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Our Secret Moments

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Take a look around the room

Love comes wearing disguises

How to go about and choose?

Break it down by shapes and sizes

I'm a [wo]man who's got very specific taste

You-you-you're just my type

(Tobin - “My Type” by Saint Motel)

 

And I just can't look, it's killing me

And taking control

Jealousy, turning saints into the sea

Swimming through sick lullabies

Choking on your alibis

But it's just the price I pay

Destiny is calling me

Open up my eager eyes

'Cause I'm Mr. Brightside

(Christen - “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers)

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd

Tobin tangled her fingers in Christen’s hair at the back of her head, pulling Christen closer and running her tongue across her bottom lip. 

With a moan, Christen pushed Tobin further into the door and moved across the bench seat of the truck. She couldn’t get close enough to Tobin, couldn’t get enough of how she felt and touched and tasted. Should they be making out like two horny teenagers inside of Tobin’s truck instead of going into the restaurant for dinner? Probably not. But were they going to stop? Nope.

Tobin kept one of her hands on Christen’s knee, forcing her hand to stay there and not slip any further up her leg. It was tempting to slide her hand higher and higher up Christen’s leg, especially because of the black dress that she’d chosen to wear. She kept her hand low, though, following the rules and rubbing her thumb slowly back and forth along the skin there. 

Christen’s hand fisted in the material of Tobin’s button-up shirt, knowing she was going to wrinkle the front of it. She also knew Tobin wouldn't be happy about it since she’d spent so long ironing the shirt earlier that night. But Christen couldn’t find it in her to care. She needed Tobin closer and this was the only way to do it. 

“We should cancel,” Tobin husked, slipping her tongue into Christen’s mouth softly before moving her head and kissing along Christen’s throat. 

“Mhm, definitely,” Christen replied, her eyes slamming shut. She relaxed her grip on Tobin’s shirt and slid her hand around to the small of Tobin’s back. She felt like she was ready to combust, and they were still both fully clothed and in a cramped truck. She could only imagine how she’d feel when they were further along in their relationship and could lose the clothes.

“You could text Megan,” Tobin offered, her hand slipping up Christen’s leg somewhat before moving back down to her knee. 

Christen bit back a whine at the lazy circles Tobin was drawing on her leg, loving it when Tobin moved higher and hating when she retreated. 

“I’m busy,” Christen replied, wrapping her fingers around Tobin’s wrist and bringing Tobin’s hand back up from her knee to her thigh-

“I’M GONNA HAVE TO BURN MY EYES!” Megan yelled from outside the truck, smacking her fist against the driver’s side window and sending Tobin and Christen scrambling away from the door. 

“I hate her timing,” Tobin growled, her hand even higher on Christen’s thigh now that the two of them were scooted toward the passenger’s side door. 

Christen blew out a long breath, trying not to think about Tobin’s hand or where it was. She hid her face in the side of Tobin’s neck, knowing her cheeks were flaming at having been caught. 

“It’s totally the worst,” Christen replied, her voice a little hoarse. 

“Looks like we won’t be canceling,” Tobin grumbled, pulling her hands away from Christen and reaching for the door handle. 

Christen sighed at the loss of contact. She quickly fixed her hair and pulled down the bottom of her dress to a more respectable length. 

Tobin jogged around the front of the truck and opened Christen’s door, glancing down at her now-wrinkled shirt. 

“Baaaabe,” Tobin sighed, pointing at her shirt after she opened the door for Christen to step out. 

“You weren’t complaining in the moment,” Christen winked, leaning forward to wipe the lipstick off of Tobin’s lower lip. “But I am sorry about it.”

“I’m not, I guess,” Tobin sighed with a smile, taking Christen’s hand and helping her out of the truck. 

“Gross, I hate this,” Megan said from the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. She pretended to hide her face behind Sue, wrapping her arm around her girlfriend.  

“No you don’t, Pinoe,” Christen shot back, pulling Tobin by their joined hands to the sidewalk to meet up with Megan and Sue. 

“I think they’re cute,” Sue smirked. “Remember when we were all new and couldn’t keep our hands off of each other.”

Christen laughed, smiling at Sue. “Oh, our whole house remembers. Kelley still has nightmares about walking in you two. Hasn’t touched whipped cream since.”

Megan rolled her eyes. “Whatever. We’re still at that stage, Sue.”

“I don’t know. You didn’t try to jump me in your car,” Sue laughed.

Christen chuckled as well and then looked from Sue to Tobin. “Now that that's done, Sue, this is my- um, this is Tobin Heath,” Christen introduced, her cheeks flaming.

Tobin squeezed Christen’s hand with her left hand and reached her right hand out to introduce herself to Sue. “Nice to finally meet you.”

“Likewise, I’m Sue, Megan’s ball and chain,” Sue grinned, shaking Tobin’s hand.

“Blegh, what are you, politicians?” Megan snorted, eyeing their handshake. 

“It’s called being polite, Pinoe,” Christen quipped.

“Yeah, Pinoe,” Sue teased, dropping Tobin’s hand and winking at her girlfriend. 

Megan rolled her eyes affectionately and threw her arm around Sue’s shoulders. “Whatever ball and chain, I’m starving. Let’s roll.”

Tobin grinned at the couple, following behind them and holding the door open for Christen. Christen smiled at the gesture and waited once she’d passed through the door for Tobin to join her again. Together, with their hands clasped, they followed Megan and Sue to their table.

The four of them ordered drinks, Sue the only one who could actually enjoy a margarita, since she was on break. The three soccer players had their Stanford game the next night and had to stay sober and prepared. 

“Ooooh guac,” Tobin whispered. “Your mom never got me that.”

“I’ll get it for you, babe,” Christen hummed. She dropped her hand to Tobin’s leg, running her thumb along the jeans Tobin had donned for tonight’s date night. They were her favorite pair, the black ones with rips down the front.

“Tableside guac would be bomb,” Megan agreed, smirking at Christen and her pet name for Tobin. She and Kelley had really enjoyed teasing Christen as soon as they’d first heard her call Tobin baby in front of them on accident. 

“So...I’ve heard Megan’s version,” Sue started to say, looking between Tobin and Christen, “but I want to hear it from you two now. How the heck did this happen?”

Tobin reached under the table to continue rubbing her thumb in small circles across Christen’s knee and thigh. She just wanted to touch her and feel close to her. She hadn’t wanted their moment in the truck to be interrupted. 

“Well, we played against each other a couple of times when I went to Penn State,” Tobin started. 

“Tobito lost it during our NCAA semifinal game freshman year and yelled at Pressy,” Megan offered with a smirk.  

“Okay, yeah. We started off as competitors, but we became friends...and then friendlier?” Tobin tried, blushing as she tried to explain. She didn’t particularly want to talk about all the hard stuff, not with anyone but Christen.

“That’s all you got?” Megan asked. “Boo! Pressy, you try.” 

