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All I Want for Christmas is You

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“Thanks BD,” Tobin grins as Cody places a cheeseburger down on the counter in front of her, where she’s sitting at the kitchen bar, visiting with him while he makes lunch. “Oh my god, this looks amazing,” she practically moans, trying to pick up the huge and messy burger.

Cody just grins and puts his own plate down, sitting next to her. “Does Christen not feed you?” He asks, playfully as he watches her look at the burger like it’s the first thing she’s eaten in weeks.

Tobin finishes chewing a huge bite and then wipes the grease off of her face. “Yeah,” she tells him with a smile, “But we order out all the time because neither of us like to cook,” she informs him. “And she never lets me eat stuff like this,” she adds with a chuckle.

Cody just laughs and takes a bite of his own. “A greasy cheeseburger once and awhile won’t kill you,” he informs her. “It’s good for the soul,” he adds with a smirk.

Tobin nods and takes another bite, humming at how good it tastes.

“So Christen says you are going to stay here for Christmas,” he says, glancing over at her. “I’m obviously very happy to spend the holiday with you but don’t you want to visit your family?” He asks, curiously.

Tobin just shrugs her shoulders, “Katie is spending it with her husband's side of the family and my dad will be with his new wife,” she says with a small frown. “My brother and my mom will probably get together and then I’m sure Perry will see them at some point as well, but she also has her husband's family to see,” she explains. “Besides, you guys are like my family now and I really want to spend Christmas with Chris. It’s our first Christmas together,” she says with a smile.

“We are your family, Tobin,” he confirms with a nod. “But, you guys were together last Christmas and you went to see your mom,” he reminds her.

“Well yeah but we’d only been dating for a few months,” she says with a shrug. “It’s different this year. We’re living together and we’re you know....like serious and stuff,” she says, not really knowing how to explain it to her girlfriends father.

“I’d hope you’re serious by now,” he jokes.

Tobin rolls her eyes playfully at him and smiles. “Christen really wants to host it at our place and I just...I don’t know, I’d rather be here with her and with you guys,” she informs him.

“You guys don’t have to go through the trouble of hosting, you know?” He tells her, raising a brow.

“I know and I know your house is a lot bigger and this is where you guys always do it, but Christen is really excited,” she tells him. “She’s been pretty stressed out getting everything organized and decorated to be honest, but she really wants to do this and I know it’ll make her happy,” she tells him. “Believe me, you don’t want to take this away from her,” she says knowingly with a small laugh.

Cody just chuckles and shakes his head, knowing how stressed out his daughter can get over things like this. But he also knows that she loves to plan and doing this kind of thing is right up her alley. “Okay, just be sure and tell her that I’m happy to help with anything you guys need,” he says.

“I will,” Tobin assures him. “But, she barely even lets me help and it’s my home too,” she adds with a giggle. Before she can say anything else her phone starts ringing and she looks down to see Christen’s face on the screen. “Speak of the very cute devil,” she grins, showing the phone to Cody, making him roll his eyes but give her an affectionate smile. “Hey baby,” Tobin greets, answering the FaceTime call.

“Hey,” Christen grins and then notices Tobin’s surroundings. “Are you still at my dads?” She asks curiously. Tobin was supposed to just go over to pick up a few tools for them to use to finish hanging some Christmas decorations and that had been over an hour ago.

“Yes,” Tobin nods. “He was making burgers and you know I couldn’t pass up one of his famous cheeseburgers,” she grins.

“Oh my god,” Christen groans. “Those things are a heart attack waiting to happen,” she sighs, shaking her head. “Neither of you should be eating them,” she says, giving Tobin a stern look and raising her voice so that she knows her dad hears her as well.

“Live a little, Mo!” Her dad shouts.

Tobin laughs and turns so that Christen’s dad is in the shot as well.

“Live, that’s exactly what I’d like for you to do,” she fires back. “You really need to start eating better, Dad,” she sighs, though she knows that it’s useless. She’s had this talk with him, numerous times.

“Did you need something, Mo? You’re interrupting Big Daddy and Tobin time,” he says with a cheeky grin.

Christen just rolls her eyes again, letting out a ‘humph’. “I was calling Tobin to tell her I’m on my way back home and to see if she wanted me to pick up some lunch, but I guess you have that covered,” she says, shaking her head.

“Yup,” Tobin grins, popping the ‘P’. “Do you want me to bring you one?” She asks with a grin, knowing Christen is going to say no.

“No way,” Christen shakes her head. “I’ll pick something up for myself,” she informs her. “Are you going to be much longer?” She then asks with a small pout and a little whine to her voice.

Tobin gives her a warm smile, “I’ll finish eating and head home,” she assures her.

“Okay,” Christen nods, happy with the answer. She loves that her girlfriend and her father have such a good relationship but they hang out pretty often and sometimes she feels like her dad tries to hog her own girlfriend. “I love you,” she says, giving Tobin a sweet smile, her eyes full of love.

“I love you too,” Tobin returns, giving her the same sappy look. She gives Christen an air kiss and giggles when Christen returns it, before she finally hangs up the phone. She turns to look at Cody who is just looking at her with a raised brow, obviously amused by how sappy the two of them are with each other. “What?” She asks, feeling her face turn a bit red.

“Nothing,” he smiles, shaking his head at her. “I’m just really glad that Christen has you,” he tells her sincerely.

“Well I’m happy that I have her too,” she tells him honestly. “And, I’m happy that I have you,” she adds, leaning over to nudge him affectionately. “Christen is really just the bonus,” she says with a wink.

Cody laughs loudly at that. “I’ll pretend that is true,” he says with a smirk.

—-

Tobin walks through the door of her and Christen’s apartment and sees boxes and Christmas decorations, spread all over the place. When she’d left this morning, it had been pretty clean and there were lots of things already hanging and setting around everywhere. She’s pretty sure that Christen went a little crazy today and bought way more things than she had intended to buy.

She claimed she just needed a few more things for the finishing touches.

“Christen?” She calls out, looking around for her girlfriend.

Christen pops out from behind one of the big boxes and gives Tobin a big grin. “Baby! You’re home!” She exclaims, making her way over to the woman with a big grin.

“I am,” Tobin nods, giggling at Christen’s good mood and a little caught off guard by it. Not that she expected her to be in a bad mood, but she wasn’t expecting her to be quite this cheery. Especially not when the house is a mess and they only have a few days until Christmas. She figured the girl would be a little on edge and stressed out.

“Hi,” Christen greets, leaning in and pressing a kiss to Tobin’s lips.

“What’s all this? I thought you said you only needed a few more things?” Tobin asks, raising a brow at her girlfriend.

“Well, I did,” Christen nods, and then looks around at the mess littering the living room and dining room. It kind of looks like Santa threw up everywhere. “But, I just kept finding all this gorgeous stuff and I couldn’t pass it up,” she informs her.

Tobin chuckles, “Okay well no more going to the store by yourself,” Tobin says firmly with a smirk. “Do we even have room for all of this?”

“I’ll find a place,” Christen shrugs. “I just want it to be perfect and look all Christmas-y,” she informs her.

“It will look perfect, baby,” Tobin assures her, leaning in and kissing Christen again. “Everyone is going to love it,” she tells her proudly.

“So how’s my dad?” Christen asks curiously, turning away from Tobin to keep going through all the things she’d bought and trying to figure out where to put everything.

“Good,” Tobin says. “I mean, he seemed like his normal self,” she shrugs.

“Good,” Christen nods. “He normally gets a little sad around the Holidays,” she says with a frown, looking back at Tobin. “And lonely, I think,” she adds.

Tobin just nods and plops herself down on the couch. “I know. I mean, don’t get me wrong I did stay because I love his burgers, but I also could tell that he wanted the company,” she informs her girlfriend. “And I like hanging out with your dad,” she adds with a small shrug.

“And he loves hanging out with you,” Christen tells her with a small eyeroll. “Sometimes I think he likes you more than me,” she adds with a smirk.

Tobin just chuckles but shakes her head, “Nah, you know that you’re his favorite,” she says with a grin. “Even out of your sisters, though he won’t admit it out loud,” she says, sending Christen a wink.

Christen just smiles and goes back to looking through her decorations.

But after a moment, she lets out a heavy sigh and sits down next to Tobin. “I think I bought too much stuff,” she says with defeat.

Tobin just laughs, because she knows that to be true. “It’s okay. We can find a spot for everything,” she assures her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and pulling her closer.

Christen nods and snuggles into Tobin’s chest. “So was your mom dissapointed when you told her that you weren’t going to go see her for Christmas?” Christen asks curiously. She knew that Tobin had made the phone call but she hadn’t said much about it since.

“I mean yeah,” Tobin sighs, running a hand over her face. “But, she understands that work is busy right now and that it’s not exactly cheap to fly over to see her,” she explains. “I mean, she did offer to pay for it but I told her that I couldn’t get off work,” she says with a wince, feeling guilty for lying to her mother.

Christen picks her head up off of Tobin’s chest and looks at her with a serious expression. “You know, you could just tell her that we’re dating,” she says carefully. She knows how nervous Tobin is to come out to her family but she also knows that she’s going to have to do it at some point.

“Christen,” Tobin sighs, pulling her arm away from Christen and leaning forward, her elbows on her knees. “My family isn’t like your family,” she tells her, shaking her head.

“You really don’t think they’d accept you?” Christen asks with a frown.

“I don’t know,” Tobin says honestly. “And I know that I’m lying and hiding a huge part of myself from them but...that’s better than losing them all together, right?” She asks, turning her head to look back at Christen for some sort of guidance.

But, Christen doesn’t have much to offer. “I don’t know,” she frowns. “Thankfully I never had to worry about that with my family,” she says quietly. “But, I don’t know if I’d be okay hiding you away or lying about it,” she explains carefully. “And you never know, they may not care Tobin. You could be worrying and stressing yourself out over nothing,” she tries to convince her.

“Maybe,” Tobin frowns. “I just...I don’t know.” She sighs, not really knowing what more to say on the subject. She knows it’s something she has to do, she’s just not ready to face it.

“You have to tell them at some point,” Christen points out the obvious. “I mean what are you going to do when we get married or have kids?” She asks curiously.

Tobin just smiles and sits back against the couch, looking over at Christen. “You think we’re going to get married?” She asks with a smirk.

“Well duh,” Christen answers confidently, putting one of her arms around Tobin’s shoulders, and scooting closer to her until she’s practically in Tobin’s lap. “I mean, someday,” she says softly, brushing a piece of Tobin’s hair behind her ear. “At least, I want to marry you,” she tells her.

“I want to marry you too,” Tobin assures her. “Someday,” she adds, repeating Christen’s words.

Christen just smiles and leans in placing a soft kiss on Tobin’s lips. “I’m not going to force you to come out, Tobin. You know that,” she says. “But, I do think that you should tell them,” she adds.

“I will,” Tobin nods. “But, I’ll do it after the holidays. I don’t want to ruin everyone’s Christmas,” she sighs. “Just in case it doesn’t go well,” she adds, before Christen can say otherwise.

“Okay, baby,” Christen says quietly, not wanting to argue with her or make her feel bad about it.

—-

Tobin and Christen are woken up early the next morning by someone knocking on their door. “What the fuck,” Tobin groans, confused. She looks over at the clock on their nightstand and sees that it’s just after 7am. A lot of the time they’d already be up and active by this time but it’s the weekend and the holidays, and they’d planned on being a little lazy the next few days and just enjoying being in each other’s company without work and everyday responsibilities.

