“Buy me a shot.”
She says it with a smirk - nobody’s paying for drinks, not tonight when Michelle’s taken care of everything – and with a confidence that’s still new for her, at least when it’s directed towards Kelley. But the older defender has been looking at her from across the bar for awhile, and that certainly does something for Emily’s ego. Winning has done something for her, too. But nothing has done as much for her confidence as being wanted has. Wanted by this team. By her adoptive city. Wanted by Kelley, perhaps? And now that they’re standing next to each other, and they’re both a little tipsy, she might as well strike up the conversation she really wants to have. So she reverts to what she knows best – humor – because that look… well… that look is certainly different, Emily thinks. New. Or at least it seems new. She can’t remember Kelley ever looking at her like that before, unless she just missed it. Was too lost in her own little world, too preoccupied with her own drama to notice.
Tonight, she notices. Tonight, it’s obvious, because every time she’s looked up, hazel eyes have met hers, held hers briefly, and then looked away only to flicker back a moment or two later. And why not take a chance, when this year, nearly two, has been so crazy? The trade she thought might ruin the sport for her. Europe. Home. The can play, can’t play, watch from afar while others finally get to play bullshit. The bluff that worked and allowed her to force a trade, to inexplicably end up beside another one of her best friends in the world. She might as well, because crazier things have happened, haven't they? And how crazy is this, really, with Kelley looking at her like that? Sidling up beside her at the bar while she’s talking to Sam. Resting her elbow on Emily’s shoulder until Sam walks away. She's certainly acting all confident-like, yet her lack of steady eye contact tells Emily she really isn’t. So tonight, she meets Kelley head-on, doubles down, flirts back, but better. Decides to ask for what she wants, what she’s been wanting for as long as she can remember.
“You got a pickup line you usually use in places like this?” Emily continues, staring down at the counter and the shot glasses before them, and Kelley’s fingers fumble, almost spilling the liquor as she picks them up. “You’ve been watching me all night. I think I at least deserve your best pick up line. Lay it on me.”
Kelley ignores her and hands her a shot. “To us. Right side, strong side,” she offers with a shaky smile.
“Except for the times you lined up on the left,” Emily teases, cocking her head to the side with a grin, but that expression is quickly replaced as she swallows the amber liquid. “You’re gross, you know that, right?” she winces, shaking off the burn.
“It’s better than Fireball. And there was no way I was going to order one of those fruity-lookin’ purple things you were downing earlier.”
“So you were watching me,” Emily points out, the proud smirk returning as she leans against the bar. “Come on, you’ve had a shot now. Show me how you hit on women. Teach me, grasshopper."
“You want me to teach you or are you angling to get me to hit on you?" Kelley asks, but she doesn't wait for an answer. "I don’t use pick-up lines,” she insists, but Emily acts like she doesn’t even hear her.
“And don’t give me any of that “World Cup winner” or “league champion” nonsense, either. Won’t work on me. I’ve got those medals. Two league ones. Three if you count Sweden. You’re not gonna impress me like that.”
“Didn’t you already hit on me, basically, when you asked me to buy you a drink?”
“Ha!” Emily throws her head back. “No, ma’am. I was just giving you an opening. Letting you know it was ok. Since you didn’t have the balls to do anything but look from afar.”
Kelley chokes on nothing. “What am I trying to impress you for anyway?” she asks when she recovers, and she leans in a little, concerned that someone might hear her even though no one can over the music and celebratory sounds.
But Emily ignores that too, taking Kelley’s hands and pulling her away from the bar. The ease with which Kelley follows as she sways backwards is a little surprising. She’s the type who usually protests a bit just for show before she allows someone to drag her out on a dance floor. But not tonight. Tonight, she does without being asked, with Emily simply leading her there. Maybe it’s because they both had such a good season. Because Kelley’s especially thankful that she made it through without being plagued by injuries. Because there’s a lot of relief mixed in with the good spirits this evening, but a lot of exhaustion, too. Too much to protest, perhaps. Or maybe too much alcohol to care, rather, Emily decides as Kelley spins and leans back into her, rocking in time to the music.
