"What is your ass doing on Tinder?"
Antiope pries one eye open, then the other. All she sees is her blue pillow. Hungover as all fuck, she's lying in her bed in her team house. Her disappointingly empty bed. Summoning up all the strength of the varsity women's hockey captain that she is, she rolls over to stare blearily at her sister.
Hippolyta looks mad. Where did Hippolyta come from? Hippolyta doesn't even go to university anymore – she graduated a million years ago.
"Huh?" Antiope manages.
Her mouth tastes like Everclear with undertones of red Gatorade.
Her mouth tastes like the team's annual beginning of the year bash was a complete success.
Her mouth tastes gross.
Hippolyta, impeccably dressed as always, brandishes her own phone. Hippolyta's phone isn't on. She's just doing it for the effect. She likes her dramatics. "You have a picture of your ass on your Tinder profile," Hippolyta hisses.
"Did you swipe right?" Antiope asks. She yawns, then burrows so that she can hide her head under her pillow. Too much sunlight. Hurts. Pain. Ow. "I've been doing lots of squats," she mumbles.
Hippolyta takes one menacing step forward. She leans down, smells the alcohol, backs up slightly again. "What the hell were you thinking?" she demands.
From beneath the pillow, Antiope, "I'm being proactive. You should be proud. Gotta find my soulmate."
"By posting pictures of your ass on the internet?" Hippolyta wails. "I am the opposite of proud."
She's going to wake up the entire house at this rate.
Antiope suppresses a miserable hungover groan. "We can't all be born with a soulmark on our arm."
Hippolyta's soulmark – a sort of spindly thing full of movement that reminds Antiope of an opening gate – is on her left forearm. It's wonderful for her, really. Three-quarters of the year she walks around displaying it to the world. It's only a matter of time before she and her soulmate find each other. She'll be one of the lucky ones.
Antiope's soulmark is a dark sweep that she's always thought of as a horse.
And it's on her right buttcheek.
It's option-limiting in terms of decent exposure. She's never going to find her soulmate.
"Get your ass off Tinder," Hippolyta orders.
"You keep saying that word," Antiope says. "Ass." She shifts, sticking her butt up. She fell asleep fully clothed and suddenly she rather wishes she hadn't, but Hippolyta will get the idea. Antiope wiggles her ass. "You like it?"
Confession: she's still drunk.
Hippolyta makes a disgusted noise. "Just take it down," she says. Antiope can't see her, but she's probably pinching the bridge of her nose or making some other exasperated gesture. "What if an employer sees? What about my career when I run for office in ten years?"
"Make me," Antiope shoots back.
"Fine," says Hippolyta. "Where's your phone?"
Where is Antiope's phone? She fumbles around, checking her pockets. Nothing. Reluctantly, she pokes her head out from under her pillow. She blinks like an owl a few times because god damn is it sunny. Looking around, she finally sees her phone all the way across the room on her desk next to her laptop.
Hippolyta sees it at the same time.
Cursing, Antiope hurls herself out of her bed and tries to stumble over to her desk to get to her phone first. Still wrapped in her sheet, she trips and goes sprawling.
Needless to say, Hippolyta gets to Antiope's phone first. She unlocks it easily. It's really hard to use a phone when you're trashed, so Antiope doesn't have a password or even a swipe code.
Having lost all motivation, Antiope stays on the floor, staring forlornly up as Hippolyta opens her phone and starts deleting things.
"Why do you have all of these…" Hippolyta trails off. Her thumb taps the phone screen in a mad flurry. "You have thirty-seven pictures of your ass on this device."
"I needed good pictures for Tinder," Antiope grumbles. "Took like half an hour. Had to get help."
"Help?" Hippolyta starts. Then, "No, I'm not asking. Don't tell me." Holding the phone between two fingers as if she's dainty and it's contagious, she bends down and offers it to Antiope.
Antiope snatches her phone back.
"I've deleted all of them and your Tinder too," Hippolyta says.
Antiope, aggrieved, "I was using that!" She can always make another, but, still. Not okay.
Hippolyta inclines her head towards Antiope's empty bed. She arches an eyebrow. "Were you?"
  
