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we're gonna get to that place (where we really wanna go)

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Alex knows that she fucked up.

She fucked up so bad.

Sleeping with her best friend.

Cheating on her boyfriend.

It shouldn't have happened.

It's not acceptable.

Alex stares at the ceiling, her wide eyes fixated on the red light of the smoke detector.

There are hundreds of thoughts running through her mind at the same time and she can't seem to hold onto one long enough.

Then she feels Kelley next to her stir and she turns her head and -

there's Kelley.

Kelley, in all her glory.

With freckles littered across her face and her shoulders and her whole body.

With her hair open and wild and her baby hair sticking out into every direction.

With her eyes, blinking slowly, more green in the morning light than usually.

With her lips, turned into a soft smile.

The thoughts in Alex' mind stop and all she feels and sees and thinks is -

Kelley.

Kelley.

Kelley.

Kelley.

Alex doesn't think about Servando or cheating or this being wrong when she puts her hand on Kelley's cheek and pushes her hair behind her ear.

"Hey."

Her voice is even raspier than usual and Kelley chuckles, Alex clears her throat and rolls her eyes.

"Hey."

She repeats, this time clearer.

"Hey."

Kelley says and she brings her hand up to rest in front of her head, between their faces.

"How.. are you?"

She asks and her voice seems timid and quiet and nervous.

And Alex' thoughts go back to -

no.

No.

She knows that she fucked up and should stop and should feel bad and she does -

she feels so bad.

But she can't help herself -

when Kelley is looking at her like that.

So she puts her hand onto Kelley's and intertwines their fingers.

"Can we, like, not talk?"

Alex moves closer to Kelley and involuntarily her eyes are drawn to Kelley's lips.

Then Kelley licks her lips.

And says -

"We don't have to talk at all."

And Alex leans in, slowly, and then she closes her eyes and their lips meet again in the morning sunlight and Kelley sighs against her mouth and wraps her fist into Alex' shirt.

And then they both laugh and move back and at the same time they say -

"Morning breath."

And then they both get up and put on their clothes and Kelley grabs shorts and a shirt from Alex, because -

"I don't want to have to go to my room and I like yours better anway."

- and the shorts are a little bit too wide and the shirt is way too girly for Kelley, but Alex thinks she's so beautiful in her clothes.

They brush their teeth and smile at each other through the mirror and when they're finished Kelley says:

"I'm going to start breakfast."

- and with a smile she's out of the door and Alex stays there for three seconds before she runs down the hallway and down the stairs to follow after her.

They don't talk, they prepare and cook in silence, with stolen glances and soft hip bumps and shy smiles.

They eat, still in silence, still glancing, still smiling shyly.

They put everything away and then they sit down on the sofa and -

"So."

Kelley says and Alex nods her head.

"So."

It's two seconds of looking at each other before they lean in at the same time and their lips meet in a hurry.

The second time is as beautiful as the first, Alex thinks.

And then she realizes -

they just fucked on the couch.

A couch the three of them use.

And they have no idea where Tobin even is.

And with wide eyes she quickly grabs their clothes and she urges Kelley to get dressed and then they rearrange the couch and Kelley is laughing because she doesn't know why Alex is in such a hurry, but then they sit down and Alex takes a deep breath and says:

"Tobin."

And then Kelley's eyes widen and she starts laughing and then suddenly the front door opens and in comes Tobin with her surfboard under her arm.

Alex and Kelley freeze and stare at her and Tobin stares back and says:

"Hey, guys."

"Hey, Tobin."

They say at the same time.

"You okay there?"

"Yes, Tobin."

They say again at the same time and Tobin quickly looks between them.

"Did you break some of my stuff?"

"No, Tobin."

Tobin shakes her head.

"You guys are weird."

And with that she walks straight into her room and Alex and Kelley both start laughing.

It's weirdly easy.

Sitting with Kelley, smiling at each other, quick kisses until Tobin comes back.

And it's easy, hiding it from Tobin.

Because Tobin is oblivious.

And because it's not like that much has changed.

They always cuddled and touched a lot.

Especially Kelley.

So they continue.

Kelley sneaks into Alex' room and under her blanket and into her arms.

They kiss.

They fuck.

Alex learns that Kelley knows exactly which buttons to push to make Alex fall apart.

And Alex -

Alex learns the same things about Kelley.

Because Kelley finally - finally - let's her touch her and Alex thinks she'll never want to stop.

Because nothing feels better than Kelley O'Hara coming undone at the touch of Alex' hands and lips and fingers, Alex' name tumbling from her lips.

Sometimes Alex catches Kelley staring at her and she asks -

"What?"

- but Kelley just shakes her head and smiles and kisses her.