They’d also stayed up pretty late enjoying each other’s company without clothes. Which is really how Tobin would like to spend most of her Holiday.

But someone clearly has other plans for them.

“Do you think that’s your sisters?” Tobin asks with furrowed brows.

“No way,” Christen shakes her head. “Tyler doesn’t wake up before 8am and Channing would never just show up unannounced. And her flight doesn’t get in until tonight,” she says knowingly. “Go see who it is,” she says, nudging Tobin.

“Why do I have to go?” Tobin asks just before they hear another knock.

“What if it’s a murder?” Christen asks.

Tobin just laughs, “So you want me to get murdered?” She asks with a smirk. “And I don’t think murders would just knock and politely wait outside for someone to answer,” she says amused.

“I don’t know what goes through murders’ minds,” Christen argues, nudging Tobin again, trying to push her out of the bed. “Go answer it,” she says, groaning as the knocking continues.

“Fine,” Tobin sighs, sluggishly getting out of bed. She throws some boxers on and a T shirt before walking out of the bedroom and down the hallway to answer the door.

When she reaches the front door, she cautiously pulls it open, her eyes widening when she sees her mom and brother standing on their doorstep with wide grins. “Mom? Jeff?” She asks, incredulously. “What are you doing here?” She asks, shaking her head, trying to figure out if she’s still asleep and dreaming or not.

“We couldn’t let you spend Christmas alone,” her mother tells her with a grin, stepping inside to give Tobin a big hug. “Perry should be coming later too,” she says, pulling away and smiling at her daughter.

“What? Perry is flying out too?” Tobin asks with wide eyes. “Mom-

“Oh nonsense, Tobin,” she says, waving her hand before her daughter can say anymore. “We all talked and we didn’t think it was right for you to have to spend Christmas alone. Katie couldn’t make it out because she’s having her in-law’s and everyone over for the Holidays, but the rest of us decided we should come and spend Christmas with you,” she explains to her.

“Wow Tobin, this place is nice,” Jeff says, making Tobin turn around to see her brother walking around, checking out the condo. “What does your roommate do again?”

Tobin shakes her head, still trying to catch up with everything. “Uh, she’s a real estate broker,” she tells him. “But guys, I’m not alone,” she says, turning back to her mother. “You really didn’t need to spend the money and go through all of this trouble,” she tells them.

“Tobin it’s fine. We just wanted to be with you on Christmas,” her mother tells her happily. “And I know you have your roommate and you said you would spend it with her family but it’s not the same. You should spend it with your family, not strangers,” she says, shaking her head as she makes her way into the kitchen.

“They’re not strangers,” Tobin says with furrowed brows, but decides not to get too much into that. “Where are you guys staying?”

“We got a hotel, don’t worry,” she informs her. “Just a few blocks away,” she adds with a smile.

“Yeah one room,” Jeff says, rolling his eyes. “So if you want to let me stay here with you, I’d be totally fine with that,” he adds with a smirk.

“No, Jeff,” Tobin says, giving him an annoyed look.

“He can stay here if he wants,” Tobin hears Christen’s voice before she sees her emerge from the hallway, wearing one of Tobin’s T-shirts, making Tobin’s eyes widen. Thankfully, she’d at least put pants on, but it still gives her anxiety that Christen is wearing her clothes in front of her family. Not that they will probably be able to tell that it’s Tobin’s. She’s just a little paranoid.

“Thank you,” Jeff says with a wide grin, before turning to give Tobin a smug look.

Tobin just rolls her eyes and moves over to Christen’s side. “Um...this is Christen,” she introduces. “This is my mom, Cindy and my little brother Jeff,” she says, and Christen can sense the anxiety in her voice.

“It’s very nice to meet you guys,” Christen says politely.

“You too, sweetie. Tobin talks about you all the time,” Cindy says, walking over to Christen and pulling her into a big hug, surprising Christen.

Christen chuckles a bit awkwardly but wraps her arms around Cindy, returning the hug. “Good things I hope,” she says, pulling away and glancing over to Tobin who looks more nervous than Christen has ever seen her.

“Oh yes, she adores you,” Cindy says, smiling over at her daughter.

Christen just smirks at Tobin, who rolls her eyes, letting out a huff.

“So you guys have a guest room?” Jeff asks.

“Yes,”

“No,”

Christen glances over at Tobin who just clears her throat awkwardly. “Well, I mean...Christen turned one of the bedrooms into her office and then she has a room and I have a room,” Tobin lies, scratching the back of her neck awkwardly. “But you can stay in my room, I guess,” she says, swallowing hard. “I mean, if you’re sure that’s okay, because he will be totally fine staying with my mom,” Tobin says, turning back to Christen giving her a look of desperation.

But Christen ignores her and smiles at Jeff, “Your brother is welcome to stay with us Tobin,” she says, giving him a smile. “It’ll be nice getting to know some of your family. You can just sleep in my room, Tobs,” she says, giving Tobin a wink.

Jeff just grins widely at Christen and Tobin doesn’t miss the way his eyes trail up and down her body, not so subtly.

She kind of wants to punch him, but she restrains herself.

“Jeff can sleep on the couch,” Cindy butts in. “There’s no need to make you girls share a room. We don’t need to put you out, Christen,” she says politely.

“It’s fine, really,” Christen says, having to stop herself from smirking. “I don’t mind sharing a bed with Tobin,” she says, grinning at her girlfriend.

—-

“I can’t believe you told him that he could stay here,” Tobin says frustrated, once they’re back in their bedroom, alone.

Christen just sighs and shakes her head, “What was I supposed to say? I don’t want to look like the bad guy here,” she says with a frown. “I want your family to like me,” she says, shrugging. “I mean, if they already like me then won’t that make coming out just a little bit easier?” She asks, placing her arms around Tobin’s shoulders. “Besides, I really would like to get to know your family. This is the first time that I’ve even met them and we’ve been together for a year and a half,” she says, shaking her head.

“I know,” Tobin sighs. “But don’t you think he’s going to notice that ‘my’ room has none of my things in it,” she says anxiously. “And it’s totally not my style. There’s no way he’s going to believe that’s my room,” she says, chewing on her lip.

“Well, just go and take them to breakfast or something and I’ll move some of your things in there,” Christen suggests.

“Really?” Tobin asks, looking at her a little surprised. “You’d do that?”

“Look, I’m not totally okay with lying to your family about us but if this is what you want and if this will make you a little less anxious then sure,” she tells her honestly. “I just want you to be comfortable and I just want you happy.”

“I love you,” Tobin says, traces of guilt in her voice. “I’m so sorry to do this to you,” she says with a sigh. “I can’t believe they just showed up like this,” she shakes her head, annoyed with her family for just barging in unnaounced.

“They love you and they want to spend Christmas with you,” Christen tells her. “It’s sweet and it’s not like they knew you were hiding something. They just thought you couldn’t make it home and they didn’t want you to be lonely. You can’t really be mad at them,” she explains to her.

Tobin sighs loudly and lets her head fall back, “God, I hate it when you make good points,” she says, making Christen laugh.

Christen pulls Tobin in for a long kiss, and then keeps her close, caressing her cheek with her thumb. “The hardest part of all of this is going to be keeping my hands off of you,” Christen admits. “And acting like I am not madly in love with you,” she adds softly.

Tobin smiles warmly, and pulls Christen closer to her so that their bodies are flush together. “Me too,” she replies with a rueful smile. She stays close to Christen for a few moments, enjoying getting to be here with her like this for even just a few moments. But then she lets out a heavy sigh and pulls away from Christen, regretfully. “Maybe you guys should just do Christmas at your dads and I can stay here with them?” Tobin suggests.

But Christen frowns, her brows furrowing, “Tobin, I’ve been planning this and decorating the condo for weeks now!”

“I know, I’m sorry,” Tobin shakes her head, sitting down on the end of the bed. “I just don’t know what to do,” she sighs. “I don’t want to make your whole family be apart of this lie,” she says, looking helplessly at Christen. “Or maybe I should just tell them that I got off work and I can just fly home with them,” she offers.

“I want to spend Christmas with you,” Christen pouts, sitting down next to Tobin. “I don’t want you to leave,” she says, grabbing Tobins hand. “Maybe you could finally just tell them?” She asks carefully. “I mean...they flew all the way out here to surprise you. They obviously care about you a lot. Not many families would go through all of this trouble just because one member couldn’t make it,” she explains to her. “I think that maybe they could be okay with this and still love you no matter what,” she says honestly.

“I can’t Christen,” Tobin shakes her head, looking away from her girlfriend, not being able to look at her disappointed face. “They went through all of this trouble, the last thing I want to do is ruin their Christmas,” she says, defeated.

“Fine,” Christen says, standing up off the bed. “Just go to breakfast and I’ll move your things,” she tells her. “And maybe you sleeping on the couch isn’t the worst idea,” she adds, before escaping to the bathroom, clearly upset.

Tobin wants to start crying.

She doesn’t want to upset Christen but she’s also too scared to be honest with her family.

Pulling herself together, she takes in a deep breath and walks out of the bedroom to go and hang out with her family, knowing she’ll have to wait and talk to Christen later.

One problem at a time.

—-

“So they just showed up completely unannounced?”

“Yeah,” Christen sighs, accepting the cup of coffee from her older sister as she sits on Tyler’s couch, cuddled up with her dogs. “I mean, I can’t be mad at them, they just wanted to see Tobin on Christmas,” she says with a sigh.

“Sure, but you can be mad at Tobin,” Tyler informs her, sitting down on the couch next to her. “It’s kind of ridiculous that she won’t just tell them the truth and that she’s trying to play you guys off as roommates,” she admits. “I mean, doesn’t that make you angry?”

“It does,” Christen admits with a small sigh. “But, I also know that I can’t force her to come out. That’s not right,” she says, with furrowed brows. “Her family isn’t like ours and I can’t be angry at her for being scared to lose them,” she explains. “But yes, it’s getting kind of ridiculous,” she says honestly. “And we had all of these plans for the next few days. It’s going to be our first Christmas together and it was going to be perfect,” she says with a wistful sigh.

“You just need to talk to Tobin and try and sort this out,” Tyler says, feeling bad that she doesn’t have any better advice to offer her sister. “If she really loves you then she won’t keep lying about it to her family and she won’t ruin you guys’ Christmas,” Tyler says, feeling hopeful that Tobin will make the right choice.

“I just...I know it’s a lot harder for some people to come out and I never want to make her feel bad for not being ready, but it’s been so long now,” Christen sighs. “And she’s an adult and we’re in a serious relationship. I think it’s time,” she says firmly.

“You’re right,” Tyler nods. “Just talk to her tonight. But if it comes down to it then we can do Christmas at Dad’s like we always do. It’ll still be a good Christmas,” Tyler tries to convince her.

Christen just nods, not really believing it, but not wanting to keep complaining. “Are you picking Channing up later?”

“Yeah, you want to come with?” Tyler asks, knowing that Christen probably doesn't want to hang around the condo right now. Not until they figure out what they’re going to do.

“Maybe,” she shrugs. “I guess I need to see when Tobin will be back home,” she explains to her and then lets out a heavy sigh.

“What’s wrong?” Tyler asks, noticing that the girl keeps looking down at her phone.

“Nothing. It’s stupid,” Christen shakes her head.

“Come on,” Tyler says, nudging her little sister. “Just tell me,” she asks with a sincere smile.

