tobin paused before sitting up to meet Christen’s face.  “No.”  She trailed her nose against the length of Christen’s soft cheek. “I think I’ll wait to hear if you say it when you’re awake.”  Tobin hopped off of the bed and around it to go behind her to the bathroom.  She smiled the whole way there knowing how worked up Christen must be now.  If Christen had said something bad, she wouldn’t have said lead her on like this.  But it was exciting to think that Christen felt that way about her in any sense of the word.  

 

Now in the bathroom with the door safely shut behind her she started through her morning routine.  Realizing she didn’t have a toothbrush since it wasn’t her room, she grabbed mouthwash and rinsed a few times.   Better than nothing.   When she was finally finished she opened the door to see Christen standing with her arms crossed and leaning against the opposite wall.  

 

“Tell me.”  

 

Giggling, Tobin kept walking.  “No, I told you I wasn’t going to tell you until you told me.  I’ll keep saying it!  Morning, Ali.”  Ali was sitting up in bed with her glasses on, slumped and attached to her phone already.  

 

“Hey. Morning.”  

 

Crawling back into her side of the bed, Tobin found the remote to turn on the tv.  They had some time to kill before they needed to start their recovery so she took advantage of the time to do nothing.  Flipping through the channels, she glanced to where Christen was standing.  Giving her a trusting smile, she gestured with her head for Christen to rejoin her in bed.  A momentary hesitation occurred before she finally did and any tension that remained lifted from her body as she snuggled into Tobin’s side.  Kissing her hair before settling on ESPN, Tobin couldn’t help but think of how nice it would be to do this in the privacy of her own home despite Ali being super welcoming.  

 

“Do you want me to go get coffee for everyone?” Christen asked.  Ali answered before Tobin could, “Already on it.  I asked Ashlyn to grab some for us.”  Almost on cue, a knock at the door drug Ali from her bed to answer it.  Ashlyn kissed her before noticing Christen and Tobin in bed together.  

 

“Oh look, a cute little double date we’re having.”  Feeling her cheeks blush, Tobin just nodded.  She was grateful that she and Christen weren’t the only ones on the team in this situation and in all honesty, wouldn’t be if it weren’t for them.  Dating a teammate was a risk but they proved it could be done - for a long time.  Hot liquid poured down her throat, tickling her extremities and rushing to her head.   Now I’m awake.   She had to separate her body from Christen’s in order to drink it, but kept as close as she could.

 

“Do you two have plans together for the holidays?” Christen asked the couple before sipping on her own coffee.  Looking at each other for confirmation, Ali nodded. “Yeah, right after Christmas I think we’ll meet up in D.C.?”  

 

“Oh sweet,” Tobin acknowledged.  “It’ll be nice to have some time off before January camp.”

 

“Do you two have any holiday plans?” Ashlyn reciprocated in a sing-song tone.  Tobin knew she was trying to get a rise out of them, but in a loving way. I want to answer this one.

 

“Yeah, we do actually.  I’m going to go to LA when we leave New Orleans for a day or two then head back after Christmas through New Year's.”  Christen’s soft smile followed her every word.  They gazed at each other for a few longing moments afterwards.

 

“Look at them already, so cute,” Ashlyn said to Ali.  “Good for you guys.”  

 

“How long are you going to make fun of us for?” Christen asked them, laughing.  

 

“Hey we’re happy for you but even more happy the pressure is off us.”  Tobin watched them high five, shaking her head.  “Come on, no one made fun of you.  Everyone’s used to it.  We’re happy for you.”  

 

“And we’re happy for you too, but you’ll see.  People lump you together and just assume you want to only be with each other.  Remember to give yourselves time apart when you’re in camp, too.”  The pair let the advice they received sink in.  “Yeah, that’s good advice.  Thanks, Ali,” Christen responded.

 

They continued to chat over coffee in bed for another half an hour before realizing they had to get their day started. Recovery, eat, pack, flight to Arizona, workout/meeting was on the itinerary for the day according to Dawn. Before throwing her coffee cup in the trash by the desk, Tobin noticed the flowers she had bought Christen were still in the vase, wilted.   “You brought them on the flight from Hawaii?” she asked incredulously.  A shy smile crept onto Christen’s face.  “I like them.”  

 

“I can get you more, you know.  You don’t have to empty the vase and put them in your suitcase.”  Tobin was touched Christen wanted to keep them as long as she could but also found it a little much to put them in her already filled suitcase.  

 

“No, I like them! But thank you.”

 

Ali and Ashlyn were watching them with amusement. “To be young and in love.”  Tobin watched Christen whip her head to them at the statement.   She looks nervous. They’re just kidding, Chris.  Relax.  It’s ok.

 

“Yep,” she heard herself saying aloud.  Now Christen was looking at her wide-eyed, but a little less nervous.  “Babies compared to you two.  Shouldn’t you be married by now?”  She knew turning her response about age and onto them would calm Christen down.

 

“Not you, too.  Everyone keeps hinting that to us but it’s like, why not wait til we’re done playing in a few years and ready to like, really settle down?”  Ali asked.  

 

“I’m just joking,” Tobin assured. “Do you.”  Winking at Christen, she let them know she was gonna head back to her room to change.  “I’ll see you guys in a little bit.”

 

Back in her own hotel room, Alex was up and moving.  “Morning, Al.”  

 

“Hey, I was just going to text you to see if you were alive.  Do you wanna head down to the pool a little early with me?”  Tobin got changed and followed her friend down the hall to the elevators.  It was still relatively quiet, so she figured people were taking their sweet time this morning.   Which is actually how I usually am.  Since Christen, I think I’ve been up early every morning.   Reading her thoughts, Alex questioned her.  “You’ve been up and moving early all week.  Are you sleeping?”

 

“Yeah, really well actually.  I don’t know, maybe just the time differences or something.”  Alex accepted her explanation as they found the second floor where the pool was located.  Eerily quiet in the indoor dome, they tested the temperatures with their toes before getting in the whole way.  

 

“Hot tub first?”  

 

“Oh yeah.”  Tobin giggled, she really didn’t want to immerse her body in the cold water yet.  The hot tub sounded way better and it was better to get there before Dawn and company arrived.  

 

“Are you sleeping well because you’re with Christen?  Or just tired?”  Alex sat across from her making conversation.  

 

“I think it’s Christen.  But I have to tell you, last night I had this dream…..”  She went on to tell her the brief version of the conversations she had with Lindsey and Christen about Shirley the days prior.  “....and I think I was in the middle of telling her yes, it was Christen I was seeing when Christen actually woke me up!”  Appearing fascinated, Alex told her to continue.  “But you don’t know what you said in your sleep? She wouldn’t tell you?”  

 

Shaking her head, Tobin told her no.  “She didn’t seem upset and then said it wasn’t a big deal, but man oh man, I hope it doesn’t happen like that in real life.  I hope Shirley is a little more receptive.”

 

Raising her eyebrows, Alex seemed skeptical.  “I don’t think it’s going to be any better than your dream.”   She’s probably right.   “When are you going to tell her?”  

 

Putting her head down, Tobin went silent for a moment.  “ I don’t know.  I was thinking when I get back to Portland in a week or so, but then I don’t want her ruin her Christmas.  But then I don’t wanna do it when I’m in LA after Christmas.  I know there’s no ‘good time’ and I should do it sooner than later. “  It appeared that Alex was agreeing with her from her body language.  “I’ll figure it out.  It’ll all work out.”

 

She tried to believe her own words as she knew time was moving forward and she had to make a plan.  “But get this, she wouldn’t tell me because I wouldn’t tell her what she said the other night when she was asleep.”

 

“What’d she say?” Alex asked.

 

“Love Tobin.”  

 

Appearing confused, Alex asked “Like signing off a letter or something?  Love, Mom?”

 

“No, no.  like a pause  between the words and in the same tone. I wondered if I missed a little word at the beginning of that.”

 

Her friend shook her head slightly, chiding her.  “Geez it’s no myth that female relationships move quickly, huh?”

 

Slightly embarrassed Tobin tried standing up for her.  “Oh stop.  I don’t know if that’s exactly what she meant for sure and c’mon she was asleep!”  “But if she wasn’t asleep how would you have felt?”  

 

Good question.   “I think I would have been fine with it.  It’s not like I picked her up off the street.  I’ve known her for years, we’ve been close and I’ve always “loved” her as a person.  The past few months have been eye opening for us.”  

 

“So you love her?”  

 

Weighing her feelings internally she realized, she just might.

……………………………………………………

 

Recovery, meals, meetings, trainings.  It was all routine but a little jammed packed the next two days since they were playing multiple games in a short span.  Christen still felt energized, ready to go by the time they were ready to take the field in Arizona. She wasn’t starting, but Tobin was and kept her eyes glued to her the entire time.  Right after Tobin had subbed out with less than 15 minutes to go, she’d scored a stunner into the upper left corner.  A wave of euphorium swept over her.  As much pressure and responsibility she put on herself to score, these games weren’t about her - it was the Abby show right now.  Still, it felt so good to close the match out in that way, feeling like she had truly earned it.

 

In the locker room after, spirits were high and no was soaring like she was.  Checking her phone, she saw a few texts waiting for her, one catching her eye from Cheney.

 

Lauren: Stunner, girlfriend! Good work.  Excited to see you in a few days!

 

Smiling to herself, she responded.  She had already missed her friend so much in the past month and a half. Despite trading a few texts here and there, they hadn’t had any deep conversations or catch-ups since leaving D.C.

 

Christen: So excited to see you and catch up! I can’t wait to see your house, too!

 

The team had received an evite from Cheney for a holiday get together (a tradition) at her house in New Orleans, their last stop on the victory tour.   I wonder if Tobin’s talked to her much?  They’re close.  When she was finished and exited the locker room next to Tobin, she made a  point of asking her.

 

“Hey have you talked to Cheney lately?”  

 

“Mmhmm” Tobin got out while chewing on her apple.  “A few times.”   Interesting, I wonder if she told her about us since she hasn’t said anything to me.

 

“Not about us?”   Tobin looked at her with a surprised expression.  “No. She knows about Shirley but I mean it’s only been like two weeks since we’ve been together and we haven’t talked a whole lot while I’m in camp.”   Makes sense.  

 

“True.  Just feels like longer than two weeks, you know?”

 

“Yeah,” Tobin chuckled.  “It really does.”

 

Christen had a suggestion for her.  “What if we tell her together at her party?”

 

Tobin smiled.  “Yeah, I like that idea.  She’ll be happy, I think.”  She changed the apple to the other hand so she could take Christen’s in her left.  Christen wrapped her fingertips around the top of Tobin’s hand, squeezing it gently.  “I’m excited.  I like telling people.”

 

“Me too.”  Her voice sounded sincere, soothing and Tobin was looking at her with adoration.  Butterflies deep in her stomach fluttered.  Leaning into her, Christen pushed once again for what she said in her sleep. “So, will you tell me yet what I said the other night?”

 

Sighing and accepting Christen’s weight, Tobin drug her arm around her.  “Why do you want to know so badly?  You scared it was something embarrassing?”  

 

Uh yeah.   “Sort of?”  

 

Hearing Tobin’s laugh behind her pearly white smile was music to her ears.  “Don’t be embarrassed.  It was something nice!”   Okay, you probably just called her hot or something. You told her something, she said.

 

Well at least it wasn’t anything mean,” she relented.  

 

Tobin pulled her in to kiss the side of her head.  “Definitely not mean.  You could never be mean.”  


Although Christen knew that definitely wasn’t true she honestly said, “Not to you.  Never to you.”

Chapter Text

Final game of the year,   Tobin thought.  There was so much going on with Abby’s retirement, frequent travel between games and the upcoming holiday.   Oh and going to LA.   It felt like all of her time in the past few days was spent either on a plane, bus or doing recovery.   Tobin snuck a few moments here and there with Christen, but it was difficult in a team environment.  Resolving to concentrate on her teammates now and wait until they were on their way to LA, Tobin stuck but Alex, Kelley and HAO for most of her down time.  

 

“Here give me your phone, I’ll copy my status to your twitter,”  Alex insisted.  The hype for the game tomorrow night was mounting and the city of New Orleans seemed to be on board.  Tonight though, the team would have their annual Christmas get together at Cheney’s house.  

 

“Here,” she said handing her phone to Alex who was sitting in the window seat of the bus.  “Just let me see it before you post so it’s nothing over the top.”  Alex gave her a brief side eye before continuing her task. Closing her eyes, Tobin tried to get a moment to herself since the night before resulted in a restless sleep.  Alex was typically a really good roommate; they didn’t bicker over which bed to have, when to turn off the t.v., etc.  But last night, her insistent pressing about when and how she would tell Shirley about her new relationship was annoying.  Everytime Tobin thought she gave her an acceptable answer and tried to change the topic of conversation, Alex circled back around and threw a wrench into Tobin’s plan.  The mental fatigue set in and she tossed and turned.

 

“I don’t think you should tell her you’re ‘in a relationship’ yet.  That seems really committed so soon after you broke up.”

 

“And what would you tell her if it was you, Alex?’’

 

“I’d say….. I’d say I JUST started to see someone and it’s new but you wanted to let her know before she heard it from someone else.  Emphasize that it’s not that big of a deal and like, that you’re concerned about her feelings.”

 

“Well I am telling her because I don’t want her to eventually hear from someone else.”

 

…………………

 

“Yeah, but, Tobin...you don’t even know if you’ll still be talking to Christen in a month or two when we have to see Shirley at qualifiers.  You don’t want to jump the gun and upset her for nothing.”

 

“I get what you’re saying but I don’t think it’s like that.”

 

“You just ended a two and half year relationship and then this popped up.  Just don’t reveal too much before you’re sure.”

 

“Ok, Al.”

 

……………….

