It started with the littlest things.
I started when they would walk together, side by side, and match each other’s pace. It was early when that began, but something clicked, and that’s such a regular best friend thing… right? Right.
Then it was a million others. It was the way Kelley looked at Alex when the sun was going down, and she completely lost her train of thought.
It was the way they’d bump hands before Alex would wrap her arms around Kelley’s arm when they were walking.
It was the moment they no longer wondered if they’d be sitting together, and instead wondered where the other one was.
It was the hand that rested on Alex’s outer thigh when she crossed her legs.
It was the palm that rested on Kelley’s inner thigh when they sat down.
It was the arm casually thrown around a shoulder, bringing their heads closer together.
It was the the night they were walking in Paris earlier that year, and their fingers wound up tangled together and they just walked like that.
It was the movie they put on during a recovery day, and Alex claiming her place, curled up between Kelley’s legs, head nuzzled under Kelley’s chin, arms around her.
It was the practice they’d had that afternoon, the way Kelley had been assigned to defend her.
She’d given it everything, really. She pulled at Alex’s jersey, and bumped up into her personal space, and whispered under her breath,
“Good luck scoring with me on your ass.”
It had zinged through Alex’s body, and made her even more determined, dribbling the ball and grazing Kelley’s chest as she pushed away, leaving her shocked for just a moment, eyebrow arched ever so slightly.
Kelley had rebounded with double the energy, chasing after Alex before she cut away, and they slipped. Kelley landed on top of her, taking a split second torturous moment to grind down into Alex’s hips, seemingly in an effort to move to get up, but Alex knew. She looked at Kelley’s hand which was extended towards her, and grabbed it, feeling Kelley’s strong arms pulling her back to her feet.
“No you’re not.”
And they were called over to take a break and get some water, and Kelley wandered off to chat with Becky about something, while Alex took a moment to lift her shirt and dab the sweat from her face.
It was the way that Kelley didn’t make eye contact while she drank, but managed a cursory glance which turned into eye contact when she wiped her mouth off with the back of her hand.
Alex forgot to breathe.
Dinner was wholly uneventful. They’d all shuffled back to the hotel after practice, everyone taking time to clean up a little before dinner. A large group of teammates decided to head to the movies, but Alex and Kelley declined, both genuinely tired.
A little while after everyone had dispersed, they were sitting in their room, Alex working on something on her computer, Kelley playing on her Switch.
[Tobin]: C and I are going to the hot tub wanna join
Kelley agreed, and Alex couldn’t deny plotting a little payback as she changed into her bikini. They’d been naked in front of each other before, locker rooms and showers and pool parties, and it was mostly just a normal occurrence, though it didn’t stop Alex from sliding her yoga pants down a little slower than normal, and stepping into her teeny tiny navy blue bikini bottoms.
She could feel the heat of Kelley’s stare glued to her ass, and she turned, pulling her t shirt off, then her bra. She slid the top on, tying the strings, and watched Kelley swallow, before searching for her key card near her phone, finding it in a jacket, and putting her hair in a bun.
Kelley had started to change, slipping her shorts down her legs, as Alex said she was going to head out, and that she’d meet her downstairs. She grabbed a towel from the bathroom, and the door closed behind her.
Kelley sat down on the bed, falling back especially hard, frustrated and turned on, and having a number of thoughts about Alex that were not just friendly.
She wanted to get on her knees and pull the bottoms down with her fingers, she wanted to kiss Alex’s sculpted stomach, and she wanted to untie the strings holding tiny triangular scraps of fabric, and pull a nipple between her teeth.
Of course it wan’t an option, and it was absolutely the furthest she let herself dream. She took a deep breath and rolled over, ready to get dressed and head down to the pool.
She passed Sam and Rose and Lindsey and Sonnett on her way downstairs; they were headed back up from swimming themselves. They were planning to play some games with a few of the others, which they invited Kelley to join later, if she’d wanted to. Kelley wanted a lot of things.
The night was dark already, the sun having set over an hour before, and the sticky California heat had finally begun to cool off. Tobin and Christen sat in the bubbling water, faces illuminated as they chatted with Alex. Christen sat next to Tobin, head resting on her fiancé’s shoulder, wrapped up in her arms.
She looked up when Kelley approached, and the smile on her face was so happy, so peaceful, like she’d found home and nothing would ever be the same after.
Kelley did her best to up her own game, walking behind the couple and pulling her shirt off, precisely for an audience of one, letting the lovebirds ignore her completely. Alex’s eyes glanced up and Kelley saw it, before they flicked back down to continue with their discussion about bringing VAR to the NWSL next season.
Kelley slipped in the water, and sat down next to Alex, thighs touching. She extended an arm back, and Alex moved towards her, like a magnetic pull.
“I’m just saying,” Tobin continued, “I feel like it takes away some of the art! You can’t bump into a defender without them diving and putting it up for review, which takes forever.”