Sitting at a table in the library on a Saturday night, ignoring her books, Menalippe slides her phone out of her pocket. Outside, night has long since fallen. She's tired from soccer practice. The season is well under way and she's been pushing herself hard. Although only a sophomore, she thinks she has a chance to start this year.
She was recruited. Last year, she sat the season out with a torn MCL. This year, she's recovered and she's going to earn her scholarship.
Idle, she flicks through a few of her dailies on various cell phone games. There's normally something satisfying about the little pops that the bright colors make as she drags her index finger across the glass – in the stifled silence of the library with the phone on mute it's just not the same.
Bored and unwilling to return to orgo, she pulls up Tinder.
Mostly she swipes left.
Straight guy offering himself up to for lesbians to 'just try'? Hard pass.
Bisexual girl and her boyfriend asking for a threesome? No thank you.
Profile picture of nothing but cleavage? Sketchy.
She lingers on one profile, a grinning blond wearing hockey gear. She's attractive. Really attractive. Her blue eyes seem to say that the world is hers and she's living her best life. Menalippe taps for more information.
She doesn't see anything offensive. She doesn't see any red flags.
If she wanted a hookup – honestly, there are better ways than Tinder to make that happen.
She's not looking for anything in particular, really. She's just browsing. That's what you do in a library. You browse.
Sometimes people post pictures of their soulmarks.
She doesn't really expect to find her soulmate in her life, much less find them on a dating app.
Soulmates are said to be alike – and Menalippe isn't stupid enough to put her ass on Tinder.
That would take a special kind of idiot.
Menalippe swipes left.
  
The all-sports welcome banquet isn't really a banquet. It's more like a hard gain calorie-fest in the field house. The student athletes line up with paper plates, heap as much mac and cheese and as many hamburger patties on as they can manage and then go off to sit on the fake grass with their teammates. There, they shovel the food in as fast as they can before going back for seconds (and thirds) (and fourths).
Antiope sits down with her fifth plate of nothing but extra gooey mac and cheese.
Orana stares at her. Orana's staring causes everyone else on the team to stare at her too.
Mouth full of macaroni, Antiope protests, "Doc told me to gain weight."
"Doctor Maru also gave me a prescription for oxy when I complained about cramps," Orana remarks. The sophomore doesn't think very highly of their team doctor. "And one time I saw her for a sore throat and she gave me two antibiotics, an anti-viral, and more oxy. I don't think you should take her advice all that seriously."
Antiope swallows her food and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. "Are you calling me fat?"
"No," Orana says. "I'm saying Doctor Maru is bad at her job."
Antiope shrugs. Doctor Maru is strange, but she's a perfectly pleasant woman. "She's a sports doc. Her job is to write prescriptions for painkillers and remind us about..." She pauses, trying to remember what Maru called it. "Uh, the Female Athlete Triad."
"Sounds like something sinister she just made up," Orana says. "She's probably using us all as guinea pigs for something awful."
Antiope shrugs again. "Who knows," she says. And then she bites down on another heaping forkful of mac and cheese. Doc told her to gain weight. She's happy to oblige.
When everyone's done stuffing their face, they flop backwards onto the plastic grass and stare up at the ceiling far above. Bright fluorescent stadium lights cast the entire world starkly. It's a new field house and everything smells strongly of rubber track.
In the far corner, the women's soccer team is showing off their juggling skills. They have quite a few spectators, Antiope included.
Antiope watches one player in particular. She's got long brown hair and she's very tall. She seems to be the best at tapping the ball just enough to keep it going – up and down, over her head, behind her back, up and spin and up again…
"Yo, Tiope, stop lusting after the entire women's soccer team and pay attention!"
Antiope looks over at the speaker, Penthesilea. A fellow senior, Penthesilea is the team's second best forward. (The team's best forward is, of course, Antiope.) "To what?" Antiope asks, somewhat warily. Penthesilea is a prankster through and through and Antiope has a feeling in her gut that she's about to be the butt of a joke. But she is a good sport. The best of sports. She even got an award for it last year.
Lying next to Antiope, Penthesilea sits up. "I was just telling the freshmen about the team-cest rule," she says. "But I thought you should give the pronouncement, you know? Since you're captain this year. Like, stand up and speech it."
Antiope rolls her eyes. The rule is extremely simple. 'Team-cest is bad. Just say no to team-cest. God made the women's rugby team for a reason.' But the team has a tradition about exactly how you have to say it. There are hand motions involved. "Fine," Antiope says. She pushes herself up to her feet. It takes a moment. She ate an awful lot of mac and cheese.
Channeling Hippolyta, Antiope clears her throat dramatically and looks out at her assembled team. She focuses on the freshmen. (First-years, the politically correct voice in the back of her head whispers). "Listen up, fresh meat," she says, stern as she can. She crosses her arms over her chest, just the way captain Otrera did when Antiope herself was a freshman. "On this team of sisters, we have a rule." One by one, she looks each of the newbies in the eyes. It's all for the drama. Antiope takes a step forward. "Team-cest is bad. Just say no to-"
Fingers hook into the waistband of her shorts.
Oh for fuck's sa-
  