Christen had been trying to pay attention, she really had. But Tobin’s touch was hypnotic, leaving fire in its wake as she drew patterns from her knee and up to her thigh, over and over again. So she hadn’t really caught the entire exchange between Tobin and Megan and Sue. All she’d managed to do was tighten her grip on Tobin’s leg and try not to fall apart.

“Umm…” Christen blushed, turning to look at Tobin. “Did you mention the friends to friendlier part?”

“Yeah, that was the last part,” Tobin smirked. Tobin moved her hand off of Christen’s leg, taking pity on her and the trouble she seemed to be having with focusing on the conversation. Instead, she rested her arm on the back of Christen’s chair. 

Christen turned back to Megan and Sue, sinking back against Tobin’s arm. “Right, well, I mean-” Christen paused, trying to come up with the best way to encapsulate their story so far.

“It was like one day, she just came into my life and nothing was ever the same. It took us, like, two years to get here, but I wouldn’t change a thing about our journey. It led us to where we are now,” Christen blushed at her own words, knowing they were a bit too romantic and cheesy for what Sue had asked for. But she was in a romantic and cheesy mood tonight. She had been for an entire month now, ever since Tobin had shown up at her hotel room in San Diego.

Tobin couldn’t stop the dorky smile from spreading across her face. She squeezed Christen’s shoulder with her hand that was resting on the back of Christen’s chair, just wanting Christen to know that she felt the exact same way. 

“Awwww, that’s so cute,” Sue sighed, leaning into Megan and grinning at Tobin and Christen. 

“Are we ready to order?” the waitress asked. She was standing at the end of the table closest to Tobin’s and Megan’s seats, but it was clear that all of her attention was on Tobin. She smiled softly at Tobin, leaning closer to Tobin’s chair and pushing her wavy, black hair off of her shoulder. 

Christen hadn’t felt this little green monster inside of her since freshman year, since she’d been under the temporary and hilarious delusion that Allie Long was dating Tobin, who at the time she only knew as Number 17. She didn’t like feeling jealous, she hated the way it made her skin prickle and her fists clench. But she hated the way this waitress was looking at Tobin more.

“Sure,” Tobin smiled back at the waitress, completely unaware that anything was going on. “Can I get the shrimp tacos? Oh, and we’ll get an order of the tableside guac.”

“Anything for you,” the waitress quipped, writing Tobin’s order down and shooting Tobin a wink. She turned to the rest of the table, her demeanor immediately shifting to something a bit more professional. “And for you guys?”

“We’re gonna split the chicken fajita platter,” Megan said, gesturing between herself and Sue. 

“And for you?” the waitress asked Christen, her voice completely bored.

“The cauliflower tacos,” Christen said cooly, her eyes narrowed into slits as she glared daggers at this waitress. The audacity of this girl, to be throwing stupid little smiles at Tobin while she and Tobin were clearly together. 

Tobin was unaware of the entire exchange, her attention on the dessert menu in front of her. 

“Awesome. I’m Charity if you need anything else before the food comes out, just call me over,” the waitress added, her eyes glued to the side of Tobin’s face. 

“Thank you,” Tobin added, her gaze momentarily returning to the waitress.

“Of course,” Charity smirked.

Christen almost launched out of her chair at the sight of that smirk, but she felt Megan kick her under the table and decided against it. She forced herself to breathe, to keep her cool. 

“You think Foudy would kill me if I got ice cream tonight?” Tobin asked, turning to look at Christen. 

Christen forced a smile on her face, willing her jealousy to recede. “Probably, Tobs. But I’ll get you all the ice cream you want after we beat Stanford tomorrow.”

“That sounds perfect,” Tobin hummed, closing the menu and pushing it to the middle of the table. 

The rest of dinner went relatively smoothly, if Christen just ignored the flirty winks and smiles Charity kept throwing at her girl. The food was good, the company was better, and Tobin’s arm hadn’t fallen from the back of her chair the entire night. And then the checks came.

“I hope everything was good,” Charity said, pulling checks out of her apron pocket. “I just split the guac evenly for all of you. I figured you two didn’t want to split the check, but if you do, I can reprint it,” she said to Megan and Sue. Then, Charity turned to Tobin and Christen, handing them two separate checks. “Thanks for coming in tonight,” Charity said, her hand resting longer on Tobin’s check than anyone else’s. 

Tobin waited for Charity to walk away before she pulled her wallet out. 

“I can get yours too,” Tobin said, her eyes completely innocent like she really hadn’t noticed anything all night. 

Christen shook off Tobin’s offer, reaching out to grab Tobin’s check. “My treat, baby. Happy one month,” Christen grinned.

“You sure? I don’t mind,” Tobin asked, noticing that Christen was tenser than she had been when they got to the restaurant.  

“You got dinner last week, remember?” Christen replied, reaching into her purse and taking out her wallet. 

“Okay, I’ll be back,” Tobin leaned over to kiss Christen’s cheek before leaving the table and heading to the bathroom. 

Christen smiled a bit at the gesture, watching Tobin strut off through the restaurant. 

“Dude, you okay?” Megan asked, knowing that the waitress’s flirting had nearly made Christen throw hands. 

Christen sighed, thankful that the tension in her shoulders was receding now that their time with Charity was almost over. “It’s fine. My girl’s a catch, can’t expect people not to notice that too.”

“So, are you two official yet?” Sue asked, unsure of whether her question would ruffle anyone’s feathers or not. 

Christen searched through her wallet, looking for her credit card. “We’re officially exclusive,” Christen replied with a smile, looking up at Megan and Sue. “But other than that, we’re taking it slow.”

“Yeah, Tobito is super whipped for Christen. She was exclusively Christen’s like two years ago,” Megan laughed. 

“Have you had the talk?” Sue pushed, smirking at Megan’s energy. It was what she missed most when she went back to her professional team in Washington. 

“Like…” Christen trailed off, looking around and then lowering her voice, “the sex talk?”

“No no,” Sue laughed, shaking her head quickly. “Just like a talk to clarify that you’re exclusive. A talk when you use the g-word.”

“Oh,” Christen hummed, instantly relaxing. 

“What g-word? You mean the G-spot?” Megan asked, her eyes moving between her girlfriend and Christen. 

Christen rolled her eyes, fighting off a blush. “No, we haven’t had that talk yet. I was kind of hoping to make it special since Tobs has never been in a serious relationship before.”

“I’m so confused…” Megan whispered. 

“The girlfriend talk,” Sue hummed, reaching out to take Megan’s hand. “So, you’re going to make it special? Have you thought about how and when?”

Christen beamed, her plan already clear in her mind. She had only told Crystal and her mom about it, so sharing it with Megan and Sue only served to get her more excited. 

