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something to show for it

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“I just don’t want to leave here without anything to show for it.” 

 

Lindsey sighs grumpily into her coffee mug, watching the flower art of her latte transform into an amorphous blob with each sip. 

 

It’s a beautiful day in Paris. Summer is beautiful in France, and Paris is nothing if not extraordinary when the June sunlight warms the air and the city finally breathes. 

 

Tobin snorts across from her, one hand spinning sugar in an iced tea while the other scrolls through twitter on her phone. 

 

“Yeah, ‘cause playing professional soccer for one of the world’s best international teams at 20-years-old is coming up a little short.” 

 

Mornings like these are what Lindsey loves most; she loves watching Paris wake up, she loves being a part of that. She loves a lot of things. She loves hot coffee and iced coffee, the loves summer rain and winter snow. 

 

What she doesn’t love is Tobin Heath, her best friend in all of France (PSG-BFF as they have grown so accustomed to calling each other), sassing her. 

 

She also doesn’t love that Tobin is leaving soon.

 

But if she thinks about it too long, thinks about how Tobin has played her last game and how it won’t be long until they will have to say goodbye, then she’ll start to cry (again). 

 

Lindsey doesn’t want to cry right now, not on a beautiful morning in the city she has finally learned to love. 

 

“You know what I mean,” Lindsey replies snarkily.  

 

“Do I?” Tobin smirks, eyes still trained on her phone as she takes a sip from her glass. 

 

“Do I?” Lindsey mocks, but Tobin can tell she’s teasing. 

 

Tobin coming to France had become the biggest relief Lindsey could have received. When PSG was seeming just too tough and just too unbearable, Tobin had arrived to help Lindsey learn to be strong and resilient and brave. 

 

Now Tobin’s leaving, and Lindsey is scared all she’s learned is going to leave with her.

 

“You’re right, I do know what you mean.” After a brief pause, Tobin looks up and says, “you wanna get laid.” 

 

Lindsey laughs into her coffee mug, suddenly forgetting all about the looming sadness and remembering what it is that she loves so much about Tobin: she always knows how to put a smile on herself. 

 

“Okay, you’re like, old, you are so not allowed to say that to me.” 

 

“Excuse me, I’m old ?” Tobin scoffs. She locks her phone and puts her iced tea down, and Lindsey can tell she’s ready to fight. 

 

“Mmhmm,” Lindsey teases, “might as well be my grandma.” 

 

“I am twenty-six, how dare you call me old?” 

 

“What was that? Sorry, I got distracted by your wrinkles for a second.” 

 

“Alright, okay, good talk,” Tobin laughs, leaning back in her chair. 

 

Lindsey giggles and starts to pick at the croissant that she and Tobin had gotten to share. 

 

“I dunno,” Lindsey starts, “I just hate that you’re leaving again. It was hard enough the first time, but then you came back, and now you’re leaving me again!” She throws the back of her hand dramatically against her forehead, feigning distress. 

 

“Aww, you gonna miss me?” 

 

“Not if you keep this up!”

 

They laugh with each other but the mood shifts as Lindsey glances down into her mug again.“I just don’t know if I can do this without you.”

 

“Hey, hey, none of that. Look at me,” Tobin says softly, leaning forward and growing more serious. “You’re a star. You’ve come such a long way from when we first met, and you have so much to show for it. You don’t need me.”

 

“Don’t say that, yes I do.” 

 

“No, you don’t anymore. Maybe you did before, but you don’t anymore. And that’s a good thing.” She pauses, her eyelids closing a bit as her smile grows. “I’m so proud of you.” 

 

Lindsey blushes, because it’s rare for her and Tobin to really talk like this, talk about their feelings and how much they love each other.

 

“Well maybe I don’t need you anymore. Doesn’t mean I can’t still want you around.”

 

“Can’t argue with that,” Tobin chuckles and holds her glass up as if to make a toast.

 

After drawn out moments of silence, Lindsey’s eyes staring blankly across the bustling city, Tobin nudges her with her foot underneath the table.

 

“Tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”

 

“This season ending and you leaving, it’s had me thinking a lot,” Lindsey answers after hesitating. “Soccer’s my life, you know? And that’s what I wanted, it is what I want. I’ll always want that. But sometimes I think I don’t only want that.” 

 

Tobin nods pensively and offers a soft smile because she knows. She’s been there too, she’s struggled to balance soccer with everything else. 

 

Tobin gets it and Lindsey knows she does. 

 

“It takes a while to learn that it’s okay to want more,” Tobin explains. “It’s not easy to accept because you feel so lucky to be where you are. We get so used to making sacrifices, but don’t make them just because you think you have to.” 

 

Lindsey takes it all in and wonders if that’s what she’s been doing. 

 

She’s always known what she wanted. Play professional soccer, be the best, make the national team, play in the World Cup. She chose PSG instead of college because she knew it was the right choice for her, but she was still very much aware of what she was sacrificing in the process. 

 

So many other girls have it all and Lindsey doesn’t know how they manage it all. She knows she’s still young and she knows she has time, but being in the City of Love is tough when the weight of love’s absence has felt so heavy. Love, in every sense of the word - family, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, - is hard to come by for Lindsey in France. 

 

She doesn’t want to wish she was meeting more people or exploring the dating scene or not missing her family. She wants to be content with where she is. 

 

“I guess I feel like if I wish things were different, then I’m taking for granted what I have.”

 

“It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Nothing is black and white like that. You can be grateful for being here but still wish you could see your family. You can love that your office is the soccer pitch but be upset that you hardly have free time to make other friends. That’s okay.” 

 

Lindsey stares at Tobin pensively before she breaks out into a smile. “Where have you been hiding this smart Tobin from me?” 

 

“You are on thin ice, Horan.” 

 

They chat mindlessly for a few more minutes, recounting memories of what they’ve done in this city and feeling thankful that they could do it together. Tobin might not be the best at articulating her feelings, but she’s certainly getting better. All she really hopes is that Lindsey understands how important she is to Tobin. 

 

“Come on,” Tobin demands. She stands up with outstretched hands and Lindsey eyes her quizzically. “It’s too beautiful a day to mope.”

 

Lindsey mumbles “I’m not moping” before giving Tobin her hands and letting herself be pulled to her feet. 

 

They clear their glasses with gracious “mercis” to the employees before exploring the city they’ve grown to love so much. 

 

There’s still plenty to see that they haven’t already, but Lindsey isn’t really interested in that. Right now she wants to see that spots that she and Tobin found together, to see the memories play out before them over and over again. 

 

Tobin must feel the same because she leads Lindsey down the street where they danced with strangers to street music late at night, past the restaurant where they had their first PSG-BFF date, to the markets and street fairs where they learned to love French culture. 

 

A couple hours later, they end up at the Eiffel Tower. They’re close enough where they can appreciate it but far enough away to avoid the clumps of tourists. They stand there for a while, staring at the tower that represents so much for both of them, as individuals and as a unit. 

 

Soon enough, Lindsey finds herself distracted by the couples walking hand-in-hand, holding each other, and taking pictures together. She glances at Tobin, grateful to be standing next to one of her best friends but wishing she was standing next to someone who was more than that. 

 

“I want to kiss someone.” 

 

Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Tobin smiles and roll her eyes without looking away from the Eiffel Tower. 

 

“I do not volunteer.” 

 

“Well good thing I don’t wanna kiss you, Betty White.” 

 

“I’m not old!” Tobin bellows, shoving Lindsey playfully. 

 

“Old or not, I’m not kissing you, so stop begging.” 

 

“Oh my god, you’re unbearable, you know that?” 

 

“You love me,” Lindsey sings.

 

“Mhm, whatever you say.” Tobin shoves her shoulder playfully. “You know what, if you want to kiss someone so much, then go kiss someone.” 

 

“Well yeah that’s the point, but who?” 

 

“Who cares? Go find someone you think is attractive and kiss them.” 

 

Lindsey stares with wide eyes. “What, you mean, like a stranger?” 

 

“Unless you can think of someone you already know,” Tobin snorts. “But I feel like we’ve established that that isn’t an option.”

 

Lindsey bites her lip and looks around. She sees cute boys and cute girls, some with each other and some alone. She sees them travel in packs and talk and laugh and act like it would be totally normal for a random girl to ask for a kiss. 

 

“You’re too chicken shit to do it anyway.”

 

Lindsey knows what Toin is doing, she’s trying to egg Lindsey on until the idea of Tobin being right is so unbearable that she has to do it. 

 

The thing is, she couldn’t just ask someone to kiss her, that would be absolutely ridiculous. Asking a total random person to kiss has got to be one of the most bizarre ideas ever. 

 

Lindsey doesn’t want to be that girl, some girl desperate for attention or affection to the point where she’s begging on the streets for it. 

 

But maybe it isn’t like that. Random people hook up with other random people all the time. One night stands are very much a thing, dating apps are very much a thing. She supposes there isn’t something totally wrong about approaching someone she finds attractive and asking to kiss them. 

 

“How about this,” Tobin adds, “I’ll give you 50 euros if you kiss a random stranger. Another 50 if you let me take a picture.” 

 

Lindsey howls out a laugh but doesn’t hate the idea. Kissing someone and getting 100 euros for it? Not a bad deal at all. 

 

“A picture? You’re such a creep.”

“Hardly,” Tobin argues, “with a picture, you’d definitely be able to leave Paris with something to show for it.”

 

Lindsey ponders it as Tobin mumbles “and then you’d finally shut up about it” playfully. 

 

A few moments pass before Lindsey looks Tobin dead in the eye, wearing a smirk, and says -

 

“Deal.” 

 

“No fucking way,” Tobin trumpets. Lindsey raises an eyebrow as if to challenge her and Tobin takes a huge breath. “Oh my god, okay, who are you gonna ask then?” 

 

“I don’t know, who should I ask?” A different way to phrase the question is “who is someone that I would want to kiss that looks like they wouldn’t be totally weirded out by a random stranger asking to kiss them for a picture?” 

 

They look around regardless, trying to find someone who looks single and kissable. 

 

Lindsey sees handsome men of different shapes and sizes, some with facial hair and some without. She sees beautiful women with different facial features and body types. Lindsey learned at a pretty young age that her sexual orientation didn’t really fit within any boundaries, and attempting to label it was just too complicated. Besides, she’s never really taken dating seriously. Being so invested in soccer has sort of denied her most of those opportunities, which is a large contributing factor to the situation she’s in at this very second. 

 

Minutes pass and she’s about to give up when someone catches her eye, a girl likely around her own age with blonde hair tucked into an adorable messy bun. She’s wearing baggy boyfriend jeans and a gray short-sleeve crop top, and Lindsey thinks it looks really soft. 

 

She’s beautiful in the way that’s pretty and cute and hot all at once.

 

She’s standing in front of a large display of various pieces of art for sale, art that Lindsey assumes the older man standing beside them has made himself. She’s seen people walk by him and ignore him or admire the art but never buy any. 

 

The girl is looking at all the paintings like they’re the most miraculous things she’d ever seen. Then she’s pointing at them with her mouth dropped in shock, like she can’t even believe they’re real. 

 

Lindsey watches her call over her friends, demanding they look at the paintings. The few girls seem impressed but don’t appear enraptured like this blonde is. They walk away and she ignores them as she walks up to the artist, an older man with a big beard and hunched shoulders. He smiles like he’s seen the whole world and his eyes crinkle, and the blonde girl’s do the same. 

 

“Linds, what are you doing?” 

 

Lindsey doesn’t answer Tobin, just watches as this random chick communicates with the artist. She wonders if this girl is French or if she’s a tourist, she wants to get closer to hear what they’re talking about. 

 

But then the girl is buying a painting, a smaller one that illustrates the Paris skyline with pastel colors, giving the man enough money that he raises his eyebrows. 

 

Then she’s hugging him and skipping over to her friends, literally unable to contain her excitement as she boasts about the painting. 

 

Lindsey turns and looks at Tobin for the first time, and watches as Tobin registers the look in her eyes. “Found her.”

 

“Linds, what -” 

 

She turns on her heel and without even thinking, without even registering what’s happening, she’s walking up to this random, gorgeous, stunning girl and tapping on her shoulder and saying - 

 

“Hi.” 