One-two-three, one-two-three – keeping the ball up has a certain rhythm to it. It's something like up-up-catch for Menalippe, but she thinks everyone has their own sense of how it goes.
She likes freestyling. It's incredibly calming to just focus on her and the ball instead of her and the ball and her team and the other team and the field and everything else that goes into winning a game. Plus, all her teammates can juggle, some better than others, but only a few of them do tricks. In addition to being calming, it's nice to show off sometimes.
Menalippe hits a revolution, taps the ball a few times, then hits another. She hasn't yet figured out the double revolution, kicking the ball up and getting her leg around it twice before catching it again, but she'll get there eventually.
And there's no time like the present.
She's about to try for it when a commotion catches her attention and distracts her. Instead of starting the trick, she lands the ball on her foot and looks at where everyone else on her team is suddenly staring.
A cluster of women, the women's hockey team from the few faces Menalippe recognizes, is sitting towards the center of the field house. One of them has stood up. And another one is clearly creeping into position to pants her.
Menalippe cringes and looks away. It's only polite. She doesn't see it happen, but all around her, "Ooooooooooo…" A few of the men wolf whistle. At least one of Menalippe's teammates does too.
The second-hand embarrassment is overwhelming.
And yet, somehow, a thought creeps into Menalippe's mind: what if she just missed finding her soulmate?
Against her better judgment, Menalippe looks back.
The hockey player has pulled up her shorts and is chasing her teammate around laughing and spouting obscenities.
Menalippe shakes her head slightly. She didn't miss out on anything. What are the chances?
  
Penthesilea gets hauled in front of the honor court immediately. Post haste. Like lightning. Bam.
She spends the first three games of the season on suspension. She also has to write an essay on why it's not okay to pull down other people's pants.
The team jokes that it's the fastest the honor court has ever taken and processed a sexual harassment case. And it's the harshest punishment they've ever handed out.
It's not really a joke but everyone laughs.
What it is – well, it's pretty unfortunate.
Antiope would gladly trade getting pants'd again for a winning senior season. She even tried telling the honor court her teammate was just trying to help her with her soulmark problem. The honor court was not amused.
It's December now and they've played their last game of the semester. They're maybe even on track to make it to the women's Frozen Four, despite missing their second best forward for three games. Things are good. But now it's time to trade skates for books, neglected since, like, forever. That's what happens when you do college sports.
Antiope has her feet up on a library table as she half-heartedly thumbs through a textbook when someone slams down into the chair across from her.
It's Penthesilea: Antiope's best worst friend. "Dude," she says. She sounds really excited. "I've got it."
Antiope eyes Penthesilea. "It?"
"Yeah," Penthesilea says. "It. Your soulmark problem."
"Your soulmark is on your neck and you already found Achilles," Antiope says, naming Penthesilea's fratty boy-toy soulmate that exactly no one on the team approves of. Antiope is pretty sure Achilles is hiding something. Like a secret boyfriend. "I don't think you have my soulmark problem," Antiope says.
"No, like, I've got the solution to your soulmark being on your ass," Penthesilea says. She's speaking very loudly. People are starting to stare. Is that her solution? Tell everyone Antiope's soulmark is on her ass?
It's… actually not such a bad idea. Maybe a Facebook post?
Penthesilea continues, "Streaking. The last day of class you should join the streak through the student union and around the quads tonight. It's tradition. It's school sanctioned exhibitionism. It's just your kind of thing."
Two good ideas in one day.
Penthesilea is on a roll.
  
Menalippe's phone buzzes.
Sitting amongst a pile of books in her apartment, she glances at it. It's Penelope. Her ex. Who she's still friends with. Sort of. When lesbians break up, they stay friends. Unfortunately.
With a sigh, Menalippe unlocks her phone and checks the text.
'Come watch the streak with me. You might find her'
Menalippe imagines staring at a parade of naked asses with her ex, trying to check each of them for a mark. Without hesitation, Menalippe texts back: 'No.'
  