“We’re going to my parent’s house this Sunday, and since I’d really like to introduce her to my family as my girlfriend, I was planning on doing a little scavenger hunt. Like, take her around to special spots in the area that mean something to us, and then ask her to be my girlfriend when we’re done,” Christen said, her cheeks tinged pink.

“That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard,” Sue gushed, leaning forward and resting her elbows on the table. 

“Way to show me up, Pressy. Ours was totally not that special,” Megan laughed, leaning back in her chair.

“It was special to me,” Sue said, squeezing Megan’s hand. 

“Aw, babe, it was to me too. I’ll never be able to go through an In-N-Out drive-thru ever again without thinking about you,” Megan winked.

Sue laughed, loving that their moment was so random but memorable. 

“Well, I’m glad you’re going to ask Tobin,” Sue said, finishing the rest of her drink. 

“I am too. I like where we’re at, but it already feels like we’re girlfriends and I just want us to have that label,” Christen nodded.

“Yeah, I can understand why…” Sue said, her eyes focused on something behind Christen. “You better ask her fast.”

Christen’s brow furrowed as she turned around in her chair. She felt her blood boil when she saw Charity chatting up Tobin right outside of the bathroom.

Tobin was smiling at something Charity was saying, her shoulders bobbing a little with each laugh that bubbled up out of her chest. Charity kept reaching out and touching Tobin’s arm, quick touches but still touches nonetheless.

Christen felt like those cauliflower tacos were going to make a reappearance if she kept looking over at Tobin, at her Tobin, being flirted with by some other girl. She turned around in her chair, a red haze settling over her. She forced herself to take deep breaths, not to make too big a deal out of this. 

“Sunday can’t come soon enough,” Christen grumbled, fiddling with the checks and her credit card.

“Sorry, guys. Just chatting up Tobin here. I can take your credit cards,” Charity sing-songed. 

Tobin couldn’t sit down because of where Charity was standing behind her chair, so she chose to stand behind Christen, letting her hands rest on her shoulders and squeeze softly. 

Christen willed Tobin’s touch to soothe her, to ground her. Still, she couldn’t help but say something to Charity.

“I’ve got both of these. It’s our anniversary and what kind of girl would I be if I let her pay?” Christen smiled in a fakely sweet way at Charity, handing over the checks and her credit card. 

“Oh,” Charity said, her voice not quite as confident or upbeat as it was just a second ago. “No problem.”

“Here, you go,” Sue said, handing Charity her card and check too. 

Tobin slipped into her seat once Charity walked away, choosing to return her hand to Christen’s leg and not the back of her seat. Christen seemed tense and frustrated, and Tobin had no idea why. She didn’t know what was talked about while she was in the bathroom, but she just hoped her touch could help Christen feel better, and it seemed to. 

Christen covered Tobin’s hand with her own, giving it a small squeeze. Tobin was hers. They were exclusive. They were days away from being girlfriends. She could do this. 

“So, that waitress is chatty,” Megan said, a huge smirk on her face. She couldn’t wait to tell Kelley and Crystal about jealous Christen and oblivious Tobin. 

“Let’s not,” Christen said, narrowing her eyes at Megan.

“Apparently she just graduated from UCLA last year,” Tobin said, sipping her water, completely missing the subtext of Megan and Christen’s words. “She said she played softball.”

Megan snorted, nearly sending water up her nose. Sue patted her on the back, partially to help her, partially to warn her to stop stirring the pot.

“That’s very interesting, Tobito. What else did you learn?” Megan pushed. 

“I’m confused…” Tobin trailed off. “Do we not like her? Did Sue know her at school?”

“I think the problem is that she liked you ,” Sue replied, sparing Tobin further confusion and Christen further quiet seething.

Tobin’s eyebrows scrunched together as if she were replaying everything that had happened that night. “I don’t think that’s-”

Christen squeezed Tobin’s hand. “Baby, that’s exactly what was happening,” she whispered. “Your check had her number on it.”

“Well, then she’s oblivious,” Tobin shrugged. “Did she not see my arm on your chair? It fell asleep during dinner because it was there so long.”

Christen melted, running her thumb along the back of Tobin’s hand. Her jealousy was dissolving into slight amusement, the coil in her chest loosening. “People see what they want to see. And she was seeing you look absolutely amazing in those jeans. So while I don’t like it, I can’t exactly blame her.” 

“All right, I’ve got your checks,” a new, male server said, placing the two cards on the end of the table. “Thanks for dining in with us tonight.”

Everyone shared a look, registering the fact that Charity had to send a coworker over here to drop off their cards, and then burst out laughing, any and all tension from the night completely gone.


FRIDAY

Christen slipped into her jersey, the excitement, and energy palpable in the room around her. They were ten minutes from kickoff against Stanford and everybody was buzzing, especially Tobin. 

Christen grinned as she watched Tobin do a little handshake with each of the freshmen, each one of the shakes different but no less amusing. 

“Time to cut down some trees!” Kelley cheered, leading most of the team out of the locker room.

“LET’S GOOOO!”  Allie yelled, jumping up and down and ushering the freshmen out.

 Christen held back, noticing that Tobin had gone to her locker to grab something. She made sure that everyone else was out before joining Tobin at her locker, wrapping her arms around Tobin from behind. 

“First game as a Bruin, how you feeling, Tobs?”

Tobin grinned and turned in Christen’s arms so they were facing one another. 

“I’m so ready to play with you again,” Tobin replied with an easy smile, one completely devoid of any pre-game nerves. 

It made Christen slightly envious as her stomach was aflutter. “First things first?” Christen asked, stepping back and sticking her arms out at her sides. Tobin quickly mirrored her position, grabbing ahold of Christen’s hand. Their eyes felt shut in sync as they looked up at the ceiling of the locker room. They were suspended in this moment of complete peace and finally, everything felt like it was falling into place. The last piece of the puzzle was in and they were ready to beat Stanford.

As Coach Foudy predicted, Tobin and Christen were like magic on the field together. They were a force Stanford’s young defense was not prepared for in the slightest. 

In the sixteenth minute, Christen got the ball on the wing. She did a quick move and beat her defender, allowing her to drive the ball toward the end line. She looked up and saw Tobin making a late run to the top of the eighteen-yard box. With a smile, Christen faked a shot, sending a defender flinching, and she passed the ball to Tobin. 

Tobin, who was wide open, easily redirected the ball into the back of the net, putting UCLA one goal up early in the game. 

“YES, TOBS!” Christen yelled, running over to Tobin and throwing her arms around her, letting Tobin spin her around for a moment. For a matter of seconds, in the middle of all the chaos and pandemonium, they were the only two in the entire world.

“That was so hot,” Christen whispered in Tobin’s ear, dropping out of Tobin’s arms with a wink. She chuckled at the slightly dumbstruck look on Tobin’s face. The moment was broken when they were both quickly embraced by their teammates. 