 

The girl turns, and her already present smile grows a little bit. The girl turns and sees Lindsey and she swears she sees one of the most beautiful girls in the world and says - 

 

“Well hi there.” 

 

“I’m Lindsey.” 

 

“I’m Emily.” 

 

“You speak English.” 

 

“Mhm,” Emily giggles, “so do you.” 

 

They maintain eye contact before the girl’s friends are clearing their throats. 

 

“Oh, um, hey,” Lindsey says over the blonde’s shoulder, “I’m Lindsey.”

 

Emily’s friends introduce themselves in a way that’s almost too friendly for just meeting a random person on the street. A short girl with pale skin and reddish-brown hair introduces herself as Rose. A girl with dark skin and darker hair says, “hey, I’m Mal,” and the last friend, who towers over them all, introduces herself as Sam with a goofy smile that Lindsey finds contagious. 

 

It isn’t until the air gets awkward that Lindsey clears her throat. Emily still looks at her with big eyes and a bigger smile. 

 

“So, I kind of have a weird question.” 

 

“Okay, Lindsey, fire away.” 

 

“Can I kiss you?” 

 

Her eyebrows shoot up and her smile quirks. “Sorry, did you just ask to kiss me?” 

 

“Yup. Yeah, I did.” 

 

Lindsey glances over Emily’s shoulders where her friends are watching in shock. Sam’s mouth is agape while Rose just smiles like she can’t believe it. Mal’s eyebrows are so far up her forehead that they might as well be a part of her hairline. But Emily is still smiling and that’s all Lindsey really cares about. 

 

“My friend over there,” Lindsey tries to explain, pointing at Tobin over her shoulder who offers a weak wave, “she bet me 50 euros that I wouldn’t kiss a random person.”

 

“No shit. That’s a lot of money.” 

 

“Yeah, plus she said she’ll give me another 50 if she can take a picture. I think she wants to use it to blackmail me.” 

 

Emily whistles like she’s impressed, but she doesn’t say anything and Lindsey gets antsy. 

 

“It’s a weird question, I know.” 

 

Emily hums, her smile still present. “Yeah, a little bit.” 

 

“Is that a no?” 

 

Lindsey isn’t sure where this new-found courage is coming from. Maybe it’s because 100 euros is on the line, maybe it’s because Tobin is watching like she can’t believe it at all, maybe it’s because she’s finally realized that she deserves to have it all. 

 

(Later, she’ll accredit it to this Emily girl being just too intriguing and too irresistible to stop herself. She wants to kiss this girl, this girl is standing there looking insanely kissable.)

 

Besides, the worst case scenario is that Emily says “no” and they both walk away with a funny story to tell in the future. 

 

Emily is taking too long to respond though, and Lindsey starts running her hands over her face anxiously. “Oh my god, I’m such a whackjob,” she realizes aloud. “I am so sorry, please ignore me, have a nice day.” 

 

She’s turning on her heel and borderline sprinting towards a very confused looking Tobin before Emily is grabbing her hand. “Hey, whoa now, wait a second,” she chuckles, “I didn’t say no.” 

 

Lindsey can’t pretend she isn’t surprised. 

 

“You didn’t say yes, though.”

 

“Well, I was getting there.” 

 

“Really?” 

 

“Well duh.” 

 

Lindsey finally releases a nervous laugh, all the tension of the situation disappearing. “Well jeez, you were really taking your time with that! Seriously, I feel so crazy.”

 

“Well, you are a little crazy, but…” Emily’s eyes flit down to her lips and then back to her eyes. “I guess I’m a little crazy too.” She winks and Lindsey’s breath is caught in her throat and - 

 

“Okay,” she breathes. She turns to Tobin, who looks absolutely perplexed and insanely impressed and is somehow still smiling through her shock. 

 

Lindsey drags Emily, who quickly hands her recently purchased painting to her friends as they call after her in confusion, over to stand right in front of the paintings where Lindsey had first seen her. She holds her phone out for Tobin to take the picture.

 

Lindsey’s almost rushing , because she’s terrified that if she takes a minute to think about what she’s doing, she might chicken out. If she thinks too long, she’ll realize that this is absurd. Absolutely absurd and entirely out of character and exactly what she needs to be doing right now. 

 

She shakes the phone towards Tobin impatiently before Tobin finally takes it. “Um-” Tobin starts.

 

“Get ready to pay up.”

 

“Yeah, get ready to pay up!” Emily exclaims. 

 

Lindsey grins cheekily at her before turning back to Tobin, shooing her away with a “go on.” 

 

Tobin still hasn’t processed any of what’s happening, but her feet move robotically a few feet away to prepare to take the picture. 

 

“Wait,” Emily starts, and Lindsey is certain that she’s going to back out after finally realizing how absurd this situation is. “Tell me some stuff about you.”

 

“What?” 

 

“Yeah, come on, give me the SparkNotes version of you. That way, we aren’t strangers who are kissing, we’re just… kind of acquaintances?” 

 

“Okay,” Lindsey giggles, “that’s actually a good idea. Okay, I’m Lindsey, I’m 20-years-old, I’m from Colorado but I play professional soccer here in Paris.”

 

“Wait, seriously?” 

 

“Yes, seriously, but shush, I’m not done.” Emily mumbles out an “oh, right, sorry,” as Lindsey continues. “I love avocado toast and lattes, I’m not a natural blonde, my favorite show is The Office, and… oh, I’m allergic to cats but not dogs.” 

 

“Wow, nice comprehensive list there.”

 

“Why thank you. Okay, you go.” 

 

“Okay, my name’s Emily. I’m 21-years-old, from Georgia, going into my senior year of college. I’m studying abroad here for a few weeks this summer. I couldn’t go during the school year because I also play soccer.”

 

“Oh my god, are you serious?” Lindsey bellows. 

 

“Yes but shush, I’m not done,” Emily teases and Lindsey thinks she could actually really like this girl. “I love the Waffle House and dancing, I am a natural blonde, and I hope one day to become a sensational meme.”

 

“Is that right?” 

 

“Mhm, I think I have real potential.” 

 

“I bet you do.”

 

“Are you gonna kiss or what?” Lindsey and Emily jerk their heads over to where Emily’s friends are standing and smirking, Rose cupping her mouth with her hands to scream at them to hurry up. 

 

Lindsey looks over at Tobin who gives her a thumbs up. She’s able to hide her grin behind Lindsey’s phone as she holds it up, prepared to take the picture. 

 

Lindsey then looks at Emily, taking a small step forward into her space. “Is it okay if I kiss you?” she asks nervously.

 

Emily nods, once softly and then again more distinctly. “Yeah,” she mumbles, and then Lindsey is moving forward again. She feels her heartbeat in her fingertips as she cups Emily’s chin with one hand, the other resting on her cheek. 

 

She’s a couple inches taller than Emily so she has to lean down a bit. She rests their foreheads together, her lips coming insanely close to the older girl’s. 

 

This is happening , Lindsey thinks as she smiles. I’m about to kiss someone in Paris

 

She waits for Emily to lean forward and initiate it, but then Emily is whispering “kiss me” against her lips, and Lindsey tilting Emily’s head back and kissing her.

 

It starts out soft and slow, Lindsey taking Emily’s bottom lip gently between her own. They linger against each other for a second before Lindsey goes to take charge a bit more, pulling Emily closer without being too aggressive. 

 

Emily responds in kind. She steps as close as she can, tugging herself forward by Lindsey’s hips. Lindsey can’t shake how nice it feels to have Emily gripping at her hips firmly, grinning against her lips after a string of a few kisses. 

 

And that should be it. It’s supposed to be one easy kiss, neither intense nor flashy. On top of being strangers (or “kind of acquaintances”), they’re completely in public for everyone and anyone to see. Neither of them are looking to put on a show, despite Tobin standing only 15 feet taking a picture. 

 

But they both get wrapped up in it. It feels nice , the kissing and the feathery touches and the sensation of the whole world disappearing around them. 

 

When Lindsey pulls away, it’s only to tilt her head to deepen the kiss and Emily mirrors the action. When taller blonde runs her tongue over Emily’s lip, Emily ignores the invitation and instead takes the lead, slipping her own into Lindsey’s mouth. Lindsey moans through her surprise before moving her hands to Emily’s waist greedily. Emily reacts immediately, wrapping one arm around Lindsey’s neck before resting her other hand right above her chest. 

 

It becomes hotter and needier, and before either of them know it, they’re full on making out in the middle of Paris. Tobin’s grin grows tenfold behind the phone. She decides to stop taking pictures, though, because it’s starting to feel like she’s really intruding on something.

 

It isn’t until Emily’s friends are howling out teases that the two pull apart from each other. Emily’s eyes are still closed but she’s smiling dumbly and Lindsey can’t help but stare. “Wow,” Emily whispers. Lindsey nods, at a complete loss for words as her eyes continue to trace Emily’s face. 

 

As far as first kisses go, that had to have been one of the best in, like, the history of humankind. 

 

Lindsey giggles when she registers that Emily’s friends are applauding them and screaming out “whoop whoop”s. Emily can’t take her eyes off of Lindsey’s, though, and Lindsey notices. She doesn’t want to look away, but she has to when Tobin approaches them. 

 

She walks over to them hesitantly, still worried that she’s encroaching on Lindsey’s moment, but holds the phone out with a cheeky smile. 

 

“I got some good action shots,” Tobin teases, shoving her hands in her pockets. 

 

Lindsey ignores her and swipes through the pictures, holding her phone so Emily can look as well. She tries to ignore the way her heart continues to race when Emily stands so close that their arms are brushing, pointing at the pictures she likes the most. 

 

“Wow, these are kind of cute,” Lindsey mumbles, and she’s right. The pictures are precious, they look adorable and the backdrop with the paintings is beautiful, the top half of the Eiffel Tower peeking out behind them. 

 

The pictures really look like they’re of two girls who are in a happy, loving relationship.

 

Lindsey kind of wishes it was. 

 

Emily looks up at Lindsey, her smile cute and wide and happy, like she’s just been thoroughly kissed in the City of Love. 

 

“These are cute,” she affirms, turning her attention to Tobin. “Looks like you’re gonna be out 100 euros.” 

 

“Yeah, I won’t lie to you, I really did not think she was going to go through with that.” 

 

“You’re lack of faith in me has cost you dearly,” Lindsey comments. “Emily, I would offer you some of the money but, um, that kinda feels like prostitution?” 

 

“That’s okay,” Emily snickers. She wants to say something cheesy about how the kiss was worth far more than a hundred euros, but her friends interrupt them.

 

“We got some pretty good pictures, too,” Sam says and presents her phone. She, Mal, and Rose had taken selfies with Emily and Lindsey kissing in the background. They’re pulling funny faces or sticking their tongues out at the camera. There’s one of Rose pretending to squish them with her fingers using the depth of their positioning and another of Mal standing closer to them, pointing at them with a huge smile. 

 

Lindsey can’t help but laugh. Emily’s friends seem just as goofy as she is, and she’s appreciative that they’re embracing this odd situation and not making Lindsey feel weird about it. 

 

She doesn’t feel self-conscious at all until Mal leans up to whisper something in her ear and Emily grimaces. They walk away to give the two blondes space, which Tobin notices, so she also retreats to a bench.

 

“They just reminded me that we have reservations at some fancy restaurant,” Emily frowns, “celebrating one of our last nights.” 

 

“Oh, yeah, of course. Sorry, I didn’t mean to hold you up.” 

 

“No, don’t apologize. Trust me, this was a very good reason to be held up.” 

 

She’s flirting , Lindsey thinks, and she likes it. 

 

“Yeah? Not too bizarre?”

 

“Nope. Just the perfect amount of bizarre.” 

 

Lindsey grins and ducks her head before looking back up and finding Emily’s eyes. Ask her for her number. Get her number. Get any type of information where you can talk to her again.

 

“Well,” Lindsey starts, holding her hand out for Emily to shake, “pleasure doing business with you.” 

 

“Please,” Emily says, playing along by taking Lindsey’s hand, “the pleasure was all mine.” 

 

She hesitates. She’s waiting for Lindsey to ask for her number. But Lindsey doesn’t, just shakes her hand dumbly. 

 

Emily assumes that the Lindsey that was bold enough to ask her to kiss her in the middle of Paris would also be brave enough to ask for her number if she wanted it. But she must not be interested, so Emily just winks and turns and walks back to her friends, and that’s that. 