Christen sighs and throws her head back against the couch. “I want to be annoyed and angry with Tobin but I just miss her and I want to text her and see how she’s doing and if she’s okay but then I don’t want to text her because I want to be annoyed with her,” she explains and Tyler just gives her an amused look. “I told you it was stupid,” Christen grumbles.

Tyler just chuckles and shakes her head, “You guys are like grossly in love and obsessed with each other,” she says, making Christen frown. “Sorry, obsessed isn’t a good word to use,” she amends. “But Chris, you know she’s walking around like a kicked puppy right now because she thinks you are mad at her. There’s no point in keeping you both miserable,” she explains to her. “Just text her,” she says, nodding towards Christen’s phone.

Christen can’t help but smile because she knows Tyler is right. And she can picture the pout that’s probably on Tobin’s face right now as she tries to enjoy time with her family. “You’re right. I’ll text her,” she nods, opening up her messages on her phone.

—-

Christen walks into the condo pretty late that night. She’d gone with Tyler to pick Channing up at the airport and then had a late dinner with her sisters. Honestly, she just wanted to spend some time with them and be away from Tobin and her family for a little while. She’s nervous that Tobin isn’t going to come out to them and she’s not really sure how she’s supposed to act around them. She’s not sure how well she’s going to be able to act like she’s just one of Tobin’s friends and roommates. She’s worried she’s going to slip up and out Tobin to her family.

And even if she wants Tobin to tell them the truth, she doesn’t want to be the one to accidentally do it.

She spots Jeff wandering around the kitchen, dressed in just some joggers and a T-shirt and he reminds her a lot of Tobin, the way he moves and carries himself.

“Looking for something?” She asks curiously.

Jeff jumps around, startled by her voice but then gives her a smile. “Just looking for something to eat,” he tells her. “I don’t know what’s Tobin’s and what is yours. I don’t want to eat your groceries,” he tells her.

Christen just nods and sits down on one of the stools at the kitchen bar top. “You can eat whatever you want, Jeff,” she assures him with a smile. “We just share groceries,” she tells him, which is the truth.

“Okay,” he nods and then continues going through the fridge. “What about these beers? Are they yours or Tobin’s?” He then asks, and Christen has to stop herself from sighing loudly.

“Jeff, seriously just help yourself to whatever is in there,” she assures him.

“Okay, you want one?” He asks, offering a bottle to her.

Christen shakes her head and Jeff gives her a little frown. “Let me show you where the good stuff is,” she grins, getting off the stool. She makes her way around the kitchen and opens one of the cabinets that has a bunch of top shelf whiskies, scotches and some other random alcohol that they’ve collected over the past year.

“Wow,” he says, looking at the collection impressed.

“Do you like whiskey? This is your sister’s favorite,” Christen tells him, pulling out a bottle to show him.

“I never knew that Tobin drinks whiskey,” he says with a small frown.

Christen just shrugs and grabs two glasses out of a cabinet, “We don’t drink that often but yeah, she likes a whiskey occasionally,” she explains. She pulls the cap off and pours herself and Jeff a glass, before sliding one over to him. “Where is Tobin?” She asks, glancing around the room.

“She said she was headed to bed,” he says with a shrug. “I tried to get her to hang out with me a little longer but she said she was tired,” he tells her, shaking his head. “She seems-...” he starts to say but then shakes his head, stopping himself.

“She seems what?” Christen asks curiously.

“I don’t know,” he shrugs. “Just different,” he says, not really knowing how to place it. “She used to always be so positive and happy, especially when my mom was around but today she just seemed...sad,” he explains to her. “Sorry, I’m probably just being dumb and you don’t really care about our family drama,” he says with a small smile.

“I care about Tobin,” she says firmly. “I’ll talk to her,” she tries to assure him, giving him a small smile.

“Okay,” he nods, not wanting to say anything more. “You guys seem pretty close,” he observes.

“Yeah we are,” Christen can’t help herself from saying. She wants to say more, and tell him exactly how close they are, but she doesn’t. It’s not her place.

“So Tobin says you’re a real estate broker? That sounds fun,” Jeff says, trying to start up a conversation between the two of them.

Christen just laughs, “I don’t know if most people would find it fun,” she says knowingly. “But I enjoy it,” she shrugs.

“Do you sell million dollar homes like the people on those reality TV shows?” He asks, his eyes lighting up and a big smile appearing on his face. He looks just like Tobin and it makes Christen smile as well.

“We do,” she nods. “But my office is not nearly as dramatic and interesting as those shows make it seem,” she adds with a smirk.

“Have you ever sold a house to a celebrity?” He asks, his excitement growing.

Christen just smiles endearingly at him, “I have,” she nods vaguely. “But mostly just boring business people that have more money than they know what to do with,” she informs him. “What about you? You’re a photographer like Tobin, right?”

“Yeah,” he grins. “We’ve always had a lot in common,” he tells her. “Growing up, we were always hanging out and interested in the same things,” he explains to her. “She was kind of my role model and I always tried to be just like her,” he admits. “But don’t tell her that I told you that,” he adds, narrowing his eyes at Christen.

Christen just grins, “I won’t,” she assures him. “But, I’m sure she’d be happy to hear that,” she tells him honestly.

“Nah, she’d just make fun of me,” he says, smiling affectionately. “She sometimes hated how I always followed her around and tried to do everything that she did,” he laughs. “But she was still always better than me at just about everything,” he says, rolling his eyes.

“She really is good at everything,” Christen says knowingly.

“Tell me about it,” he rolls his eyes. “Anything she tried she was a pro at it in like 5 minutes, when the rest of us had to actually work and practice every day,” he says with a scoff.

Christen giggles again, nodding her head, “It’s infuriating sometimes,” she agrees.

Jeff takes another sip of his whiskey and just watches Christen for a moment as they sit in a comfortable silence, “So uh are you..do you have a boyfriend or anything?” He asks, making Christen just about spit her whiskey out, not really expecting the questions or really sure how to answer it.

“Uh...” Christen hesitates, not really knowing what to say to him. “I’m seeing someone, yes,” she settles on, not wanting to lie to him. She could have just said that she doesn’t have a boyfriend, but she’s pretty sure she knows why he’s asking and she doesn’t want the follow up question that she thinks would come out of him thinking that she’s single.

Which is super awkward.

“Oh of course,” he says, trying to mask his disappointment. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” he adds, giving her a smile. “You’re successful, kind and really beautiful,” he tells her.

Christen clears her throat a bit awkwardly, not really sure how she feels about her girlfriend’s brother hitting on her. But it’s not like he knows that Tobin is her girlfriend. He’s not really doing anything wrong, but it still feels wrong. “Thank you,” Christen says softly.

Before either of them can say anymore, Tobin sluggishly walks into the room, rubbing at her tired looking eyes, a frown on her face. But as soon as she sees Christen, a smile grows on her face, “Chris, you’re home,” she says, having to physically stop herself from running over to the woman and kissing her like she normally would.

“I am,” Christen replies, giving Tobin a smile, happy to have an interruption from her awkward conversation with Jeff. She’s also just happy to see Tobin. She’d wanted to find her as soon as she’d gotten home, but she also couldn’t pass up a chance to try and get to know Tobin’s brother a little.

Though, now she kind of regrets it.

“I thought you were going to bed,” Jeff says with a frown, clearly not as happy as Christen is to have Tobin interrupt them.

“I couldn’t sleep,” she shrugs and then looks at Christen.

And Christen knows exactly why she couldn’t sleep. Neither of them can ever sleep, or at least sleep well, without the other in bed with them.

“What are you guys doing?” She asks curiously.

“Just having a drink and chatting,” Christen shrugs.

Tobin narrows her eyes at them, “About me?”

“Not everything is about you, Tobin,” Christen says with a cheeky grin. “But you may have been mentioned,” she adds with a casual shrug, smiling playfully.

“Don’t listen to anything he says,” she tells Christen, glaring over at her little brother, who just puts his hands up defensively.

“She probably knows more secrets than I do,” Jeff says with a shrug, nodding his head over to Christen. “You barely speak to me anymore,” he tells her. “All I have on you is stupid stuff you did when you were a kid and I highly doubt your roommate cares about that,” he chuckles and then looks between them curiously. “Why are you guys roommates, anyway?” He asks suddenly. “I mean, you clearly make enough money to live on your own,” he says, looking over to Christen. “Are you just helping my poor big sister out?” He adds with a smirk.

Tobin bites her lip and looks down at Christen, not really sure how to answer that. She hadn’t thought much about that question coming up, though she should have.

“I like having a roommate,” Christen says simply with a small shrug. “It gets too lonely living on your own,” she explains easily. Though, to be honest if she weren’t with Tobin she definitely would want to be living by herself. “And your sister makes plenty of money on her own,” she adds, not wanting him to think that Tobin just mooches off of her. She does make more money than Tobin but Tobin’s done really well for herself as a photographer.

She’s done a lot of shoots for famous magazines and even sells some of her more creative pieces for a pretty decent amount of money. And then she does some weddings and family photos for people sometimes just for a little extra money in between other things. Or just to help out friends and family who want some photos taken.

“But, back to the topic at hand, I would love to hear some of those childhood Tobin stories,” she says with a grin. “Tell me something good,” she says, leaning closer to Jeff, ready for him to spill all the juicy details.

“No way,” Tobin interrupts with a laugh. “Come on, it’s getting late. Let’s just go to bed,” she suggests, nudging Christen a bit.

“Wow, you’re getting old Toby,” Jeff laughs. “But you can go to bed whenever you’d like. Me and Christen here were just getting to know each other,” he informs her with a grin.

“I think that I’m ready for bed too,” Christen tells him, giving him a sympathetic look. “But help yourself to anything in the fridge or pantry,” she tells him, standing up from the bar stool. “And I set up Tobin’s room for you and put some clean sheets on the bed and everything,” she says, clearly lying. It’s actually a guest room that hardly gets used but she’s hoping to pass it off as putting new sheets on the bed and moving some of Tobin’s things out, though she did the exact opposite and put a few things in the room of Tobin’s.

“Night, Jeff,” Tobin says, giving her brother a hug. “I really am happy that you’re here,” she tells him sincerely, knowing that she hasn’t probably shown that much today. She’d just been too caught off guard and anxious to truly enjoy her family's presence. Which she knows is her own fault.

“Night, Toby,” he says, hugging her back. “Night, Christen,” he then says, smiling over at the woman.

Christen just gives him a kind smile in return, “Night, Jeff,” she says, before turning and heading down the hallway towards her and Tobin’s bedroom.

Once they get inside their bedroom, Christen turns towards Tobin to see her chewing on her lip, standing almost sheepishly by the bedroom door and making no movement towards her. “I haven’t seen you all day and I don’t get a hug or a kiss or anything?” Christen asks with a small smirk.

Tobin looks a bit hopeful and then shrugs her shoulders, awkwardly, “I didn’t know if you were still mad at me,” she explains to her.

“Get over here and kiss me, dork,” Christen says, rolling her eyes and giving Tobin an affectionate grin.

Tobin wastes no more time and wraps her arms around Christen’s waist, pulling her in close and kissing her passionately. “I’ve missed you,” she breathes out against Christen’s lips after a moment, but then kisses her again, not having enough yet.

“I missed you too,” Christen replies, reaching up to caress Tobin’s cheek. “Did you have a good day with your family?” She asks softly.

Tobin just shrugs and looks away from Christen.