And Alex gets lost in Kelley's kisses.

And sometimes she forgets about how wrong all of this is.

Because Kelley makes it easy to forget about the world that exists outside of this house, outside of this town, outside of -

Kelley's arms.

But Alex knows that she'll have to go back to the "real world" in a few weeks.

So one day when Kelley and Tobin go surfing she tries to think about what to do.

What to do about Kelley.

What to do about Servando.

And she thinks and thinks, but -

nothing.

She doesn't know what to do.

Because she loves Kelley, of course.

And she loves Servando.

But she can't go on like this.

Because two weeks from now she'll be back in Seattle and -

Alex has gotten so good at pushing all thoughts about Seattle and Servando down.

She feels bad.

Bad for cheating on Servando.

Bad for lying to Tobin.

Bad for doing whatever this is with Kelley.

Bad for not talking about any of it.

Bad for being selfish.

And as much as Alex wishes she could stay in her Californian bubble forever, she knows she can't.

So when Kelley comes back from the beach without Tobin, who'll catch brunch with some friends, Alex decides that they should finally talk about what they are doing.

But then Kelley tackles her on the couch and kisses her.

Kelley tastes like sunscreen and saltwater and her now curly hair tickles Alex' face.

Alex knows she should stop, but -

she can't.

And then suddenly it's Kelley, who let's go of Alex and leans back.

She looks beautiful and pained and torn when she says:

"What are we doing, Al?"

"I- we- uhm-"

"I'm going back to Georgia next week and you.. you're going to Seattle?"

Alex eyes won't meet Kelley's and she stares at the floor instead, because even though she spent the whole morning thinking about this conversation, she doesn't know what to say.

"Alex, I- talk to me. Please."

Alex opens and closes her mouth like a fish, but nothing comes out of it.

"Al, please. Say something."

Kelley kneels down in front of Alex on the sofa and puts her hands onto her knees.

"Alex."

She pleads and Alex looks up and into Kelley's eyes.

"What do you want me to say?"

She whispers with sudden tears in her eyes.

"Whatever you want, Al. What you want, what you think.. what you're going to do. What.. we're going to do."

 "I.. don't know."

Kelley's face falls onto Alex' lap and she lets out a groan.

Then she stands back up and sits down next to Alex.

"Are you going back to Seattle?"

Alex keeps her eyes closed when she nods her head.

"Back to.. Servando?"

Kelley's voice is quiet and Alex doesn't dare to open her eyes.

"Please look at me, Alex."

And Alex finally opens her eyes.

"What is this?"

Kelley asks, and Alex knows what she means.

"What does this mean?"

Alex doesn't know what it means.

Except that she's in love with her best friend.

But she can't tell her that.

Because -

no.

She can't.

"You're my best friend, Kell."

Alex whispers and she wants to say so much more.

"You're my best friend too, Al."

Kelley takes her hand and intertwines their fingers.

"But best friends usually don't, uhm-"

"-kiss? Fuck?"

"Right. So.."

"I thought about this the whole morning, you know?"

Alex chuckles and leans back.

"About what to say to you. About what this is. About what I want."

"And.. did you.. find answers?"

"Yes? No? I don't know. I- I don't know what this is. I just know that you're my best friend and I love you and I never want to lose you. And I enjoy kissing you so much and I want to kiss you so badly, but I-I-I have a boyfriend! And that's not an excuse, but it- it's.. it's a fact. And I-I mean, I love him. He's a good guy. And I- you- you're my best friend, Kelley. And I really don't want to leave, I wish I could stay here with you forever. But we have to like go back to the real world. We have camp in a few weeks, several games left to play. I.. don't know. I don't know what to say to you."

 "Do you, I don't know, want to pretend like this never happened?"

Kelley asks and her voice is so quiet Alex almost doesn't hear her.

"Because we can if that's what you want."

"No, Kell! God, no."

Alex grabs Kelley's arm and turns towards her.

"I-"

She wants to say so much.

I'm in love with you.

I don't want to be with Serv.

I want to be with you.

"I don't want to forget what happened."

She says instead.

"But I-I.."

Kelley nods her head.

"You have to go back to Servando, I get it."

"No, Kelley-"

"No, I get it, Al. It's-"

Stupid, Alex thinks, I'm so stupid.

"-stupid. I'm stupid. Forget- no. Just-"

Kelley sighs and rubs her forhead.

"We have ten more days left here. Let's make the best out of it, okay? And then we go back to Seattle and Georgia and we'll see each other at camp in three weeks, okay?"

Kelley stands up and doesn't wait for an answer.

"I love you, Al."

She presses a kiss to Alex' head.

"I'm going to the beach, hit the waves."