She brushes a strand of hair that’s fallen out of Kelley’s beanie and tucks it behind her ear. “Because,” she finally answers, her voice low and breathy against the shorter woman’s ear, “I’m thinking ‘bout letting you take me home.”
Kelley’s hips stutter against her as she loses the beat despite it being loud enough to thump through Emily’s chest and into her own. She turns around and lets Emily wrap an arm around her waist, pull her closer, close enough that she can smell Emily’s bodywash. “We’re staying at a hotel,” she finally says, rather flatly.
“It’s home for tonight, isn’t it?” It’s been home this week. They could’ve been doing this days ago. Months ago, years ago, even, if Emily had known. If Kelley had looked at her like that across any room on any other night. “Are we gonna argue over word choice or do you wanna get out of here?”
“Do we- do we need to leave… you know… separately?” Kelley stammers as she wraps her head around the idea.
“Kell. We’re roommates. No. Do you not want to take me home? Cause I kinda got the impression that you wanted more than your eyes on me tonight. But if I was wrong about that- ”
“No. Not wrong,” Kelley quickly interrupts.
“Then take me home,” Emily happily throws her arm over Kelley’s shoulders, placing her in a playful headlock and moving them towards the door.
They stumble down an empty corridor occasionally crashing into the wall, unable to keep their hands and lips off each other after what felt like an inordinately long car ride. Every temporary stop that prolongs their walk leaves Emily wishing their room wasn’t almost all the way at the end of such a long hallway, a hallway that hadn’t seemed this long even after 120 minutes on the pitch. And every stop gives her pause to think about what she wants, what she can say, and what she can’t. She wants Kelley’s hands all over her. She wants to stay up all night fucking despite the somewhat early hour because they have lost time to make up for and she can sleep on the 17-hour flight. She wants Kelley to fuck her like she wants her, like she really wants her. To fuck her long enough that she can convince herself that Kelley loves her, has loved her for a long time, will love her for even longer. So she can convince herself that it’s real, at least for a little while. She doesn’t want to be the girl who has a drunken one-night stand with a teammate, but she wants Kelley badly enough that she’ll have her any way she can tonight. Those are the things she can’t say, that aren’t part of the deal that comes with flirting in a bar or celebrating a monumental win.
Their room is lit only by the glow of downtown. She hears Kelley’s keycard hit the floor half a second before the brunette’s lips on her neck and her hands under Emily’s oversized championship t-shirt trying rather insistently to pull her away from the door and towards the bed. In that moment, she says what she can say. “Right here first,” she whispers, pulling Kelley back into her. “Then there. I wanna do this all night.”
Her fingers fumble with the buttons on Sonnett’s jeans like she hasn’t done this countless times before. But she hasn’t done this. Not with Sonnett. Not with someone she cherishes in a way she’s never cherished anyone else, from afar, for so long, so slowly that she didn't even realize it was happening. From her knees, for the first time all evening, she has time to think, or rather, as she drops her lips to the soft, milky skin of Sonnett’s inner thighs, her brain doesn’t give her a choice but to think, kicking into overdrive.
This – what they’re doing right now, what they’re about to do – they could’ve spent all season doing it, if only Sonnett had been able to read her mind then like she was able to tonight. But maybe, Kelley reasons, she didn’t want Sonnett to read her mind before. Didn’t want Sonnett to know that at some point along the way, Kelley stopped thinking of her like a little sister and started thinking about what Sonnett would look like when she looked up at the blonde from between her legs. What she'd taste like. What she'd sound like. How comforting it would be to fall asleep next to her, not in a separate bed a few feet away. The peace she could find in waking up before her, making her coffee, staring at that sleepy smile, not just on road trips, but every morning. The joy that would come from cooking together instead of texting each other photos of what they had made for dinner from their separate apartments across town from each other.
For all the times she wished Sonnett could read her mind, she starts to backtrack now, to realize what a bad idea that would be. Because then Sonnett would know. Know that Kelley wants her all the time. Every night. Forever, maybe. She thinks she could love Sonnett for the rest of her life if Sonnett would let her, because it already feels like she’s loved the younger woman for as long as she can remember. Still, it’s too soon to feel like that. It should scare her, and there’s a part of her that is scared, but not enough that she wouldn’t be willing to risk their friendship for more. There’s also a part of her that doesn’t care about what’s “right.” And an even bigger part of her that knows she can’t say any of this out loud. Knows it’s not fair to put all that on Sonnett when all she asked for is a good time.