“What’s wrong, baby?” She asks, gently turning Tobin’s head so that she’s looking back at her.

“I don’t know. I mean, it was never easy lying to them or hiding our relationship but it’s different being with them in person,” she explains. “And then I thought you were mad at me all day so I just couldn’t really relax,” she sighs.

“I wanted to talk to you about all of that,” Christen says softly, pulling away and grabbing Tobin’s hand, guiding her to sit down on the edge of the bed. “Don’t you think after today, that it’s just time to tell them? It’s just going to get worse and we’re not going to be able to enjoy our Christmas. And it’s our first Christmas together, Tobin. Don’t you want it to be special? Not spent lying and having to act like we’re just roommates?” She says, trying to sound more gentle than frustrated, like she really feels.

“You’re right,” Tobin nods. “I want to tell them, it’s just hard,” she frowns. “I almost told my mom a couple of times today, but I kept chickening out,” she explains.

“I know that it’s not easy,” Christen says soothingly. “And I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this,” she tells her, caressing the back of her hand in a comforting way. “But I’m right here with you, okay? And I really think that they’ll be okay with it and still love you but even if the worst happens and they don’t accept you, you still have me,” she says giving her a small smile, though she knows it’s not the same. “And you have my family, which I know isn’t the same as your own, but my family loves you and we’ll all be here to support you no matter what happens,” she says sincerely.

“I know,” Tobin nods. “I appreciate you guys, I just...I don’t want to lose my family,” she says honestly. “I’m terrified,” she admits.

Christen just pulls Tobin down onto the bed and wraps her up in her arms. “I know baby,” she soothes, running her fingers through Tobin’s hair. “Let’s just get some sleep and we will figure this all out tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay,” Tobin nods, rolling off of Christen so that she can get changed and ready for bed. She crawls up the bed and sits against the headboard, watching as her girlfriend starts getting undressed. “Did Channing get here okay?”

“Yeah, she did,” Christen smiles. “She’s staying with Tyler,” she informs her. The plan had been for Channing to stay with them, but they obviously weren’t expecting to have someone else staying in their guest room.

“I’m sorry that she couldn’t stay here. I know you were looking forward to that,” Tobin frowns.

“It’s fine,” Christen assures her. “I’ll still see her and I’m sure that you are happy your brother is here,” she says knowingly. “And I’m happy to have him here,” she says and then frowns, turning her back towards Tobin, “Except, I think he was hitting on me,” she says, casually, digging through her drawer to avoid Tobin’s reaction.

“What?” She just about screams, jumping off the bed. “What did he say?”

Christen just smirks and turns back towards Tobin, “He asked me if I was seeing anyone and then he told me that I was beautiful,” she informs her girlfriend.

“I’m going to kill him,” Tobin mumbles, her hands forming fists at her side.

“Slow down, Tiger,” Christen says with a chuckle, putting her hands on Tobin’s shoulders. “It’s not like he knows that you and I are a couple,” she reminds her. “He was very nice and not creepy or pushy or anything,” she assures her. “He was just as charming as you,” she says with a giggle.

Tobin rolls her eyes and scoffs, “I doubt it.”

“You guys are a lot alike and clearly have the same taste in women,” Christen informs her with a smirk. “I almost felt like I was talking to a boy version of you,” she says with a chuckle but Tobin rolls her eyes again, still annoyed with her brother. “Come on, I like him,” Christen grins. “And once this is all out in the open, I’d really like to get to know him. I know how close you guys used to be,” she says, her voice turning a bit more serious. “And I know that you’d like to get back to being close with your family again. I know that it hurts you not being able to be open with them and talk to them like you used to, before you were hiding something really big from them.”

Tobin just sighs and wraps her arms around Christen’s waist pulling her into a hug, “I hate how you’re always right,” she says matter of fact.

Christen just giggles, “Really? Because I love it.”

Tobin can’t help but laugh as well as she pulls away from Christen. “Finish getting ready for bed, I want cuddles,” she tells her before climbing back into bed herself.

“Yes ma’am,” Christen chuckles before going into their bathroom to brush her teeth and finish up her nightly routine.

—-

Christen leaves Tobin in bed the next morning, letting her get a little bit of extra sleep, knowing she’d planned on sleeping in and just being lazy for the next couple of days. Christen however, doesn’t do well staying in bed much after 8 am, no matter how hard she tries. Her body won’t let her sleep much past that and she gets restless just laying there, waiting on Tobin to wake up.

She walks into the living room and is surprised to see Cindy and another woman in their kitchen, making breakfast.

“Morning, Christen,” Cindy greets her with a wide grin. “Jeff let us in, I hope that’s okay,” she says with furrowed brows, hoping it wasn’t going to upset Christen. “We just wanted to come and make you guys some breakfast,” she explains to her.

“No, that’s totally fine,” Christen says, giving her a polite smile. “You guys are welcome here whenever,” she assures her.

“Hi, I’m Perry, Tobin’s older sister,” the woman that Christen hadn’t yet met, introduces herself.

“Hi, Christen,” Christen greets back, shaking her sister's hand. “It’s really nice to meet you,” she smiles. “Don’t you have kids? Where are they?” Christen asks curiously, glancing around the condo, pretty sure she’d notice two little kids running around.

“Oh they’re at the hotel with my husband,” Perry informs her. “I figured you guys wouldn’t want two toddlers running around screaming this early in the morning,” she says with a light chuckle.

“Oh, I wouldn’t have minded,” Christen assures her. “I’ve seen photos and they’re adorable,” she tells her.

“Well, I’m sure you will get to meet them at some point,” she tells her. “I made some coffee, hope that is okay,” she tells her, gesteruting to the coffee pot on the kitchen counter.

“Oh thank you,” Christen says, walking over to make herself a cup. “And no, it’s no problem,” she assures. “You guys are welcome to anything we have,” she tells them, kindly.

“Did you sleep okay?” Cindy asks her. “It’s been awhile, but if I remember correctly, Tobin moves a lot in her sleep,” she says with a laugh.

“Oh I’m used to it,” Christen waves off without thinking. She turns to look at the two women who are eying her curiously. “I mean...sometimes we have movie nights and hang out or whatever and we fall asleep in each other’s beds,” she shrugs, hoping that doesn’t sound too weird for roommates to do. She doesn’t think it does. But she’s also a little paranoid and honestly doesn’t remember what normal roommates would do. She hasn’t had one since college.

The two women seem to accept the answer and just turn back to making breakfast, and Christen lets out a sigh of relief, sitting down on one of the barstools to watch them. “Do you guys need any help?” She offers politely. “Honestly, I’m not the best cook but I can follow instructions pretty well,” she laughs.

“No, no, we’ve got it covered,” Cindy assures her, waving the spatula.

“Christen the condo looks absolutely gorgeous by the way,” Perry compliments her on all of her Christmas decor.

“Oh thank you!” Christen grins. “I went a little crazy but this is the first year that I’m hosting Christmas so I wanted it to be perfect,” she informs them.

“You’re having Christmas here? Well we don’t want to get in your way. I’m sure we can all hang out at the hotel. I’m sorry, I didn’t even think to ask before we just kind of barged in here. I just assumed you’d be at your parents, Tobin says that your dad and sister are here in LA,” Cindy says with a small frown.

“No, it’s not a big deal,” Christen waves off. “I’m sure we will figure it out,” she adds quietly, not really sure what to say. She’s hoping that Tobin will just tell them and they can all have Christmas here together. Though, she’s not sure that’s how it’s going to go.

“Okay, well just let us know and we will make do,” Cindy smiles at her.

“Okay,” Christen nods, before taking a sip of her coffee, hoping to end the conversation there.

And thankfully they do. They just continue cooking with Christmas music playing in the background, making small talk with Christen.

And then about 20 minutes later, Tobin walks down the hallway, looking just as surprised as Christen had to see her mom and sister in their kitchen. “Morning,” Tobin says, blinking her eyes sleepily and trying to wake herself up.

Christen bites her lip, trying to hold back a huge grin, just seeing her sleepy girlfriend. She always looks so adorable first thing in the morning and all Christen wants to do is give her a hug and kiss her pouty lips. “Morning,” Christen replies as her and Tobin’s eyes lock.

“Morning Tobes,” Perry greets, not missing the way Tobin and Christen are grinning at each other. “We’re making your favorite,” she tells her.

Tobin pulls her eyes away from Christen and smiles over at her mom and sister, “Awesome,” she says, walking up behind her mom and hugging her from behind, looking into the pan in front of her. “Did you put extra chocolate chips?” She asks looking at the pancakes.

“Of course,” Cindy grins. “They’re basically just candy bars with a little pancake at this point,” she laughs.

Tobin doesn’t miss the way Christen’s face scrunches up at such an unhealthy breakfast. Tobin just gives her a smug look and moves around the bar to sit on a stool next to her.

She can’t tell her not to eat it, like she really wants without looking like a nagging girlfriend.

Not that Tobin really minds how Christen tries to get her to eat healthy. She knows it’s good for her. But she still likes to try and sneak in unhealthy food sometimes to get her fix. And honestly, she finds it adorable when Christen is annoyed. She gets all huffy and cute.

And yes, Tobin knows it’s wrong but sometimes she enjoys pushing Christen’s buttons. But Christen does it too. It’s kind of their way of flirting with each other.

The bickering always leads to some great sex. So that’s a plus as well.

“So what do you guys want to do today?” Tobin asks, reaching over to steal some chocolate chips out of the bag, popping them into her mouth, ignoring the eye roll she knows that Christen is giving her.

“We were kind of thinking about taking the kids to see Santa today. They haven’t gone yet and there’s this cool place that I saw online around here that has a bunch of activities and stuff as well as a Santa,” Perry informs her. “But I know we kind of just showed up on you so if you have other plans you don’t have to join,” she adds.

Tobin glances over at Christen who just shrugs. They were supposed to go with her family later tonight to look at Christmas lights, it’s kind of a Press family tradition, but that’s not until later. They hadn’t had anything planned for the day. They were just going to stay in and be lazy together. Or Tobin was going to be lazy and Christen was going to attempt to finish decorating without getting too distracted by Tobin.

“No that sounds fun. I miss Tuck and Bailey and I would love to go hang out with them,” Tobin says honestly. “Chris, you want to come?” Tobin asks hopefully.

“Oh uh...” Christen hesitates, not really knowing if she should tagalong with Tobin’s family, considering they just think of her as the roommate. And she’s also nervous that she’s going to do something to give them away, before Tobin actually tells them the truth.

“I doubt your friend wants to go watch a bunch of chaotic children run around screaming over Santa,” Cindy laughs.

Tobin nods her head but Christen can see the look of defeat on her face and a small little pout and it breaks her heart. “Uh, I don’t mind going. I mean, if you guys don’t mind. I didn’t really have anything planned today anyway,” she says, reaching under the counter to give Tobin’s knee a little squeeze. “It could be fun. I like kids,” she shrugs.

“Of course we don’t mind,” Perry says, giving Christen a smile. “Alright, I’m going to try and wake Jeff up for breakfast,” she says, throwing the towel she’d had over her shoulder down on the counter and heading down the hallway.

She gets down the hallway and opens one of the bedroom doors, realizing she doesn’t really know which room she’s looking for and probably should have asked before she just starts opening random doors. And she opens the door to a bedroom but it’s definitely not the room that Jeff is staying in.