 

“Do you think she’ll ask you a bunch of questions about how and when it happened when she finds out it’s Christen?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“What are you gonna tell her if she does ask?”

 

“I don’t know, Alex.”

 

“C’mon, you have to think of something before you actually have the conversation.  Don’t go in unprepared.”

 

“I’ll say nothing happened before we broke up, which is true.  After I got back from Paris we started talking and spending more time together and it just happened.”

 

“I don’t think she’ll buy that.”

 

“Well, then that’ll be her problem I guess.  It’s the truth.”

 

……………….

 

Tobin silently prayed that none of what Alex had suggested would be true, but that Shirley would be understanding and supportive.  After all, they’re adults and had ended things on good terms. I need to tell Christen before I have this conversation, just to warn her.

 

Interrupting her moment of silence, Alex threw her phone on her lap.  “Geez.  Thanks.”  She saw the Twitter status Alex had drafted and deemed it acceptable.  “Yeah, that’s fine.”  

 

Opening her messages, she texted Christen who was only sitting two rows back from her.

 

Tobin: I hope there’s time to take a nap before tonight

 

Christen:  With me?

 

Tobin:  YES

 

Christen: We’ll make time

 

Tobin: :)



And they did find time after training but before the party.  The best part was, they were roommates for the final game of the year.  Typically, rooming with significant others is a silent no-no, but they chalked it up to staff being unaware when they made the arrangements.  Either way, both were pumped to be able to sleep in the same room for the final two nights of the tour.   Wrapped up in sheets of Christen’s bed, their limbs weaved together and Tobin’s chin dug into Christen’s shoulder.  Soft breathing filled the room with the tv silent but  illuminating the walls.  Tobin’s eyes fluttered open an hour later, coming out of her state of rest in a gentle way.  All she could see was green as her eyes attempted to focus.  Christen.

 

“Hi.”

 

A smile stretched lazily across her own face.  “Hi,” she matched.

 

“Have a good nap?”  

 

Tobin nodded.  “Did you sleep or did you just watch me?”  

 

“Little of both,” Christen laughed.  “Is that creepy to say?”

 

Knowing she liked to watch Christen slip into sleep herself, she found nothing weird about it.  “No, it’s not.”   Untangling their touching body parts for some room to breathe, Tobin rolled onto her back.  “I don’t feel like getting ready for this.”  

 

“You don’t want to go?”  Christen’s voice had a hint of alarm in it.

 

“No, I definitely want to go, I mean I wish I could just roll out of bed and go like this,” Tobin said gesturing to her sweatpants and t-shirt.  

 

A little relief washed over Christen as she reminded her that the party was casual and they were supposed to wear Christmas themed clothes.  “Didn’t you pack anything or pick something out to wear?”  

 

“Yeah, I went with Alex and Kel to pick something out.  Our outfits match.”

 

Christen raised her eyebrows in surprise.  “I can’t wait to see what this looks like.”  TObin understood what she meant.  Alex and especially Kelley were way more flamboyant and festive with their creative wear, but Tobin was on board with this one minus pulling her socks the whole way up her knees.  She walked over to her suitcase where a small white bag held the shirt and striped socks she bought.  “See, not too bad!”

 

“Oh that’s cute.  I actually like it!”  Christen went to her own suitcase to show Tobin what she had in store.  “I figured I’d go ugly sweater since I needed one for a Buzzer segment next week.”

 

“I doubt you’ll look ugly in it but it’s a good choice.”  Tobin started to get herself ready for a shower by putting her hair into a messy bun and removing her clothes underneath the bath towel wrapped around her core.  “Wanna join me?”  She was half joking, but if Christen indicated she wanted to she would gladly be late to the party.

Christen seemed to contemplate the offer but ultimately rejected her.  “I don’t think we’d be ready in time if I joined you.”  A smirk crept onto her face as she sauntered towards Tobin.  “But ask me again in a day or two.”  Her words made all the little hairs on Tobin’s body stand up, especially because she could feel Christen’s fingers lingering on her bare neck.  Eyes closed, she tried to steady herself and continue with her original plan.  

 

The two got ready in silence, except for the television in the background.  Each time they had to move past each other or one needed something the other was using, they purposefully teased each other with touch.  Tobin could feel the tension mounting as she smoothed the top of her hair and watched Christen in the mirror behind her staring at her while buttoning her sweater.  There was nothing remotely sexy about what either of them was doing but somehow they both were so in tune and turned on.  

 

“Ready?” Tobin asked, knowing they better get out of the hotel room quickly before something distracted them from going at all.  

 

“Ready.”  Christen held out her hand to Tobin, who took it before opening the door.  Down in the lobby, some of their teammates had congregated in groups.  “I think we should take separate cars to get there.”

 

Tobin turned her head quickly to look at the black hairs beauty in her hideous sweater.  “Why? I thought we were telling Lauren tonight, why would we separate?”  

 

“We are! I think if we walk in together she might have a hunch or at least it’ll cross her mind about us.  If we go separately and then get her alone to tell her it’ll be more fun!”  Tobin thought about her suggestion but found a flaw.  “Ok but what if by the time we get to corner her, someone else makes a comment or she asks about us?”

 

“I didn’t think of that,” Christen acknowledged.  

 

“We’re over-thinking this entire thing.  She’s going to be happy for us regardless of how we tell her.  I say we just walk in, hand in hand, and let that do all the talking,”  Tobin landed on.  Her suggestion got a smile from Christen, who in return added she wanted to be one of the first to arrive so they should work on getting into the first van.

 

It turned out they got the opposite of Christen’s wish.   You’d think we would be more organized since we travel so often, Tobin thought.  It was a made dash and people piling into backseats, shouting they weren’t driving or asking for the address again.  She and Christen ended up in a van with JJ, Crystal, HAO, Kelley and Amy.  Kelley had offered to drive, God save them all, so Tobin sat up front navigating the short trip.  When they arrived in front of Lauren and Jrue’s gorgeous new house, Tobin immediately knew it was hers.  The twinkling lights and feel of the home was just so Cheney, she thought.

 

“Ready to go in?” a soft voice asked her.  Standing in front of Christen, she spun around to look into the sparkling eyes she’d come to love looking into.  “More than ready.”

 

The pair followed behind others walking into the home where they could hear shrieks and screams over top of the music being played. Spotting Cheney’s head over top of people in front her, Tobin squeezed Christen’s hand in anticipation.  She felt so nervous and excited all at once and could only imagine how quickly Christen’s heart was beating.  When it was their turn to greet Cheney, they made an obvious attempt to stand together, hands interlocked in front of her.  

 

Cheney looked them up and down, eyes plummeting to their hands and back up between their eyes.  Her face was still like stone.  She wasn’t moving to hug them like the others before them and she didn’t say a word. Feeling her pulse pick up, it felt like they were standing there for eternity when she finally spoke.

 

“What is this?”

 

…………………………..

 

Christen looked at her outfit choice in the mirror, realizing that even though she was wearing the ugliest black knitted sweater she could find, she could still make herself look somewhat attractive.  Her hair was wavy, mostly at the ends and her eyes were rimmed with a charcoal eyeliner to make them pop.  Choosing a soft pink lip color, she puckered up to place it neatly within the lines of her lips.  Behind her, she could see the silhouette of Tobin pulling on a pair of black leggings under her slightly oversized Elf t-shirt.  Disappointed she hadn’t looked a few seconds earlier to get a glimpse her long, bare legs.  Smiling to herself, she thought about how nice it was to share a space with Tobin and the fact that they didn’t seem nervous around each other.  In fact, she thought it their silent flirting was fun; refreshing.  Christen thought back to the last time she really was in this position of a new relationship or being so interested in someone.   A few years, really.  But I carried a torch for Tobin the whole time.  

 

While she searched for the perfect pair of shoes in her belongings, Tobin switched spots and went to the mirror.  Standing at an angle where she could watch the girl fix herself in the mirror, Christen buttoned up the remaining buttons on her sweater.  Tobin must have felt her looking because she caught her eyes.  Somewhere deep in her, Christen felt the urge to march over and mess up Tobin’s hair by grabbing it and taking her mouth onto hers.  Her cheekbones were perfection and fantasizing about that jaw brushing up against hers drove her wild.

 

“Ready?” Tobin asked, bringing her back to reality and out of her sexual yearning.

 

“Ready.”  Christen held out her hand to Tobin, settling for minimal contact.  This was it, they were on their way to telling one of their closest friends about their new relationship.  In a small way, Christen felt it was a milestone and put a stamp on the legitimacy of them as a couple.  Walking across the lobby she announced quietly to Tobin, “I think we should take separate cars to get there.”

 

Tobin turned her head quickly to look at her.  “Why? I thought we were telling Lauren tonight, why would we separate?”  

 

“We are! I think if we walk in together she might have a hunch or at least it’ll cross her mind about us.  If we go separately and then get her alone to tell her it’ll be more fun!” Christen had played the scenario in her head more than once.

 

Realizing she wasn’t jumping on board right away, Christen felt a little nervous about why  Tobin was hesitant.

“Ok but what if by the time we get to corner her, someone else makes a comment or she asks about us?”

 

“I didn’t think of that,” Christen acknowledged.    I don’t want anyone else making a comment about us to her, or asking where we were then someone outing us before we get there.

 

“We’re over-thinking this entire thing.  She’s going to be happy for us regardless of how we tell her.  I say we just walk in, hand in hand, and let that do all the talking,”  Tobin suggested.

 

Ok, that’s actually a pretty good idea.  Tobin doesn’t seem to be stressed about this so you shouldn’t be either. “Can we just go in one of the first vans then?”

 

It was mass confusion as some people walked in opposite directions and in small clusters to the three available vansa and others had opted to take an Uber.  Tightly clasping Tobin’s hand the entire time to not get lost in the crowd, they found themselves with  JJ, Crystal, HAO, Kelley and Amy.  Kelley had offered to drive so Tobin gave her a look as to say I need to help her and sat upfront.  

 

When Kelley finally parked out front, she let JJ slide out before her.  Tobin was already standing on the pavement looking ahead at the impressive home.

 

“Ready to go in?” Christen inquired. My God she looks beautiful tonight.  Her outfit was silly and she had minimal makeup on, but Tobin’s natural beauty was something Christen just loved.

 

“More than ready.”

 

Stepping closer to the front door, Christen could hear the excitement in the air already.  She bobbed her head to see in front of her, trying to spot any sign of Lauren.  Tobin squeezed her hand just as they were about to cross the threshold.   Here we go!  There she was, with shorter, slightly more blond in her hair and bringing a sting to her heart.  She forgot just how much she had missed her friend.  A big grin stretched her mouth open when she and Tobin stood before her, hands grasping at each other.

 

Lauren looked them up and down, Christen’s eyes tracking hers as they rmoved overtop of their hands. When she looked up, her face was expressionless.  Immediately, her own smile disappeared. No one moved, no one spoke. Is Tobin’s hand getting tighter around mine?  What’s wrong with Lauren?

 

“What is this?”

 

…………………………………………...

 

Chapter Text

Tobin’s heart sank deep in her chest.  She was probably squeezing the life out of Christen’s hand at the moment but it was barely registering in her mind.   Why is she mad?  I thought she’d be happy about this?   Taking a quick look at Christen’s expression, she figured she should answer Cheney since Christen was seemingly paralyzed.  

 

“We...uh...Christen and I-”  Tobin started to stammer through a logical explanation.   Wait a second, why do I feel like I’m on trial here?

 

“We wanted to tell, or show you, our good news.”  Tobin lifted her and Christen’s intertwined hands up in the air to emphasize her point.  

 

Silence still.  

 

Christen’s shy voice piped up. “Lauren, are you not happy about this?”

 

“I’m just kidding! Of course I’m so happy about this! Come here!”  Relief washed over Tobin and her body began to relax.  Parting hands from her girl, she embraced her friend in the biggest hug.  

 

“You scared me! Why’d you do that?” she asked as she let go and watched Christen and Lauren embrace.  

 

“I’m a good actress, huh?”

 

“You are.  But whyyyy?” Christen whined.

 

“People started coming in and I told Alex I love her outfit and she said you and Kelley matched her.  I asked where you two were and she said...and I quote, “I don’t know, Tobin is probably with her lov-ah”.

 

Closing her eyes and shaking her head, Tobin couldn’t believe Alex had been the one to spill the beans.

 

“So I thought to myself, sorry Chris, Shirley’s here?  Then I was like wait a second, they’re dunzo.  Then it clicked when I realized you weren’t here either.  I’ve been shoving everyone else that has come in out of the way just waiting for you two.”

 

Hoping that the Shirley quip didn’t hurt Christen, she glanced at her looking for some reassurance.  Seeing Christen beaming back at Cheney, she took it as no harm, no foul.  “So you thought you’d mess with us then?”

 

“Oh yeah, I mean I’m not mad but does everyone else know? I wanted to get you back a little.”  Understanding that Cheney was a cheerleader and cared deeply about of them, Tobin apologized.  “I’m sorry, Chen.  Still new for us.  We’ve been taking it day by day.”

 

“It’s ok! Really!  I’m so happy for you guys.  What a hot couple.”  Cheney winked at Christen as Tobin started to feel her cheeks heat up.  Now, she knew Christen was striking but hearing someone refer to her as ‘hot’ made her uncomfortable.  Of course she didn’t think she was hard on the eyes but she valued so much more about herself then her looks.

 

Re-taking Christen’s hand, the three walked into the house that was decorated for the party and Christmas.

 

“Your house is so cute!” Christen exclaimed.  “I am so jealous of the decorating you get to do.”  Tobin pulled her in a little closer and searched for eye contact.  “I told you you could help with my apartment.”  

 

Cheney watched them with a pathetic look on her face.  “You two are just so cute.  Who woulda thought, two of my best gals?”  Coming around to drape her arms around their shoulders, Tobin made herself small.   This is so embarrassing.   Luckily, Christen didn’t seem to mind, even enjoying all the attention they were getting.  Breaking free from the gesture, Tobin told them she was going to find Alex so she could get the pictures over with that she knew she would want.  

