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“I’m sorry, Spencer. I’m going where now?” Tobin asked in shock with her phone on speaker and her video game on pause.

She had heard her agent just fine, but she didn’t quite believe what he was saying. She didn’t want to believe what he was saying. Of all the news she was expecting to hear today, this was the last thing she expected or wanted. Given her status as an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and the trade deadline looming in less than two hours at 11:59pm Eastern Time, she was starting to think she wasn’t going to be moved at all and would simply be able to test the free agent waters at season’s end.

Her relationship with the Thorns had been strained of late. After much success in their first three years together, including winning back-to-back championships in her second and third seasons, they lost a number of players to free agency and didn’t do enough to replace them to remain at the top of a highly competitive league. She wanted to keep winning and the front office moves the last couple of seasons, under new ownership who seemed hellbent on having a fire sale, left her scratching her head and she had seen enough. She wanted to win and she wanted out. When she saw Spencer’s number pop up on her phone, she knew something had happened.

“As of five minutes ago, you’re no longer a Portland Thorn. You’ve been traded to Angel City Football Club,” Spencer repeated. “It’s probably up on ESPN’s ticker by now.”

In a way, Tobin should have known this was a possibility. Her chances of being traded to Angel City was no more or less than any other team in the league. Plus, the Thorns really had no choice but to move her given that they wouldn’t have received anything in return for her if they had done nothing at the deadline and just let her walk away at the end of the season. Maybe she had been in denial because of her disdain for all things LA, the land of fake boobs, Botox injections, and celebrity owners who knew nothing about football. She had made it clear to Spencer at the beginning of the season that playing closer to family in New Jersey would be ideal and LA was not on her list of destinations once she becomes a free agent. She could hear the disappointment in his voice while delivering news of the trade to her.

“It’s only for the rest of this season, Tobs. Then you can go sign anywhere you want,” Spencer said when she didn’t respond. “I know this isn’t what we wanted and we did everything we could to avoid LA, but they really ponied up and at the end of the day, Portland took the best deal.”

Tobin sighed heavily and remained quiet, carefully digesting the news. Screwed by the Thorns front office one last time. Typical. When she walked off the field last night at Providence Park, the fans had given her a very long standing ovation to show her their appreciation of what she had accomplished in the last five years, knowing that she could possibly be traded by this weekend’s deadline. She had acknowledged them with a small wave and tried to keep her emotions in check for the last ten minutes of the game. The fans and her teammates had been nothing but good to her and she knew she would really miss being around them everyday.

“What did LA give up?” Tobin asked, shifting her focus to her new team.

“One of their first round draft picks, a second round pick, and Crystal,” Spencer replied.

Tobin whistled. “Why did they give up so much? I mean I know Crystal has been wanting to come to Portland and be with Pierre, but did they really have to give the Thorns those picks? Did someone get traded with me?” she asked.

“Nope, you were the only one traded. LA wants to win now so they can become a top destination for free agents like you and the Thorns knew how much they coveted you, so they asked for the world. They know you can bring people to the stadium and you’re entering the prime of your career. It was worth it for LA to get you so they can win this year,” Spencer said.

“They’re in 10th place in the West with a losing record, even worse than the Thorns. How the hell do they expect to win now and in the future if they’re giving away draft picks left and right?” Tobin asked incredulously.

“I’m told that there’s more news to come tonight, so they must have something else up their sleeve that will make it make sense,” Spencer informed her.

Tobin sighed and rubbed her temples. Her perfectly calm night had turned into an absolute shitshow.

“Fuck, I guess I need to pack. When do I need to report?” Tobin asked.

“You’ll fly to LA in two days and take your physical. Once everything is cleared for all parties, they have you scheduled to meet with the media on Thursday morning and then you’ll report for training by Friday,” Spencer said.

Tobin thought for a minute of all the things she needed to pack up and get done in the next two days, internally chastising herself for not having thought of it much earlier just in case something did happen.

“Let me know if you need anything. I’m going to send you an email with a list of apartments where you can live until we figure out your next move,” Spencer said.

