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Our Secret Moments

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One look at you; my whole life falls in line

I prayed for you; before I called you mine

Oh I, can't believe it's true, sometimes

Oh I, can't believe it's true

I get to love you, it's the best thing that I'll ever do

I get to love you, it's a promise I'm making to you

Whatever may come; your heart I will choose

Forever I'm yours, forever I do

I get to love you, I get to love you

(Tobin - “I Get To Love You” by Ruelle)

 

Tell her a story

Tell her the honest truth

You treat her better

Make sure to see it through

Don't be just everything she wants

Be everything she needs

Give her a reason

Reason to love all you do

She'll tell you secrets

You'll tell her secrets too

She'll tell you all her hopes and dreams

You'll tell them too

When she says she loves you

Tell her you love her too

(Christen - “Tell Her You Love Her” by Echosmith)

 

SATURDAY

“Damn, you look hot,” Kelley said, eyeing Christen as she took the retainer of her mouth out across the bathroom. “I can see why Tobito’s all over that.”

Christen silently flipped Kelley off, popping her retainer into her retainer case. “Get out, I’d like to brush my teeth in private, Kel,” Christen grumbled. It was too early in the morning to have to deal with Kelley’s energy.

“Fine, fine. Hurry up, though. I wanted to be in the pool ten minutes ago,” Kelley sighed. 

Christen nodded and quickly got ready. She stepped out of the bathroom and noticed that Kelley was impatiently rolling back and forth across the room in the desk chair. 

“Recovery doesn’t even start for another fifteen minutes. What’s the rush?” Christen asked, grabbing a pair of sliders from her suitcase.

“I like floating,” Kelley shrugged. “The pool gets all crowded when everyone else joins in.”

“How’s your body after last night? Some of those forwards were pretty brutal to you guys on the backline,” Christen commented, changing into her sliders and a different sports bra, one she wouldn’t mind getting wet and chlorinated.

“I’m bruised, but what’s new? I just want to kick Penn State’s ass and then take a nice break,” Kelley huffed. 

“Me too,” Christen replied. “I want to beat them so bad.”

“ARod’ll probably cry,” Kelley said with no humor in her voice. She was serious maybe for the first time in her life, knowing that they were going up against friends. 

“Lauren too,” Christen hummed, sharing in the same sentiment. But she knew that no matter how much she wasn’t looking forward to facing off against ARod and Lauren, Tobin was in a worse place. 

“But it’s gonna feel soooo good to win,” Kelley said, her smile spreading back across her face. 

“Agreed. Now let’s go float,” Christen replied, slipping into her slides and grabbing a room key.

“Yes!” Kelley said, rolling off the bed and bounding toward the door, back to her goofy self. 

They were the first ones down in the pool room, and thankfully it was empty. As Christen dropped her towel to a pool chair and took off her shirt, her eyes involuntarily drifted over to the wall that Tobin had her pressed against the other night. Her cheeks flamed at the memory and she was suddenly very ready to be submerged in cold water.

“The party can officially start!” Allie called, walking into the pool area with Crystal. 

“Get some new lines!” Kelley jeered, running toward the pool and cannon-balling into it.

“But how would you know it’s me if I didn’t say that?” Allie argued once Kelley stood up in the pool. 

“I don’t think any of us could forget your voice,” Megan teased as she and Mal walked into the pool area. 

“Guys! This is my first time actually needing recovery!” Mal said, pulling her shirt off and slipping into the pool with Kelley. 

Christen shook her head, smiling at how excited Mal was about doing some dynamic stretches in a pool. 

A larger group that consisted of Sam, Rose, Ashlyn, Barney, and a few sophomores made their way through the gym, tossing their towels onto chairs and dropping into the pool completely or just slipping their legs over the sides. 

Christen pulled her hair up into a high bun, not really wanting to get it wet. She kept her eyes on the pool door, waiting for Tobin and Alyssa to walk through it. She hadn’t seen Tobin since she’d left her room last night around 11, with a lingering kiss good night and a promise to see her in the morning.

And then Alyssa and Tobin finally walked through the door. But they were talking very seriously, their heads nearly bowed in concentration and their voices hushed.

Christen felt her forehead furrow at the sight of them. “What could be so serious this early in the morning?”

Then Alyssa laughed softly, her eyes crinkling at whatever Tobin had just said. She reached out and shoved Tobin gently, causing Tobin to speak rapidly, moving her hands in some sort of descriptive way. 

Christen just shook her head, completely lost. “Do I want to know?” she asked, smiling as Tobin and Alyssa reached her spot on the pool deck.

“Lys thinks I cheated,” Tobin mumbled, draping her towel over the same chair that Christen had placed her stuff on. She put her phone and her room key down as well. 

“Cheated?” Christen repeated, her confusion growing.

“We may have woken up early for a Mario Kart tournament,” Tobin said, a sheepish smile on her face. “She thinks I cheated because I know how to use Turbo Speed.”

“I see…” Christen trailed off looking between Tobin and Alyssa. 

“You did cheat,” Alyssa mumbled. She rolled her eyes and moved toward another chair to put her stuff down. 

“I don’t even know if Turbo Speed is a thing,” Tobin whispered, running a hand along Christen’s arm. “All I know is my cart went really, really fast. Also...I missed you.”

Christen beamed, wishing she could kiss Tobin right now. She just always said the sweetest things and did the sweetest things. But then a better idea came to mine. 

“I missed you too. Wanna know how much?” Christen asked, a mischievous glint in her eye.

“Sure…” Tobin said, cocking her head slightly. 

Christen leaned in, making Tobin lean in as well.“I missed you this much…” she trailed off, quickly pushing Tobin’s shoulder and sending her flying backward into the pool, still in her t-shirt.

Tobin should have seen it coming. She was typically good at detecting mischief in Christen’s eyes. She blew bubbles out of her nose as soon as she hit the water, not wanting to choke or worse in front of her team. When she surfaced, Tobin sent a glare to Christen. Her already baggy shirt was now practically swallowing her, floating around her in the water. 

“That was me-mean,” Tobin shivered, water dripping off of her bun and down her face. 

Christen giggled from her spot on the pool deck, not feeling even the slightest bit bad about what she’d done. She was currently sporting a higher cut sports bra than she usually wore thanks to Tobin and the hickey Tobin had left on her chest last night, so Tobin deserved this a bit. All was fair in love and war.

Christen slid into the pool with a smile. “You can have my shirt, baby,” Christen whispered, pressing a quick kiss to Tobin’s cheek as she waded by her.

Tobin peeled her own shirt off, trying to wring it out as much as possible. Still, when she tossed it out of the pool, it hit the floor with a loud splat. 

“I don’t want other hotel guests seeing you like that,” Tobin mumbled, not particularly liking the idea of other people ogling her girlfriend, something they’d most definitely do. 

“Did someone wake up on the territorial side of the bed this morning?” Christen teased, her hands falling to her hips.

Tobin rolled her eyes, sinking under the water before she’d have to answer. She let some of her breath out, letting her body sink down to the floor of the pool. 

Christen laughed and shook her head at the adorable grumpiness of her girlfriend pre-coffee. She gently tapped Tobin’s leg with her foot to get her to come back to the surface. 

Tobin surfaced, pushing hair away from her face. She hadn’t intended on getting her hair wet today, but now that it was out of her control, she was enjoying the weightlessness of being completely submerged in water. Tobin reached out and put a hand on Christen’s arm, just wanting some contact with the person she’d been missing since she’d left her room last night. The two of them waded over to where Allie was corralling the team into two lines, trading small smiles back and forth the entire pool recovery session. 


“That’s unrealistic,” Tobin whispered. “If this were realistic, they’d be dating.” 

Christen watched as Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau talked in the kitchen, noticing the same chemistry between them that Tobin had. She nodded as she handed Tobin the water bottle they were sharing. 

“Carol calls Maria’s kid Lieutenant Trouble, she’s basically her other mom. Did you see that Christmas picture?” Christen whispered back, conscious that their teammates were scattered around the movie theater around them.

“Oh my god,” Tobin gasped. “They’re us if we’d never worked this out.”

Christen bit back a laugh, burying her face in Tobin’s shoulder. “Maybe I need to start calling Mal Lieutenant Trouble,” Christen hummed.

“You can save that for-” Tobin’s eyes grew at the thought she’d just had. “Uh, I mean. Yeah, that would be funny. Mal would probably love that.”

Christen lifted her head, her eyebrows knit together in confusion as she looked over at Tobin in the dark theater. “Save that for who? What was Tobin going to say?” she wondered. “Does she mean what I think she means?”

Christen’s heart fluttered, her mind running wild with possibilities, with the fact that Tobin maybe, almost, kind of had just implied saving that nickname for a different “kid.” 

“I wish we’d been able to get popcorn,” Tobin hummed, changing the subject away from her slip-up. They’d only been more than friends for a little over three months. She didn’t need to get ahead of herself with thoughts of a future far, far from this moment. “Like the really gross, bad for you, covered in butter movie theater popcorn. I don’t consider Harry’s bag of Skinny Pop real popcorn.” 

Christen saw the abrupt divergence for what it was and decided to just go along with it, even if her cheeks were a bit warmer than they had been. She reached out and took Tobin’s hand in her own. 

“We can eat all the gross popcorn we want once we win the Natty tomorrow,” Christen whispered, her attention completely off the movie and on her girlfriend beside her.

“And kisses?” Tobin asked, turning toward Christen. 

Christen tapped Tobin’s temple with her pointer finger. “You’ve got a one-track mind sometimes, Tobs.”

“Sorry,” Tobin shrugged. “You’re pretty. Sometimes I can’t help it.” 

“Don’t apologize, I want to kiss you literally all the time,” Christen replied.

“Want to go to the movies over winter break?” Tobin asked.

Christen smiled and leaned her head against the headrest of the movie recliner. “I’d love to.”

“I’ve kind of always wanted to completely ignore a movie and kiss someone in a movie theater. It’s pretty quintessential for a young relationship,” Tobin hummed. 

Christen giggled, unable to keep herself quiet and not disturb anybody else. 

“Shut up, love birds,” Megan whisper-shouted from two rows back.

Christen waved her hand in the air in acknowledgment, her cheeks burning a bit as she looked back at Tobin. 

“Did our trip to the drive-in not count?” Christen asked, her voice even quieter than it had been.

“Oooooh we could do that again,” Tobin nearly groaned, sinking deeper into her seat. 

“We could the day after Christmas? There are always movies that come out then that I never care about,” Christen said quietly.

“Unfortunately, I’m on aunt duty during Christmas. We’re going to Florida,” Tobin mumbled. 

Christen deflated a bit. She’d just gotten so used to having Tobin there, every minute of every day, and she’d thought it would be like that over break. But she’d forgotten that Tobin’s sister lived in Florida. She’d forgotten they would have to be apart soon. 

“I’m flying back early, though. Something important is happening on the 29th...I just can’t remember what,” Tobin teased. 

Christen felt her smile return. It was only a few days, they would be fine. They would survive. 

“Off the top of my head? I can’t think of a thing...must be pretty important if you’re ditching your family and your adorable nephew for New Year’s.”

“Cole’s completely supportive. He said I’d be an idiot if I wasn’t there to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday in person,” Tobin whispered. 

“Oh, he said that, did he? He must be the brightest one and a half-year-old ever, talking like that already,” Christean teased. 

“Brilliance runs in the family,” Tobin teased right back. 

Christen smiled and squeezed Tobin’s hand. “You know you don’t have to come back for that, baby. We can celebrate after.”

“I wouldn’t miss your birthday for the world. My goal is to never miss a birthday,” Tobin said, running her fingers along Christen’s arm. 

If at all possible, Christen fell further in love with Tobin Heath in that moment. She really didn’t think it was possible for that to happen. But every single day, with the things she said or the things she did, Tobin made her fall harder. 

“You want me to wear that suit for this one too?” Tobin grinned. 

Christen arched a brow, feeling heat prickle across her skin. Tobin in that suit had been totally criminal. She had looked so damn good, and the fact that Christen had only gotten a few hugs and a cheek kiss out of the night had haunted her for a long time. But now, with Tobin’s offer on the table, she could get far more.

“Is that an option? I thought you didn’t really like formal attire,” Christen replied, involuntarily running her tongue over her lower lip, picturing Tobin in that suit again, with the bow tie undone around her neck.

“It depends on…” Tobin trailed off, the volume in the theater increasing with the action scene playing. She pursed her lips, not knowing whether she should finish her thought or not. 

“On?” Christen whispered, her breathing starting to pick up a bit.

Tobin shrugged, her face calm, not revealing anything. “I can just wait and tell you on your birthday,” Tobin mumbled. 

Christen groaned and leaned back. “Such a tease,” Christen complained, turning back to the screen and trying her best to ignore the heat pooling low in her stomach and the curiosity running through her mind.