So she focuses on what is okay, is right for the moment – the way Sonnett’s hips angle off the door pressing towards her more adamantly as her lips get closer to Sonnett’s center. The way Sonnett is looking down at her, her mouth slightly agape and her eyes longing. How good Sonnett’s fingers feel tangled in her hair as she guides Kelley’s mouth where she wants it. Kelley likes that, this take-charge version of Sonnett who knows exactly what she wants. Where she wants it. How she wants it.
Sure, Kelley would prefer that instead of the stupid conversation they’d had in the Uber (“I’ve never done this before.” “Never gone home with a woman you met in bar, Son?” “No, fucker. Never gone home with a teammate.”) and the nervous silence that followed, they had talked about what this was going to be. That while she had Sonnett pressed against the door a few seconds ago, she had whispered “I love you,” instead of “Winning sure brings out a different side of you, babe.” That they could at least have a conversation after this, but she knows they won’t. It’s not Sonnett’s style. Besides, it’s a familiar road Kelley’s headed down. She knows that when you wake up naked next to a teammate in the morning, you just don’t talk about it. You smile at each other. Make out a little. Fuck again if there’s time. And then you go back to being teammates until another opportunity presents itself. But you definitely don’t talk about it then, either. She understands the unwritten rules, she just wishes that this time, the rules were different. They’re not though, so tonight, she licks up through Sonnett’s slit, sinks her fingers into the muscles of her ass. Lets Sonnett grind against her face until her hips are moving so wildly that she has to work to steady her against the door. She’s thankful that everyone else is still out because soon, Sonnett’s quiet hums become so loud that anyone passing by their room would hear her.
“Fuck, baby,” Sonnett whines, rubbing her clit along the length of Kelley’s tongue. “Want you to love- ” Sonnett freezes, and Kelley’s breath catches in her throat. “I want you to fuck me so hard,” she corrects as quickly as she can. “Don’t stop. Please.”
Kelley doesn’t know what to make of the slip-up, but it’s not like she has time to think about it either. She reacts almost instinctively, like she’s outside her own body, throwing Sonnett’s leg over her shoulder and thrusting her tongue inside the younger woman. She doesn’t know what Sonnett wants, but the least she can do is give her what she asked for.
Loud banging on the door jolts them awake. It takes Kelley a second to figure out whose bed she’s in, to remember how she got there. “Breakfast!!!” comes Ashley’s shriek, deepening the throbbing in her head and driving her farther away from the memory of Sonnett lowering her into that bed, her hands heavy, skin hot, tongue tracing every line of her body. “You. Promised. We’d. Make. Another. Tik. Tok.” Trinity’s shouts are punctuated by her fist continuing to pound on the door.
Fuck, Kelley thinks, but “Mornin’,” is what she croaks out, rolling towards Emily and immediately regretting it as she squints into the sunlight. She’s greeted by a dopey smile that makes her heart ache and her throat close when she tries to swallow, and that makes her forget what she was about to say about the show they would have provided the neighboring hotel if they hadn’t fucked in total darkness since they hadn’t bothered to close the curtains when they got back last night. Kelley clears her throat, and her head. “Guess we should get going,”
“Kell,” Emily says softly, fingers wrapping around Kelley’s forearm. But whatever words were supposed to follow die in her throat. Things she shouldn’t say.
“Gotta get you hydrated,” Kelley continues, filling the awkward silence, and Emily’s grip loosens as she sits up to scan the floor for her nearest item of clothing, discarded when they finally did make it to bed. “Some Powerade. Find some Tylenol. Get you fed. All recovered. It’s almost time for you to go Down Undah!” She uses false enthusiasm to mask all the feelings coursing through her, causing her skin to prickle with uncertainty even though she’s plenty warm.
“Down Undah, huh?” Emily giggles, pulling Kelly back onto the bed, and rolling to hover over her. “That’s a good idea,” she says with a wink.