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no hope, no love, no glory

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when I saw you, I was afraid  to meet you.

when I met you, I was afraid to kiss you.

when I kissed you, I was afraid to love you.

now that I love you, I’m afraid to lose you.

rene yasenek.

 

I’ve never felt this way before,

everything that I do reminds me of you.

and the clothes you left - they lay on the floor

and they smell just like you,

I love the things that you do.

when you walk away, I count the steps that you take,

do you see how much I need you right now?

avril lavigne, when you’re gone.

 

and if you hurt me, well that’s okay, baby,

only words bleed.

ed sheeran, photograph.

 

 

Alex won’t lie. She’s been planning this, maybe for years or for months or for a lifetime - it doesn’t matter.

From the moment she realised just how intoxicated, how far gone she was, she knew exactly what she was gonna do. She thanks (and curses) the alcohol and the adrenaline and the exaggerate partying that comes with winning the Women’s World Cup for the second time in a row, because if this was just another normal Sunday, she would never ever think about doing something like this - of pulling this kind of juvenile shit that she’s most definitely left behind herself. She’s a married woman, a serious pro athlete, and she’s firmly convinced that her days of day drinking and being banned from Disneyland are over - or at least, this is what she tells herself and her family and most of all, what she says in front of the microphone.

As she stumbles back into her hotel’s room with Serva, feeling as if there’s more alcohol than blood running through her veins, she feels like she’s the most lucky woman in the world and at the same time, she feels disgusting for what she’s planning to do.

She knows Serva loves her. His arms are firm and gentle around her hips as they lay down on the bed together, holding each other tightly, high on spirits and happiness from the victory. Alex also knows she loves him back, to some degree. The truth is, women are liars and they never love someone as much as they say they do. It’s impossible to do so, in a world like this one, and it doesn’t matter how sweet and respectful a man can be, a woman can never forget - not the injustices, not the judgment and the mistreating.

Serva loves her and fears her like all men love and fear what they don’t understand. He loves her, respects her and he’s just a gentle, kind soul that for how much Alex tries not to, she can’t help but step onto. Alex didn’t buy her talent, it was already inside of her, and it has its own life and Alex has learned how to live with it and all the people around her did, too. Her talent is the elephant in the room, in the bed she shares with her husband, the thing they don’t talk about because how could a simple man actually be at peace with the fact that his wife has more talent and strength that he ever will? - this talent of hers is the blessing and the curse that made her marriage and constantly threatens to unfold it.

Clothes are quickly discarded and Alex laughs and smiles, drunk on love and regrets, as Serva kisses her neck and tickles her sides. Her mouth must taste awful, beer and champagne and whatever alcoholic drink she found around. Her skin is filthy, clammy with sweat and confetti spry and turf rashes. Serva whispers in her ear how proud he’s of her, how good she’s played, that her feet’ve been blessed by God but those words wash all over Alex as if they’re water. And so, she shuts him up. Alex takes his face in her hands and pushes her tongue into his mouth and she whispers, begs him to fuck her. I want you, she says, and she’s not lying, but she’s not telling the truth either. He’s hard and warm in between her legs and Alex’s so terribly wet that she feels no stretch at all when he thrusts inside of her. She wraps her legs around Serva’s hips and digs her nails into his ass, all hungry, angry and happy at the same time. Alex licks at his neck and they both smile as Serva caresses her cheek with one hand, brushing sweaty hair away from her forehead. Alex kisses him once again and then pushes his head down on her chest. She arches her back when Serva’s mouth finds her nipple. She turns her head and she moans and pants, her inner walls contracting. She can’t help but stare at the golden trophy on her nightstand; all the tears and the sacrifices, all of the sweat and the endless and painful workouts and the heartache and the desperation - all leading up to this moment, worth of this trophy.

As she comes, Alex reaches out with her hand and touches the smooth gold and she feels invincible, untouchable.

Alex Morgan is a coward, breaker of hearts and hopes, too skilled for her own good, unapologetic, but she’ll be dining with the Gods themselves tonight - she’s sitting on top of the fucking world, tonight.

 

 

 

 

Later, she lays her head on Serva’s chest, listening to his heartbeats as she waits for him to fall asleep. He’s luckily a heavy sleeper. When she’s sure that he’s under, Alex slowly slips out of his embrace. Her legs feel like jello and she has to use the edge of the bed as support. There’s still cum dripping down her thighs but she’s too drunk to care. Alex slips on her jeans in the dark, hoping she’s not wearing them backwards; she checks the back pockets to be sure that the two magnetic hotel’s key cards are still there. One is her room’s and the other one, she stole it from their manager’s backpack during the party because nobody pays attention to hotel key cards when you’ve just won a World Cup.

Alex gets out of the room trying to make as less noise as she possibly can and she’s probably being way too careful, giving how loud Serva’s snoring, but fear can do things even to the bravest of women. It’s quiet down the corridor; all of her teammates have probably collapsed in their rooms, too drunk and confused to actually remember who their assigned roommate is.

They’re a family, though, so it doesn’t matter much.

Alex stumbles down the corridor and only when she passes a mirror, she realises that she’s forgotten to put a shirt on and that she’s been wandering around with only her bra on. She hides behind a corner when she spots Ashlyn, Ali and Megan trying to work Ashlyn’s room door open as they giggle uncontrollably. Megan’s movements are sloppy as hell and Ash’s too busy making Instagram stories with her phone to pay attention but with Ali’s help they eventually manage to literally fall into the room. As the door closes, Alex has to wonder as to why Sue would let a drunk and wild Megan run around instead of having her on a tight leash, and most of all in her own room. Guess she’ll never find out, not when Alex herself is about to betray that rule. She waits for a few seconds before going back to her mission; she doesn’t want anyone to know about this - this is her secret to bear, the one she’s bore for years like a heavy cross on her back, a ton of bricks on her chest.

Tobin’s room is number 410. Alex hesitates. She puts her ear against the door, hoping to pick up some kind of sound but it’s all vain. She bites her tongue, the inside of her cheek. Her skin is itchy and Alex rubs at the back of her head and then at her eyes and a layer of black make up stick to her hand. She must look like death.

Alex robbed one of her manages, she stole a key card double for this and she’s not going to back up now. She’s going to woman up and she’s going to just do this, once and for all, because she needs peace, too. At some point, even superheroes need their own merciful (and perhaps undeserved) serenity.

Alex slides the card into the lock. The small light turns green and the door unlocks, opening of just a few inches. Alex licks her lips because this, whatever she’s doing, is probably illegal, somewhere, and she’s going to face the consequences. Nevertheless, this is her plan and if there’s one thing that is sure as death, is that Alex Morgan doesn’t give up, whether it is her soccer career or breaking and entering.

The room is dark. There’s clothes and bags scattered everywhere, as if some kind of nuclear weapon has exploded in the room. The stench is revolting, sweat and stillness and vomit and sex. Alex nearly trips over one of Tobin’s Nikes. There’s two empty bottles of champagne right by the bed and Tobin’s phone half hidden inside the other half of her pair of new Nikes.