The end of exams rolls around and it's time for Antiope to get in Hippolyta's car and go up to their family's vacation home in the mountains. It's an unusually warm winter Saturday so she sits in a plastic lawn chair out in front of her team house while she waits for Hippolyta to arrive.
The team house sits across the street from fraternity row. Normally Saturday mornings are a time for walks of shame. Today, however, the fraternity brothers are swarming the exteriors of their abodes hastily removing all the offensive signs, graffiti, and statuary that they don't want their mothers to see.
Wearing sunglasses to protect her bloodshot eyes from the harsh light of day, Antiope props her feet up on top of her suitcase. She sips water from her green Gatorade bottle and appreciates the spectacle. She should have made popcorn. She would have if she'd known Hippolyta was going to be late.
A bit peeved, Antiope pulls out her phone. The last message she has from Hippolyta indicates that her sister should be arriving at any moment. And yet the street is empty.
All Antiope sees is panicked hungover frat boys.
Also, she sees the incredibly hot soccer player with brown hair who's good at juggling. She's walking along the sidewalk carrying a bag of groceries.
Self-restraint, thy name is not Antiope.
Antiope whistles at the soccer player. The soccer player pauses and looks over at Antiope. Antiope grins, waves, then shouts, "You're an eleven, can I get your number?"
The soccer player stares at Antiope. Her jaw is slack. She looks like she's stuck somewhere in between 'really confused' and 'righteously offended.'
Antiope adds, "Please?"
It always pays to be polite.
And then Hippolyta pulls up in her white Porsche.
  
Menalippe spends her entire walk back to her apartment fuming.
She's so angry it takes her three tries to get her front door unlocked. When she finally gets the contraption open, she storms into her apartment and slams her milk, peanut butter, and protein powder down on the kitchen table.
From the couch in the living room section of the space, watching re-runs of Teen Titans, Alexa looks up. A fellow soccer player and a senior, she and Menalippe decided to live together since they were both more interested in graduating than partying. "Mena, what's wrong?" Alexa asks.
"I got catcalled," Menalippe complains. She violently yanks the milk out of the bag and takes it to the refrigerator. "By a woman. Lesbians should know better."
"Some women can't help but replicate the patriarchy," Alexa says. In addition to being interested in graduating, she's a gender studies major. "But seriously, who catcalls anyone on a Saturday morning? Even the SAE dickheads are too hungover to twitch on Saturday mornings."
"She was on the lawn of the women's hockey house," Menalippe says. "Blond, hair in a braid, really tan, buff, kind of short looking. She was wearing a pink polo shirt with a popped collar under a black Northface jacket. And she had sunglasses. And she had water. She was probably hungover."
Menalippe blinks. She remembers what her street harasser looked like surprisingly well.
"Oh," says Alexa. The way she says it…
"You know who it was," Menalippe says, matter-of-fact. Alexa's older sister Artemis was the senior captain of the women's hockey team three years ago.
"Yeah," Alexa says. "Hungover short blond catcalling on a Saturday morning… that's probably Antiope." Alexa pauses. "She's really not that bad," she ventures.
Menalippe gives Alexa a Look.
"She's that bad," Menalippe concludes.
  
Feet up on Hippolyta's dashboard, Antiope licks her fingers to get orange Cheeto dust off them. Outside the car, endless miles of highway blur by. "Hey, Polly, you still hang with the soccer team sometimes, right?" Precisely five trillion years ago, Hippolyta was on the varsity women's soccer team. Then she graduated and went off to be an adult.
Hippolyta is silent.
Hippolyta, as a rule, does not respond to Polly.
Antiope lets out a loud sigh. "Hippolyta," she says.
"Yes, I do," Hippolyta says. "On occasion."
"So there's this chick," Antiope starts. "Long brown hair, super good at freestyling with the ball. Hot. Super hot."
What follows is another silence.
Then, "Menalippe is a good person and does not deserve you," Hippolyta declares.
  
'I am a good person,' Menalippe thinks, 'and I do not deserve this.'
Surrounded by her teammates, she is walking up to the women's hockey house on a Friday night.
Peer pressure is a truly terrible thing.
The interior of the house is a dark throbbing mass of flesh and it stinks like booze. Remixed Lady Gaga is playing so loud that Menalippe can't hear herself think. Her friends drag her along to the kitchen where they all pay three bucks for red Solo cups that they then fill with alcohol-infused slosh from a plastic tub on the counter.
Menalippe takes a great big gulp of it because the only way she's going to survive is if she's trashed.
She nearly spits it back out.
"What is this?" she demands to no one in particular.
"Tastes like bottom shelf gin and grape Kool-Aid," one of her teammates shouts. She sounds entirely too happy about drinking bottom shelf gin mixed with grape Kool-Aid. "Be careful, hockey girls go hard!"
As her teammates disperse, Menalippe stays next to the gross swill, awkwardly avoiding eye contact with everyone who comes close. She wishes Alexa hadn't elected to stay home studying. Or that she herself had. She finishes her cup fast. Then she finishes another cup. Then she goes for thirds.
If she can just get drunk enough, she thinks. If.
The short blond hockey player shows up somewhere around the middle of drink number six.
Her name is indeed Antiope.
She's less offensive when she's not across a street.
Good at kissing.
  