“It depends on who’s taking it off,” Tobin whispered, her eyes now glued to the screen, her hands folded in her lap. She kept her face neutral, as if she hadn’t just said something suggestive. 

Christen had picked the worst time to take a sip of water. She choked on it, coughing loudly at the suggestiveness dripping from Tobin’s words, at the flashes of images that sprang to her mind. She tried to breathe, but she’d sucked quite a bit of water down her throat on accident. 

“You okay, baby?” Tobin asked, reaching an arm around Christen to rub her back softly. 

Christen nodded and coughed a few more times. Once she’d recovered, she poked Tobin in the ribs, right where she was ticklish.

“I can’t believe you just said that to me, in the middle of a movie theater!” Christen hissed, her voice a little hoarse and her deep blush still in full effect.

“I’m sorry,” Tobin laughed. “I can just wear casual clothes. I’m not committed to anything yet.”

“Well...as the birthday girl, I should get to unwrap all of my presents. But I don’t think I should get a say in what they’re wrapped in...so I guess you could just go with your gut and I’ll enjoy it either way,” Christen quipped, snuggling into Tobin’s side and turning her attention back to the movie with a satisfied smirk.

Tobin couldn’t control the way her cheeks blushed at Christen’s words. She couldn’t control the heat coursing through her body or the butterflies fluttering through her stomach and up into her chest. She couldn’t control how fast her heart was beating. She squeezed Christen closer, wishing it were just the two of them watching the movie together. 

“It’s so cute when you try to win the fluster war. Maybe you will one day,” Christen said quietly, squeezing Tobin’s knee and then rubbing her thumb in circles across it.

“This is the one thing I don’t mind losing,” Tobin whispered. 

Christen could only smile as she tried to figure out what the heck was going on in the movie and why Goose had suddenly turned into an alien cat.


“Normatech if you need, ice bath if you want, just get some good rest tonight, ladies,” Coach Foudy announced, standing in front of the conference room, her hands held behind her back.

“I could literally sleep in the Normatechs and it wouldn’t be enough,” Kelley groaned, making a few of the freshmen laugh. 

Coach Foudy grinned and wrapped up the team meeting. “We’ve got a big game tomorrow, one I know we can win, we just have to believe it. See you for pre-game meal at 10AM,” she said, waving good night to everyone and leaving the room.

Tobin stretched her legs in front of her, yawning softly before gathering her stuff to head up to bed. For such a chill day, she was exhausted, almost like her body was preparing for how long tomorrow was going to be. 

“I don’t think I’m awake enough to play Mario Kart,” she mumbled to Alyssa, earning a groan of agreement as the keeper stood up and walked toward the lobby with Tobin. 

Christen watched Tobin leave and then turned to look over at Kelley, tapping her feet against the carpeted floor anxiously. “You sure you don’t mind?” she asked quietly.

Kelley shook her head, a smile spreading across her face. “Pinoe’s jazzed we get to share a bed. Just don’t stay up too late, we’re gonna need you both in top form tomorrow.”

Christen pulled Kelley in for a quick hug before hustling out of the conference room. She caught up with Tobin in the lobby, sliding her hand into Tobin’s.

“Come with me,” Christen whispered, tugging Tobin toward the pool.

“I’ll catch up with you later,” Tobin said to Alyssa. 

“I’ll be asleep, dude,” Alyssa laughed, already stepping onto the elevator. 

Christen led Tobin through the empty workout room and then into the empty pool room. Once she made sure they were alone, Christen turned around to face Tobin and pulled her in for a big hug, her arms wrapping around Tobin’s shoulders. 

Tobin held onto Christen, her arms tightening around Christen’s waist. “Everything okay?” Tobin mumbled against Christen’s neck. 

“Yeah, I just needed a hug,” Christen admitted quietly.

Tobin knew there was more to it than that, she could feel it in the desperate tinge to Christen’s embrace, she could hear it in the tightness of her words. She’d known something was going on since Foudy had given them the final scouting report for the game tomorrow, had announced that Christen was starting. 

“I’m just going to hold you until you tell me what’s really going on, Chris,” Tobin whispered, rubbing her hands up and down Christen’s back.

Christen let out a long breath. She buried her face into Tobin’s neck, breathing in the familiar scents of pine and mint and letting them calm her. She’d been able to ignore her nerves all weekend. During pool recovery, at the movies. But now that they had less than 18 hours until the final, Christen was starting to freak out. She was starting to feel that anxiety again, that worry. The one that had gotten better ever since she’d met Tobin, ever since they meditated and planted together. But it was still there. 

“I just- well, you might be totally fine about tomorrow, but I’m kind of freaking out,” Christen admitted quietly. 

“Aww baby, why?” Tobin asked, leaning back to look at Christen’s face. 

“I just don’t want to mess up and I don’t want to let anyone down,” Christen said, her eyes holding on a worn spot on the collar of Tobin’s t-shirt.

“You aren’t going to let anyone down,” Tobin hummed, leaning her forehead against Christen’s. “I’ll be right there sending you as many crosses and through balls and assists as humanly possible, and-”

“I...I don’t want to let you down,” Christen whispered, interrupting Tobin.

Tobin opened her eyes wider. She pulled her head back again to look directly at Christen. “You could never.”

Christen looked up, her eyes darting between Tobin’s, the sincerity of Tobin’s words giving her anxiety and her worry pause. She didn’t fully believe Tobin, not yet, and maybe Tobin picked up on it because Tobin was quick to continue.

“I never thought I’d say this, but...this is just a game,” Tobin whispered as if it were the biggest secret she’d ever told. “You are way more important than a game, and nothing you do tomorrow will let me down. I’ve also seen you play sooo many times, and there’s no way you’ll play any less than amazing. You’ll scare Penn State for sure, but you won’t let anyone down. We can plant tomorrow morning if you want,” Tobin offered, her eyes serious and thoughtful. She ran her thumb along Christen’s cheek, wanting to take away any anxiety that she could. “But no matter what happens, you won’t let me down, baby.”

Tobin had done it again. With softly-spoken words and meaningful moments, Tobin had made Christen feel so calm and peaceful and rooted. She’d made her worries and her fears and her anxieties run for the hills. Tobin did what she always did. She made Christen feel like the only person in the world, like nothing bad or terrible could happen to them because they were together and had each other.

Christen was once again reminded about how lucky she was to have Tobin in her life, how much they’d gone through to get to this place. She was reminded that her life was infinitely better with Tobin in it. She was reminded that Tobin Heath was the most extraordinary person she’d ever met and that she was impossibly in love with her.

Without thinking, without really breathing, the words were leaving Christen’s lips before she could stop them. The words she’d been dying to say, the words she could no longer hold in.

“I love you,” Christen whispered. 

Tobin’s heart slammed against her ribcage. She hadn’t expected that. She hadn’t expected Christen to be ready yet. She’d been holding the words back, not wanting to scare Christen. Tobin had thought that maybe at six months or something Christen would be ready. She didn’t think that it would slip from Christen’s lips a mere four months after Tobin had first stepped foot onto UCLA’s campus. Tobin could feel her stomach tightening in the best way possible. She could feel her eyes prickling a little. It felt like her heart was lifting from her chest, maybe even levitating out of her body, floating up toward the sky. She felt grounded and rooted in Christen’s arms and simultaneously like she was on a huge rollercoaster, her stomach dropping and flipping.

Christen’s eyes widened when she registered what she’d just said. “Oh no, this isn’t special enough. It smells like chlorine and we’re both sleepy and it’s the night before one of the biggest games of our lives. This wasn’t the perfect moment,” Christen’s thoughts began to spiral. 

Christen tried to fill the silence between them, her spiraling thoughts leaving her lips. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that the night before a really big game. Even if you’re not nervous about the game, this probably won’t help things. Like what if you are nervous now? I should have thought of that. But I actually wasn’t really thinking a moment ago, so maybe we can blame it on that,” Christen rambled. She wanted to take a step back, to continue to apologize, but Tobin’s grip on her cheek and her waist were tight. “I’m sorry.”

“Please don’t apologize,” Tobin whispered, her voice wobbling a bit as a few tears escaped from her eyes. 

“Oh God and now you’re crying!” Christen said, noting the tears gathered in Tobin’s eyes, the few that spilled out and ran down Tobin’s cheeks. “I’m so sorry, Tobs. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

Tobin couldn’t stop the huge grin from spreading on her face at Christen’s rambling and worries, at the beautiful, stressed mess in front of her.

“Please, please don’t apologize,” Tobin repeated. “Unless you didn’t mean that, you don’t need to apologize,” Tobin said, giving Christen an out if she needed one. She knew those three words were big and scary, that they’d scared Christen away before. Christen hadn’t expected love in June, and it had sent Christen running. But now they were standing in a muggy pool room, six months later, and she wanted to see if Christen would run again. She hoped Christen wouldn’t, she hoped that everything they’d been through since June would make Christen stay. Tobin hoped that Christen would say it again, and deep, deep down, she knew she would.

“I…” Christen trailed off, swallowing thickly. Despite her heart hammering in her chest and the butterflies in her stomach raging at full force, she didn’t want to take it back. She meant it. She loved Tobin Heath with every single part of her, with everything that she was. Even if she’d made Tobin cry and potentially nervous for their game tomorrow, she wasn’t going to take it back. “I did mean it, and I do love you. I just could have timed it better?” Christen replied, huffing out a small, self-deprecating laugh, her cheeks tinged a light pink.

“I love you so much,” Tobin said, leaning forward to kiss Christen’s cheek. 

Christen felt her eyebrows rise in surprise, a soft gasp leaving her lips. Tobin had said it back. Tobin felt it too. Even if she’d known it in her heart, there was something about the reverential way Tobin whispered it to her now that made Christen feel like she was flying. She felt the familiar sting behind her own eyes and squeezed them shut tightly, not wanting to completely lose it in this pool room. 

“I’ve loved you for a very long time, Chris,” Tobin admitted, leaning in to kiss Christen’s other cheek and then her forehead. “And you didn’t need to time it better,” Tobin mumbled softly. 

Christen let out a shuddery breath. It was out there in the open now. Their cards were on the table, their hearts were on their sleeves, and Christen had never felt happier. Her heart was soaring and her chest was warm and she couldn’t quite formulate words or even coherent thoughts. All she could do was open her eyes and let a few tears spill from them.

“You made me leak,” Christen huffed, sniffling a bit as more tears spilled from her eyes. But the smile on her face was radiant and joyful and filled with so much love.

Tobin leaned forward to kiss the tears away, moving her hand away from Christen’s cheek, instead, rubbing Christen’s back softly. “I didn’t mean to,” Tobin chuckled. 

Christen smiled through her tears and tilted her head forward, placing her lips against Tobin’s gently. “I really, really love you, Tobin Heath. I have for a long time, too,” Christen whispered against Tobin’s lips.

Tobin’s body shivered at the words, almost like she didn’t expect to hear them again, like she’d imagined them the first time. She gripped Christen a little tighter, kissing her with as much love as possible. “I’ve wanted to tell you that again for a while,” Tobin mumbled. 

Christen nodded, threading her fingers through Tobin’s hair and tugging gently, pulling Tobin’s lips away from hers so that she could look Tobin in the eye. “Me too, baby. I’ve been keeping it in for weeks, for months really.”

“And that’s why you brought me here?” Tobin asked, looking around the room but pulling Christen tightly against her. 

Christen giggled and shook her head. “I was only planning on bringing you here to ask you to stay with me tonight, but then my heart kind of took over and here we are.”

“Smart heart,” Tobin mumbled with a smile. “What happened to being professional and not sharing a bed?”

Christen used her thumb to wipe beneath Tobin’s eyes, erasing the trails of her tears. “I just need to hold you tonight, screw being professional,” she replied with a hesitant smile.

“Thank god,” Tobin sighed, tucking some of Christen’s hair behind her ear. “Sleeping alone sucks.”

“Then let’s not sleep alone,” Christen said, leaning forward to kiss Tobin once, then once more just because she could.

Tobin got lost in Christen’s kisses, her head clouding with love and desire and happiness. But then, logic snapped her back into reality. “Wait, what’s Kelley going to do? I’m not sure I can ignore her if she’s in the next bed.”

Christen grinned, stepping back and interlocking her fingers with Tobin’s. She pulled Tobin toward the door, her eyes dancing with mischief. 

“She graciously offered to sleep over at Pinoe and Mal’s tonight.”

“What a giver,” Tobin teased, following Christen through the gym and into the lobby. 

“I might have bribed her with some of your scones…” Christen trailed off, a sheepish smile on her face.

“You should bribe her again tomorrow,” Tobin replied with a chuckle. 

“Baby, I already did. She packed a bag,” Christen winked, pulling Tobin into the elevator. 