(Alex dreads to know it, but she’s so attentive to every detail of Tobin’s life, although keeping as far away from her as she can, that she always knows when Tobin’s wearing something new).

Tobin’s always been messy, her artsy and tomboy attitude were one of the things that made Alex furious; she was always telling Tobin to grow up and when eventually Tobin did, when eventually she found her roots after so much time spent wandering, Alex didn’t want her anymore, Alex left, because that’s what she does better - winning and leaving and destroying things. Whatever living thing Alex Morgan touches, it dies.

Life has somehow convinced Alex Morgan that she can have everything, and when she doesn’t get what she wants, she can’t stand it. But human beings are not things and they can’t be owned or bought with the money Alex makes and Tobin is definitely one of the things that Alex cries about losing the most.

Look at Tobin Heath now, glorious in her tanned skin, in her sculptured and strong but yet somehow feminine body, laying naked in bed with a woman who’s most definitely not Alex Morgan.

Tobin’s on her back, stripped to her bra, all shaved and smooth skin. The inside of her thighs glistens in the dark, wet with sweat and cum. One arm is hanging off the bed as the other one is stretched out, serving as a pillow for Christen Press who’s all curled up on her side in a cocoon of blankets right next to her. Tobin’s long hair fall all over her face and her shoulders and her chest and Alex is dying to just run her hand through it, to just brush her nose against Tobin’s neck; she wants to get drunk on Tobin’s smell once again, one last time.

She once used to. Once, she was allowed so many things.

Alex moves slowly, trying not to make any noise, most of all to avoid waking Christen up. Christen. Alex always says one day, one day she will find a reason to hate Christen Press but that day never comes and Alex fears it never will. It’s a universal truth - you can try all you want but you can’t hate angels.

She navigates around the bed until she reaches Tobin’s side. Alex kneels down so that her face’s on the same level of Tobin’s.

“Tobin” she whispers. “Tobin, wake up”.

Tobin stirs a little and Alex throws a worried look over at Christen, but she look even deader to the world than Tobin. And so Alex tries again, but this time she also jostles Tobin’s arm a little.

“Tobin” she repeats, raising her voice. “Wake up, come on”.

And then, Tobin’s eyelids tremble a little and eventually Alex’s greeted by those big chestnut eyes and she nearly fucking passes out because she’s drunk and she hasn’t been this close to Tobin in what feels like a lifetime and she doesn’t remember the midfielder’s eyes being this warm and beautiful.

Tobin blinks a few times, confused, trying to tell if this is all a bad dream or the real life.

“Alex?” She croaks out, groggily.

“Will you come with me?” Alex says. “I want to talk”.

Tobin rubs at her eyes with the hand that’s not cradling Christen’s head and she finally puts Alex’s face in focus. Alex, who is actually in her room in the middle of the fucking night. Alex who twerked during the entire party, drank champagne like it was water and who then proceeded to leave the party on the arm of her husband.

“T-Talk?” Tobin stutters. “My room… H-How did you get in?”.

“I stole a key card” Alex answers, honestly.

Tobin frowns. “A key card?” She repeats, trying to get this drunk fog to leave her mind because this is serious matter, now. This is… This is just a huge mess, something that was never supposed to happen.

Alex wraps her hand around Tobin’s arm and tries to get her out of the bed.

“Come with me”.

“I’m not going anywhere with you” Tobin angrily replies, trying to control her voice. “Get off me and get the hell out of my room”.

Alex shakes her head. “No” she says, stubbornly, because Tobin should know better than this. When Alex puts herself into something, she does it come hell or high water. “Please, Tobin. Come with me. I’ll buy you something to eat. I want to talk”.

(She has no money on herself but if money could buy Tobin’s affection back, Alex would buy her the entire world).

Tobin pushes her away. “You’re insane” she says.

“I definitely am” Alex nods. “Please, Tobin. Please. Just this once”.

It must be the desperation in her voice that somehow convinces Tobin to give in. She turns to Christen and slowly drags her arm away from under Press’s neck. Christen stirs a little and turns in her cocoon of blankets but she doesn’t wake up. Tobin rolls out of bed and crawls around in the darkness until she finds her boxers and a t-shirt. Alex has to bite her lips because seeing Tobin in canonically male underwear has always done unspeakable things to Alex’s hormones. It’s a high, the rush of a memory that Alex always brings with her. She’s always had this thing going on, Tobin, going back and forth between being the most beautiful and feminine woman Alex has ever seen and the tomboy’s facade she just can’t seem to shake - all these issues about appearance that Alex has never had to face and that she quite never understood why she was attracted to in the first place.

They leave Christen in the bed and make their way out of the room. They end up in the hallway and Tobin moans and takes her head in her hands and before Alex can say anything, Tobin is already bent in half, throwing up into one of the trashcans in the corridor.

“Oh, man” Tobin moans, wiping her mouth with her t-shirt.

Tobin doesn’t look at Alex once, but she does follow her down the hallway. Alex keeps walking until she finds this little corner hidden in between the wall and the emergency exit. They’ll be out of sight here, safe. Alex rests her back against the wall and Tobin positions herself in front of her and for just a little while, neither of them speaks.

They used to be so close, attached at the hip; now they can’t even bear to look the other in the eyes.

Tobin is waiting for Alex to say something but Alex is just so drunk and so confused and frustrated that she opens her mouth and what comes out is the wrongest thing that has ever come out of her stupid smart mouth.

“Did you fuck her?”.

Tobin frowns. “Who? Christen?”.

Alex nods and she feels this fury suddenly mounting inside of her. “Yes. Are you having sex with her? You’re always all over her. Is she your girlfriend?”.

“That’s none of your fucking business” Tobin replies.

Tobin’s so private and so shy, totally awkward when she’s out of the field. Alex feels possessed whenever she’s around her and it’s like Tobin makes her lose all of the self-control she’s worked so hard for. Alex has no inhibitions left. She lunges for Tobin, attacks her mouth with her own. Alex tries to wrap her arms around Tobin’s waist and ruts against Tobin’s naked leg like some kind of horny dog and she’s disgusted with herself but she can’t stop. Of course Tobin pushes her away, strong arms and hands pushing against her chest.

“Get the fuck off me” Tobin says. “What is wrong with you?”.

Alex’s rarely seen Tobin this angry. Tobin wipes her mouth with the back of her hand and looks away.

“I’m sorry” Alex whispers. “Is she better than me?”.

“Of course she is” Tobin spits back. “She actually cares about me and she doesn’t treat me like shit. She’s good to me and she’s good for me”.

“Do you love her?”.

Tobin shrugs, “Yeah, I might. This could really go somewhere and-. Fuck, I don’t even know why I’m telling you this. It’s not like you deserve any explanation”.

Alex rubs at her eyes. Her stomach hurts. “Tobin”.

“Look, I don’t want to do this. I’m going back to my room” .

Tobin starts to leave.

“Wait” Alex says, and grabs Tobin’s arm.