Really Hot Soccer Player's name is Menalippe.
Just like Polly said.
Menalippe is a good name.
Good name and good person.
Probably does lots of squats.
Bedroom this way?
  
Bedroom that way?
Yes, okay, bedroom that way.
  
"Hey, how much did you drink?"
  
  
What kind of fuckers leave a fucking party without their fucking friend the fuck?
  
When Menalippe wakes up, she feels... Uhg.
Her mouth tastes like a garbage can and her head feels like lead. Rather than blurry, the world feels entirely too sharp. Her stomach is up to something awful.
For a while, she just stays inert wherever it is she's sprawled out.
She has no fucking idea where she is. Hockey house? Hockey house.
And she's in a bed. Rather, she's on top of a bed. All her clothes are on, including her shoes. There is no one else in the bed.
She thinks about moving her fingers.
Her fingers move.
Okay, good start.
Looking around, she doesn't recognize her surroundings. At all. She's in a frighteningly messy bedroom that smells like gym bag but she has no recollection of how she got there. The last thing that she remembers is… she thinks it's maybe starting her fourth (her fifth? wait, sixth?) cup of disgusting. There'd been a woman?
A groan makes its way out of Menalippe.
She's hungover and feels like shit.
It is time to go home.
It takes all the strength and all the willpower she can muster up to get herself upright but in the end Menalippe succeeds. She staggers out of the room, down the hall, makes it down the stairs…
On the way to the front door, Menalippe catches sight of someone lying on the couch in the completely trashed living room. It's the short blond hockey player. Antiope.
Antiope's mouth is open and she is drooling.
It's really not a flattering look.
She's still cute though.
  
Nothing cures a hangover quite like Gatorade and ramen. What a way to spend their one weekend in town with no game.
Antiope is sitting in the kitchen chugging blue Gatorade like her life depends on it (it does), waiting for her ramen water to boil, when Penthesilea stumbles down the stairs from her room with Achilles on her arm like the fuckboy he is. She escorts him to the door where they proceed to have the sloppiest makeout session Antiope has ever seen. They even manage to rub their soulmarked necks together like horny flamingos. And then she sends him on his way.
Good riddance. Sheesh.
If that's how soulmates act, maybe Antiope doesn't actually want to ever find hers.
Penthesilea then comes over to the kitchen and sits down across from Antiope. She grins, wags her eyebrows, and offers Antiope a fistbump.
Antiope scowls at Penthesilea's fistbump.
Penthesilea retracts the fistbump. "What happened to the hot soccer player?"
Antiope pulls her phone out and brings up Alexa's contact information. The last time she texted Artemis' little sister was literally over a year ago. She sighs. "People that drunk can't say yes," she says. Her tone shifts from disappointed to angry, "And then her team fucking ditched her. What the fuck."
"They probably assumed she was happily getting some with the hot hockey player," Penthesilea offers.
Antiope scowls. To Alexa, she sends, 'Ur roomie ok?' To Penthesilea, "They didn't even check with her."
Penthesilea winces. "Yeah, that's bad."
Antiope's phone buzzes. It's Alexa. 'Shes fine' A second after, another text shows up. 'Did something happen?'
Antiope texts back, 'No just didnt see her leave this morning'
Across the table, Penthesilea stands up a little and leans forward to look at Antiope's screen. "Is that her? You got her number?"
'Kk. Just checking' Alexa sends.
"No, she's roommates with Alexa. I wanted to make sure she got home okay," Antiope says. She pushes her chair back across the linoleum floor and stands.
The water for her ramen is boiling.
  