 

Posing with Kelley and Alex for way more shots than she bargained for, Tobin followed Christen out of the corner of her eye.  She casually chatted with some of their teammates, laughing and listening intently.   I am so lucky.

 

“Tobin?”

 

Snapping her head to answer at Alex, she realized both of her friends were looking at her.  “Yeah, sorry, what?”

 

“Pull your socks up to match ours,  it’ll look cuter,” Alex insisted.  Rolling her eyes but complying, Tobin pulled them up for her friends.  Looking at the result she had to agree, they actually did look pretty cute.  “Send one to me, I like it,” she told them.

 

Searching the room for Christen, she instead settled on Amy and Cheney who were huddled together talking.   “What are you two gossiping about?” she asked as she approached them.  Amy looked up, eyes glistening.   Oh no what happened?   Tobin studied Amy’s expression but didn’t think she looked upset.  

 

“Guess what?” she asked.  Before Tobin could even open her mouth Amy continued, “I’m pregnant!”  

 

Pulling her in, Tobin shrieked with delight.  “I knew it! I’m so happy for you! When did you find out?”  The trio discussed the first few weeks of Amy’s pregnancy in hushed tones because the last thing they wanted was the news to get back to personnel before Amy had a chance to tell them herself.  “I’m due in early July so I’ll be out for all next year.  It’s kind of a blessing  because I know how grueling this Olympic cycle will be and I don’t think waiting another full year to try was the best option for us as a family.  I’m really happy it’s working out this way,” she told them.  

 

“This is so exciting,” Cheney exclaimed.  “What if our kids are born within a few weeks of each other?”  Tobin’s eyes grew wide as her eyes dropped to look at her stomach.  “Wait are you pregnant, too?”  

 

Cheney laughed and held up both hands, fingers crossed.  “I hope so, we’re trying!”  In the back of her mind, Tobin knew this was the real reason that Cheney had decided to retire but ultimately hadn’t processed it.  Two of her best friends were starting or growing their families and  then there she was, in the same place she had been for the past few years.  “You two are really making moves,” Tobin laughed with a sad undertone.  

 

“So are you,” joked Cheney with a little hip bump into Tobin.  “Too much good news for one night!”  Spying Christen across the room, Tobin excused herself to have a moment with her. Cheney was right - although the things happening in their lives were more monumental and life-changing, Christen was still important and what they were doing was important to her.  Before she reached Christen, she grabbed a beer from an ice bucket on the table.  A mental reminder told her ‘only have one or two tonight.’  

 

Christen’s threw her head back at something Moe and Kling were arguing about.  Her hair cascaded down her back and with her mouth open, her white teeth were exposed.  It stopped Tobin right in her tracks, giving her a reason to stare.  When Christen brought her head back up and refocused her attention on the argument, her tongue slipped out between her teeth, biting on it.  Licking her lips unconsciously, Tobin felt a momentary throbbing between her legs.  Christen looked in her directions and caught her eyes, silently motioning for her to join them.  

 

Tobin stood behind her, arm wrapped around waist, feeling her backside pressed into her.  She got a whiff of her hair which smelled like a mixture of all those high end hair productions she loved.  The scratchy wool from Christen’s sweater was unpleasant against Tobin’s cheek, making her want to pull it off to feel the silkiness of her skin instead.  Knowing that wasn’t an option at the moment, Tobin lifted her head and brushed her nose against Christen’s hair instead.

 

“Need anything to drink or eat?” she asked her, nose still buried in a layer of black.

Turning slightly to make eye contact, Christen told her she was good for now but to enjoy herself if she wanted something.  Realizing she actually was hungry, Tobin thought about going to make herself a small plate of food to bring back.  But the warmness that radiated off Christen and the close contact made her stay.  She’d rather starve than break their touch right now.  So they stood close together for the next half hour, talking to people who filtered in and out of their circle.  When did I become so cool with PDA?  I’m not even phased by it right now.

 

Sensing that Christen needed some room to breathe, Tobin backed off and excused herself to make the rounds.  Some of her teammates were on the couches, others were playing drinking games, most were standing by the food like true women who couldn’t resist a good piece of dessert.  Just as she was about to start up a conversation with Ali and Pinoe, Cheney announced Secret Santa was about to start.  Usually, they did a round of White Elephant but with so many people in camp this month, they thought it’d be better to do a direct swap of gifts.  Tobin was lucky to get Lindsey in the draw, already knowing all the things she likes and would possibly want for Christmas.  Settling on a really cool Barca hoodie and a box of really good chocolates Lindsey loved when Tobin’s mom sent them to Paris, she knew her identity would be easy to guess.  

 

When Tobin got her mystery gift it was wrapped so neatly that she almost didn’t want to open it since tt looked like a work of art.  Meticulously untying the delicate bow, Tobin pretended to shake it to see what could possibly be inside.  The box was long and thin, not very deep. A layer of thick tissue paper covered what was inside and small pieces of cotton stuck out from the side.  What in the world is this?

 

Removing the top layers of the gift, Tobin saw long and beautiful paintbrushes of all different sizes and thickness .   They were gorgeous and had to be much more expensive than the $50 dollar limit the girls had decided on.  All five of them had to be at least $15-20 each.  Running her fingertips along them, she was dumbfounded and couldn’t find any words.  

 

“Here!”  Christie tossed her a supplemental box that was similar to the one she just opened.  

 

“There’s more?” Tobin asked.  She ripped this one open instead of preserving the beautiful paper to see a gorgeous palette of colors to use with the brushes.  Stunned, she looked up at the faces looking at her.  “This is amazing!  Who got me this?”  

 

“Nope, you have three guesses first,” Christie chided.  

 

“Ok…”  Tobin tried to rack her brain to determine who could have been so generous and thoughtful.  Looking at their expressions, she was looking to see if anyone was giving it away.

 

“HAO!”  

 

“Nope.”

 

“Shoot, ok.” Oh I know, Whit knows all about my painting at UNC.

 

“Whit!”  

 

“Wrong!”

 

What the… “Oh man, one guess to go.  I have no idea.  Ok..I’ll just say Kling?”

 

Christie made a buzzing noise to let her know sher guesses were all wrong.  “Alright, Tobin has to wait to the end to find out! Who’s up next?”

 

Lindsey guessed hers on the first try.  Giving her a hug, she let her know how much she loved it.  “You’re welcome, love ya,” she told her.  Lindsey sat down next to her, indian style on the floor.  “Any guesses as to who mine was?”  Receiving a smirk, Tobin immediately knew Lindsey was in on it.  

 

“Help me out! I want to know!”

 

“Nope.  Figure it out yourself.”  

 

Tobin might have thought it was Lindsey herself, but she was already revealed earlier for Carli’s gift.  

 

By the end of the exchange, Tobin still hadn’t figured out who her gift was from.  There were a handful of people who hadn’t been guessed but none of them seemed to fit Tobin’s hypothesis. Definitely not Syd, probably not Abby.  Maybe it was Steph?  Wait...No one picked Christen.  Christen knows I like to paint.  Could she…? Did she…?”   Turning towards Lindsey she asked her, “do you know because someone asked for your opinion on my gift?

 

“Maybe.”

 

So Tobin then knew, Christen had definitely gotten them. Trying to locate her in the sea of people in front of her, she leapt to her feet.  Christen was  off to the side talking to Hope, who had gotten her some bracelets that were just her style.  Tobin made a beeline for her, bumping shoulders and dipping between people in front of her.  When she got to Christen, it wasn’t her who said something first.  

 

“Hey! Like your gift?”  

 

Tobin almost knocked Christen off her feet with the force of her hug.  Her arms were wrapped around her lower back, pinning the girl’s arms to her side.  

 

“Whoa, Tobs!”  

 

“I love it,” she murmured over Christen’s shoulder, eyes closed.

 

“I’m glad.  I asked Lindsey if she knew what kind you used or liked.  I remember you saying you painted a few things for your apartment in Paris and thought maybe wanted to do the same with your new place.”

 

Stepping back, Tobin opened her mouth but nothing came out.  A look of disbelief had spread across her face.  She couldn’t put together the words to show her gratitude.  Never had someone she was romantically involved with done something so nice for her.  Sure, during her time with Shirley she received flowers or surprise dates but nothing like this.  And it wasn’t like Tobin even wanted material things, she didn’t need them.   This was different.  Christen went out of her way to figure out something that she would really love and use.  Silently she thanked Lindsey for cooperating and being helpful.  

 

“I love it,” she repeated, unable to find the appropriate words at the moment. I love you is what I really want to say but no. Way, way too soon.

 

The rest of the evening went off without a hitch.  The team enjoyed themselves until a reasonable hour before they decided it was time to head back to the hotel.  Even though tomorrow was a night game, Jill had planned some meetings for the morning and wanted to reveal the lineups/expectations. Back in their hotel room the girls changed out of their getups and into more comfortable clothes for sleeping.  

 

“Your bed or mine?”  Tobin yawned.  

 

“Doesn’t matter, you choose.”  She could see Christen was as tired as she was so she flopped down on hers and pulled the blankets back.  Patting the space beside her, Christen laughed and told her to wait.  

 

“I have to brush my teeth first.  Give me a few minutes.”

 

Thinking of what a great night it was and wondering how in the world she would repay Christen for the beautiful gift, Tobin started brainstorming.  That led to a fight to keep her eyes open and stay alert until Christen came out of the bathroom.  She lost the battle and drifted off before the spot next to her was occupied, dreams of colorful swirls and long strokes dancing in her mind.  

 

…………………………………..

 

“We...uh...Christen and I-”  Christen listened to Tobin form a sentence in response to Lauren’s question.

 

“We wanted to tell, or show you, our good news.” Her hand was pulled upward, still locked with Tobin’s.

Why isn’t Lauren saying anything?    “Lauren, are you not happy about this?”

 

Seeing a smile form on her mouth, she replied “I’m just kidding! Of course I’m so happy about this! Come here!”  She watched Tobin leap forward into her friend’s arms and let her know her anxiety over the situation.  

 

“I’m a good actress, huh?”

 

“You are.  But whyyyy?” Christen whined. That was so not good for my heart.

 

“People started coming in and I told Alex I love her outfit and she said you and Kelley matched her.  I asked where you two were and she said...and I quote, “I don’t know, Tobin is probably with her lov-ah”.   Thanks, Alex.  I wonder how she feels about this?

 

“So I thought to myself, sorry Chris, Shirley’s here? Ouch.

 

“Then I was like wait a second, they’re dunzo.  Then it clicked when I realized you weren’t here either.  I’ve been shoving everyone else that has come in out of the way just waiting for you two.”  Christen wasn’t really bothered by the mention of Shirley’s name.  She was competing with her and Tobin had clearly made a decision about what she wanted for her future - her.  

 

Lauren gave a dig about people knowing but not her.  Tobin apologized first, “I’m sorry, Chen.  Still new for us.  We’ve been taking it day by day.” It is new, but it doesn’t feel that way.

 

Tobin fished for her hand as they started to walk deeper into the house.  “Your house is so cute!” Christen exclaimed.  “I am so jealous of the decorating you get to do.” She could see the puns about “the Holidays” for Christmas decorations and couldn’t help but giggle, knowing for once it wasn’t her own name being used. Tobin surprised her by pulling on her hand and searching for eye contact.  “I told you you could help with my apartment.”  

 

“You two are just so cute.  Who woulda thought, two of my best gals?”  Christen felt like gloating - like she had won something.  That’s how being with Tobin made her feel.  Getting some alone time with just Lauren, she told her this.  

 

“It’s all clicking.  It hasn’t been even what, a month?  But we’re clicking on all levels.  I think being friends before helped.”  

 

“All levels, huh?” Cheney bumped her hip against her own.  “Does that mean..?”

 

“Stop! I am not sharing those details with you.  Do you really want to hear about two of your friends doing that?”  Christen’s hands rose to her cheeks, hot with embarrassment.  The rest of the night she filtered in and out of groups, enjoying herself with the company of all her teammates.  Being in a relaxed setting helped her take her focus off of what her current position was within the team and create some off-field chemistry.  Tobin always managed to sneak up to where she was, but not in a suffocating way.  

 

She’s so attentive and loving.   They were separated when a massive circled formed for Secret Santa.  Girls had dumped gifts into a massive bag earlier in the day and it was lugged to the house so no one could peak or ruin the surprises.  This was what she was waiting for all night, but couldn’t have told Tobin.  Somehow, she managed to pick her girl’s name through the online drawing.  Stumped for ideas, she went through the list of her hobbies, favorite brands, Instagram for likes, an old Pinterest board for inspiration.  You name it, she looked at it.  It dawned on her that Tobin was really interested in decorating her new place but a $50 dollar limit wouldn’t let her get anything special.  

 

When she was perfecting her eyeshadow a few days ago before going out to dinner, it hit her.   Paint. Tobin likes to paint.  Maybe I can get her some nice supplies so she can paint for her apartment.  She showed me some of her work she did in Paris.  Paris! Lindsey! She’ll know exactly what Tobin used.

 

Lindsey had been wonderfully helpful when she approached her.

 

…………..

“Hey Lindsey, do you have a minute to talk?”  She did her best to keep her voice from wavering or showing any sign of nervousness.  Truth it, she still didn’t’ know her well enough and wanted to be on her good side.

 

Looking up from her laptop, Lindsey focused on her.  “What’s up?”

 

“Did you uh, ever paint with Tobin?”

 

The question must have struck intrigue from the girl because she swiftly shut her laptop and discussed the question.  “Like see her paint or actually paint with her?” she clarified.  

 

“Either.  I was going to get her some new brushes and colors but I’m a little lost as to what to get.  I didn’t know if you knew what she liked or used.”