“You’re amazing and beautiful and perfect for me and so so so smart,” Tobin started, knowing there were hundreds of compliments she could give. 

Christen blushed, tugging Tobin toward the corner of the elevator, leaning back against the wall, and pulling Tobin flush against her.

“Oh, and I love you,” Tobin added now that she could say the three words she’d been dying to say for months. 

“I love you too,” Christen replied, her blush deepening. Even if they’d already said it once, okay twice, maybe three times, it still felt so new. It felt like the first time again, whispering it to Tobin inside of the elevator. She wondered if it would always feel like the first time, if every time she said those three words to Tobin it would make her heart race and her stomach somersault.

“I should stop by my room for my stuff,” Tobin sighed, reaching around Christen to press the button for her floor. 

Christen grabbed onto Tobin’s arm and pulled it back down. “I might have already taken care of that too,” she admitted with a smile.

“How’d you manage that, sneaky?” Tobin asked.

Christen shrugged. “Alyssa might also be expecting scones?”

“I should invest in an apron,” Tobin sighed, resting her head on Christen’s shoulder. 

“I’ll get you a cute one. Maybe one that says ‘Kiss the Cook’ or something. But only I get to do that, of course,” Christen replied, running a hand up and down Tobin’s back.

“Of course,” Tobin said, kissing Christen’s shoulder softly and wishing the elevator would move faster. 

“Want to know something crazy?” Christen asked softly.

“What’s that?” Tobin asked, leaning back to look at Christen.

“I’ve spent weeks, no months, trying to plan the perfect way to tell you that I love you. And none of those plans ever included a very muggy pool room,” Christen said with a small smile.

“If I remember correctly, you spent a long time planning the perfect way to ask me to be your girlfriend, and then you yelled it at a party while another girl wrote her number on my arm,” Tobin teased. 

“I’m a planner, it’s what I do...but for some reason my perfect plans never seem to actually work when it comes to you,” Christen chuckled, kissing the tip of Tobin’s nose, making Tobin scrunch her face adorably. 

The elevator doors opened, and Tobin led Christen out, letting her guide them to the right room. 

“The perfect time to tell someone you love them is when you can’t keep it in any longer,” Tobin whispered. “It should slip out because you can’t hold it back.”

Christen melted at Tobin’s words. Her smile grew and those pesky tears threatened to make an appearance once again. Her girlfriend was just the most sensitive, most incredible person in the whole world. She pulled them to a stop outside room 1043. 

“I guess tonight was perfect, then,” Christen hummed, squeezing Tobin’s hands and opening up her hotel room.

“Absolutely perfect,” Tobin nodded, following Christen into the room. 


Christen looked over and checked the clock - 10:23PM. Counting on her fingers, she calculated how many hours of sleep they’d get if they fell asleep right now. 

“Eleven hours of sleep is a lot,” Christen said, rolling over in bed to face Tobin. 

“You’ll brutalize Penn State tomorrow if you sleep that much,” Tobin mumbled, tangling her legs with Christen’s and draping her arm over Christen’s waist. 

“Since we want it to be exciting to watch, maybe I should aim for ten hours,” Christen said with a smile.

“That seems fairer,” Tobin teased, kissing the tip of Christen’s nose. 

Christen scrunched her nose, her mind on the game that awaited them tomorrow, but also on the girl lying across from her. 

“I’m really glad I didn’t freak you out tonight and throw you off for the game,” Christed admitted quietly, reaching up to trace a finger across Tobin’s forehead, across her brow, and down her nose.

“How could you freak me out?” Tobin whispered. “I’ve loved you since May. Maybe before then, but definitely since May.” 

Christen’s stomach fluttered at the easy way the words rolled off Tobin’s tongue. As her blush deepened, she continued to trace Tobin’s face, sweeping across her cheek and down her jaw. 

“Last time didn’t go so hot for us, and I was worried, I guess. I know we’re in a better place now, and that we’ve both grown up a lot, but sometimes the heart doesn’t listen to logic,” Christen hummed.

“You’re right...last time didn’t go so well. But it didn’t make my feelings go away, even if I was a little hurt,” Tobin sighed, kissing the worry wrinkle between Christen’s eyebrows. 

“I loved you then too, you know? In Portland,” Christen whispered, her hand falling from Tobin’s face. She looked deep into Tobin’s brown eyes, letting them ground her in this moment.

“Our timing was really off then, huh?” Tobin shrugged as if Portland were so far in the past that it no longer hurt as much. 

Christen laughed a little. “Super off.”

Tobin smiled and then got a far-off look in her eye, her fingers running across the small of Christen’s back. “I...I remember when you were asleep in my lap when we were driving home, at the end of that road trip,” Tobin started. “I remember looking down at you and just wishing that you were falling in love with me too, wishing that we could fall in love together.” 

Tobin could feel her cheeks flush at the admission. She hadn’t planned on sharing the details of that moment. She hadn’t planned on letting Christen know just how long she’d been completely hers. But in this small bubble of serenity and happiness and love, the words just seemed to slip out of her. If there was ever a time for honesty and authenticity and soul-baring admissions, it was now.

Christen shook her head slightly, almost unable to comprehend the depth of Tobin’s feelings, despite feeling the same way. It floored her that Tobin could love her so deeply, so passionately, so purely. It made her breath catch and her heart pound. It made everything in the world feel brighter and better. 

Christen brought Tobin’s eyes back on hers with a gentle touch. “I was, I just hadn’t realized it yet. I think we’ve been falling in love together the whole time,” she replied softly.

Tobin leaned forward and pressed her lips against Christen’s, unable to find words strong enough or meaningful enough for a response. It felt like every mixed-up piece of their puzzle was sliding into place, like everything was finally where it needed to be. Their feelings were exposed and reciprocated. She ran her hand along Christen’s side, touching and kissing as softly and intentionally as she could. 

Christen deepened the kiss, rolling on top of Tobin, slotting a leg between hers, and propping herself up on her forearms. The sweetness of their love from moments ago now burned brighter and hotter, and Christen was ready to take full advantage. Whereas they’d used shy smiles and hopeful words to express their love, now she could use her lips and her touch. 

Christen ran her tongue along Tobin’s bottom lip, begging for entrance. Tobin didn’t hesitate to oblige. She couldn’t stop the soft moan that left her lips when Christen’s tongue slipped between her lips and into her mouth. 

“I love your moans,” Christen mumbled against Tobin’s lips.

“I love yours, and that noise you make when I kiss this one spot on your neck,” Tobin grinned, brushing her fingers under Christen’s shirt and along her back. 

Christen whimpered into the kiss, feeling Tobin leave fire in the wake of her touches. “I love that I can say I love you now,” she whispered, kissing down across Tobin’s jaw and her neck, finding that spot at the base of Tobin’s throat that always got her trembling and breathing hard and turned on.

“Me too,” Tobin sighed, her mind overwhelmed by Christen’s lips and the sensation of warmth that they left with each touch. She tilted her head to allow easier access for Christen’s lips, wanting to feel as much of Christen as possible. 

Christen nipped and sucked and soothed with her tongue, each touch and taste coming from a place of love, of desire, of devotion. 

“Remember that Neruda quote I told you?” Christen hummed into Tobin’s skin, moving her lips up the side of Tobin’s neck.

“I mean,” Tobin choked out, feeling Christen’s lips still pressed against her. “Not word for word.” Tobin nearly panted at the way Christen’s lips and tongue and teeth were working her up.

Christen reached Tobin’s ear, and whispered the words into it, “El amor no se mira, se siente, y aún más cuando ella está junto a ti.”

“I love when you speak Spanish,” Tobin mumbled, her pupils blown, her fingers pressed into Christen’s back, her skin burning. 

Christen grinned at the huskiness in Tobin’s voice, at the desperation in her touch, and went back to work, kissing down Tobin’s neck again. “Do you want to know what it means?”

“Yes,” Tobin hummed, her fingers, tracing up and down Christen’s spine. She felt like she was about to combust. Christen was teasing and tasting, and it was completely overwhelming every part of her. Her mind was foggy and her skin was tingling. She was starting to worry that if she didn’t take some semblance of control back and start kissing Christen herself, she’d crumble, unable to respond or do anything other than whine and beg for more. 

Christen kept the pace of her lips and her tongue torturous, knowing she was bringing Tobin dangerously close to the edge, but not really caring. She was beyond caring. She was in love, and Tobin knew it now, and she even loved her back. 

“Love is not seen, it is felt, and even more so when she is with you,” Christen translated, her fingers tugging the neck of Tobin’s shirt down so she could pace kisses along Tobin’s collarbone. “You always make me feel so loved, Tobs, and I never understood love until you.”

At those words, Tobin couldn’t help herself. She rolled Christen over onto the mattress, hovering over her, her breath coming out in sharp, ragged huffs. She was pleasantly surprised to see that Christen’s eyes were also dilated, that Christen’s cheeks were also rosy and warm, that Christen looked as worked up as Tobin felt. 

Tobin leaned down and kissed Christen deeply. “I’ve always felt loved by you too,” Tobin husked out between kisses. 

When the need for air became too hard to deny, Christen wrenched her lips from Tobin’s. She breathed deeply but kept her touch on Tobin, reaching up and cupping Tobin’s cheek with her hand, her thumb tracing Tobin’s cheekbone. 

“Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around how far we’ve come,” Christen admitted quietly, her eyes tracing over Tobin’s features.

“I’m really glad we got to this point, though,” Tobin replied with a blissed-out smile, her cheeks flushed and her chest heaving. 

“Me too. And just think, we’re only getting started,” Christen grinned, sliding her hand down to grab ahold of Tobin’s t-shirt and pull her down to reconnect their lips.

Tobin slipped her hands under Christen’s shirt, running her fingers over smooth skin and ribs. Her fingers brushed softly, light touches that drove Christen crazy. She slowly pushed Christen’s shirt up, pulling away from Christen and leaning down to kiss each new inch of skin that the t-shirt had been covering. “I love you,” fell from her lips a few times, as if flood gates had been opened and the words couldn’t be stopped on her tongue any longer. 

Christen buried a hand in Tobin’s hair and tugged roughly, arching up into her mouth, so far beyond the point of caring about lines or rules. A reckless moan left her lips, followed by long, drawn-out breaths, with every kiss that Tobin left on her skin.

 Tobin’s lips trailed over the bottom of Christen’s sports bra, dancing around where Christen really wanted her mouth. She left small marks at the top of the bra, kissing over the fabric of her sports bra, letting her tongue press against Christen softly. 

Christen huffed, loving the torturous touches but needing more. They’d done this dance so many times, with Tobin’s tongue and touches skirting the edge of her desire, but never actually diving in. A small voice in the back of her mind tried to remind her of superstitions and perfect plans, but she wasn’t listening. She couldn’t listen. Not when Tobin’s tongue was doing that .

“God, baby, please ,” Christen begged, her hands sliding beneath Tobin’s shirt, skirting along the waistband of her joggers, her fingertips dipping below the waistband. She wanted Tobin to touch her with purpose, to shed every layer of clothing between them, to push her over the edge and make her fall apart. 

But then Tobin’s touch and Tobin’s mouth were gone and a soft whimper left Christen’s lips as her eyes fluttered open.

Tobin leaned back, fully pulling away from Christen and settling on her knees between Christen’s legs. She wanted to kick herself. She wanted to convince herself that it was a good idea to do exactly what Christen was begging her to do, but she couldn’t. She loved the girl in front of her with wide eyes and swollen lips, the one begging for more. But Tobin loved her so much that she couldn’t take the next step, not in a hotel room on the night before a game that Christen was nervous about. She couldn’t make love to her when Christen could possibly regret it in the morning. She couldn’t take that next, very important step when she wanted it to be special. Of course, it would be heated, but she also wanted it to be planned and fully expected and completely wanted by both of them. 

Instead of sinking back into Christen’s arms, instead of peeling Christen’s clothes off of her body, instead of begging for Christen to touch her, Tobin leaned down and kissed Christen’s forehead, whispering a quiet, “I love you,” before rolling over to her own side of the bed. 

“I love you too, but I hate superstitions,” Christen sighed, her breathing returning to normal, her heart rate slowing. “And I hate that you chose tonight to listen to them.”

“We’ve got a really big game tomorrow...and I don’t want you to regret anything,” Tobin mumbled, pulling the covers up over her legs and rolling onto her side to face Christen. 

Christen looked over at Tobin, her brows knit. “I could never, Tobs. I’d never regret that...but I know that you’re right about tonight,” Christen admitted, her voice tinged with defeat.

“I want you when we have the entire night,” Tobin whispered, pulling Christen closer. “Not when we have to get up in the morning and get breakfast with the rest of the team.”