Menalippe is sitting quietly in her seat at the front of the lecture hall for Classical Mythology, waiting for the professor and his squadron of TAs to arrive, when the short hockey player – Antiope – sits down next to her.
Menalippe startles slightly. "You're in this class?" she asks.
"Yeah," says Antiope. She jerks her thumb to indicate the very last row of seats in the enormous hall. "But I normally sit back there. Sup? Good weekend?"
"I spent all Saturday hungover and got no work done," Menalippe says.
Antiope makes a dismissive noise. It's rather rude, really. "Who works on Saturdays anyway?"
There's a long pause.
Antiope blinks. Then, stammering, she corrects, "Uh, oh man, that blows." She pauses, then, "Hey, would you get lunch with me sometime?"
Menalippe eyes Antiope. She's cute. And she looks really hopeful and that just makes her cuter. But she's also an asshole who catcalls women from across the street while lounging around hungover in a plastic lawn chair.
"No," says Menalippe.
Antiope's face falls. "Oh."
  
Antiope spends the entirety of the class period thinking about that word.
It makes her really sad.
Normally she'd be totally into the day's lesson. The professor is talking about warrior women in Greek mythology named after a river in Brazil. Wicked cool.
But instead she just mopes.
Like, she definitely could have been smoother.
And, like, all things considered, she probably had that 'no' coming.
But she's still sad about it.
She really likes Menalippe, not just because she's really hot but because she's… Antiope doesn't really have a word for it. She's good. She's right.
Sitting next to her makes Antiope feel good and right.
And the sadness she feels now, it's the sadness of knowing that when class is over they'll part ways and those ways will stay parted. This time next week, she'll be sitting in the back of class and Menalippe will be in the front and that's just how it will be.
For once in her life she sits in class not wanting it to end.
But it does end. The professor dismisses them and Antiope collects her things and packs them away in her bag. She stands to leave.
And then she leaves.
  
Spring semester marches on one day at a time.
It's the off-season for the soccer team. Menalippe is glad that she's in a sport that doesn't make her travel both semesters. During the season in the fall, classes are a blur, just barely squeezing into Menalippe's life in between practices and traveling for games and games. She's always mildly tired. Sleeping on the floor of a bus makes for poor rest and hauling into Monday morning classes half an hour late because there was traffic on the road and that's just when the team got back to campus is frustrating.
Spring semester is always better.
Antiope doesn't approach Menalippe again.
It's… unexpected. Refreshing. Menalippe's opinion of Antiope ratchets up a notch. Maybe even two.
From time to time Menalippe will notice her sitting in the back of the Classical Mythology lecture hall, dozing off. She suspects she only sees Antiope from time to time because Antiope only comes to class from time to time.
Considering the cost of tuition, skipping class is ridiculous. Antiope's life is not Menalippe's though.
She hardly knows her anyway.
  
Antiope and Penthesilea are demons on the ice.
It's their senior year. They're going to win the championship. This is their year.
Antiope goes to maybe two classes a week. One of the perks about a fancy expensive education is that everyone gets a B+.
Antiope sets a team record for goals scored.
Penthesilea spends the entire season grouchy that the record would have been hers if Antiope weren't around.
Antiope tells Penthesilea she should have skipped more classes.
They lead the team into the top eight and then into the Frozen Four and then they hit the finals.
And then they lose.
They shake the hands of the winners.
Then, the entire team sits in the locker room crying together.
It's the closest the team has come to the championship in six years and it's all broken dreams and wasted effort and the empty culmination of young lifetimes of blood, sweat, and tears.
Not even alcohol makes it better.
  
Halfway through April, the athletics department sets out hundreds of folding chairs on the floor of the basketball stadium court for the awards ceremony at the closing of the seasons. It's a seemingly endless parade of senior awards.
The department also forces the women's hockey team to give a speech as part of the ceremonies.
The school won no NCAA championships and the hockey team was the highest placing team in either the men's or the women's program. But it's awkward.
The athletics director says it's about sportsmanship.
The coaches say it's about teaching participation trophy millennials how to be adults.
The athletes say that it's really uncomfortable and the poor hockey team should just be left in peace.
Menalippe sits with her team. She plays on her phone as the stadium sits quietly, filled with slightly annoyed students. They've been stuck at the speech-fest listening to coaches and directors drone on about the value of sports for an hour. She's still playing on her phone when Antiope takes the podium at the front.
But Menalippe looks up when Antiope starts speaking.
Antiope is wearing a smart blue suit that compliments her eyes.
"Most of us won't go pro," Antiope says. Even from across the room it's clear her eyes are bloodshot. For once, it's probably not because of booze. She's reading from a crumpled up paper she's pulled out of her pocket. "For most of us, the senior season is it. You spend your life on the rink but then you hang up the skates when you graduate. You box up your cleats. You put your pleather letterman on a wall."
Antiope pauses. She sniffs loud enough that the mic picks it up.
"You go to the physical therapy you've been putting off for four years," she continues. "You find out you'll need a knee replacement before you turn thirty. You look at your transcript and there's nothing on it."
On the side of the stage, the athletics director's face has gone bright red and he's whispering urgently at the hockey coach, who is making some kind of apologetic shrugging motion.
The athletics department did not write this speech.
The entire room is dead silent. The only sound is Antiope.
"And you look at the trophy case and it's empty. And you think… that's it. It was all for that."
There's a long pause.
"But it's not about the trophy case. It wasn't for the trophy. It was for your team. Maybe it is all downhill from here. But I'm not leaving emptyhanded. I have my teammates. I have my best friends. And I'm always going to have them, even when I don't have my knees. And they made me a better person these four years. Like. It's really fucking bittersweet, you know? But I wouldn't trade a shiny trophy for my teammates and I wouldn't be who I am without my teammates and they're what really matters. So yeah. There. That's all I've got."
Antiope takes her speech, shoves it back into her pocket, and walks off the stage.
  