 

“Is this for a Christmas gift or like a surprise? Lindsey asked.

 

“I have her for Secret Santa!”  Christen felt like she had to give a reason for wanting to buy Tobin a gift, even though deep down she knew she didn’t have to explain herself. Lindsey must have felt her uneasiness because she jumped in right away.  “Oh, no, I just meant am I on a time limit here or if I ask her some questions will it ruin it?  I wasn’t sure if she told you that’s what she wanted or you were were going in blind.”  

 

Thankful Lindsey was judgment free, Christen relaxed.  “I guess you could ask her a few questions?  She’d be less suspicious if you asked her and said like, ‘oh remember when you painted that picture?  What did you use? Or, you could say you wanted to paint and ask for her recommendations.”  

 

Lindsey nodded along with Christen’s suggestions.  “You know what?  I think we shouldn’t give her any hints that it’s coming.  We can google what the best brushes are and read reviews.”  Scooting over to make room at the tiny table, Lindsey reopened her laptop and furiously typed.  

 

S he is being so cool about this; maybe Lindsey doesn’t have a problem with our relationship.   An hour later they deliriously laughed at a lame joke Christen made about paintbrushes, mostly because they were sick of looking at them.  She paid for expedited shipping to have the gift in time, bringing her grand total to $132.88.  

 

“You must like her a lot,” Lindsey shook her head.  “That’s way over the fifty dollar limit!”  

 

Turning somewhat serious, Christen nodded.  “I do.  I think she’s perfect.”  

 

Lindsey met Christen’s intensity.  “She is great.  I’m happy if she’s happy.”   Did I just get Lindsey Horan’s blessing?

 

“Well I really appreciate your help, so sorry it took this long,”  Christen started to stand up.

 

“No problem.”

 

“Can I at least buy you a coffee for all that trouble?” she asked pulling out a few dollar bills from her wallet.

 

“I think I’ll need two to get through training today,” Lindsey muttered as she got to her feet to walk with Christen.

…….

 

Christen tried to avoid any eye contact across the room while Tobin opened the gift she had wrapped and re-wrapped three times.  The look on her face made her heart jump into her throat as she ran her long fingers across the gift.  When Christie handed her the second box, Christen immediately recognized that look: Tobin was thrilled with her gift.

 

“This is amazing!  Who got me this?”  she heard the usually mellow voice ask.

 

“Nope, you have three guesses first,” Christie reminded her.

 

“Ok…”   I wonder if she has any idea.

 

“HAO!”   Good try, nope.

 

“Nope,” Christie enjoyed this role a little too much.

 

“Shoot, ok. Whit!”   Strike 2.

 

“Wrong!”

 

“Oh man, one guess to go.  I have no idea.  Ok..I’ll just say Kling?”  Pride swelled in Christen’s heart.  She was able to stump her and would get the opportunity to tell her in a little less than public setting.

 

“Alright, Tobin has to wait to the end to find out! Who’s up next?”

 

Christen received a gorgeous set of rose gold bangles from Hope, something she could use with a few outfits in her closet. She played with them at the game wore on, anxious to get it over with.  Being the gracious girl her mother taught her to be, she thanked Hope warmly one on one when she saw Tobin coming right for her.  

 

“Hey! Like your gift?”  she asked, turning away from Hope.

 

She wasn’t expecting the impact of Tobin’s hug, rocking her backwards onto her heels.  She couldn’t steady herself since her arms were glued to her legs, Tobin’s arms safely around her.  “Whoa, Tobs!”  

 

“I love it,” she heard Tobin say behind her.  

 

She figured it out.   “I’m glad.  I asked Lindsey if she knew what kind you used or liked.  I remember you saying you painted a few things for your apartment in Paris and thought maybe wanted to do the same with your new place.”

 

Tobin looked stunned in front of her.  Her face almost looked at though she was going to cry, happily of course, any second. “I love it,” she repeated.   I love you, Christen thought spontaneously and was glad it didn’t actually come out of her mouth.

 

It was a great night.  Christen couldn’t remember the last team she had felt such contentment around her teammates.  Sadly, it ended but luckily she would get to sleep with Tobin that night.  “Your bed or mine?”  Tobin yawned when back in their room.  “Doesn’t matter, you choose.”  Tobin looked like she was going to pass out on the floor if she was allowed.  Picking the bed they’d napped in earlier, Tobin gestured for her to come to bed that moment.    

 

“I have to brush my teeth first!  Give me a few minutes.”  When she went into the bathroom she started her bedroom routine and closed her eyes.  All she saw was the reflection of Tobin’s eyes sparkling.   I want to always make her feel that way.  


By the time she was finished and looked into the room, Tobin was out cold.  Her lips were parted and she was on her side, one hand above her head.  After tiptoeing to turn out the light, Christen made sure not to wake her while slipping under the covers.  Gently pressing her body up against Tobin’s back, she draped her arm around her waist.  She didn’t flinch at the contact and Christen had no idea how long she stayed there, listening to the sweet breathing in front of her.

Chapter Text

There was a buzz in the air the next day during the meeting that Jill had called.  Tobin separated herself briefly from Christen during that time so she could be with the group of expected starters.  They had all agreed, it was important to give Abby a spectacular sendoff that included adding at least one more to her impressive tally of goals over her long career.  

 

She and Moe would trade off taking corners and free kicks, so they talked over what kind of set plays would be useful and the rotation.  Christen would likely sub in sometime in the second half so she was standing with some of the others who needed to be informed of expectations and get some extra training in prior to the game.

 

Tobin looked adoringly in her direction, thinking back to when she woke that morning.  She hadn’t remembered falling asleep last night but was thankful that Christen was with her when her eyes peeled open.  One more day til it’s just us.   Her brain was still in overdrive from last night and wanted to think of something that would excite Christen the way she was.

 

During their down time that they, Tobin left their room and went to Alex and Ashlyn’s.  Needing some advice, she let them know if was Christen who had gone to all that trouble to pick out the perfect Secret Santa gift and wanted to return the gesture.  

 

“Why don’t you do something for her birthday instead of Christmas,” Ashlyn suggested.  “She loves her birthday and I bet it sucks its only a few days after the holiday.”

 

Tapping the keys to her laptop, Alex agreed.  “Yeah I’d get her a birthday gift instead of Christmas cause you don’t want her to think you got her something since she got you something even though it was for the game.”

 

They had a good point.  Birthday gift it was.  “I can give it to her when I go back to LA after Christmas.  Or maybe instead of getting her something I can do something for her?  What do you think?”   Both of her friends seemed to think that was a good option so the brainstorming continued.  After about an hour, a plan was formed and they were onto other conversation.  Feeling giddy deep down, Tobin couldn’t wait for December 28th, the day before Christen’s birthday and the start of the plan.

 

That night, the game didn’t quite go as planned.  Despite the electric atmosphere and sentimental feelings, they had ended the year with a loss.  Most of the time was spent trying to get Abby her last goal but it never came.  Even worse, Christen had subbed in for her and Tobin watched her shoulders slump on the bus and in their room afterwards.  Abby had told Christen to go score, in R rated language, when she came in for her.  Knowing Christen took scoring seriously whether it was a pick-up game or the World Cup, Tobin could see the look of disappointment in her eyes.

 

“Chris, don’t worry about it.  No one’s upset, no one is looking at you like it’s your fault,” she soothed as she sat next to Christen on the bed.  “We had a great year and this game wasn’t like the others.  Let’s enjoy tonight and I’ll even buy you a few drinks so you can forget about it!”  

 

The team was hitting Bourbon Street in celebration of the last game of their spectacular 2015 and Abby’s send-off.  Perking up  a little, Christen laid her head on Tobin’s shoulder.  “Pick something out for me to wear?”

 

Raising her eyebrows Tobin asked, “Isn’t that a little dangerous, you might not like what I pick!”  This made Christen finally laugh and Tobin knew they’d be okay that night.  She lifted up gently so she wouldn’t startle Christen and looked at her options in front of her.  “I like this dress you have laid out, wear that!”

 

She didn’t say anything, but TObin knew Christen was okay with the choice.   Smiling at her one last time before going to the bathroom to put on her makeup, Tobin felt her heart flutter.  She was so happy to be where she was and couldn’t believe how different life was from this time last month.  When she was ready, she looked effortlessly cool in black jeans, a semi-fitted white t-shirt and the infamous leather jacket Christen let her borrow.  Gold bangles and a necklace from her friend completed her look.  

 

“You look pretty sexy right now,” Christen purred, holding the front of Tobin’s jacket when they stood in the lobby a little while later.  Tobin’s hair was down, flipped over to one side and straight.  A little eyeliner brought out the roundness of her eyes and her cheeks were highlighted with bronzer.  Maybe Christen was onto something, because this was the first time in awhile she felt really  good about how she looked. Significant others, families joined them out at a few of the bars they hit.  Everyone was a little rowdy tonight, buying drinks for one another, rounds of shots ordered every few minutes.  Tobin nursed her growing warm Stella in one hand when she peeked over at Christen standing with Alyssa, sipping her own fancy cocktail.  

 

“NEXT BARRRRRRR!”.  Kelley was bombed and they were at their third bar already in just under two hours.  Knowing she’d never be on the same level as some of her teammates that evening, Tobin motioned for Christen.  “Hey,” she shouted into Christen’s ear over the loud music.  “You wanna go back soon?  I probably won’t drink much more.”

 

“You read my mind!” Christen returned.  She watched her slug down the remainder of her drink and fish for a large enough bill to leave on the bar as a tip.  “We can walk back since it’s not that far or late.” Looking at clock above the door which read 12:30, Tobin placed her hand on the small of Christen’s back to guide her through the crowd.  Once outside, it wasn’t much better.  The night air was chilly and she watched the girl shiver in front of her.  Christen was always cold, Tobin was usually warm.  Taking off the leather jacket, she laid it over Christen’s shoulders, providing a little warmth.  She was rewarded with a big smile, letting her know she was being thanked.  The streets were filled with people almost as intoxicated as Kelley and Tobin was so glad in that moment she decided to control herself.  If she wasn’t as sober as she was, there was no way she’d walk back.  

 

Weaving in and out of people, Tobin’s hand never left Christen’s back.  She didn’t want to lose her in the crowd as she shielded her from spilled drinks, flying elbows and uneven pavement.  Out of nowhere, she heard her name being called in front of them.  Looking around, she didn’t recognize anyone she knew, so she kept moving.

 

“Tobin?  Can I have a picture with you?”

 

It was a fan, a girl about their age who seemed to harmless.  “Sure.”

 

“Christen can you get in too?”  Christen obliged and the three took a selfie that actually looked pretty cute.  They chatted for a second, trying to be appreciative of their fans before they let her know it was time for them to keep moving.  “We’re a little tired tonight,” Tobin joked.  “I’m not sure why.”

 

Finally, there was some silence when they were on the elevator alone.  Christen leaned into the curve of her body, resting her head on the space between her collarbone and neck.  While she wasn’t lying earlier about being a little tired, the feeling of Christen on her gave her a jolt.  She used her hand to trace figure eights on the far side of Christen’s neck, feeling goosebumps pop up under her fingers.  She must have loved it because a small humming noise escaped from her throat and she pressed harder into her.

 

Tobin nuzzled her nose into Christen’s hair, inhaling her addicting scent. She was happy they reached their floor and only a few steps separated them from having the privacy she yearned for.  Christen opened the door in front of her and before she could get too far into the room, Tobin had her by the wrist, whipping her around to face her.  She snaked her arms around Christen’s hips, her hands landing on the top of Christen’s behind, fingers grazing it.  Her mouth urgently overtook Christen’s, tasting the sweet concoction she had sipped on earlier.  Feeling Christen push back on her shoulders with both hands, she stilled.  

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

Their faces were inches from each other, bodies still in sync against each other.  Tobin knew she couldn’t stand like that much longer because staring into Christen’s eyes were hypnotizing. “Are you okay?”

 

A soft smile touched Christen’s lips before she waved her hand.  “There’s no one else here.  No Kling, No Kelley, No Ali.  We don’t have to rush this. Go slow.”

 

She was right.  This was the first time they truly would have some privacy to explore each other like she wanted.  They wouldn’t have to wait til they were in LA or Portland or any other other city they called home.  

 

She tried again, gently brushing her lips against Christen’s, savoring every inch of her.  Christen curled her own lips into hers, igniting a spark in Tobin’s abdomen.  Delicately, she slipped the leather jacket off of Christen’s shoulders, leaving only a thin layer of her dress between her fingertips and silky, smooth tanned skin.  Christen opened her mouth, taking in Tobin’s tongue against her own.  The rhythmic movements were slow but intense, building between them.  Back pedaling without breaking contact, Christen laid down on the closest bed to the door.  Tobin knelt over top of her, eyes scanning the length of her and drinking in the curves of her body.  She removed one shoe at a time, dancing her fingers up and down the backs of Christen’s legs while doing so, never breaking eye contact.  Tobin was aching to be touched herself but thanks to a little reminder, knew she had all night to beg for what she wanted.  Her knee spread Christen’s legs a wider, exposing the tops of her thighs and a large opening for her hand to work underneath the dress. Her fingers slid upwards, teasing in her inner thighs when she saw the damn spot on Christen’s lacy gray underwear.  A smile of satisfaction escaped her lips, knowing how worked up she was just from a few touches.  Tobin bent down to find Christen’s mouth again, but this time she was subordinate.  Christen furiously raked her tongue over her own, gnawing and nipping at her bottom lip; it was getting faster and their breathing picked up simultaneously.  Pulling back to hit the re-set button of ‘going slow’, Tobin placed deliberate, sensual kisses down her neck.  Her chest was covered by the thin layer of dress so she decided it was time for it to go.  Supporting Christen’s back as she pulled her up, they worked together to take it off over her head.  A small black bra that cupped Christen’s breasts perfectly and the now almost drenched grey underwear were staring Tobin down, daring her to take them off.  Continuing to keep the anticipation high, Tobin ran her mouth and hands down a firm set of abs, circling Christen’s bellybutton and teasing the top of her underwear.  