Christen curled into Tobin’s chest, her arm sliding around Tobin’s middle. “I like the sound of that. A lot,” Christen said quietly, pressing a kiss to the fabric of Tobin’s t-shirt. “But, now that I’m not all hot and bothered anymore, I’m nervous for tomorrow again.”

“Hey, I can’t wait to watch you play tomorrow,” Tobin mumbled, kissing the top of Christen’s head. “You’re going to do so well, Chris.”

Christen blushed, burrowing closer to Tobin. “I can’t wait to play with you tomorrow. It’s going to be so hard not to kiss you when you score.”

“Mhm,” Tobin sighed in agreement. “You want to know something super sappy?”

Christen giggled and nodded. “Usually you don’t give me a warning. You just go right out and say it, and then whatever you say, it makes me love you more. So this is a nice change.”

“I’m glad you appreciate the warning,” Tobin replied, rolling her eyes softly. “Anyway, what I was going to say is that- well, I’ve always felt comfortable on the field. I always thought that was the only place that I’d feel calm. It was my place,” Tobin whispered.

Getting a nod from Christen, telling her that Christen was listening, Tobin continued. “And then I fell in love with you, and now you’re where I feel calmest,” Tobin said softly, her heart fluttering a little faster with the admission. “I don’t feel the same way on the field when you aren’t there. That’s not to say that playing with you has somehow ruined my safe place,” Tobin laughed. “You’ve just changed it. It’s not the field anymore, it’s you...if that makes sense? The moral of all that rambling is that I’m excited to play with you tomorrow.” Tobin could feel her cheeks burn. She buried her face in Christen’s hair, pulling Christen closer to her chest. 

“How are you even real?” Christen wondered quietly, running her hand up and down Tobin’s back. “You just say these things and you make me feel all these things...it’s overwhelming in the best possible way.” Christen snuggled closer to Tobin, letting Tobin’s accelerated heartbeat ground her in the moment. “It made sense, baby. It made sense because I feel the same way. You’re my safe place, too.”

Tobin let out a small sigh of relief, not realizing she wanted to hear Christen say those words. She smiled into Christen’s hair, knowing she was about to say the cheesiest thing she’d ever thought of. “Tomorrow, if the nerves are obnoxious or it just gets to be too much, you can look across the field at me, and I can be your safe place out on the field too.”

Christen smiled so big her cheeks started to hurt. “I really love you,” she sighed, beyond happy that her girlfriend was the cheesiest, sappiest, most sensitive person in the whole world.

“I really love you too,” Tobin hummed, turning her head to look over her shoulder at the clock. “And now you’ll get nine hours and forty-five minutes of sleep.”

“Worth it,” Christen replied with a smile.

“Sweet dreams, Chris,” Tobin whispered, kissing Christen’s forehead and wrapping her arms tighter around her waist. 

“Sweeter dreams, Tobs,” Christen hummed, dropping a kiss to Tobin’s neck, knowing sleep would take her soon and her dreams would be full of ‘I love you’s’ and lingering touches and soft kisses.


SUNDAY

Tobin pulled her hair up into a messy bun, giving her head a little shake to make sure the ponytail was tight enough to keep her hair from falling down during the game. She walked toward the door of the locker room, where all of her teammates had already exited, releasing one last deep breath before pulling the door open and stepping out. 

She didn’t feel as nervous as she had a couple of days ago. Sure, she still cringed at the thought of shaking all of her old teammates' hands. She still worried that she’d mess up and pass to her old teammates out of thoughtlessness. She hated knowing that she’d hurt people she cared about if UCLA played as well as she knew they could. That being said, she didn’t feel nervous. She rarely felt nervous before games and knowing that her parents were watching in the stands and her girlfriend was playing on the same field with her made her feel calm. Knowing that Christen loved her made her feel even calmer, even more sure that everything was going to be okay. 

“You ready?” Christen asked, turning around to grimace nervously at Tobin as they waited in the tunnel leading out onto the field. They were together at the back of the line of the starting eleven UCLA players, just waiting for the signal from the referee that they could walk out.

“Absolutely,” Tobin nodded, smiling at Christen’s slightly worried but very focused look. “Are you ready?”

Christen nodded wordlessly, taking a deep breath and willing her hands to stop shaking. She might have woken up in Tobin’s arms this morning, feeling better than she ever had before, but now her nerves and worries and fears were back with a vengeance.

“Hey,” Tobin whispered, taking Christen’s hands to keep them still. “You want to plant before we leave the tunnel? We can always take a few minutes for that.” Tobin squeezed Christen’s hands gently, fully ready to step back away from their teammates and meditate with Christen for as long as they could. 

Christen hesitated, not because she didn’t want to plant because she really did. She needed to. But they’d spent all year, all season, hiding their pre-game ritual from their teammates, staying back in locker rooms, or jumping behind stands or bench areas. She suddenly didn’t want to hide it anymore. 

“We can go back into the locker room and meditate really quickly,” Tobin offered, not entirely sure why Christen wasn’t jumping at the opportunity to do her favorite pre-game ritual. 

Christen shook her head, her hands no longer shaking at her sides as she smiled. “Let’s do it on the field.”

“In front of everybody?” Tobin asked, almost amused by Christen’s sudden desire to do their weird meditation out in the open. 

“Thanks for that lovely reminder, but yes, in front of everyone. It’s not just planting, it’s you and me, and I don’t want to have to hide that,” Christen shrugged. “I love you, Tobin Heath, and I want everyone to know that.”

“You didn’t warn me,” Tobin mumbled softly, unable to hide her smile. 

“About what?” Christen whispered, squeezing Tobin’s hands gently.

“You said something sappy that makes me love you more, and you didn’t warn me,” Tobin whispered, wishing she could lean forward and steal one kiss before the game. Instead, she leaned forward and whispered softly in Christen’s ear, “I can’t wait to kiss you after we’ve won and celebrated and eaten at Olive Garden with our parents.”

Christen laughed softly, feeling a slight blush heat her cheeks. “Let’s try to win this game first, okay, Tobs?” she asked, leaning back and squeezing Tobin’s hands once more before dropping them.

“The kiss is motivation, don’t worry,” Tobin mumbled, her eyes focused on the field at the end of the tunnel. 

Christen gave Tobin one last smile before turning back to the field and taking a deep breath. She reached behind her, grabbing Tobin’s wrist between her fingers, just needing one more moment of contact before they stepped onto the field together. She took another deep breath, and then another, focusing on her heart rate and the feeling and the warmth of Tobin’s skin beneath her touch.

She could do this. They could do this. They could win the National Championship game today. 


They were losing. Tobin felt like her lungs were about to burst, having chased the same Penn State freshman and stripped her of the ball for the sixth time, only to have ARod steal it back. She wanted to yell, to get frustrated, but she didn’t, she simply ran after the ball, hoping all the training she’d done with ARod and her other Penn State teammates would give her some sort of edge. 

When the referee blew her whistle to call the foul ARod had just committed against Crystal in UCLA’s defensive half, Christen gave herself permission to breathe. It had only been 30 minutes, but they hadn’t been able to find a rhythm. After Penn State went up 1-0 on a silly defensive mistake in the first five minutes, they’d been scrambling to find their footing in this game and continually failing. They needed to reset, to relax, to find themselves. 

“Take your time, Crys!” Christen yelled, jogging up the field, pushing the Penn State defense back. She smiled over at Megan, trying to keep her spirits high. She then looked over and saw Tobin with her head down, her shoulders tense, her cleats scuffing along the grass. She quickly ran across the backline, switching spots with Megan so she could be in the middle. She shuffled closer to Tobin, her eyes on Crystal, waiting for her to take the free-kick.

“Don’t let it get to you. We’ve got this,” Christen whispered with more confidence than she felt, giving Tobin’s bicep a squeeze. 

“Someone’s not nervous anymore,” Tobin teased weakly, a small smile slipping onto her face just with Christen’s touch. 

“Why would I be nervous? We’re gonna win,” Christen grinned, signaling with her arm for Crystal to kick it. 

The last fifteen minutes of the half were much better. That momentary breather afforded by the free-kick had been exactly what UCLA needed. But even if they’d started playing better, having the majority of the possession and opportunities on goal, they still went into the locker room down 1-0 at halftime. 

Tobin felt way less frustrated than she had at the beginning of the first half, maybe even optimistic. She felt like she and her teammates were finally connecting, finally giving each other opportunities. They had another half to equalize the game and score a second goal. They’d been known to score four or five in a single half, so she felt more excited than worried. The rest of her team was a mixed bag, the upperclassmen full of inspirational words and the underclassmen lacking their usual sunshiney- optimism. 

“Chins up, freshies. We’re not going down without a fight,” Christen said, grabbing some Gatorades from the table and passing them out. She smiled reassuringly at Rose and Sam and then gave Mal a wink. All she got in response were worried, lackluster grunts and nods.

“We totally messed up the juju by beating Florida State with that many goals,” Sam groaned, chugging from the Gatorade Christen had just given her. 

“Oh my god,” Tobin groaned. “Enough with the juju stuff! That’s total crap, and everyone here knows it! Pinoe smells bad and Kelley’s going to get an infection on her feet from those damn socks. We didn’t mess with the goal juju. There’s no such thing as juju! We’re just playing a better team than we were on Friday,” Tobin sighed. “That doesn’t mean we aren’t prepared to beat them.”

The locker room grew quiet, everyone looking at Tobin. Some in surprise, some in awe. Christen looked at Tobin with a mixture of love and pride. Her girlfriend rarely got vocal in team scenarios, much preferring to stay on the periphery, but here she was, jumping into the fray. 

“Tobs is right. We can beat these guys. Their midfield is definitely a weak area, we gotta keep playing out of their pressure and find our midfield,” Christen said, smiling a bit at Tobin before turning to face the rest of her team.

“Their left side sucks ass too, we gotta attack it,” Allie added, flopping onto the chair in front of her locker. 

“Their keeper comes out further than she should,” Ashlyn muttered from behind her Gatorade bottle. 

“And they’re vulnerable on set pieces, we gotta capitalize on those too,” Crystal said, taking a long drink from her water bottle.

“The more tired they get, the slower their passes are and the more direct their game will become,” Tobin said, kind of hating that she revealed one of her old team’s weaknesses, not that she really needed to. Christen would have figured it out easily and told everyone else. “That plays to all of our strengths.”

“We just need to put this game away. No more pulling out of tackles, no more screwing each other over with bad passes. Keep it clean and capitalize on our chances. We can do this,” Christen assured, getting confident smiles and nods from everyone. She let her eyes linger on Tobin, her smile deepening as she looked over at her girlfriend, as she noticed the shine of determination in her brown eyes. 

“Well...I had a motivational speech ready, but it sounds like our upperclassmen have done my job for me,” Coach Foudy said, stepping into the locker room.

“I’m tired of them kicking my ankles!” Kelley yelled, tossing her empty Gatorade bottle across the room and standing up, ready to go. 

“Good, get angry. Get pissed. I know I’m pissed. That first half wasn’t our best performance, not even close. We’re so much better than that,” Foudy began, pacing around the locker room slowly. “We’ve got some of the best outside backs in the country in O’Hara and Dunn. We have an incredible midfield with Rose and Sammy and Long. We’ve got the nation's leading scorers in Heath and Press, and the baddest bitch ever to grace the soccer field in Megan Rapinoe,” Foudy said, earning her laughter from the team. She continued to walk around the room, meeting the eyes of her players, imbuing them with as much confidence as she felt, with calmness and resolve. “We’ve got a great fucking team and we’re going to win. So let’s be better this half. It’s a new forty-five, let’s treat it that way. Sharper runs, cleaner passes, quality in the final third. Let’s go out there and prove to every single person in this stadium that we deserve to hoist that trophy up at the end of this match. Come on!”


It took ten minutes of hard, quality play for Tobin to steal the ball away from Lauren and sprint up the field with it at her feet. She dodged two of Penn State’s defenders, focusing too hard on the ball and on Christen’s movements on the other side of the field to relish in one of the Penn State player’s reactions to her nutmeg. 

“YAAAS TOBITO!” Kelley yelled from somewhere behind her, making Tobin crack a smile.

Tobin didn’t need to look up to know Christen was on the other side of the eighteen-yard box. If Tobin closed her eyes, she could have easily been on the practice field in L.A. with Christen. She could easily be crushing hard on Christen before Portland, practicing with her and teasing her. Their placement was exactly the same. The ball felt the same at her feet. Even the wind blowing softly across the field felt similar. 

Christen felt it too, this odd sense of déjà vu, as she sprinted into the box. When she met Tobin’s eyes, she knew where this cross was going to go. She knew what she needed to do. She was ready. With a smile, she pushed off of her defender and held her run a bit, waiting for Tobin to hit the cross she knew was coming.

