Patsy Busby-Mount was sulking. She and her wife had a rare Sunday off together and she had been excited to watch the Men’s Final at Wimbledon snuggled up on the sofa. Admittedly yesterday’s Women’s Final would have been preferable, but duty came first, so she was content. At least until Delia decided that switching over to the World Cup when kick-off arrived at 4PM was practically a necessity. This, Patsy thought, was almost enough to sue for divorce. Well, it would have been, had she not made...arrangements.
Delia of course had watched the semi final reverently, thankfully without Patsy as she’d had a shift that afternoon. She was of course rooting for anyone other than England, as was the law for the Welsh. Patsy was only slightly perturbed at her wife’s lack of patriotism for her home country, despite the fact Delia remarking that she didn’t grow up in England so it ‘hardly counted’. However, since England had failed to reach the final, she was now very keen on watching, this time having no particular preference for who won.
‘But Deels,’ Patsy started eventually after many moments of stony silence, electing to try persuasion once more instead of pouting, ‘you’ve already had the chance to gloat. Can’t you let me get excited over Kevin Anderson after I was so devastated when Federer lost? Please ...’
‘Honestly Pats, you sound so straight when you say that.’ Delia remarked idly, reaching for a bowl of popcorn that had suspiciously appeared on the arm of the sofa.
‘ Not like that! ’ the ginger grumbled, swatting her wife’s cheek in an attempt to wipe the smirk from her face.
‘Oi. My dimples. Get your own.’ Delia held the remote at arm's length.
‘I only want yours. But I know your game, Mrs Busby-Mount, and such blatant flirtation will have no effect in distracting me. Now let me watch the rest of this match or else I’ll lock you in our bedroom with your laptop.’
‘Paaaaats. Anderson is going to lose anyway, you might as well give up.’
‘Not according to Twitter. And when have you ever known me “give up”?’
Delia felt rather hot under the collar all of a sudden. She elected to reply with silence.
Patsy was having none of this. ‘If you’re so desperate, I’m definitely banishing you to the bedroom. Now is not the time for that.’
‘Come on Pats, you’ve got to admit, football is much more exciting than tennis,’ Delia tried to reason.
‘In what way? The clothes are better by far in tennis. And there’s much less swearing. And far less homophobia and racism.’
‘Have you ever actually watched a football game?’ Delia sighed at her wife’s pessimism. ‘The strips are amazing - so many colours and you can always tell who’s who, unlike when everyone wears the same bloody thing. As for swearing… what about John McEnroe? He was the worst for that! And they have huge anti racism campaigns and one time they all wore rainbow laces in solidarity for gay sportspeople!’ Delia was now not paying any attention to the TV, completely beside herself with her argument.
Patsy noticed her lack of care about the programme, and surreptitiously stole the remote, all the while soothing her wife’s understandable fervour. ‘I loved the Women’s World Cup, didn’t I?’
‘Yeah, because England did really well. But you can’t just like one and not the other, it’s not allowed!’
‘Says my extremely proud lesbian wife…’
‘I’ll admit the Women’s game is better, for obvious reasons, but the men’s is just a classic. Valerie agrees, see? She’s texting me!’ Delia waved her phone in front of Patsy’s vision.
‘Yes, well, Babs and Trix are watching the tennis. Tom had to work today, obviously.’
‘Wait…’ Delia searched around her patch on the sofa, ‘where’s the remote!? I need to pee and I’m not leaving without it.’
‘I thought I might be allowed to switch it over for the few seconds you’re away, my love,’ Patsy answered sheepishly.
Delia considered her options. ‘Fine. But switch back as soon as I’m done.’ She darted off the sofa and out the living room, slamming the toilet door shut behind her.
Patsy used her time wisely, flipping over to BBC Two, whilst also unbuttoning her shirt. She had failed to bargain for the heat when she had come up with this little ruse. She knew she had a mere moment to achieve her goal - ha! - but it would hopefully be worth it when Delia saw the very particular kit she had on. Especially because Twitter suggested her little love had just missed an actual goal...Whoops.
Sure enough a strangled cry came from behind the toilet door as Delia, clearly checking her phone, discovered the news herself.
‘’S’all right, Deels, we can replay it…’ the redhead tried to sound reassuring.
The bathroom door opened and Delia grumbled her way back into the living room, muttering to herself, ‘It’s not the same, it’s better when you see it in real time… can’t believe of all the moments…’ she stopped dead in her tracks when her eyes landed on the redhead and her new… outfit.
‘Are you okay, Welshie?’
Delia gulped. ‘Quite fine.’ Her voice was at least an octave higher than usual as she took a seat again. ‘Can we change back please? And rewind a bit…’
‘Of course, cariad,’ Patsy said smoothly as she sidled closer to the blushing brunette.