 

She knew Christen was enjoying this from the little moans and groans she heard above her.  Christen’s hips bucked up occasionally, telling her she was ready to be touched.Her wish was granted when Tobin looped her fingers through the sides of her underwear, peeling them off down past her knees then ankles and finally onto the floor. She brought her knees up, pointing them outwards and granting full access for whatever it was Tobin wanted to do to her.  

 

“Go,” was all Tobin heard her say before plummeting her fingers into wet folds before her eyes.  

 

“Oh!” Christen squealed out of delight.  “Again!”

 

Tobin pulled her fingers out slowly before thrusting them back in again, even deeper.  She knew Christen could come undone like this by repeating it over and over, but she didn’t want that.  Tobin encouraged Christen to sit up towards her, pulling her mouth forward as they slowly explored each other.  The kiss was deep, but slow.  She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been kissed with such meaning or when she had kissed someone like this - maybe never.  Tobin felt the lacy material of Christen’s bra against her and decided they were too clothed.  Pausing to remove her own shirt and pants, she saw Christen panting and silently begging her to hurry.  When it was said and done, they resumed the same position; Tobin between Christen’s legs with one hand working against her, Christen sitting up and tasting every inch of Tobin’s mouth.  Her hand also found a part of Tobin that excited her as she rolled and circled them between her fingertips.  Tobin loved the way it and her hands started moving quicker, slapping her palm against Christen with no fingers in sight.  

 

“Tob-TOBIN!”

 

Christen broke free and fell onto her back.   She must be close .  She dove between her legs, supporting herself on either side of Christen’s legs while she rubbed the outside of Christen’s area with her thumb while sinking her tongue inside.  She was slick and sweet against her tongue; intoxicating.  Tobin wanted more before it was even over.  Christen was shrieking now, calling her name over and over, begging her to keep going.  It encouraged Tobin, adding more pressure and finding different angles.  After a few moments she could feel shaking from Christen’s entire body.  All she heard was one long moan when Tobin felt a rush into her mouth, continuing to  suck and lick to prolong the orgasm.  

 

“Babe…” Christen sounded like she was out of breath.  Tobin crawled up over top of her, opening her mouth to invite her in, taste a little bit of what she’d just enjoyed.  The kiss was back to being slow and deep, Christen licking the tiny bit of moisture off of Tobin’s lips.  “Mmmm,” was all she could get out.  

 

“Can we...can we keep going?” she finally got out as Tobin rested her head over Christen’s bare chest.  

 

Lifting up, Tobin was all too eager to comply.  “Absolutely.”

Chapter Text

She didn’t waste a second.  Her body was half numb from the indescribable amount of pleasure she had just received but Christen wanted nothing more than to feel Tobin.  Flipping her over, she pinned both both hands to her side, sweeping her mouth down Tobin’s neck, leaving soft kisses along the way.  Her chest rubbed against Tobin’s briefly and purposefully, attempting to tease her.  

 

“You smell so good,” she breathed into Tobin’s neck.  Tobin never wore strong perfume  but her scent was invigorating, familiar almost.  TAking a deep breath in, Christen took Tobin’s mouth into her own and circled their tongues together. Slow and deep, she wanted to show Tobin kissing her wasn’t an obligation, but something she really enjoyed.  

 

Feeling Tobin’s grinding into into her, she took it as a cue to move further down her body where she was still covered by a black pair of boyshorts that hung from her hips.  Tobin’s body was long and lean, making it a long trip down.  When she got there, she skimmed her teeth over the tops of the underwear, pulling at them.  Little yelps escaped from Tobin’s mouth so she kept going; back and forth back, forth against the grain of her pelvis. Christen moved the underwear to the side and slipped a single finger inside without any difficulty.  Tobin arched her back as a result before Christen could add another.  From her own perspective, the sight of her hand penetrating the only part of Tobin that was clothed was so sexy.  It would’ve been easier for her to take them off, but this was so much better.

 

Tobin’s heels dug into the mattress, moving back and forth to feel all of Christen inside of her.  Establishing a steady rhythm, Christen decided it wasn’t enough and added another finger.  Tobin’s walls contracted around her hand immediately but she decided it still wasn’t enough.  Christen positioned herself downward with her bare ass up in the air, giving Tobin a show if she wanted one.  Her tongue replaced one of the fingers, circling around the slick folds.  Tobin seemed to have much more self control than her because it was more than a few minutes before she started to lose control.  Her hand found the back of Christen’s head, clutching her hair as she cried out.  Her tongue lapped up the product of her hard work as the girl underneath her let go in all senses of the word.  She wasn’t sure how long she stayed over top of Tobin, regulating her heart rate back to normal.  Tobin’s fingertips stroked the back of her arm as they laid in silence.  

 

“That was so good,” Tobin finally spoke.  Christen lifted her head to look at her gorgeous girlfriend through her own dark eyelashes, still covered but most likely smudged with makeup.  

 

“So good,” she agreed.  Part of her wanted to fall asleep in this exact position because nothing had ever felt so good and the other half wanted to do it all over again.  She realized she wasn’t the only one who had the conflict because she felt Tobin’s fingers move onto her back and back down where they had just visited.  

 

“Again?”  

 

Tobin giggled and slapped her bare behind.  “That’s for waving that in front of me without being able to grab it.”

 

“Ow!” Christen pretended to be hurt.  “Now you owe me.”

 

“Gladly,” Tobin promised with a mischevious grin before flipping Christen over onto her back.

 

………………………………

 

Christen woke the next morning completely naked, only a small part of the crisp white sheets covering her back.  She saw Tobin laying in almost the exact same position next to her, mouth open as she slowly breathed in and out.  Silently patting herself on her back for not drinking too much last night, she felt great.  The clock read 8:30 am, meaning they’d only had about five hours of sleep.

 

It had been worth it.  The couple spent the early hours of the morning exploring, coming up with new ways to please each other. Christen always imagined sleeping with Tobin would probably be good but she hadn’t expected it to be this good.  By far, it was the best she’d ever had - not that she counted herself as experienced - but it was at the top of her list.  

 

She ran her fingers through the honey colored hair that was wildly cascading down the bare back next to her.  Stirring, Tobin must have felt it but she didn’t care.  She repeated the action hoping it would make her wake.  

 

“Hmmmm.”  Tobin turned her head to the other side, away from Christen.  

 

“Tobs.  Time to get up.”  Christen’s voice was soft as she tried to rustle her awake.

 

“I’m tired,” she was met with.

 

Christen pulled her body partly overtop of Tobin, one leg wedging between hers.  “I know but we can nap on the plane or when we get back to LA. We need time to pack up and get to the airport.”  Tobin didn’t respond but reached back to find Christen’s hand.  She pulled it onto her stomach, curling them closer together.

 

After giving her about five minutes, Christen knew she had to get tough.  “Tobin, up, now.  We have to get moving.”  Her voice was a little too stern for own liking but she’d be damned if they missed their flight and had to wait around.  Setting an example, she rose out of bed to get ready.  The mirror showed her hair had actually held up pretty well from the night before so she turned on her straightner and decided to forego a full shower.  

 

Ten minutes later, she emerged from the steamy bathroom to see Tobin sitting up in bed, chugging from a water bottle.  “Are you hungover?”

 

“No,” Tobin said between gulps.  “Just thirsty and trying to wake up.”  

 

“Sorry I kept you up,” Christen said with a slight hint of sarcasm in her voice.  

 

Their eyes lingered on each other for a few moments as they smiled and just for a second Christen reconsidered catching a later flight so she could spend all day in bed with Tobin. Coming to her senses, she turned around and yelled “get ready!”

 

Tobin took all of 15 minutes before she was ready to go.  She took a quick shower without washing her hair, throwing a hat over top of her head.  Both could have gone without a shower since they were glowing; Christen’s eyes were greener than normal and sparkling.  Tobin’s face looked fresh and rosy, no makeup needed.  

 

Her eyes scanned the room making sure nothing was left behind.  The last thing she needed was to be on the phone with the hotel when she got home asking how to retrieve her lost belongings. IT seemed now Tobin was the impatient one, passive aggressively tapping her flip flops against the carpet.

 

“Can I help you?” Christen asked.

 

“I thought we were in a rush?” She knew Tobin was joking and trying to get the best of her.  “Yeah, yeah.  Keep your pants on.  We’re going.”  

 

Tobin raised her eyebrows.  “That’s not what you were saying last night.”

 

She felt the heat rise into her cheeks and knew they had to be a bright shade of red.  Christen put her head down and suppressed a nervous laugh.  “Got me.”

 

When she was convinced there was nothing left in the room for them to take, they met the team official in the hotel lobby.  Stragglers were coming from all different angles, most looking like they hand’t even been to bed.  Hoodies, sweatpants and messy buns were the common outfit among their teammates.  Christen on the other hand looked like a million bucks, or so she thought.  She was dressed in a pair of black leggings with a matching shirt and mixed leather jacket overtop, a hat placed carefully over her glossy black hair.  Looking at Tobin, even though she was casually dressed, her disposition and face was bright and cheery.

 

They had to wait on Ali before their van could leave.  When she finally arrived, they loaded up their luggage in the van and pulled away on time.  

 

“So I lied about taking a nap when we get to LA,” Christen confessed.  “I have that appearance before the boat parade tonight.  But I can stay back with you I guess?”  

 

Tobin shook her head.  “No, no. You go.  I’ll meet up with you after if you want me to.”

 

“Of course I want you to!  Are you up for meeting my friends?” It left her mouth before she even had the chance to ease into it.  I don’t know if she’s ready to be introduced to them yet.

 

“Yeah.” Her answer was simple, uncomplicated.  Christen looked at her for a few seconds after to make sure she didn’t seem unsure.  But she realized Tobin was just being Tobin; easy going.  The growing presence in her life was helpful for her own demeanor.  She appreciated the calm in her world, something she constantly was seeking.

 

It was a quick trip through security lines for once, so there was plenty of time to kill.  The trio from the van decided they could use something to eat before the long flight across the country so they split up to get what they each wanted.  Fans spotted them in groups and they felt it was only right to sign a few autographs and take some pictures.  

 

“People are going to piece this together soon, I bet,” Christen whispered when they sat down at their gate.  

 

“What do you mean?”  Tobin didn’t look up from her phone as she was texting.

 

“If people see us tagged in pictures together, or tweets or..”  she was cut off quickly when Tobin decided to give her full attention.  “- so what?”  

 

“Well, uh, I wasn’t sure if that would bother you.”  She tried to keep her voice quiet from anyone hearing their now serious conversation.

 

Shrugging her shoulders, Tobin replied.  “It might take awhile before people figure it out but who cares.  We don’t have to make an announcement about it.  I’m not hiding but some things I keep private.”

 

Processing, Christen asked a follow up question, “so you don’t want people to know?”  

 

“No I don’t care if people know, like our families and friends, but I doubt I’ll be posting a lot of pictures of us or tweeting at you, you know?  There are people who make some crazy comments on social media.”

 

She understood now.  “Oh I know and I’m guilty of reading them sometimes.”  

 

Tobin didn’t look surprised.  “I know.  I usually don’t but I’ve still learned to limit what I share so I don’t have to see anything.”  

 

The call for boarding ended their conversation.  Oddly enough, it felt like it had been settled without saying anything.  They would live their relationship out in front of those who mattered the most and if the rest of the world caught on then so be it.  There would be no announcement, no declaration or confirmation and that was just fine with her.

 

Settled on the plane, Christen took a deep breath before they started their ascent into the air.  She rested her head back in her seat, eyeing Tobin to the side.  

 

“You okay?”


“Ready,” Christen smiled.  She was ready to get back to the people who meant a lot to her and introduce another one who was quickly becoming her favorite.

Chapter Text

 

Tobin lifted both of their bags into the car Christen had ordered to take them to her parents house.  She was a light packer herself but Christen on the other hand had a much heavier suitcase.  Once inside the car, she reached across the middle seat to grab Christen’s hand, partly aching for her touch but mostly to calm her growing nerves. She was happy to be with Christen in LA, knowing she was wanted but staying with her family was a little bit of pressure.  Of course she already knew her family but just as Christen’s friend, now their relationship had changed.  Would they be okay with her staying there?  Would they stay in the same room?  

 

They pulled up to a gate that Christen needed to punch her code into so they could enter the enclave of multimillion dollar homes.  Her family’s home was spectacular, overlooking the Pacific ocean and rugged cliffs.  She fetched the suitcases from the trunk of the car with the driver’s help as Christen started up the walkway to the front porch.  Her parents must have been watching and waiting, because the front door opened before she reached it.

 

Do I re-introduce myself?  No, that’s silly.  Just say hi, follow Christen’s lead.   Christen’s dad was a tall man, a huge presence.  He swallow Tobin into a hug letting her know how glad they were she would be spending some time with them.  It immediately put Tobin at ease and any nervousness she had vanished. Everyone was smiling ear to ear as they walked inside where Christen’s mom offered them something to eat, drinks.

 

“Why don’t you put your stuff upstairs and then come back down and we’ll have a drink outside.  It’s a beautiful day,” Christen’s mom suggested.  

 

“Sounds good, mom, thanks.”  Christen took the handle of her suitcase from Tobin, intentionally putting her hand over top and moving her with the other around her back.  The display of slight intimacy made Tobin look up to the direction of her parents to see if they were watching.  Nothing in their expressions changed, signaling they were comfortable or at least knowledgeable of what was was going on.  “Is there a room you want me to put my stuff,” she asked much more softly than she had meant to.