 

Lindsey watches her go and immediately regrets not getting her number, but she’s too embarrassed to go after her. 

 

Tobin sidles up next to her after a few moments, wrapping an arm around Lindsey’s shoulders. “I’ve gotta be honest with you, Linds. That was fucking epic.” 

 

Lindsey rolls her eyes and shoves Tobin’s away. “Whatever,” Lindsey chuckles, trying to ease the pit in her stomach that she really screwed up and will never see Emily again. “I’ll take my payment in cash or as a check, please.”

 

Tobin throws her head back and laughs. “How about Venmo?” 

 

“Deal.”

Chapter Text

It’s been five months and Lindsey still thinks about it. 

 

A lot has happened since then. Tobin left and Lindsey learned to be happy without her PSG-BFF there with her. She gets more playing time, she fights against the coach that finds ways to be angry with her, she learns to stand up for herself and becomes a true teammate. 

 

Lindsey realizes she isn’t a victim of France. She moves forward by taking Paris by the (soccer) balls, opening up to her teammates and becoming their friend while becoming content with being on her own.

 

(She doesn’t want to accredit it to the beautiful blonde that she kissed in the middle of the street. She certainly doesn’t want to accredit it to Tobin, because the brunette would certainly never let her live that down. 

 

After all, Lindsey is the one who was brave enough to take Tobin up on her bet and approach Emily, as creepy as it might have been.) 

 

Just as France starts to become the best it’s ever been, Lindsey’s manager suggests that it’s time to head home. With the 2019 World Cup approaching, Lindsey needs to be on a NWSL team to be a contender for the roster. The league is in great shape, crafted well by the veterans Lindsey has been looking up to for years. 

 

The Thorns, Sky Blue, the Spirit all want Lindsey, but she can’t think of a single reason not to pick Portland. It’s on the west coast and closer to her family than the other teams, it’s an amazing city, and Tobin is there. 

 

Tobin plays a huge role in making the Thorns what they are today, and it’s crazy for Lindsey to think that one of her idols has become a true friend. Lindsey is comforted by the idea of starting this new journey knowing that Tobin will be by her side. 

 

Everything falls into place beautifully, and she has a verbal agreement with the Thorns until she can sign her contract once she’s stateside.  

 

Lindsey is almost scared that it’s too good to be true, but she decides to have some faith. 

 

She decides to be proud of how far she’s come, how the risks she took to make her dream a reality are starting to pay off, and how much she’s grown as a person.

 

And it all started with the blonde girl who bought a painting in Paris. 

 

It’s for that reason that Lindsey tries to justify why she still thinks about it so often. It’s nothing more than reflecting on the catalyst of her growth and feeling grateful.

 

But Lindsey doesn’t think about the moment, she thinks about Emily. It’s silly. They met and they kissed, that was it. Lindsey’s mind really shouldn’t float off to Emily as much as it does.

 

Sometimes she’ll open up her phone and look through the pictures, her eyes lingering on the one where their foreheads are pressed together and they’re laughing against each other’s lips. 

 

It’s not, like, an obsession. She’s not creepy about it, but she does feel a weird sense of guilt. She’s not trying to fetishize these pictures, but it’s a fun memory and Emily was fun and a very good kisser, so what’s the harm in thinking of it every now and again? 

 

She hates that she didn’t get her last name or ask what school she’s playing soccer at, because Lindsey would definitely be interested in watching her play. Googling “emily college soccer” was ineffective and only contributed to Lindsey’s fear that she was hyperfixating. She’s not going to watch every D1 soccer game that has the luck of being broadcasted just on the off chance of seeing Emily, because that would be ridiculous. 

 

Still, she figures that she has to do something to finally move over this weird stint of obsessing over the kiss. It’s a Thursday morning when she decides to brainstorm ideas.

 

She considers facetiming Tobin, but the last thing she wants is for Tobin to know that, half a year later, she’s still thinking about Emily. It’s embarrassing enough as it is, having Tobin there to emphasize it will only make Lindsey feel worse about it. Regardless, Lindsey remembers that she’s six hours ahead of Tobin and wouldn’t want to wake her up anyway. 

 

(PSA: Tobin would not have made her feel embarrassed about it, and she’ll tell Lindsey that one day.) 

 

The second thing she thinks of doing is deleting the pictures. They aren’t doing her any good on her camera roll. In fact, they only serve as a haunting reminder that Lindsey kissed an amazing girl and didn’t get her number afterwards. 

 

But she decides against that too. She couldn’t bring herself to do it, even if there was a good reason to. After all, she had Tobin take the pictures so she could “leave Paris with something to show for it” (and get 50 euros). This is what she has to show for it. 

 

She also considers going out and kissing a different person. People use random hookups to move on all the time. Then she realizes that she can’t trust herself to now fixate on that person like she is Emily. 

 

(She silences the voice in the back of her head that reminds her that she doesn’t want to kiss anyone besides Emily.) 

 

Then she has the idea. An idea that should be stupid or crazy or absurd, but isn’t, because what do you do when you have a funny story to tell? Post it on social media. 

 

Posting one of the pictures on Twitter wouldn’t be that weird. People share silly stuff like this all the time. Plus, her personal Twitter account (@horanimal7) only has a few hundred followers, mostly friends from home and people she’s met through soccer. 

 

Lindsey does consider if posting one of the pictures would be an invasion of Emily’s privacy, but it’s not like anyone can see her face. Besides, the chances of her seeing it are slim to none, and she had to have known Lindsey would show people the pictures. 

 

Maybe addressing this fun memory is exactly what Lindsey needs. She’s going back to the states soon. If she’s going to really move on, then she has to leave what happened with Emily here in France.

 

Without another thought, Lindsey opens the Twitter app and types out her tweet. 

 

Shoutout to the total stranger i met and asked to kiss me for no reason.

 

Lindsey grimaces. It sounds awkward. It’s not eloquent in the slightest, and it certainly isn’t honest (because there were plenty of reasons to kiss Emily). 

 

She deletes the text quickly before pondering what to write. 

 

Big ups to the girl i met in Paris and asked for a kiss

 

She stops herself short, because it’s ridiculous and doesn’t sound at all like herself. She’s overthinking it. She just needs to be honest, in less than 140 characters, and needs to stop treating it like such a big deal.

 

It’s only a few moments later when it hits her, and she types it out with a smile:

 

I hope this girl i met at the Eiffel Tower and asked for a pic of us kissing so i could pretend i had a romantic time in Paris is doing good.

 

Cute, short and simple, and true. They did meet at the Eiffel Tower and Lindsey did ask to kiss her because she wanted to feel less insecure about her romantic life in Paris. More than anything, she really does hope that Emily is doing well. 

 

She picks the picture of them kissing, her hand cupping Emily’s chin, the smaller girl’s face mostly hidden from the camera and her arms holding onto Lindsey’s waist.

 

(Lindsey tries to forget the memory of how good that felt.)

 

She sends the tweet almost immediately, ignoring any lingering thought that it might be a bad idea. 

 

Her heart drops at the thought of any poor reaction to the tweet, but she definitely doesn’t want to delete it. That would just negate the progress she was starting to make, so she turns her notifications off before closing the app, exhaling deeply. It doesn’t really matter what happens. She’s sure her friends will think it’s silly or ridiculous, they might give her a bit of shit for it, but she knows it’ll all be in good fun. 

 

Lindsey forces any thoughts about it out of her head as she gets ready for training. 

 

She goes to training and works her ass off. Her teammates slap her ass and give her high fives. They go out for lunch afterwards and get smoothies, Lindsey laughs more than she has in a while.

 

She goes home and practices a lot of self-care and falls asleep early, forgetting all about Twitter and the girl thousands of miles away somewhere.

 




That next morning, she opens her phone after turning off the alarm and finds herself woken up immediately. 

 

She has eighty-nine text messages and twenty-three missed calls. 

 

Dude omg ur viral, a text from a childhood friend says. 

 

Bitch ur crazy! another says with the crying-laughing emoji.  

 

The rest are just the same, but she ignores the rest to search for Tobin’s message thread. Of course, Tobin had tried to call her several times and had texted her a bunch. 

 

Lindsey Horan!

You crazy kid!!! 

You’re blowing up on Twitter rn 

Wait i forgot ur probs asleep 

Call me when you wake up!!!

Wait then Ill be asleep 

Ugh just text me when you wake up

Facetime me later!!

Ur such a baller omg 

 

Lindsey closes her messages immediately, opening the Twitter app as quickly as she can. When it loads, she sees 99+ in her notification tab. 

 

Her tweet has over a hundred-thousand likes, thousands of retweets, and hundreds of responses. 

 

Lindsey spends a few moments having absolutely no clue how to feel about this. She went viral. She’s seen it happen to other people before, but she really did not expect it to happen to her. 

 

The whole point of tweeting this was for her to have a tiny outlet to her friends, not for the whole world to see. She understands now that that was a ridiculous way to think about it. Her profile is public, after all. If she was so scared of other people seeing it, she could’ve made her account private. Or she could have not sent the tweet altogether. 

 

Still, she never expected her own tweet to go viral. Social media is way more powerful than she ever thought. 

 

She can’t help but start reading through the responses. Most people applaud her brazen decision to kiss a stranger. Some are sweet, like ur doing amazing sweetie and you’re a legend wtf . Some people are mean and call her desperate, but she ignores those with an eye-roll. 

 

One stands out to her though.

 

Wait you’re trying to tell us that you aren’t in love with each other?

 

She tries not to think about it as she texts Tobin back, saying hahaha call me when ur awake!  

 

Lindsey gets up and gets ready for the day, trying to ignore the craziness that has ensued in the past eight hours. She never really thought about the reality of going viral - the reality being that nothing has changed at all. She’s still just Lindsey, still a soccer player and still a big fan of kombucha. 

 

She was hoping that the effects of sending the tweet, the forgetting about Emily and the moving on from the memory, would start immediately.

 

But it doesn’t and she starts to worry. 

 

She makes her regular breakfast of an egg over-easy on avocado toast and when she sits down at her kitchen table, she responds to as many text messages as she can until she can’t help but open Twitter again, continuing to explore the responses to her tweet. It isn’t until about twenty minutes later when she realizes that she has messages from a few people. 

 

Some are continuing to applaud her, just over DM. Some are girls clearly trying to slide in and shoot their shot. There’s one from a boy begging for “pics but without all the clothes,” and Lindsey promptly blocks him. 

 

When she continues to scroll, she sees it. A message from someone named Emily. Lindsey tries not to get her hopes up, because lots of girls are named Emily, but she clicks on the girls profile to see for sure if it’s the Emily she truly hopes it is. 

 

It is. 

 

@emilysonnett 

UVA soccer, sit down comedian, lactose tolerant

 

She clicks on the profile picture and sees Emily - her Emily, the one she kissed in Paris - soft-smiling at the camera with her hair in a loose ponytail. 

 

“Holy shit.” 

 

At the top of Emily’s page is Lindsey’s tweet, quoted with a caption of her own: I hope the girl who asked me for a pic of us kissing so she could pretend she had a romantic time in Paris is doing good too :D

 

“Holy shit.”

 

She goes back to her messages, clicking on the one from Emily.

 

she’s doing a lot better now ;) 

 

“Holy fucking shit .” 

 

She immediately texts Tobin, you have to call me as soon as you wake up, and then spends a few more minutes staring at Emily’s message with her mouth agape.

 

When she finally processes it, her smile grows so wide that she’s sure it could extend past her face. 

 

She finally found her. She no longer has to hate herself for not getting Emily’s number. Here she is, and she has the power of social media to thank for it. 

 

Lindsey needs to take a walk. She needs to clear her head and sort out her feelings, because this is kind of crazy. 

 

She heads out to the balcony of her apartment, breathing in the always lovely but occasionally grimy French air. It’s cold this time of year in France. Not as cold as it gets in the states, but still chilly. It doesn’t matter though, because even with the cool breeze hitting her face. She can’t stifle the smile on her face.

 

Lindsey was so certain that she had totally blown her shot with Emily that she considered her only option to be to just forget about the girl. If only she had sent that tweet five months ago, she would have saved herself five months of fixating. 

