We'll stay examine storms
They might eat me alive
But I'll find some strength
If you're by my side
Cause you're the sweetest thing that I have ever seen
And you're the only one who sees right through me
While we lie away
In the dark of the night
You whisper in my ear
That it will all be alright
As the sun touches the sky
I see my reflection in your eyes
I was once told that all things must end
I hope that’s a lie
Cause you're the sweetest thing that I have ever seen
And you're the only one who sees right through me
(Tobin - “The Sweetest Thing” by Horace Bray)
I had no choice but to hear you
You stated your case time and again
I thought about it
You treat me like I'm a princess
I'm not used to liking that
You're the best listener that I've ever met
You're my best friend
Best friend with benefits
What took me so long?
You've already won me over in spite of me
Don't be alarmed if I fall head over feet
Don't be surprised if I love you for all that you are
I couldn't help it
It's all your fault
(Christen - “Head Over Feet” by Alanis Morrisette)
“Tobin. Powell. Heath. You left a HICKEY!” Christen shrieked, eyes stuck on the purplish bruise on the side of her throat, right above the neck of her shirt.
Tobin jerked up in bed, having just dozed back into a light sleep. “Hmm?” she mumbled from her spot beneath the sheets.
Christen stalked back over to the bed and tugged her shirt down, raising her brows in Tobin’s direction.
“Would you care to explain yourself?” Christen asked a little breathlessly, her momentary frustration melting away when Tobin blinked up at her with her sleep-filled eyes.
Tobin blushed a deep shade of red, remembering how she’s gotten a little carried away celebrating their last game of the tournament and Christen’s goals. As far as she could remember, Christen hadn’t complained in the moment. In fact, Christen had made a few noises, none of which sounded negative.
“I got carried away…” Tobin husked, licking her lips, her eyes never leaving the hickey.
“Clearly,” Christen replied, letting the neck of her t-shirt go, unable to not smile at the satisfied smirk on Tobin’s face.
“I can’t help it that you played so well last night and that you’re a great kisser and it’s easy to get excited about that,” Tobin shrugged, reaching out to Christen’s waist and tugging her toward the bed.
Christen let Tobin pull her in. She caught herself with a hand next to Tobin’s head and a knee on the corner of the mattress, not wanting to fall and crush Tobin.
“That shade of purple looks beautiful on you,” Tobin smirked, reaching up to run her index finger along Christen’s neck.
Christen let out a breathy laugh, a small shiver running through her at Tobin’s touch. “Thanks, I think I’ll call it ‘Tobin Heath is lucky I brought concealer with me.’ Thoughts?” Christen whispered.
“I was thinking more ‘Pretty Pressy Purple,’ but whatever you want, cutie,” Tobin grinned.
“Cutie?” Christen thought, her stomach filling with butterflies at the term of endearment she’d definitely never heard from Tobin before. Her eyebrows rose on her forehead, loving the way it sounded come off of Tobin’s tongue and loving that she was the only one who got to hear it.
“Can I have a kiss?” Tobin looked up at Christen, her eyes wide and pleading, her lips pursed slightly.
“Sleepy you is very needy,” Christen teased, leaning down to kiss Tobin once, twice, then once more, not letting Tobin deepen it like she seemed to want to.
“Awake you is very chaste,” Tobin pouted, running her hand along Christen’s arm.
Christen narrowed her eyes and kissed the word chaste out of Tobin’s mouth. She lingered, letting her tongue run over Tobin’s bottom lip, letting her kisses turn from lazy to purposeful, intent on showing Tobin just how not chaste she could be.
Tobin couldn’t help the soft moan that left her lips, having missed Christen’s lips against hers for the hours that they’d been asleep. She pulled Christen closer to her and ran her hands along Christen’s waist, wishing she would get back in bed with her, despite needing to get ready to head back to campus.
With a final, long, drawn-out kiss, Christen leaned back, not letting herself get distracted by the way Tobin tasted or the feeling of Tobin’s hands on her waist.
“We have twenty minutes before the bus leaves, with or without us,” Christen hummed, kissing the tip of Tobin’s nose sweetly and hopping up from the bed. “And you need to brush your teeth.”
Tobin’s eyes went wide for a second, worried that she had morning breath, worried that she’d turn Christen off before they were even officially together, before they’d even gone on a first real date.
Christen rolled her eyes at Tobin’s reaction. She bent down and kissed Tobin’s worry wrinkle.
“As someone mentioned at camp, dental hygiene is important. But don’t worry, your morning breath is cute,” Christen mumbled into Tobin’s skin. She then leaned back, running her thumb across Tobin’s chin. “Now chop chop, you need to help me conceal this, Art major.”
“My professors at Penn State said I could really use practice when it comes to shading,” Tobin sighed, pushing the sheets off of her legs and following Christen to the bathroom.
Christen grabbed concealer and a beauty blender from her toiletry bag and turned back to Tobin with a smile.
“Blend away, baby.”
Tobin’s feet seemed to stop working, causing her to basically trip over the floor where the hall carpet met the bathroom’s tile floor. Her stomach tightened in the best way possible, and her heart thudded in her chest. She couldn’t help the way her eyes widened and her cheeks burned. All she wanted to do was wrap her arms around Christen and kiss her senseless and whisper “I love you,” over and over. Instead, she looked down at the floor, checking to make sure she didn’t stub her toe. Christen had spoken so quickly, almost absentmindedly, and Tobin wasn’t about to point anything out. She wasn’t about to scare her with nicknames, not after she’d accidentally called her cutie in her sleepy haze.
“This klutziness in the morning is new for you, usually doesn’t hit until noon,” Christen teased, cocking her head to the side as Tobin righted herself and stepped into the bathroom.
“What can I say? You’re knocking me off my feet,” Tobin smirked, taking the concealer from Christen and dotting some on her neck. She focused on the hickey, trying not to think about how she wanted to leave more, how she wanted to stay in this hotel room with Christen as long as possible. She wanted to miss the bus with their teammates and just stay in San Diego, just in case things would change once they were back at campus, back in L.A. with their families and classes and responsibilities.
“At least when you do it to me, I don’t almost fall on my face in the bathroom,” Christen whispered hoarsely, clearly affected by their proximity and the sweetness behind Tobin’s touch.
“I knock you off your feet?” Tobin whispered, loving the way Christen swallowed more thickly with Tobin this close to her.
Christen looked down at Tobin, catching her eye. “Mhm, you did a long time ago, and you continue to,” Christen replied softly, getting lost in the swirls of brown and gold she could see in Tobin’s eyes, in the adoration and the care within them.
“Thank goodness it isn’t just me,” Tobin teased, running a finger over Christen’s skin to smooth out a bit of the concealer.
Christen smiled and stepped back, inspecting the side of her neck in the mirror. The hickey was mostly covered and hardly noticeable now, and even if Christen was happy that nobody would see it, she also missed it just a bit. Waking up with a mark on her skin left there by Tobin Heath had been wonderful.
“Don’t worry, I can leave more later,” Tobin husked, leaning around Christen to grab her toothbrush off the counter. She’d moved all of her stuff out of her hotel room with Allie after the third night of sleeping in Christen’s room, figuring that Allie was already suspicious and moving her stuff wouldn’t make it any worse.
“You better,” Christen replied, walking out of the bathroom and finishing packing up her stuff.
If anyone asked, it wasn’t her fault. Christen had packed and was ready to head down to the lobby, with five minutes to spare. But then Tobin had come out of the bathroom, tugging the shirt she’d slept in over her head, and Christen’s brain short-circuited. How was she supposed to just stand there and not kiss Tobin? After two years of back and forth, of almosts and maybes, she finally got to kiss Tobin whenever she wanted to. Especially a shirtless, sexy, sleepy Tobin. So...Christen might have taken advantage of that a bit. And the fact that they were running to catch the elevator to make it almost on time to the bus was totally Tobin’s fault for being so shirtless and sleepy and sexy.
“Jeez, slow down. They won’t leave you. You’re their best goal scorer,” Tobin huffed, pulling her jacket on and straightening the snapback on her head.
“You don’t know Foudy. She would definitely leave us,” Christen replied, pressing the button for the Lobby over and over again, willing the elevator doors to close.
“Are you upset with me for slowing you down, Ms. Perfect Attendance Record?” Tobin asked, noticing the way Christen’s lips were set in a tight, anxious line.
Christen turned to face Tobin once the doors of the elevator closed and stepped into Tobin’s space.
“If you weren’t so dang kissable then we wouldn’t be running late. You know what you without-” Christen stopped and gestured at Tobin’s torso, “- that on does to me.”
“What, a shirt?” Tobin smirked innocently, moving her hands to Christen’s hips, enjoying the privacy they had in the empty elevator. “I wouldn’t know, since you haven’t let me see you in the same state...yet.”
“I’m sorry, did me in just my Nike sports bra make such a small impression on you in Portland?” Christen teased, her arms falling onto Tobin’s shoulders and finding herself wishing for the elevator to slow down. Screw being late to the bus.
Tobin let out a soft whine, resting her forehead on Christen’s shoulder. “My eyes were closed for most of that interaction if you remember correctly. I was trying not to completely check you out when I was pouring my heart out.”
Christen bit her lip. “It was obvious how hard you were trying not to look,” Christen replied, eyeing the numbers on top of the door and knowing their time was dwindling, they were almost at the Lobby.