With the season well and truly over, Antiope starts going to class again.
She has no idea what's going on in any of them, except for Classical Mythology. It's actually a kind of fun class and it's the only one she kept going to during the middle of the season.
Getting over losing isn't something she's finished doing yet though.
Some mornings, she wakes up and cries again. She really doesn't like being weepy all the time, but she can't help herself.
She's sitting in the back of the lecture hall, trying to stop sniffling, when Menalippe sits down next to her.
"Hi," says Menalippe.
"Hi," says Antiope.
And that's it, that's the extent of the conversation.
Antiope tries very hard not to sniffle at all during the lecture. Menalippe, she's positive, is a very studious student and would not want to be distracted.
Today's lecture is something about imagery in Agamemnon.
In trying not to distract Menalippe, Antiope gets very distracted.
What is Menalippe doing sitting next to her? Was there something wrong with the front row? Does the professor not brush his teeth?
And – does this mean Menalippe will sit with her next class too?
She's not so distracted though that she can't turn to Menalippe at the end of the lecture and say, "You know, it's too bad no one took Cassandra… seeriously."
Menalippe's face is, in a word, priceless. There's a long pause in which it's clear she's trying to decide if she should laugh or walk away. Then, "No. But also, are you free Thursday morning? Starbucks across the street from the alumni center?"
"Yes!" Antiope says, answer leaping out of her mouth before she's thought at all about it. "Uh, wait, I have class at 11. But that's not morning, that's, like, afternoon. 9? I can do 9."
"Okay, 9," says Menalippe. "Let me give you my number."
  
When Menalippe arrives at the Starbucks two minutes early, Antiope is waiting for her. She's a little taken aback. She expected Antiope to be late. She just seems like that kind of person.
Antiope attempts to insist on paying for Menalippe's latte. She backs off though when Menalippe tells her to stop.
She's full of surprises.
They spend two hours talking about sports and their teams, comparing notes. It's clear that Antiope is still sad about the lost championship, but she loves her sport like nothing else. She gets a big goofy grin on her face whenever she talks about skating. It reminds Menalippe of the way she feels about juggling her soccer ball.
When Antiope has to leave for class, it is with reluctance that they part.
On the upside though, Menalippe has the sense that she'll be seeing more of Antiope in the near future.
  
Date Number Two is coffee again.
This is fine with Antiope. Coffee is amazing. Coffee is what keeps her propped up and still putting one foot in front of the other. Coffee, when combined with ample amounts of milk and sugar, is delicious.
It's sort of weird though, dating.
In her life, Antiope has had many hookups but very few dates. She's never really felt much need. There's little point in getting attached to someone when your soulmarks don't match. Someone someday may just swoop into your life and then, bam – it's all over.
She wants to get attached to Menalippe though. And she wants to stay attached.
And if she ever does, against all odds, encounter her soulmate, then… she's not sure. She wouldn't want to give up Menalippe.
Is this how Achilles ended up with Penthesilea and also a secret boyfriend?
Antiope pushes that thought to the back of her mind and focuses on how Menalippe's smiles, though they are small things, always reach her eyes.
  