Tobin kicked the ball into the air and lifted her head to watch Christen score. There was no doubt in her mind that Christen was going to do exactly what they’d practiced back home. There was no chance that Christen wouldn’t score. For a second, Tobin felt kind of bad that it might hurt or knock the air out of Christen, but this was the National Championship, and Christen deserved a spectacular goal, one that would make people gasp, one that Mal would talk about for the rest of the year. 

Christen blew out a sharp breath, readjusting her run to account for the height of the ball. She tracked the ball the whole way in, meeting it right around the corner of the six-yard box. She threw the bicycle kick just like she had that morning in L.A. and watched her cleat strike the ball. As she collapsed onto the grass, she watched as the ball sailed toward the far post, sinking into the top corner of the goal.

“GOOOAAAALLLLL!” Tobin screamed in celebration, just like she had during their training session before camp. 

“FUCK YEAH!” Christen cheered, slapping the grass and jumping up to her feet. She knew the hug was coming before she could even brace for it, already having caught Tobin sprinting across the field toward her.

Tobin lifted Christen off her feet, squeezing her tightly and cherishing their moment before the rest of their teammates surrounded them. 

“That was beautiful,” Tobin mumbled. 

“That was for you,” Christen replied, a little out of breath. Every goal she scored was Tobin, it always was. She looked down at Tobin and met her gaze, a smile breaking out across her face. She resisted every urge she had inside of her to kiss Tobin right now. She couldn’t, not in the middle of the soccer field, not on live television. But soon.

“I’m a lucky girl,” Tobin grinned. She lowered Christen to the ground when she felt arms start to land on her back.

“HARRY! What a fucking cross! C.P., what a GOAL!” Allie screamed, throwing her arms around Tobin and Christen. “Must be a love connection!”

“It must be,” Christen laughed with a beaming smile, squeezing Tobin’s hips. Tobin didn’t need to answer, her smile was response enough.

“PRESSY! YOU LEGEND!” Megan yelled, wrapping her arms around Tobin, Christen, and Allie. 

“I said that’s my bestie and I’m proud!” Crystal added, joining the huge hug as well, having just sprinted the entire length of the field to celebrate.

The celebration grew as Sam, Rose, Kelley, and everyone else jumped in as well, with Tobin and Christen in the center of it, just smiling at each other.

“Ladies!” Foudy yelled from the sidelines, breaking up the celebration and reminding them that they still needed another goal before they could really celebrate. 

Everyone hustled back to their half of the field, energy and pep back in their steps. For the next thirty-four minutes, they continued to absolutely dominate Penn State. They broke down the defense, connected their passes, and got quality shots on goal, but they just couldn’t find the back of the net again. Both Tobin and Christen hit the post a few times, and Megan narrowly missed the goal frame. 

Even if they’d mounted a successful comeback, even if they’d managed to tie the game, when the referee blew her whistle to signal the end of the ninety minutes, everyone let out small, disappointed sighs. They’d wanted to win in regulation. Anything could happen in overtime, and especially in penalties. 

The overtime periods passed by in the blink of an eye, with close calls for both teams. But after a few squirrely moments and almost goals, the second overtime came to an end as well. It was official: penalty kicks would decide who would be the National Champion.

Christen let out a long breath, her hands finding her hips. She walked off the field, her legs feeling beyond dead. She greedily sucked down water, knowing she needed to get her head in the right place if she were going to take a penalty.

Tobin was exhausted as well. She followed after her teammates, allowing herself to be the last on the field. The last thing she’d wanted to do was go into penalty kicks against her old teammates. Sure, skill was involved in penalty kicks, but a lot of it was luck and the ability to keep calm. Tobin hadn’t wanted to stare down A.D. and shoot against her. For the first time in her entire soccer career, Tobin kind of hoped that she wouldn’t be asked to take a shot. 

“You’re sixth in the lineup, we’ll only use you if we need you,” Foudy mumbled, clapping Tobin on the back and then walking off to confer with Allie and Crystal.

“Fuck,” Tobin thought, nodding her head as calmly as possible. 

“I’m going fifth,” Christen whispered, stepping up to Tobin’s side, unable to keep the nerves out of her voice.

“You’re the best scorer on the team, you’ll be great,” Tobin said, completely confident in Christen’s ability. “I’m the one who might choke,” Tobin thought, unable to forget the words she’d overheard the other day when picking up dinner.

“I just hope I can score again today,” Christen replied. She tugged the corner of Tobin’s jersey, pulling her out onto the field where they were going to line up. 

“Just go to your happy place,” Tobin tried to tease. 

“I’m already here. I’m with you,” Christen hummed, bouncing up and down to expel her nervous energy. 

“Really? I’m all covered in grass stains and fully clothed in your happy place?” Tobin laughed, trying to make jokes instead of focusing on her anxiety. 

“For now,” Christen replied with a small smirk. “Let’s go win this thing, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Tobin saluted, following behind Christen and ignoring the other half of the field where Penn State players were lining up. 

Christen lined up next to Megan, who would be shooting fourth. Megan was behind Crystal and Sam, and their first shooter was going to be Allie. Penn State was kicking first, which meant Alyssa would be facing the first penalty kick. Coach Foudy had decided to sit Ashlyn and put Alyssa in because Alyssa was insanely good at coming up with big-time saves in penalty kick scenarios, and Ashlyn had been beyond tired after over 100 minutes in goal.

The kicks went by in a blur. Alyssa saved the first Penn State penalty, but then Allie had hers saved as well. The second penalties were both scored, by Penn State and by Crystal. Sam and Megan made their penalties look easy, as did Lauren and ARod. The count was 3-3, with the fifth kickers coming up next. 

Christen watched as the Penn State player scored a beautiful penalty kick and she felt her heart flutter. This was it, this was her moment. She needed to score this or else her team was done.  She was about to step forward, out of the line of players, when she felt a hand wrap around her wrist. She turned to look at Tobin, her brows knit together in confusion.

“Not that I think you won’t score right now…” Tobin whispered. “But you could never let me down. I feel bad for A.D. She won’t even get a hand on the ball,” Tobin grinned, nodding at Penn State’s goalkeeper.

Christen felt every lasting, twisted bit of anxiety seep out of her. No matter what happened next, Tobin was still going to love her. She wasn’t going to let Tobin down.

“I love you,” Christen mumbled, conscious that Megan and their teammates were right there, but needing to say it now maybe more than she ever had before.

“I love you so much,” Tobin whispered back. “You’ve got this.”

Christen grinned and jogged over to the goal. She grabbed the ball from the referee and placed it on the penalty spot. She took a few steps back, her eyes focused on the ball and not on the goal. She knew where it was, she knew where A.D. was standing, she knew where she was going to place this ball. 

“I love you. You’ve got this. You could never let me down. You’re my safe place.” Tobin’s words echoed through Christen’s mind, grounding her in the moment and making her feel so utterly calm and so perfectly at peace. With everything inside of her, she knew she was going to score. 

Christen waited for the whistle, and after hearing it, took a few strides forward and struck the ball with pace, sending it toward the left side of the goal, the ball hitting the back of the net with a beautiful swish. 

Christen pumped her fist at her side, completely filled to the brim with excitement and adrenaline and joy. She’d done it, she’d scored, she’d kept them in the game. She spun around and headed back to the line, back to Tobin. When she was a few yards away, she kissed her finger and then pointed at Tobin, a clear sign that the penalty she’d just scored had been for her. 

Tobin shot Christen a tense smile and a thumbs up, waiting for Alex Morgan to take the last penalty kick for Penn State. She fully expected her old roommate to score. She was brutal and strong, lethal in front of the net. But Alyssa was lethal in the goal.

Alex sent a low shot toward the right side of the goal, but Alyssa had read it the entire way. She got a hand on the shot, redirecting the ball and keeping it out of the net.

“YES, LYSS!” Allie shrieked. Every UCLA player was jumping up and down, screaming in excitement. The roar from the stands, from their families and friends and fans, was deafening. 

Christen gripped Tobin’s arm tightly, knowing that because Alyssa had saved it, Tobin’s penalty could win them the game.

Tobin could barely hear the crowded stadium or the rest of her teammates. She’d hardly been able to watch the penalty kicks, only processing that Christen had scored beautifully. She couldn’t help but think about how she’d practiced this as a kid, how she’d prepared herself for the World Cup Final, how she’d gassed herself up after every goal she’d scored in her parents’ backyard. She wished for the briefest moment that she was seven years old again, shouting “GOOOAAAL!” in the yard. She wished she wasn’t nervous. She wished she didn’t hear the words “don’t choke, don’t choke, don’t choke,” spiraling through her mind. She wished she didn’t think about the moments in the past year she wanted to forget, the moments she still hadn’t fully forgiven herself for. She wished she could turn her brain off, instead of wondering if she’d hurt more people on the Penn State team by disappearing than she’d originally realized. Wondering if she scored now, would she hurt them even more. 

Christen could feel the war being waged beside her. She knew Tobin was a mess of emotions and worries and fears. She reached out and tugged on the back of Tobin’s jersey. She couldn’t let Tobin walk out there like this, with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She needed to offer any sort of reprieve she could.

“Wait, Tobs,” Christen said quietly, knowing she couldn’t talk long, knowing she had to make her words count.

“What’s up?” Tobin asked, as if they were simply bumping into each other between classes, not like they were standing in the middle of a soccer stadium, moments away from maybe winning the National Championship. 

“Give it to me. Give me your pain and your worry. Give me the anxiety I can see hiding in your eyes. Give it all to me and let me hold onto them for you. You’re the best footballer I’ve ever seen and you don’t need that extra weight right now. I’ll carry it for you, so you can go score like you were born to do,” Christen said, reaching out to squeeze Tobin’s hand quickly before dropping it.

“That was really cheesy,” Tobin sighed, finally feeling like she could breathe. Despite the cheesiness, Tobin’s heart fluttered softly in her chest. If they weren’t in the middle of a soccer field, she would have wrapped her arms around Christen and kissed her softly. If people weren’t watching, she’d show Christen just how in love she was with a touch, a kiss, a few words. She had to save that for later, though.  

“I know. Now, go score your penalty, Tobs. I love you,” Christen whispered, stepping back into line and smiling at Tobin as reassuringly as she could.

Tobin mouthed an “I love you” back to Christen before turning away from her and making her way to her spot on the field. She took a deep breath in through her nose, letting it slip slowly out of her mouth. She adjusted the ball on the grass, wanting it to sit just right on each blade. Tobin glanced up at A.D. and back at the ball, unable to stop herself from smiling when she thought about her nerves. The truth was, she’d been more nervous before. She was more nervous when Christen was on the other team, standing in UCLA’s wall, smirking at her and confusing her. She’d been more nervous before the semifinals her freshman year when she knew she’d get to see Christen again. She’d been way more nervous in nearly every encounter with Christen when she’d spoken about her feelings. In comparison, this was nothing. This was her game, her gift, her passion. 

Tobin took a few steps back, already knowing where she wanted to put the ball. She ran up to the ball, planting her right foot and striking it with her left. She had caught A.D. leaning to the left, and knew A.D. was guessing. She was guessing based on every P.K. Tobin had ever taken in practice on her. But today, Tobin was mixing things up. She sent the ball right down the middle of the goal, watching it sail toward the goal. 

The moment the ball hit the back of the net, the instant Tobin had thrown her arms out to the sides and spun around to face her, Christen felt her feet moving. She sprinted harder than she ever had to erase the distance between her and Tobin, her eyes holding Tobin’s the whole way, her smile lighting up her whole face. 

“YEEEES BABE!” Christen yelled, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s shoulders, pressing a quick kiss to Tobin’s cheek before rocking her back and forth in a tight embrace. 

No words came to Tobin’s mind. She couldn’t speak or cheer. All she could do was grip Christen tighter to her chest and try to force the impending tears away. 

As more and more of their teammates joined the embrace, they were knocked to the ground, at the very bottom of the dogpile. Christen would have hated it if it hadn’t brought her face to face with her girlfriend, in a small bubble of privacy.

“I knew you could do it,” Christen whispered, feeling the sting of tears behind her eyes as she looked down at Tobin with a small smile.

“That was for you,” Tobin smirked, her eyes crinkling with happiness and love. 

“That’s my line,” Christen teased.

“I didn’t think you’d mind if I borrowed it. You did take my sweatshirt,” Tobin shrugged. 

“I don’t mind at all. Not one bit. I’ll return that sweatshirt to you sometime,” Christen hummed, leaning down to connect their lips-

“WE FUCKING DID IT BABYYYYYY!” Megan cheered, shattering the sweetness of the moment. 

Christen leaned back up, realizing now wasn’t the time for a kiss. They’d have time for that later. 

“Please never return it,” Tobin mumbled, knowing she wasn’t talking about the sweatshirt at all.