“You’re so beautiful, Chris,” Tobin mumbled and lifted her head off of Christen’s shoulder, her hand moving to Christen’s back to trace patterns along her spine. “I couldn’t help myself. I still can’t.”
Christen lifted the bill of Tobin’s snapback and placed a gentle kiss on her lips, leaning back and readjusting the hat with a smile.
As the doors opened, Tobin stepped back, squeezing one of Christen’s hands gently before letting her go completely. If she’d known that Kelley freaking O’Hara was standing near the coffee station across from the elevators, she might not have lingered as close to Christen, but one look at Kelley’s face and Tobin knew they were screwed. They’d been seen.
“Fuuuuck,” Tobin groaned.
Christen’s brow furrowed as she followed Tobin’s eye line. Then she saw Kelley and felt an exasperated whine leave her lips. “Dammit.”
“Of course she’s still in the lobby,” Tobin growled.
Kelley’s mouth was open, her finger pointed in their direction in complete and utter shock. There was no salvaging this, no way to play this off as anything other than what it was. Kelley had seen them in each other’s arms, their hands in each other's. And then Kelley took off, forgetting all about her coffee and running out of the lobby toward the bus.
Christen and Tobin shared a quick look and then sprinted out of the elevator, through the lobby, trying to catch Kelley before she got to the bus.
“KELLEY! WAIT!” Christen yelled as she and Tobin ran through the open sliding doors, pulling their rollers behind them.
“I’LL BUY YOU PIZZA IF YOU SAY NOTHING!” Tobin called, hoping Kelley could be bribed again.
But Kelley didn’t turn around, she ran right onto the bus. She hurried down the aisle, aimed right for Megan and Crystal.
“You guys,” Kelley wheezed, winded and shocked still.
“What?” Megan asked, looking up from her phone.
“Are you okay?” Crystal asked.
“I just saw- I just- Pressy- She was-” Kelley stuttered, unable to even formulate words.
“Morning, guys!” Tobin called down the aisle.
Kelley’s eyes widened as she turned to see Tobin and Christen hustling down the aisle, a silent plea on both of their faces.
“Aren’t you sitting up there, Kel?” Christen asked, hoping to get Kelley moving before she could open her mouth.
“She was actually trying to tell us something,” Megan interrupted. “Poorly, might I add.”
“Something about you,” Crystal added, raising a brow in Christen’s direction and giving her a knowing smile. Crystal flicked her gaze to Tobin, down to Christen’s neck, then back to Christen’s eyes.
Christen flushed. She tried to casually cover the side of her neck where the poorly-concealed hickey was, hiding it from Crystal’s knowing look.
“It’s probably none of her business,” Christen replied, sending daggers in Kelley’s direction.
“Hey, Kel? I’m pretty sure Foudy said she wants everyone in their seats,” Tobin said, a hard edge to her voice.
Kelley huffed and turned back to Megan and Crystal. She held her hands up and mimed texting, then shouldered past Tobin and Christen.
Christen let out a sigh of relief and squeezed into the window seat, dropping her backpack to the ground. Tobin slipped into the aisle seat and let out a long breath.
“What was that about?” Megan asked, turning around to look at Christen and Tobin. “And since when do you two walk to the bus together? Are we finally done hating Tobito?”
“Yeah, are we done hating her?” Crystal asked, arching a brow in Christen’s direction.
Tobin bent down in her seat to dig through her bag and find her book, a large smile spreading across her lips.
Christen swallowed thickly and shot a weak smile at her friends. “We just happened to share an elevator. Purely coincidental.”
“So you still hate her?” Megan asked, her eyebrows lifting slightly, challenging Christen.
Christen shrugged nonchalantly and turned to look out the window. “Maybe, maybe not. Haven’t decided yet.”
“That’s better than it was a few weeks ago, so I’ll take it,” Tobin shrugged, glancing down at her now-open book.
Crystal eyed the two of them suspiciously and pushed Megan back down into her seat, leaning over the back of their row and closer to Tobin and Christen.
“You’re not fooling me,” Crystal whispered and turned around, giving Christen and Tobin some semblance of privacy.
Tobin couldn’t stop the smirk from sliding onto her face, knocking her knee into Christen’s softly.
Christen bit back a smile and then pulled out her phone, having felt it vibrate with a notification.
Group Text: ROOMIES ⚽
We had a SIGHTING. I’m ☠️!! The ship is afloat and sailing!!!
WHERE?! What did you see???
Yeah, I’m in this group. Don’t you have something else to do, Kel? Like anything else? And maybe NOT talk about it?
Christen sighed and nudged Tobin, getting her attention. “Never thought Kelley would be our downfall,” she whispered, letting Tobin see her phone screen and read the messages.
“Honestly? I believe it,” Tobin sighed, leaning back into her seat. “Harry’s going to be so mad that she’s the last to know.”
“Nah, the freshies will be last,” Christen teased, locking her phone and putting it in her lap.
“They ship us haaard, just so you know,” Tobin grinned, remembering how she’d explained their time apart to them when they ate pizza together.
“I don’t know why, all they’ve seen me do is scream at you,” Christen replied softly, feeling a pang of guilt in her chest. “They should ship you with like...I don’t know, someone nicer.”
“Uhhh...I might have told them some things?” Tobin cringed, smiling goofily at Christen to soften the blow.
Christen turned in her seat and raised a brow in Tobin’s direction. Tobin’s smile was infectious so despite her surprise, she couldn’t help but smile back.
“Loose lips sink ships, Tobs,” Christen hummed.
“I think this ship is just fine, and these loose lips can still do some good work,” Tobin smirked, running her thumb over the place on Christen’s neck she’d tried to cover with concealer.
Christen’s cheeks flamed. “I’ll get my revenge,” she mumbled, sinking back in her seat and letting her arm fall onto her leg, her pinky stretching out to touch the outside of Tobin’s thigh.
“Oh, please do,” Tobin hummed, closing her book in favor of looking at Christen. “So...what’s your schedule look like this week?”
Christen looked toward the rest of the bus, noticing that everyone else seemed distracted. She leaned a little closer to Tobin, keeping her voice hushed.
“I think I’ll be pretty busy this week,” Christen replied quietly.
“Oh?” Tobin asked, lifting an eyebrow at Christen.
“Mhm, lots of apology plain bagels to buy, and hickeys to leave, and maybe a date to go on,” Christen murmured, smiling over at Tobin.
“Definitely a date to go on. Is Friday good?”
“I don’t have class, so it’s perfect,” Christen nodded, feeling butterflies erupt in her stomach at the thought of actually going on a real date with Tobin.
“What a coincidence,” Tobin smiled, her heart racing. “I stopped scheduling classes on Fridays after my first semester at college.”
“Do I get to know what it is?” Christen asked at a whisper, feeling a small yawn overtake her for a moment.
“No way,” Tobin laughed softly. “I’ve been thinking about this all summer. There’s no way I’m spoiling it with just a few days left.”
Christen ran her pinky along the outside of Tobin’s leg. “I can’t wait,” she replied, blinking the sudden sleep that overcame her out of her eyes. She didn’t want to sleep. She wanted to stay awake and try to convince Tobin to give her hints about their upcoming date.
“You can sleep, Chris,” Tobin whispered. “I’ll be right here when you wake up.”
Christen’s heart warmed at Tobin’s words, believing them with every fiber of her being. She knew Tobin would be here when she woke up, she didn’t doubt that anymore.
“I know you will,” Christen hummed, dropping her head onto Tobin’s shoulder and getting comfortable. If her friends were texting about what Kelley had seen, it was just a matter of time before the secret was out. So instead of worrying about keeping the charade up, she might as well nap comfortably. “Wake me up if you get bored,” Christen yawned, wrapping a hand around Tobin’s bicep and clinging to it loosely.
“Sweet dreams,” Tobin mumbled into Christen’s hair.
“Sweeter dreams,” Christen sighed happily, already feeling sleep take her.
Tobin opened her book again, content to sit close to Christen, to let her sleep and just enjoy her head on her shoulder and her hand on her arm. She only managed to read a few pages before Christen’s breath slowed down, her hand around Tobin’s arm loosening, sliding down to the crook of Tobin’s elbow. Tobin couldn’t help the way her head lolled to the side and rested against Christen’s head softly. Everything about Christen was addicting, and Tobin loved that she was allowed to share space with her. Sitting in the back of the bus, silently reading with Christen pressed up against her body, was possibly the most relaxed she’d felt since camp, apart from all the nights of cuddling they’d shared. She tried to focus on her book, but her mind kept spinning with thoughts about their upcoming date.
It took exactly thirty-two minutes for anyone to notice. Tobin expected it far sooner, so in hindsight, she was grateful for the uninterrupted, blissful, half-hour where Christen was on her shoulder and nobody else on the bus was aware of it.
A flash of a camera had her looking up, noticing Megan’s head quickly shoot down from the row in front of her.
“Shit, shit,” Megan whispered, pulling her phone down and praying that Tobin hadn’t noticed.
“Pinoe,” Tobin sighed, keeping her voice low, so as not to wake Christen up from whatever dreams she was having.
“Busted,” Crystal chuckled to Megan, turning around and sending an apologetic look at Tobin. “I couldn’t stop her even if I wanted to. You two are too cute not to document.”