“Don’t touch me”.

Alex releases her. “Alright” she says, “I’m sorry. When I left Portland, you grew so cold toward me. You stopped texting me back, answering my calls-“.

“Cold?” Tobin interrupts. “Alex, I begged you not to go. You knew very well I had feelings for you, hell, I was in love with you, and you stomped all over me without even looking back once”.

“You started this” Alex replies. “You started ignoring me. What was I supposed to do? I adapted”.

“I didn’t start shit, dude” Tobin says. “It was you”.

“Me?” Alex nearly yells. “I cheated on my fiancé with you for months. You were my best friend, you weren’t the only one who had feelings, I-“.

“You got married, Alex!” Tobin lashes out, furious, and Alex realises that she’s crying.

Tobin is crying and there’s no sadder sight than this one. Alex’s heart never got used to this. It hurts her, physically, to see Tobin crying and it hurts her even harder when Alex knows she’s the cause of it.

“I begged you to stay in Portland with me. You said you wanted to call the engagement off, that you wanted to keep playing for the Thorns and be with me and then when I asked you to chose you went and got married and made yourself get traded to Orlando to stay with you fucking new husband” Tobin says, sobbing, furiously rubbing at her bloodshot eyes.

Alex swallows. “It’s what I had to do, my duty toward the people who sacrificed so much for me”.

“Yeah? And I guess you wanted the full ride, uh, the husband and the lesbian lover? Well, you can’t have both, Alex. I’m a person, I’m not a toy”.

Alex tries to defend herself, “I never-“.

“I was your best friend and your mistress, your dirty secret” Tobin says, shaking her head, her cheeks red for the heat and the tears, “I let you do whatever stuff you wanted to me, Alex. You had your tongue, your fingers and your fist inside of me and when you were done, you just tossed me away, like some cheap fuck-doll. Do you have any idea how that felt like, ho much it hurt?”.

Alex breaks down in sobs. “Tobin” she moans. “I-“.

“That’s not how love’s supposed to work. You never loved me” Tobin whispers.

They’re here, in the greatest night of their athletic careers and they’re wasted, drunk and defeated by their own desires and dreams. Tobin sinks down to the floor. She rests her back against the wall and hides her face behind her hands.

“You’re toxic for me” Tobin says. “Love’s supposed to make you happy and you can’t do that. You can only make yourself happy. Christen respects me and treats me like I deserve to be treated”.

Alex kneels down in front of Tobin.

“I did love you” she whispers. “So much, Tobin. You have no idea. I love you right now and I never stopped wanting you. I want you so bad, Tobin. I want to be good for you, too, I want us to go back to be best friends. All these years without you-“.

“No” Tobin stops her, shaking her head. “This is the consequence of your actions and choices. You can’t demand anything of me”.

“I don’t” Alex nods. She slowly brings her hands to Tobin’s hips and rubs up and down over the t-shirt, loving to finally feel Tobin’s body under her hands once again. “I want to make peace, to be better. We played so well together in this World Cup, why can’t we go back to be friends? I want it so much”.

“Stop” Tobin says. “You don’t want that. You just want to fuck me”.

“No, Tobin, I-“.

“You want me only because I’m a closeted lesbian woman who’s good at playing soccer and for some reason you get off on that but-. I’m not some sexual fantasy, I’m a human being”.

“I know you’re not” Alex tries, but Tobin shakes her head.

“I’ve let you have me once and you broke my heart. I’m done pulling my pants down for people like you, crushing on straight girls who just want to touch me to know how it feels like… I’m done, Alex. Seriously”.

Tobin pushes Alex away and this time there’s even more conviction and mean to her gesture. She wants Alex to get away from her and to just stay away, keep intact the distance that has naturally grown between the two of them. Tobin crawls away from Alex, and then stumbles on her feet. Alex watches as Tobin walks away from her, once again, and once again it’s all her fault.

Alex’s stomach clenches and she throws up right there on the hotel’s carpet. She’s so out of it that she passes out right next to her own pool of vomit.

It’s 4:00am and whoever said that that there’s glory among winners was deadly wrong. There’s no glory among champions, at all - only loss.

 

 

Alex has no idea how, but the next morning she wakes up in her room, in her own bed, with Serva sleeping next to her. It’s only until breakfast, when Lavelle carefully sits down beside her and confess of having found her passed out in the hallway, that she understands. She doesn’t remember absolutely anything except for her disastrous conversation with Tobin, but she does believe Rose when the younger girl says that she was the one who escorted Alex back to her room at around 5:22 in the morning.

Alex feels awful. She feels like the monster that she is. Her stomach is tangled in a knot but she forces herself to eat anyways. When it’s time to leave, she slips her sunglasses on, kisses Serva goodbye and then plasters this terribly fake smile on her face for the cameras. She smiles and laughs out loud and hangs all over Allie and Pinoe, cuddling the trophy in her arms as if it was her own child, and she keeps as far away from Tobin as she can. Alex just plainly ignores both Tobin and Christen, but mostly Tobin because now that she’s spent the last three years doing it, she’s definitely a pro at it. With Christen is harder because Christen is just too pure, unscarred and also because Alex feels this kind of maternal instinct toward her that she just can’t repress. And so when Christen smiles at her, Alex smiles back and ignores Tobin’s contrite look from behind Christen.

Before boarding the plane, Alex’s stomach is so unsettled, hurting so much, that she nearly passes out in the bathroom. Instead, she just waits for her few teammates to get out and then pulls her bottles of painkillers and antidepressants out of her bag. She always brings a stash with her because she never knows what’s going to happen to her during tournaments. She could get hurt pretty badly, she could hit her head, she could simply lose it - this time is the latter; Alex’s pretty sure she’s lost it completely.

Her hands shake so bad as she brings the painkillers to her mouth; she swallows down the pills, without water. When she gets out of the bathroom, Ash hands her a glass of beer, all smiles and giggles and Alex just can’t find it in herself to decline. Frankly, she doesn’t even want to. She cuddles up on of the plastic chair with the trophy and her glass of beer and only thinks about having a good time.

Alex tries her best to keep her distance from Tobin because there’s already enough attention on the distance that there’s between them that Alex fears what a picture of them actually interacting after so long could cause. Eventually she bends to her own guts, though. She approaches Tobin in a moment of confusion, as they’re passing through the metal detectors, before boarding their flight. Christen gets distracted by something JJ is telling her and momentarily leaves Tobin’s side and Alex takes advantage and slowly slips right next to Tobin with the excuse of checking on her own bag. Tobin’s hiding behind her sunglasses and her snapback, all comfy and soft in t-shirt and sweatpants, and Alex can’t stop the jealousy that squeezes her heart. She’s jealous, because Christen gets to have this, Tobin in her comfy clothes, in between her legs, goofy smiles and soft skin, whenever she wants. Christen gets to have this and all Alex Morgan has is fame and money and a husband that she can’t bring herself to fully love.