“What do you have against defenders?” Kelley crossed her arms.
“Uh, basically everything?”
“EXcuuuse?” Kelley arched her eyebrow.
“Okay, Hermann Trophy as a Forward at Stanford.”
“I didn’t think we were talking about your wife, Tobin.” Alex and Christen rolled their eyes at each other.
“She’s not my wife yet! When that day comes, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops.” Tobin splashed water towards Kelley, and pulled Christen into her lap, kissing her neck while Christen beamed.
“That’s true, I’ve only agreed to let it happen. I could back out.”
“You could never.” Tobin kissed up behind Christen’s ear, and slid a hand up to massage into her neck.
“Mmmm, you’re right. Guess you’re stuck with me.” Tobin kissed her sweetly, before they came back to earth.
“All I will say, is fuck Stanford and North Carolina.” The other three gasped in dramatic effect, and Alex climbed out, ready to swim a few laps. Kelley watched as she stood, bikini clinging in the right places, and walked to the pool, wincing at the change in temperature.
Kelley’s head turned back, and ignored the look Christen was giving her, seeing right through all of it.
“I think I want to swim a little.”
“Mhmm.” Chris smirked, and Kelley rolled her eyes.
They both swam a little bit, Alex occasionally pausing to float, hair spread everywhere, and Kelley thought she looked like a mermaid. They splashed around and raced a couple times to opposite ends of the pool, before noticing their friends in the hot tub, one absolutely straddling the other.
“GET A ROOM.” Kelley called out, hands around her mouth.
Tobin reached out a hand and flipped them off, before Christen pulled away, still on her fiancé’s lap and added- “Don’t worry, we have one.” A grin split her face in two, and her hands slid into Tobin’s hair, pulling their faces together again.
Under the water, she shifted her hips forward ever so slightly, and Tobin’s hands slid back around, wrapping across her back, before sliding down to Christen’s ass. The duo then they decided they were done with the hot tub and done wearing swimsuits.
They helped each other out of the water, Christen handed Tobin a towel, and they collected their things while wishing the other two a good night. They wove their hands together and strolled inside.
“Wanna put our legs in and then head up?”
They made their way over to the hot tub one more time, Kelley turning on the jets and sinking down next to Alex. They sat there in a comfortable silence, before Alex laid her head on Kelley’s shoulder, shivering slightly, beginning to notice a cool breeze on the October evening.
Alex’s hand rested where it normally did, easily, on Kelley’s inner thigh. There was a lot less fabric this time, though, and they turned to look at each other, sharing the same air.
Kelley’s hand moved up, pushing Alex’s hair away from her face with the lightest touch. Her face was lit by the warm glow of the underwater light, and she couldn’t help looking at Alex’s lips, centimeters away. Her eyes flicked back upwards, as she remembered… everything. Alex let out a slow sigh, and Kelley could feel it trace her lips. She closed her eyes and let herself imagine for just a moment, what it would be like to push forward and lick into Alex’s mouth. She could almost see it, like a film clip playing in her head.
Kelley turned away and moved to stand up, reaching her hand out to Alex, who reached for it, standing up but not letting go for a moment. She let out another sigh, and they quietly headed back to the 6th floor.
Kelley had wanted to wash her hair all day, and had let Alex rinse off before jumping in herself. She’d brought in her phone and started a playlist, ready for some hot water and a little distraction.
Alex was still thinking about practice.
She thought about the feeling of Kelley bumping into her, hips into hips, she thought about the whispers that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, she thought about the trail of water that trickled down Kelley’s stomach when she’d stood up from the water.
She’d started to notice her in little ways. The way Kelley’s joggers slipped down her hips, or when she didn’t wear a bra, or the shape of her hands, her fingertips, the way they felt tangled in between her own.
Then it hits her like a ton of bricks, imagining Kelley just feet away from her, rinsing off under a hot shower. Alex wondered how many freckles dotted her best friend’s body, and what it would feel like to slip her hand over soapy skin.
She wonders how it would feel, Kelley slipping hands over her chest, and before she’s even aware, her hand slid up to pinch a nipple. She could still clearly hear Kelley’s music in the bathroom, and so she let herself slide that hand in the other direction, under the elastic of her shorts, past her underwear, and in between her thighs. She was dripping.
Gently, lightly, anxiously aware, she slipped the finger down to gather up some of the wetness and rub it around her clit, waves of pleasure sliding up her body like electric voltage. She wondered what it would feel like to have another pair of hands to slip inside, to tease her, to nibble at the inside of her thighs, and even the thought of a tongue- it had been so long…
“Fuck, Kell-“ She could barely help it, and let the words slip out of her mouth like a dirty promise.
“Yeah, what’s up? OH MY GOD.” Kelley stood there, frozen. A towel was wrapped around her chest, and her hair was combed and resting on her neck, small water droplets slipping down her shoulders.