“Thanks, Spence. I don’t wanna have to move twice, so I’m gonna leave most of my stuff here for now. I’ll deal with it at the end of the season,” Tobin said, deciding on the spot that she wasn’t going to bother with worrying about selling her condo right now.

“Okay, I’ll flag the ones that are furnished to make it easier,” Spencer said.

“I appreciate that,” Tobin said genuinely even though the whole thing still had her a bit frazzled.

“Do you have any more questions for me?” Spencer asked.

“No, not right now. I just need to sit on it for a bit. I’ll hit you up if I think of anything,” Tobin said.

“Alright Tobs, I’ll check in with you tomorrow. Get some rest,” Spencer said.

“I will. Thanks dude. Later,” Tobin said.

“Bye,” Spencer replied.

Tobin tapped her phone to end the call and leaned back on her couch, releasing a breath she’d been holding. She tried to let the news sink in that she was about to leave the only place she’d called home in this league. It made her sad, but a part of her was relieved that it was coming to an end. The part she couldn’t believe was where she had been traded.

“LA of all places. Fuck me,” Tobin muttered to herself, resigned to the fact that she was going from one losing team to a worse losing team that wasn’t even close to a playoff spot. Tobin absolutely hated losing. She hated losing more than she loved winning, a byproduct of her parents instilling in her as a kid that second place is never good enough.

Switching off her video game and flipping the receiver back to TV mode, she changed the channel to ESPN to see what other news there was that LA supposedly had to announce. Her phone was already going off with phone calls and messages from family and friends, presumably having seen the news on ESPN or another news outlet, but she decided to ignore them for the time being.

An NBA game was finishing up and she watched the ticker at the bottom of the screen for the soccer news to come around. As expected, the trade for her was the first news item that scrolled across her screen. It still didn’t feel real, seeing her name and Angel City associated with one another. That was going to take some getting used to. She continued to read and what came next almost made her choke. Her eyes grew wide and her face flushed with rage.

————

“You’re kidding!” Christen screamed into her phone when her agent, Julia, broke the news to her.

“One hundred percent NOT kidding!” Julia said excitedly. “You’re going to Angel City!”

Christen didn’t know what to do with herself. Standing in the middle of her Chicago apartment, her heart was pounding after having jumped up and down at the news that she had been traded to LA. She wasn’t just going to any team. She was going to LA. She was going home.

“Holy shit, I can’t believe this,” Christen said with wonder.

It had always been her dream to play professionally in her hometown. On draft night five years ago, she had hoped that Angel City would be able to draft her, but Chicago ended up taking her one pick ahead of Angel City. She was crushed, but she made the most of it. She looked at it as a chance to get to know a new city and play for some great fans and with some great teammates. She ended up loving her time in Chicago, quickly becoming a sports icon in the Windy City, having taken the Red Stars from being one of the league’s worst teams to a perennial contender to winning it all the last two years. They were looking for more this year, with the team in first place again in the Eastern Conference halfway through the season. She was happy and wanted nothing more than to bring another championship to the club.

But a month ago, her Mom had suffered a seizure in Los Angeles and was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, and was given anywhere from six to twelve months to live. Christen’s perspective and all her priorities changed in that moment. She had originally planned on signing a long-term contract to stay with the Red Stars in the offseason since she was due to become an unrestricted free agent. But her Mom’s illness made it clear to Christen that she now wanted to desperately play in or close to her hometown of Los Angeles so she could spend as much time as possible with her Mom, with whatever time she had left. And she just wanted to be near her family again after having spent the past nine years away from them between her time at Stanford and the Red Stars. So when she learned of her Mom’s diagnosis, she approached the Red Stars front office and gave them the courtesy of telling them she would try to sign with either LA or San Diego in the offseason and told them why. The Red Stars were grateful for her honesty and immediately reached out to LA and San Diego to try to work out a deal with one of them before the trade deadline so they could get something in return for Christen rather than lose her for nothing to free agency.