(Alex also has her mother cheering for her, supporting and loving her, while Christen doesn’t have that anymore and every time Alex feels jealous of Christen, she tells herself to just go and jump from the highest building she can find because ungrateful bitches like her don’t deserve glory).

“I’m sorry about last night” Alex whispers, keeping her eyes on her bag.

“Stay away from me” Tobin says. “And leave Christen alone, please”.

Alex frowns. “I would never go after her. I care about her”.

Tobin sucks her bottom lip in her mouth. “I don’t know what you’re capable of anymore. Just let us be”.

Alex nods. “Okay. I just wanted to apologise”.

“Yeah, fine, whatever, as long as you stay away” Tobin says, and then she grabs her bag and leaves.

Alex watches her as she high-fives a few children that have gathered in front of the gate and who are cheering for them. Tobin disappears, soon followed by Christen. Alex takes a deep breath and she blinks once, twice. When she turns, she makes an effort and smiles. She waves at the kids and the fans and just goes on with her charade.

 

 

 

Tobin’s nursing the worst hangover of her life. She lies and says she won’t ever drink like this again; she swore the same thing four years ago and that didn’t work very well, either. She’s confident in her physical resistance and in her liver of steel, though (if her liver still exists and hasn’t melt down with all that alcohol).

She tries to sleep a little, on the plane, but it’s hard. The girls are all hyped, yelling, and Pinoe, Alex and Kelley are still drinking since what feels like 1995 and it doesn’t seem like they’re gonna stop anytime soon, Kelley’s concussion be damned. Tobin dozes in between consciousness and dream, the only reassurance being Christen’s hand on her knee, her thumb gently rubbing circles over her sweatpants. Just when she thinks she is about to fall asleep for good, Ali yells so loudly about Ash pinching her in the ass that Tobin just gives up on it altogether.

“They’re being loud, I’m sorry” Christen softly giggles.

Tobin shrugs and smiles at her. She places her hand on top of Christen’s and gives it a quick squeeze. Then, she fixes the snapback on her head and takes off her sunglasses. Her eyes are all bloodshot and sticky and Tobin wonders how she’s going to pull off appearing in front of all the cameras and the press and doing interviews when they finally land.

“Yeah” she nods. “It’s not like I’d planned on actually sleeping, though”.

Christen laughs, running a hand through her long black hair.

“How are you doing?” Tobin asks her, hiding a yawn behind her hand.

Christen smiles. “I’m great” she says. “The only sober one, remember?”.

“Right” Tobin nods, giggling. “You and that bottle of water, man”.

“Someone had to look after you crazy kids” Christen comments. She moves her hand and runs her fingers through Tobin’s hair, before resting it on her shoulder. Tobin smiles with happiness and pride over their latest achievement but in her mind, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. In her mind, she’s sad for Christen’s mother, who will never get to congratulate her daughter on winning another World Cup, and even though her Christian spirit pushes her to believe that Christen’s mom is most definitely proudly looking down at her daughter, Tobin also knows that her faith is not doing so great, lately. In her mind, she can’t stop repeating Alex’s words from last night on loop, no matter what she does or how much she tries to shut her out. Alex’s like the plague: you can’t run from her, and Tobin knows that better than anyone.

Christen knows her well enough to realise that something’s wrong with her.

“You look worried” she says.

Tobin shrugs and slides down in her seat. She wants to make herself small, possibly disappear.

“I’m okay” she says. “It’s just-. My head hurts”.

Christen smiles, fondly, and she brushes a few strands or rebel locks away from Tobin’s face. “Well, that’s what happens when you drink too much, they tell me”.

“Oh, man, definitely” Tobin sighs, moving around in her seat until she’s partially on her side, face fully turned toward Christen, who’s staring back at her with matching fondness and intent.

Christen is so different from Alex, so healthier. She’s the clean slate, the fresh start,  peaceful walks down the seashore at sunset whereas Alex is torture and torment, a frenzy of chaos and instability. Tobin considers herself a very calm person. That’s just how she is, shy and calm, nerves of steel - she’s ‘chill’ as her teammates so kindly put it. Christen is just like her and that’s why they get along so well, within and without the bed or the field; they’re so attuned to each other and they get each other and Christen is everything Tobin has ever wished and prayed for from the moment she found out she liked girls. And then, there’s Alex - and Tobin will never confess about the wild thrill that being with Alex gives her because it makes her feel ashamed. Alex drives her up the wall, Alex made her the other woman and Tobin just said, Fine whatever, and betrayed her own believes and all of that her parents have taught her - all for Alex, all for those chills down the spine and for the rush of adrenaline to the head that Alex can give her.

“I liked last night” she tells Christen, keeping her voice down.

Christen briefly hides behind her hair and then smiles and she’s so beautiful. “I did, too. We should go for part two”.

“More like part fifty or something” Tobin jokes and even though her head is screaming at her for laughing, Tobin just can’t help herself.

Christen punches her shoulder, lightly. Then, she gets more serious. “Tobin, will you tell me if something is bothering you?”.

Tobin swallows and rubs at her eyes. “I want to tell you”.

“You don’t have to if-“.

“No, I do” Tobin stops her, tangling her fingers up with Christen’s. “Just, not here. When we get off the plane, maybe?”.

Christen nods and rubs the back of her hand.

The world doesn’t know about them. It speculate, of course. They’re close and they’re always finding each other, constantly sitting together on trips and hugging it out on the field. The team does know, though. It’s inevitable. The team lives as one; they sleep, eat, shower, go to the bathroom and they even have sex together and there’s no secrets among them. They respect each other’s privacy and if someone doesn’t want to talk about something then they don’t but everything is out. There’s no space for skeletons in the closet in a job such as this one.

Tobin is no Ashlyn or Ali or Megan and she’s definitely not Kelley who, unbothered, just had the balls to come out in front of the whole world after winning the World Cup; nor she or Christen are out and Tobin believes she herself won’t be in the foreseeable future either. She doesn’t need to be. Her family knows and God knows and that’s all that matters to her. So, she quietly looks around, checking for anyone making videos with their phones or just watching in their direction, before she tilts her head a little and presses her lips against Christen’s. She smiles a little into the kiss before drawing back into her seat.

Christen warmly smiles back at her.

“Yo, Tobs. Drink up” Kelley sputters, appearing next to them. She has a plastic glass of beer in her hand, which she’s promptly offering to Tobin with this huge grin all over her face.

“Dude, how are you not dead yet?” Tobin jokes, but she does accept the gift. “You’re concussed”.

Kelley bends down to ruffle Christen’s hair and then she shrugs.

“You only live once, Tobs. Only once”.

 

 

 

Tobin eventually spills to Christen, of course. She’s promised and so she does, because she always keeps her promises. After the arriving ceremony, in NY, and their cameo on Good Morning America, they finally can catch a break for lunch and then they have the rest of the day free.

Tobin discretely sees Alex and Kelley going for the roof pool with a few of the girls. Kelley actually asks if she wants to tag along but Tobin politely refuses, saying she wants to just get a few hours of sleep, which is not exactly untrue. Alex doesn’t even look at her in the eyes as Tobin speaks with Kelley. She stares down at her phone, probably texting Servando or something.