 

There was no way she could have anticipated the tweet blowing up to the point of Emily being able to find it. And thank God that Emily had sent her the message, because considering how much the tweet blew up, Lindsey likely wouldn’t have found her through the see of likes and responses. 

 

“Emily Sonnett, UVA soccer, sit-down comedian, lactose tolerant,” she rereads aloud to herself. She’s at UVA, and just as goofy online as she was in person. 

 

She can’t take this opportunity for granted. She blew it before, and she is not going to blow it again. 

 

Lindsey glances down at her phone again, reading over Emily’s message once more. “She’s doing a lot better now, winky face,” she whispers. She’s flirting, right? she thinks. It’s a safe assumption. The message alone is flirtatious, and the winky face only confirms her suspicion. 

 

She has a chance here and she’ll be damned if she wastes it. 

 

Holy shit! Hi! 

I did not expect this 

I should be embarrassed right?

 

She sends them without rethinking or stopping herself. Now isn’t the time to second guess herself. Lindsey was brave enough to approach Emily and ask to kiss her, she can be brave enough to reply to her Twitter message. 

 

The thing is, it’s barely 9:30 in the morning in France. Which means that it’s six hours ahead of Emily at UVA. So, there’s plenty of time before Lindsey can anticipate a response from her, or from any of her friends. 

 

But that’s for the best anyway, Lindsey reasons. She’s got a good thing going with PSG right now, especially now that her last and final game with the team is approaching in the coming weeks. She shouldn’t be distracted. 

 

She repeats her routine from the day prior, she goes to practice and kicks some ass. Though her mind keeps trying to wander to Emily, she pushes the thoughts away. She only has a few more practices and she can’t afford to not be giving 110%. 

 

Her coach notices and gives her a firm head nod, but she doesn’t acknowledge him. 

 

She takes an extra long shower, rinsing off any angst about anything Twitter or Emily related. Whatever happens happens. If Emily responds, great. If she doesn’t, fine. The consequences of sending the tweet proved not to be consequences at all. Going viral is so commonplace nowadays, Lindsey really wasn’t concerned about any repercussions - after all, her tweet was pretty harmless. 

 

Still, if sending that tweet was worth anything, it was worth it to find Emily again. 

 

Lindsey wants to skip out on post-practice salads with her teammates, but she’s all too aware of how limited her time with them is. She hardly finds herself distracted when she’s crunching down cucumbers and chickpeas among mixed greens, but the second she gets back to her apartment, she gets antsy. 

 

She refreshes her Twitter a dozen times over. She’s still getting notifications for her tweet, likes and retweets and responses. She even gets more messages, but none from who she wants.  

 

She goes for a walk and does some more shopping, buying last minute presents from France to bring home to family and friends. She gets a latte from her favorite coffee shop and reads the Book Thief , but then realizes she’s doing the novel a disservice because she isn’t even paying attention to the words on the page.  

 

Lindsey picks up takeout from her favorite sushi restaurant for dinner and eats it in the living room, The Office droning on in the background. She’s seen this episode before, she’s seen the whole series before, but she always finds herself coming back to it. 

 

Still, even the antics of Michael Scott aren’t enough to distract her from what she’s waiting for. The second Lindsey accepts her fate, that everything else she does is going to be pointless until she hears back from Emily, she refreshes Twitter to see a message.

 

From Emily.  

 

no you definitely shouldnt be embarrassed!! 

you just keep surprising me though

 

Lindsey lets out a huge sigh, because finally. The most gruelling eight hours of her life, waiting for this response. 

 

She must have just woken up. It would be around 8am wherever Emily is, reasoning that she’s on the east coast. The thought of Emily waking up to seeing her message makes her heart flutter. 

 

And now she has a response.

 

The thing is, Lindsey is a millennial - she knows what the move is supposed to be: wait a while before responding. Try not to seem too eager, play it cool, pretend you haven’t been waiting for this moment. 

 

Only issue there is that Lindsey is eager, she certainly isn’t playing it cool, and she has been waiting for this moment. 

 

She decides to do her best, though. Wait as long as possible. She can do this. 

 

She makes it 12 minutes. 

 

“Fuck it,” she murmurs, and she’s typing out a response. 

 

Is that a good thing?

 

She sends it and spends a few moments staring at the screen, hoping Emily’s response will come immediately. After a minute, or what feels like an hour, she puts her phone down (face up with Twitter still open because what’s the point of locking her phone at this point). 

 

When she glances back down for the hundredth time, Emily has replied.

 

i think so 

i mean, if that kiss was anything to go by, then definitely

i love surprises :D

 

Lindsey smiles and bites her lip. She’s nervous, she already almost screwed this up with Emily. She’s not sure what she’ll do if she blows this second chance. 

 

Well I’m full of ‘em, so you might wanna stick around ;) 

 

It’s a risk, it’s flirty like Emily is but it doesn’t feel natural. Lindsey can see that this kind of stuff comes seamlessly to Emily, that being flirty or friendly is second nature. 

 

She decides to compensate by sending Emily another message right away.

 

I’m really glad I was able to find you 

 

Emily’s responses start to come quicker and quicker. 

 

i think i’m the one who found you 

 

Lindsey rolls her eyes and chuckles.

 

Excuse you, I’m the one who sent the tweet! 

And I’m the one who asked to kiss you!

 

She watches anxiously as the three dots indicating that Emily is typing dance around on the screen.

 

yeah and then you didn’t ask for my number! 

wtf is with that! 

 

Her smile couldn’t get any bigger if she tried. So Emily had wanted Lindsey to ask for her number. It shouldn't surprise her but it does, and it makes her happier than she’s willing to admit to herself. 

 

Ughhh I know 

I chickened out 

 

Emily’s responses come quickly and in quick succession from one another. 

 

?????

you chickened out??

you asked to kiss me

a random stranger

in the middle of the streets in paris 

and you’re trying to tell me 

that you were scared to ask for my number?

 

Lindsey giggles, taking a moment to hold her phone against her chest and close her eyes. She can’t believe this is happening.

 

Must I do everything?? 

It was your turn! 

 

It’s not a totally unreasonable question. Lindsey had made the first move, even if it was with semi-ulterior motives. Maybe it was Emily’s turn to make the move, and Emily sort of agrees.

 

hahahaha 

fair enough 

 

Lindsey is about to respond when the three dots indicate that Emily is still typing. After an obnoxiously long time (5 minutes max), the message comes in.

 

i was gonna ask for your number, but i guess i thought you werent interested? like i figured if you were bold enough to pull a move like that, you would’ve had no problem asking for my phone number if you wanted it 

 

Her heart drops because Emily makes a very valid point. Lindsey should’ve been brave enough to do that, especially given the circumstances in which they met. She doesn’t blame Emily in the slightest for thinking that, and she feels guilty. 

 

I totally get why you would think that 

But I definitely should have asked for it 

I was very, very interested 

 

Emily replies immediately. 

 

was? ;)

 

This is all the confirmation Lindsey needs to be honest. 

 

Was, am, will be. 

Very interested.

 

More notifications pop up as Lindsey watches Emily’s response come through. 

 

me too

so much

 

She breathes out a sigh she didn’t even know she was holding on to. 

 

Lindsey hesitates to respond, and Emily can either sense it from thousands of miles away or doesn’t care to wait because she’s following up.

 

ask me

 

Now’s her chance. Emily is being kind enough to explicitly tell her how to keep this going, and she’ll be damned if she doesn’t take advantage of this opportunity. 

 

Can I have your number?

 

Lindsey can’t wait for a response, so she jumps up from the couch to get a bottle of water from the fridge. When she comes back, Emily has replied.

 

eh, i’ll think about it 

 

“Jesus Christ,” Lindsey murmurs at her phone, but she’s still smiling. Damn this girl.

 

Omg

You gotta be kidding me

 

She has to be kidding right?

 

LOL i’m funny right?

 

Lindsey chuckles, typing, not nearly as funny as you seem to think you are, but she doesn’t get the chance to send it. 

 

Emily’s phone number appears on the screen and Lindsey’s heart just about explodes out of her chest. 

 

you better put it to good use, Emily demands. 

 

Lindsey can't imagine not putting it to good use, and decides to say so.

 

You better believe I’m going to.

Chapter Text

They text. They text a lot. They tiptoe the line of asking to FaceTime but both decide not to. It’s ridiculous, they talk all the time, they’ve met in person, they’ve essentially made out. It shouldn’t be as nerve-wracking as it is, but Lindsey can’t help it. 

 

Still, the nerves don’t do anything to dull the excitement sparked by liking Emily. 

 

They start by talking about soccer. They talk about each other’s teams and their coaches, their favorite memories, what playing was like as the grew up. They send each other their goofy childhood soccer portraits, with gaps in teeth and bangs uneven. 

 

Emily asks about Lindsey’s decision to go to France rather than college. With each thing Lindsey tells her, three questions sprout in Emily’s mind. She wants to know everything. 

 

Lindsey asks Emily about college soccer. She asks if she’s missed anything by skipping that step, and Emily rattles off a few fun memories. All the same, she can’t make it more clear how impressed she is by Lindsey’s decision. 

 

It doesn’t take too long to breach the level of talking about more personal stuff. It starts off simple, Lindsey asking Emily what TV shows she likes. They go back and forth, discussing all of their favorites, from movies to animals to vacations. 

 

Emily talks about her love for old Disney channel shows and movies; she sends Spotify links to her carefully crafted playlists and favorite songs, usually remixes to catchy pop hits; she talks about all the reasons the Princess Diaries is her favorite movie but reveals that she is secretly obsessed with the Lord of the Rings series. 

 

She explains how much she loves silly dancing and making memes, and Lindsey learns that it all comes from a place of wanting to make other people happy. It becomes more and more apparent that Emily is driven by putting smiles on other peoples’ faces. She operates through an innate desire to make the world a better place through laughter, and Lindsey can’t imagine that there’s anything in the world more pure than that.

 

soccer is the one thing about me that’s selfish, Emily claims offhandedly one day. When Lindsey asks why, Emily says that soccer the only thing she chooses to do to make herself happy instead of other people.

 

(Lindsey figures that Emily isn’t the only one happy because she plays soccer, but she lets her believe it for now.)

 

They get real with each other. They talk about mental health, about how hard it can be to maintain a positive head space as soccer players. They talk about their families and their hometowns, the things they wish they had known to do differently. 

 

They send each other selfies - Emily cheesing outside of a Waffle House and Lindsey soft smiling behind a coffee mug. Lindsey gets videos of Emily’s new dance routines and Emily gets videos of Lindsey knocking her teammates’ things onto the ground. 

 

The time difference can be challenging, but they both pretend not to notice the other one making changes to give them more time to talk. Emily starts to wake up earlier to start texting Lindsey as soon as possible, and Lindsey starts staying awake until her eyes can’t stay open anymore. More often than not, their conversations have no beginning or end because it seamlessly continues over sleeping schedules. 

 

It’s shamelessly adorable and awkwardly flirtatious and beautifully sweet, and it’s more than either of them ever expected. 

 

It’s all perfect. That is, until Tobin reminds her about her concerns returning home.

 

Horan, you’re the only person on this planet that can kiss a random girl on the street, tweet about her, and then get her to be your girlfriend.

 

Tobin’s voice is somewhat muffled from using her car’s hands-free link to talk on the phone while driving to training. 

 

“She’s not my girlfriend,” Lindsey reminds her as she stir fries chicken and veggies for dinner.

 

It boggles my mind,” Tobin continues, ignoring Lindsey’s comment, “your charm has got to be the most powerful in the world.

 

“You’re an idiot.” 

 

I wonder why I’m immune to it,” Tobin mumbles.

 

“Maybe,” Lindsey says with a cheeky grin and a mouthful of broccoli, “it’s because you can’t see past a certain somebody else’s charm.”

 

Tobin groans but Lindsey can tell she’s doing so through a smile. She can imagine the way Tobin’s cheeks are pink at the mention of Christen. 

 

“Mhm, you’re one to talk shit about girlfriends when you -”

 

I wasn’t talking shit! I was merely pondering the wonder of your situation out loud. If anything, I’m applauding you.” 

 

“Yeah, yeah, save it.” 