 

She watched everyone exchange a confused look before Christen’s dad answered.  “I think there’s plenty of room in Christen’s for it.  Did you want to stay in a guest room instead?”  

 

She was frozen, unsure of how to reply.  Thankfully, Christen interjected.  “No, we’ll be fine in my room.  C’mon Tobin.”

 

When they reached Christen’s room, the third on the left at the top of the stairs, Tobin reached for Christen’s wrist.  “Are you sure this is ok?  Do you think they mind?”  Waving her inside of the room so they could talk without their voices carrying, Christen laughed.  “Tobs, we’re adults.  Mid-twenties.  I’m pretty sure separating us isn’t a concern of theirs?”  

 

She considered the explanation.  “Just making sure, I didn’t know if they were traditional or something.”

 

Christen raised her eyebrows, “Uh if you didn’t notice, we’re two girls.  That’s already breaking ‘tradition’.” She stifled a laugh, “I’m probably the one they would worry about the least! It’s not like one of us will get pregnant sharing a room!”  Tobin appreciated Christen’s ability to comfort her and give some  humor in the situation.  Sitting on the bed she took in the bedroom.  The off-white walls and neutral colors were very Christen - serene.  She had a few decorations to complete the look of the room and a couple of pictures caught her eye on the bureau.  Tobin stood up while Christen was busy separating her laundry and belongings to take a closer look.  She studied Christen’s face in each of the pictures - a few with her family, friends from home, her time in Sweden.  Those were the important things and people to Christen, she knew.  There was one more picture hidden between two others that looked familiar.  Recognizing her own silhouette, she pulled it out from the back to look at it.  She ran her fingers over top of the glass protecting the picture of her and Christen.  It was from a game early last year when they both had scored.  They were embracing, Tobin lifting her off of the ground.

 

Christen must have seen her and came up behind her, circling her waist with one hand, resting her chin on her shoulder.  “I like that one.”

 

Tobin smiled.  “Me too.  But I think it should go in the front,” she said as she reorganized its position.  She spun around to face Christen, coming within inches of her lips and looking for approval.  Christen leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to her lips, lingering for more than a few moments.  Tobin reached up to touch her jaw, deepening the kiss.  They moved slow with no sense of urgency, simply enjoying the feeling of being connected.  After a few minutes, Christen broke away, her eyes sparkling.  “We should probably go downstairs before they come looking for us.”  Tobin hated to leave the cozy embrace but knew it was for the best.  “After you.”

 

Outside, Christen’s parents had set up a small bar of cocktails for their choosing.  Tobin settled onto the patio furniture, a little love seat, beside Christen.  She threw a blanket over top of their laps since the air was a little chilly for California standards.  Conversation was easy, comfortable and Tobin genuinely enjoyed being in the presence of Christen’s family.  Losing track of time, Christen leaned into her side and whispered, “Do you mind if we skip the appearance and just meet up with my friends tonight?”

 

“Are you sure?  What will happen if you skip it?”

 

Christen didn’t appear to be worried.  “Nothing.  I’ll just write an apology and offer a makeup one.  I’ll say I feel under the weather from the travel.  Plus Whit and Amy are there so it’s not a bust for people coming.”  

 

It was all okay with Tobin, since she was feeling a little lazy.  “Yeah, that’s okay with me.  Want to take a quick nap in that case?”  



“Yes!”  Christen immediately ripped off the blanket and stood up, offering a hand.  “We’ll have about an hour before I should get ready.”

 

Tobin turned to her hosts.  “Thank you so much for the drinks, this is such a great view.  If we don’t get to see you tonight when we get home, we’ll see you tomorrow,” she acknowledged with hope in her voice.

 

“You’re welcome, Tobin.  We’re happy you’re here.”  

 

Christen led her up the stairs, her steps too quick for Tobin to keep up with.  When she walked through the doorframe, something in Christen’s eyes told her they might not get a nap in.  She had an aroused look on her face as she stared straight into her eyes.  “Chris?”

 

A hand shot past her shoulder to slam the door closed.  Christen pounced on her, pulling on her lips with her own.  Her hands took either side of Tobin’s face as she pressed her body up against her.  

 

“You….are so kind….so sexy….” Christen breathed in and out in between kisses.  It caught Tobin off guard but she wasn’t complaining.  She pulled back for a second to reach her arms around Christen, shifting their weight into her.  Tobin smiled into Christen’s mouth as the assault against her lips continued.  “Babe…hold on.”  

 

Her tone wasn’t alarming, so Christen understood her message.  “Hi,” she whispered as their heads leaned in against each other.  “Hi.”

 

Tobin started to walk Christen backwards toward the bed.  She laid her down gently, sprawling over her to see the beauty in front of her.  Leaning down, she repeated what Christen had said to her.  “YOU are so kind and YOU are definitely so sexy.”  Christen pulled at Tobin’s shirt, lowering their bodies together.  There was a meaningfulness behind the kiss they exchanged.  Suddenly, Tobin felt something wet against her cheeks.  Opening her eyes, she should see it was coming from Christen’s eyes.

 

“Chris, what’s wrong?  Am I squishing you?”  

 

“No.  I’m just - I am just so happy.”  The declaration made Tobin melt.  “I’m happy, too.” They stared at each other, unable to wipe the looks from their faces.  For the next hour, neither would sleep.  Instead, they took the chance to explore each other, pushing the limits of the happiness.

 

…………………………………

 

Christen sat on the edge of the boat in the chilly night’s air with a red solo cup in hand, cuddled up against one of her best friends from high school.  She was happy to spend some time with her crew, despite the exhaustion she felt.  Her eyes were focused on Tobin, who was laughing a few feet away from her with a few of her other friends she’d introduced her to that night.  She fits, everyone loves her.  

 

“It looks like she’s a hit,” her friend whispered, gesturing with her cup towards Tobin.

 

Unable to fight the smugness, Christen agreed.  “I knew she would be.  She’s easy to love.  Get this, I actually cried earlier that’s how deep in I am.”  She was met with a look of surprise.  “I know, I know.”

 

“Have you told her that?”  

 

Feeling short of breath, Christen tried to answer carefully.  “I mean I told her how happy I am.”

 

“Not that you love her?”

 

“No way, it’s too early for that.  We just started dating.”

 

Her friend wasn’t buying it.  “Yeah but you were friends for a long time, so you already knew everything about each other.”

 

Christen knew she was right.  Deep down, she thought she might have loved Tobin for months now.  But there was no use forcing Tobin into feelings or getting a false affirmation of love.  She’d probably wait for her to make the first move, too overwhelmed by the thought of rejection.  

 

The rest of the night and next day she gazed at Tobin with so much adoration and love she thought she would burst. Every move she made, every word she spoke, Christen hung onto. She never wanted to imagine life without Tobin in it again.  When Tobin began to pack up to head back to Portland, her heart sank.  Christen herself had a few things on her schedule before Christmas, so it made sense for her to go and come back after the holiday.  Still, it hurt to separate.  

 

“Have everything?” she asked with a false sense of cheer in her voice.  

 

“I think so.  Even if I forgot something I’ll be back in a week to get it.”  Tobin zipped up her suitcase and stood up.  She faced Christen who was sitting indian style on her bed, watching her intently.  

 

“Did you decide which day you’re going to fly back yet?  Christen selfishly hoped it would be the day after Christmas.  

 

“Not yet.  I’ll look at flights when I get home and let you know.  Any day is good, right? “  

 

“Yep.” She looked down at her hands clasping each other in her lap.  She felt small right now, very vulnerable.  “Hey,” Tobin said softly.  “Wish you could come with me.”   It was exactly what Christen needed to hear in the moment.  Her lips curled up into a smile and she winked.  “Next time.”  

 

Tobin looked amused.  “I’ll hold you to that.  Now up, we gotta get going.”

 

Reluctantly slipping off the bed, Christen reached for Tobin’s hand, holding it tightly all the way downstairs into the foyer.  Her parents had gone out earlier and had said their goodbyes so they were able to go to Christen’s car right away.  It was a quick twenty minute ride to the airport that was filled with comfortable silence.  Tobin gazed out the window at the California sights while she concentrated on the traffic in front of her.  When she put on her hazards at the curb of departing flights, Tobin leaned in to stroke her cheek.  “Thanks, babe.”  

 

Christen put her hand against Tobin’s, settling her head into it.  “You’re welcome.”  

 

Tobin shifted closer to her across the center console and brushed her lips against Christen’s.  She gave a hard peck before pulling away.  “I’ll text you when I land.”  She knew Tobin’s flight left at 6:30, so by her quick calculations she wouldn’t hear from her until about 8:30, three and a half hours from now.

 

“Sounds good. “  She watched Tobin maneuver her way through the bustle on the sidewalk before disappearing inside.  As she pulled out cautiously, her phone rang over the speakers of the car.  She chatted with her older sister the whole way back to her parents house, happy to have the distraction.  

 

“Ok, I’m home now.  I’ll see you later though if you’re still coming over for dinner.”  

 

“Yep! See you then.”

 

Christen  parked her car and ventured inside, seeing her mom had returned from their outing.  “Hey guys,” she said sliding onto a kitchen stool.

 

“Hi, Tobin get to the airport okay?”

 

She couldn’t hide her sadness. “Yep. Her flight leaves soon.”

 

Her mom walked around the counter to sit with her.  “Dad and I were talking this afternoon, I think he really likes her.”   This made her happy, acceptance was something she didn’t want to seek but often did.

 

“Oh yeah?  And what about you?”  

 

“She’s great.  She’s still coming for New Year’s right?”  Christen’s family was having a big party at their house, neighbors, family and friends often trickled in and out all night.  “Yeah, I think so.  She’s going to let me know in the next few days for sure.”  

 

And Tobin did.  The next day she let her know she’d take a morning flight on the 30th, giving them just four full days before they had to report to camp.  She’s going to miss my birthday.  She liked her birthday; she wasn’t shy to celebrate but decided It wasn’t that big of a deal, that they could do something the next day instead.  Still, she couldn’t help but feel a small wave of sadness wash over her when she went to bed that night.

 

……………………………...

 

Tobin sat on her couch in the quiet Portland apartment.  She had her laptop open in front of her, the television on in the background, both displaying soccer games.  She channeled her inner Christen, making a list of what she would need for the next two weeks before camp started.  First, she’d go to Florida to spend the holidays with her siblings and mom, then back to LA to see Christen and prep for camp before they would stay in Manhattan Beach for a little over two weeks before a friendly against Ireland.  

 

Realizing just how much she would need to pack, she wandered into her closet to grab her biggest suitcase.  Maybe I’ll ship my national team suitcase to LA before I leave, that way I won’t have to lug it back and forth to Florida.

 

Tobin: Can I FedEx my suitcase to your house instead of taking it to Florida?

 

Christen: Sure! Let me know when it’s supposed to get here so I can keep an eye out for it.

 

Tobin carefully considered the outfits she’d need and placed them in their respective suitcase.   Would Christen go through it once it came?   She made plans with Christen’s mom behind her back to go to a Cirque du Solei show the day she was supposed to arrive but didn’t want Christen to get any ideas.  I’ll keep the tickets with me.  Christmas Eve and Day outfits, check. New Years outfit, check. Bible, check. Training clothes, check.  Gifts, check.   She was satisfied with her job as she stood over them in her living room.

 

When she got to the FedEx store down the block, an idea popped in her head.  She spun the small selection of greeting cards by the counter.  Finding the best one she could, she asked for a pen and began to write.  Finishing it up, she put it neatly inside on top of her clothes, the writing on the front reading Christen.  

 

Three days later on Christmas Eve,  Tobin sat surrounded by her family in the warm Florida evening air.  She felt overjoyed to be with them all, but couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.  Each of her siblings were able to enjoy at least part of the holiday with their significant others but she wasn’t.   They had traded texts and one lengthy phone call, but figured Christen wanted to give her time to be with the family she didn’t see enough.   It was a relaxed conversation between family members, sipping on wine and beers while they traded stories and watched her nephew crawling around on the floor.  Tobin’s laptop was open to show her sister some of the furniture pieces she had her eye on.  Clicking on Skype, she saw Christen was available.  Taking a chance, she clicked and hoped the girl would pick up.  

 

Right before she was about to give up hope, Christen appeared and sounded out of breath but looked so beautiful.  Her hair was swept to the side to reveal oversized diamond studs, perfectly drawn on eyeliner that made her greyish eyes pop and a bold lip color.  

 

“Hi!” She called a little too loudly.  Tobin’s family members all turned their heads in confusion to see where the unfamiliar voice was coming from.  

 

“Hey! I’m glad you picked up!” she returned.

 

“Sorry I was in my sister’s room and thought I heard something so I ran over.  What are you up to?”  Christen was smiling ear to ear.

 

Tobin turned the laptop around to pan the room, showing off her family members.  Each gave a small little wave and said hello as Christen gushed, “Oh hi everyone, Merry Christmas Eve!”  Tobin’s nephew squealed in delight, fascinated with a human coming from the electronic delight.  She pulled him up into her lap when she continued.  “We’re just hanging out, what are you doing?”

 

“We’re going out to dinner with some of my mom’s family.  I was just getting ready.”   That’s why she’s so dressed up.  

 

“I won’t keep you then.  Just wanted to say hi and see you for a minute.”

 

“Hey! Get Christen in the picture, too” Tobin’s sister called from in front of her.  “Turn the laptop around, it’ll be funny!”  Her sister was an over-instagrammer, snapchat obsessed, social media queen.  Everything had to be documented in her world.  

 

Agreeing, it took a few minutes to position everyone in front of the self timer she had set up.  When it was all said and done, you could actually see Christen’s smiling face in the dead center of the family photo.  “That is pretty cool,” Tobin admitted.  “Ok Chris, you go.  I’ll talk to you later.”  She ended the session and noticed right away how much better she felt.  It was nice to have Christen included in her holiday even in this small, silly way.  