When Julia called to tell her the news five minutes ago, her stomach flipped and she jumped for joy. She had spent the past month on FaceTime calls with her family every chance she had and had flown back and forth on off days just to spend twenty-four hours with her mom before having to say gut-wrenching goodbyes. She had also taken advantage of a game in Seattle recently to make a pit stop in LA for a day before rejoining the team in Chicago. It was exhausting, but nothing compared to the battle her mom now faced. Once she caught her breath and flopped down on the couch, she started asking questions, thinking of what the Angel City team would look like once she got there.

“Who or what did LA trade for me?” Christen asked.

“Well, they have two first round draft picks in next year’s draft. They traded one of those. They also traded Sam Kerr’s playing rights and Julie Ertz,” Julia said.

“Are you serious?” Christen asked. “Is anyone else coming with me then?”

“Nope. All of that for just you, kid,” Julia said. “LA wanted you bad. They wanted their hometown hero to come home and they want to win now. And Chicago got a lot out of it, too. It’s a great trade for everyone, which is how it should be,” she added.

Christen’s brows furrowed. She couldn’t understand how exactly they’ve improved their roster enough to ‘win now’ considering they were one of the worst teams in the league.

“I don’t understand. I mean I’m flattered, but that feels like a lot to give up for me, honestly,” Christen said chuckling.

“Well, what they also told me is that they had another deal in the works that’s going to make the club championship caliber this year,” Julia said. “It’s going to be announced any minute, if it hasn’t already.”

Christen’s brows remained furrowed, wondering what else LA could possibly do to make the team go from an 8th place team to a championship caliber team.

“Okaaaay,” Christen said doubtfully.

“So you’ll have a couple of days to get your affairs in order in Chicago. I have you on a flight to LA in two days so you can take your physical and make everything official. If everything goes well, you’ll do some media on Thursday morning and your first training with the team will be on Friday,” Julia said.

Christen nodded and walked to her desk to grab her planner. She flipped through the pages until she got to the page where she had started jotting some notes down on what she would need to do to close the book on Chicago in case she got traded.

“Jules, can you please send me the details for the physical and my flight info?” Christen asked, wanting to write it all down in her planner.

“Yep, it’s on its way,” Julia said.

“Perfect, thanks,” Christen said appreciatively.

“Of course,” Julia said.

“Like, I mean, seriously. Thank you, Jules. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. This wouldn’t have been possible without you and I’m grateful for you and your team for taking care of everything and working with the Red Stars. I can’t believe I’m going home,” Christen said, tears threatening to fall as she thought about the gift of time with her Mom that she’s just been given.

“Anything for you, Chris. Everything should be in your inbox. Let me know if you have any questions, okay?” Julia said.

“Okay, thanks again,” Christen said.

“No problem, bye Chris.”

“Bye Jules.”

Christen’s phone was blowing up with messages from her family and friends, a couple of whom tried calling her while she was on the phone with Julia. Deciding to hold off on the madness of responding to everyone, she went to the ESPN website out of curiosity, to see what other moves Angel City had announced. With a smile still plastered on her face, she scrolled down the main page to the top news of the day. About halfway down the headlines, her face fell and her feelings of joy turned to sheer anger. In an instant, her dreams had turned into a nightmare.

————

“You’ve gotta be kidding me! They seriously expect me to play with Christen Press?!” Tobin yelled into her phone at Spencer, whom she called as soon as the initial shock of seeing who else was coming to LA had worn off.

“Tobs…” Spencer said, wincing.

As soon as he saw the news himself, Spencer knew this was going to happen. He knew Tobin was going to blow a gasket. He was well-aware that Tobin had a beef with Christen Press and he was already about to call Tobin when his phone rang and his irate client was on the other end.

“Don’t ‘Tobs’ me! I can’t believe that not only do I now have to play in a city that I hate, but now they’re going to make me play with her?” Tobin asked rhetorically. “I can’t fucking believe this is happening!”

Spencer sighed.

“I don’t know what to say. Obviously, we didn’t know this was going to happen. They gave up a lot to get both of you. If we look at this from a glass half full and a football perspective, I think this absolutely makes Angel City an automatic contender. With a front line of you, Alex Morgan, and Christen Press, that is a deadly attack. They’ve somehow managed to bring together all the best players at their respective frontline positions and put them all on one team. And they have some bright young players like Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis who just need a chance at more playing time and of course Yuki Nagasato whom they also acquired a few weeks ago. They gave up a lot to make this happen, but it’s hard to deny that this definitely makes it a championship caliber team. All of a sudden, things are looking very bright on that roster,” Spencer tried to reason, knowing that Tobin wouldn’t see it that way. Not initially anyway.