Then Kelley is gone and Alex stares after her and has no idea what just happened.

She's still staring at the door when Tobin comes back from her room.

"What are you looking at?"

"Huh?"

"Where's Kelley?"

Kelley.

"She, uh, went to the beach."

"She just got back from the beach."

"Yeah.."

"Well, Kelley loves the beach, so why not. Wanna watch a movie?"

So they watch a movie.

And another one.

And still no sign from Kelley.

Tobin goes to sleep at midnight and Alex follows soon after.

She's worried out of her mind, but finally she hears the front door open.

Certainly Kelley will be here in a few minutes -

under Alex' blanket.

Like every night since they've been here.

But Kelley doesn't come.

She doesn't come the next night either.

Or the one after that.

Kelley goes to the beach early in the morning and when she's at home Tobin is always there with them.

Alex misses Kelley's arms around her.

She misses kissing her before falling asleep.

And kissing her first thing in the morning.

But Kelley avoids her.

In fact -

she doesn't.

She's still sweet and funny and makes jokes, but her eyes don't linger and her hands don't touch.

Alex hates it.

A few days later she's back in Seattle and her last encounter with Kelley was a quick threeway hug at the airport.

Servando is sweet and asks about Cali and Alex feels guilty.

She doesn't know if she should tell him.

She decides not to.

Because she couldn't stand losing him -

as well.

It's a week in Seattle with Servando, where they go out to eat and meet friends and he kisses her and she kisses him back and he touches her and she touches him back and she tries so hard not to think about Kelley or compare him to Kelley, but -

Kelley is everywhere.

And then she's in camp for a few games and they haven't talked since they said goodbye at the airport and Alex did have a good time with Servando, but now she's here and there's Kelley and she's -

so beautiful.

And Alex knows that she should stop, because -

what is she doing.

She can't be in love with her.

She can't.

So she tries not to.

And she spends most of her time with Tobin.

Who's a little bit confused and maybe after a week she has an overdose of Alex Morgan, but she doesn't complain and Tobin makes her feel good and calm in ways that make her almost forget about the Kelley situation.

Almost.

Because Kelley is still Kelley.

And Alex loves everything about her.

And she misses her best friend.

But she knows that distance probably doesn't hurt.

So she's looking forward to going back to Seattle.

Back to Servando.

Because that's where she belongs.

Right?

And when she's with Servando and doesn't talk to anyone from the team for weeks she almost believes herself.

But then they spend three weeks before Christmas together with the national team for a few games and there's just so much love at camp.

Because Christmas is coming up and they'd all rather be with their families, but they're here with each other so they all try to make the best out of it.

They play games and Secret Santa and sing Christmas carols and dress up as reindeers and elves and Alex has so much fun.

Because with training and games and all the team activities it's easy to ignore Kelley not being constantly next to her.

But then it's their last day of camp and there's hugs and Christmas wishes and way too many "See ya next year!"s and -

Kelley.

Kelley, who grabs Alex' wrist and pulls her aside.

Alex blinks a few times because she hasn't spent time with Kelley alone in what feels like ages.

And she almost forgot -

how beautiful she was.

Almost.

Because Kelley smiles and says:

"Hey."

And Alex internally kicks herself, because she has no idea how to get over this crush or whatever this is.

So she says -

"Hey."

- and smiles back at Kelley.

"I got you a present."

Kelley says and she holds a small wrapped package in her arms.

"I- You- you didn't have to-"

Alex stutters.

"I know. But I wanted to."

So Alex takes it and turns it in her hands, but when she wants to open it, Kelley puts her hands onto Alex' and says:

"Open it at home."

"Why?"

"Because."

Kelley laughs and her smile almost reaches her eyes.

"Okay."

Alex says and lowers the package.

"I, uh, have nothing for you.."

Kelley shakes her head.

"It's okay, Al. You don't have to give me anything. Just.. you being my friend, my.. best friend is gift enough."

"Yeah?"

Alex smiles, but it's tainted with Kelley's absence over the past few weeks.

"Yeah. You're my best friend, Alex. Always."

"Always."

Alex repeats and then she opens her arms.

"Come here, Kell."

And Kelley smiles brightly when she falls into Alex' arms and Alex holds her tight, taking it all in, taking Kelley in, trying to remember how she feels in her arms.

The memory of that small moment in the hotel lobby is Alex' favorite Christmas gift.

Her and Servando spend Christmas with their families in California.

Alex enjoys being with her sisters and her parents and with Serv's family and -

she's good.

And she doesn't miss Kelley.

Except then she opens Kelley's present.

It's an anklet.

Braided and colorful.

And there's a card.