Date Number Three is dinner.
Date Number Three is dinner at one of the nicest spots in the area.
It was Antiope's idea. Menalippe tried to steer them to a… less expensive venue but then Antiope said that she wanted to pay, that she really wanted to take Menalippe out and would Menalippe please let her? (But it's totally okay if they go somewhere else and split the check.)
Being around Antiope, Menalippe is left with the impression of money and of legacy.
With anyone else, she thinks she would be uncomfortable.
It's hard to be uncomfortable with Antiope.
This holds true even when Menalippe walks into the restaurant in her best dress and feels underdressed. Antiope is completely at ease and leads the way through the strange etiquette of a fancy restaurant where one pays a very large amount of money for a very small amount of beautifully arranged food.
The food is actually very good and surprisingly filling.
At the end of the night, Antiope walks Menalippe to her apartment and kisses her chastely on the doorstep.
It's actually starting to get ridiculous how hard Antiope is working to make up for the whole being a total asshole thing.
Menalippe grabs Antiope and kisses her not chastely at all.
And then they say goodnight and Menalippe watches Antiope head back up the street towards the hockey house.
It's a confusingly strange feeling that Menalippe has. She's not opposed to hooking up. But she doesn't want to hook up with Antiope. Because if she hooks up with Antiope then… then what if the going out with Antiope stops? She wouldn't want that.
  
Antiope is sitting next to Penthesiela on the bleachers of the rink, watching the underclassmen's post-post-season scrimmage and occasionally yelling at them to fix something when she hears someone calling her name.
It's her coach.
Weird. Their coach isn't allowed to be in the same room as them and skates once post-season is over. NCAA regulations are pretty clear about that.
Her coach shouts at her again, then at Penthesilea.
Next to her coach stands a woman from the athletics department administration.
Antiope looks at Penthesilea. Penthesilea looks at Antiope. They both have a panicked look in their eyes.
Like women walking to their deaths, Antiope and Penthesiela approach their coach and the administrator.
"Don't you two check your emails?" their coach asks. She sounds annoyed. "You're supposed to be across the street in line for the random drug test today."
"But we're seniors," Penthesilea tries, desperate. "About to graduate seniors. We're not on the team anymore, right? Right?"
"You know the drill," Antiope's coach says, having none of it. "Drug tests can happen at any time of the year. This is Ms. Candy. Do what she says."
Most unfortunately, Antiope does indeed know the drill. You can't run. You can't hide. You can't plead dehydration. They'll schedule you for a makeup test and they'll come find you in class if they have to.
She has been selected for a 'random' drug test four times now. Some people get through their entire time with the team without ever getting picked once. Life isn't fair.
"I hate everything," Penthesilea mumbles.
In this moment, Antiope agrees completely.
Their coach calls another two players off the ice and then Ms. Candy marches them from the rink to the main athletics complex across the street. She takes them down into a basement locker room where a line of other female student athletes is already waiting. From the size of the line, Antiope thinks that the hockey team may have been the last ones to be rounded up.
Captain of her team, Antiope goes to stand behind…
"Hi," says Menalippe.
"Uh, hi," says Antiope. She's blushing furiously. She can feel that her face is hot.
She would really rather not pee in a cup in front of Menalippe. She'd rather not pee in a cup in front of anyone, truthfully, but she'd especially like to not do it in front of Menalippe.
She does not know what Menalippe's soulmark looks like nor does she know where it is. And she has never told Menalippe the nature of her mark.
She does not want to see Menalippe's mark and she does not want Menalippe to see her mark because… because that would shatter the illusion, she thinks. She does not want confirmation that they are not meant to be together.
"It is nice weather we are having," Menalippe says stiffly.
Outside, it is chilly and damp and overcast.
"Very nice," says Antiope. "You know, I was just trying to figure out what our fourth date should be."
"Peeing in a cup," says Menalippe. "You're brilliant."
"I like to think so," Antiope replies.
They don't say anything else because, well, they're standing in a locker room in line for a drug test.
When Menalippe's turn comes, she shuffles forward into the open bathroom stall where one of the athletics people stands wearing rubber gloves. Two more athletics handlers stand just beyond the open door of the stall, staring in.
"I know this is uncomfortable," the athletics person wearing the gloves says. "I need you to take off your pants and then stand up and hold your hands over your head."
Antiope tells herself she won't look.
It's really invasive and rude and-
She leans to the side, just half an inch and-
  
This is the second time Menalippe has been drug tested and it's almost enough to make her quit college sports. She won't, of course, but she certainly thinks about it.
Trying not to keel over dead from embarrassment, she lowers her pants.
Pants down, Menalippe turns. That sounded a lot like…
Antiope, grinning from ear to ear, waves at her. And then Antiope turns around and pulls her own pants down too. "Look! We match!"