“Fuck, dude. This is bullshit,” Tobin said, basically ignoring Spencer’s reasoning. “It’s gonna be a nightmare going to work everyday. Do you have any idea what a nightmare this is going to be?”

To say that Tobin was worked up was an understatement. If there was one player in the league who could make her blood pressure rise irrationally, it was Christen Press. Ever since the championship game that they played against each other two years ago, they’d basically been mortal enemies on the pitch.

“Tobs, listen. This is only temporary, okay? It’s only gonna be three, four months tops if everything goes as planned. Then you can forget about this whole thing and start fresh in another city. Promise me you’ll be civil?” Spencer pleaded.

Tobin was silent. She didn’t want to lie to Spencer and just say yes. She really didn’t know how she was expected to be civil toward someone who had not made any effort to be civil toward her either.

“Tobin Powell Heath. Promise me you’ll be civil,” Spencer repeated again.

“Look, Spence. I’ll be civil if she’s civil. But if she starts spouting off, I can’t promise I won’t do the same. That’s the best I can do,” Tobin said defiantly.

Spencer sighed. “Okay,” he said.

That would have to be good enough for now. He rubbed his face in frustration for his client and friend.

“Do you need anything else from me? Anything I can do?” Spencer asked.

“No. Sorry I yelled at you. I know this isn’t your fault,” Tobin said.

Spencer chuckled. “Not the first time I’ve been yelled at by an irate client and it won’t be the last.”

“Regardless, I’m sorry. I’m good, though. I don’t need anything else right now,” Tobin said, her heart rate slowly coming back down.

“Okay. Call me if you need anything. Anything at all, alright?” Spencer said.

“Will do. Bye Spence.”

“Bye Tobs.”

Tobin angrily threw her phone to the other end of the couch and it ended up bouncing and crashing to the floor. She had almost 200 unread text messages and she didn’t feel like reading through all of it tonight. She needed to calm down and have a beer and stew by herself. And not think about Christen Press.

————

“Jules, why the fuck would they do this?!” Christen asked angrily as she called her agent right after reading the article about her trade along with Tobin Heath’s trade.

“Chris…” Julia started.

“Like how do they expect me to play with…with…her!” Christen said in a panic. “Just when I get my damn wish, they blow it all up and bring in the last player in this league that I wanna play with.”

“Chris, I’m pretty sure LA has no idea that you and Tobin Heath aren’t on the greatest terms,” Julia said.

“That’s putting it mildly,” Christen scoffed.

“But if you look at these moves on paper, this makes the team an immediate contender. People are really excited about what this means. I know your history with Tobin, but this won’t be a permanent thing, okay? I’ve heard through the grapevine that she doesn’t like LA and definitely won’t be signing there in the offseason. You just have to play with her for a few months. It’ll go by just like that,” Julia tried to reason and put a positive spin on the situation.

Christen wasn’t hearing any of it. Just the thought of being in the same locker room, the same bus, the same hotel, the same everything as Tobin Heath was making her skin crawl and her blood boil. There’s no way they would both make it to the end of the season without killing each other.

“Chris?” Julia asked when Christen didn’t respond for a couple of minutes.

“I’m here,” Christen said, her eyes closed, wishing this would all turn out to be some kind of prank when she opens them back up.

“Can you promise me you’ll play nice?” Julia asked.

“How can you ask me to play nice after what she said?” Christen asked, feeling her blood pressure rise again.

“For the good of the team. I’m just asking you to play nice for the good of the team. I know you desperately want to win and this gives you an opportunity to do just that. And you’ll be able to spend a lot more time with your mom. Just keep that in mind these next few months. Please?” Julia said, pleading with her client to see the bright side of this.

Christen sat there in silence again, trying to put some perspective into things. “Fine,” she said after a few moments. “I’ll play nice if she plays nice. But the moment she makes some nasty comment, I can’t promise you that I won’t stoop to her level.”