Christen beamed as she felt their teammates pull her to her feet, away from Tobin. She was quickly hugged by Crystal, then Megan, then Kelley.  

Tobin high-fived a few of her teammates, hugging Allie, Rose, and Sam to congratulate them on their first tournament. 

“MOMS! WE’RE NATTY CHAMPS!” Mal screamed, racing up to Tobin and Christen and launching herself at them.

Tobin caught Mal before she hit Christen, letting the freshman wrap her arms and legs around her like a little koala. “Want to do it again next year?” Tobin teased, feeling exhausted but so blissfully happy. 

Christen laughed at Tobin’s question, patting Tobin on the ass quickly and then rubbing her hand across Mal’s head. 

“The correct answer is yes, Mal, just in case you were curious,” Christen said.

Tobin let Mal drop down to the ground, finally letting her eyes glance across the field at her old teammates, similarly huddled together but not celebrating. Her shoulders dropped a little bit, her excitement dimming.

“I’ll be back,” Tobin said, squeezing Mal’s shoulder and smiling tightly at Christen. 

After Christen smiled back at her, she walked across the field, slowly and purposefully, wiping any grin off of her face as she took each step. When she reached midfield, ARod spotted her, lifting her hand in a small wave. 

“Hey, Toby,” ARod said, her voice tinged with sadness, her cheeks wet with tears.

“Hey, dude,” Tobin sighed, wishing that the first time she saw ARod after everything with her dad was under better circumstances. 

“Great game,” ARod replied. “You’re looking good. Happy.” She looked beyond Tobin and saw Christen standing with her UCLA teammates, her eyes locked on Tobin, the look in them resembling love. She suddenly realized just why Tobin was looking so happy and she smiled, looking back at Tobin. “Really happy.”

“You gave me a run for my money,” Tobin said, reaching out to push ARod’s shoulder a little. 

“Couldn’t let it be too easy on ya,” ARod joked, her voice a little tight as a fresh tear fell from her eyes.

“I’ve really missed you this semester,” Tobin whispered, hating that she felt choked up. 

ARod sniffled and nodded, pulling Tobin in for a tight hug. “School’s not the same without you.”

“Hey, why am I missing this?” Lauren’s voice traveled across the field before her arms wrapped around Tobin’s back. “And the gang’s back together,” she whispered, dropping a soft kiss on top of Tobin’s head. 

Tobin couldn’t stop the choked noise that left her throat. She felt tears leak from her eyes, tears of grief and relief, tears of loss and complete joy. 


The hug-fest continued. After hoisting the trophy, getting the too-large t-shirts and the hats, and walking off the field, Christen finally got to see her family. 

“MO!” Channing screeched at an inhuman volume, pushing past other families and fans and wrapping Christen up in a tight hug. 

“Hey,” Christen grinned, holding her sister. She opened her eyes and saw her mom and dad walking over as well. She pulled away from Channing and hugged her dad and then her mom. 

“We’re so proud of you, Christen,” Stacy whispered, patting Christen on the back. “You did it, my sweet girl. You did it again.”

Christen grinned and hugged her mom even tighter, letting the fact that she’d just won a National Championship, in penalty kicks, with her girlfriend and her best friends by her side, wash over her.

“Where do you think you’re going, Tobin? Get in here,” Stacy said, reaching out her arm to grab Tobin who had been trying to skirt by them.

Tobin bashfully let Stacy pull her into the hug, not particularly wanting to intrude on Christen’s family moment. She could see her parents and Jeff walking toward them, and she couldn’t wait to talk to them. 

“Sorry,” Christen whispered, looking over her shoulder at Tobin who was now pressed against her side. 

“Why are you sorry?” Tobin asked. “I just crashed your moment.”

“Oh hush, you belong in this moment,” Stacy said, rocking Tobin and Christen back and forth happily. “You two are so incredible and we’re so proud of you!”

“Oooh a Christen and Tobin sandwich!” Cindy called, wrapping her arms around the two of them, and Stacy as well, so that Christen and Tobin were squished between their moms. 

“I’m feeling a bit left out, Cody, what about you?” Tobin’s dad, Jeff, asked with a smile. 

“You boys want to hug?” Cody asked, opening his arms and hugging Tobin’s dad and brother. 

Christen shook her head and laughed, completely enamored with the fact that their families got along this well, this soon. 

“Excuse me, what about me?” Channing asked, looking between the two group hugs, unsure which one she belonged in.

“You can join us,” Cody said, pulling her toward the boys’ group hug. 

“No, join us, Chan!” Tobin said reaching out to grab Channing’s arm and tugging her to the girl group hug.

“We just won a Natty, so you have to hug us,” Christen said, helping Tobin pull Channing into the hug. 

“Fine, but we get to pick dinner,” Tobin’s brother, Jeffrey, called out. 

“What? No Olive Garden?” Tobin mumbled, her face pressed into Christen’s shirt. 

“We’re in the presence of champions, we’re going fancy ,” Stacy assured, pulling out of the group hug with a smile.


Tobin held onto Christen’s hand, leading her through the lobby with their boxes of very fancy leftovers in her free hand. 

“I love that our parents get along, but I can’t believe they’re both extending their trips to go bourbon tasting together tomorrow,” Christen said, running her thumb along Tobin’s finger as she swung their clasped hands between them.

“At least your dad used his miles to put Channing and Jeff on the same flight tomorrow. They’d be miserable,” Tobin hummed. 

“Yeah, that was pretty great,” Christen replied with a smile. 

“Cody for the win,” Tobin whispered. She felt so exhausted in the most content way, full of happiness and good food. 

Christen nodded, about to answer, and then she caught sight of the group leaving the elevators. 

“HARRY! C.P.!” Allie yelled across the lobby.

“Harry!” Tobin answered flashing Allie a huge smile. “You look like you’re about to meet up with Bati,” Tobin said, checking out her roommate in the tight dress she’d brought to Kentucky. 

Allie flipped Tobin off affectionately and led a group of trouble-makers across the lobby. She was accompanied by Kelley, Megan and Sue, Ashlyn and Ali, Crystal, and Alyssa, all dressed ready to go out.

“Where’s the party?” Christen asked, smiling at her teammates.

“We found a club on Yelp,” Alyssa shrugged. 

“It’s a lesbian bar,” Megan added with a grin. “Kel is very excited!”

“So are we,” Ali grinned, waving at Christen.

“You didn’t tell me that!” Allie whined. 

“You’re in a committed relationship,” Tobin reminded, cocking her head to the side and smirking at her best friend. 

“But girls are hot,” Allie sighed dramatically. “Whatever, you two are coming. We’re not taking no for an answer.”

Christen wanted to bail. She was tired and sore and just wanted to drag Tobin upstairs and kiss her like she’d been wanting to since the game ended. She didn’t want to go to a club or a bar or anywhere that wasn’t her hotel room.

“Can I put this food away?” Tobin asked, lifting the boxes up. 

“I’ll take care of those,” Kelley said, swiping the boxes from Tobin’s hand.

Tobin sighed and then turned to face Christen. “We can stay here if you want,” she whispered. She held onto Christen’s hand, letting their friends walk ahead. She could tell that Christen was hesitant. She could see that she was sleepy. Christen always blinked a little slower when she was tired. Honestly, Tobin was thinking about skipping the celebration with their teammates and staying in. She wanted to slip Christen’s blue coat off and slowly pull the striped turtleneck and the black skinny jeans off of her body. She wanted to kiss her and whisper sweet words to her until it was time to get up tomorrow. 

“I’m exhausted and I’d like to stay in,” Christen admitted. She let her eyes trail across Tobin, taking in the nice outfit she’d packed for the trip. Tobin was in tapered dress pants and a tight-fitting white t-shirt, with a gray coat over the top. Her hair was down and wavy, just like Christen liked it. Tobin looked too good to just go back upstairs. “But I also don’t ever want this night to end. What’s the harm in going out to dance a little?” Christen asked, shrugging a bit. She could have time alone with Tobin later after they’d gone out with their friends to celebrate.

“I’d love to dance with you,” Tobin smirked, following behind their teammates and exiting the hotel. 


The bar wasn’t too far away and the two Ubers Allie had ordered got them there in record time. After explaining to the bouncer that they’d just won the National Championship, they were able to avoid paying cover and also managed to sneak Christen in while Ashlyn and Allie distracted the bouncer.

“What a rule-breaker,” Tobin laughed, moving her arm from where it had been around Christen’s shoulders and resting it around her waist instead. Christen had basically ducked under Tobin’s arm to slip through the door unnoticed. 

“I’m full of surprises,” Christen winked, following everyone into the back corner of the bar where they took over a few tables. 

After helping Christen out of her coat, and removing her own, Tobin draped them over the backs of two chairs. “You want a vodka cran?” Tobin asked, knowing that Christen drank that drink at nearly every club or party she went to with Tobin. 

“Nope, we're doing shots!” Megan called out, pulling Sue to the bar. “On us!”

“Which means on me,” Sue laughed, letting her girlfriend drag her away.

Tobin groaned, pressing her face into Christen’s neck. “I don’t think I’m in the right mood for shots.”

“We could hide on the dance floor,” Christen whispered.

“DANCING!” Kelley cheered, pulling Crystal toward the dance floor as well, leaving Allie, Ashlyn, and Ali to watch their tables.

“Maybe I can make a song request,” Tobin smirked, moving toward the dance floor and tugging on Christen’s belt loops to get her to follow. 

Christen swallowed thickly, completely letting herself be guided by Tobin’s touch. “And what would you request?” she hummed.

Tobin leaned forward, nearly pressing her lips to the shell of Christen’s ear. “I was thinking ‘One Week,’” Tobin teased, leaning down to kiss Christen’s neck, right above the top of her turtleneck sweater. 

Christen giggled, wrapping one of her arms around Tobin’s waist. “Doesn’t seem like that would fit the vibe here.”

“Are you kidding me?” Tobin laughed, her lips still pressed against Christen’s skin. “I bet at least one person in here loves that song.”

“It’s me, I’m the one person,” Christen replied, threading her fingers through the hair at the back of Tobin’s head. She tugged gently to get Tobin to stop kissing her neck, to look at her. 

“Sorry. I’m here,” Tobin mumbled, her eyes cloudy and wide with all of the desire and love she was feeling for the girl in her arms. 

“I didn’t want you to stop, I just wanted you up here for a bit,” Christen hummed, tilting forward and connecting her lips with Tobin’s. She kissed Tobin with the pride she’d felt at the game, with the passion she’d felt the night before, with the care she’d felt during their family dinner, with the love she felt every moment of every day. 

“You’re really good at that,” Tobin said, pressing her hands against Christen’s back and pulling her closer to her body. She rocked them softly to the beat of the song that was playing. They weren’t jumping around or moving quickly like most of the other people on the dance floor, but Tobin didn’t care. She didn’t want to let go of Christen. She just wanted to sway to the rhythm with her for a little while. 

Christen blushed, reaching up to brush some hair away from Tobin’s face, letting her finger trail down her cheek and off her chin. 

“I think you’ve told me that before,” she replied, letting Tobin move them to the beat, completely surrendering herself to Tobin’s touch.

“You’re also beautiful. I’ve told you that a lot,” Tobin teased, reaching for one of Christen’s hands and intertwining their fingers. 

“You definitely have,” Christen murmured, her blush deepening. “You’re beautiful too.”

Tobin got a goofy little grin on her face and pulled away from Christen then, only keeping their hands intertwined, lifting her arm up for Christen to spin. 

Christen obliged Tobin and her goofy grin, spinning around in a circle before letting Tobin pull her back in. “I really love you,” she whispered, her eyes dancing between Tobin’s, her free hand skirting around Tobin’s hip and then sliding into her back pocket.

“I really love you too, baby,” Tobin said, tracing her fingers along Christen’s back. “You were amazing today.”

“You were too. You always are,” Christen replied softly. She leaned forward and pressed a light kiss against Tobin’s lips.

“IT’S SPRING BREAK ALL OVER AGAIN!” Allie yelled from the tables.

“Yeah, except this time, I get to take you back to the hotel and kiss you,” Tobin mumbled. 

Christen's cheeks flamed at Allie’s and at Tobin’s words. “Bother someone else, Al!” Christen yelled.

“If that’s okay with you,” Tobin teased. “I’m sure Alyssa wouldn’t mind if I moved back in with her.”

Christen looked at Tobin and felt her smile grow. “I’d really like it if you’d take me back,” she whispered, nuzzling her nose along Tobin’s. “But after we dance with our friends. They’ll bother us less if we indulge them for a bit.”

Tobin nodded, leaning in for a quick kiss before turning around to see where Kelley and Crystal were on the dance floor. 

They gradually made the rounds. When Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” came on, Christen danced with Crystal, Megan, and Kelley, the four roommates jumping around and singing the lyrics, sharing hugs and laughs and enjoying the celebratory mood of the night. 