Without being able to help herself, she takes a few steps inside, looking around. She notices a bunch of things that are probably Christen’s but also quite a few things that have Tobin’s name written all over them, especially her old skateboard in the corner of the room. She also doesn’t miss the photos on the dresser of Christen and Tobin, arms wrapped tightly around each other and smiling happily at the camera. One of the photos, they’re smiling at each other with those same smiles she’d witnessed in person this morning.

Swallowing hard, she decides she shouldn’t be snooping like this and quietly steps back out of the bedroom, shutting the door behind her.

She moves on to the next door, opening it quietly, relieved when she sees her little brother sleeping soundly on the bed. She takes a look around and realizes very quickly that this is definitely not her sister's bedroom.

Clearing her throat, she shakes her head, ridding all the thoughts racing through her mind and heads over to the bed to wake up her little brother. “Come on Jeff!” She shouts, loudly. “Time to get up!”

—-

“Oh look! Ice skating!” Tobin exclaims happily, pointing over at the ice skating rink that is filled with people. “What do you say guys?” She asks, looking down at her niece and nephew who start squealing with excitement.

Perry just laughs at her kids and nods her head. “Okay, I’ll go grab us some skates,” she says, handing Bailey over to her mother so that she can go up to the stand.

“I’ll come and help you,” Christen offers with a smile, following behind her.

Tobin just watches with a smile on her face as her girlfriend and sister wander over to the booth to get everyone set up. She knows that Perry has no idea that it’s her girlfriend but she’s happy to see her and Christen talking and getting along with each other.

It’s all she’s ever wanted.

“Alright, how about we grab a seat on the bleachers and start getting our shoes off?” Cindy suggests to the kids and to Tobin.

Tobin just nods and grabs Tucker’s hand following after her mother and Bailey to sit down and start helping them with their shoes.

When they finally get on the ice, Tobin looks behind her at Christen who is struggling a bit, wobbling around on the ice and trying to balance herself. “Do you even know how to ice skate, Cali girl?” Tobin asks with a smirk.

Christen rolls her eyes at her girlfriend, “Yes, I do. It’s just been awhile,” she informs her. “My parents used to bring us ice skating a couple of times every Christmas,” she tells her with a smile. “I just need a minute to get adjusted,” she says with a small huff.

Tobin just grins and reaches out, grabbing Christen’s waist before she can fall. “I gotcha,” she tells her, giving her waist a little squeeze. “Do you need to hold my hand?” She then asks with a smirk.

Christen huffs at her again and pushes Tobin away from her. “No, I can do it,” she says, annoyed with the girl and her teasing. “See, I’m fine,” she says after a moment, finding her bearings and being able to skate with no problem. “It just had to come back to me,” she informs her with a smug look.

Tobin just laughs and then grins even wider when she sees Perry and Tucker making their way towards them, Perry holding tightly onto Tucker's hand so that he doesn’t fall.

“Aunt Toto!” The little boy squeals, trying to go faster to get closer to Tobin.

Tobin skates the rest of the way over to him, “Look at you!” She exclaims with a grin. “You want to skate with me?” She offers, extending her hands out for him to take. He just nods enthusiastically and lets go of his mothers hands to grab onto Tobin. “Alright, let’s go!” She grins, taking off with him a lot faster than Perry would really care for but she knows that Tucker is enjoying himself. She also knows that Tobin will take care of him and not let him get hurt.

“He loves his aunt Toto,” Christen remarks with a smile, watching Tobin skate around with her nephew who has a grin on his face just as wide as Tobin’s.

“Oh yeah,” Perry laughs. “She’s his favorite person,” she grins. “He misses her,” she then says with a small frown.

Christen bites her lip and looks over at Perry, “Yeah, I know that Tobin misses you guys as well,” she tells them.

“That’s why she hardly ever calls or makes an attempt to come and visit us?” She asks, sounding a bit bitter which makes Christen shift uncomfortably. “Sorry, I know you don’t want to get involved in our family drama,” she says, waving her hand.

“It’s okay,” Christen says softly. “I’m sure that she has her reasons,” she says a bit awkwardly. Thankfully before Perry can reply, Cindy and Bailey slowly skate up next to them, the former making sure that Bailey doesn’t fall.

“Look at you! You’re doing so good!” Christen grins down at the happy little girl.

“Riss!” Bailey says happily, clapping her hands up at her new friend. She’d sat next to Christen on the ride over and hadn’t stopped babbling to her and showing her all of her toys that she’d had in the car with her.

“You want to go with me?” Christen asks and then looks up at Perry and Cindy. “Is that okay?”

“Yeah, go ahead,” Perry nods, a smile on her face. “I have a feeling you are a lot safer than Tobin,” she can’t help but laugh.

Christen just giggles and takes Bailey’s hands, moving herself behind the little girl so that she’s skating in front of her. “We’ll be safe,” Christen assures the women before slowly skating away with the little girl.

Bailey just keeps kicking her feet and trying to walk, which is making it a little more difficult for Christen to stay balanced but she handles herself pretty well. “Hey, Bay,” she says, tapping her fingers against the little girl's hand. “You have to just slide your feet, like this,” she tells her, trying to get her to do what she’s doing.

And it takes her a few moments, but eventually she starts just sliding her feet against the ice without picking them up, making it a little easier for Christen to glide around with her.

“There you go!” She praises, shaking her hand a little in celebration. “You’re doing so good!” She tells her, which just makes Bailey laugh and start kicking her feet again.

“Hey, wanna race?” She suddenly hears Tobin’s voice in her ear and then sees her and Tucker skate up next to them.

Christen rolls her eyes at Tobin, knowing full well that’s not a fair race. “I’ll race you later without the kids,” she returns, raising a brow at Tobin.

“Oh you’re on,” she grins in response. “Come on Tuck, let’s show them how to really skate!” She says, picking up speed with the little boy and easily getting far ahead of Christen and Bailey.

Christen just shakes her head, laughing at Tobin’s antics and continues her slow pace with Bailey.

—-

After a few circles around the rink, Tobin and Tucker skid to a stop in front of Cindy and Perry, Tucker laughing happily as the ice flies off of Tobin’s skates as she comes to a quick hault.

“Grammy!” Tucker squeals, letting go of Tobin’s hands to move over to his grandmother, wobbling a bit on his own but makes it and practically falls into Cindy’s arms with a giggle.

“You want me to take you around?” She asks him with a smile and he nods. “Okay, but I probably won’t go as fast as your aunt Toto,” she grins at him.

Tobin laughs as she watches them skate away and then her eyes find Christen and Bailey on the backside of the rink. Christen has Bailey up in her arms and she’s spinning them around in circles on the ice, making Bailey laugh and wave her arms around happily.

Tobin just grins and lets out a small sigh.

God, she’s so in love with that woman.

And Perry doesn’t miss the look, her eyes following Tobin’s line of sight over to Christen and her daughter. “So how long have you guys been together?” She asks curiously.

Tobin’s eyes widen and she feels herself almost fall, losing her balance briefly. But she catches herself and then looks over at her older sister. “What? What are you talking about?” She asks, her heart racing in her chest. She can see that Perry is still looking over at Christen and so she knows exactly what she’s asking. “We’re just friends, why would think-

“I’m not stupid, Tobin,” Perry says, finally turning to look at her little sister. “She looks at you the same way that you are looking at her right now,” she says softly. “You guys are obviously crazy about each other and you don’t do a great job of hiding it,” she informs her with a small smirk. But then she notices Tobin’s bottom lip trembling a bit and how she’s avoiding her gaze, her face pale. “Oh, Tobin, have you really been that afraid to tell us?” She asks, reaching out and placing a comforting hand on Tobin’s shoulder.

Tobin just nods, still not looking over at her sister. “I don’t want you guys to hate me,” she says quietly, her voice wavering.

“Tobin, we would never hate you,” Perry assures her softly. “Look at me,” she adds gently.

Tobin swallows hard and slowly turns her head to look over at her big sister, almost breaking when she sees her looking at her with nothing but love and sincerity. “You guys don’t think it’s wrong? Or disgusting?” She asks quietly, her eyes filling with tears.

Perry just shakes her head, “I’m sorry if I have ever said or done anything to make you think that I think being gay is a sin or wrong,” she starts to tell her. “But, I definitely don’t,” she adds firmly. “You are who you are and you love who you love. It doesn’t matter to me. We just want you to be you and to be happy,” she says softly.

Tobin lets out a breath, her whole body visibly relaxing as she feels a weight lifting off of her chest. She pulls Perry into a big hug, wrapping her arms tightly around her. “I’m sorry that I lied for so long,” she cries. “I was just so scared to lose you guys,” she admits sadly.

Perry hugs her back just as fiercely and then pulls back just enough so that she can see Tobin’s face. “You aren’t going to lose us and I’m sorry that you felt like you couldn’t tell us,” she says, not wanting Tobin to blame herself.

Tobin takes in another shaky breath, trying to compose herself and not make a scene in the middle of the ice skating rink. “I love you,” she tells her sister with a soft smile.

“Oh, I love you too, Tobes,” Perry says, pulling Tobin into another hug. “And Christen is wonderful,” she says, giving Tobin a squeeze.

Tobin just laughs lightly, pulling away from her sister and wiping at her eyes. “Yeah, she is,” she agrees, looking back towards her girlfriend who is heading back towards them with Bailey. “I love her so much, Perry,” Tobin admits.

“I’m happy for you,” Perry smiles. “Truly.”

“Do you think Mom knows?” Tobin asks, chewing on her lip nervously.

“I don’t know,” she shrugs. “She may be a little more oblivious than I am but like I said, you guys aren’t exactly subtle with the heart eyes,” She laughs.

Tobin chuckles and shakes her head, not even trying to deny it.

“But, you should tell her. She won’t hate you either, Tobin,” Perry assures her.

And it gives Tobin a sense of relief, though she’s still nervous to have that conversation with her mother. She still has a little seed of doubt in her mind, no matter how much Perry tries to tell her otherwise.

“Mommy!” Bailey squeals as her and Christen approach them. She starts kicking her feet in excitement again, making Christen almost fall over but she catches herself and just starts giggling at the excited little girl.

“Everything okay?” Christen asks, eyeing Tobin as she hands Bailey off to Perry. She can tell by Tobin’s face that she had been crying and she feels a bit of dread.

“Yeah,” Tobin nods, giving Christen a reassuring smile, though Christen still eyes her suspiciously. “Let’s take a break and get some hot chocolate,” she tells Christen, reaching out for her hand.

“Okay,” Christen agrees, grabbing Tobin’s hand and following her off the ice.

—-

“So uh...Perry knows,” Tobin says, rubbing the back of her neck a bit nervously as they stand in line waiting for a cup of hot chocolate, away from her family.

“What?” Christen asks, looking at Tobin with wide eyes. “You told her?” She asks, not really believing it.

“Not exactly,” Tobin says with a small sigh. “She kind of just knew,” she tells her. “Apparently we aren’t as subtle as we think we are. She said something about heart eyes,” she says with a smirk.

Christen can’t help but grin, a little blush finding its way onto her cheeks. “Yeah well, I told you it’d be hard to act like I’m not madly in love with you,” Christen reminds her. “So how did she take it?” Christen then asks carefully.

“Really good, actually,” Tobin says relieved. “She doesn’t care at all and she’s happy for me,” she says with a grin.

“That’s great, Tobin,” Christen smiles back at her. “So now do you think you’re going to tell your mom?”