“That’s all I ask,” Julia said wincing, already planning on some kind of damage control, knowing how much the two players dislike one another. All she could do now was cross her fingers that this doesn’t blow up on the team.

“Call me if you need anything, Chris. Get some rest. I’m sure you have a lot of stuff to take care of in the morning,” Julia said. “Just focus on that.”

Christen took a deep breath, feeling like she needed to meditate or do yoga. “Okay,” she said, her voice defeated.

“Okay, I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Chris.”

“Night Jules.”

Christen dropped her phone next to her and rubbed her eyes. The rollercoaster of emotions that she had just been through in the last fifteen minutes made her very anxious. She had hundreds of messages waiting for her and she didn’t have it in her to respond. Even though she would normally call her family and talk to them to get their perspective on things, she just couldn’t do it right in that moment. Instead, she stood up, marched over to grab her yoga mat and tried not to dwell on Tobin Heath.

————

Two days later, Tobin walked into her new apartment in Manhattan Beach and sighed deeply. God she hated LA. The traffic from the airport alone made her want to turn around and go right back to Portland and beg them to untrade her somehow. She wheeled both her luggages inside and locked the door behind her. She put the keys down on the kitchen counter and took in the space. It was a nice furnished apartment with a view of the ocean which was two blocks away. At least it had that. If she was going to be stuck in a city for the next few months, at least her ‘home’ would be by the beach.

————

Tobin, Christen, and all the players involved passed their physicals and it was now official. They were the two newest members of Angel City FC whether they liked it or not. It was Thursday morning and the team arranged a joint press conference for them to introduce their newly acquired superstars. The city was buzzing and there was anticipation in the air that it had never seen before in women’s soccer. It was all people could talk about and everyone was looking forward to hearing from their two new superstar players who were now expected to deliver the city’s first NWSL championship.

Tobin didn’t sleep at all the night before. She had managed to calm down over the last few days, but the press conference had her on edge, feeling like she was going to have to fake smile her way through the whole thing. That seemed an arduous task and she was not looking forward to it. She was on her third coffee that morning and she was ready to just get it over with. She hadn’t seen any sign yet of her new ‘teammate’ and it made her puke in her mouth a little just thinking of being on the same team as Christen Press. Looking at her phone, she noted that she had to wait another ten minutes to get this show on the road.

“Relax,” Spencer said next to her as they waited in a conference room just outside the area where the media were all assembled.

“What? I’m relaxed,” Tobin lied.

Spencer chuckled. “Uh huh. What’s that? Coffee number four?”

Tobin rolled her eyes. “Only number three, thank you very much,” she said with a smirk.

“Just…be nice,” Spencer said. “You can do that, can’t you?”

Tobin could have tried to lie again, but there was no point. Spencer could tell from a mile away whether she was lying or not.

“I don’t know. We’ll see. That’s the best I can tell you for now,” Tobin said honestly.

Just then, the door to the waiting area swung open and Julia walked in chatting with Christen trailing behind her.

Tobin looked up and when she saw Christen Press, she couldn’t help the sound that came out of her mouth, her mood immediately becoming more sour than it already was.

“Ugh,” Tobin said in disgust turning away from Christen, surprising even herself that she couldn’t stop herself from starting something, completely unprovoked.

Spencer frowned and jabbed her hard with his elbow.

“Excuse me? Did you say something?” Christen asked curtly, unable to let the snide greeting slide, not that you could call that a greeting. “If you have something to say, I’d like you to say it right to my face.”

Tobin seethed from Christen’s tone, her nostrils beginning to flare. Fiery brown eyes meeting steely green ones.

“I said ‘ugh.’ I’m impressed you heard anyone other than yourself talking,” Tobin said even louder than the first time, enunciating the ‘press’ in ‘impressed’ to get under her skin.

If there was anything Christen hated more than Tobin Heath, it was Press puns. And the fact that it was Tobin Heath making the Press puns, well, that took her right over the edge. She had told Julia she wasn’t going to stoop. But here she was, stooping.