Sue, Allie, and Alyssa convinced Tobin to take one shot of tequila, but she drew the line at a second. There was no way she was going to be stumbling back to the hotel with Christen. She wanted to be sober and alert, present in every single moment that night. 

Christen took her one shot of the night with Ashlyn and Ali, hating the burn of the tequila the entire time. But even if it burned, the taste of tequila on her tongue always reminded her of Tobin, so she couldn’t hate it completely.

Tobin and Allie danced in the middle of the dance floor, belting the lyrics to “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, a song Allie had made Tobin memorize at U14 camp, a song that the two of them had dubbed “The Harry Song.” Allie lifted Tobin off the ground a little, jostling her up and down as they rocked to the music. She and Allie eventually left the dancefloor and retreated back to the tables.

Christen caught sight of Tobin and immediately moved toward her. “Can I get one dance before we go?” Christen whispered into Tobin’s ear, her arm snaking around Tobin’s waist from behind. They were standing near the tables, and after giving time to everyone, Christen was very ready to be alone with Tobin.

“Yes, please,” Tobin answered, turning around in Christen’s arms and wrapping her arms around Christen’s shoulders. 

Christen looked over at their teammates who were all working on splitting pitchers of beer evenly between them. “We’re gonna head out after this song, just wanted to let you guys know,” Christen announced.

“OW OW!” Kelley called, her cheeks completely flushed with how much she’d had to drink. 

“Full speed ahead to Bootytown!” Megan jeered, earning her a poke to the shoulder from Sue.

“Harry! You’re gonna get devirginized!” Allie called. 

“She’s a virg-?” Kelley blurted out, receiving an elbow in the ribs from Crystal. 

“Have fun you two!” Crystal grinned, waggling her brows at Christen.

Christen backed Tobin toward the dancefloor, hoping the slight flush in her cheeks from the tequila would cover the furious blush that threatened to break out. She loved their teammates usually, but they were very... involved and invested .

“I hate them,” Tobin mumbled, pressing her face into Christen’s neck. 

“Good thing we don’t have to see them for the next...ten hours,” Christen replied, maneuvering Tobin to the far edge of the dance floor. She slid both of her hands around to the small of Tobin’s back.

Tobin brushed her fingers along the back of Christen’s neck, twisting them lightly in the soft hair at the base of her neck. 

“Hi,” Christen whispered softly, fighting off a shiver at Tobin’s touch.

“Have you had fun tonight?” Tobin asked, moving both of them to the rhythm of the song. 

“Mhm,” Christen hummed. “But I’m about to have even more fun.”

“Oh, really?” Tobin asked, lifting her eyebrows and feigning ignorance. 

Christen nodded with a smile. “Really, really.” 

“What are your plans? Kelley ate our leftovers, so we’re out of midnight snacks,” Tobin whispered, moving one of her hands down to pull Christen’s hips closer. 

Christen ghosted her lips across Tobin’s cheek, to her ear, pressing her hands firmly against the small of Tobin’s back to keep their bodies flush against each other’s on the dance floor.

“I’d rather just show you,” Christen whispered, dropping a kiss to the spot beneath Tobin’s ear, the spot that always made Tobin shiver. 

Tobin felt warmth flood her entire body. She’d never wanted to pull Christen back to a bedroom more in her entire time of knowing her. She’d never wanted to take clothes off of someone else as much as she did Christen in this moment. 

Christen felt Tobin’s thumb brush beneath her sweater, along the waistband of her jeans, and she had to bite back a sigh. 

“Dance with me first, then we can go back,” Christen hummed, letting Tobin keep them moving to the beat. She knew they had all night. She knew they had a lot longer than that. They had forever. There was no need to rush.

Tobin wrapped both of her arms around Christen, holding her as close as she possibly could. She turned them slowly, closing her eyes as soon as she caught a glimpse of Allie across the room. 

“This is better than Spring Break,” Tobin whispered. 

Christen let out a breathy laugh, nodding against Tobin’s neck. 

“I couldn’t do this then,” Tobin mumbled, pressing her lips against Christen’s jaw. She couldn’t stop her heart from fluttering at the memory of Spring Break. She couldn’t forget how much she’d wanted to kiss Christen on the dance floor in L.A. when they were both drunk. This was better. This was real and sober and requited. 

Christen’s grip on Tobin’s back tightened, her hands fisting the material of her t-shirt. She loved the feeling of Tobin’s lips against her skin, the feeling of her body pressed against hers. It was so similar to how they danced then, the way they swayed together now. But it was so different too. There were no walls, no secrets, no mistakes between them any longer. There were just soft touches, gentle kisses, and love. 


Christen could feel it, the expectations lingering in the air around them. She and Tobin walked slowly from the elevator to her room, the one she shared with Kelley, the one she’d kicked Kelley out of for the foreseeable future. 

Suddenly, for some reason, Christen was nervous. She’d been brazen and confident for months. She’d been the leader, gently coaxing an inexperienced but very enthusiastic Tobin past lines and around bases, with ease. But now the moment was potentially upon them, the moment where they would finally take that final step together, Christen was hesitant. She could feel the pressure, the need to make it perfect. Tobin had never done this before and Christen knew she had to make it special. 

Tobin, on the other hand, felt calmer than usual. She was whistling softly, her hands swinging as they walked, her thumb brushing Christen’s hand in her own. She’d been so hesitant and nervous since starting her relationship with Christen, but every single moment with Christen had proved that she had nothing to worry about. Christen wasn’t judgmental. She didn’t expect perfection from Tobin. She loved unconditionally, and Tobin felt secure in that. 

Tobin watched Christen reach into her purse and take out her room key. Her hands were shaking slightly as she unlocked the door, and Tobin finally realized that the person who’d been cocky and confident all semester, was finally nervous. 

“Fun fact, I brought a puzzle. Want to do that?” Tobin asked, hoping to diffuse tension. She pressed a hand against Christen’s back as they walked into the room. 

Christen huffed out a laugh, dropping her purse, coat, and room key onto the dresser and then turning to face Tobin.

“A puzzle? Really?” Christen asked, twisting her ring around her finger as she arched a brow in Tobin’s direction.

“Your face is all anxious, and your hands are shaking,” Tobin whispered. “I won’t be disappointed if you just want to watch a movie or order more food or whatever.”

Christen let out a long breath and stepped into Tobin’s space. She dropped her arms on top of Tobin’s shoulders and shot Tobin a hesitant smile. 

“I don’t want to watch a movie or order more food. I’m just very aware of how important this is, thus the shaking hands and the nerves,” Christen replied softly.

“It is important, you’re right,” Tobin nodded. “But it’s just us…” Tobin ran her fingers along Christen’s back, trying to soothe some of Christen’s nerves. 

Christen melted, feeling her anxieties leave her for the moment. She still felt a small flutter of nerves in her stomach, still felt a slight shake in her hands, but she was no longer worried about doing everything wrong, no longer stressing about perfection. Tobin was right, it was them so no matter what happened, it was going to be amazing.

Christen let out a small breath, stepping back from Tobin. With a small smirk, one holding far more ease and confidence than she actually felt, Christen shrugged off her coat and then grabbed the hem of her turtleneck and pulled it over her head. She dropped it onto the ground next to her suitcase, leaving her in the nicest bra she owned, the one she’d bought just for this moment.

Tobin didn’t want to make Christen even more nervous, but she couldn’t help but stay glued to the floor and watch. It didn’t matter how many times she saw Christen shirtless or how many times she pulled a t-shirt off of Christen herself, she would never get over how beautiful the green-eyed girl was. And in this moment, the way Christen was staring at her in a black bra that Tobin had never seen before made Tobin feel weak at the knees. She’d never felt this kind of desire before, not for anyone else, and she was having trouble telling her body to step forward and actually do something about it. 

Feeling a flush creep up her neck at the way Tobin was looking at her, at the love and hunger and want she could see on Tobin’s face and in her brown eyes, Christen kicked off her shoes in the direction of her suitcase as well. She then slowly stepped back up to Tobin, deciding to make things a little more even before going any further. 

She leaned forward and kissed the corner of Tobin’s mouth, then across her cheek and her jaw, then down the side of her neck. She pushed Tobin’s coat off of her shoulders, pulling it down her arms and discarding it on top of her suitcase. She then let her hands wrap around Tobin’s sides, gently holding on as she continued. 

“Baby, breathe,” Christen chuckled, feeling how tense Tobin was under her touch. She changed sides, kissing up the other side of Tobin’s neck.

“That’s new,” Tobin choked out, moving her hands up Christen’s back to the bottom of her bra. 

“You like it?” Christen asked, finding that spot on Tobin’s neck that made her tremble. Christen let her hands fall to the waistband of Tobin’s dress pants, gripping at the material of her t-shirt, ready to untuck it when she got the go-ahead.

Tobin nodded quickly, trying and failing to keep a whine from slipping out from between her lips. She lifted her arms, needing the fabric between them to disappear. 

Christen leaned back so she could pull Tobin’s shirt off and then felt her mouth flop open. Never, at any point in the last few months, had she ever seen Tobin in anything other than a sports bra or a Calvin Klein bra. She loved Tobin in those, so she wasn’t complaining. But right now, Tobin was standing in front of her in a white, lacy bra and Christen was certain she’d died and gone to heaven.

“You also- that’s- looks new,” Christen stumbled over her words, her eyes drinking in the absolute vision that was her girlfriend. “Wow, Tobs,” she whispered, eyes rising to meet Tobin’s.

Tobin used Christen’s stuttered response as the perfect moment to finally lean forward and place her lips on Christen’s neck. She sucked softly at the skin under Christen’s jaw, running her tongue softly over the skin that she’d likely mark if she stayed any longer in that one spot. She moved forward, kissing Christen’s throat and collarbones as softly as possible. Her hands ran along the top of Christen’s jeans, her fingers slipping under the waistband every so often. 

A soft moan escaped Christen’s lips as she threaded her fingers into Tobin’s hair, her other hand gripping tightly onto Tobin’s shoulder. It was sinful what Tobin Heath could accomplish with just a few well-placed kisses on her neck. It made heat course through her entire body, it made her feel like every nerve ending was on fire. It made her feel like maybe she wouldn’t be the one leading them tonight, it might be more of an even playing field than she anticipated.

Tobin moved her hands down Christen’s hips, slowly trailing her fingers down Christen’s legs and back up to her hips, over and over again. She could feel Christen pushing their bodies even closer. Tobin’s back was fully pressed against the wall, and Christen’s entire body was nearly pressed against Tobin’s. Tobin moved her hands to Christen’s back, letting them roam over soft skin. She moved her head to kiss the other side of Christen’s neck. When Christen let out a soft whimper, Tobin couldn’t keep her movements slow or soft. She kept her mouth pressed against Christen’s neck but moved her hands down over the swell of Christen’s ass until she could grip Christen’s thighs and lift her off the ground. 

Christen let out a delighted little gasp, looking down at Tobin in surprise as Tobin picked her up. She couldn’t help but smile as Tobin winked up at her, walked them a few feet forward, and then deposited her down onto the bed. 

Christen reminded herself to breathe as she looked up at Tobin hovering above her. Her arms had fallen to her sides and her hands itched to reach up and pull Tobin down on top of her, but the glint in Tobin’s eyes gave her pause. So Christen just laid there, her curls splayed out on the bed around her, her chest heaving with every breath she forced herself to take, waiting for Tobin to make a move.

Tobin dipped her head down, kissing Christen’s lips quickly before moving them slowly to her jaw and neck and collarbones. She kissed the tops of Christen’s breasts, moving over the fabric of Christen’s bra with soft kisses. She kissed along Christen's ribs, letting her tongue slip along her skin slowly. 

“Jesus,” Christen rasped, fisting her hands in the comforter by her sides, her hips jumping slightly at the feeling of Tobin’s lips and tongue venturing lower and lower. 

When Tobin got to Christen’s hip bones, Tobin sucked gently before brushing her tongue along her skin. She kissed along the waistband of Christen’s jeans before making her way back up Christen’s body to kiss her neck again, trailing back up to Christen’s lips. 

Christen deepened the kiss immediately, slipping her tongue past parted lips. She finally let herself touch Tobin, gripping onto the side of Tobin’s neck with one hand and pressing the other against the small of Tobin’s back. She pulled Tobin down flush against her, humming at the feeling of Tobin’s skin against her own. Her brain was foggy and her movements felt slow. She was completely under the spell of Tobin, of what Tobin was doing to her. She knew she needed to get back on top, to gain the upper hand, to guide them through this. But for right now, she surrendered to Tobin’s touch and bided her time.