Christen heard the soft voices and slowly woke up from her quick nap. Her nose wrinkled as she became more awake and started to process what she’d heard. “There was a picture?” Christen thought, immediately having the urge to sit up. But then she heard Tobin’s voice and she relaxed.
“Send me the picture and then delete it,” Tobin said, unable to keep the grin off her face.
“Ugh, you’re no fun. I won’t send it to the team group chat then,” Megan grumbled.
“Please don’t,” Tobin whispered. “We’re- Well, I don’t know what’s going on exactly. This was a good weekend, but we aren’t ready to talk to anyone about it.”
Christen melted at Tobin’s words and decided to keep pretending to be asleep. She couldn’t pass up the chance to listen in on this conversation, and she didn’t want to stop cuddling with Tobin just yet. She was comfortable and happy listening to her friends and Tobin talk about them.
“We want this, whatever this is, to be just ours for a little bit longer,” Tobin hummed, blushing even more at the truth in her words.
Megan brightened, slapping Crystal’s arm excitedly. Crystal laughed again and smiled at Tobin. “So something did happen, my Preath-senses were tingling,” Crystal said.
“We just don’t want any pressure from other people. We’ve had enough trouble on our own. Just let us figure things out at our own pace,” Tobin sighed, closing her book and lifting her head off of Christen’s head.
Megan rolled her eyes. “That’s an understatement. This took like, forever to actually happen.”
“But you guys are figuring it out?” Crystal asked, melting at the totally adorable sight of her best friend fast asleep on the shoulder of the girl she was in love with.
“I think so,” Tobin said, not wanting to be too definitive about anything, since she and Christen had technically agreed not to tell anyone.
Megan’s forehead wrinkled as she looked over at Crystal. “Wait, how did you figure this out before I did?”
Crystal nodded toward Christen’s neck, which was super on display thanks to her current sleeping position.
“Did you clock the hickey?” Crystal replied, laughing at the utter shock on Megan’s face.
“You dog, Tobito! You left a hickey!” Megan whispered, craning her neck to get a look at Christen and Tobin’s handiwork on her.
Tobin closed her eyes, slightly embarrassed and definitely cursing herself for getting carried away in the first place.
“That’s some pretty shitty concealer work,” Megan commented. “Sue’s got this great trick she does with a penny, works way better than make-up.”
“Aren’t you an art major, Tobin? And that’s the paint job you gave her?” Crystal chuckled lightly.
“I’m into mixed media,” Tobin growled. “I’m not that great at blending yet.”
Christen couldn’t pretend to be asleep any longer. This conversation had taken a turn and she couldn’t hold in her laughter. She let out a snort and buried her face in Tobin’s neck. “Mixed media? Really? That’s why you couldn’t cover it better?” she teased.
“Hey, don’t knock it until you see some of it,” Tobin warned, feeling suddenly protective of the artwork that was currently stored under her bed at UCLA.
Christen sat up and smiled at Tobin, knowing her friends were staring but not caring at all. “I’m not knocking it, I just didn’t realize your excuse for not covering my hickey had to do with the fact that your talents lie elsewhere,” Christen said softly.
Tobin covered her face with her hands, leaning her head back against the seat. She couldn’t stop her cheeks from burning, embarrassed about the whole situation and how Christen suddenly got in on the teasing too.
“I’ll work on it,” Tobin mumbled from behind her hands.
Christen grinned at the adorable, embarrassed mess that was Tobin Heath and then turned to her friends. “Delete the picture, Pinoe. I know you didn’t yet.”
“Send it to me first,” Tobin huffed, finally lowering her hands.
Christen grinned at Tobin’s words and then looked at Crystal. “I’m sorry, we wanted to tell you guys but-”
“It’s yours still, I get it. I expect a full rundown over wine and Lay’s chips soon though, okay?” Crystal replied with a warm smile.
“What a combination,” Tobin said, making a gagging face.
Christen knocked her shoulder into Tobin’s. “Don’t knock it until you try it. Wine and Lay’s have gotten Crys and I through a lot these past few years,” Christen hummed.
“Hold on, just Crystal gets the lowdown?” Megan interjected, pouting dramatically.
“You’re included too, Pinoe,” Christen sighed, shaking her head, her smile betraying how happy she truly was at this point. “But just you guys. We don’t need anyone else in the loop.” Christen added, reaching out to thread her fingers with Tobin’s, gripping Tobin’s hands loosely in her own.
“Kelley’s gonna kill you…” Tobin warned, subconsciously leaning closer to Christen and running her free hand along Christen’s wrist and hand.
Christen cringed and then looked at her two roommates. “Fine, house meeting tonight?”
Megan and Crystal grinned at Christen and Tobin, both insanely happy that they’d finally worked things out and were giving it a shot. It was too cute for words.
“And that’s my cue to text Harry before she kills me and takes away your need for a house meeting,” Tobin groaned, pulling her phone out of her pocket.
Hey, I have something I need to talk to you about when we get back to school if you aren’t busy
[Harry 😜 8:57AM]
[Harry 😜 8:57AM]
You won a billion dollars
[Harry 😜 8:57AM]
You’re running away to join the circus
[Harry 😜 8:57AM]
Wait, is this serious? I can be serious
I mean, I want it to be serious...eventually. It’s serious to me...
[Harry 😜 8:57AM]
IS THIS ABOUT C.P.??????????!!!!!!!!!!
“YES HARRY!!!!” Allie yelled from the front of the bus, confusing every single person except for Tobin.
DUDE! We’re keeping it on the downlow!
[Harry 😜 8:58AM]
WHAT? I’M EXCITED AS SHIT HARRY!
Yeah me too, but let’s be quietly excited
[Harry 😜 8:58AM]
Fine, whatever. Tell me everything tonight. Harry movie and sushi night?
Yes please! I missed you these past few nights
[Harry 😜 8:57AM]
Omfg you were in her room weren’t you? I miss you too, Harry
I don’t kiss and tell
“YES HARRY! GET IT!!!” Allie called out. Christen turned to look at Tobin this time, her brows furrowed.
Tobin groaned, typing as quickly as she could before Allie yelled anything more explicit.
Try not to scream it to anyone else before we talk tonight
“I take it you told her?” Christen whispered.
Tobin handed her phone to Christen with a grin, feeling lighter now that Christen’s friends and Allie knew a little bit and they could be less secretive.
Christen read the messages, chuckled, and then handed the phone back to Tobin before turning to look at her friends who were still watching them closely.
“You can turn around, you two. We’d like to make out now,” Christen teased, running her thumb along the back of Tobin’s hand.
Megan gagged and quickly sat down. Crystal winked at Christen and lowered back into her seat as well.
“Really?” Tobin asked, turning to look at Christen with a goofy smile on her face.
“If we weren’t on this bus, I’d say yes,” Christen replied, returning Tobin’s smile.
“I’m so tempted to ask the driver to go faster,” Tobin pouted, unable to take her eyes off of Christen.
“Want to come over when we get back? House meeting and Harry movie night isn’t until later,” Christen waggled her eyebrows.
“It’s like you read my mind,” Tobin hummed, totally blissed out and caught up in Christen’s eyes and smile and the little freckles on her nose.
Christen grinned, running her fingertips along Tobin’s jaw, finding herself incredibly enamored with the girl in front of her. “I love you, I love you, I love you.” There still wasn’t any fear, any hesitation, when those words ran through her mind, through her heart. She loved Tobin Heath and she couldn’t wait to tell her.
“We could always prep for the start of classes? Coordinate lunch schedules and plan when we can see each other during the day,” Christen replied, tugging on the bill of the snapback playfully before letting her free hand drop to her lap.
“You want to coordinate lunch schedules with me?” Tobin asked, unable to keep the smile off her face. “I mean, I thought you wanted me to come over for something else, but that sounds fun.”
“I am a great multitasker,” Christen hummed, leaning her head against the headrest.
“You’re also a serious planner,” Tobin laughed.
“Mhm, I’d like to know when your classes are and where our schedules line up, so that I won’t just see you at practice.”
“That’s very very sweet and also a great idea...Can I tell you something that might really scare you though?” Tobin asked, squeezing Christen’s hand in her own.
Christen breathed through the fleeting moment of nerves. She nodded, her eyes never leaving Tobin’s.
“Don’t freak out…” Tobin dragged out, leaning closer to Christen.
“When people say don’t freak out, it just makes you freak out,” Christen teased, wiggling just a bit closer to Tobin.
“I don’t own a planner. I don’t even own a notebook,” Tobin whispered.
Christen leaned back, her face scrunched up in confusion. “Classes start...tomorrow? What will you take notes in?”
“I don’t…?” Tobin offered, laughing at Christen’s bewilderment.
Christen shook her head, almost unable to comprehend such a lack of planning. She sighed and then looked back at Tobin, her brain already running a mile a minute as she made plans in her head.
“Okay, well I have my car here so we can drive to Office Max when we get back to campus and get you set up with everything you’ll need,” Christen nodded.
“You think I left Frank at home? He’s at UCLA. I can drive there. I just don’t need notebooks. I’ve never really used them,” Tobin shrugged. “Not since high school anyway.”
Christen groaned and dropped her forehead to Tobin’s shoulder. “Oh my God, you’re a total procrastinator and don’t really care about school, do you?”