“I don’t know,” Tobin says with a frown. “I mean, I will,” she assures her. “But, I’m still kind of nervous. Perry said she’d be okay with it too but it’s still kind of terrifying,” she sighs.

“I know,” Christen nods, reaching out to grab Tobin’s hand and give it a comforting squeeze. “But at least you know that Perry is okay with it. You still have her and I really think that she’s right and it’ll all be okay,” Christen tells her gently. “And doesn’t it feel good now, knowing that you don’t have to lie to Perry anymore and that she’s happy for you?”

“Yeah it does,” Tobin can’t deny. “I’ll tell my mom tonight at dinner,” she informs Christen. “I just don’t want to do it here. I just want Tucker and Bailey and everyone to enjoy themselves and I’ll do it later, okay?”

“Okay,” Christen nods, accepting the answer and hugging herself and trying not to shiver at the cold air.

“Baby it’s barely below 60 degrees,” Tobin says with a smirk.

“That’s cold,” Christen argues. “I thought it was going to be warmer than that so I didn’t bring a heavier jacket. Plus, we’ve been skating on ice, they have to keep it cold over there,” she tries to make her point.

Tobin just giggles and puts an arm around Christen, pulling her in close and trying to keep her warm. “You know, you looked pretty cute out there trying to help Bailey skate,” Tobin grins at her.

Christen just giggles and snuggles closer to Tobin, “Yeah well someone had to help her out, you and Tucker were just doing circles around us.”

“He’s getting pretty good,” Tobin nods. “Total natural,” she smiles.

“Must take after his very talented auntie,” Christen grins. “You have a way of being naturally good at everything,” she says, rolling her eyes.

Tobin just laughs, “You’re one to talk. I haven’t seen anything that you’re not good at,” Tobin returns, raising a brow.

“Mmm painting,” Christen reminds her with a laugh, thinking about all the times she’d tried painting with Tobin. She enjoys doing it because it’s therapeutic and she obviously just enjoys spending the time with Tobin but that doesn’t mean she’s very good at it.

“True,” Tobin concedes. “You’re pretty terrible at that,” she chuckles.

Christen just swats at Tobin, before moving up in the line, finally reaching the counter to order their hot chocolate.

Once they get their drinks, they stand off to the side, sipping on their hot chocolate and just being with each other for a few moments before they have to go back to hang out with Tobin’s family and act like they don’t have these romantic feelings for each other.

“I guess we should get back,” Tobin says regretfully.

“Yeah, probably so,” Christen nods. She looks around to make sure that Cindy isn’t anywhere around them and then presses her lips against Tobin’s for a quick kiss. “You should probably stop looking at me with that look when we’re around them.” Christen says, raising a brow at her girlfriend.

“Yeah well apparently you have it too,” Tobin accuses with a grin. “Perry could tell you were in love with me just by those big heart eyes,” she giggles.

Christen just shrugs, not really bothered by the accusations. “Because I am crazy in love with you,” she says matter of fact.

“I’m crazy in love with you too,” Tobin says, leaning in to steal another kiss from Christen. “Come on, let’s go take Tucker and Bailey to meet Santa,” she says with a smile, grabbing Christen’s hand and pulling her back towards the ice skating rink.

—-

“Riss!” Bailey yells happily, clapping her hands when she sees Christen and Tobin walk up to the side of the rink. She starts moving her feet, happily showing off her new skating skills for Christen.

“I see you! You’re doing so good!” Christen grins happily, waving at the little girl.

Tobin didn’t think she could smile so wide, watching the interactions, “She likes you,” Tobin says, nudging Christen’s shoulder. “She didn’t even acknowledge me,” she laughs.

Christen laughs happily, “They’re adorable,” she says sincerely, watching as they get further away, making another lap around the rink. “Your family is really great,” she tells Tobin. “I’m glad that I’m finally meeting them,” she says honestly.

“Even if it’s not how it should be,” Tobin frowns.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Christen assures her, not wanting Tobin to continue to feel guilty about everything. “We’re here and we’re having a great time. I’m happy and I know that you are,” Christen says knowingly. “Plus, you’re one step closer to being completely honest with them,” she adds.

“Yeah,” Tobin agrees. “I didn’t really realize how much I missed them until I finally got to see them again,” she says honestly.

“Well maybe after tonight, we can stay in better contact with them. And make some time to go and visit them more often,” Christen suggests.

“Yeah, if everything goes okay,” Tobin says quietly. “I mean, I guess we can see Perry and the kids but I don’t know about my mom,” she adds with a small sigh.

Christen just puts a comforting arm around Tobin’s waist, giving her a little squeeze. That is until her family comes back around and she has to drop her arm back to her side, not needing her mom to catch on before Tobin can tell her as well.

“Aunt Toto!” Tucker screams, smiling widely as he skates over to the side all by himself.

“Hey bud, you’re really getting the hang of this skating thing,” she tells him proudly.

“Are you guys done?” Perry asks the couple.

“Yeah,” Tobin nods. “I was thinking that maybe we could go ahead and meet Santa,” she says, laughing when the kids pick up on the word and their eyes widen with excitement.

“Yeah!” Tucker yells, clapping his hands, making Bailey squeal and start clapping hers as well.

The two of them just start chanting ‘Santa’ over and over, clapping their hands with excitement.

“Okay, Santa it is,” Perry laughs, before her and Cindy help guide Tucker and Bailey off the ice to sit down on the benches so that they can get their skates off.

Tobin and Christen sit down behind them, sipping on their hot chocolate while they wait for the others to get changed back into their normal shoes. “hot chocolate?” Tucker asks, pointing up at Tobin’s cup.

“Yeah,” Tobin answers with a nod. “You want some?”

“Yes,” He replies smiling. “Please,” he adds, seeing the look that his mother is giving him.

Tobin just laughs and hands the cup over to him so that he can take a drink of hers. However, he has other plans and turns around, taking a few generous drinks, with no plans to give it back to Tobin, making the girl frown.

Christen chuckles at the look on Tobin’s face and nudges her to get her attention. When Tobin looks over at her, she passes her cup over to Tobin to share with her, and snuggles a little closer to her side.

For warmth, obviously.

—-

They get back to their condo that evening, the kids hyped up on hot chocolate and candy canes, running through the living room laughing and singing Christmas songs at the top of their lungs. Though they only know a few words so they’re just repeating the couple of words over and over.

“Guys, please be careful and don’t break any of Christen and Aunt Toto’ things,” Perry says with a sigh, watching her children go crazy.

“They’re fine,” Christen chuckles, finding it amusing how chaotic they’re being. She’s not used to being around kids and honestly she can see how exhausting it can be, but she also really enjoys it. It makes her think about her and Tobin having their own little ones running around some day.

“Do you guys want to go out for dinner? Or I could pick up some groceries and cook us a home cooked meal,” Cindy offers.

Christen glances over at Tobin, “Well my family is going to look at Christmas lights tonight, it’s kind of a tradition that we do,” Christen tells Cindy. “Tobin was going to come, but she doesn’t have to,” she says, trying not to sound too disappointed.

Tobin feels it too because she had been looking forward to going with the Press Pack and being a part of some of their holiday traditions this year. “Well, maybe we could all go look at lights?” She offers. “I’m sure Tuck and Bailey would love it and then we could get a late dinner, after?” She tries to compromise. Though she knows it still won’t be the same with their families hanging out, because of her big secret. “Or uh...we could do something else,” she backtracks, not really sure if Christen wants her family to have to hide their relationship from her mom as well.

“I think that sounds like a great idea,” Perry says, smiling between Christen and Tobin, knowing that they were planning on hanging out together and that they probably had their own Christmas plans.

“Well that’s if it’s okay with Christen’s family if we tag along,” Cindy speaks up.

Christen chews on her lip and looks over at Tobin’s hopeful face. Of course she wants for their families to get together and she wants to spend tonight with Tobin, but she hadn’t wanted to do it under these circumstances. “Uh...I’m sure they’ll be fine with that,” she says, a little weary of what she’s getting herself into.

“Okay,” Cindy nods. “Well we can go back to the hotel and get showered and maybe see if we can get those two to take a nap before we go,” she says, nodding towards the two kids who are still running around like crazy people. “Jeff and Taylor should be back from their Christmas shopping soon and we can all meet up,” she sums up.

“Yeah, sounds good,” Tobin nods, happy that they’re going to have the condo to themselves for at least a little while before they go out with everyone.

“Alright kiddos, let’s get out of Aunt Toto and Christen’s hair for a little while,” Perry says, trying to round up her kids who start groaning at the thought of leaving. “We’ll see them again in a few hours,” she assures them. “Come on” she says, guiding them towards the door.

“Bye guys!” Christen waves to them, giving them a wide grin as they start waving back at her.

When everyone is out the door she turns back to Tobin and lets out a sigh. “Those kids are adorable but they’re kind of exhausting,” she laughs.

Tobin just laughs with her and pulls Christen over to her, wrapping her arms around her waist. “I agree,” she says, before leaning in and pressing her lips against Christen’s. “I had so much fun today with you and my family,” she says, feeling like she could almost implode with happiness.

“I had fun too,” Christen grins at her.

“So, I haven’t totally ruined Christmas?” Tobin asks, biting on her lip.

“Of course not,” Christen assures her. “I mean, this isn’t exactly how I imagined our Christmas going or how I imagined that I’d be meeting your family but we’re together and that is all I need,” she tells her softly. “Plus, we have a lot of Christmas’ to look forward to,” she adds with a grin.

“All the Christmas’ for the rest of our lives,” Tobin adds, kissing Christen again. “So we still have a few hours until we have to meet up with everyone,” she says with a mischievous grin.

Christen giggles, “What ever will we do?”

Tobin just reaches down, grabbing the back of Christen’s thighs and hoists her up so that she’s wrapping her legs around her waist. “I have a few ideas,” she tells her, before turning and practically running towards their bedroom.

—-

Jeff walks back into Tobin and Christen’s condo with the spare key that Tobin had given him so that he could come and go as he pleased while he was staying with them. He doesn’t see them around anywhere and assumes they’re probably getting ready to go out for the night.

He heads down the hallway to go into the guest room and change his own clothes and get ready for the night as well.

However he stops short when he hears sounds coming from Christen’s bedroom. He can’t help himself and presses his ear against the door out of curiosity, his eyes widening when he hears her moaning loudly. He supposes that he shouldn’t be too surprised because she did say that she had a boyfriend. He just hadn’t expected her to bring him over while Tobin’s family was staying there and would be in and out.

Though, it’s her condo and she can do whatever she wants.

Plus, he kind of wants to meet the lucky man that gets to be with Christen.

He’s about to mind his own business and head back into the guest room but he hears her moan, “Tobin” loud and clear.

He stands frozen in the hallway, his mind trying to process what he’d just heard, but not really believing it. He had to have misheard that right? And it’s not like Tobin is a common name and that would be a pretty big coincidence.

He must have just misheard that.

“Tobin!” He hears once again and this time he knows that he heard it correctly. “Oh fuck, Tobin. Don’t stop,” he hears her clearly.

Jeff’s eyes widen and he feels all the blood drain out of his face.

No fucking way.

Not knowing what to do, he quickly makes his way into the guest room, hoping to drown out the sounds and try to collect his thoughts.

—-

It’s almost an hour later when Christen strolls out of her bedroom and into the living room. She spots Jeff sitting on the couch, munching on a bag of chips and watching TV. Her eyes widen a bit when she sees him, not realizing that he was even there. “Hey Jeff,” she greets, giving him a nervous smile. “I didn’t realize you were back,” she says, trying to sound casual.