 

It is crazy though,” Tobin says, suddenly serious, “that this Emily is the same one that’s on the UVA soccer team. She’s good, she’s probably gonna be the number one draft pick.” 

 

“I still can’t believe you didn’t put two and two together on your own.”

 

You’re no better! ” 

 

“Yes I am! You know how hard it is to watch college games with the time difference.” 

 

Tobin hums like she doesn’t want to agree but knows she has to. She knows that Lindsey is right. Tobin pays pretty close attention to college games, and Emily Sonnett is the best center back on the collegiate level. 

 

Well, it’s not like she recognized me.

 

“Tobin, you were wearing sunglasses and a snapback the size of an SUV.”

 

Whatever,” she chuckles. “How did she react when you told her you’re coming back?”

 

“I actually haven’t told her yet,” Lindsey answers as she plates her food. 

 

Why not? ” Tobin’s question isn’t accusatory, just curious. It certainly isn’t unreasonable either. Lindsey has told Tobin that she and Emily are interested in each other, they’ve expressly said so to one another. It would only make sense for Lindsey to be excited to come back for that reason alone.

 

“I don’t even know. I guess I just haven’t brought it up yet.”

 

I would’ve figured you would want to tell her right away.”

 

“Yeah I guess I do, but… I don’t know. Maybe I’m scared it will complicate things?”

 

Homie, it’s supposed to do the exact opposite.

 

“No, I know. I just - when I’m here and she’s there, it’s easy to be like, ‘oh we’re too far away from each other for anything to happen.’ But when I’m back, we’ll have to, like…” 

 

Talk about it? ” Tobin snorts. 

 

Lindsey can sense the sass. “Okay, tell me how excited you were to talk to Christen about what you are to each other.”

 

Come on, that’s not fair. It took us a long time to get where you and this girl are already at. You’ve been texting non-stop for, like, not even that long. After meeting in the streets of Paris and basically making out -”

 

“On a dare.”

 

“But you picked her. And she’s picking you back. You both already know you want to try to be more than friends. If it’s going to be easy, then let it be.” 

 

Lindsey pauses, watching the steam rise from her plate. 

 

Tobin is right. It hasn’t been as hard as Lindsey thought it would be. She was so convinced that waiting for Emily was a lost cause anyway. In her mind, the chances of them finding each other were insanely slim. Everything is working out the way she wants it to, but her anxiety about it all is getting the best of her. 

 

“You’re right,” she finally groans, suddenly not feeling very hungry. “I’ll tell her and see what she thinks.” 

 

Lindsey can hear Tobin parking her car and taking her off speaker phone. “Proud of you, dude. I’m happy you’re happy. And I’m happy you’re coming home.

 

That makes Lindsey smile. Home . She really likes the sound of that. 

 

“Me too, I’ve missed everyone so much.”

 

Even moi?” 

 

“Oui, bien sûr.”

 

Tobin laughs on the other end. “Okay, I have to go to training.

 

“Okay, have fun. Text me later.”

 

Will do.”  

 

“Oh, and Tobin?”

 

Yeah?

 

“Thank you. Like, seriously, thank you.”

 

Lindsey feels the wait of the pause Tobin takes. “Always. Love you kiddo.

 

“Love you too.” 

 

Her food long forgotten, Lindsey throws herself face down on her couch and reflects on everything. 

 

This situation with Emily is bizarre, in the most unexpected and wonderful way. The odds of Emily agreeing to kiss her were supposed to be low, but then she did - and it was great. The odds of Emily seeing the tweet were supposed to be low, but then it went viral. The odds of Emily liking Lindsey back were supposed to be low, as far as she was concerned, but Emily does like her back. 

 

Everything is working out in the most rom-com manner possible, Lindsey can’t help but disbelieve it. 

 

It is real, though. 

 

I had a point, Lindsey thinks. She figures that if she’s in France and Emily is in the U.S., nothing could happen. It just isn’t realistic to start something, whatever that might be, when they’re over 4,000 miles apart. It might be for other people, but not two people who play soccer professionally and have such unpredictable schedules. 

 

But when they’re both in the states, in the same country and in more manageable time zones, it’s possible. If Emily gets drafted, which it seems like she’s going to as far as Tobin is concerned, then they have a chance of being near each other. Plus, they’ll see each other when their teams play against one another. 

 

Not to mention, they both have dreams of ending up on the National Team. Lindsey knows she’s good, and even though she can (and will) get better, she knows she can make the National Team soon. 

 

After the way Tobin spoke about Emily (and Lindsey unabashedly watching bootleg recordings of UVA games), Lindsey feels pretty confident that Emily will end up on the National Team as well. 

 

It’s all possible and real and still too perfect to be true. 

 

This new Lindsey, the one who asks beautiful girls to kiss her on the streets of Paris, she isn’t scared of that. She can’t be. 

 

So it’s decided. She’s telling Emily that she’s coming back to the states… as soon as it comes up organically.





do you think we would have met if we weren’t both in Paris that day?
Emily asks one day, a particularly cold Wednesday and the day before Lindsey’s last PSG game.  

 

Duh, Lindsey replies. National Team ;)

 

oh well duhhh

that would require you to be back in the US, right?

 

Lindsey bites her lip, her coffee long forgotten. It’s an open invitation to tell Emily that she’s coming back - she has to take it. 

 

Tobin was right. This is good. This… thing, whatever it is, between them is good. Lindsey should only assume that being back in the states could make it even better. 

 

Yeah, about that…  

That might be sooner than we thought? 

 

Emily’s response comes in so quickly, Lindsey wonders if she even had time to read her text.

 

NO WAY 

HOW SOON???

 

Lindsey giggles and throws her head down into her hands. 

 

Very soon! Like, “tomorrow is my last game with PSG and then I’m moving home after Christmas” soon

 

Emily sends a selfie, with her mouth open wide in shock but curled into a smile. 

 

NO WAY

NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY 

 

Lindsey is laughing and smiling at her phone, distracting everyone in the coffee shop and not even caring. 

 

Hahahah yes way! Portland Thorns here I come :)

 

Lindsey then gets another selfie, one of Emily giving the camera a thumbs up with a huge smile on her face.

 

how long have you been keeping this a secret from me??

 

She bites her lip.

 

I’ve known for a while, since before we started talking 

 

Lindsey watches the three dots appear and disappear over and over again. By the time Emily’s response has come in, Lindsey’s coffee is cold. 

 

is there a particular reason you waited to tell me until now?

not that you’re obligated to tell me everything 

or anything for that matter

 

Lindsey’s heart drops, because it seems like Emily thinks Lindsey didn’t want to tell her, and the thought of Emily thinking she isn’t interested is enough to make Lindsey feel bold. So, Lindsey replies before Emily can continue to ramble.

 

I wanted to tell you. I definitely did. I want you to know everything

But if I’m being honest, I was a little nervous 

 

nervous about what? Emily asks. 

 

She thinks about what Tobin had said, about how she picked Emily - and better yet, Emily picked her back. That has to mean something. 

 

It does mean something, Lindsey knows it does. Whatever Emily wants, however Emily wants Lindsey in her life, that’s good enough for Lindsey. 

 

Still, the only way Emily is going to know what she wants is if she tells her. 

 

When I’m here and you’re there, it’s easier to assume that nothing could happen. But when I come back, something could happen. 

With us.

I mean, assuming you would want something to happen

Which you might not, in which case then let’s forget all of this 

 

Lindsey places her phone down on her table and runs her fingers through her hair. That’s that. She put it all out there. If Emily reciprocates, great. If not, okay. Lindsey is employing the same mindset when sending the tweet, and that worked out well. And besides, it’s not like - 

 

linds

(The nickname. Lindsey’s heart flutters.)

 

of course I want something to happen 

(Of course she does.)

 

if you have any doubts about that, then clearly i haven't been doing a great job about making you see how into you i am 

idk what’s gonna happen with getting drafted or where I end up, but being in the same country is a good start right? 

 

Emily has barely finished typing when Lindsey replies.

 

Being in the same country is definitely a good start

Right after kissing in Paris ;)

 

Three dots disappear and reappear before Emily says oh of course, how could i forget that!! 

 

Emily adds quickly, how about we talk once you’re back and settled in Portland? 

 

That would be perfect.

Seriously. Perfect.

Can’t wait <3




 

A lot happens in only a little bit of time.

 

Lindsey plays her last game with PSG, she scores the opening goal and cries, and then she cries some more when the final whistle blows and her teammates tackle her. The benched players bring her flowers onto the field and they all serenade her in the locker room. 

 

It’s funny. When she started with PSG, she couldn’t stop crying. Now she’s leaving and can’t stop crying again, but for entirely opposite reasons.

 

ugh you’re such a superstar :’) , Emily texts her when the game ends. She had found some sketchy VPN that gets her access to some bootleg French website offering a grainy stream of the game. She hooks her laptop up to her TV with an HDMI cord to enjoy the full soccer game viewing experience

 

Lindsey gets texts from a few different random numbers. One is from Rose wishing her good luck, one is from Mal telling her to go kick some ass, and the last is from Sam, who wishes her good luck but later sends a video - it’s of Emily, watching the game and making little comments as it goes on, and then of her jumping off the couch and screaming when Lindsey scores. 

 

Lindsey swears she can hear Emily say that’s my girl, but she isn’t sure over the sounds of Rose and Mal cheering with her and Sam laughing. 

 

It’s cute that Emily’s friends watch Lindsey’s game with her, it’s cute that they reach out to wish Lindsey good luck and cute that they care. 

 

Lindsey’s almost as excited to be reunited with them as she is to be with Emily. 

 

Lindsey’s parents and brother go to France for Christmas that year. They spend Christmas Eve exploring the city, letting Lindsey show them the coffee shops she frequents and the places with her favorite views. 

 

She tactically takes them to a certain spot by the Eiffel Tower, where a cute old man is still selling his paintings. She has her mom take a picture of her, standing right where she was with Emily almost six months ago, but doesn’t explain why. 

 

She texts it to Emily without saying anything. About half an hour later, Emily’s response comes in. She hasn’t said anything, instead sent a screenshot of her lock screen. She’s made the picture her background.

 

Lindsey and her family wake up Christmas morning and drink too much hot chocolate to be good for them, playing music loudly throughout the speakers in her living room and laughing as a marshmallow fight ensues. 

 

The next few days are spent packing up her apartment and saying goodbye to France. She whispers “see you in 2019 ” to the Eiffel Tower, and then she’s on a plane home and spending New Year’s Eve with the friends she grew up with. 

 

She and Emily are in different time zones still, but they pledge to text each other when it’s midnight for the other. Colorado is only two hours behind Georgia, anyway. Even at a party with her family and closest friends, Emily still replies graciously when Lindsey texts as soon as the clock strikes midnight on the east. 

 

Lindsey doesn't expect Emily's text at midnight for her, but true to her word, Emily sends her happy new years!!!!!!!!  with so many kissy face emojis that Lindsey gives up on counting. 

 

What she definitely doesn't expect is a phone call almost two hours later after she has just settled down in bed to go to sleep. It's close to two in the morning, making it almost 4 a.m. for Emily. 

 

“Emily?”

 

There’s a pause on the other end, and then there’s a “hi.”

 

“Hi, are you okay? It’s super late in Georgia.”

 

Mhm. I’m good. I’m totally great,” Emily hums, “I just… wanted to hear your voice.

 

Lindsey lets out a sigh. Now that she’s relieved that Emily is fine, she lets herself enjoy this moment. She knows that Emily is drunk, it became abundantly clear as her texts became more littered with typos as the night went on. 

 

Emily is drunk and wants to hear Lindsey’s voice. 

 

“You did?” Lindsey asks, almost like she can’t believe it. 

 

Duh. I have for, like, half a year now .” 

 

When Lindsey doesn’t respond, because her heart is racing so fast and her brain can’t formulate words, Emily says, “is this too much?

 

“No! No, of course not,” Lindsey answers, maybe too quickly. “It’s just… I’m happy. I wanted to hear your voice too.”

 

I wanna do a whole lot more than hear your voice.

 

“Oh yeah?”

 

Yeah. I would also like to hold your hand.

 

Lindsey laughs and Emily hears a symphony.

 

She’s teasing, of course she is. This is Emily Sonnett, after all, who seems to only get more playful after drinks. 