“I didn’t…. I can go, just let grab some clothes…” She began to scramble through her suitcase, desperately clutching her towel, wet hair dripping down her back, flying everywhere.
“NO! Please, I’m sorry, I thought you were occupied.” She sat up on the bed and threw back the covers, shaking and embarrassed, and also in the most fucked up way, imagining Kelley dropping her towel.
Kelley turned to look at Alex, clothes warm and smelling like laundry, hair damp, no makeup, a faint pink blush across her cheeks, clearly saying her name. It took everything in her not to charge forward, push her onto the bed, and have her way until Alex was screaming.
“Kelley, I’m so sorry-”
“Uh, you go.”
“No, that’s okay, you…” Kelley sat down on the bed, running her fingertips over the fluffy white duvet, before looking back up again.
“I’ll do whatever you need. I’ll disappear, I’ll change my name and move to Cuba...”
Alex paused, a glimmer of terror in her eyes. “I don’t want you to go away.”
“I want you here. And I want… a lot of things that I’m not entirely sure about.”
Kelley stood, and Alex took a step back.
“Whoa, I’m not gonna-“
“No, it’s fine, I just-“
Kelley stopped talking. She took a breath and let out a slow exhale, reaching for the worn Stanford tee and pair of shorts she’d planned to sleep in, and a pair of black underwear. She spun and tuned her eyes on Alex’s face.
“You should get back in bed.”
She could feel a darkening in her stare, and Alex’s eyes widened, sitting back, and crawling under the covers, gaze still fixed. Kelley made sure she was watching, as she dropped the towel on the ground. Alex gasped a little, almost imperceptibly, before Kelley reached for the underwear and slid them on, then the shorts, and then pulled the top over her head. She crawled under the covers of her own bed, and turned out the lamp on the bedside table between them.
She could hear Alex’s slightly less than steady breathing, and pulled every ounce of courage she’d ever possessed to push new words out into the universe, directed at the one and only Alex Morgan.
“Are you wet?”
Alex groaned slightly, and Kelley could hear a slight shakiness in her voice as she replied.
“So what do you like?” The tipping point was just nearly past, and they were about to head down quickly.
“I like the thought of a finger inside me. Maybe two.”
“I’d rub your clit, a little.” Kelley can hear the sharp intake of air from the neighboring bed.
“Mmmmmmm.” Alex’s word processing was shut down almost entirely, as her hand returned to where they’d previously taken residence, rubbing circles at the sound of Kelley’s voice.
“I’d circle around, and pull away, and slip inside you.” Alex’s wrist slipped down, and Kelley could see the movement under the blanket. Her mouth went dry.
“Come for me, Al.”
It didn’t take long at all for Alex to work herself up and feel the release crash through her body. She relaxed back into the mattress, arm dangling off the bed as she tried to recover, turning her head towards Kelley, both barely illuminated by the light outside their window.
Kelley pulled her lower lip between her teeth, tongue licking around her mouth, staring over at Alex. She sat up slowly, shifted the heavy covers away from her body, and took two steps towards the other bed.
She looked down at Alex’s face which was looking back up at her, and Kelley lightly dragged her fingertip down Alex’s nose, over her lips, and down to her shoulder. It slid over the sleeve of Alex’s shirt, down her smooth tanned bicep, and she gently grabbed at her wrist, pulling her arm upwards until she could cup Alex’s hand in her own.
Eyes locked on the woman below her, Kelley slowly sucked Alex’s finger into her mouth, tasting her. Alex stopped breathing. Kelley pulled the hand away, swirling her tongue around a fingertip, before opening up Alex’s palm and kissing her there, so gently it’s as though it never happened.
Kelley stood and crawled back under the covers of her own bed, and the both of them did their best to slow the hammering of their hearts in their chests.
It was the way that Kelley slept, breaths steady and even, light filtering through the curtains in their hotel room and illuminating the delicate tip of her nose.
It was the way Kelley’s arms felt when they were wrapped around Alex’s shoulders.
It was the way that Kelley held her face when she told her that Servando had spent the spring in communication with a few European clubs, and would likely move abroad in late summer.
It was the way that her fingers dragged down Alex’s cheekbones, drifting away from her lips, when she said that they’d be taking some time apart. Alex would stay close to home in Orlando, and Serv would stay in LA.
It’s when they agreed he’d stay in the States during the World Cup, the way that they agreed to phone calls every other week to stay in some form of contact, carefully beginning to deconstruct, brick by brick.
It was the way that she had desperately wanted Kelley to look at her again and again and again with that look in her eyes, love and hunger, and the gentlest smile on her lips, freckles beaming.
It was the way that in the morning, Kelley got out of bed and walked over to kiss Alex on the forehead, before heading in to the bathroom, like it was no big thing.
It was in that moment she knew she didn’t want to stay married anymore.