Tobin burst out laughing. “I care about school-ish,” Tobin said, lifting Christen’s hand to her lips and kissing her knuckles softly. “I just don’t really take notes. Most of my classes are art classes, anyway. I do have to take astronomy this semester, so maybe I’ll take notes on my computer or in a spare sketchbook or something.”
Christen leaned back, her eyes darting between Tobin’s as a curious smile tugged at her lips. “Will you show me some of your stuff sometime? I’ve always been curious but…” Christen trailed off with a shrug.
“But what?” Tobin asked, cocking her head to the side.
“I never knew how to ask. It always felt too personal,” Christen replied, her fingers tightening around Tobin’s.
“You’ve seen me…” Tobin glanced around the bus before whispering, “shirtless several times now. Your tongue was in my mouth last night. I think we’re getting personal.”
Christen’s cheeks flamed, images of Tobin without her shirt on running through her mind. She subconsciously licked her lips, swearing she could taste Tobin on her tongue.
“So I can see some of your stuff?” Christen whispered.
“Sure. Some of it’s in my room at UCLA. A lot of it is in my parent’s garage, much to Cindy’s chagrin,” Tobin laughed.
At the mention of Tobin’s parents, Christen leaned forward to press a kiss to Tobin’s shoulder. “How are they doing? Did you ever get a hold of them?”
“I texted them Friday morning. Completely forgot that they had a Thursday night wine night with your parents,” Tobin groaned, rolling her eyes. “I talked to Jeff on the phone yesterday, though, and he said everything’s good.”
“Oh right, the barbecue wine night. It’s so weird but cool that our parents are friends,” Christen replied with a smile.
“It’s interesting, but I’ll never call it weird. I’m too scared of your mom to ever say that,” Tobin teased.
Christen chuckled lightly. “Sometime you’ll have to tell me what she said to you in the kitchen and at the lunch she took you to.”
Tobin’s heart ached for a second, the guilt still there, even if it grew smaller with every smile that she made spread across Christen’s face.
“I don’t know about that,” Tobin sighed.
“Please?” Christen pouted, her lower lip jutting out.
“Let’s just say at lunch, she wanted answers for why I broke my word about what I said in your kitchen,” Tobin mumbled, wishing she could sink into the bus seat and hide her face.
“Oh God, I’m even more curious now!” Christen chuckled, wrapping her free hand around Tobin’s bicep again.
“I’m sure you can use your imagination. Think about what your mom might say if someone hurt her daughter,” Tobin offered.
“I’d rather hear it from you, but whenever you want to tell me,” Christen replied, dropping her head back to Tobin’s shoulder and snuggling in close.
“I’m glad she dragged me to lunch with her,” Tobin whispered. “She mom-ed me more than she meant to, I think.”
“She has a tendency to do that,” Christen hummed.
“You want to know something funny, though?” Tobin asked, a smile spreading across her face.
“Always,” Christen replied easily.
“Your mom asked me if I wanted Mexican food or Italian,” Tobin started, unable to stop her smile from growing. “I said Mexican. Can you guess where we ate?”
Christen snorted, burying her face in Tobin’s shoulder. Her mom could be such a piece of work sometimes.
“Olive Garden, I’m assuming? She loves their breadsticks.”
“Mhm. Greatest Mexican food in California,” Tobin smirked.
Christen rubbed her hand up and down Tobin’s arm, another laugh escaping her. Whatever Tobin and her mom had talked about, she was glad it happened. She had a feeling it was one of the reasons they were together now.
Christen collapsed into bed, exhausted from the house meeting tonight. Her friends had all been supportive and understanding, even Kelley. They had also been happy for her, so goddamn happy.
That happiness was something she also felt. Every moment since Thursday night had been perfect and wonderful. She’d gotten answers, given some of her own, and gotten to act on her feelings for Tobin. They were settling into their new normal, finally giving into their feelings and being honest with one another. It was magical, just like she’d always hoped it would be.
Tobin was sweet and thoughtful, sexy and full of desire. Tobin made her feel beautiful and wanted, she made her feel safe and at peace. After only four days, this was already the greatest relationship she’d ever been in. Even if they hadn’t labeled things just yet, even if there were a handful of residual things to discuss, this was still as close to perfect as a relationship could come. This was love, in every kiss and touch and smile. Christen was so in love with Tobin it made her want to burst.
But she missed Tobin. It had only been a few hours since their trip to Office Max and detour to Target and their long kiss goodbye on the porch.
As Christen tried to get comfortable under the covers, she couldn’t help but think that her bed felt empty without Tobin in it. She pulled out her phone, hoping Tobin was still awake.
Tobin had rolled over a few times, trying to get comfortable in her bed. She’d changed from her joggers into a pair of shorts, hoping she was just too warm to get comfortable under the covers. That hadn’t helped. She’d turned her fan on and played an app on her phone that made soothing beach noises, but nothing seemed to be helping.
She’d expected to fall asleep quickly after watching Bend it Like Beckham with Allie, but all she could think about was how much she wished Christen was in her bed with her. She wanted to curl into Christen’s warmth, to hear the other girl’s breathing, to know that she was right there. “You’ve only been more than friends with her for four days. You shouldn’t be this attached,” Tobin thought to herself, rubbing her hands against her eyes. But she was. There was something about Christen that just calmed Tobin down completely, and not having her in her arms felt empty. Just as she was about to succumb to her urges and pull her phone out to text Christen and see if she was awake, her phone vibrated softly against her mattress.
[Chris 💗 11:08PM]
Hi you 😊
[Tobs 💜 11:08PM]
Woah! Someone’s a night owl
[Chris 💗 11:08PM]
I can’t sleep.
[Tobs 💜 11:08PM]
Me either. You spoiled me with all the cuddles this weekend
[Chris 💗 11:08PM]
Ugh, I want cuddles right now
[Tobs 💜 11:08PM]
How was your house meeting?
[Chris 💗 11:09PM]
Everyone is very happy for us 😊 How was Harry night?
[Tobs 💜 11:09PM]
Harry asked me if I’ve seen your boobs
[Chris 💗 11:09PM]
I expect nothing less from Allie Long
[Tobs 💜 11:10PM]
Then she bragged about how she’s seen them and I haven’t...care to explain how that happened?
[Chris 💗 11:10PM]
Want to come over? It’s one of those ‘say it in person’ kind of stories...
[Tobs 💜 11:10PM]
I’m already putting on my shoes
[Chris 💗 11:11PM]
I’ll meet you at the door 🥰
Tobin grinned at the text, loving that Christen had missed her as much as she had. She grabbed her keys and tiptoed down the stairs as quietly as possible. She jogged down the street, not wanting to waste a second of time away from Christen and also not loving the idea of being outside by herself in the dark. When she stopped in front of Christen’s house, she could see Christen smiling through the front window, and her heart nearly melted. She climbed the porch steps quietly, reaching out for the door handle.
“Hey, stranger,” Christen whispered, holding out her hand for Tobin to take, her beaming smile lighting up the darkness of the night around them.
Tobin grabbed Christen’s hand, feeling herself sigh with relief as soon as she touched her again. “Long time no see,” Tobin hummed quietly, aware that Christen’s friends were all asleep in their own rooms.
“Too long,” Christen replied, leaning in to kiss Tobin quickly and then closing the door and locking it.
“Agreed,” Tobin sighed, pulling Christen against her for a hug, unable to wait until they got upstairs.
Christen hummed, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s shoulders, letting herself relax into the embrace. She never felt as good as she did when she was in Tobin’s arms. It was like nothing bad could happen, nothing could touch them. Life was perfect when she was in Tobin’s arms, and Tobin was in hers.
Christen smiled into Tobin’s hair, letting one of her hands tangle in Tobin’s loose waves.
“We’re totally going to be one of those couples,” Christen whispered. “The sickly sweet ones people can’t stand to be around.”
“People are just jealous of those kinds of couples,” Tobin mumbled.
“I used to be,” Christen admitted quietly, scratching Tobin’s scalp gently as she held Tobin close.
“Me too.” Tobin squeezed Christen softly, bringing their bodies even closer.
“Want to see my room?” Christen asked, her cheeks burning at the question. “Oh jeez, that sounded so forward and sleazy,” Christen admitted, cringing a bit and hiding her face in Tobin’s hair.
“It didn’t. You know, I’ve known you for two years, and I’ve never seen a room of yours except for hotel rooms,” Tobin said, leaning back to look at Christen.
Christen bit her lip and reached out to take Tobin’s hand in hers again. “Let’s fix that then.”
Christen led Tobin upstairs, holding back a laugh when Tobin almost tripped up the last step. She ushered Tobin quickly into her room, turning the light on and shutting the door behind her. She turned around and leaned against the door, her eyes on Tobin.
“So...this is it.”
Tobin looked around the room, wishing she’d remembered to bring her glasses so that she could see every single detail. She wanted to read the spines of the books on Christen’s bedside table. She wanted to look at every person in Christen’s photos on top of her dresser. Instead, she took a look at the room as a whole. She looked at Christen’s half-made bed with light gray sheets and a navy blue comforter. She looked at the twinkly lights that hung, currently turned off, on the wall beside her bed and the two, tiny potted plants that sat on her window sill. She looked at the extremely organized desk with school supplies placed purposefully on top. Everything was so Christen, soft and warm and homey but organized and clean. It was peaceful, a room that Tobin could imagine Christen meditating in and studying in and just existing in, and something about it made her feel perfectly at home.