 

“You know what, if you’re lucky, I might just let you hold my hand.”

 

Yeah?

 

“Definitely.”

 

Soon? ” 

 

Lindsey gulps. She wants it to be soon, she hopes it will be soon, but they established it wouldn’t be until she found footing in Portland. She hasn’t even found a place to live, let alone met her coach or her teammates. 

 

She always thought soccer was the most important thing in the world to her, but somehow everything seems infinitesimal compared to Emily. 

 

“Super soon.”

 

Promise?

 

“Yes,” Lindsey giggles. 

 

Okay, that’s good. That means I can go to sleep now,” Emily says with a sigh. 

 

“Was this keeping you up?” Lindsey teases, not knowing that it has, in fact, been keeping Emily up. 

 

Maybe,” Emily drawls. "I didn’t get to kiss you at midnight, so this was the next best thing.” 

 

"I was about to hop on a flight to Georgia just for that, but tickets were all sold out."

 

"You'll just have to make up for that when we're together next."

 

"Which is going to be soon." This time it is a promise, to Emily and to herself.

 

"Super soon.

 


 

It’s January 3rd when Lindsey is flying to Portland with her mom to look at apartments. Tobin joins them when she’s done with training and watches as Lindsey signs a lease on her first ever apartment, only a few blocks from her own. 

 

Lindsey furnishes the whole thing with furniture from HomeGoods and Ikea. Her dad and her brother fly out to help her set everything up and turn it into a home. 

 

She sends Emily a video tour of the whole thing, commentary and all. They talk even more now that there is only a three hour time difference between them, but they both have to adjust to Lindsey being the one that’s behind. 

 

All in all, Lindsey totally loves it. She loves her little apartment, she loves Portland and being so much closer to her family and friends, and she loves - 

 

Well, she loves a lot of things. 

 

It’s only a few days after her official move, two or so weeks before her first practice with the Thorns, when Tobin appears at her door. 

 

“Hey,” Lindsey greets through a mouthful of cereal. “The Tobin Heath just knocking on my door? I swear, I could get used to this place!” 

 

Tobin doesn’t say anything, just shoves past Lindsey. “You are going to lose your mind when I tell you what I just heard.” 

 

Lindsey narrows her eyes in confusion. Tobin seems a little anxious, on edge for some reason. “What? What’s up, is everything okay?” 

 

She places a concerned hand on Tobin’s shoulder, balancing her cereal bowl in the other. Tobin takes the bowl out of her hand, placing it on her kitchen counter. When she turns back to Lindsey, her eyes are worried but she’s sporting a smile so big it shouldn’t fit on her face. She’s conflicted about something but Lindsey doesn’t know what. 

 

“Tobin, what the hell is going on?” 

 

Tobin doesn’t waste any more time. “Alex is going to Orlando.”

 

“On vacation?”

 

No, Lindsey, Thorns traded Alex to the Pride.” 

 

Alex Morgan ?” 

 

“Yes, she requested it. Her husband is there. I guess, I don’t know, Thorns didn’t have much of a choice. And this is a huge win for Orlando, and expanding the league is important for the sport.”

 

“How did you find out?”

 

“Sinc and I just had a meeting with Mark, he wants us to be in the loop while he’s trying to adjust to being head coach.” 

 

“Okay, wow,” Lindsey falters. “I’m sorry, I’m still processing. Thorns traded Alex Morgan to Orlando.”

 

“Yes, and Kaylyn Kyle.”

 

“Wait, shut up. We traded Alex Morgan and one of our midfielders? In exchange for what ?” Lindsey almost scoffs.

 

“A lot. First expansion draft pick, an international roster spot, and…”

“And?”

 

This is when Tobin’s smile creeps back on her face. “First pick in the college draft.”

 

“Well that’s good, I guess," Lindsey sighs, though she isn't sure why that's enough for Tobin to be excited. Alex is an important part of the team, and Lindsey knows that Tobin is close with her. "For Alex Morgan though?" Lindsey continues, "still doesn’t seem like enough to -” 

 

“Lindsey, you’re not hearing me. Thorns have the first draft pick.”

 

“Dude, I literally heard you say that,” Lindsey says impatiently. 

 

“Christ almighty,” Tobin exclaims, taking a deep breath to calm her frustrations over Lindsey’s oblivious state. “Linds, remember who we thought was going to be the first pick?” 

 

Lindsey’s eyes are narrowed and her lips are pursed as she thinks, and Tobin is looking at her with eyebrows raised and encouraging nods of her head when she realizes.

 

No.”

 

“Yup.”

 

“Tobin, you better not be bullshitting me.” 

 

“I’m not. Mark wants Sonnett, he’s telling her today.”

 

Tobin watches Lindsey process, watches as her brain catches up.

 

It can’t be possible, it shouldn’t be possible. Nothing this good could ever be real, there’s a whole saying dedicated to that sentiment exactly. With Lindsey’s luck, Emily was going to end up in New Jersey or D.C. Instead, she’s going to be on the same coast, in the same city, with the same team. 

 

Emily is coming to Portland.

 

“She’s coming to Portland,” Lindsey breathes.

 

Tobin’s smile is wide and precious. “She’s coming to Portland.” 

 


 

Lindsey shouldn’t be surprised when she gets a FaceTime call from Emily not much later. She answers without hesitating, her breath catching in her throat when she sees Emily on the screen. 

 

It’s her first time seeing her, albeit through her phone screen, since Paris. She looks adorable as always, with a gray Adidas tank top and her messy bun hiding behind a hat. 

 

At first, neither of them say a word. They take each other in, smiling goofily as they look at each other for the first time in six months. 

 

Even through an iPhone, Emily is still the most beautiful girl in the world. 

 

It isn’t until Lindsey’s smile becomes cheesy, until her eyes give her away, that something is said. 

 

You already know? ” Emily exclaims. She sounds like she wants to be mad, like she wanted to be the one to tell Lindsey, but her smile is so big that Lindsey knows she can’t contain the excitement. 

 

“Tobin told me, like, two hours ago! I’m sorry, I was gonna tell you that I knew but then I was like ‘well what if they didn’t tell her yet?’ and ‘wait what if Tobin wasn’t even supposed to tell me?’” 

 

Ugh, boo! I wanted to be the one to tell you,” Emily says, feigning sadness. She might be trying to frown for effect, but her eyes crinkle in the corners and her face is flushed red with excitement. 

 

“You can beat up Tobin when you get here,” Lindsey offers as a consolation. 

 

Good idea, that’ll be the perfect start to my professional career.” 

 

Lindsey's giggles get caught in her throat. Now, looking at Emily Sonnett with those piercing green eyes and soft smiles, it hits her like a ton of bricks.

 

"I can't believe you're coming here."

 

"Me neither. I was half convinced I wasn't gonna get drafted to begin with."

 

"What? Why? You're, like, easily the best defender on the collegiate level. Tobin's been convinced that you'd be the first pick for months now." 

 

Emily ducks to hide her blush as she replies, "Rose and Mal heard from the Spirit a week ago, and Sam heard from NC before that. I guess I was just losing hope."

 

"And now?" Lindsey asks, forcing Emily out of a haze and back to her toothy grin. 

 

"Portland Thorns here I come," Emily exclaims, referencing Lindsey's text. 

 

Lindsey's laugh, her trademark one that's loud and sharp and musical, echoes through her apartment. 

 

"Hey, look, I have to call my family and let them know but can I FaceTime you back later?"

 

With a fluttering heart and cheeks tinted pink, Lindsey says, "of course," and then Emily is off her screen with a wave.

 

She does call back a couple hours later as promised, and Lindsey has to pretend she didn't spend that whole time thinking about how Emily called her before she even called her family. 

 

Chapter Text

Lindsey shifts awkwardly from one foot to the other as the sounds of airplanes taking off and landing echo above her. Even with the chaos around her, Lindsey finds herself completely in her own head.

 

She never should have offered to pick Emily up. She should never have offered to let Emily crash with her while hunting for an apartment. She shouldn’t have even kissed her in Paris in the first place. 

 

Well, that’s not true.

 

Lindsey doesn’t regret that, she never could. 

 

But she is wondering how all her actions led to this moment. She’s overthinking like crazy because she’s nervous and worried and feeling all the emotions someone experiences when they’re about to see their not-girlfriend-but-maybe-more-than-a-friend-person for the first time in 6 months. 

 

They had FaceTimed everyday since Emily had called her on New Year’s and Lindsey was feeling more settled in Portland. The calls were so simple and so easy, like two best friends chatting about everything and anything. 

 

Emily had revealed very casually that she was planning on coming to Portland to look at apartments. She only had a few days in between being in Maryland for the draft and heading back to UVA for her final semester, and she needed to spend them looking for a place to live. She’d officially move once she graduated, but she’ll be spending plenty of time in Portland before then to warrant a semi-permanent living space. 

 

It was clear that Emily didn’t want to put any pressure on Lindsey with her presence. She was still finding her footing in Portland and Emily didn’t want to be a distraction. Needless to say, they were both a bit shocked when Lindsey had immediately suggested that Emily stay with her rather than spending money on a hotel. 

 

Are you sure? ” Emily asked quietly. “We can still see each other without me staying at your place.” 

 

“I’m sure,” Lindsey had answered without a second of hesitation (and she was sure, at least at the time). 

 

Emily smiled so big that the corners disappeared offscreen. “Are you sure?” Lindsey asked, not realizing that maybe Emily had been looking for an out, a way to say ‘no thanks.’

 

Yeah. I’m sure. I’m very sure that that sounds like the best idea you’ve ever had.” 

 

“It just might be.” 

 

Then several different Thorns had pressured Tobin into hosting something (Tobin had demanded it be a ‘casual get-together’ rather than a ‘party’) to watch the college draft, and she gave in pretty quickly when Christine Sinclair had suggested that it would be a great way for everyone to get to know Lindsey better. 

 

Which is why Lindsey had watched Emily get drafted from Tobin’s couch, sitting snug between two girls she hardly knew and nursing a beer she wasn’t nearly as interested in as the television screen. 

 

With the first pick in the first round of the 2016 NWSL college draft, the Portland Thorns select Emily Sonnett, University of Virginia.

 

It was hard to pay attention to anything else, not the soft cheers around her or the knowing high-five from Tobin, when Emily walked up to the podium and her voice filled the room. 

 

She thanked her family and her friends, she thanked her team and everyone from UVA, and she thanked the Thorns - all the while being charming and drawing laughs from the audience at times. 

 

Lindsey had watched as Emily’s friends, the same ones that watched them kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower, get drafted as well. Rose goes to D.C., Mal goes to Jersey, Sam goes to N.C., and Emily comes here. 

 

To Portland.

 

All of which leads to Lindsey’s current situation: waiting for Emily’s flight to get in. 

 

It’s Friday morning - almost afternoon, which means the airport is somewhat crowded. Lindsey had been tracking the flight to make sure she got to the airport in time to pick her up. It landed about ten minutes ago, confirmed by a text from Emily saying disembarking now with the emoji wearing sunglasses. 

 

Any other day, Lindsey would tease her about saying ‘disembarking’ seriously, but now she’s too nervous. Instead she replies with the thumbs up emoji and tells Emily that she’s parked across the street from the terminal.

 

She’s leaning against the hood of her car when she sees Emily exiting - hair in a bun like it always is and in her favorite Adidas sweatshirt, pulling a suitcase behind her. 

 

She’s absolutely breathtaking, Lindsey thinks, even after a six hour flight across the country. 

 

Lindsey can’t help but watch as Emily tries to find her. It’s adorable, the way she nervously glances every which way. Lindsey is about to take pity and call out her name when Emily spots her. They make eye contact and Emily’s tired smile grows as she practically skips across the walkway and over to Lindsey. 

 

Lindsey’s heart rate must be in the thousands as Emily approaches. She’d been thinking about this for a long time now - not just Emily’s visit, but about this exact moment, the first moment they’re together again. 

 

She had spent what must have been hours running through all possible scenarios in her head. Would they kiss? Would they hug? Maybe a high-five? What if they weren’t on the same page and it was awkward? 

 

Lindsey had made a game plan for almost every move. She pushes herself off her car when Emily gets close. What she didn’t quite expect was for Emily to not say a word before she’s in front of Lindsey, dropping her suitcase and leaping into her for a hug in one fluid movement. 