Alex,
happy Christmas!
I am sorry for avoiding you the past few weeks. I had some things to sort out. That doesn't excuse me not being the best friend you deserve. I'm still sorry.
You're my best friend and I can't wait for 2013 with you.
I love you, Al.
Always,
Kelley

Alex has to press her lips together as she puts the card into her diary and the anklet around her ankle.

Thank you, Kelley. Happy Christmas! I love you <3

2013 starts with Alex making a promise to herself.

She's going to get over Kelley.

In January Alex joins the Portland Thorns for their inaugural season.

Kelley goes to play for Sky Blue FC.

They have national team camps at the beginning of the year before the first NWSL season is about to start.

Alex is excited to see everyone again.

She tries not to be too excited about one particular person.

Have you heard about KO?

Alex stares at her phone and wonders what Tobin means.

What about Kelley?

Is she hurt?

Did something happen?

Is she sick?

Is she okay?

No? What about her?

KO's got a girlfriend

Alex literally drops her phone onto the floor.

She what?

She does? How do you know?

She just texted me asking where to take out her girlfriend in NJ
Like I would know that

Alex stares at the screen of her phone for what feels like hours.

Kelley has -

a girlfriend?

Why didn't she tell me?

Alex thinks.

She spends the next few days trying to get used to the fact that Kelley has a girlfriend.

A girlfriend.

Kelley.

Alex isn't jealous.

She isn't.

She goes to camp and she smiles at Kelley and hugs her and she tries to ignore that feeling inside of her.

That weird feeling that certainly isn't -

jealousy.

They're halfway through camp when Kelley says she has to talk to her.

Alex is glad that Tobin already told her because she doesn't know if she could have looked at Kelley without giving her every thought away. But she had time to get prepared for Kelley telling her herself and for making sure she keeps her face neutral and friend-like excited.

So she smiles at Kelley and nods her head and says -

"I'm so happy for you!"

- even though she doesn't know if this is what being happy for your best friend feels like.

And she listens to Kelley talk about -

Ann?

And she tries so, so hard to be the best friend Kelley deserves and give all the best friend replies and ask all the best friend questions.

Kelley seems so excited.

And Alex, well, she's just happy she's rooming with Tobin.

Because somehow Tobin seems to just know what to do.

She's goofy and funny and makes Alex try different things and when she feels Alex drift away she bombards her with weird questions or fun facts or silly games to distract her.

"Do you know what a ducks penis looks like?"

They end up googling animal genitalia until Alex has forgotten about Kelley and Ann.

After the games Tobin goes to France to play for PSG, Alex goes to Portland, Kelley to the east coast.

Alex enjoys being in Portland.

They train for a few weeks and get to know each other on and off the field.

Alex is thankful for Allie and Mana, because they are fun and adventurous and they keep her mind on the right things.

And Portland is close to Seattle, so her and Servando get to see each other every now and then and talking on the phone is easier.

Alex misses him.

She does.

He's her best friend.

He's comforting and he feels like home.

And Alex has to tell herself more often than she admits that he's the love of her life.

And she tries so hard to believe herself.

When the season starts Alex is with the national team for two games.

She clings to Tobin and says -

"I can't wait for you to be in Portland with us!"

- and she hugs Kelley like the best friend she is and politely asks about Ann.

And she thought that with two months of not seeing her it would be better, it would be easier -

to accept.

But it isn't.

And Alex has a hard time to act excited and interested when in reality she doesn't care about Ann.

But she's Kelley's friend and she has to, she has to care, for her sake.

Because the feelings -

they don't go away just like that.

Alex is grateful for Allie and especially Tobin.

Because when Tobin gets to Portland from PSG she spends almost all of her free time with Alex.

And when they go to national team camps she's there as well, often as Alex' roommate, next to her on the bus and always with her when Kelley is around.

Which makes it -

easier.

Because the three of them are best friends, they know each other in and out and with Tobin there everything is just -

easier.

Alex forgets about Kelley's naked body and the way her kisses felt and how she made her feel. And Tobin's good at talking about Ann, so Alex doesn't have to.

Kelley clings to Alex when they say their goodbyes, telling her -

"I'm gonna miss you, Al. We need more bff time!"

- and Alex laughs with her and says -

"Absolutely!"

- but thinks Nope.

Because she can't.

Alex gets back to Portland and it feels like home to her.

At the beginning of June Kelley calls her, telling her that her ankle is bothering her again.

Alex feels selfish because her first thought is that she's not going to see Kelley now that she's injured.

But then she thinks -

Fuck

- because Kelley is seriously in pain.

And Alex can't stand Kelley being hurt.

Kelley tells her a few weeks later that she scheduled an ankle reconstruction surgery mid-August.

"I haven't told anyone else yet."

"What does Ann say?"