Megan put them up 2-0 right before halftime. She pressed Stanford’s center back, causing her to turn over the ball to Megan right at the top of the eighteen. Megan could have made it easier on herself and dribbled at the goal, but she probably just wanted to show off for Sue who was sitting in the packed stands. Megan shot the ball from the top of the eighteen, a rocket of a shot that sank into the lower corner of the goal. Stanford’s goalkeeper hadn’t had a chance. 

“WHOOOO!” Megan cried, pumping her fists into the air. She then made a heart with her hands and held it up to the stands, pointing the heart to where Sue was sitting. “THAT WAS FOR YOU, BABE!”

“I LOVE YOU MEGAN RAPINOE!” 

Christen could hear Sue’s response, even from where she was all the way on the opposite end of the field. She laughed as she ran over to embrace Megan. 

As the game wore on, she and Tobin continued to break down Stanford’s defense. They would find each other with no-look passes, cheeky back heels, and perfectly-placed crosses. It was a crime Christen hadn’t scored yet, but Stanford’s goalkeeper was having a much better second half. 

And then magic struck in the 84th minute. Tobin was dribbling at Stanford’s backline. She didn’t even have to look up to know that Christen was with her. She slotted the ball between Stanford’s center backs, watching as Christen sprinted and caught up with it. She could only smile as Christen redirected the ball into the upper ninety, a completely clinical finish.

Tobin ran over, wanting to be the first person to hug Christen after her goal. She’d been dying to do this all season, to be the one Christen hugged after she scored, and she finally got her chance. 

Tobin pulled Christen in for a tight hug, dropping a quick kiss to the side of Christen’s throat. 

“That was a fucking sexy finish, Chris,” Tobin whispered against Christen’s skin, eliciting a slight shiver from Christen.

Christen’s arms tightened around Tobin as she held her, her eyes falling shut at Tobin’s words. Heat was swimming through her stomach and she was so very ready to be done with this game so she could kiss Tobin.

“Thanks for the setup, baby,” Christen breathed in reply. They lingered only for another moment before pulling away from one another, not wanting to be too obvious. 

“WE’RE CELEBRATING TONIGHT LADIES!” Allie cheered, throwing her arms around Tobin and Christen.
“HELL YES!” Megan added, getting in on the embrace. “PARTYYYY!”

As the four of them walked back to the halfway line, Christen felt Tobin pat her on the lower back. She looked over and winked at Tobin, earning her the lopsided grin she’d fallen in love with. Yeah, she was ready for this game to be over. She had another kind of celebration in mind.


The hardwood floors were vibrating, making Tobin’s knees feel numb and fuzzy. She’d already had a couple of shots with Allie before the party really started, so that was likely part of the fuzziness. She was nursing water now, trying to sober up before the party got even crazier and before Christen arrived with her roommates. Some people from the women’s basketball team and the men’s track team were already in the living room and backyard. Tobin was leaning against the doorway between the kitchen and living room, not really wanting to socialize with a bunch of strangers, even if they were other student-athletes. 

 After saying goodbye to her parents and promising Christen’s parents that she’d see them on Sunday, Tobin had raced back to her house to help Allie get ready, shower, and change into a green tank top, some ripped white skinny jeans, and a snapback. The only thing she’d refused to put on, much to Allie’s aggravation was a pair of shoes. She didn’t want to wear shoes in her own house, especially after playing a full 90 minutes. 

A pair of arms wrapped around Tobin’s waist.

“What’s cookin’, good lookin’?” Christen hummed, dropping her chin on Tobin’s shoulder.

“Hey, cutie,” Tobin said, turning around to wrap an arm around Christen’s shoulders. “Did you and Pinoe pregame or something?” Tobin looked over Christen’s shoulder at a glassy-eyed Megan Rapinoe who was leaning against Sue. 

Christen wrinkled her nose. “She did, but considering it’s fifth and a friend tonight, I decided to save myself the hangover and just drink here.”

“I guess Pinoe gets to be friends with Sue, so she’ll be safe,” Tobin mumbled, pressing her face closer to Christen’s and smiling against Christen’s cheek. 

“Sue could drink all of us under the table. Must be the height,” Christen grinned. “I really wish we were getting cuffed together,” she added at a whisper.

“You and me both,” Tobin sighed. “If it weren’t Harry’s party and in my house, I’m not sure I would have come.”

“Not even to see me?” Christen teased. “I even wore my lucky party outfit.” Christen stepped back showing off the ripped blue jeans and white, lace crop top she wore.

“Oh? What makes it lucky?” Tobin asked, letting her eyes rake up and down Christen’s body. 

Christen tilted her head to the side, biting her lower lip. “I wore this when we went to the club during Spring Break.”

Tobin placed her water down on the counter and reached out to pull Christen back into her. She brushed her fingers along Christen’s sides, over the lacy shirt, remembering just how it had felt when she’d held onto Christen while dancing in the club. “I remember,” Tobin husked, already wishing that she weren’t at the party, that she could be alone with Christen. 

Christen grinned at the deep sound of Tobin’s voice. “It’s the outfit that got you looking at me like that, so that’s why it’s lucky,” Christen hummed, her arms sliding around Tobin’s waist and her hands finding their way into Tobin’s back pockets.

“I’d say it’s the outfit you were wearing when you first caught me looking at you this way,” Tobin whispered. “But I’ve always looked at you like this.”

Christen fought off a blush at Tobin’s words. “Sweet talker,” she whispered, kissing Tobin quickly, just once, knowing everyone around them was too drunk to notice or too busy to care, even their own teammates.

“Just honest,” Tobin murmured, kissing Christen’s forehead sweetly. And then the sweet moment was interrupted.

“IT’S CUFFING SEASON!!” Allie yelled. 

Christen let out a small groan, already dreading having to do this, having to leave Tobin’s side. 

“We could make a run for it?” Christen asked, with a small light of hope in her eyes.

“I suggested that but then you said you were wearing your lucky outfit,” Tobin smirked. 

“Stupid lucky outfit,” Christen pouted.

“Sexy lucky outfit,” Tobin hummed, pulling Christen into the living room. 

Allie got up onto the coffee table and addressed the amassed group of athletes. “Guys, gals, and non-binary pals, tonight’s festive game is Fifth and a Friend. The rules? You and your friend or friends that you’re cuffed to must finish a fifth of alcohol in order to be uncuffed. Teammates cannot be cuffed together, so find somebody from another sport and let’s get cuffed!”

Christen sighed and turned to Tobin, taking advantage of the frenzy for them to have a final private moment. “I’ll see you soon?”

“Have fun, baby,” Tobin whispered. 

“The fun’s later when I get to be back with you,” Christen winked, stepping out of Tobin’s embrace with a final lingering look. “Bye, Tobs.”

Tobin looked around, wishing she could just stay with Christen. She’d even settle for Kelley as a partner, even though Kelley was notoriously a lightweight. 

“Hey, are you taken?” a tall, blonde basketball player asked, moving in front of Tobin. 