“Oh yeah, I just got here a few minutes ago,” he lies, not wanting to make this an even more awkward situation than it has to be. Because honestly, just looking at her is reminding him of what he’d just heard and he’s finding it hard to look her in the eyes.

“Oh okay,” Christen says, feeling relieved. She sits down on the armchair next to the couch and glances over at the TV to see him watching some TV show that she has no idea what it is. Not that it’s surprising because she never watches TV unless Tobin makes her watch something with her which is mainly just some sort of sport.

“Hey um, I wanted to apologize about last night,” Jeff says, breaking the silence.

Christen looks over at him curiously and sees him rubbing the back of his neck nervously, just like Tobin does. “What do you mean?”

“Well...when I was asking if you were single and then I....I just...I didn’t know,” he says awkwardly.

“You didn’t know what?” Christen asks, her brows furrowing.

But before he can say anything in response, Tobin walks in. “Tobin! Hey!” Jeff says, jumping and looking like he’d been doing something wrong. Though really, he’s just happy for the interruption. He was starting to feel pretty awkward and wasn’t really sure how to approach the subject, though he did feel the need to apologize for hitting on his sister’s girlfriend.

Or so he’s assuming that’s what they are.

And the more time he had to think about it and put the pieces together, it makes a lot of sense. And honestly, he feels like an idiot. But he’s still not sure how to bring it up with Tobin. Obviously she’s hiding it from them for a reason. And he can’t exactly say he knows because he heard them having sex.

That would be insanely awkward.

“Hey guys,” Tobin says, eyeing her brother suspiciously. “Why are you being weird?” She asks, plopping herself down on the couch next to him and stealing the bag of chips away from him.

“I’m not,” he tries to argue, stealing the bag back from her.

“Guys, we’re about to go to dinner,” Christen chastises as she watches Tobin shovel the chips into her mouth.

“Not for a couple of hours. We’re going to look at lights first,” she reminds Christen. “I’m hungry,” she adds with a small pout.

Christen just gets up from the chair and heads into the kitchen. “Okay well I can make us some smoothies,” she offers, opening the fridge and digging around for some fruit.

“Okay,” Tobin smiles, hopping off the couch, just as satisfied with a smoothie.

“I’ll stick to the chips,” Jeff tells them, staying put in the living room.

Tobin shrugs and sits down on one of the barstools, watching as Christen starts chopping some fruit to make them some smoothies. She really wants to walk up behind her and cuddle her while she does it, like she normally does. But she knows that she can’t do that in front of Jeff.

She honestly hadn’t realized just how needy she was until she couldn’t touch Christen anymore.

“Can you put extra peanut butter in mine?” Tobin asks, giving her girlfriend a grin.

“Yes babe-...uh Tobin,” Christen says and glances behind Tobin to see if Jeff had heard her slip up but he seems to have his head in the TV not paying them any attention. “You know I always do,” she reminds Tobin, knowing how her girlfriend likes her smoothies.

“Thank you,” Tobin says sweetly. She glances back at her brother and then slyly reaches over the bar, grabbing Christen’s hand and quickly kissing the back of her knuckles before sitting back down like she’d done nothing.

She just hadn’t been able to help herself.

And by the smile on Christen’s face, she hadn’t minded either.

—-

They all meet up at one of the most popular neighborhoods in town that has all the best Christmas lights. Everyone piles out of the cars and Christen hugs her jacket close to her body, smiling as she sees her Dad and her sisters walking towards them.

“Hi daddy,” she says, pulling him into a warm hug.

“Hey baby,” he greets her back, giving her a big squeeze. “Tobin!” He then exclaims, letting go of Christen and pulling Tobin into a big hug.

“Hey BD,” she greets happily, squeezing him hard. She pulls away and then turns towards her family introducing everyone to him as well as Christen’s sisters.

Cody and her sisters greet everyone warmly, which Christen had been a little anxious for. She’d told them that Tobin wasn’t out to her family about them still and none of them were very comfortable with joining them in the lie. Though she also knows that they support her and Tobin and will do whatever they need them to do. No matter if they agree or not.

They just want Tobin to be able to be free to be herself and stop having to hide their relationship like it’s something shameful.

“Alright, before we get started we have to do the most important part,” Cody says, making Tobin and her families brows furrow and the Press girls just chuckle, rolling their eyes at their over excited and corny dad.

He digs around in the bag that he’d been holding and starts handing out different Christmas themed headbands to everyone as well as some necklaces he’d made out of tinsel and other Christmas tree decorations.

Christen smirks when she sees the look on Tobin’s face as she eyes the headband in her hand, not so sure about wearing it. She grabs the headband out of Tobin’s hand, making the girl look up at her. “You have to wear it,” she tells her girlfriend. “It’s tradition,” she adds, placing it on Tobin’s head for her.

Tobin rolls her eyes good naturedly and adjusts the headband on her head. She then looks over at her family who are putting theirs on with big smiles on their faces, clearly enjoying the silly tradition.

It makes her heart happy to see their families standing together, wearing matching Christmas decorations.

“Alright gang, let’s get going!” Cody instructs, waving his arm for everyone to follow him down the sidewalk.

Tobin and Christen both laugh when Tucker takes off after him, grabbing his hand and clearly already taking a liking to the big teddy bear.

Christen loops her arm through Tobin’s as they start walking down the sidewalk and she glances over at her girlfriend, “Is this too much?”

“No,” Tobin shakes her head, giving Christen’s hands that are around her bicep a little squeeze. Honestly, she almost doesn’t even care if her family starts to get suspicious. She just really wants to enjoy Christmas and doing all of these things with her girlfriend without having to worry about them watching them. And it’s not like she’s going to just full on make out with Christen or anything but friends walk like this.

—-

They walk a few blocks, enjoying all the extravagant houses that probably spent a crap ton of money going all out with the Christmas lights and decor. Tucker and Bailey just keep stopping, looking awestruck at almost everything that they see and Tobin’s thrilled that they’re enjoying themselves so much.

Honestly, she’d been a nervous wreck when they all showed up unannounced but now she couldn’t be more happy that they’re here and that she gets to spend Christmas with Christen and both of their families.

“Wow, this one is gorgeous,” Christen says, stopping in front of a house that is decorated more traditionally and classic rather than all the colors and blow up characters in the yard.

“Yeah it is,” Tobin agrees, pulling Christen closer to her to enjoy the view.

“How about we get our family photo in front of this one?” Cody suggests with a smile. “What about you guys? I can take a picture of your family,” he offers turning towards Cindy.

“That would be wonderful, thank you,” Cindy says happily, maneuvering everyone in front of the beautifully lit house.

Christen chews on her lip as she watches Perry and her husband, the kids, Jeff, Tobin and Cindy all get situated. A part of her wants to be able to join, but she knows that she can’t. And even if Tobin did tell them about her, it’s not like she knows them that well. She’s not really a part of their family.

Tyler seems to sense her thoughts because she comes up behind Christen and puts her arm around her, giving her a sympathetic smile.

“I think I got a good one!” Cody grins, handing the phone back over to Cindy so that she can look through the photos.

“These are great, thank you,” she says sincerely. “Alright, you guys go and I’ll take it for you,” she says, waving her hands for all the Press pack to gather together.

Channing, Tyler, Christen and Cody all stand next to each other with huge smiles on their faces, but Cody puts a hand out before Cindy can take the photo. “Tobin, get in here! You’re a part of this family,” he tells her.

Christen gives her dad a small glare, but he doesn’t seem bothered. He wants a photo with Tobin in it to print out and put in his office and he’s not going to let anything get in his way.

Tobin glances between her family members to see Perry giving her a knowing smile, Jeff looking unphased, and her mother with an expression that she can’t quite place. She then looks at Christen who is looking at her with hopeful eyes and there is no way that she can say no to that face.

“Okay,” she agrees with a smile.

She stands in front of Cody and next to Christen wrapping her arm around her girlfriend’s waist. Cody places his hand on Tobin’s shoulder and it makes her feel all warm inside. She knows that she’s a part of this family, but them wanting her to be in their Christmas picture definitely solidifies that and she’s so grateful that she has them.

“How about we all get one together, now? To commemorate the moment and to making new friends,” he grins, knowing that Tobin would love to have a family photo that has Christen in it as well. “Hello good sir,” he says, stopping a random man on the street. “Would you take a quick photo of us?”

The man looks slightly annoyed but takes the phone from Cody, nodding his head with a small grunt.

The families all gather up close to one another, smiling widely and Tobin and Christen couldn’t be happier.

Thank God, for BD.

They continue walking around the neighborhood after that, Christen with her arm looped around Tobin’s again, feeling a lot more comfortable than she had when they first started the night. Honestly, she hadn’t been sure how her family hanging out with the Heath’s was going to go but so far it’d been great.

Cody and Cindy had spent most of the time chatting about who knows what, but you can always count on Cody to keep a conversation going. He could talk to a brick wall to be honest.

And the kids have absolutely loved looking at all the lights.

Even Christen and Tobin had been able to fade into the background and walk closely together, trailing behind the group sometimes just so they could have their own private little conversations without having to worry about appearances or doing something to out themselves.

“Guys, hot chocolate!” Tyler says with a grin, pointing to a house that has two little kids with their own hot chocolate stand sitting at the end of their driveway.

They all make their way over to the stand, but Tobin looks at it skeptically. “You guys are just going to take a drink from strangers? What if it’s like, drugged or something?” She asks cautiously.

Christen raises a brow at her girlfriend, “Tobin they’re just kids,” she says with a light laugh. “Young hustlers maybe, but I doubt they spiked it,” she adds with a smirk.

“Maybe their parents did and they’re just using them as a decoy to reel in the bait,” she argues.

Christen just shakes her head and hands Tobin one of the cups, “You really need to stop watching so much TV,” she tells her amused. And when Tobin continues to just eye the drink suspiciously, Christen grabs it out of her hand, “But fine, if you don’t want it then I’ll gladly drink both,” she tells her with a smirk.

“No!” Tobin says, grabbing the cup back, “I want it,” she says with a slight pout.

Christen just grins and resists the urge to kiss the pout off of Tobin’s lips.

Tobin looks around at their families mingling as they take a break to sip on their hot chocolate and notices her mom standing off to the side, quietly sipping on hers and not engaging in any of the conversations like she had been earlier. “Hold on a sec,” she tells Christen, moving away from her girlfriend to walk over to her mom. “Hey mama,” she greets her with a smile. “Are you okay? You’ve seemed a little off since we took photos,” she informs her.

“Hmm? Oh yeah, I’m fine,” she assures her with a smile, but Tobin can see right through it and knows that she’s lying.

“What’s going on?” Tobin asks, growing a little worried. “Are you upset about coming here? Do you miss Katie and her kids?” She asks, hoping her mom doesn’t regret choosing to fly out to see her for Christmas instead of spending it with everyone else.

“Well of course I miss them, but that’s not it,” she tells her.

“So there is something,” Tobin concludes.

Cindy just sighs at her, “It’s really nothing. It’s silly,” she tells her, trying to wave it off.

“Come on, let’s talk,” Tobin suggests, pulling her across the street to a little bench so that they can have some privacy from the rest of the group. “What’s going on?” She asks, once they get situated next to each other.

Cindy shakes her head, letting out another sigh. “I’m really happy that you have Christen and her family,” she tells her and Tobin starts to feel her heart racing.