 

She catches Emily with a content laugh, wrapping her arms around the smaller girl’s waist and pulling her closer. Emily has her arms snug around Lindsey’s shoulders and her nose tucked into her neck. Lindsey can feel relief coursing through her veins. 

 

It’s incredible how happy Lindsey is at that moment, only heightened by her nerves dissipating through her fingers and into the fabric of Emily’s sweatshirt. She shouldn’t be shocked at how comfortable Emily can make her. 

 

(She’ll look back and think about how that exact moment is the first time Portland started to feel like home.)

 

Lindsey isn’t sure how long they stay like that, or if anyone seems to notice them. She guesses that Emily pulls back when the difficulty breathing catches up to her. Still, she keeps an arm around Lindsey and moves her hand to her neck, which is still warm from where her own face was smushed just seconds ago. 

 

“Hi,” Emily finally says. Her voice is raspy from exhaustion and six hours of not saying a word, and Lindsey pretends she doesn’t love it.

 

“Hi there,” she replies. Lindsey sounds happy, Emily thinks, and it only makes her smile get bigger. 

 

They stand there in comfortable silence. Emily scratches her fingers gingerly against Lindsey’s neck, and each small stroke ignites a fire on her skin. 

 

“Welcome to Portland.” 

 

“Mm, thank you.”

 

“Wanna get out of here?”

 

“Yes, please.” 

 

Lindsey, ever the gentlewoman, takes Emily’s suitcase and puts it in her trunk. 

 

Emily is smiling from the passenger’s seat when Lindsey gets in on the driver’s side and starts her car, suddenly feeling nervous all over again. 

 

“Hey.”

 

Lindsey looks up from where she’s about to buckle her seatbelt. Emily is grinning and wriggling her finger, gesturing for Lindsey to come towards her. Lindsey wants to be embarrassed by how she doesn’t even hesitate, scared of seeming too eager, but she can’t bring herself to care as Emily leans over the center console to meet her.

 

Lindsey’s eyelids are fluttering shut and she can feel Emily’s nose nudge her own. 

 

“Kiss me,” Emily whispers, just like she did all those months ago in Paris, and Lindsey doesn’t wait another second before connecting their lips for the first time in what feels like forever. 

 

Emily is soft and tastes like those orange tic tacs that no self-respecting adult should buy. Still, the kiss is just as perfect as it was the first time, if not better, until Lindsey lets go of her seatbelt and it’s softly colliding with their faces. 


Emily laughs as Lindsey almost throws the seatbelt behind her and leans forward again eagerly, this time gripping the back of Emily’s neck gently and pulling her forward. 

 

She isn’t laughing anymore, instead sighing as Lindsey runs her tongue over her lower lip. She bunches Lindsey’s shirt in one hand while the other rests on her thigh, tracing infuriating patterns over the fabric of Lindsey’s jeans. 

 

It shouldn’t turn her on, such simple kisses and harmless touches, but it does, so Lindsey makes herself pull away after a string of particularly pleasant kisses. 

 

Emily hums and licks her lips. Lindsey feels proud for causing the flush of Emily’s cheeks and her dazed smile. 

 

“Missed that,” Emily hums, running her thumb over Lindsey’s jaw. 

 

“Me too.”

 

“Missed you.”

 

That makes Lindsey beam and she leans into Emily’s hand bashfully. “Missed you too.” 

 

“You don’t think this is weird, do you?” Emily asks resolutely. 

 

Lindsey recoils a bit because of course she doesn’t. “Of course I don’t.”

 

“Okay,” Emily breathes. “Good.” 

 

“Do you? Think it’s weird?” 

 

Emily shakes her head quickly. “Not at all, I just wanna make sure you’re comfortable.”

 

“I want to make sure you’re comfortable. I was nervous you only said yes to stay with me because you thought you had to.”

 

“I was nervous that you only invited me because you thought you had to!” 

 

Lindsey throws her head back laughing. She isn’t surprised that they had both assumed the worst about the whole thing. It’s nerve-wracking, being together again. It doesn’t feel like it should be, because they know each other well at this point. 

 

In person, though, it all feels a lot more important.   

 

“So, we’ve both been afraid of the same thing this whole time, huh?” Emily asks, both to clarify and maybe to poke fun. 

 

“That appears to be the case, yes.” 

 

“The solution?” 

 

Lindsey hums. “Not sure. Talking about our feelings, maybe?” 

 

Emily pretends to gag. “Talk? About our feelings?” 

 

“I know, I know,” Lindsey quips. “I mean, unless you have any other ideas?” 

 

Emily pretends to think, tilting her head and tapping her chin. “We could just keep kissing instead?” 

 

Genius!” Lindsey exclaims, and she’s leaning into a giggling Emily Sonnett and kissing her senseless. 

 

“There she is,” Emily whispers against her lips after a few moments.

 

“Hm?” Lindsey wonders with a furrowed brow. 

 

“Brave Lindsey,” Emily answers, and then she’s kissing Lindsey’s cheek just because she can. 

 

Lindsey sighs and leans into it. “‘Brave Lindsey?’ Who’s she?” 

 

“You know her,” Emily teases, “she’s the one that made out with me in Paris.”

 

Lindsey smiles, but Emily senses that it’s a bit hollow. “Yeah, she might’ve been a bit of a fluke,” Lindsey mutters with a self-deprecating chuckle.

 

Emily pulls back and tilts her head. “I don’t think so.” 

 

And that’s all Lindsey needs, really. She’s never believed anyone like she believes Emily. Besides, Lindsey figures all of that is pretty irrelevant. Whether or not she actually is brave, all that really matters is that Emily makes her want to be. 

 

Emily spares her the need to reply because she’s leaning back and buckling her own seatbelt. 

 

“Okay, take me home.”

 

Lindsey turns the ignition to her car and starts driving almost immediately, because if her mind lingers on the implication of Emily calling her own apartment “home,” she might just die. 

 

Emily waits until they’re settled on the highway before taking one of Lindsey’s hands and holding it in her lap. “You let me know if you need this back,” Emily says. 

 

“I’d rather crash than take my hand back.” 

 

Then she’s cackling in the cutest way possible and leaning over to press a kiss to the corner of Lindsey’s mouth. 

 

Lindsey does end up needing her hand back, but the car ride continues with as many touches as they can spare and playing a bit of catch up, like Emily telling little stories from the draft and Lindsey revealing that she just bought a big new house plant. 

 

“What time are you meeting with your broker person?” Lindsey asks after a bit of comfortable silence and over the sound of one of Emily’s carefully curated playlists. 

 

“Um, three o’clock, I think,” she replies, turning the volume down as she unlocks her phone to pull up her calendar. “Yup, three. Do you wanna come with me?” 

 

Lindsey tries to stifle her smile. She loves the idea of spending every second she can with Emily. “Not if you don’t want me to.”

 

“I just asked you to,” Emily rolls her eyes, “of course I want you to.” 

 

“Okay, yeah,” Lindsey nods emphatically, “I’ll come with you.” 

 

“My parents will be glad you can keep an eye on me. They’re worried I’m just gonna pick whichever place I see first so that I can be done with it,” Emily explains with a laugh. 

 

“They couldn’t come, right?” Lindsey asks. 

 

“They wanted to, but they’re at a wedding this weekend. Plus, this is the first adult thing I can do on my own, you know?” 

 

“Yeah, I do,” Lindsey concurs. She remembers the thrill of feeling like her life was truly in her control after she signed her lease. 

 

“So,” Lindsey prods gently, “do they know you’re staying with me?” 

 

Emily grins because she knows exactly what Lindsey is asking. “Yeah, they know I’m staying with a teammate.”

 

“Right. A teammate.” 

 

It’s unfair, Lindsey knows, to assume that Emily would tell her parents anything else. It’s not like she told her own parents all about the bizarre details of their first encounter and subsequent ‘relationship.’ 

 

Still, she can’t help but wish Emily wanted to tell them everything. 

 

“I figured,” Emily explains, almost like she can sense Lindsey’s yearning, “that I would tell them about you once I knew exactly what I could tell them.” 

 

Lindsey nods. She feels Emily squeeze the hand she’s taken back to her lap. Lindsey squeezes back and decides to table this conversation for now. She hopes that Brave Lindsey will make her way back out before the weekend ends and Emily goes back east for them to have that talk. 

 


 

“It’s even better in person,” Emily says when she sees Lindsey’s apartment for the first time. The kitchen is separated from the living room by a tall countertop with a dining table in between. The perpendicular hallway leads to the bedroom and the bathroom.

 

Lindsey drops her keys on the table by her front door and nods, looking around proudly. “It’s still a work in progress, but I’m pretty proud of it.” 

 

“I mean, you already have plants, so it seems like you’re all set.” 

 

“You’re so right. What else does a girl really need?” 

 

Emily laughs and shakes her head, gesturing to the small hallway leading to the bathroom and bedroom. “Can I put my bag in your room?” She doesn’t really wait for an answer, though, already walking towards the bedroom.

 

Lindsey follows her wordlessly, watching as Emily drops her suitcase on the floor at the foot of her bed. “I can sleep on the couch,” Lindsey finally offers from where she stands awkwardly in her doorframe, “if you’d be more comfortable with that.” 

 

Emily furrows her brow, trying to hide her confusion quickly. “Oh, sure. I’ll take the couch. I’m totally fine with that.”

 

Lindsey gulps. “Or...” 

 

“Or?” Emily has a hopeful look on her face.

 

“Or we could, um…,” Lindsey walks into the room, patting her thighs with her hands awkwardly, “... we could both sleep in the bed.” 

 

“I think that would be just fine,” Emily sighs contentedly. 

 

Lindsey walks further into the room and Emily welcomes the taller girl’s hands on her hips. Lindsey ducks her head against Emily’s shoulder, murmuring something that’s muffled against the fabric. 

 

“What’s that?” 

 

“Sorry I’m an awkward mess,” Lindsey apologizes, loudly this time, and Emily can’t help but chuckle. The puffs of laughter feel nice against Lindsey’s hair. 

 

“You’re really not.”

 

Lindsey pulls back to see the look on Emily’s face, because she’s certain it’s a disingenuous one. She’s surprised to see Emily looking back at her with utter sincerity. Lindsey squeezes her hips, “I really am, but thank you for trying to make me feel better.” 

 

Neither of them say anything else, just enjoy being in each other’s spaces for a few moments. Emily eventually pulls back begrudgingly. “Not to, like, totally make myself at home or anything, but can I take a shower?” 

 

All Lindsey can do is laugh and shake her head slightly. This girl is something else. “Yes, of course you can.” 

 

Emily gets her toiletries bag from her suitcase and Lindsey leads her to the bathroom. She gives her towels and shows her how the bizarre shower handle operates. 

 

As Emily showers, Lindsey looks around her apartment and wonders what she can do to kill the time while she waits. She wants to seem busy in the way that she could have had something to do if Emily weren’t here, but Lindsey knows that she wouldn’t have been doing anything today anyway. 

 

She does another scan of her apartment to make sure everything looks good and there’s no risk of embarrassment, should Emily choose to take a closer look. She drinks a full glass of water before realizing that she was far thirstier than she thought she was. 

 

It’s not a metaphor for anything, though. 

 

Eventually, Lindsey resigns herself to playing a game of Mario Kart. It’s certainly a fun game, but her competitive nature tends to get the best of her. She’s been playing less and less of it for that exact reason, but right now, it proves the best distraction. 

 

It’s on her last lap of Bowser’s Castle when the shower turns off. Not a minute later can Lindsey hear the distant scurrying of Emily’s feet across the hallway back into Lindsey’s room. 

 

“I’m putting clothes on!” She says it like she needs to explain. 

 

“Congratulations,” Lindsey calls back. 

 

She ends up coming in 7th place because she’s so distracted by the prospect of her guest emerging from the bedroom. When she finally does, Emily has on jeans and a soft white t-shirt, already a bit damp from her hair. 

 

Lindsey, having made her way back into the kitchen for another glass of water, waves at her awkwardly. “Hi. Are you thirsty? I have water and seltzer - oh, I got that La Croix flavor you like. Pamplemousse, right?” 

 

There’s no response. Just a small girl taking small steps closer to a girl who, despite her stature and muscle mass, feels even smaller. 