“Did you wear out your welcome in Portland? They finally had enough of you being a thorn on their side?” Christen said, smirking to herself that two could play at the pun game. And if you asked her, her pun was way better than Tobin Heath’s.

Spencer immediately grabbed Tobin’s arm, sensing that she was about to do something rash. Tobin shrugged his hand off her, giving him a look to assure him that she was going to stay seated. If Spencer wasn’t there, Tobin would have definitely stood right up and gotten into Christen Press’s face and had a shouting match for everyone outside to hear.

“Alright, that’s enough. Ladies, please,” Julia said with a frustrated sigh, grabbing Christen by the elbow to separate them so they could sit at the other end of the room.

Spencer turned his head and gave Tobin a disappointed look. He wasn’t sure how much worse this first interaction could have gone.

“What?” Tobin asked innocently.

“You couldn’t just not say anything, huh?” Spencer asked. “For God’s sake, Tobs. This is supposed to be a fun day. Everyone’s so excited about this. Don’t fuck it up.”

Tobin fell silent, not wanting to open her mouth again in case more insults made their way out.

Christen sat down and stared straight ahead, her jaw clenching, wondering how the hell she was going to be able to play with this nightmare of a woman for the next few months. Taking a deep breath, she decided to focus on what she wanted to say upon her introduction and try to deflect questions about Tobin Heath since it was going to be difficult finding anything nice to say about her.

After a few more tense and quiet minutes in the conference room, the PR director opened the door and greeted them with a smile.

“Okay guys, we’re ready for ya,” she said in a way too chipper voice than anyone was in the mood for, totally oblivious to the tension in the room.

Both Tobin and Christen flashed their most fake smiles and stood up and made their way out of the room. After some brief introductory comments from the team President and General Manager, they finally brought Tobin and Christen out to meet with the media as camera flashes and shutter sounds invaded the room. They were presented with their jerseys and they posed for photos for a few minutes with various team representatives and put them on over their clothes once they were done.

Christen sat down, now a genuine smile plastered on her face with the Angel City crest on her chest, truly excited about the prospect of playing in LA and forgetting about the woman who was on her last nerve. Tobin sat down next to her with the President and GM sitting on either side of them.

Tobin looked out at the sea of people in the room and recognized several celebrities that she knew were part-owners of the team. She smiled through it and did her best not to look annoyed with the woman sitting next to her.

The first question was for both of them, asking how they felt about being in LA and what they were most looking forward to.

“Yeah…” Christen started to say.

“Um, for me…” Tobin said at the same time.

They both looked at each other, unsure of who should go first. Finally, Tobin told Christen to go first, just barely stopping herself from rolling her eyes at the other woman who refused to give in.

“Yeah, I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to play in LA. I still have a home here, so it’s been an easy transition in that sense. But this is truly a dream come true and I’m thankful to Angel City FC for believing in me and bringing me over to be a part of this club. Obviously, this is the backyard I grew up in, so it’s an amazing feeling to be home and doing what I love. I’m really looking forward to meeting the rest of my teammates and seeing the fans at the stadium with the goal of bringing a championship to LA,” Christen said with a bright smile.

When she was sure Christen was done speaking, Tobin piped in.

“Yeah, I would echo all of that. Well, except the part about LA being her backyard and having a home,” Tobin said charmingly to some laughs even though she wanted to list all the things she hated about the city. “I think any time you can do what you love, no matter where it is, it’s really special. I’m looking forward to the challenge of being in a new environment, new city, with new teammates, coaching staff, and fans. I think it says a lot for LA to make these moves that they want to win now and I’m excited to get started and bring a championship here.”

Tobin surprised herself at how positive her answer was considering how shitty her mood had been just a few minutes ago. She just told herself to put a united front with Christen Press and they could get out of this unscathed and never have to do a joint press conference ever again.

“Christen, how excited are you that you’ll now get to play with Tobin? And Tobin, same question for you with regards to playing with Christen?” a reporter asked.

‘Here we go,’ Christen thought before opening her mouth.