"Alex. Are you even listening to me?"

"What?"

"I haven't told anyone."

"Not even.. Ann?"

"No. You're the first one."

"W-why?"

"Cause you're my best friend, Al. I wanted you to be the first to know something major like that happening."

Alex plans on flying out to Kelley to be there for her after the surgery.

Just as a best friend.

Nothing more.

Because she hasn't seen Kelley in weeks and she's going to be out for the rest of the year and Alex just wants to be with her.

So she books a flight for after the last regular game of the season.

But a few days before Kelley's surgery Alex hurts her knee.

She's only out for two to four weeks, but she's walking on crutches and there's no way she's going to make it out to Kelley.

Alex is grumpy, then Kelley calls her and is sweet and Alex is a little less grumpy.

Kelley undergoes surgery and Alex goes to rehab.

At the end of August Alex is playing again, for a few minutes in the championship final, which they win.

She doesn't play against Mexico two weeks later.

Kelley isn't there and Alex tries not to miss her too much. But not playing and no Kelley is a combination Alex dislikes very much.

She's more reckless in practices and tackles hard.

"Calm down, Al."

Abby tells her.

"You just got back, you don't want to hurt yourself again. Or anyone else."

Alex doesn't listen to her.

She sprains her ankle in training.

Stop getting hurt, Lex.

Kelley texts her.

I can't stand it.

Hearing from Kelley makes Alex angry at herself and Kelley and Ann and the world.

She has to sit out the games against New Zealand.

A few weeks later they play Brazil, but Alex only gets twenty minutes.

Her ankle hurts so much the weeks after, that Servando carries her around during Christmas.

Alex tries not to be too grumpy or angry, but it's hard.

She gets calls and texts, wishing her happy Christmas and a happy new year and all the best for her ankle, from her friends and teammates and -

Kelley.

They haven't seen each other in months and Alex doesn't know why, but what she primarily feels is anger towards Kelley.

Which doesn't make sense -

at all.

But she's angry and she doesn't know why and she knows that she doesn't have any feeling anymore, she knows it.

And Servando is there and he's sweet and he helps her and is kind even though Alex is anything but.

She misses January camp, because her ankle still bothers her.

So she stays with Servando and focuses on rehab and her relationship with -

her boyfriend.

Her ankle isn't better for the games in February.

Kelley plays again.

Alex knows that she should be a good friend, a best friend and text Kelley, or call her. Because she's been out for half a year and Alex is proud of her for making it back. And she really should tell her that.

But she can't.

Because she's angry.

So she watches her team win twice against Russia.

And then she watches them finish the Algarve Cup in 7th place and Tom getting fired.

Alex goes to Portland to train with the Thorns, even though she doesn't get to do much yet.

But being with the team does wonders for her.

Tobin calls her out on being a grumpy Ali cat and laughs.

Alex laughs too, because she missed Tobin.

And everyone else.

The team goes to play away games for two weeks at the beginning of the season and Alex stays with Servando in the meantime.

She's taking notes on the games, both of the Thorns and the national team when Servando sits down next to her, closes her laptop and puts something in front of her.

Alex looks at the small box and then at Servando and she's -

confused.

And then he says:

"Marry me, Alex."

And Alex stares at him, blinks at him, stares at him.

Because -

did he just propose to her?

And Alex hears herself say:

"Y-yes."

And then Servando is hugging her and kissing her and putting the ring onto her finger and -

she's engaged.

It doesn't sink in until she's back in Portland with the team and everyone asks about her ring.

Allie makes plans for them to go shopping and she seems so excited.

Tobin says:

"Congratulations, Al."

And she smiles and then she asks:

"Have you told Kelley?"

And her smile doesn't seem to reach her eyes anymore, but Alex doesn't know why.

"No, I haven't."

She says.

And Tobin nods her head.

"Okay. Well, she'll be so excited."

And with a -

sad?

- smile she leaves and Alex thinks:

Of course she'll be excited. She's my best friend.

And Alex wants to text her, tell her, because -

Kelley is her best friend.

But she doesn't know how.

So she waits and waits and because she can't play yet she starts planning the wedding for the end of the year.

She watches more games from the sideline or in front of the TV in May, before finally -

finally!

- she's called up again for two games in June.

They play France twice and Alex is excited to finally be back.

"You take it easy, superstar, okay?"

Abby tells her before their first training, one hand on Alex' shoulder.

Alex nods.

She's ready.

It's the first camp for her and Kelley together in several months and so Kelley stays by her side a lot.

Alex isn't rude to her.

She's not.

But she's still -

for whatever reason -

angry.

But Kelley doesn't seem to notice, or she doesn't care and no one else says anything.