“Aw, bummer. Well, you take a good nap, alright?” Kelley says, bumping her elbow with Tobin’s.

“Sure” Tobin nods. “You don’t drink too much, uh?”.

“I’ll try” Kelley laughs. She blows Tobin a kiss and then hops into the elevator. Alex’s right behind her.

Before the elevator’s doors close, Alex’s blue eyes find Tobin’s dark ones. Alex looks guilty, as she should be, but also unapologetic and Tobin clenches her jaw so hard it hurts, restraining herself from just going and punching the crazy out of Alex.

Tobin goes back to her room. Christen’s on the phone with her father and Tobin waits for her to finish her phone call by juggling a little with her ball. She mostly tries not to break anything, but she always does have fun with a ball at her feet. Before Christen hangs up, Tobin passes over her greetings to Christen’s dad and family, with which she’s grown so close to in the last few years and especially so after Christen’s mother passed away.

“So, what should we do?” Christen asks. “Take a walk, nap, have sex, hang out with the others or watch some TV and eat junk food?”.

“Oh, fuck, I’d love some junk food right now” Tobin moans, stopping the ball with her feet.

“We can call room service”.

Tobin thinks about it and then she comes out with what, in her head, sounds like a good plan.

“Harry always told me about this pizza place around here” she says. “Said it was real good. Wanna go check it out?”.

“Sure” Christen nods, enthusiastically.

Tobin quickly texts Allie, asking her about more precise directions on the whereabouts of this place, whilst Christen gathers her wallet and stuff and puts them into her bag. Tobin leaves the ball and throws on a clean tank top. She grabs the room’s key card and then grabs her purse.

“Ready?”.

“Let’s roll” Christen replies, shoving Tobin out of the room, laughing.

They briefly hold hands on the elevator. In the lobby, Christen informs their security team about their plans and eventually they have to agree on taking at least one man with them, just in case some over-excited fan decides to jump them. New York is hot and crowded, but still beautiful. It’s most definitely not their first time in the City, but they do some sightseeing anyway, just to kill some time. They’re both aware of people taking pictures of them and as long as they don’t get mobbed, they’re just fine with it. They stop to sign some t-shirts and caps and take pictures a few times. Eventually they find the pizza place, which luckily is not very busy. The place is small but there’s a few tables here and there and they get into the one that’s more shielded from prying eyes. After months of strict diet, it’s nice to finally get a little loose. Tobin ponders whether or not order some more alcohol and eventually decides on having a beer. She tells herself she’s having only one.

Christen smirks and shakes her head. “You’re gonna have such a sore head tonight”.

Tobin laughs. “Hey. I’m a two times World Cup winner. I’m allowed”.

“Of course, Miss Heath” Christen mocks her.

Tobin throws the napkin at Christen’s face. They eat pizza slices and share Tobin’s beer and they check out Ashlyn’s Instagram stories to check out what the rest of the girls are doing. Apparently they’re getting plastered in the pool, Mewis already drunk off her ass, yelling incomprehensible things at the camera and trying to drag Alex out of her donut floaty. They talk about the game and the World Cup and the teams that they would’ve liked to play against but didn’t get the chance to, players they would’ve liked to meet. Christen’s easy to talk to and Tobin finds herself in a vortex of logorrhea that’s so unusual for her; she’s the quiet one, never exposing herself to much, but with Christen, all of that goes straight out of the window at the speed of light. Even when they’re not speaking, the silence is filled with words all the same. Their eyes are enough. With Christen she’s free to be who she is and free to say whatever she wants and she hopes that Christen feels the same way about her.

When they’re finished eating, Tobin brings one knee up to her chest and places her chin on top of it.

“Alex came into the room last night” she says, playing with the strings of her Nike.

“Last night?” Christen asks, frowning. “When?”.

Tobin shrugs. “Around 4:00am or somethin’”.

“How did she get in?”.

“Apparently she stole a key card. You were sleeping. I didn’t wake you up”.

Christen pouts, confused. “That’s-“.

“She was so drunk, Chris” Tobin admits, shaking her head.

“Well, that makes sense. Breaking and entering doesn’t sound like Alex at all, honestly” Christen agrees. “What did she want?”.

Tobin swallows, blushing a little. “She wanted to talk to me”.

“Oh?”.

Tobin nods as she rubs at her eyes. “She was acting so weird, Chris. It’s like she went mental. She was pissed at me for ignoring her after the wedding, and talking about wanting to get back with me and leaving Serva and stuff, getting all jealous over you. She tried to kiss me”.

Christen raises both of her eyebrows, her dark eyes going a little wide.

“I’m sorry” Tobin sighs. “I pushed her away”.

Christen shakes her head. “No, it’s fine. I don’t doubt you or anything it’s just that-. This doesn’t sound right. I mean, Alex’s a little crazy but this doesn’t sound like her”.

Tobin shrugs. “I don’t know what’s wrong with her” she confesses. “I used to get her but now… I guess it was all because of the alcohol but it’s like she’s not herself anymore”.

“It’s kind of worrying” Christen points out, playing with her plastic plate. She sighs, “But I kind of understand her, too, to some degree”.

Tobin frowns. “What do you mean?”.

Christen bites her lip. “I think she misses you very deeply and I think she’s very upset about how things ended between the two of you” she explains.

“Well, what was I supposed to do? I still have some dignity left” Tobin replies. “I’m over her”.

Christen smiles, sympathetically. “Look, Tobs. You know I love you very, very much and I don’t doubt your feelings for me, at all, but we both know that what binds you to Alex is way stronger and deeper that whatever’s going on between us”.

“Chris. That’s not true” Tobin shakes her head. “I want you, not Alex. She’s awful. I don’t want to be her lesbian fuck-toy, I’m done with that shit. I feel so disgusting when I think about it”.

“Oh, Tobs” Christen sighs, gently placing her hand on top of Tobin’s, on the table. “I know she hurt you and I get that you don’t want to have anything to do with her, but I also consider what Alex’s going through. She must be in so much pain, Tobs. She plays for Orlando Pride, for fuck’s sake. She must be so miserable”.

Outside, a small group of kids bang on the window to wave at them, taking pictures with their phones. Tobin quickly retract her hand from under Christen’s, giving her an apologetic smile. Christen nods and then she waves back at the group of kids. Tobin does the same. The kids take a few more pictures from behind the glass and then they go on their way.

“How can you defend her?”.

Christen shakes her head. “I’m not. I just want you to see this from both sides. I’m not absolving her. She’s pulled some pretty nasty shit but she also must be so confused about her own actions”.

“Aren’t you angry with her?” Tobin asks. “For kissing me and saying she want me back? I am”.

Christen runs a hand through her hair. “Of course it bothers me but not in the way you think. It bothers me because she disrespected you” she says, smiling a little.

Tobin nods. “Yeah” she says, pausing for a few seconds, before adding, “I’d never cheat on you”.