“It’s really exciting. I think Tobin’s a great player. She’s one of the most creative players in the game and to have her along with Alex Morgan up top, I think we’ll make a formidable frontline. Obviously, we’ve never played together, so it’ll take some time to learn each other’s tendencies, but I think it’ll be a good partnership and hopefully result in a lot of wins,” Christen replied diplomatically, even complimenting Tobin along the way which pained her to do so.

Tobin shifted in her seat, wondering how much of that answer was sincere or if it was all just for the cameras and sound bites. Her money was on the latter.

“I think Christen hit it on the head. Once we’ve learned each other’s style of play and how we like to move with and without the ball, it’ll be tough for opponents to defend us. Christen’s one of the best players in the league and it’s exciting to be able to come in together and try to make an immediate contribution to the team,” Tobin said, wanting to pat herself on the back for playing nice thus far, in front of the cameras, at least.

Christen sat surprised at the words she was hearing from Tobin Heath’s mouth. Maybe she was just following her lead and behaving so that their agents wouldn’t give them crap afterwards. She was still an asshole in Christen’s book. A few nice words wasn’t going to all of a sudden change her opinion of her.

After another twenty minutes of more questions that they both answered easily, they stood up and exited the stage to meet up with their agents once again. They were greeted by some of the owners who introduced themselves and had some photos taken together.

Once they were done, they all walked back to the conference room to gather their things without a word to each other.

“Well done, Tobs,” Spencer said.

“Thanks. I was surprised. I didn’t think she knew how to say anything nice about anybody,” Tobin said much to Spencer’s dismay when he noticed that Christen and Julia weren’t standing very far and very much heard what she said.

Christen’s face turned red with anger as she marched up to Tobin and confronted her.

“You really are a piece of work, aren’t you? You think you can just charm your way through a press conference and then act like a dick when no one’s watching?” Christen said, keeping her voice low, but clearly filled with rage.

“Thank you for admitting I’m charming,” Tobin smirked.

Christen opened her mouth to say something, but Tobin continued before she could refute her words.

“And don’t think for a second that I’m buying your bullshit, sweetheart. You and I both know you deserve an Oscar for that performance you just gave out there,” Tobin said, her face inches away from Christen’s. “You fit right in with the Hollywood crowd.”

“Guys, please, stop it. This isn’t going to work if you keep insulting each other like this. Can we please just be civil and try to work together?” Spencer begged as he pulled Tobin away from Christen.

“I’m just here to do my job. I’m not here to be friends with anyone. Certainly not with the diva in this room,” Tobin said, unable to help herself from dishing out another jab. “I can’t wait until these next few months are over with so I can get the fuck out of here.”

Christen’s blood was boiling. It took everything in her not to smack the smirk off Tobin’s face as she picked up her purse.

“Spencer, please tell your client that the last game she plays for this club is going to be the best day of the year. And please let her know that I could see right through her little wannabe Meryl Streep act out there. She isn’t fooling anyone,” Christen said as she walked out of the room without looking at Tobin.

Julia and Spencer gave each other apologetic looks as Julia quickly followed Christen out the door.

“What the fuck, seriously. I can’t do this,” Tobin said shaking her head.

“Yes, you can and yes, you will,” Spencer said. “Just steer clear of each other. And please, for the love of god, just keep your mouth shut. Today didn’t have to go this way at all if you just hadn’t said anything to begin with.”

Tobin sighed but didn’t say anything, something she probably should have done earlier.

“Look, Julia and I aren’t gonna be on the field with you two playing referee. You need to either figure out how to get past whatever your issue is with each other or just don’t say a word to each other. But I can’t have you running your mouth insulting her every time you see her. In 24 hours, you’re gonna be in training together. You’d better be on your best behavior,” Spencer said sternly.

Tobin wanted to punch Spencer or a wall, but she knew he was right. She knew she’d fucked up. She fucked up two years ago and she fucked up today. But it was too late. The animosity between them had grown so out of control that there was no turning back. That’s the thing about words. Once they’re out in the world, you can’t take it back. And what she said about Christen Press two years ago, she could never take that back, no matter how much she wanted to. And all the insults Christen Press had hurled her way since? Well, they’re unforgivable.

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Western Conference

Angel City FC: 4-8-5, 10th place

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