 

When she’s standing in front of Lindsey, Emily pulls at the strings of her hoodie playfully. “You remember my favorite bougie seltzer flavor?” 

 

Lindsey shrugs like it isn’t a big deal. “Hard to forget when you first called it ‘pimple mouse.’” 

 

“Common mistake,” Emily grins. 

 

Lindsey chuckles and steps fully into Emily’s space. She’s leaning down and Emily’s leaning up, and it’s about to be another perfect kiss, until - 

 

“Wait,” Emily pulls back slightly, “is that what I think it is?”

 

Lindsey squints. “What do you think is what now?” 

 

The clarifying question made no sense, but Emily seems to understand it perfectly. She points towards the air as if it should be enough of an answer for Lindsey. 

 

Lindsey squints and shakes her head slightly before Emily is whispering, “is that Mario Kart?” 

 

It’s then that Lindsey realizes she’s talking about the music coming from her television, the distinguishable sound of the Mario Kart menu theme. 

 

“Um. Yes it is.” 

 

Emily’s eyes light up and she bounces her energy from one foot to the other. “Oh my god. Can we play?” 

 

There’s no time for Lindsey to reply before Emily is already skipping over to the couch and grabbing an extra controller. 

 

It takes a few rounds for Emily to learn the controls, since the last Mario Kart game she had played was on the Wii. Lindsey beats her every time because letting a cute girl win is never worth losing for. They scream at each other over red shells and banana peels, laughing over the sound of manic music and iconic voice lines. It makes Lindsey wonder how she could have ever been nervous for this. 

 

“Okay, either you’re a fucking Mario Kart master, or I really suck,” Emily huffs after their last round. 

 

“Aw, don’t sell either of us short - it’s definitely both.” 

 

“You’re an ass,” Emily laughs. 

 

“You like my ass,” Lindsey says. It’s dorky and cheesy but feels flirty in the way that she wants it to be. She’s rewarded with Emily tossing her controller somewhere on the couch and moving to straddle Lindsey’s thighs. 

 

“Can’t deny that,” she replies, running her hands over Lindsey’s broad shoulders.

 

In her admittedly limited experience kissing people, Lindsey knows with certainty that no one has ever felt more right than Emily does. Her ex-boyfriend from high school was sloppy and the Tinder girl from a few summers ago used too much tongue. The few people in between hadn’t been anything to write home about either. 

 

It had always been her belief that different people like different things, and that’s okay - it means that she might like some kisses but not others, and that’s okay, too. 

 

But Emily’s kisses are, without fail, consistently perfect. It’s a glorious push and pull, she sets a solid pace without being too fast or too slow. Emily feels smooth where others were rough, she’s equal parts soft and strong. Most noticeably, her kisses manage some beautiful phenomenon of being both sickeningly sweet and frustratingly hot. 

 

Lindsey can only hope she has some similar effect on Emily. 

 

It’s clear that she does as the smaller blonde moans after Lindsey subconsciously slides her hands along Emily’s back and into the back pockets of her jeans. Lindsey only notices after Emily pulls back to kiss at her pulse. 

 

“Seems like you’re the one who likes my ass,” Emily says against the shell of her ear, and Lindsey shivers.

 

“Can’t deny that,” she mimics, but she pulls her hands back all the same.  

 

When Emily tilts her head curiously, Lindsey feels the need to apologize.  

 

“Don’t be sorry,” Emily says quickly, “you can touch me.” 

 

Lindsey nods and then they’re kissing again, meticulous and languid kisses that have Lindsey squirming. 

 

“I’ve been thinking about this for so long,” Emily whispers before another kiss. “Finally being here with you.” 

 

A faint blush makes its way across Lindsey’s cheeks. “So have I.” 

 

For the first time all day, Emily seems nervous. “Yeah?” 

 

Lindsey nods again and kisses along the slope of the smaller girl’s jaw. “Like, all the time.” 

 

She hears Emily suck in a breath. 

 

“Me too.” 

 

“I have a lot I want to show you,” Lindsey says after a content hum. 

 

Please do,” Emily encourages with a smug grin, causing Lindsey to snort. 

 

“I meant around Portland, you sleeze.” 

 

“Oh, right, that too.” 

 


 

Emily doesn’t end up picking the first apartment she looks at, but she does decide on the second one. Lindsey can’t deny that it’s perfect - it’s small but not confining, about a ten minute drive to the stadium, and it’s dog friendly.

 

She has no immediate plans to get a dog, but Emily wants her apartment to allow pets because she knows a dog is in her near future. 

 

Lindsey let’s Emily talk her through where she wants to put all her furniture and which walls will have which posters. They check the water pressure of the shower and the proximity to the best coffee shops. 

 

“I can’t believe it only took you two tries to find your perfect apartment,” Lindsay says as they walk back to her car. 

 

“Someone sounds a little bitter,” Emily sings.

 

“Yeah, that would be my bitterness.” 

 

“Aw, don’t be mad! Besides, I can pick you up when I drive to the stadium.” 

 

Lindsey tilts her head as she looks over her car. “I’m, like, a two minute walk to Providence Park.” 

 

Emily shakes her head with raised eyebrows, a cute smirk on her face. “What’s your point?”

 


 

They meet up with Tobin for dinner that night, and Emily’s quietness at the start is evidence of her temptation to fangirl. It hardly lasts long before she’s adopting the same teasing banter that the older player and Lindsey are so comfortable with. 

 

It’s no secret to Lindsey that Emily and Tobin click quickly. They immediately start joking around and forming their own bond, and Lindsey barely minds the way they talk about college soccer without her when she can just watch along fondly. She can’t even be offended when they tease Lindsey about being the only one at the table not picked first in the college draft. 

 

She feels particularly introspective as she watches Emily and Tobin laugh their squinty-eyed laughs.

 

There are a thousand ways to analyze the way that everything transpired - how they were both in that exact spot in Paris on the same day, and now they will both be playing for the exact same professional soccer team.

 

The universe clearly never had any intention of keeping them apart. 

 


 

“I was nervous at dinner,” Emily says in the darkness of Lindsey’s room that night. They had gotten ready to the melodies of yet another one of Emily’s playlists before they crawled beneath the covers. It hadn’t been awkward at all, and a little part of both of them knows that it probably could’ve been. 

 

“Didn’t seem that way,” Lindsey reassures her. They subtly scoot closer to one another, and Emily is brave enough to reach out and play with Lindsey’s fingers. 

 

“I’m a good actress.” 

 

“Right,” Lindsey snorts. She pulls her hand away to move a stray piece of hair off Emily’s forehead. “It’s understandable, you know. But football legend Tobin Heath isn’t so scary once you get to know her, right?” 


They both chuckle, because Tobin’s intensity on the field is paralleled by an overwhelming calmness and kindness off of it. 

 

“True, but that’s not why I was nervous.” 

 

Lindsey runs her fingers over Emily’s arms, reveling in the goosebumps that rise with each stroke. “Why were you, then?” she asks curiously. 

 

Emily shifts and tucks herself beneath Lindsey’s chin, wrapping her arms tightly around her waist. 

 

“Because she’s important to you,” Emily answers, and that’s all she needs to say.

 


 

The next few days are non-stop. Emily does a lot with the Thorns staff, there are a few practices and trainings, and the whole team meets up several times to get to know the new members (and, to no one’s surprise, Emily fits right in immediately). 

 

No one bats an eye as Emily explains how she’s staying with Lindsey, but Lindsey still has to elbow Tobin when she giggles knowingly. Everyone is well aware of their brief Paris encounter that led to their subsequent social media reconnection, and Lindsey can only wonder what they say to each other about the bizarreness of the whole situation. 

 

Everyone must find it so ridiculous, but they make no sign to show it. They welcome Emily with open arms, just as they did Lindsey, and no one asks any “so, what are you?” questions that neither of them would be able to answer. 

 

They leave hand in hand, and Lindsey gets a text not five minutes afterwards from Tobin. 

 

No one is giving me any credit for being the one to dare you to kiss a stranger

 

“Tell her it’s because it makes her sound like a perv,” Emily says. 

 

Sonnett says it’s because ur a perv

 

Lindsey shows her the text and Emily shrugs. “I mean, harsher wording, but the point remains.” 

 

Tell Sonnett she owes me! comes Tobin’s reply. 

 

Emily snatches the phone out of Lindsey’s hand. She types out a response and sends it, slipping the phone back into Lindsey’s pocket. 

 

It’s not until later that night, with Emily fast asleep and curled into her side, that Lindsey opens her phone to see what had said. 

 

It’s a short text, only two words, but it makes Lindsey’s heart flutter all the same. 

 

Sonnett knows 

 


 

On their last night together, they both feel strangely calm. It helps that their goodbye will be far from permanent, and that the next time they’ll see each other is both certain and soon. 


Still, Lindsey can’t help it if their kisses are a bit longer or her touches far more lingering. 

 

“You know what I don’t get?” Emily asks.

 

“I imagine there are a lot of answers to that question,” Lindsey hums. 

 

Emily breathes a laugh through her nose that Lindsey feels on her neck. “Well, I mean, that’s true. But I was thinking about something in particular.” 

 

“And what’s that?” 

 

Lindsey likes the way that they start the night on opposite sides of the bed, only to end it with absolutely no space between them. She leans on her elbow to face Emily, who lies on her back and stares at the glow-in-the-dark stars she had brought and put on the ceiling as a housewarming gift. 

 

“You know how once people say ‘I love you’ for the first time, they say it all the time after that?” Emily sees Lindsey’s nod in her peripheral. “Why isn’t that a thing for just saying ‘I like you?’” 

 

Lindsey furrows her brow. “So, like, ending phone calls with ‘I like you,’ and saying it when you’re leaving or something?” 

 

“Exactly. How come we only say how we feel once we’re certain it’s love?” 

 

It makes Lindsey think. It’s a valid question - one that she doesn’t have an answer to. Emily looks at her but doesn’t say anything else, just rolls onto her side and pulls Lindsey’s body against her own. She’s out like a light mere minutes later, and Lindsey falls asleep to a chorus of soft snores and I like you echoing in her head. 

 



When she drops Emily back at the airport, Lindsey is wearing a worn-out UVA sweatshirt. 

 

"Promise me you'll take good care of it," Lindsey begs, pulling at the frayed sleeve of her own hoodie that Emily now wears. 

 

Lindsey had sworn that her favorite PSG hoodie was the all-time perfect sweatshirt for a plane ride, which Emily hadn't even attempted to deny. She did, however, think it was only fair that they traded. 

 

"Yeah, yeah," Emily goads. "You don't have to worry, I treat my hoodies with the utmost respect."

 

Lindsey looks down at the UVA sweatshirt on her own back and then back up to Emily, raising an eyebrow to ask, really?  

 

"Well, that's a crewneck," she offers as an explanation. "Big difference." 

 

"Huge," Lindsey agrees, and she pulls Emily in and wraps her in a hug and tries very hard not to cry. 

 

"Plus, we can swap back soon if we want to," Emily offers. She can feel Lindsey's nod. 

 

"Soon," Lindsey says. 

 

"Super soon," Emily confirms. 

 

"Text me when you land."

 

Emily nods, and there are a few more kisses before she makes herself pull away. She looks at Lindsey longingly, almost like she wants to take advantage of every last second, and then leans forward for one last kiss before making her way into the terminal. 

 

Lindsey has a few texts from Emily waiting for her when she gets home, a bunch of "thank you's" and "miss you already's" that she reciprocates easily. It takes a moment for her to notice the flowers on her kitchen table. Lindsey has not a single clue as to how Emily could have left them behind without her seeing, but then remembers that Emily had to run back in before they left to "grab her phone charger."

 

There's a small note leaning against the vase, and she opens it almost anticipating that the flowers are from someone else. But she knows they're not when she reads, in Emily's adorable scribble, I like you

 

Without thinking, Lindsey opens the Twitter app. 

 

I like you too, she tweets. 

 

Neither of them were brave enough to say it in person, but both of them are brave enough to say it at all. And for now, Lindsey thinks, that can be enough. Her phone pings a few times when she showers, but she doesn't see the notification until she's out. 

 

Emily Sonnett liked your Tweet

 

Super soon can't come soon enough.