Oh god.

She knows.

Tobin just swallows and stares at her mom, waiting on her to continue.

“They are very nice people and I’m glad you have people like them around you here,” she says, and Tobin just feels confused, not really getting where her mom is going with this. “I was always worried that you were lonely out here by yourself,” she tells her. “But now it seems you have a lot of people around who love you,” she says, giving Tobin a small smile.

“Yeah, they’ve become like a second family to me,” Tobin nods, still not sure what her mother is getting at.

“That’s the thing,” Cindy says, shaking her head and looking away from Tobin to look down at her lap. “You never call us anymore and you haven’t been to visit in a year. You used to come and see us as often as you could,” she starts to explain. “It just feels like you’re replacing us,” she says and then lets out a quiet laugh. “I told you it was stupid,” she says, looking back over at her daughter. “I just miss you,” she tells her.

Tobin literally feels like her heart is breaking at the look on her mother’s face. “Mom, I’m not replacing you,” she says quickly. “I swear,” she adds almost desperately, needing to get those thoughts out of her mother’s head. “It’s just...,” Tobin starts to say and then sighs. “I need to tell you something.”

It’s now or never.

Cindy looks up at Tobin a bit curiously and also a little worried at the tone of her voice. “What is it? You can tell me anything,” she assures her, once she notices how nervous Tobin looks.

“I-...I’ve been hiding something from you guys,” she admits. “I um....me and Christen are together...like a couple together,” she explains, her voice shaky. “She’s my girlfriend and I’m....I’m in love with her,” she adds, figuring she should just put it all out there.

Cindy looks shocked for a few moments, and Tobin feels like she’s going to pass out, just waiting in silence.

“Mama...please say something,” she asks a bit desperately. “I’m sorry if you disapprove or think that it’s a sin or-

“Tobin,” Cindy says softly, reaching over and grabbing Tobin’s hand. “I don’t think any of those things,” she assures her gently.

“But you...you look upset,” Tobin points out, chewing on her lip nervously.

“I am,” Cindy nods, further panicking Tobin. “But not at you,” she then says, meeting Tobin’s confused eyes. “I’m upset with myself for ever making you feel like you’d have to hide something like that from me or for making you think that I’d ever be ashamed of you for just being you and loving another person,” she explains to her.

Tobin relaxes a bit and lets out a breath, “Mom, it’s not your fault,” Tobin tries to assure her.

“It is though,” Cindy shakes her head. “I’m so sorry, Tobin. It must have been so hard for you to have to hide something like this from us and for you to have to constantly live with the fear that we’d possibly hate you for this,” she says, tears forming in her eyes. “I know you grew up in a church that didn’t take too kindly to gay people,” she frowns shaking her head. “But that’s why we don’t go to that church anymore. We don’t agree with a lot of things that they did and I’m sorry that you thought we did,” she says with a sigh.

Tobin just shrugs a bit uncomfortably because she’s right. “So you’re okay with it?” Tobin asks, looking at her mother hopefully.

“Of course I am, Tobin,” she says, reaching out and caressing her daughters cheek with her hand. “Christen is lovely,” she says sincerely. “I just want you to be happy, my beautiful girl,” she assures.

“I am happy,” Tobin nods, grabbing her mothers hand and pulling it away from her face, but lacing their fingers together. “I’m so happy...” she grins with a wistful sigh. “I want to marry her,” she admits to her mother, glancing across the street, smiling when she sees Christen holding Bailey and pointing out some decorations to her.

“Oh that’s wonderful, Tobin,” Cindy smiles, putting a hand over her heart. “Do you have a ring?”

Tobin looks back to her mother and shakes her head, “No,” she tells her. “I don’t know if we’re ready for it yet, or if she is but I know that it’s something that I want to happen,” she explains to her. “But anyway, mom,” Tobin sighs, shaking her head. “That’s why I haven’t been in touch. I’ve just been hiding this part of me and for awhile it wasn’t hard but then I got serious with Christen and it just became impossible to do and I was so scared to tell you guys so I just kind of shut you guys off,” she explains to her. “And I’m sorry for that.” She adds. “And yes, I’ve gotten really close with Christen’s family but I swear, I wasn’t trying to replace you guys and I never could,” she assures her.

“It’s okay, I get it now,” Cindy says. “I still feel terrible about how long you’ve felt this way and how long you’ve been hiding this but...it’s all out in the open now,” she says, giving Tobin a hopeful smile. “Maybe we can get back to how things were? And maybe I could get to know Christen a little better,” she says, squeezing Tobin’s hand.

“I would love that, mama,” Tobin tells her, grinning so wide that her cheeks hurt. “I think you’ll really like her,” she says, excited.

Cindy just nods, giving Tobin’s hand a little comforting pat. “Come on, let’s go join everyone else,” Cindy says, standing up from the bench. She pulls Tobin into a tight hug, before they cross the street, “I love you, Tobin.”

“I love you too, mama,” Tobin says, squeezing her mom hard.

It’s all out in the open now. She doesn’t have to lie or try and act like Christen doesn’t mean everything to her.

She feels free.

And all she wants to do is go and kiss Christen.

Tobin makes her way across the street with determination and feeling a lot lighter than she has in a really long time. She zones in on Christen who is now just standing with her sisters chatting with them, completely oblivious to Tobin heading for her.

When she reaches them, Tobin grabs Christen’s arm and pulls her close to her, pressing her lips against Chirsten’s for a passionate kiss.

Christen’s eyes widen as well as everyone else around them, though it doesn’t take long for Christen to sink into the kiss, her eyes slipping closed and her arms wrapping around Tobin’s neck.

But before it goes on for an inappropriate amount of time, Tobin pulls away and presses her forehead against Christen’s. “I love you,” she tells Christen, biting down on her lip.

“I love you too,” Christen grins happily, feeling like she’s going to burst from happiness. “I’m guessing you told your mom?” She asks with a light chuckle.

Tobin just nods and pulls away from their embrace. “Everyone! I just want to announce that I love this woman!” Tobin yells loudly for the whole neighborhood to hear, turning and holding up Christen’s hand.

Christen giggles and hides a blush, “Tobin,” she says bashfully, swatting the woman for her dramatic antics.

They turn to look at their families who are all just grinning widely at them, happy and proud of the couple, clearly in love.

No more lies and no more hiding. Just love.

Tobin then looks over at her brother, realizing he’d been the only one that she hadn’t told yet and he’d just witnessed them making out. “Sorry, Jeff,” she apologizes. “I guess I should have told you,” she says with a small wince.

“It’s fine, I already knew,” he says, waving his hand at them.

“How?” Tobin asks curiously.

His face turns red and he looks over at Christen. “Um...I lied when I said I’d only been back for a few minutes. I was there much longer and...heard things,” he informs them awkwardly.

Christen’s face turns bright red, “Oh god,” she groans, hiding her face in Tobin’s shoulder.

Tobin on the other hand just kisses the top of Christen’s head, looking at her brother smugly.

That’s what he gets for hitting on her girlfriend.

—-

The next morning, Christmas morning, Christen is up before Tobin once again and makes her way into the kitchen to make some coffee for everyone. It’s only a few minutes later when Cindy, Perry, her husband and the kids are knocking on the door. This time, she’d known that they were coming over. They’d made plans to make a Christmas breakfast together and to enjoy the Holiday all together, with everyone.

Just the way it was supposed to be.

“Hey guys,” Christen grins, laughing as Bailey and Tucker run past her, headed straight for the little Christmas train set she has set up on a table by the window. They’d discovered it last night and are completely in love with it.

Which Christen is happy with because it’s not like she has anything else to entertain little kids with.

“Guys, be quiet,” Perry tells them. “Tobin and Jeff are still sleeping,” she reminds them.

Christen just chuckles following Perry and Cindy into the kitchen and helping them with the groceries that they’d brought over. “It’s okay. It won’t hurt Tobin to wake up early,” she says with a smirk. “Maybe you guys should go and wake Aunt Toto up,” Christen suggests to them with another smirk.

Cindy and Perry just start laughing as the kids take off down the hallway, happy to run and jump on the bed, waking their aunt up.

“Where should we put the gifts?” Taylor asks, holding a box that’s filled with presents. “There’s more out in the car,” he tells her with a smile and a little eye roll knowing that his wife and their grandmother spoil their kids.

Christen just laughs, “You can put them under the tree with ours,” she assures him.

A few minutes later, Bailey and Tucker come running in the room, dragging a sleepy looking Tobin behind them.

“Morning baby,” Christen grins, seeing the grumpy looking woman.

“Morning,” Tobin grumbles, trying to fight the smile from appearing on her face. She’s not actually angry for getting woken up, but she’s not going to let them know that. She let’s go of Tucker and Bailey’s hands and makes her way over to Christen who is standing over the stove, helping her mom and Perry cook breakfast. “Whatcha making?” She asks, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist, feeling happier than ever that she finally gets to be herself around her family and not have to feel ashamed to show Christen affection.

“I’m teaching her my secret cinnamon roll recipe,” Cindy informs her daughter with a grin.

“Wow,” Tobin smirks. “She must really like you. She won’t share that with just anyone,” Tobin informs her, leaning down and kissing Christen’s cheek.

Christen just giggles, her cheeks hurting from smiling so wide. She honestly didn’t think this Christmas was going to go so perfectly. She definitely wasn’t expecting to be in the kitchen bonding with Tobin’s family and getting to learn her secret family recipes.

She’s starting to feel like she’s actually a part of Tobin’s family.

A few minutes later, Taylor comes back with another load, Christen’s dad and sisters, trailing behind, carrying their own gifts and helping him out as well.

“Hey everyone!” Cody greets with a grin. “Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas!” Everyone shouts back at him, just as cheerily.

“These aren’t labeled,” Taylor points out, putting a few gifts up on the counter. “Do you want me to just put them under the tree as well? Do you know who they are for?”

“Oh! Those are for Christen,” Cindy smiles. “I didn’t have a sharpie or any labels in the hotel room. I didn’t think to buy any,” she informs them. “But yes, I know what they are so you can just put them with the rest.” She nods to him.

Christen feels a lump from in her throat. “You got me gifts?” She asks, a little shocked at the gesture.

“Well of course,” Cindy grins. “We went late last night, and it may not be the best gift you’ve ever received, being so last minute but you’re a part of this family and we had to get you something,” she tells her sincerely.

Christen feels tears start to well up in her eyes and she feels Tobin hug her a little tighter.

“Thank you,” Christen says softly, feeling a little speechless.

Tobin lets out a happy sigh and looks around the room, watching as both of their families mingle around with each other, laughing and clearly enjoying themselves. Cody is over at the train set playing with Tucker and Bailey, Channing and Tyler are talking with Taylor on the sofa, and Perry and her mom are moving around the Christmas, preparing a huge breakfast for everyone.

With Christen’s help too, of course.

“Best Christmas ever,” Tobin murmurs in Christen’s ear before placing a soft kiss against her neck.

“Definitely,” Christen agrees, not quite believing herself how perfect this Christmas is actually turning out to be.

She was excited before, to spend Christmas with Tobin and her family and she knew that it was going to be a good Christmas. But she had no idea how perfect it was going to end up being. Especially after Tobin’s family had shown up unannounced and shaken things up.

But, her and Tobin definitely got the best Christmas present this year that they could ever receive. And it’s not one of those wrapped under the tree.

It’s both of their families coming together and giving them nothing but acceptance and love.