“Uh…” Tobin hesitated. “The game, duh,” Tobin thought, feeling silly for hesitating. This girl was clearly just talking about the game. “Nope. I’ve yet to find a person to get cuffed to,” Tobin said, a smile spreading across her face. 

“Must be my lucky night,” the blonde replied, holding up a fifth of vodka and a couple of zip ties. “I’m Jamie.”

“I’m Tobin,” Tobin replied, holding her hand out for Jamie to cuff. 

“Nice to meet you. I’m uh- I’m thinking mixed drinks are the way to get through this as painlessly as possible,” Jamie replied, zip-tying Tobin’s wrist to her own.

“Please,” Tobin laughed. “The last time I drank vodka was a serious mistake. I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle the taste on its own.”

Jamie tugged Tobin toward the kitchen. “Let’s get you something to mask the taste then, Tobin.”


Christen was not a whiskey drinker, and that was becoming even more clear as the night wore on. There were only so many times she could chase that disgusting taste of whiskey away with Coke.

“You okay?” Dustin asked for the third time. 

Christen nodded, handing Dustin the fifth. “Totally,” Christen replied, wishing she’d been cuffed to literally anyone else at this party. But Dustin was in her Psych class and had picked her out of the party as soon as she’d left Tobin’s side. She’d had no chance, and now she was just hoping he’d finish the whiskey for the two of them so she could go find Tobin.

“You can drink more than some of the guys on the basketball team,” Dustin sighed, taking a swig of the whiskey and running his finger along the outside of Christen’s hand. 

Christen pulled her hand away as much as she could while confined by the zip ties. “Thanks,” Christen replied shortly. “Better not let me outdrink you, though. So, bottoms up.”

“Damn, okay,” Dustin said, taking another swig and looking across the room. “Dude, I love partying with athletes. Like half the girls are gay. Look, they’re totally gonna kiss before the night’s over.” Dustin pointed across the room, lifting Christen’s hand with his because of the zip ties attaching them. 

Christen shook off the disgusting tone in Dustin’s voice and looked at where he was pointing. Her eyes nearly bugged out of her head at the sight. 

“No me jodas…” Christen swore, the Spanish phrase slipping from her lips.

In no less than two days, Tobin had found herself the victim of a very friendly, very chatty, very into her girl once again. Tobin was sitting on the corner of the kitchen counter, her head thrown back in laughter as some blonde basketball player stood less than a foot away from her. The blonde was leaning into Tobin, clearly telling some sort of joke that had Tobin gasping for breath. 

Christen felt the familiar prickle across her skin and her fists clenched. She ripped her arm back down to her side, her jaw clicking shut. She could feel her skin heating up, suddenly feeling way too hot in her jeans. Her blood was pounding in her ears, and her fingers felt shaky. “It’s Tobin. She cares about you. It’s fine. You’re exclusive.” Christen tried to calm herself down. There was no one in the world she trusted more than Tobin Heath.

And then Christen watched as the blonde basketball player wrapped her hand around Tobin’s knee and squeezed it.

“Oh, hell no. Tobin’s clearly not the problem here.”

Christen turned back to Dustin, wrenched the fifth away from him, and chugged for a few seconds. She willed the alcohol to dull the fire beneath her skin and the jealousy raging through her, but if anything, the whiskey just added fuel to the inferno.

“Shit, you basically did the job for us,” Dustin said, taking the last few gulps of whiskey. 

Christen wiped her mouth and nodded. “Let’s find Allie Long.”


“I’ve definitely been to some of your games. I just haven’t seen you play yet,” Jamie said, pouring more vodka into her glass and then into Tobin’s. They were almost 2/3rds of the way done with it. 

“Yeah, I’m a transfer, so I just played my first game today,” Tobin mumbled, already feeling significantly drunk. She looked around the kitchen and through the doorway to the living room, but she’d lost sight of Christen after seeing her with one of the male basketball players. Honestly, all she wanted was to go home with Christen and cuddle. Her brain was fuzzy, and her feet felt heavy, dangling off the counter. She felt needy and slow and grabby, like she needed to hold onto Christen. 

“That’s crazy, I’m a transfer too!” Jamie replied, scooting a bit closer to Tobin with a wide smile on her face.

“Small world,” Tobin smiled, holding back a hiccup. “What’s your major?” 

“I’m in the Business school, just haven’t picked a track yet. You?” Jamie wondered, sipping her vodka and Sprite.

“Art,” Tobin said, her eyes blinking slowly. “Basically every parent’s dream. But, I feel like I’m double majoring in soccer.” 

“I’ve never been cuffed to an artist before,” Jamie grinned. 

Tobin snorted, her smile growing even more. “I’ve never been cuffed at all.”

“I’m glad I’m your first then,” Jamie winked, turning to grab two shot glasses. 

“Yep,” Tobin said, popping the p as she finished the word. 

“Let’s try to get rid of this vodka, huh? The quick and easy way.”

“The gross way,” Tobin grimaced, reaching out to take one of the shot glasses. She really didn’t want to drink the vodka without something to mix it with, but if it helped her finish the fifth faster and get back to Christen, she’d do it. 

Jamie held up her shot glass to Tobin and smiled mischievously. “Last to shoot and down their mixie owes the other person something.”

“Like what?” Tobin asked, feeling like she was underwater, the sounds from the party echoing in her brain. 

Jamie winked and clinked her shot glass against Tobin’s. “I’m sure you’ll think of something, Tobin,” 


“Cut me loose, now,” Christen demanded, standing on her tippy toes to try and keep an eye on Tobin and that blonde girl in the corner of the kitchen.

“What’s the rush, C.P.?” Allie asked, pulling the scissors out of her back pocket and cutting Christen’s zip tie. Dustin backed away, already in search of another drink.

“Tobin’s cuffed to a girl,” Christen growled. The haze was settling over her, and combined with the whiskey, it was making her hot and antsy and in desperate need to be with Tobin right now.

“So?” Allie asked. “You’re not feeling territorial, are you?” she smirked. 

Christen looked over at Allie, her forehead scrunched in frustration. “That blonde girl is flirting with my- well, with my- with Tobin and I’m not just going to stand here and watch it happen!”

“Oh, C.P. Welcome to the world of taking Tobin Heath out and about,” Allie sighed, a huge grin on her face. 

“What do you mean?”

“I’m not sure what it is about Harry, but she’s like a magnet. Whenever we go out, she gets hit on or checked out by men and women alike. Literally everywhere,” Allie snorted. 

Christen groaned and ran a hand through her curls. “And here I thought the Mexican restaurant was a fluke.”

“She’s totally oblivious, which makes it super fun to watch people try and ask for her number or ask to take her on a date. She always shoots them down without even knowing she’s shooting them down,” Allie hummed, sipping her own drink. 

