It’s the first time Nikki’s seen Alicia properly since the end of the match – the final, the match cementing the US team’s place as champions – and almost immediately, before Nikki can even get any words in, she’s pulling Nikki into a hug.
Nikki’s smiling already, but she can’t help but let that smile widen at the sight of Alicia’s. It’s contagious. Alicia’s contagious. Nikki can’t put the win down to anything but the success of the whole team and their hard work throughout the tournament, but she knows Alicia has definitely had a positive effect on her own performance, there for her every step of the way.
“I’m so proud of you,” Alicia tells her, arms almost too tight around Nikki but still warm and strong and perfect. “My world champion.”
“Hey, it was the whole team,” Nikki says, and Alicia finally draws back from the hug, taking up Nikki’s hand instead.
“But you’re the one who scored twice!” Alicia squeezes Nikki’s hand even tighter, and OK, Nikki can’t pretend that she doesn’t like all the attention and praise. Especially from Alicia. “Come on – everyone else will want to congratulate you, too. I can’t keep you all to myself.”
“As much as you’d like to,” Nikki says, unable to keep the smirk off her face, and she lets Alicia lead her back over to where the rest of her friends and family in attendance are waiting to give their congratulations as well.