Until Christen -

of all people -

grabs Alex' hand after training one day and says:

"I don't know what happened with you and Kelley, but she doesn't deserve to be treated like shit. She adores you, Alex. So stop acting like a bitch."

Christen leaves without waiting for an answer and Alex knows that she fucked up.

She looks for Kelley and finds her at the hotel pool, her feet in the water.

Alex sits down next to her and doesn't say anything for a while.

Then she says:

"I'm sorry for being a bitch the last few days."

"You haven't-"

"Kelley."

"You don't need to apologise."

"Yes, I do. I'm sorry. I don't know what's going on. It's just- I don't know. I've been out for so long. I haven't scored in a year. A whole fucking year. But I-I shouldn't be taking it out on you."

Alex knows that that's not all the reason why she's angry but she's not going to tell Kelley that.

"I'm sorry about that, Al. But just you wait. You'll be back and you'll score again and I'll be the first to celebrate with you."

Alex just puts her head on Kelley's shoulder and intertwines their fingers.

"Servando proposed."

Kelley stiffens under her, but tries to relax quickly.

"Oh. Cool. And-?"

"I, uh, said yes."

Alex scratches the back of her neck with her free hand.

"Cool. Coo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo-cool."

Kelley nods her head so hard her whole body is shaking.

"Yeah.."

"So, uh, when's the wedding?"

"December. New Year's. I-uh, was hoping you and Ann would come?"

Alex looks at the side of Kelley's face and Kelley smiles.

"Of course."

She says.

"I can't wait to watch my best friend get married to the love of her life."

The look in Kelley's eyes haunts Alex for days after.

Why did she look like she.. was hurting?

But then Alex scores twice in a draw against France, her first goals in over a year, and she forgets about it.

She hands out invitations to some of the other girls and then she goes back to Portland.

She scores twice in her next game with the Thorns.

When they play Sky Blue a few days later Kelley insists on going for lunch with Alex, Allie and Ann.

They talk about the wedding -

Allie more than Alex -

and Ann tells her:

"Thank you so much for the invitation, Alex! Kelley and I are so excited and we're so happy for you."

Alex smiles and says thanks, but internally she rolls her eyes -

hard.

Because she hates nothing more than couples who say "we" instead of "I".

"I'm happy you're happy."

Kelley says, when she hugs Alex goodbye and Alex wonders what she looks like.

Because was this really -

what happy looked like?

In July Alex gets stretchered off the field because she hurt her ankle -

the other one this time.

Kelley calls her, but Alex is too angry to pick up.

Her ankle is fine within a few weeks and she's back with the national team in August.

They win against Switzerland, of course, but back in Portland the Thorns lose the playoffs before Alex is back with the national team in September for games against Mexico, which they win.

October means World Cup Qualifiers.

"Eight months from now-"

Jill says on their first day, pointing at the power point presentation behind her.

"-the World Cup starts. And nine months from now, I expect us to be back as World Cup Champions."

They all want to win the World Cup.

But first they have to qualify.

They win their first game against Trinidad and Tobago.

The second game is against Guatemala.

Kelley wraps her arms around Alex from behind before they head out of the locker room.

"Score a goal for me?"

Alex laughs.

"Always."

Alex is about to score a goal, when she gets fouled and her ankle bends over.

She's down in a second and all she can think is -

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Because it's the same -

fucking!

- ankle that kept her out for months.

She gets stretchered off the field and tries to put weight on her foot, but -

it hurts.

They win the game without her.

Alex ankle is sprained.

It's not seriously damaged, but she'll be out for a few weeks and it -

sucks.

She can feel herself getting angry again, but Tobin says:

"You'll be back soon, Lex. Don't be mad. Or angry. Shit happens. But you'll be back. Have a little faith."

And Christen says:

"Don't sit on your emotions, let them out. If you're angry, tell me! Yell, shout, scream, it's okay."

And Kelley just wraps her arms around Alex and says:

"I'm here for you. Always."

And that's all Alex needs.

The team wins the rest of their games and finishes in first place.

Alex goes back to Portland and Servando is there with her too. They plan the wedding and Allie makes Alex finally go shopping for a wedding dress and even though her ankle still hurts she's getting better.

Better at everything.

Better at being excited for the wedding.

Better at being happy for Kelley.

Better at being a good fiance and a best friend.

In December Alex is healthy again and ready to play a tournament in Brazil.

But just because she's ready to play doesn't mean she gets the chance to.

They tie against China and lose against Brazil and even though Christen scores four and Carli three goals against Argentina, they don't win the tournament.

Alex realizes that she isn't as healthy as she thought and concentrates on her wedding in a few days.

"You're going to be married, Al."

Tobin says on their flight back home.

"You're younger than me, I should get married first!"