“She better,” Christen huffed, peeking around a few basketball players to get another look at Tobin. She had just thrown back a shot and seemed to be pouting. The blonde was laughing and leaning into Tobin even more so than before.

“Scissors. I’m cutting her loose,” Christen said, holding out a hand.

“That’s against the rules,” Allie said, shaking her head. “They haven’t finished their fifth.”

“Fuck the rules,” Christen shot back. “I’m finished watching that girl flirt with my-  my Tobin!”

“Oh, shit,” Allie said, her mouth falling open and her eyes glued to where Tobin was in the kitchen. 

“What?” Christen looked over as well, catching sight of the blonde writing on Tobin’s arm with a Sharpie. All Christen saw was red.

Allie wordlessly handed Christen the scissors. 

Christen marched into the kitchen, scissors in one hand, her jealousy making her steps quick and furious. 


“Oh, I’m actually with someone,” Tobin slurred, pointing at the black marker on her arm. 

“I don’t see anyone?” Jamie shrugged.

“She’s here-” Tobin tried to say, only to be interrupted by a very angry, very spicy Christen Press.

“Get your hands off my girlfriend!”

Right as Christen yelled, a song ended and another started, leaving Christen’s voice to carry across the kitchen and living room. Tobin whipped her head up and toward Christen, feeling nearly everyone else’s eyes on them too. 

“I KNEW IT!!!” Mal shrieked, hopping up onto the back of the couch and pointing at Tobin and Christen. “BEST DAY EVER!”

“THEY’RE GIRLFRIENDS!” Sam cheered, jumping on top of the couch cushions in celebration. 

“I AM SO HAPPY I COULD CRY!” Rose yelled, hugging an empty fifth to her chest and dancing around the living room.

Christen looked around the room, eyeing all of her teammates, all of the ones they’d been trying to hide from, and just decided to take the loss tonight.

“Yes, we’re together. Now go back to your alcohol!” Christen called out, forcing smiles for her teammates. Thankfully, Allie started a new song and the party quickly lost interest in them.

Tobin, who had been silent this entire time, finally leaned toward Christen.

“Baby, did you finish Fifth and a Friend already?” Tobin asked, a hiccup escaping her chest. 

Christen didn’t even look at Tobin. She couldn’t or her jealous rage would break. She reached out, grabbed the zip tie attached to Tobin’s wrist, and cut it quickly. She grabbed ahold of Tobin’s hand, stepping between Tobin’s legs, cutting the blonde off. She looked up at the blonde and glared. 

“Game’s over. And this kitchen’s a bit crowded. So,” Christen nodded toward the porch, hoping the blonde would get the message. 

“Jeez, chill,” Jamie rolled her eyes. “Call me if you want, Tobin,” she said before walking toward the crowded living room. 

Tobin blinked slowly again, her hand intertwined with Christen’s. “I don’t want to call her,” Tobin said, leaning into Christen’s body. 

Christen ran her thumb across the Sharpie on Tobin’s arm and huffed when it wouldn’t come off. 

“I’m your girlfriend?” Tobin slurred, focused only on Christen’s face and not on the dark numbers on her arm. 

“We can talk about that later. Let’s get you some water and to bed,” Christen replied softly.

“I’ve wanted cuddles since the Stanford game ended,” Tobin whined, slipping off the counter and stumbling into Christen a bit. 

“We can do that too,” Christen agreed, catching Tobin so she wouldn’t fall. She wrapped an arm around Tobin’s waist and walked them out of the kitchen. She waved at Allie and a few of their friends, making sure they knew she and Tobin were leaving for the night. 

“BYE LOVERS!” Allie called.

“Be safe, make good choices!” Megan jeered, earning her an eye roll from Sue.

Christen led Tobin out the front door, shivering a bit at the cool night air. But she knew it would maybe help to sober Tobin up a bit, something that would definitely need to happen if they were going to have any sort of girlfriend talk at all tonight.

She’d been so meticulous, planning for days for the perfect way to ask Tobin to be her girlfriend. And then one alcohol-induced, jealous night and her perfect plan was blown to pieces. 

“How are you okay? You drank a fifth with a friend too,” Tobin asked, her eyes big and glazed over. 

“My partner was also a basketball player, but he likes whiskey and I don’t. So I only had a little bit,” Christen replied, half-carrying Tobin the hundred yards or so back to her townhouse.

“I don’t like vodka, but she just kept pouring and mixing and handing it to me,” Tobin sighed. “Baby, can you do me a favor?” Tobin asked once they’d reached the bottom step of Christen’s porch. 

Christen paused, keeping her arm around Tobin’s waist, but turning to face Tobin. 

“Yeah?”

“Will you go inside?” Tobin asked, her face paling. 

“Inside? Yeah, we’re going inside,” Christen replied, a little confused.

“No, will you go inside,” Tobin tried again, grabbing the porch banister with one of her hands. 

It took Christen one more second to realize what Tobin was asking. When she did, she blanched and then quickly walked them up the front porch steps and into the house. 

“Nope, you’re not puking vodka on our lawn. Crystal loves that lawn,” Christen said, pointing them in the direction of the first-floor bathroom.

“Okay, okay,” Tobin hummed, reaching her hands out to hold onto the door frame. “Will you just...I don’t know, play music and put headphones on and go shut yourself in your room?” Tobin asked, really, really not wanting Christen to see her throw up. 

“God, even when you’re drunk and about to vomit, you’re so cute,” Christen sighed. “Are you sure you don’t want me to hold your hair or something?”

“You haven’t even verified that you’re my girlfriend. I don’t want you to see that,” Tobin groaned, reaching up to take her snapback off and put her hair in a messy bun. She turned around and tossed the snapback at Christen, seriously impressed when she caught it. 

Christen fiddled with the hat, cringing a bit as she backed away from the bathroom. “Right, um, I’ll just-” she gestured at the stairs. “I’ll find you some PJs. Take your time, Tobs.”

Christen watched Tobin shut the door and let out a long breath. What a rollercoaster these last fifteen minutes had been. “You called her your girlfriend in front of everyone. So much for the cute surprise scavenger hunt. So much for asking her if she even wanted that. What if she’s going to be upset about that? What if she’s not ready? What if I just ruined everything?”

Plagued by her thoughts, Christen hurried into the kitchen, grabbing saltine crackers and waters and a ginger ale, wanting to make it upstairs quickly. She set everything down on her bedside table, and put the snapback on the bed, before pulling out her comfiest pair of PJs. She wanted Tobin to at least have something comfortable to sleep in. 

As she sank down onto the edge of her mattress, Christen looked down at her clothes. Somehow, she’d spilled whiskey on her lace top and gotten some kind of juice on her pants from a sloppy track guy who’d dropped his cup on the floor near her. So much for a lucky outfit.