Delia’s eyes fixed firmly on the TV screen as she fought off a blush. It was getting awfully hot in there all of a sudden. She switched over and rewound to watch the goal and the replay, trying to ignore the redhead’s eyes on the back of her head. Eventually, satisfied she’d seen it from every conceivable angle, she gave Patsy back the remote.
‘Wait.’ She suddenly realised what she’d done.
‘Oh, I don’t think I need it now, I’m quite enjoying...this.’
Delia just stared numbly at her wife. Now she’d started looking she couldn’t stop. Even the buzzing of her phone didn’t distract her gaze.
‘Penny for them?’ Patsy asked softly as she switched back.
Delia opened and closed her mouth like a fish out of water. ‘Umm…’ she tore her eyes away and looked down at her phone. ‘OH FUCK’S SAKE.’ she groaned loudly. ‘They equalised.’
Patsy swore too. ‘I told you I was happy to leave it on BBC One.’
Grumbling again, Delia switched back, watched the replay and then fast forward again to the live footage.
‘Right. Not taking my eyes off this. Not for anything,’ she said determinedly.
‘Not even for the sake of patriotism, hmmm?’ Patsy purred mischievously.
Delia’s eyes were watering as she tried not to blink.
‘ Cymru am byth , Mrs Busby-Mount? Or are France and Croatia more important today?’
‘Pats… you’re distracting me…’ Delia warned.
‘I rather thought that was the point, Deels,’ the redhead said, giggling.
Delia huffed indignantly. ‘Can’t you at least wait till half time…’
‘I don’t think I’m the one who ought to answer that question, do you? Patience is actually my name, after all…’
There was a pause, the tension in the room reaching breaking point. Then Delia turned and practically jumped onto the redhead, straddling her legs and putting one hand either side of her head.
Delia kissed her deeply and Patsy responded keenly. This was much better than football, she thought happily as Delia’s tongue swiped over hers. They kissed deeply for a minute or two and suddenly a cheer came from the TV. As quickly as she’d started, Delia was gone again, groaning loudly because she’d missed yet another goal.
‘Oh my god. That was a penalty too, I can’t…’ she started to look genuinely upset.
‘Shhh, love, I won’t distract you any more. I’m sorry. Anderson’s losing, too, by the looks of things on Twitter.’
Delia sighed and flopped back into the sofa, tucking her head into Patsy’s armpit. Patsy sighed a rather happier sigh, pulling her wife in close.
‘We can switch to BBC Two if you want.’ Delia offered in a small voice.
‘No, no. I always planned for us to watch this together. I just can’t resist teasing you…’
‘What!?’ Delia cried, ‘you mean you didn’t really care about the tennis!?’
‘I always care about the tennis, but I care about you more - and it’s only once every four years. Even if you do seem rather attached for someone whose country isn’t involved very often.’
‘Is that a jab at the Welsh?’ Delia elbowed Patsy gently in the ribs. ‘We may be shite at football but we make up for it in rugby.’
‘Hardly, Deels, I’m wearing your kit for goodness’ sake.’
‘I know.’ Delia said, trying very hard not to look at it, ‘can we get chips?’
‘Could we wait until the end and work up an appetite?’
Delia whispered something under her breath which sounded suspiciously like ‘You’ve already worked up my appetite…’
The half time whistle sounded and Delia hopped up before Patsy could respond.
‘I’m going to get my laptop, need anything from the bedroom while I’m there?’ Delia asked over her shoulder.
‘Why on earth do you need your laptop, aren’t you interested in the commentary, cariad?’
‘Yeah, I want to order from JustEat while I watch…’
‘How very efficient. Stay here though; I have the app on the smartphone someone insisted I buy.’
‘It’s free, Pats.’ Delia rolled her eyes and settled back into the sofa again. ‘Oooh, can I get the kids' chicken nuggets? Then I can get a lolly and juice for £3.50.’
Patsy rolled her eyes, now. ‘By all means, my grown-up wife.’
‘You know I struggle with a full adult sized portion… and I don’t want to waste food. Besides if I’m still hungry I can pinch some of yours.’
‘I’m teasing. You know I always get the kids’ portions too. It’s just every time you eat a lolly I remember Babs and Tom being all gross with their PDA and straight privilege.’
Delia shuddered. ‘Thanks for spoiling my appetite for lollies.’
‘ Not like that! ’ Patsy protested for the second time that afternoon. ‘Didn’t I tell you about the sherbets? The ones that change colour?’'