She's laughing and Alex joins her.

"Maybe you should have started dating Press earlier then."

Tobin nudges her shoulder and blushes hard and Alex wonders -

does she look like this when someone mentions Servando to her?

Kelley smiles at her from a few rows ahead.

She winks and laughs and Alex can feel it -

the heat in her cheeks.

And she wonders -

will it ever go away completely?

Alex is happy on her wedding day.

She really is.

She loves Servando, so much, and they're at the beach and her friends and family are there and -

she's happy.

She's getting married.

There's a split second where she wonders -

is she making a mistake?

But then she sees Kelley and Ann walk in behind Ali and Ash and she shakes her head.

Syd comes to help her with some last minute stuff.

"You have something new?"

"The dress."

"Something old?"

"My grandma's ring."

"Something borrowed?"

"Well, you gave me your lucky garter and I suppose you want it back."

"Yes I do! And no nasty things with my lucky garter still on!"

"Sure, Syd."

"Something blue?"

Alex looks herself up and down and realises -

there's nothing blue.

Then Syd points at her leg.

"What's that?"

"Oh."

Alex smiles, when she sees the colorful braided anklet. She had to take it off when she hurt her ankle, but she put it back on.

"Kelley gave it to me."

Syd looks at her without saying anything and then she sighs.

"Well, there's blue in it, so it has to do."

She puts one hand on Alex' shoulder and smiles.

"You're the most beautiful bride I've ever seen."

Syd leaves and Alex takes one last look at herself in the mirror.

There's a knock on the door and she says:

"Come in."

And through the mirror she can see Kelley in a short black dress closing the door behind her.

"Hey."

"Hey."

Alex says and she feels the heat again.

"I hope I'm, uh, not interrupting."

Kelley starts and Alex shakes her head.

"I just, uh, wanted to see you before, you know, you're Mrs. Carrasco."

Alex eyes widen and she turns around, looking at the floor between them.

Kelley takes a few steps closer and says:

"And, uh, I wanted to tell you that, uh, I wish you all the best. And I'm, I'm happy. For you. I'm happy that you're happy. That's all I ever wanted for you. And, uh.. yeah. You deserve the world, Alexandra."

Alex chuckles, because no one ever uses her full name, and looks up into Kelley's eyes.

Which was a mistake, because Kelley -

is crying.

And Alex doesn't know what to do, so she grabs a tissue from where she put them in her bra and gently wipes Kelley's tears away.

"What else do you keep in there?"

Kelley laughs and sniffs and shakes her head with a sad smile.

"I love you, Alex. Always. And I hope you and Servando live happily ever after."

She opens her arms and says:

"Come here."

And Alex steps into Kelley's embrace and wraps her arms around her and tries not to think about the look in Kelley's eyes or the feeling in her heart.

Because she hasn't held Kelley in her arms like this in a long time and -

it feels so good.

And her mind starts to drift back, years back and she wants to say -

Tell me not to marry him.

Tell me this is a mistake.

Tell me you love me. For real.

But she doesn't say anything.

Instead she takes a step back and Kelley does too and then Kelley leans forward and presses a kiss to her cheek that lasts longer than Alex heart is comfortable with and then she turns around and leaves the room and Alex is alone again.

She wants to cry, or scream, or run after Kelley, but then Tobin comes running into the room and grabs her arm and drags her outside.

"You've been taking way too long, Alex."

She's laughing and Alex sees the venue and the white chairs and her friends and family and then Tobin rushes towards her seat and Alex' Dad steps to her side and there's Servando and -

then she's married.

She says -

"I do."

and says her vows and promises to love him -

forever.

And she's laughing and smiling and she's -

happy.

She is.

And she tries to avoid looking at Kelley and Ann, instead focuses on Abby and Sarah or Ali and Ash.

Syd grabs her hand to dance and nods her head towards their teammates and says:

"You know we're the only straight ones."

And Alex wants to tell her that she isn't -

isn't straight.

But she just married a man, she has a husband now, and what's there even to tell?

So she laughs and dances and Servando is sweet and funny and he loves her so much.

It's 2015 and Alex is a married woman.

She goes to January camp and everyone asks about the wedding, wants to see pictures and tells her how pretty and how happy she looks.

Alex finally gets back to playing 11v11 in training and at the end of the month she's confident that she's ready.

They go to Europe in February for two games against France and England.

They lose against France, but win against England thanks to a goal from Alex.

Alex spends a few days with Servando, before she's back in Europe for the Algarve Cup.

She's been married for two months and it feels kinda surreal. Amy and Cheney and even Cap and Hope try to give her marriage tips, but Alex just flees with wide eyes.