The tile floor felt good on Tobin’s face. She hadn’t been this drunk since she’d sipped Jungle Juice out of a kiddie pool at Penn State, and she suddenly remembered why she’d hated that experience so much. She took a third swig of Megan’s mouthwash before hoisting herself up and spitting into the sink. The room was spinning, maybe not as bad as it had been before she’d thrown up, but she could still hear her pulse in her ears and feel her hands shake. 

She eased herself back down, putting her cheek against the floor again. “This is nice. You could totally sleep here,” Tobin thought, feeling her stomach finally start to settle. She fidgeted uncomfortably, hating the way her jeans felt on her legs. She was never good at sleeping in jeans, and tonight would be no different. Not only that, but Christen was upstairs, and she really did want cuddles. There was no way that Christen would sleep on the tile floor with her. 

So, Tobin pushed herself off of the floor and made her way, slowly, up the stairs. She had to take a break halfway up and let her stomach calm down again, but once she’d recovered, she climbed the rest with a little more determination, knowing Christen was that much closer. Tobin pushed Christen’s door open without knocking, sobering a little more at the sight in front of her. Christen was sitting on the edge of her bed, her socked feet propped up on the bed frame, with her head in her hands.

Christen was muttering under her breath in Spanish. “No lo puedo creer. A la mierda con este…” 

Tobin padded softly into the room, her feet still bare and way colder than they had been at the party, considering she’d walked outside in the chilly night air. She was dying to change clothes and get into Christen’s warm bed. 

“Chris?” Tobin whispered, not knowing whether she should reach out and touch Christen or not. She’d never seen Christen like this, and she couldn’t help but wonder if Christen was upset because of the basketball girl’s number on her arm, or because she’d called Tobin her girlfriend and hadn’t meant it. 

Christen’s head shot up, not having heard Tobin come in. Her eyes softened as she took in the clear look in Tobin’s eyes, the glassy, drunk haze now lifted from them.

“Hey, how are you feeling? I brought you some ginger ale and crackers, in case you needed them,” Christen replied, standing up from the bed. She reached out to hook her finger through one of Tobin’s belt loops, wanting the contact but not wanting to smother Tobin right now either.

“That’s very sweet of you,” Tobin said, her eyebrows still furrowed in thought. “Ginger ale sounds great, actually.” 

Christen nodded, reached over to grab the can off her bedside table, and handed it to Tobin. As Tobin took it from her, she looked down at Tobin’s arm, flinching at the Sharpie still scrawled on her skin.

“It won’t wash off,” Tobin said. She’d tried to get it off after throwing up and taking her first swig of mouthwash. She’d used soap and warm water, but Sharpie was stubborn and very permanent. 

“I’ll get it,” Christen whispered, leaving Tobin’s side to grab make-up wipes from her bathroom. When she turned back around, Tobin was leaning against the side of her bed, sipping the ginger ale slowly. “Aw, baby,” she sighed. Tobin was in much worse shape than she expected.

“I’m really sorry,” Tobin said. 

“For what? Drinking? We were all doing it,” Christen replied gently. She tapped the outside of Tobin’s leg to get Tobin to hop up on the edge of her bed, which Tobin did. She then stepped between Tobin’s legs, grabbing ahold of Tobin’s arm. 

“Throwing up in your downstairs bathroom, actually,” Tobin said. “And for not stopping this,” she pointed at her arm. “I didn’t know what she was writing. I really didn’t even see her get the Sharpie off the counter.”

Christen nodded, staying quiet while she focused on getting the Sharpie off of Tobin’s skin, hoping that she could erase her jealousy and her frustration and her guilt with the make-up wipe as well.

“Harry always tells me that I’m oblivious,” Tobin mumbled. “I don’t know when people are being nice or…”

“You’re just a friendly person, Tobs. People are attracted to that. It’s not your fault,” Christen replied, scrubbing a little harder at Tobin’s arm, not looking up at the brown eyes she knew were trained on her.

Tobin watched Christen work the make-up remover along her arm. She hated that Christen couldn’t look at her, that Christen was so upset by what had happened that she couldn’t do anything but scrub at the Sharpie. Her concern for Christen completely sobered her, leaving her with an uneasy stomach but a clear mind. Tobin felt frustration bubble up in her chest. She didn’t even remember that girl’s name, and the only person that mattered was sad and mad and hurt in front of her. 

“Baby, will you look at me?” Tobin asked. 

Christen paused for a moment, before running the wipe over the last number. A number 7. “I’ve almost got it, then I’ll be done.”

“It’s my favorite number,” Tobin said. “It isn’t hers anymore. Just leave it.”

Christen let out a huff and dropped the wipe to the floor. She finally looked up at Tobin, guilt washing over her for the hard edge she could hear in Tobin’s voice.

“She’s not important,” Tobin said, feeling like she’d made a mistake by talking to the other girl and letting her write her number down on accident. 

“I know that,” Christen replied quietly.

“You’re the only person I want to be with. You’re the only important person,” Tobin said, hoping her eyes held all of her sincerity and honesty in them. She needed Christen to believe that she was hers, no matter who flirted or wrote their number down. 

Christen nodded, reaching out to put Tobin’s snapback on for her and adjusting it. “I know,” Christen repeated, this time with a small pout.

“I’m-” Tobin hesitated, feeling all of the exhaustion and frustration rise up in her throat. She just wanted to make Christen feel better. She wanted to take away the hurt. “I’m yours,” Tobin choked out, reaching up and pushing Christen’s hair behind her ear, twisting a finger around one of the curls before letting it go. 

Christen let out a strangled breath. As guilty as she was feeling for dropping the whole “girlfriend” bomb when she really didn’t want to, she was still trembling with white-hot jealousy and frustration. She could still picture that blonde girl leaning into Tobin, making Tobin laugh, holding Tobin’s arm.

“I didn’t like seeing you with her,” Christen admitted at a hoarse whisper, her eyes falling to a spot on Tobin’s t-shirt, unable to look her in the eye right now.

“I know, I-”

Christen shook her head, interrupting Tobin. “I didn’t like that it wasn’t me with you. That I wasn’t the one making you laugh. That I wasn’t the one touching you.” 

“Chris, you make me laugh all the time, and you’re the only person who can touch me and make me feel like you do,” Tobin said, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist and pulling her closer between her legs.

Christen’s eyes met Tobin’s, her skin prickling for an entirely different reason now. She reached out and laid a gentle hand on the side of Tobin’s neck, her thumb grazing along Tobin’s jaw.

“Say it again,” Christen husked, wetting her lips with the tip of her tongue. 

“I’m yours,” Tobin whispered, her eyes darkening at the way Christen licked her lips. 

“Say it again,” Christen repeated, leaning closer, brushing the tip of her nose against Tobin’s.

“I’m all yours, baby,” Tobin hummed, her eyes fluttering closed. 

Christen surged forward and captured Tobin’s lips in a bruising kiss. She needed to chase away any lingering images of that blonde girl, any lingering feelings of jealousy. Tobin Heath was hers and hers alone. 