‘Apparently Babs got very enthusiastic about showing Tom one of her childhood favourites and that was when he knew he wanted to marry her. Sweets made him even sweeter on her, he said.’
‘Erugh. Don’t make me sick…’ Delia complained. ‘Is this all a grand wheeze to put me off takeaway? Because it isn’t going to work.’
‘No - I want nothing more than for you to pinch my chips and get overly-invested in men kicking a ball around. Seems a fair swap after the tennis.’
Delia looked delighted and watched over Patsy’s shoulder as she ordered their food. They watched the second half start and waited for the food to arrive. To Delia it was taking ages, her stomach was growling in hunger and she was about to open her mouth to complain when the doorbell went.
‘I’ll get it!’ she cried and ran for the door.
‘No, don’t go, you’ll miss - FUCK.’ Patsy was furious with both teams for their blatant disregard for her wife’s feelings.
‘Oh you’ve got to be bloody kidding me!’ Delia yelled, ‘not you,’ she added to the clearly confused delivery driver, ‘oh my god this can’t be happening right now.’
She paid the man and gathered the piping hot food, returning to Patsy in the living room, just in time to see the last snippet of replay.
‘France and it was incredible.’
‘Ohhh it was Mbeppe as well, he really deserved to score… did you know he’s only nineteen? Last time a teenager scored in the world cup final it was Péle.’ Delia rambled as she prepared the food on the coffee table.
‘I did, as it happened, but only because they said,’ Patsy put in sheepishly.
Delia tucked into her chips happily. ‘Mmmm, you put extra vinegar. Did I mention I love you?’
‘Not quite as much extra as on mine,’ her wife said with a wink, ‘but I have to have at least some defence against your thievery.’
‘I can handle a little extra…’ Delia smirked, reaching over to grab one of Patsy’s chips and popping it in her mouth. ‘OH CHRIST.’ she spat it out, ‘What on god’s good earth have they done to these poor potatoes!?’
‘Come here and I’ll kiss it better?’
‘Ewww, get away from me, vinegar queen!’
‘I’ll take that. Might start a rumour among the students about how I’m such a stickler I get called “The Vinegar Queen”.’
‘Slightly harsh in large amounts… and a little bit tangy… sounds pretty accurate to me.’ Delia crunched down loudly on a crispy chip.
‘Hmmph. Well if that’s what I get for dressing up for you, my darling wife , I might think twice about it in the future.’
Delia wasn’t listening. The French goalkeeper had just made a monumental error and let in a really easy goal. She gasped and put a hand to her mouth.
‘Oh my god!’ she cried, ‘what was that!?’
‘I gather it’s called a goal,’ Patsy deadpanned.
‘But he just let it in! In the world cup final!’ Delia was beside herself.
‘What can I say? The women are better.’
‘I can’t believe out of all the goals I missed, I only got to see this failure.’ Delia sighed.
‘It’s not over yet, love.’
Delia sighed again and resumed her chips. ‘Well there better be at least one more otherwise I’ll go to bed very disappointed.’
‘I won’t allow that, don’t you worry,’ Patsy purred between bites of deliciously-vinegared potato.
And then finally France scored a wonderful goal and Delia managed to get her little victory.
‘Oh my gosh, did you see that!?’ She jumped up and down excitedly, ‘did you see that, Pats? Wow!’
Wow indeed, her wife thought, watching her favourite person’s face light up. ‘I did, Deels, darling.’
Delia turned around and grinned from ear to ear. ‘It was worth it just for that!’
‘Yes, yes it was, love,’ the redhead said as she returned the brunette’s beaming grin in complete sincerity.
Chips eaten and tummies full, the pair settled down and watched as the French team kept the lead until the full-time whistle. Patsy was more interested in the woman beside her than the game itself - her wife’s Welsh lilt was the only commentary she needed - but that had been the plan (no, goal!) all along.
Game, set, match, she mused gleefully; not caring in the slightest that she had the wrong sport in that metaphor.
Finally the golden ticker-tape settled after the trophy ceremony and Delia reached for the off button. The TV flickered off and the room was silent. She turned to her wife and let her eyes wander for the first time.
‘Why Patience, I do like your outfit…’ she commented.
Her wife merely blushed and giggled - now that the cover of, well, the coverage had disappeared, she seemed to have lost her bravado along with it. ‘D-do you, Delia?’
‘Oh yes. I do appreciate you cheering on my country… even if they weren’t involved with any of the activities today.’
‘Were they not?’ Patsy asked archly, having recovered slightly. ‘We might have to rectify that…’
‘Patience Elizabeth Busby-Mount,’ Delia pulled Patsy up and grabbed her hips, steering them towards the stairs, ‘I do believe you’ve scored.’