“Is your silence a good thing? I haven’t really ever shown my room to anyone before, it’s kind of like my space and I am usually really hesitant about sharing it-”
“It’s perfect,” Tobin whispered, interrupting any insecurities that Christen was feeling. “It’s very you.”
Christen let out a long breath and smiled at Tobin. “In a good way?”
“Everything about you is good,” Tobin said, sinking into the now familiar feeling of her heart beating at an abnormally quick rate.
Christen felt her breath catch, just like it always did whenever Tobin said things like that. Sometimes her compliments were so effortless. It was hard to wrap her mind around the idea that that was how Tobin felt. She didn’t feel entirely worthy of it. But instead of dwelling on that, Christen pushed off from the door, flicked on the light switch that controlled her twinkly market lights, and flipped off the big light. She walked forward a few steps and grabbed onto Tobin’s hand. She led Tobin to her bed and paused to kick off her shoes.
“Cool to leave those lights on?” Christen asked, gesturing to the twinkly lights.
“Sure,” Tobin nodded, knowing she’d get much better sleep with the lights on in Christen’s room, than in the dark in her own. She slipped off her shoes, consciously placing them neatly near the foot of the bed, keeping the organized room organized.
Christen let go of Tobin’s hand just long enough to crawl onto the bed. Then she held her hand out with a smile, waiting for Tobin to join her.
Tobin crawled into the bed after Christen, feeling like weight was leaving her chest just by curling up with Christen, by taking her hand in her own.
“Do you want to be the little spoon?” Tobin yawned, leaning back into the pillows.
Christen chuckled, constantly in awe at how adorable Tobin Heath could be. “I don’t know. Holding you feels right, but being held by you does too. Do you have a preference?”
Tobin opened her arms for Christen to move into, just wanting to hold onto her, not caring how they were situated.
Christen sighed and snuggled into Tobin, not realizing she’d wanted to be held until this moment. She placed her head on Tobin’s chest, hearing Tobin’s steady heartbeat beneath her. She wrapped an arm around Tobin’s waist and smiled.
“Hi, big spoon.”
“Hey, soup spoon,” Tobin teased, poking Christen in the ribs.
Christen snorted. “You’re such a dork.”
“I’m your dork,” Tobin sighed, kissing Christen’s head.
Christen nodded with a hum. “You told me that at camp. Right before the Brazil game.”
“I remember,” Tobin whispered against Christen’s hair.
“Can I use my one apology for the day and say sorry for how I reacted?” Christen tightened her hold around Tobin’s waist, hearing Tobin’s heartbeat quicken beneath her ear.
“At camp?” Tobin clarified, wishing her heart didn’t clench with the memory and her own regrets when it came to their summer apart.
“Yeah...I try not to live with regrets, but that’s been the biggest one for me.”
“Why did you?” Tobin asked, more out of curiosity than anything else. She wanted to know why Christen had been as scared as she was. She wanted to avoid making her run in the future. She wanted to make sure that she wouldn’t scare her away if she said the three words that were running through her mind daily, more often with each soft kiss and sweet word from Christen.
Christen gulped, her guilt clawing its way up her chest and making her want to disappear.
“I was scared,” Christen whispered, sitting up and pulling slightly away from Tobin. She couldn’t talk about this when Tobin was holding her with such care. She needed to look Tobin in the eye and apologize for her biggest regret.
Tobin ran a hand along Christen’s arm, writing words along Christen’s forearm, just wanting to touch her and make her feel safe.
“I didn’t mean to scare you,” Tobin husked, trying to keep her voice neutral despite the emotions that the memory of Portland brought her.
Christen took a deep breath, running one hand through her hair and letting the other keep her tethered to Tobin. She gripped Tobin’s knee, running her thumb along the warm skin she found there.
“That’s not on you, Tobs,” Christen replied, eyes tracking over the shadows and light across Tobin’s face. “I was scared of how your words and your touch made me feel, which is 100% a me thing.”
“You were scared because it felt…?” Tobin trailed off, not wanting to push Christen to answer anything she didn’t want to.
“It felt right. Everything with you always does, and I wasn’t ready for that then,” Christen whispered.
“Well, that’s okay,” Tobin shrugged. “People move at different paces.”
“But we’re going at the same speed now, right?” Christen asked quietly.
“I think so,” Tobin nodded. “I really like you, and I like spending time with you and kissing you, obviously,” Tobin laughed, pointing at Christen’s neck.
Christen smiled, her hand coming up to touch her still very obvious hickey. “I really like you too, Tobs,” she admitted shyly. She didn’t know why she was bashful all of a sudden, they’d said more serious things than this before. But this felt important, this admission. It felt like them getting on the same page, so Christen took it one step further. “And I don’t want to share you. I just want to be with you, nobody else.”
“Okay,” Tobin nodded, trying not to make a big deal out of Christen’s request for exclusivity. Just like the moment Christen had accidentally called her baby, Tobin wasn’t about to point out any seriousness, not before Christen was ready. She wouldn’t scare her again. This was Christen’s pace, and Tobin was willing to take whatever she offered.
“I also have been dying to kiss you since you left for Harry movie night at 4:12PM, just so you know,” Christen added with a small smile, her grip on Tobin’s knee tightening slightly.
Tobin reached up and placed her hand on Christen’s jaw, coaxing her down for a soft kiss. She willed her mouth to move slowly and her heart to settle down, despite the honest words that Christen had just spoken to her, words that Tobin had wanted to hear in June. She wanted to put all of her emotions into the kiss, each “I love you,” that ran through her mind turned into a soft brush of her lips or a swipe of her tongue against Christen’s bottom lip.
Christen sunk into the kiss, letting Tobin carry her along the slow, meandering path they were going to go down. She was pulled along, swaying between soft brushes of lips and sweet tastes of Tobin’s tongue. She let herself get lost in the feeling of Tobin’s lips on hers, of Tobin’s tongue lazily swiping into her mouth. With a sigh, Christen rolled further on top of Tobin, letting her hand fall to the side of Tobin’s neck, her thumb caressing the hard line of Tobin’s jaw.
Tobin couldn’t stop the soft moan that left her lips when Christen’s tongue brushed against her bottom lip and into her mouth. “Is this what blacking out feels like?” Tobin thought to herself, letting Christen explore her mouth, her hand subconsciously sliding under Christen’s shirt and running along Christen’s ribs.
Christen grinned into the kiss, feeling Tobin’s fingertips gliding across her skin. She arched up a bit, giving Tobin more room to work, wanting Tobin’s hands everywhere. She let go of Tobin’s neck and grabbed onto the back of Tobin’s thigh, pulling Tobin’s leg up so that it wrapped around her hips. Their kisses turned from sweet to something more in an instant. Their kisses tasted of passion, their tongues spoke of desire as they swiped against each other and along the roofs of each other’s mouths, and their touches held fire and promise and want.
Tobin had to consciously stop herself from lifting up against Christen, from grinding into her. Instead, she focused on Christen’s lips, on Christen’s hand on the back of her leg, on her own fingers running along Christen’s ribs and waist and back. Her mind was spinning, clouded with desire, begging for more. It wasn’t until her left hand slid further up Christen’s ribs and brushed against the bottom of her breast that Tobin jerked her hands away and out from under Christen’s shirt. She pulled back, her eyes wide and her face flushed, breaking the kiss.
“I’m sorry,” Tobin rushed to apologize, too worried to put her hands on Christen again, instead putting them down on the bed.
Christen let out a breathy chuckle. She buried her face in Tobin’s neck, her throat thick with desire and her heart racing in her chest.
“I don’t usually sleep in a bra, should’ve warned you about that one before you went exploring,” Christen said, trying to regain some semblance of composure.
If at all possible Tobin’s face grew even redder, the blush spreading down her neck. She’d never been this forward with someone else. She’d really never been this close to someone else, and she couldn’t help the worry that gnawed at the back of her mind. When it came to this part...she was flying blind. She couldn’t stop herself from wondering if she’d done something wrong, if her inexperience was a disadvantage that Christen would dislike.
“I should have asked if I could explore,” Tobin said, the next apology already sitting on her tongue.
Christen shook her head, placing a quick kiss to Tobin’s pulse point and then pushing herself up onto her elbow so she was hovering above Tobin. She caught Tobin’s eye, wanting to chase the apology away.
“It’s okay that you didn’t, I gave you the green light for that,” Christen replied. “But maybe we should establish some ground rules?”
“Okay,” Tobin nodded, finally feeling like her breathing was returning to normal. Ground rules, that sounded good. Rules sounded like structure, and while structure wasn't something Tobin usually craved, she was beyond thankful for it right now.
“Will you put your hands on me again, though? You feel far away,” Christen murmured, brushing a few strands of hair off of Tobin’s forehead.
Tobin smiled softly, lifting her hands, pulling Christen’s shirt down to cover her waist, and placing her hands on top of the fabric.
“Good. Now, rule #1...consent is sexy, so we should definitely always check-in and make sure whatever step we want to take next is okay with the both of us,” Christen whispered, letting her fingertips trace along Tobin’s forehead, smoothing out the small wrinkles she’d seen crop up there a few moments ago.