Tobin slotted one of her legs between Christen’s, letting her hands move up and down Christen’s body. She couldn’t keep her hands from exploring, each touch making her skin feel hotter, making heat shoot through her. She sucked on Christen’s bottom lip and brushed her fingers over the swell of her breasts, enjoying the noises she could hear coming from the girl underneath her. 

Christen loved being at the mercy of Tobin’s lips and touches, but she also wanted to make Tobin feel as good as she felt right now. She wanted to make Tobin squirm, she wanted to make Tobin moan. She pushed against Tobin’s shoulder and quickly rolled them over so Tobin was now on her back, with Christen hovering over her. 

Tobin was practically panting, her eyes dilated and her lips swollen. She stared up at Christen, feeling even more desire pool low in her stomach at the sight of her girlfriend above her. Christen’s eyes were intense and full of want, her lips were red and glossy, her hair was curly and slightly wild from where Tobin had brushed her hands through it. 

“My turn,” Christen whispered with a smirk. She swung her leg over Tobin’s hips and dropped her hands to either side of Tobin’s head before leaning down to recapture Tobin’s lips in a quick, needy kiss. 

She didn’t let Tobin deepen the kiss, not like her girlfriend seemed to want to. Instead, she moved her lips quickly down to Tobin’s pulse point, sucking hard, hard enough to leave a mark, and continued her path down. 

Tobin grabbed onto Christen’s hips as soon as Christen moved on top of her, needing to hold on, to ground herself before her brain completely clouded with need and hunger. 

Christen set a torturously languid pace, kissing across Tobin’s chest, nipping gently at her collarbones. She crawled slowly down Tobin’s body, ghosting her lips across every available inch of skin she could find. As she got closer to Tobin’s waist, she moved her legs between Tobin’s, her lips sucking harder, her tongue teasing more. 

Tobin had to force her hips down into the bed, not wanting to jerk up off the bed any more than she already had and indicate that she needed Christen and needed her now. It didn’t matter how much she tried to control her breathing or stop her body from twitching, Tobin knew that Christen could tell just how turned on she was. Tobin’s entire body was burning, and all she wanted was to pull off every piece of clothing that was keeping her from Christen. She couldn’t stop her hips from jerking off the bed, not when Christen kept teasing her with such slow kisses and touches. 

After she felt Tobin’s hips press up into her stomach for the fourth time, Christen chuckled into the skin of Tobin’s stomach, nipping gently. 

“Patience, baby. We’ve got all night,” Christen hummed, looking up at Tobin, noticing her flushed neck, her blown pupils, and the needy look in her eyes. Christen dropped a kiss right above the button of Tobin’s dress pants and then looked back up, her hands holding Tobin’s hips gently.

“Can I?” she husked, running her thumbs across the waistband of Tobin’s pants.

Tobin didn’t mean to beg, but she couldn’t stop herself from whispering, “Please,” when Christen asked. 

“Are you sure?” Christen asked gently, leaning up for a moment, asking about more than just taking off the next article of clothing. She was asking if this was what Tobin wanted from tonight, if Tobin was ready for this.

“I’ve never been more sure,” Tobin nodded, pulling one of Christen’s hands up to her lips and kissing the knuckles on her hand. “Are you sure? There’s still movies or a puzzle.” 

Christen felt her stomach drop in the absolute best way at Tobin’s words. Tobin was sure, was ready, and so was she.

“Positive,” Christen whispered, placing a kiss on the spot right above the waistband of Tobin’s pants.

“I love you,” Tobin husked, her eyes glued on Christen. 

Christen beamed, her heart fluttering in her chest. She’d never get tired of hearing those three words leave Tobin’s lips. Not now, not ever. 

“I love you too,” Christen replied softly, her fingers flicking open the button of Tobin’s pants. She looked up at Tobin the entire way as she slid her fingers beneath the waistband of Tobin’s pants. She began to slide them down Tobin’s legs, willing herself to go slow, to take her time, not to rush. She sat back and pulled the pants all the way off, taking a moment to turn them right side out before tossing them onto her suitcase.

“So courteous,” Tobin mumbled, lifting up on her elbows. 

Christen turned back around, pulling her lower lip between her teeth as she ogled the new expanse of tanned skin she’d just uncovered. They’d never gone this far, never actually gotten to the point of taking off anything below the waist. So Christen let herself linger in the moment, enjoying her view of Tobin’s long legs, of her hip bones, peeking out from the top of her tight boyshorts. 

“Wow,” Christen said for the second time tonight but meaning it no less than the first.  

“Would you mind-” Tobin started, clearing her throat softly when she heard just how husky her voice sounded. She couldn’t help it though. Watching Christen and the way she was looking at her now bare legs turned Tobin on more than she thought possible. “-would you mind if I made it even?”

Christen’s eyes rose to meet Tobin’s and a small smirk graced her lips. She backed off of the bed, standing at the foot of it. 

“Come here,” Christen whispered, crooking a finger in Tobin’s direction.

Tobin sat up, scooting toward the foot of the bed. She reached out for Christen’s hips, pulling Christen between her legs and kissing her stomach softly. Tobin unbuttoned Christen’s jeans, slowly pushing them down her legs. As the jeans slipped lower down Christen’s legs, Tobin guided Christen back away from the bed slightly, just enough to give Tobin room to slip off the foot of the bed and kiss her way down Christen’s legs before she helped Christen step out of the jeans. She stood up slowly, placing one more kiss on Christen’s hip before she stood up fully. 

Christen immediately pulled Tobin in for a bruising kiss, gripping Tobin’s face between her hands. She tugged Tobin’s bottom lip between her teeth, swallowing Tobin’s throaty moan with her next kiss. She let her hands fall from Tobin’s face, her fingertips gliding down her neck, down her sides, and then around to the clasp of Tobin’s bra. 

“Off?” Christen mumbled against Tobin’s lips in question, only pausing the kiss to get the word out.

“Off,” Tobin nodded. 

Christen smiled a bit into the next kiss, feeling her stomach coil with anticipation and fire. With a deft flick of her fingers, she unclasped Tobin’s lace bra, her fingers rising to the straps so she could pull them down Tobin’s arms. She didn’t pull away from the kiss just yet, despite everything inside of her screaming at her to step back, to look and adore, to touch and taste. She dropped Tobin’s bra to the ground and then ghosted her fingertips up Tobin’s sides, slowly moving up, higher and higher. Only then did she lean back, her eyes fluttering open so she could look into Tobin’s eyes that were slowly blinking open as well.

Tobin tried not to think about why Christen was so skilled when it came to unclasping her bra. She pushed the insecurity away, focusing instead on the way Christen was touching her, the way Christen was looking at her, like she was the only other person in the world. She couldn’t help pull Christen’s hips closer, wanting contact with her, wanting to reach her own hands behind Christen’s back and take her clothes off. She ran her hands up to the clasp, waiting a moment for Christen to stop her or tell her to keep going. 

Christen pulled her lower lip between her teeth and nodded ever so slightly, giving Tobin the green light to do the same, to take her bra off and even the score.

Tobin hadn’t felt nervous this entire time. She’d felt completely safe, completely full of desire, completely in love. Only now, with Christen’s bra, one that had three clasps instead of two, did Tobin feel slightly out of her element. She wasn’t one to wear much more than a sports bra, so clasps weren’t really her forte. And this bra...well, it almost seemed like Christen had bought it as a challenge, even though Tobin knew she wouldn’t have purposefully done that. For the first time all night, Tobin felt inexperienced. 

“Baby,” Christen whispered, noting the slight, frustrated furrow in Tobin’s brow, the tip of her tongue poked out of the corner of her mouth in concentration.

“Mhm,” Tobin mumbled, still completely concentrating on moving her fingers in the right direction. 

“I can help if you want, it’s basically Fort Knox back there,” Christen joked lightly, trying to chase away the slight worry she could see clouding Tobin’s brown eyes.

Tobin sighed, leaning her forehead against Christen’s shoulder and letting her hands fall. 

“It’s okay,” Christen whispered, kissing Tobin’s temple sweetly.

Tobin watched as Christen reached back to help... and then she felt her heart jump and her stomach drop when she heard a knock on the door. 


“They’re literally having sex right now,” Allie hissed from the hallway. 

“I left my toiletries,” Kelley whined, her voice hoarse and slurring slightly. 

“You’re gonna ruin Tobin’s moment,” Ashlyn nearly shouted from down the hall. 

“Screw her moment, I need my toothbrush,” Kelley grumbled, knocking on the door again. 

Tobin sighed, her forehead still pressed into Christen’s shoulder. She gripped Christen’s waist, knowing that whatever next step they were about to take would now be forgotten. 

Christen wrapped her arms around Tobin’s back and fought off the urge to groan and kill Kelley O’Hara. She tasted disappointment on her tongue, as she pressed a kiss to Tobin’s head. She backed away from Tobin, averting her eyes as she moved to her suitcase. She grabbed a t-shirt and a pair of sweats and then turned back to Tobin to give them to her, keeping her eyes on the floor, so as to not completely freak her girlfriend out by ogling her very bare chest.

Tobin stood with her arms over her chest, feeling more frustration than she’d ever felt. She took the clothes from Christen’s hands and turned around to get dressed. 

When she heard Tobin sigh again, Christen felt a small smile make its way onto her face. She was feeling the exact same way. 

“I know, baby,” Christen hummed, looking up when Tobin had pulled a shirt on. She leaned forward to kiss Tobin’s forehead before turning around and pulling on a different pair of sweats and a tank top. She made her way into the bathroom, aggressively throwing Kelley’s toiletries into the small bag. 

Tobin crawled into the bed, knowing that if she saw Kelley in the hallway, she’d lose her temper. Instead, she pulled the covers over her body and buried her face in the pillow. 

Christen pulled the door open, her eyes narrowed in frustration as she looked between Allie, Kelley, and Ashlyn. 

“Not a word,” Christen hissed, shoving the toiletry bag into Kelley’s arms. “I’m so pissed off at all of you. Especially you,” she added, her finger pointed in Ashlyn’s direction.

“I tried to stop them. It wasn’t my fault,” Ashlyn defended. 

“You’re guilty by association,” Christen replied. “Good night,” she seethed quietly, slamming the door a little more forcefully than necessary. 

Tobin was still buried in the pillow, her nose pressed into the fabric. Still, she couldn’t help the smile she felt slide across her face. She was pissed, but she couldn’t help but smile at how much her friends had interrupted them since the very beginning of their relationship. She also couldn’t help but grin at how angry Christen sounded, at how upset Christen was at being interrupted. 

“They interrupt us like they’re getting paid to do it,” Christen grumbled, making her way back into the hotel room. Her eyes landed on Tobin, facedown in the pillow, her body buried under the covers, and she couldn’t help but feel her frustrations melt away. “What are you doing, baby?” she asked with slight amusement in her voice.

“Oh, you know, just imagining a world in which I know how to remove bras and Kelley O’Hara doesn’t exist,” Tobin mumbled, turning her head slightly so that her voice wasn’t muffled by the pillow. 

Christen chuckled and crawled onto the bed. She laid down beside Tobin, running her hand across Tobin’s back. 

“Can I tell you something?” Christen said quietly. 

“Of course,” Tobin nodded, rolling on her side to look at Christen. 

“Taking your bra off? I got lucky. It usually takes me like seven tries to unclasp bras, even my own,” Christen admitted with a blush.

“That’s a very sweet lie, baby,” Tobin hummed, reaching out for Christen’s hand and kissing the back of it. 

“I’m not lying! It’s true!”

“I don’t know…I’m pretty sure you told me that you’ve had at least two serious girlfriends. You’ve had good practice,” Tobin whispered. 

Christen could hear the insecurity in Tobin’s words. She knew that no matter how many times she said it, no matter how often she tried to quell those worries, they were always going to be there. 

“That was my first time taking off yours, and for whatever reason, I got it on the first try. Nothing else that’s happened or hasn’t happened matters,” Christen said gently.

“Fate really wanted you to see my boobs,” Tobin smirked, rubbing her thumb across the back of Christen’s hand. 

Christen blushed. “I didn’t even see them.”

“They’ll still be there next time,” Tobin mumbled. “And next time Kelley isn’t going to be in the same state as we are. That’s my goal.”

With a sigh, Christen kissed Tobin quickly. “I’m getting really tired of the interruptions. I just want you, and I hate that there’s no way I can have you tonight, with the knowledge that Kelley and Megan and Mal are literally next door,” she pouted, flipping over and snuggling back into Tobin’s chest.

Tobin let out a long sigh, her mind already spinning with possible plans for the perfect place and time that they could actually be together without worrying about anyone else. She wrapped her arm around Christen, spooning her as close as possible. Tobin pressed her lips against Christen’s shoulder, kissing her gently. She decided in that moment that she was going to make their first time as special and intentional as possible. And she was going to make sure Kelley O’Hara and every single one of the teammates were far, far away.