“I know” Christen smiles. “And I’d never cheat on you either. We’ll deal with this Alex thing together”.

“Sounds good” Tobin nods, winking at her teammate.

They walk back to the hotel and they spend a few hours hanging out with Alyssa, Ash and Ali. At dinner, Tobin gets squeezed in between Megan and Allie who keep pinching her and tickling her, for whatever reason. Tobin nearly chokes on her food and water twice. Mewis is also missing because she apparently drank so much she’s still throwing up in her room. Alex is on the other end of the room, sitting right next to Kelley and although her make-up and hair is on point, she looks like death. Tobin thinks the deserves it.

After dinner, Tobin and Christen goes back to their room and there’s making out and slow, sweet lovemaking before they fall asleep. Tobin dreams of the World Cup, of raising the trophy all together like the family they are, only that this time, she’s holding Alex’s hand in hers instead of Christen’s.

 

 

(They go through all the celebration and the awards and they don’t go to the fuckin’ White House. It all goes back to normal. Kind of. Not for Alex).

 

 

It’s remarkable how good Alex’s poker face is. She’s been back in Orlando for a few weeks now, and of the three matches she’s played, she was drunk off her ass and high on painkillers for all of them. And no one noticed at all. Not her coaches nor her teammates. Not even her husband. Alex’s actually amazed at how, in the whole time before the unthinkable happens, she never gets picked for drug testing. They trust her so much. They believe she’s this responsible and well grounded athlete whilst Alex feels all but grounded. She feels lost, awful. She walks around the house and runs on the pitch and goes through her days with so much alcohol in her body and swallowing down so many pills that if someone ever finds out, Alex will have to throw herself off the balcony out of shame. During the first few weeks, she tried to fight it, the instinct of just drowning her sorrows in pills and alcohol but eventually she gave in. Her team keeps losing and she dreads the moment she will have to play against the Thorns, face to face with Tobin, because Tobin keeps scoring and making assists, running faster than anyone, doing her stupid tricks, loving her stupid perfect girlfriend and Alex is stuck here, instead, playing for a mediocre team, watching Serva’s awful playing that earns him way more money than it should.

Alex feels empty, defeated. Alcohol and pills fill her up.

Serva tries his best to get her to open up, once. They’re in their backyard, cuddled on the floating unicorn in the pool.

“Alex” he says, gently. “Are you alright?”.

Alex has to choke back some vomit because she’s definitely not puking in her own pool. “I’m great. Why?”.

Serva shrugs, running his hand up and down her arm. “You’ve been so quiet, lately. And you haven’t been playing much”.

Alex bites her lip. She grabs Serva’s hand in between hers and kisses his knuckles. “My knee’s been hurting a little and I don’t want to risk getting injured again. I asked the coach not to start me for a few games”.

Serva’s hand moves to her knee to rub it. “Did you see your doctor?”.

Alex nods. “Yeah. He said I just have to take it slow for a while”.

Serva kisses her forehead and Alex snuggles into him. He doesn’t say anything else. They keep sunbathing and making small chat and if Serva got that she was lying, he doesn’t say. He wraps his arms around her waist and buries his head in her neck and keeps quiet. He never says anything. Some times Alex wished he would yell at her, instead.

One night she’s so far gone that she drunk dials Tobin and it’s one of the biggest mistakes of her life. She’s so glad Serva’s not in the house to witness her greatest humiliation. Tobin answers after exactly ten rings.

Alex?”.

“Why did you do it?” Alex slurs.

What are you talking about? Alex, it’s the middle of the night and I have a game tomorrow. I’m hanging up”.

“In the final!” Alex yells. “Why did you do it? You got two great opportunities and you did all your stupid tricks in the box, running around like a bitch in heat, instead of trying to score. I was right there and you didn’t pass the ball. Why the fuck did you do that?”.

“Alex, are you drunk?”.

“Shut up” Alex replies, banging her head against the table, hoping it will loosen up the knot that’s squeezing her brain. It doesn’t. “You were waiting for her, weren’t you? You were waiting for Christen so that she could score another goal for her dead mommy, uh? We could’ve got two more goals but you just wanted your stupid girlfriend to score”.

“Alex” Tobin’s voice is quiet, but Alex can tell how hard she’s trying not to yell into the fucking phone. She can feel Tobin’s rage even from so far away. “You better shut your mouth right now. I’m warning you, if you call me again, I’m pulling a restraining order on you. I’m gonna get you arrested. I don’t want to see you and I don’t want to hear from you ever again. I hate you, Alex”.

Alex laughs. “Yeah? You suck, Tobin. Go back to your perfect girlfriend. Does she knows you like it up your ass? I bet-“.

The line goes dead, thank God. Alex throws her phone against the wall and then she drags herself to the bathroom. She wraps her arms around the toilet and then sticks two fingers down her throat. She throws up and then she falls asleep inside the bathtub. That’s where Serva finds her the next morning. He takes her to bed and he doesn’t say anything, once again.

The following week she has a game and as she’s changing in the locker room, Alex honestly thinks she’s not going to survive this one. Her stomach hurts, her head worse, and her heart won’t possibly be able to take the strain. She will die out there on the field and she knows she deserves it. She has a good game until the referee gives them a penalty kick and Alex is called to carry it out. She’s in the box, only the ball and the goalkeeper in front of her and Alex feels so sick. She wants to cry. The referee blows the whistle but Alex doesn’t move. The entire stadium goes quiet. Alex turns her head to the right. She sees her. Tobin’s on the far right corner of the field. She’s wearing her Thorns shirt, the number seventeen shining under the stadium’s neons. Her hair is up in a ponytail and she looks so beautiful. Then, she blinks and Tobin is gone.

Alex doesn’t even realises the moment she falls down to her knees. One moment she’s awake, the next she’s lying on the field, passed out. She deserves it.

 

 

 

 

Alex’s mother hasn’t called Tobin in years and she chooses exactly the week Christen’s back home on to do so. They’re quietly making out on the couch when Tobin’s phone starts ringing. Tobin rolls her eyes as she picks it up. She stares at the called ID, shocked.

“Who is it?” Christen asks her, resting her chin on the midfielder’s shoulder.

“Uh, it’s Alex’s mother” Tobin says.

“Well, answer her” Christen prompts her.

Tobin takes a deep breath and taps on the green circle on the touchscreen, turning the speaker on. She really doesn’t want to have secrets with Christen, not about Alex, and there’s no way that this call is not about her. 

“Hi, Pam”.

Tobin. I’m sorry to disturb you, I wouldn’t if-“.

“Oh, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it. What’s up?” Tobin says. She’s torturing her lip with her teeth. Christen gently grabs her chin with her fingers to make her stop.

“It’s Alex” Pam says, and it sounds like she’s sobbing. “Did you watch the news?”.

“Uh, no, I’m on a break for a few days and-“.

Oh, I understand. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have called”.

“No, no, it’s fine” Tobin quickly says, not wanting Pam to feel hurt. “What happened? Is Alex okay?”.