“Sexy. Got it,” Tobin nodded, unable to keep the smile off her face at Christen’s words. “Hmm...rule #2, this might surprise you because I’m a badass soccer player, but I’m not sure pain is pleasurable,” Tobin shrugged, feeling her cheeks start to blush.
Christen felt her eyebrows rise on her forehead. So they were going in this direction. “Good to know...wait, but the other night when I-” Christen stopped, thinking back to the night after the San Diego State game when she’d pulled a little too roughly on Tobin’s hair, but had still earned a moan for her efforts. She wasn’t sure where the line for pain started and the line for pleasure ended, and wanted to double-check.
“No that was good. More than good,” Tobin rushed to say. “I would have told you if it was too much.”
Christen nodded, a sigh of relief leaving her lips. “Okay, umm, rule #3…” Christen trailed off, repeatedly tucking strands of hair behind Tobin’s ear, her eyes following the motion. “...no sex yet. I don’t want to rush into this and ruin it. You’re too-”
Christen finally looked into Tobin’s eyes, her words slipping from her lips almost without permission. “-you’re too special to me, you mean too much to me. I want to take this slow. We deserve the chance to get this right.”
Tobin couldn’t find the words to respond to Christen’s confession. She opened and closed her mouth, feeling her eyes start to prickle with tears.
“Hey, whoa, I- I didn’t mean to make you cry. Oh my God, Tobs,” Christen rushed out, cupping Tobin’s cheek with her hand.
“No,” Tobin choked out, willing herself to keep it together. “No, they’re good tears. You’re just amazing and beautiful and so special to me too,” Tobin whispered, gripping Christen’s waist even tighter in her hands. “You probably think I have really overactive tear ducts now,” Tobin laughed softly.
Christen shook her head and tilted her head down. She kissed the lone tear that escaped from the corner of Tobin’s eye gently, wanting to always be the one to kiss away Tobin’s tears.
“I don’t, I just think you’re even more sensitive than I ever realized. It’s one of the things that I...opposite of hate most about you,” Christen whispered with a smile.
“Thank goodness,” Tobin sighed. “And I agree with you about taking things slow. I don’t want to ruin anything.” She didn’t voice every thought in her mind, holding back the words that she knew Christen would eventually need to hear. She didn’t tell Christen that she’d never done this before. She didn’t tell Christen that slow was good because she had no idea what she was doing. She didn’t tell Christen that she wasn’t 100% sure what slow meant. She didn't tell Christen any of that, she didn't want to scare her off.
“I don't want to ruin anything either, which means we probably shouldn’t do this every night,” Christen pouted, completely loathing the fact that she’d even thrown that out into the universe.
Tobin nodded, hating the way her heart dropped a little at the words. She liked sleeping next to Christen. She liked waking up in her arms. She liked the way her typical nightmares seemed to leave her alone when she was by Christen's side. If Christen didn’t want sleepovers, though, Tobin could do that. She’d go as slow as Christen wanted. She’d do whatever Christen needed. She'd be fine.
Christen picked up on Tobin’s disappointment and rushed to push it away. “Not that I don’t want to, I do. Believe me. I just think slow means not sharing a bed together every single night.”
“No, no. I know you’re right,” Tobin nodded, a little more emphatically than she had before. “Slow is good with me…” Tobin trailed off, a smile growing on her face when she thought of her next question. “How many nights does slow mean, though? Like, do we get to cuddle six out of seven nights of the week?”
Christen giggled. “No, more like every other night at the very most.”
“Wooow, she’s got great willpower, folks,” Tobin laughed, hoping that her humor would keep the worry off of her face, that it would distract Christen from the nerves and anxiety that spun through Tobin’s mind, the insecurities about not knowing how to do the whole relationship thing, the fear about sleeping by herself.
“In theory, we’ll see how it actually works out,” Christen replied.
“You’ll be so busy with classes, you’ll probably fall asleep before missing me,” Tobin teased, poking Christen’s side and grinning up at her.
Mirroring Tobin’s grin, Christen shook her head. “Not a chance. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop missing you when we're not together.”
“Which is why you bought me a planner and wrote out our lunch schedules for the next two months,” Tobin grinned, loving that Christen’s handwriting was scrawled throughout her planner in her own bedroom down the street.
Christen kissed Tobin quickly, unable not to. She knew that with classes starting tomorrow, things were going to look a little different than they had been. They would both get busier, but they’d have their lunches and soccer and nights like these, every other day. They were going to be fine, they could do this.
“I’m really excited for this week to be over so we can go on our date,” Christen hummed against Tobin’s lips, kissing her once more leaning back.
“Your Saturday morning is free too, right?” Tobin asked softly.
“Did you hear rule #3?” Christen teased. “Or the rule about every other night?”
“Oh, I’m definitely not having sex with you on this date. You’ll understand why I sound so grossed out by that when you see where it is,” Tobin laughed, kissing Christen’s forehead to get rid of the confused look on Christen’s face.
Christen chuckled, ignoring the flutter of excited nerves in her stomach at the thought of getting to that place with Tobin. “I’ll take your word for it. Can I walk you to Art History in the morning?” Christen asked.
“Can I buy you coffee on the way?” Tobin asked, pushing aside her fears and anxieties for the night. She got to sleep next to Christen, she'd get another night's reprieve from her nightmares. She could worry about them tomorrow. She could worry about how to take this slow and not scare Christen away, tomorrow too.
Christen nodded, placing her lips back on Tobin’s, knowing they’d established some hard and fast rules tonight and set some important boundaries. But there were no rules keeping her from kissing Tobin, and for that, she was extremely grateful.
“It’s a date.”
Tobin pulled back from Christen’s lips, her eyebrows scrunching together slightly.
“Wait, so why has Harry seen your boobs before?”
Christen laughed, kissing Tobin’s lips again and feeling herself fall a little bit more in love with Tobin Heath.
TUESDAY - First Day of Classes
“Okay, you’re making me nervous with all your fidgeting. What’s going on?” Allie sighed, putting down her water bottle and leaning back against the counter. They’d gotten back from practice and dinner a little while ago, Tobin having been a little quieter than usual. Allie knew she just had to wait her out...and then when waiting got too hard, she just had to be direct.
Tobin looked up from the kitchen table, her legs still bouncing up and down on the floor. She tried to smile, to joke her way out of this.
"Just feeling left out. You've seen my girl's boobs and I haven't," Tobin replied, her voice strained. "Funny story though, she told me it last night."
Allie arched a brow, disbelief written on her face. "That's definitely not it. So I'm just gonna bother you until you tell me the truth." Allie started hopping around the kitchen, her arms flailing at her sides.
"HAAARRY! TELL ME WHAT PLAGUES THEE! WHAT HAS YOU ALL SAD PUPPY? HAAAARYYYY!" Allie sang, loudly and off-key.
Tobin sighed and shook her head, the ghost of a genuine smile on her face at Allie's antics.
"Dude, SHUT UP. Stop singing, I'll tell you!" Tobin yelled, interrupting Allie.
Allie grinned victoriously. She grabbed a box of Goldfish from the pantry and sat down across from Tobin at the table, propping her feet up on the table.
"Spill it," Allie said.
Tobin looked away from Allie, dropping her eyes to her hands that fidgeted on top of the table. “Harry-" Tobin stopped, deciding to just open up and knowing there was only one way to start that. "Allie...I don’t want to mess things up with Chris,” she whispered, hating how insecure she felt mentioning her worries to Allie. “This is like the first real...I mean technically we haven’t used the word relationship, but this is like the first real exclusive thing I’ve ever…” Tobin trailed off, glancing at Allie.
Tobin didn’t need to finish her sentence. Allie had known about all of Tobin’s sort of relationships or almost relationships, all of which were short and not as serious as Tobin had hoped for. She also knew that Christen was different, that Christen was more important than any other person Tobin had been interested in.
“I know, Tob. But Christen is so different, and you’re different with her. What are you worried about?” Allie replied gently.
Tobin's cheeks flushed, thinking back to last night and the conversation they'd had, what had kicked it all off. “I, uh- I accidentally touched her boob, and then she said she wanted to take things slow,” Tobin mumbled, putting her head down on the table.
“Damn, you copped a feel?” Allie grinned, unable not to tease Tobin just a little. She knew Tobin needed a bit of help right now, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rib Tobin about this. “What base is that nowadays? Do the bases apply when it’s two women? How does that even work?”
“It was a graze. I’m not sure it even counted as a new base,” Tobin grumbled.
“You’re blushing,” Allie snorted, pointing at Tobin’s flaming cheeks. “Was that your first boob?!”
“It was the second, but the first one hardly counts since she’s the one who put my hand there,” Tobin murmured, tilting her head slightly to look up at Allie.
“So this was your first boob by choice, nice,” Allie nodded, grinning at Tobin. “I bet C.P. loved that.”
“No, not nice. I didn’t even ask her if it was okay, and then she said we should go slow. What if I freaked her out and made her feel like I’m not patient or like I just want her for her-” Tobin gestured at her own boobs.
Allie tossed some Goldfish in her mouth and then held out her hands to get Tobin to stop freaking out.