Christen set a blistering pace, deepening the kiss immediately and slipping her tongue between Tobin’s lips. 

Tobin raced to keep up, her brain completely clear now, and her lips moving without hesitation. She sucked on Christen’s bottom lip, eliciting a soft moan from her. Her fingers twisted in the hem of the lace top Christen had worn tonight and in the club. She’d dreamed of slipping her hands under this particular top for most of the summer, and now she did it. She pushed her hands under the top, grazing her fingers along Christen’s back and ribs. 

“Off,” Christen mumbled against Tobin’s lips. 

Tobin didn’t hesitate, standing up from her spot on the bed and reaching her hands around Christen to unzip the small zipper at the back of the neck. She lifted the shirt off of Christen, revealing a white bralette that made heat pool in Tobin’s stomach. 

Christen didn’t give Tobin time to ogle. She quickly stepped back into Tobin’s space. She first grabbed the bill of the snapback and lifted it off of Tobin’s head, dropping it to the floor gently. She then fisted her fingers in the hem of Tobin’s tank top. She hesitated, her kiss holding a question for Tobin to answer.

“Please,” Tobin whispered, lifting her arms above her head. 

Christen smirked into the kiss at the needy whine in Tobin’s voice. She pulled Tobin’s tank top off and dropped it to the floor, intent on pushing Tobin back onto the bed and crawling on top of her. But Tobin always liked to surprise her.

Tobin wrapped her arms around Christen’s waist, lifting her off the floor, just enough to turn them around and lay Christen on the bed. She smirked at the surprise in Christen’s face, crawling over her, finally taking a moment to completely soak in how good Christen looked in her bralette. She couldn’t help but lick her lips at the way the white contrasted with the tan skin on Christen’s arms and stomach. She couldn’t stop herself from running a finger along Christen’s body, tracing over ribs and stopping right at the bottom of the bralette. 

Christen let out a stuttering breath, her eyes falling shut as she slammed her head back into the mattress. 

“You are so beautiful,” Tobin husked, leaning down to attach her lips to Christen’s neck, tasting and kissing and sucking gently. 

“Mmm, so are you,” Christen sighed, threading her fingers into Tobin’s hair, arching up into Tobin, sucking in a breath at the feeling of Tobin’s skin against her own. 

Tobin’s right hand continued skimming along Christen’s side, her left arm keeping her above Christen and her tongue and lips trailing from Christen’s shoulder to her jaw and back again. Tobin’s entire body felt hot. Her skin felt like it was tingling, like Christen was starting fires along each inch of her body. 

Christen needed more. She needed Tobin to chase the final worries away, the final, lasting bits of jealousy from her mind. 

“Baby,” Christen whined, arching up into Tobin again.

“Mhm,” Tobin hummed without moving her lips from where they were skimming across Christen’s collarbones. 

“You’re mine.”

“I’m yours,” Tobin whispered, lifting her head up to look at Christen. 

Christen stared up into Tobin’s eyes, feeling so overcome with every feeling she had for Tobin, every bit of love and adoration and care and devotion, they cut through the haze of her desperate desire. Where she’d been flying at full speed a moment ago, she was now drifting down a slow current, the change of pace within her almost giving her whiplash.

“I’m yours too. I-” Christen swallowed thickly. “I wanted to tell you that and show you that and ask you to be mine. I wanted to make it special,” she whispered, her hands tightening on Tobin’s hip and in her hair.

“Chris, I’ve always been yours,” Tobin said, brushing Christen’s hair away from her face. “I mean, having you clarify that is nice, but I’ve always wanted to be yours, since the moment I met you.”

“Me too,” Christen whispered, removing her hand from Tobin’s hip so her thumb could trace along Tobin’s bottom lip.  

Tobin kissed Christen’s thumb gently. “I’d like to be your girlfriend if that wasn’t just a heat of the moment thing,” Tobin said. 

Christen forced herself not to groan and hide her face in Tobin’s neck, not to sink into her embarrassment over her outburst tonight. Instead, she just blew out a long breath and ran her thumb along Tobin’s cheek as she spoke. 

“I had the most epic plan to ask you to be my girlfriend. It was so romantic and perfect, and you deserve that because you haven’t ever had that before. I wanted to give that to you. I wanted to give you epic,” Christen admitted softly.

Tobin’s heart swelled in her chest. Of course, Christen wanted to make it special. Christen was kind and thoughtful. She thought about Tobin’s experiences and desires. Tobin couldn’t help the overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude and peace that rolled over her. “I consider myself very lucky. I feel like I’ve won the lottery because I get to be with you. That’s epic. Nothing else needs to be, but since you seem bummed and I love romantic plans...can we still do it?” Tobin asked, smiling down at Christen. 

Christen instantly brightened. Even if the element of surprise was gone, she could still enact her amazing plan. She could still give Tobin the most amazing love story ever.

“You want to?” Christen asked, her excitement palpable.

“I want to do everything with you,” Tobin whispered, grinning at Christen’s change in mood. 

Christen beamed, lifting up to press her lips against Tobin’s, this time softer and gentler than she had the last time. 

“I want to be your girlfriend too, by the way. Just thought I’d let you know,” Christen whispered.

“Thank goodness. I was starting to worry,” Tobin teased. 

“You don’t need to. If I get to do everything with you, it won’t come close to being enough. I’ll always want more time with you, just want more with you. But everything’s a good place to start,” Christen replied with a small, bashful shrug.

“I love you,” sat on Tobin’s tongue, but she pushed it away. Tonight wasn’t the night for that. It was too soon. She’d just thrown up. She wanted ‘I love yous’ to be romantic and special, not hasty and premature. 

“Jealous you is really sexy, by the way,” Tobin whispered, leaning down to kiss Christen’s lips and jaw and neck and shoulder. “Especially, jealous, Spanish-speaking you.”

The temperature in the room was once again turned up, the sparks between them igniting. While things had slowed for a moment, for a sweet, heartfelt moment, they were now swinging back in the other direction.

“I’m not good at sharing,” Christen gasped, feeling a shudder run through her as Tobin’s tongue dipped into the hollow of her collarbone at the base of her neck, the same place she’d licked salt off of Tobin six months ago.

“I never want to share,” Tobin husked, holding herself up with her right hand now and running her left hand up and down Christen’s side. 

Christen nodded in agreement, wrapping a leg around the back of Tobin’s thigh and pulling Tobin down on top of her. She didn’t want Tobin hovering above her. She didn’t want Tobin far away. She wanted Tobin on top of her. Christen sighed at the feeling of Tobin’s skin pressed against her own, at how right it all felt. 

Tobin was hers, and she was Tobin’s, and maybe things hadn’t gone the way she’d envisioned, but they still had each other. They wanted each other and only each other. She’d heard it in Tobin’s words, and now she was feeling it in her touch too. Tobin Heath was hers.