Tobin spends most of her time with Christen now and even though Alex joins them a lot, she doesn't want to be the third wheel all the time.

So for some reason she's back to spending the majority of her time with Kelley, who's still her best friend.

It's easy -

falling back into the routine of being just -

Alex and Kelley.

Making fun of each other and everyone else, sitting close together, falling asleep on each others shoulders, finishing each others sentences.

They train and play and win and Alex enjoys being with her best friend.

And she isn't -

she isn't in love with her.

She isn't.

Even though she knows what it feels like.

And this right now feels a lot like it did -

but she isn't.

She's married and happy and Kelley has Ann and is happy and -

they're best friends.

They win the Algarve Cup and go back to the US and maybe Alex hugs Kelley longer and tighter than everyone else.

The next few weeks consist of little time at home and lots of preparation for the World Cup.

Alex misses the Thorns preseason because of a game against New Zealand at the beginning of April.

The World Cup roster gets released and there's interviews and media and then three more games in May.

Alex hasn't slept in her own bed for weeks, but somehow she doesn't mind.

She shares a room with Tobin in May, which grounds and calms her and gives her the confidence she needs for June.

In Canada Alex rooms -

as if it's faith -

with Kelley.

Which is great, because they're best friends and they move around each other perfectly.

But it's also not that great, because when Kelley runs around in just underwear or a towel it's hard for Alex to not let her mind go to places it shouldn't go.

But it's the World Cup and she's a professional and it's not the first tournament she's going through while having a crush on Kelley.

Not that she has one now.

She hasn't.

She's a professional.

And it's purely professional -

and platonic -

when Kelley squeezes into her bed the night before their first game.

"Are you nervous?"

Kelley asks, her voice barely above a whisper.

Alex thinks for a while before she says:

"No. No, I'm not nervous. I'm.. confident. In everyone of us. In Hope and the defense and everyone else. In myself. And in you."

Kelley scoffs.

"Me, I'm just on the bench."

"Kelley.."

"No, it's okay. I'll shine when my time comes."

"Have you been talking to Press?"

Kelley chuckles.

"Maybe. But she's right."

Alex takes Kelley's hand under the blanket.

"I'm proud of you, Kelley."

"For what?"

"For.. being you. For making it back from stupid injuries. For being a baller, a fighter. I'm so proud of you, Kell. And I-I should have told you that sooner, but seriously, I'm so proud. You're amazing. And I'm so lucky to have you as my best friend."

Kelley squeezes Alex' hand and scoots closer until their shoulders are touching.

"Thank you."

She whispers and they fall asleep like that.

Even though they tie the game against Sweden they finish the group first place.

Alex scores her first game in the Round of 16 against Colombia.

Kelley clings to her afterwards, telling her how proud she is.

The Quarterfinal against China is Kelley's first game of the tournament.

She's excited and Alex holds her hand until they have to leave the tunnel.

Kelley leaves the game with a bloody nose.

She's fine though and Alex calls her "badass".

The Semifinal against Germany is Alex' favorite game of the tournament.

Kelley comes in for Tobin in the 75th minute and makes an immediate impact.

And then Carli sends the ball in and Kelley is there and jumps and extends her leg and -

scores.

The whole team is on her, when she scores and after the game and Alex cries happy tears because she's so proud.

That night Alex crawls into Kelley's bed and wraps her arms around her, whispering -

"I'm so proud of you."

- before falling asleep.

The final is the weirdest game of the tournament.

They're up 4-0 after fivteen minutes.

Carli has scored a hattrick.

They win 5-2.

It's surreal.

They're World Cup Champions.

Just like that.

There's glitter and medals and a trophy and Abby climbing up to kiss her wife and their families and friends and Alex kisses Servando, because she just won a World Cup and he's her husband and she's supposed to be happy and kiss him.

The medal around her neck is heavy when they celebrate in the lockerroom and Kelley dances around her with her shirt in her hand and her eyes closed and the medal on her chest and Alex doesn't have to wonder -

she knows it.

Because she just won a World Cup -

and even though she became so good at telling herself "No", at denying it, at pushing it down, that she almost believed it -

and she's happy, she is!

But something's missing.

And she knows, when she watches Kelley dance around the lockerroom.

She knows, when she watches Kelley grab a microphone and sing with Christen.

She knows, when she watches her own parents hug Kelley like she's part of the family.

She knows, when she watches Kelley put her medal around Ann's neck.

She knows, when she watches Kelley pull Ann closer with her medal and kiss her.

She knows, when Servando's arms around her don't feel like they belong there.

She knows, because she just won a World Cup, but all she can think of is -

Kelley.

Alex knows that she's in love -

in love with Kelley.

And she knows that there's nothing -

nothing -

she can do about it.