“You have spent two years being absolutely, unbelievably into this girl. She knows you don’t just want her for her exquisite bod. And if she wants to take things slowly, I think that’s a good idea. That way you won’t rush into things,” Allie replied.
“Slow is good. I can do slow,” Tobin nodded, taking a deep breath to settle the nerves she’d been feeling all day. "What is slow? Should I ask Allie? Would she know?"
“The slower the better,” Allie agreed. “Keeps C.P. from freaking out and builds that tension up nice and slooooooow.” Allie waggled her brows at Tobin and then grabbed another handful of Goldfish. She held one up, silently asking if Tobin wanted one.
Tobin opened her mouth to let Allie toss one into her mouth, just like they’d done since they were fourteen and fifteen and at their first camp together.
But this time, Allie tossed the entire handful at Tobin’s face, bursting out in laughter at the huff of indignation it earned her.
“See, if I’d gone slow and steady, you wouldn’t have ended up with a face full of cheddar cheese crackers. Let this be a lesson,” Allie winked, getting up from the table. “Hey, would you clean that up? Bati wants to grab ice cream!”
“You suck,” Tobin grumbled, grabbing the Goldfish crackers off the floor and piling them onto the table to throw away.
Tobin couldn’t help that she still felt a little confused about the entire conversation with Christen. Going slow was completely appealing to her. Tobin figured she was likely less experienced than Christen, and going slow meant that she could figure things out along the way.
Still, she worried that she’d startled Christen with the boob graze. She was even more worried that she’d been too forward over the past few days, definitely not slow enough. However, when she and Christen had walked to get coffee before Tobin’s Art History class this morning, Christen didn’t seem turned off in the slightest. She’d offered sweet words, tight hugs, and even a kiss goodbye, a kiss that Tobin had subconsciously made into a cheek kiss with a slight turn of her head.
Tobin hadn’t been in what she’d consider a real relationship, so she wasn’t sure what was considered too slow or too fast. She’d dodged the kiss subconsciously, her worries and anxieties swirling around within her.
“Just keep things slow,” she thought to herself. “A hug, the occasional kiss, holding hands. That’s slow. That’s what slow means.”
As soon as the Goldfish were cleaned up, Tobin jogged upstairs to her room, pulling her phone out of her pocket to send Christen a quick text, already missing her since practice ended an hour ago.
[Tobs 💜 8:45PM]
You free to talk and help me procrastinate? I don’t want to do homework.
Tobin dropped her phone on her bed, pulling out some art supplies, hoping to mindlessly paint or doodle before Christen got back to her, deciding that if she didn’t hear back in thirty minutes or so, she might try calling.
Christen had just stepped out of the shower when she heard her phone ringing with an incoming Facetime call. It was Tobin, it had to be Tobin. Christen hurried out of the bathroom and over to her bed, still wrapped in her towel, and answered. She smiled at the screen, at the small image of Tobin in her glasses, sitting on the floor of her room, a smudge of paint on her cheek.
“Hey,” Christen hummed, feeling water drip down her forehead from her wet hair. She turned her head, tossing her wet hair over her shoulder and refocusing back in on the phone screen.
“Hi,” Tobin choked out. Her throat closed up at the sight of Christen in only a towel, her face smooth and freshly washed, her hair still dripping with water from the shower. “Be respectful,” Tobin chastised herself, setting her phone down and focusing on the canvas she was taping. She needed to distract herself, to work, to do anything to keep her eyes off of a nearly naked Christen.
Christen’s brow furrowed at the glaringly obvious way Tobin was avoiding looking at the screen. She was currently staring at Tobin’s ceiling instead of Tobin herself.
“Uh...cool ceiling, Tobs, but I would much rather be looking at the cute paint smudge you have on your cheek,” Christen said, walking over to her dresser. She set the phone down on it, tucking the towel tightly around her so her hands were free to dig around in her drawers for her clothes.
“Oh, yeah,” Tobin hummed, picking up her phone and using one of her sneakers to prop it up, giving Christen a better angle to see her. She still kept her eyes on the canvas that was sitting on a tarp on her floor. There was no way she could look at Christen and not think about doing other things. She had to keep it slow, and looking at Christen while she was undressed like that would not help her stay slow.
“Whatcha working on?” Christen asked, taking out a pair of sliders and a tank top to sleep in. She dropped them on top of her dresser and looked back at the phone, noticing Tobin’s attention was still elsewhere. “Hellooooo, Earth to Tobs?”
“Oh, right, I’m just, uh- just kind of messing around with an idea,” Tobin said, her eyes still stuck to the floor and her cheeks reddening by the second.
Christen fixed the image of Tobin on her screen with a confused but pleading look. “Will you look at me?” she asked softly.
Tobin lifted her head up to glance at the phone screen, hating that she immediately felt the urge to lick her bottom lip.
“Do I have paint on my cheek or something? You haven’t even looked at me since I answered,” Christen continued, grabbing a ponytail from her dresser and tying her wet hair into a bun on top of her head.
“I thought you said I have paint on my cheek,” Tobin said, her eyebrows scrunching in confusion. “I was just giving you privacy to change,” Tobin added, ripping another long strip of tape off the roll and sticking it to the top of the canvas.
Christen huffed out a small, self-conscious laugh. It wasn’t like they hadn’t seen each other in towels before, that was why she’d even answered the call like this. She hadn’t thought it was crossing a line, but after last night’s conversation about taking things slow, she realized that maybe it was a little much.
Christen took a giant step to the side, out of the camera’s view, a blush heating her cheeks. “I’m sorry, me answering in a towel is definitely not following the rules, is it?”
“You don’t need to apologize,” Tobin laughed. “It’s fine, Chris.”
Christen awkwardly bent down and grabbed her clothes from the dresser, all while trying to avoid getting on screen. She was for the most part successful and took another step toward her closet so she could get changed.
“Focus on your tape-paint thing, I’m going to enjoy my privacy over here for a second,” Christen teased, quickly changing into her tank top and sliders and fuzzy socks, using the towel to dry her hair.
“Great title for this piece,” Tobin hummed. “The Tape-Paint Thing.”
Christen walked back into the camera’s view with a sheepish smile. “I’m clothed, you can look now.”
“And there she is,” Tobin beamed, turning her attention to the phone now.
Christen felt her heart sing at the way Tobin was looking at her. It was unlike anything she’d ever experienced. Tobin looked at her with such reverence, such care and longing and sweetness. It made her feel like the only girl in the world.
Christen ducked her head, drying her wet curls slightly with the towel. “So, now can I know what had you so distracted when I answered?”
“I’ve hardly started it,” Tobin shrugged, lifting up the canvas. There were lines of tape across it that separated the canvas into small shapes and patterns, some of which were already filled in with paint, others which were still untouched. “I don’t know if it’s actually going to turn out well, but we’ll see.”
Christen let her eyes travel over the canvas, her breath catching in her throat. It was unlike anything she’d ever seen before. It wasn’t full of soft brush strokes like in the paintings she’d seen in museums, it wasn’t abstract in the way Christen had learned about abstract, with the cubes and the ill-defined shapes. It was hard lines and purposeful shapes and distinct patterns, but effortless too, all at the same time. It was somehow so completely Tobin, it rendered Christen speechless.
“Like I said, it isn’t finished,” Tobin offered, putting the canvas down and tossing her tape into one of her storage containers.
“No, Tobs, I just- I’ve never seen your work before. It’s very you in the absolute best way. It’s extraordinary,” Christen said, crossing her arms on the dresser and leaning closer to the phone.
“Right now, it’s just tape,” Tobin teased, unable to not blush at the compliment.
“Yeah, but it’s your tape, and it looks damn good on that canvas,” Christen beamed.
Tobin laughed at Christen’s compliments, shaking her head softly but not arguing any further.
“Thanks, Chris. How was class this afternoon? I didn’t really get a chance to ask you about it at practice.” Tobin slid the canvas into the corner of her room to let the few shapes she’d painted dry. She checked her hands to make sure they weren’t covered in any paint before grabbing her phone and flopping down on her bed.
Christen grabbed the phone and walked to the bathroom, needing to get some product in her hair before it got too dry. She propped Tobin up against the mirror and set about doing her hair.
“Super interesting, actually! I’m really excited about this Mental Health in the Media class I somehow got into, considering it’s mainly for seniors. Today we watched a few clips of some movies and had to identify the ways in which they perpetuated mental health stereotypes or if they were able to change the narrative for the better,” Christen replied, eyes on her reflection in the mirror as she ran product through her curls.
“You’re too smart for the junior courses,” Tobin smirked.
Christen rolled her eyes and shook her head at Tobin. “Not true, I just have an advisor who loves me and pulled some strings.”
“Lucky you,” Tobin hummed, already planning on how she was going to switch advisors.
“Did yours stick you in bad classes?” Christen asked, pausing to look at the screen.
“Mine wants me to change my major to French,” Tobin grumbled.
Christen burst out laughing. “You’re kidding, they gave you Gregory Meadows as your advisor? He always tries to get everyone to change their major to the ‘finest foreign language.’”
“Ah, so he’s infamous? I mentioned taking some French in high school and a year of it at Penn State, and now he’s set on sending me to Paris over the summer,” Tobin sighed, throwing her arm over her eyes.