What she wasn’t expecting was the drop in mood she would receive the next morning when her phone buzzed her awake, a text waiting from Shirley.

Chapter Text

Tobin couldn’t believe her eyes at the 6 am hour.  Why is Shirley texting me this early?

 

Shirley: Nice, Tobin. You could have told me the truth.

 

What the hell is she talking about?   Her mind was foggy from the lack of sleep and maybe the overindulgence in red wine from the night before.   Truth about what?

 

Tobin: Merry Christmas! What do you mean?

 

Shirley:  It wasn’t about us being in different places it was about Christen fucking Press, wasn’t it?

 

Holy Shit.   Tobin sat up quickly in her bed, looking over at her sister sleeping in the next bed.  She went through her instagram feed and second from the top there it was; their family picture featuring Christen from the night before. No, no, no.  This is not how she should have found out. OMG! The caption.  I’ll kill her.  It said ‘Heath Family Christmas 2015’.  

 

Tobin: No Shirley it wasn’t.  

 

Shirley: Save it Tobin. screw you.

 

Tobin began typing a novel via text.  It might have been easier just to call her but she also didn’t want to get involved in an emotional scenario first thing on Christmas morning.  

 

Tobin:  I’m serious.  It wasn’t about her. We didn’t start seeing each other until earlier this month.  This is not how I wanted you to find out either.  I had no idea that picture was posted until right now.  When we were together I was honest with you about the reasons I couldn’t do it anymore and none of those reasons were about Christen.

 

She waited and waited for a reply.  Nothing.  Tobin’s eyes shot daggers into her sister, willing her to wake up so she could have it out with her.  That was something personal she wished she would have at least asked about first.  Eventually, she got out of bed and wandered into the kitchen where her mother was sitting with a cup of coffee, peering over her eyeglasses and reading.  

 

“Morning Tobs, Merry Christmas Angel.”  Not much could ruin this day and this time with her mom.  “Morning, mom, Merry Christmas.”  She laid her head into the crook of her mom’s shoulder, allowing her to run her hand over her hair.  She sat down opposite from her after fetching a cup of coffee and immediately spilled what had happened.  It was semi-embarrassing but if there was one thing she could count on in life, it was the wonderful advice her mother gave.

 

“I think you have to put yourself in her place and imagine the broken heart she’s nursing.  It’s been a tough couple of weeks for her so remember above all else to have compassion for her.  Be gentle with her and be willing.”

 

Tobin opened her phone to see the last text she had sent.  It seemed genuine but a little icy at best.  She decided to try again.

 

Tobin:  The last thing I want is for you to feel hurt or let down at my own doing.  I swear I was going to let you know myself when I thought the time was right. Please hear me when I say it wasn’t or would ever be my intention to rub something like this in your face.  From the bottom of my heart I care for you and always will.

 

Her phone sat still for about ten minutes before lighting up.

 

Shirley:   I don’t believe you.

 

Tobin: I can understand and if it were me I know I would have a hard time believing it too.  I’m not sure what I can do or say to change that but if there’s something I will try it.  

 

Shirley: And how many people know about this?  Does Lindsey?

 

It was getting worse.  Did she give Linds a heads up?  Did she throw her under the bus? No, this wasn’t Lindsey’s problem, she shook her head .

 

Tobin: Lindsey is aware.  I purposely asked her a week or so ago to allow me to tell you although it wasn’t her preference.  I put her in a terrible position so please, please do not hold anything against her or treat her differently.  It was hard for her and something she didn’t want to do.  

 

Shirley: Wow.

 

Tobin:  It happened quickly.  But it doesn’t take away from anything in our relationship.  Everything from our time together was real.  I just couldn’t handle the long distance anymore.  I am so, so sorry to hurt you.

 

S he was expecting to get a response and she was right, she didn’t.  People were stirring so she did her best to perk up and greet them.  Going through gifts that she most appreciative for she couldn’t help but feel down.  Her life mission was to treat everyone with kindness and respect, to give love.  It hurt her to know she had disappointed someone who had a big role in her life.

 

She caught her mom staring at her from her armchair, offering a smile.  “Tobs, do you want to get the cinnamon buns from the oven?  You can have the first pick.”   My sweet mom.  She tries .

 

Hoping it would help at least a little she stood up and shuffled into the kitche, getting the sticky icing on her fingers taking the pan from the oven.  Licking it off, she saw her phone light up. Tobin weighed her options, figuring it must be Shirley - do I answer now or just wait until later?  

 

Deciding it was best to get it over with, she was pleasantly surprised to see it wasn’t her.  

 

Christen: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Tobin: You’re up early! Merry Christmas!

 

Christen: I’m excited! It’s Christmas!  Wish you were here.

 

Tobin: Check my suitcase.

 

Christen: What? Why?

 

Tobin: In the suitcase I sent to your house!  Open it up and there is something in there for you.

 

Christen: You didn’t have to get me anything!  

 

Tobin: I didn’t really get you anything….Just go look, you’ll see what I mean.  I have to go right now but I will text you later to see if you got it :)



Tobin’s spirits rose dramatically.  She had almost forgotten about what she did a few days earlier.  If her intuition was right, Christen would respond positively.  It was also at that moment that she decided she had given enough to Shirley and wouldn’t be dragged down.

 

………………………………………………

 

Christen was dripping with anticipation.  She really hated surprises but this actually excited her.  She leapt out of bed, tripping over the edge and spilling onto her knees.   Get it together! Her fingers trembled as she found and open the zipper all the way around the suitcase.  Flipping it open, she saw a bright red envelope with her name on it.  She picked it up but didn’t see anything underneath of it that looked like a gift or anything for her.  

 

It didn’t feel heavy or anything special, so ripped it open with fury.  It was a Christmas card.  What a sweet gesture, she made sure I had something from her on Christmas.   She looked on the inside to see Tobin had written a message.

 

Christen,

 

I wanted to get you something that was as special as the paintbrushes and paints you got for me.  Nothing seemed adequate.  Then I realized Christmas isn’t about finding the perfect gift.  Christmas is a time to  spread joy and love.  So today I hope this card bring you a little joy, even though we couldn’t be together.  I also hope today and every day you know how loved you are.  

 

Merry Christmas, Christen.

 

I love you

Tobin

 

Christen read and re-read it a hundred times with her mouth hanging wide open.  It was perfect. She herself couldn’t have scripted this any better.  It was something out of a book, a movie; anything but real life.   HER life, at that.  Scrambling to pick up her phone, she knew Tobin said she had to go a few minutes ago but there was no way she was waiting to return the sentiment.  

 

Christen: I don’t know what to say other than I love it...and you!  It’s perfect.  Thank you so much.

 

She gathered herself enough to go downstairs, feeling like she was floating on cloud nine. Best Christmas ever   she thought, well aware it was only 5:30 in the morning.  



……………………………………………....

 

Tobin saw Christen’s text a little later after the wrapping paper had been cleaned up and gifts were neatly piled in the corners of the living room. She was sitting on her bed unable to wipe the smile from her face as she read the response.  

 

Tobin: :) I’m glad.  Skype date later tonight?  

 

“Tobs?”  Her head snapped up at the sound of her sister’s voice.  

 

“Yo.”  

 

“I said you must not be that mad at me anymore.”  Earlier, she gave her a little earful about asking permission to post things about her on social media.

 

Sighing, she didn’t want any more emotional rollercoasters that day.  “No, I’m not mad.  It was just a bad way to wake up this morning.  I’m sorry I took it out on you.”

 

“I understand.  I’m sorry too.”

 

The next couple of days were spent enjoying each other’s company without any bickering or breakdowns. There were no texts or calls from Shirley, so she mentally shut the door on that chapter. Tobin and Christen skyped at night before she went to bed to catch up and fill each other in on their days.

 

“So my flight gets in early on Wednesday morning at like 9:30 your time,” Tobin informed her.

 

Christen’s eyes appeared even more grey tonight, with a hint of sleepiness behind them.  “Ok.  I’ll pick you up and we can do whatever you want that day.  Maybe dinner on the beach later that night?”

 

“Perfect.  I’m gonna head to bed but I love you and I’ll talk to you tomorrow birthday girl!”

 

“Love you too. Sleep well!”  


Tobin ended the call and thought to herself  who knew I could be such a good liar.

Chapter Text

Christen looked at her clock after hanging up with Tobin.  It’s early still.  She must be tired, it’s not even 9:00 there ? She was tired herself but if she napped, there was no way she’d fall asleep today.  Still she snuggled into her bed and turned on the TV.  Without realizing it, she drifted off into a light slumber, waking hours later to a pitch black bedroom.  Disoriented for a second, she groaned when she saw it was 8:30.

Changing into her pajamas, which would have been helpful before she settled into bed, she walked downstairs to see her parents cuddled up against each other watching something on the TV.

“Can I watch with you guys?”

“Of course, sit down sweetie.”

Christen threw a blanket over top of her to keep warm.  She picked up her phone aching to text Tobin but she knew there was no way she’d get a response.   I’ll have to wait until morning.

She wasn’t particularly interested in the documentary they were watching but there was no way she was going back to sleep now.  Ten, ten-thirty, eleven, eleven-thirty .  I’ll go back up now, it’s late enough. Rising to her feet and stretching, Christen said goodnight to her parents.

“Night guys.  Go to sleep soon so you’re ready to celebrate my birthday alllllll day long tomorrow,” she joked.  She saw them exchange a smile and her mom nodded.  “We’ll go up soon.  Night, Chris.”

It was a slow walk up the stairs to her bedroom.  She turned off the lights and fumbled with the remote to find something that might put her to sleep.  Her eyes grew heavier and right before she nodded off, a small knock on her door came.  She knew exactly what it was – her mom made sure she was the first one to wish her a happy birthday each year, whether it was a text, a call or hug.  “Come in,” she called.

It looked like she was going to be second this year. Standing in the doorway was Tobin.

“What are you doing here?!” she exclaimed, shooting upright to get a better look.

Tobin’s grin was infectious.  “Happy birthday!”

“How did you get here?  When did you get here?”  Christen was so dumfounded, but in a good way.

“I flew out around dinner time and had a quick layover in Texas.  I skyped you from airport.  I can’t believe you couldn’t tell.”

Christen’s mouth hung open.  “I – I didn’t even put two and two together. Where were you?”

“I was sitting in the quietest corner of the airport I could find!  I was praying you wouldn’t be able to hear them announcing flights over the speaker.”  Tobin dropped a bag onto the floor and crawled in the bed with Christen.  “I’m happy to see you,” she purred against her neck.

Christen was overwhelmed, still shocked.  “So you just got here?”

“Yeah, actually your mom and dad sent a car for me.  They knew.”

So that’s why they’re still up, they were waiting for Tobin to get here.   She smiled.  “Aren’t you just full of surprises.”

Tobin kissed her lightly on the top of her head.  “Plenty more to come.  I like surprising you, your reactions are the best.”

“More?” Christen squealed.

“You’ll have to wait til tomorrow.  This time I really am tired and want to go to bed,”  Tobin said as she spooned Christen’s warm body against her own.  Christen locked hands with the girl behind her, way too excited to sleep now .  This must be the feeling people describe when they say they’re head over heels in love.   Her heart was thudding out of her chest and she tried to slow it to match the one beating into her back.  “Happy birthday, babe,” she heard Tobin whisper falling into sleep.

…………………………..

Tobin woke up the next morning, startled.  She felt something tickling her exposed thighs.  Her eyes looked down to see what it was but all she saw was a sea of raven colored hair .  Christen. “Morning, birthday girl.”

“mmmm. Morning.”  Christen ghosted her lips overtop of her silky skin, giving her quite the turn on first thing in the morning.  She reached to pull Christen towards her, not caring she hadn’t brushed her teeth in hours.  “Come here.”

Christen perched herself on her knees, looking over Tobin.  “No.  Not yet.”

Tobin continued to lay flat on her back as Christen’s eyes disappeared. “Babe, come on”

Christen sat up again.  “It’s my birthday so I get to do what I want.  And right now, I want you.”  She clearly wasn’t going to listen as felt a rush of coldness hit her lower half.  Christen pulled her shorts off in one swift movement, exposing a pair of blue underwear.  She looped her fingers on either side and slid them down, breathing overtop of Tobin’s growing wet center.  Wanting to let out a soft moan, Tobin knew she had to be quiet since there were other people – oh my God – in the house.  Her body relaxed under the feeling of Christen’s fingers penetrating her.    This is a way to wake up. Just as she got used to the rhythm Christen established and started to grind her hips into her, they were gone.  She felt a wetness against her own, grazing the length of her. “Chris!”  She was being tortured with slow, lazy licks up and down, over and over.  “CHRIS!”  The urgency in Tobin’s voice picked up, unable to handle it any longer.  She drew her knees up towards chest, giving Christen plenty of opening to her.

It took all of two minutes for Tobin to come undone underneath the mercy of Christen’s tongue.  When it was over, she closed her eyes and dramatically pretended to fall back to sleep.

Dark brunette locks dangled in her face, tickling the tip of her nose and making her squirm.  “It’s your birthday, I should be doing that to you.”

With a devilish look, Christen said, “oh I’m sure you won’t let me go the day without returning the favor.”

Tobin laughed, knowing it was probably true.  “Can I get a shower and then we’ll grab some breakfast?”

“I already ate,” Christen winked.

She couldn’t help but blush at her girlfriend’s flirty banter.

…………………………..

The couple sat at the kitchen counter, eating the spread Christen’s mom made for her day.  Tobin was still tired but the pretty strong mimosas were helping her wake up.

“So what do you want to do today? I was thinking we could at least get a little training in, walk the beach and then all go out to dinner tonight.”  Tobin sipped on the cup of coffee in front of her.

Christen nodded in approval of the plan.  “You said something about a surprise.”