“No, she’s not” Pam answers, and this time, it’s quite clear that she’s crying.

Christen grabs the remote from the coffee table and promptly turns on the TV, lowering the volume to a minimum. She puts it on ESPN and luckily enough, they catch exactly some news about Alex. Tobin can’t quite tell what it’s all about, though.

“I’m watching the news right now, Pam” she tells Alex’s mother.

That’s when the title comes up. Tobin holds her breath as she reads, ‘Orlando Pride’s star Alex Morgan collapses on the field during the game for reasons yet unknown’. Christen covers her mouth with her hands and Tobin springs up to her feet as they witness the heartbreaking images of Alex falling to her knees in front of the ball, the team’s doctors and her teammates immediately rushing over to her.

“Wha-. How-“ Tobin stutters. “She collapsed. What happened?”.

“They took her to the hospital” Pam explains. “They run some tests and-. She had so much alcohol in her body, Tobin”.

“What?” Tobin says, falling back onto the couch and grabbing tightly onto Christen’s hand. “She was drunk?”.

“Drunk and high” Pam specifies, her voice breaking. “Apparently she’s been to her team doctor quite often lately, lamenting a pain in her knee and getting prescription for painkillers. She went through a bottle in one week”.

Tobin wants to throw up. She feels guilty, because Alex had called her that night, drunk, and instead of saying something to help her, Tobin had hanged up on her, too angry about her words to think about the reality of things. She wonders if Serva noticed, or if he just let Alex be Alex as he always do.

“I’m-. Pam, I don’t-. Is she okay, now?” Tobin asks. “I mean, did she have surgery? Is it serious? It looks like she hit her head”.

“Thank God she’s fine now” Pam answers and Tobin shared a look with Christen, both relieved by the news. “They pumped her stomach, though, and they’re going to keep her here for a few days. They think she might be suicidal”.

Tobin bites the inside of her cheek. She’s not sure about what she’s supposed to say because the though of the great Alex Morgan being capable of taking her own life frankly sounds totally absurd.

She’s been asking about you” Pam eventually reveals. “I was wondering if you could, maybe, come pay her a short visit. I know you’re very busy but-“.

“I’m very sorry, Pam” Tobin admits, choking on her words. “Alex and I are not as close as we used to be and I don’t know if-. Things got messy between Alex and I and I think it’s better for the both of us if I just stay away”.

“Oh. I understand. I didn’t know” Pam admits, sounding quite embarrassed. Of course Alex wouldn’t tell her how exactly things went between them. That would include confessing of having had sex with another woman and it’s not like Alex’s family would be against it, it’s just that Alex is so focused on being the perfect daughter and the perfect athlete that she’s just constantly sabotaging herself.

“I’m very sorry about what happened, Pam, and I wish I’d noticed earlier. Please, tell Alex I hope she gets better quickly”.

“I will” Pam says. “It was good hearing your voice, Tobin. I wish you all the best”.

“Likewise, Pam. Bye”.

“Bye”.

Tobin hangs up. On her flat screen, the images of Alex falling to the ground are on loop. Some guy’s talking about it, probably making shit up just to say something. Tobin grabs the remote and shuts the TV off. She turns to look at Christen, who actually looks more shocked than she is.

“We didn’t notice, we-” Christen mumbles. Tobin can only nods. “How did she pick up an addiction so fast?”.

“I don’t know” Tobin whispers, hiding her face in between her knees. She feels Christen’s hand on her back, rubbing slowly from the top of her spine to the small of her back.

“Do you really not want to go visit her?” Christen asks. “I could come with you”.

Tobin shakes her head. “No, I-. I don’t want to see her”.

Christen draws her into her arms and Tobin lets herself relax against Christen’s chest. She hides her face in the sweet valley in between her breasts and when she starts to cry, Christen only holds her tighter.

Alex was sick and none of the people that were supposed to be her sisters, best friends and family noticed. Soon enough their phones start to blow up with texts from the rest of the girls. Both Christen and Tobin let them go off for quite some time.

 

 

Two weeks after being released from the hospital, Alex Morgan gets a DUI for driving around Orlando high on Xanax. Serva bails her out and then he tells her he’s called her parents. They arrive the next morning. There’s a quick trial in which Alex pleads guilty. She pays the money. Her father takes her car’s keys. Her parents don’t even yell at her and that’s actually worse.

They ask her why she’s behaving like this, what is it that it’s tormenting her. Alex doesn’t answer.

“I just wanted to drive to the store” she says. “I wanted candies”.

Alex doesn’t tell them that she just wanted to get out of that house, that she couldn’t stand the hole Tobin’s left behind and that thinking of her being happy with Christen, somewhere, having lunch with Christen’s father and holding her hand when they visit Stacy Press’ grave, makes Alex’s heart hurt so much that she can’t bear to be alive anymore.

Alex can’t look after herself and she won’t let Serv help her either, not matter how gently he asks, or how patient he is with her. Her parents take her back home.

Eventually it comes down to a simple decision: rehab or death.

Alex choses the former, but she has a few conditions. Her agent tells her that she’s not really in the position to be demanding things but he also doesn’t want her to die because she’s worth lots of money, so they compromise. Alex says she doesn’t want to stop playing, because if she does, she knows she won’t get back and so they decide that she can keep training as long as she’s tightly followed by the federation’s medic staff and its psychologist to be sure that she won’t relapse. She won’t play in any game, though, but that’s fine by Alex. She tells her family and Serv about it only after the deal with the club management’s done.

“I want to go back to Portland” she says one evening, after dinner.

All of her family and Serv are sitting in the living room and they’re all drinking water because they don’t want to upset Alex or even worse, tempt her.

“The deal’s already done. I will go back to train with the Thorns, for now, and if I get better my trading will be finalised by the end of the next year” she explains.

“Oh honey” her mother sighs with watering eyes.

“Alex” her father says. “Can I ask why?”.

Alex swallows. Her eyes shift on Serv, who’s staring at the ground because he can’t bear to look at her.

“These past few years have been really hard on me” Alex says, trying to explain herself the best she can without letting on too much. “I know you think I was happy in Orlando, but I wasn’t. I spend the past few years using only the half of my potential. I was under such pressure, being the face of the USWNT, and so afraid of failing you all that I just forgot about myself in the process”.

“Sweetheart” cries out her mother. “We would never think that you’ve failed us. We’re all so proud of you and we only want what’s best for you”.

“We want to help you get better” her father adds. “Why would you decide to go away now that you need us the most?”.

Alex bites her lip. “Portland is where I first felt at home. I think going back there is the best thing for me, now” she says. “The Thorns’ staff will help me with my rehab. I will always have someone checking on me and I will share an apartment with one of the girls. I won’t be alone”.

Her father nods. “Well, then” he sighs. “It’s decided”.

“Alex” Jen pipes in. “What about the prenup?”.

Alex wants to throw up.

“Alex’s needs come first, now” Serva says and it sounds like he’s speaking from the grave.