“He’s kind of the worst, sorry. But Paris is cool. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris,” Christen said, finishing up her hair and grabbing her phone so she could hop into bed. She propped herself up on some pillows and held the phone in front of her face, her eyes on Tobin.
“I’ve got national team camps to get invited to this summer. The first time I go to Paris will be for soccer,” Tobin winked. “Preferably with you.”
Christen beamed. “You’ll have to do all the talking, I speak Spanish and that is not even close to French.”
“What?! You’ve been holding out on me for two years?” Tobin gasped.
“I swear I’ve told you that!” Christen laughed.
“You told me you learned Spanish at school. I didn’t think that meant you spoke it. I learned French in school, and I still only know how to say ‘Yes, I’d like a baguette’ and ‘Where is the bathroom,’” Tobin laughed, leaning back into her pillows and wishing Christen was beside her and not down the street.
“I’m fluent, so I can say a bit more than that,” Christen admitted. “Puedo decirte que eres hermosa y muy talentosa, porque no tienes ninguna idea de que estoy hablando.” Christen wet her lips, loving the way Tobin’s eyes lit up when she spoke Spanish. She’d have to speak it more often if it got Tobin to look at her like that.
“No hablo español,” Tobin replied with absolutely no Spanish accent, wanting a translation from Christen as soon as possible. There was something about how easily and naturally Christen was able to speak Spanish that made Tobin feel all tingly and jittery.
“I just said that I can tell you that you’re beautiful and very talented, and you have no idea what I’m talking about,” Christen hummed, her eyes crinkling as she smiled.
“I’m gonna need to learn that line in French,” Tobin mumbled, her heart thudding harder in her chest.
“I’d really like to hear you speak French sometime," Christen replied.
"That can be arranged. But first, can you say something else in Spanish? What's like your favorite phrase?" Tobin asked, knowing she would happily have Christen jabber away in the other language, whether she understood it or not.
Christen ducked her head shyly, her favorite phrase popping into her head. She just hoped Tobin wouldn’t ask her to translate this next phrase. Not yet, anyway.
“Oh, umm...it’s from a poem by Pablo Neruda-”
“Harry calls him the sexy Chilean poet,” Tobin grinned.
“She’s got good taste in poets. But it’s, um-” Christen hesitated, suddenly shy. It was one thing to think about love and know that she loved Tobin, it was another to talk about love, even in another language. But she forged on, the words stumbling from her lips, causing her cheeks to flame. “‘El amor no se mira, se siente, y aún más cuando ella está junto a ti.’”
“That sounded sexy. I think Harry was right,” Tobin smiled, unable not to have noticed the word amor. She wasn’t great at languages, but she knew that word. “Slow. We’re going slow. Don’t mention it. Just be slow, the slower the better.”
“I’ll translate it for you some other time,” Christen chuckled, running her hand through her drying curls.
“Deal,” Tobin replied with an easy smile.
Christen couldn’t help the small flutter in her chest at the thought of telling Tobin sooner rather than later about her feelings. She just needed to wait for the perfect moment. “I miss you, how crazy is that? You’re like a hundred yards away and I just saw you three hours ago.”
“I miss you too,” Tobin replied, feeling a soft ache in her chest, the same soft ache she always felt when they said goodbye or stepped away from one another.
Christen felt that same ache, and it made her question her decision to enforce the ‘every other night sleepover’ rule.
“Thankfully, tomorrow’s Wednesday, which means dining hall lunch date at 1,” Christen said, feeling a bit better knowing that she’d get to see Tobin in like sixteen hours.
“That’s right,” Tobin nodded, trying to remind her heart to slow down. She couldn’t get this excited about every meeting with Christen. She needed to keep calm, keep slow, not scare her with too much too fast.
Christen let out a small yawn, covering her mouth quickly. It was only ten, but she was tired from the first day of classes and their hard training this evening. But the last thing she wanted to do was go to bed. If she did, she’d have to stop looking at Tobin and talking to her.
“You can go to sleep,” Tobin laughed. “I won’t be offended.”
“I don’t want to,” Christen pouted. “Then I have to stop looking at the paint you still have on your cheek.”
“Don’t you have an early lecture tomorrow?” Tobin asked, sitting up in bed and walking over to her mirror. She pulled out a makeup wipe and scrubbed at the blue paint.
“Why did I think an 8AM lecture was a good idea?” Christen complained, hopping out of bed and turning off the big light, leaving the twinkly lights illuminated as she crawled back into bed.
“I’m pretty sure that’s something only freshmen sign up for,” Tobin hummed, tossing the wipe in her trashcan when the paint was gone, only a red mark left on her face from rubbing on it.
“Mistakes were made, but lunch with you will make it all worth it,” Christen replied with a content smile. She stretched her arms over her head and burrowed beneath the covers, pulling them up to her chin.
Tobin laughed at how quickly Christen was getting comfortable in her bed. She hadn’t met a college student who prioritized sleep as much as Christen, and it was frankly adorable. “As long as you aren’t asleep halfway through lunch.”
“I only fell asleep on you one time and that was during camp, so you can’t really blame me.”
“It was very cute,” Tobin sighed, flipping off her light switch, leaving only her bedside lamp on.
Christen blushed and wondered if she’d ever get over hearing Tobin compliment her like that, if it would ever fail to make her heart race or her stomach flutter.
“You don’t have to go to sleep with me, night owl,” Christen hummed, turning on her side and propping the phone up against her pillow.
“It’ll take me a little while to fall asleep. Might as well start trying now rather than later,” Tobin sighed, pulling her covers up to her chest. Despite the burn of exhaustion behind her eyes, she knew falling asleep without Christen by her side would be tough.
“Are you still having trouble falling asleep when you’re on your own?” Christen asked. They’d talked about how Tobin was still struggling with some residual guilt from the accident, which was affecting her sleep. But Christen still worried that Tobin wasn’t letting her in on just how bad it was, on just how little sleep she was getting.
Tobin shrugged softly and whispered, “It’s not too bad.” There was no way she was going to answer that question honestly, knowing that her answer would make Christen feel bad and possibly invite her over. She didn’t want to guilt-trip Christen into reneging on her ‘every other night sleepover’ rule.
“Exceptions could be made to our rule, Tobs,” Christen said quietly, her worry making her brow furrow. “Especially if you need help falling asleep.”
“No, I’m okay,” Tobin insisted. She’d promised to go slow, and there was no way that she was going to let Christen change her plans just because Tobin had trouble with nightmares. It wasn’t Christen’s job to fix that or help her overcome that issue. That’s what the Heath family therapist was for, the one her parents insisted she Facetime with once a week while at school.
“I’ll stay awake until you fall asleep,” Christen hummed, stifling a small yawn, set on being there for Tobin, even if it was just over Facetime.
“You’re a lot sleepier than I am,” Tobin whispered.
“Yeah, but I’m also really stubborn and worried about you,” Christen whispered back, wishing she could reach out and kiss the worry winkle between Tobin’s brows.
“You are very stubborn,” Tobin nodded, trying to ignore the worried part of Christen’s statement. She wanted to let Christen worry, to let her in the way Christen wanted. She was getting better at it. She was telling Christen about how she was feeling and about what was happening at home, but there was no way that she was letting Christen sacrifice her morals or her sleep schedule for Tobin’s wellbeing. She couldn't tell her everything yet.
“I have an idea. Close your eyes, Tobs, I’m gonna tell you a bedtime story,” Christen said softly.
Tobin propped her phone up against the other pillow and closing her eyes, wondering what Christen had up her sleeve.
Christen melted at the sight and ran her finger over the screen, wishing Tobin were here with her. “Once upon a time, there was this soccer player at UCLA. She was so nervous for her freshman soccer season, especially for her first big away trip. Her team was going all the way to Pennsylvania to play against a very talented team.”
“A beautiful destination,” Tobin added, her smile only growing as Christen spoke. She hadn't been told a bedtime story in years. She had no idea if it was going to work, but she would indulge Christen anyway.
“Shush, I’m in the zone. So this girl was very nervous for the game, getting nutmegged by her best friend numerous times during a little pre-game kick around. And then, her whole world suddenly shifted when she looked across the field and spotted-”
“Amy Rodriguez?” Tobin offered, her eyes still closed but her smile now huge on her face.
“Tobs!” Christen giggled, shaking her head. “If you keep interrupting, you’ll never get to sleep.”
“Sorry, sorry. I’m finished,” Tobin mumbled against her pillow.
Christen rolled her eyes affectionately. “Okay, so, the girl looks across the field and sees Number 17…”
Tobin was dying to whisper “That’s a good number” to Christen, but she refrained, deciding instead to listen to Christen’s words and try not to let her heart beat right out of her chest.
“And this Number 17 was gorgeous. She was juggling the ball around the field, making tough moves and difficult tricks look absolutely effortless. It was then that the UCLA player knew her life would never be the same. This Number 17 was special,” Christen whispered, watching as Tobin’s face relaxed, listening as Tobin’s breathing evened out. Christen bit back a smile, feeling her own exhaustion overtake her. She leaned forward and kissed the screen and then propped the phone up against a pillow.
“Good night, Tobs. Sweet dreams,” Christen said softly, letting her own eyes fall shut.
“Sweeter dreams,” Tobin mumbled, her brain somewhere between asleep and awake, drifting slowly into a dream she hoped wouldn't turn into a nightmare.