“You’ll get it later.”  The tickets to the Cirque de Solei show weren’t for four more days, but she still was going to give her them tonight with a card.  It was safely tucked in the suitcase she brought with her and out of sight.

Dinner that night was perfect.  She enjoyed the company of Christen’s friends and extended family as they all toasted and cheered to the start of of 27 th year.  She had the seat next to her, holding her hand under the table which was resting on her thigh.  Christen was in her element, laughing and joking with everyone.  Tobin herself was quiet, drinking in the laughter and sound of her voice.  She thought back to Christen’s teasing wake-up call this morning and studied her with lust.   She really does have it all.  Smart, gorgeous, driven, sexy, fun.   She started to ache with pleasure imagining the pair of green-grey eyes boring into hers between her legs. We’ve gotta get outta here soon.   Christen shot her a look of concern.

“What?” she asked.

“You’re squeezing my hand pretty hard,” Christen whispered.

Looking down, she saw her own hand was tightly wound around hers.  “I’m sorry.”  She eased up and moved her hand underneath of Christen’s, onto her exposed thigh from the skirt she had on.  Her fingers rubbed gently against her skin resulting in a couple of goosebumps popping up.

Tobin leaned in and looked over Christen’s shoulder before whispering, “I want to know what you’re wearing under that skirt.”

Christen coughed then leaned her head against Tobin’s.  “When we get home, you can find out.”

Tobin pulled back her head, locking eyes.  Without blinking, she slid her hand up her thigh.  She saw the panic in Christen’s eyes for a second before dissolving into arousal. They were in the middle of daring game, who would break first or how far would this go.  This is was so out of the ordinary for Tobin.  She was generally conservative, modest or any other word that didn’t describe someone who was sexually bold.

She gave in first, unable to succumb to the thought of Christen’s family seeing her feel her up at dinner.  Christen almost looked disappointed at the retraction of her hand but she softly said “later” before taking a sip of water, hoping to cool her body temperature down.

They made it through the rest of the evening stealing small touches and kiss here and there.  When they got back to Christen’s house, they raced up the steps citing they were “so full and tired”; eager to get to bed.

Tobin locked the door behind her while she watched Christen start to unbutton her blouse.  She shimmied out of her own shirt and pants even quicker.  “Keep your skirt on.”

Christen looked up at her in confusion.  “Why?”

“Because.”  Christen complied and stood, waiting for Tobin to take charge.  Kneeling in front of her, Tobin ran her fingers upwards from her ankle to her inner thigh.  Christen’s hand rested gently on the top of her head for balance.  She ran her own hand underneath of the skirt to feel the damp fabric.  “That’ll do,” she laughed patting her.  Tobin pulled it down and discarded the black lacy underwear to the side.  “I like these, but I like them better off.”  Christen was silent, wondering where this was going and following Tobin’s movements with her eyes.  She stood up, inches apart from the half naked girl in front of her.  Tobin pointed to the bed, telling her to lay down.  Once she was straddled on top, her mouth swirled across Christen’s breasts, flicking and nibbling the most sensitive part.  She let her fingers travel south and underneath of the skirt, circling the wet area with a pair of fingers.  Christen’s mouth hung open, eyes closed as she took in the overstimulation she was receiving.  Eventually, she put her hand over top of Tobin’s telling her to go further.  Tobin hiked up the skirt with both hands, exposing the bottom of Christen’s ass.  She scraped her teeth across it as two fingers entered her, contracting at the contact.  Her tongue replaced her fingers as it worked feverishly to build Christen up.  Once she climaxed, Christen threw a pillow over her face to stifle the high pitched moans escaping her lips.  Tobin sucked harder with her lips to lap up the moisture between her legs.

She scooted up towards Christen, removing the pillow to see the blissful expression on her face.  Leaning down, she placed a soft kiss on Christen’s lips, transferring the taste from her swollen lips.

“Favor returned?”

Christen smiled with her eyes still shut.  “Oh yeah.”  

 

“There’s more.”

Rolling over, Christen  gasped.  “More?”  She started to remove the skirt from her hips.

 

Tobin laughed.  “No, not that kind of more, although we can come back to that  little later.  Go look in my suitcase, front pocket.”  She threw a loose shirt overtop of her bare chest.

 

“What is it with you hiding stuff in suitcases?  Are you some kind of magician?”  Without saying a word, Tobin gestured in the direction of the bag.  Christen unzipped it and searched for something that might be meant for her.  “This?” She held up an envelope.

“Does it say Christen?”

 

“Yes.”

“Then I guess it’s for you.”  Tobin rested her back against the headboard and crossed her ankles, watching her gift be opened.  Christen’s face read over the sweet card and she studied the tickets.  “Oh my gosh, this is perfect! Thank you!”

 

“So you want to go?”  

“Absolutely.”  Christen walked over to press a kiss to Tobin’s cheek.  “I love it.”  

Tobin pulled Christen down into her lips.  “I love you,” she confessed looking into her eyes.  She’d said those words to other people in her life and in another relationship, but there was something different now.  It didn’t match the same feeling she’d had when she said it before.  Most of all, she couldn’t believe how quickly it happened.  She and Christen were only about two months into their relationship, really only one in-person.  But it felt so right, so natural and she wasn’t afraid to show it.  


“I love you too,” Christen matched.  And Tobin could see she meant it, just the way she looked at her.

Chapter Text

It was a blissful week together.  They spent their days re-energizing themselves with new restaurants, beach dates and training.  Come night, they explored each other in the most intimate ways and grew closer.

 

“Chris?”

 

She rolled over to see Tobin wide awake on her side, cradling her phone in one hand.  “Yeah?”  Her voice was deep, attempting to find its normal pitch post-sleep.  Tobin’s eyes lit up when she answered her.  

 

“Can I show you something?”  

 

Christen was intrigued, assuming it was something on her phone since it was out.  Without a word, she turned inward and gave her full attention to her girlfriend, opposite of her.  Tobin grinned and slid open the lock on her phone.  Turning it around she slowly pushed it forward for her to see.

 

Her jaw almost hit the mattress.  How hadn’t she seen this or caught on before?  It was so many, maybe hundreds of pictures of her over the past few months.  There were ones from her on the beach  illuminated in sunlight and a few of them from their date night in Hawaii studying the menu, and oh, her favorite - wrapped in the sheets with asleep with serene look upon her face.  She looked up to see Tobin trying to gauge her reaction.

 

“Are you creeped out a little?” she timidly pondered.  

 

“Well I never knew I had a stalker, but I must say it’s pretty flattering,” Christen joked.  Noticing the lack of smile from Tobin, she assured her.  “You are a really good photographer.  They’re all so good.”

 

A visible release of oxygen came from Tobin.  “I like to take pictures,” she shrugged.  “And you’re my favorite subject.”  The confession warranted a few minutes of morning kissing, fingertips daring the boundaries of their clothing but never crossing.  For some people, they need that carnal interaction.  Did Christen want it?  Yes.  Did she need it? No.  Just to touch her, talk to her, be with Tobin was enough to fill her heart.  Tobin pulled back and gave her the reason why she shared the pictures.  “Do you like any of them?  We can get some printed and blown up, maybe.  I kinda want at least one for somewhere in my apartment.”

 

“You pick. Now, let’s get up.  Things to do, places to go, a new year to celebrate.”  Christen left one last kiss of the tip of Tobin’s nose and winked.  “Plus I need you to tell me if my dress if too short for tonight.”

 

Tobin perked up and raced out of bed.  “That’s a job I’m up for.”

 

…..

 

After a pretty good workout and filming promos for Toca, the girls were busy getting ready for their night with friends and family.  Christen wore a tight black dress with long sleeves and a pair of ankle boots while Tobin settled on a borrowed out, a loose royal blue silky shirt, black jeans and her own black boots.  Tobin was sitting in front of the mirror on the floor, pulling at her hair to put it up.  “Leave it down.  I like it that way,” Christen told her, watching her in the mirror.  

 

“Half up?”  

 

She gave her an unconvinced look.  “Can you do it yourself?”  Tobin’s natural reaction was to roll her eyes. “Yes, Christen.  Just because I don’t spend hours on my hair and makeup doesn’t mean I don’t know how.”  

 

“I didn’t mean it like that, I’m sorry,” she apologized.  Coming up behind Tobin, she stooped down to leave a trail of kisses on her shoulder.  “It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do.  You always look good.”  

 

“I know, I can see when you check me out,” Tobin replied smugly.  Christen smacked her soft on the back.  “Are you almost ready?  We do have a few minutes we could kill before going  downstairs…”  Tobin reached around with her hand to pull her into down as she turned her body. The gentle touch of Tobin’s hands skating up her newly shaved legs was amazing, enough to make her excited.  Carefully removing her shoes, she bent down at eye level to meet her mouth.  Tobin stroked hair long locks back away from her face before making contact.  It was an intense kiss from the beginning, slow and deep.  Christen moaned into Tobin’s mouth, wanting to prolong the sensation.  Her eyes were heavy and the pulse between her legs quickened.  She took control by putting her hands on either side of Tobin’s face, moving her neck to the side so she explore with her tongue.  

 

Tobin reached up and ran her hands over the curves of Christen’s breasts, cupping them and burning right through the fabric.  Continuing their embrace, Christen pulled Tobin’s hand away and down towards the opening of her dress.  She melted into the contact, her body going limp despite the perfect way they molded together, chest to chest.  Between her parted knees Tobin tugged her damp underwear to the side and rubbed circles, building her up.  She rocked her head back and felt Tobin enter her silky folds.  She bit her own lip to suppress the moans she wanted to let out but knew she couldn’t.  Her hips rolled around the contact and she held onto a shoulder for support. Just as she was starting to feel like she was about to undo herself, a knock came at the door.

 

Tobin pulled her fingers out quickly while Christen asked who it was.

 

“It’s mom, honey.  You girls almost ready?  I’m making drinks already.”

 

Christen sighed.   “Coming, mom.”   She was still on her knees, one leg wrapped around Tobin.  “That was such a tease,” she whispered.  Tobin’s hair was still unfinished so she let her stay while she went downstairs to get the night started.  Before she knew it there were people filtering in and out of the house, almost too many to keep up with.  She spied Tobin across the room with her older sister and aunt.

 

Excusing herself from the conversation she was barely concentrating on, she made her way over across the room.  As she approached, her aunt called her name.  “Christen! Hi sweetheart, it’s good to see you.  Happy New Year!,” she cheered as she pulled her in for a hug.  “I was just meeting your teammate, Tobin.  I’m glad you could convince her to spend some time in Palos Verdes.”

 

“Girlfriend, actually.”  

 

Out of the corner of her eye, she was Tobin whip her head around.  

 

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize.”  Christen’s family generally was aware of her sexual orientation but she’d never been one to introduce anyone to extended family.  They continued catching up for a few minutes before she pulled Tobin away to get some of the hor dourves the caterers brought.  

 

“So what was that?” Tobin asked in a low tone as the went through the buffet line. Shoot, she’s uncomfortable with me introducing her as that.   “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.”

 

Tobin placed a hand on her arm.  “No, it’s okay.  I just feel stupid that when she asked who I was I told her we played together and were friends.”  Christen chuckled.  “Oh. So you’re okay with being introduced this way?”  Tobin nodded.  “Well it’s the truth, isn’t it?”   A small bubble formed around them as Christen held eye contact with Tobin.  “It is.”  She laid a small peck on Tobin’s glossy lips that lingered a little too long for the current environment.  But it wasn’t their last kiss of the night because while the countdown was ending and the whistles and bells rang through the room, they were locked together in the middle, toasting a new year and new chapter for them.

 

….

 

A few days later, they’d cashed in on the gift Tobin had gotten her for her birthday and they were packing up the last few articles of clothing they needed for their three week camp in Manhattan Beach.  She sat on the top of her suitcase while Tobin cautiously zippered it, hoping not to snag anything and jam it.  

 

“It’s been a good week,” she told her while watching her struggle slightly to close the bag completely.  

 

Tobin stopped what she was doing and looked up at her.  “It was.”

 

“Now what?”  

 

She was met with a gaze that questioned her.  “What do you mean, now what?”

 

Her toes tapped against the carpet.  “Well we have camp now, we’ll be at work again.  What do we do, do we -?”  Tobin shook her head, cutting of her thoughts.  “We don’t ‘do’ anything.  We keep doing what we’re doing now.”  

 

“I know, I didn’t mean it like that - it came out wrong.  I mean when we constantly go back and forth and travel so much.  How does this work?”  

 

Tobin didn’t miss a beat.  “It just works.  When we’re in camp, we see each other.  We go for coffee, we have dinner, we spend our down time doing what we want and that can include spending time together.   And when camps over, we decide what we want to do.  You can come to Portland, I can come to LA, we can go somewhere random.”

 

Christen nodded.  “Yeah.  I don’t know, I guess I just wanted to know if we’re at the point where we run our plans past each other when we schedule stuff.”

 

“Christen, you are my plans.”  It sent a spark through her heart, warming it.  She couldn’t muster the energy to return the sentiment but gave a smile that said it all.  “And we’re open about our relationship with everyone now?  

 

“I’m good with that if you are.”

 

Twenty minutes later, Christen navigated her way into the parking lot off of the LA expressway at the team hotel. Tobin unbuckled her seatbelt and got out of the car.  Christen did the same but waited for her to take out their suitcases from the trunk.  Once they were on the ground and ready to take inside, Tobin slid her sunglasses to the top of herself and smiled at Christen, holding out her hand.  

 

“Ready?”

 

She placed her hand inside of Tobin’s before answering her.  Christen knew Tobin was really asking if she was ready to go inside and start the long three weeks of training, but she chose to interpret it a different way.


“I’ve been ready for a long time.”

Chapter Text

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?”

 

“Yes.”

 

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

 

“Yes.” 

 

“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.”

……..