Alex nods at him, silently thanking him. She’s just so grateful for him and it saddens her that people think of Serv as just her stupid puppet husband. Serva is a kind, good person - another man victim of a cruel world.

 

 

 

Tobin nearly falls off her chair when the coach gives them the news. At first she thinks that someone’s pulling some kind of prank on her and she looks around, suspicious, and then she realises that her teammates are all just as shocked as she is.

“Alex Morgan will come back to train with us” Mark says. “She won’t be playing any game, given that she will be undergoing rehab for drug addiction and she will probably be incapable of even holding the ball in her hand. Our game line-up will stay the same”.

Tobin’s so traumatised by it that she has an awful practice. She can’t control the ball and each time she tries to score, her aim is way off. Figure of Alex to mess her up even when she’s not physically here. In the evening she calls Christen. They FaceTime and after some small chat, Tobin drops the bomb.

After the initial shock, Christen smiles. “That sounds nice. Looks like Alex is doing better”.

“Mh-mh” Tobin mumbles, chewing on an apple.

“Why are you upset about it?” Christen asks.

“I mean, on one hand I don’t want her to come back here and mess it all up for me ‘cause I’m doing really good right now but… On the other hand I just want her to get better and if this will help, I guess I’m all for it”.

Christen smiles. “See? You just gave yourself an answer”.

Tobin laughs and she bites down on her apple. “Yeah”.

Christen sighs. “This is good news, Tobs” she says. “It might be a good chance to mend your differences”.

Tobin shrugs. “I know. I don’t want to think about it”.

“Alright” Christen nods. “Are you seriously wearing those horrible yellow shorts right now?”.

Tobin giggles and she moves her phone so that her shorts are clearly visible. Christen laughs and mocks her and she has the most beautiful smile Tobin has ever seen. It can’t compare with Alex’s. Christen’s is way better and there’s no denying that.

 

 

 

Serva helps her pack some of her stuff, mostly her soccer gear. When they’re done, they settle down on the floor, Alex’s back against the bed and Serva right in between her legs. Alex moves her legs and places them on top of Serv’s thighs. They play stupid games with their hands, their fingers running after each other.

“You want to go back to Tobin, don’t you?” Serva says, eventually. He keeps his voice down because he doesn’t want anyone to listen in on them, and although the door is closed, he knows Alex’s mother like to eavesdrop every once in a while, just to check if Alex’s alright.

Alex swallows. She doesn’t answer. Serva sighs. He runs a hand through her hair.

“Why did you agree to marry me, Alex?”.

Alex starts crying. “I love you” she moans.

Serv nods as he wipes the tears away from her cheeks with his thumbs. “I know” he says. “Just not as much as you love her”.

Alex can’t stop crying. Serva draws her into her arms and holds her.

“Have I not been good to you, Alex? If I did something wrong-“.

“No” she quickly says, and takes his face in her hands. “You’re my best friend and an amazing husband. It’s me, Serv. There’s something wrong with me”.

“I don’t think there’s something wrong with you” he says. He runs both hands through her hair and rests his forehead against hers. “I can love you, Alex. I can make you happy. You won’t ever have to hide with me”.

“Please, stop” Alex begs him, fisting his t-shirt in her hands. “I just want to get better. Will you help me? Please, Serva”.

“I will” he nods.

He lets Alex cry on his shoulder because when he married her he swore he would always be there for her and he stands by what he said. Serva doesn’t understand. He can’t. He can’t understand that the type of love that links Alex to Tobin is something else, something that transcends normalcy. It’s a deeper bond, something that Serva has tried to give Alex for this entire time - something that he will never be able to replicate.

 

 

 

Serva leaves to go back to camp the day before her flight to Portland. Alex’s preferred it this way. She says her goodbyes at home and allows only her mother to accompany her to the airport and there’s a reason for that. She wants to redeem and admit at least part of her sins to the person she trusts most in this world: the woman who gave her life.

One member of the Orlando’s medical staff will fly out with her, to make sure that she won’t try anything sneaky on the plane like asking the steward for alcohol. He gives them privacy, though, as they wait to get through the check-in.

“Mom” Alex begins. “I’m going to tell you something, now, but you have to promise me that you will keep it for yourself, that it will stay only between us”.

Pam looks at her, serious. She nods. “Of course”.

Alex takes off her sunglasses. Her eyes are red and tired. She hasn’t touched any alcohol for weeks and she’s getting two shots of methadone per day as the doctor prescribed and she’s feeling horrendously. She hasn’t slept much in the last few days, sick with stomachache and headaches, knowing that this is just the beginning.

She wants to look at her mother in the eyes when she says this, though.

“I had an affair during the engagement”.

It takes a few seconds for her mother to elaborate what Alex’s said.

“Alex. With who?” she eventually asks, taking her head in her hands.

Alex swallows. “With Tobin”.

“Tobin?” her mother gasps.

A few heads turn in their direction and her mother cover her mouth with her hands as it that could help taking it all back.

“We were together for about eight months before I got married and left”.

“Eight months… D-Does Servando know?”.

Alex nods. “Yes, he knew”.

“But why did you get married then?”.

Alex runs a hand through her hair. “Because we both needed each other. Serva needed my influence to make it out in the field and I… I really hoped I could grow to love him more than Tobin”.

“Oh, Alex” her mother sighs cupping her face in her hand. Alex bring her hand to her own face, taking her mother’s hand in hers.

“You can’t tell anyone about this, mom. Tobin’s not out to anyone but her family and the national team and-“.

“I won’t say a word, honey” Pam states, holding Alex’s hand tightly. “But you understand, I have to ask”.

Alex nods, blushing. Her mother wraps her in her arms. It’s been years since Alex’s been so embarrassed in her mother’s presence.

“I don’t know if I’m gay” Alex blurts out. “I like men and I like-. I like Tobin. I like Tobin a lot. That’s all I know”.

Alex’s flight is called. Her mother walks her to the check-in. Since Alex is priority, they let her through first. A few people recognise her but luckily the airport’s staff is competent enough and doesn’t let the fans get to close. Alex waves and smiles to them anyways. The truth is that Alex got lucky. Even with her DUI, things didn’t get out of hand much. Her management and public liaison kept things under wrap for as long as they could and eventually Alex wrote a statement both on her Instagram and Twitter. She wrote that she wasn’t leaving soccer but that she was taking a break from the games for a while for personal reasons.

Before letting her go, Pam wraps her daughter in a big hug and Alex holds onto her tightly.

“Are you going to fix things with Tobin and Serva?” Her mother asks.

Alex shrugs. “I have to fix myself, first”.

Pam nods. “Alex. Please remember that whatever you need, we’re here for you, and we support you not matter what you do”.

Alex nods. She kisses her mother’s cheek and then she takes off. She wants to tell her mother that there’s things that they shouldn’t have supported her with, things they should’ve insisted on more. Alex’s too determinate and driven for her own good. She has no limits whatsoever - most of the times Alex Morgan just wants someone to tell her what to do, what lines to cross, what lines to stay away from.