Actions

Work Header

Seasons

Chapter Text

“Tobs! Alex! Let’s go!”

 

Tobin lets her phone slide out of her hand, onto her chest, and then into the messed up sheets of her temporary bed. With a quick glance to the left and seeing that there’s still no movement of the door that’s been firmly locked for a solid forty-five minutes, she pushes herself up with the palms of her hands to pad towards the other door just past the first one. Flipping the safety lock open and twisting the handle directly below, the door pops open to reveal a smirking blonde staring right at her.

 

“We said eight Harry,” the blonde sighs with a cursory glance to the phone in her hand, which Tobin isn’t completely sure is solely a time check or if it’s also a sly move at checking her texts once more before they leave for their destination.

 

“I-” She stammers before being cut off again.

 

“It’s 8:12.”

 

“I was ready,” Tobin glances down her body, clothed in a tee, leggings with a flannel thrown on top to combat the potentially chilly California winter morning. As always, her best friend has the perfect dusting of just the right amount of makeup for the general public to think she was a normal human being with a normal job but not enough to make her look like an idiot when she stepped on the pitch in a couple hours. It puts her own light coat of mascara to shame but really she couldn’t be bothered with foundation and bronzer and whatever else if she was going to just sweat it off in a matter of hours, “Have been for twenty minutes, Alex is still in the bathroom.”

 

“Classic,” She nudges her way past Tobin, knocking on the door firmly, “Three minutes or we’re leaving without you! I’m not drinking that poop water they’re trying to pass as coffee in the lobby again. And I’m taking Tobin with me!”

 

Tobin rolls her eyes as she chuckles at her friend’s seriousness, the differences in their personalities are stark. She couldn’t care less what time they got their coffee, so long as it was in her system thirty minutes before their 10 am practice.

 

“Calm down drama queen, I’m ready,” Alex steps out of the bathroom, a matching perfect face full of natural makeup adorning her skin and a thick sweater paired with black jeans and a pair of heeled, toeless booties covering her body. That was about as casual as Alex got when leaving the house, or rather hotel in this case. Allie has already turned her attention to her phone, her nails making that tapping sound against the glass of her phone as she typed her response. As Alex grabs her purse, she puts on her best ‘Allie being a bossy bitch’ imitation voice and mimicking what she just said less than a minute ago, “Let’s go! It’s 8:12!”

 

Tobin is halfway out the door, her hip popped holding it open as she waits for the two to follow her through.

 

-

 

It’s Allie who navigates their way to the coffee shop, glancing up from her phone every few seconds to let them know how many more blocks they had left. Upon stepping in front of Intelligentsia Tobin can understand exactly why Allie had wanted to come here rather than the coffee shop around the corner from the hotel. There’s a line far outside the building and no tables open to sit it. The industrial decor exudes and basically screams hipster, but is exactly the model of something the trio would probably visit in Portland without a second thought, well rather just her and Allie now.

 

“Tobin,” Alex mutters under her breath, pointing subtly at a table of people picking up their backpacks and Hydroflasks in preparation of their departure, “Go grab that table for us.”

 

Tobin’s eyes wander in the direction she’s pointing, there’s a two person table open but one side is lined along a bench so they can easily fit the three of them in the spot, “Okay, I wa-”

 

“I’ll get you a macchiato,” She states harshly, it’s pretty busy though so Tobin gets the hint to move briskly to grab the table. Alex and Allie hold their spot in line, and Alex sends Tobin a wink as she approaches the couple leaving.

 

“Hi, do you mind if I grab this table when you leave?” She flashes a bright smile, tucking some hair behind her ear.

 

“Of course not,” A man in a suit, but like LA style, with tight pants, a skinny tie with a well fitted shirt harnesses his leather backpack over his shoulders, “It’s all yours.”

 

“Thanks,” She slides into her spot, patting her pocket in search of her own phone as she settles down but comes up empty. She glances back in Allie and Alex’s direction, but they’ve moved inside now and are approaching the baristas in the center of the shop as she remembers how she allowed her phone to slide onto her unmade bed before they left. With a sigh, Tobin accepts that she’s probably going to have to sit in her spot without her phone or her journal or really anything that could have occupied her mind for a couple minutes, until a tote is dropped on the seat across from her.

 

“Um, Hi, I’m really sorry to bother you but-” Tobin plasters on a smile as these few words slip out of the mouth of a woman with dark brown hair tied into a bun at the nape of her neck, ready to respond with a polite ‘yes of course, really quick since I’m with my friends’ but the woman finishes with a string of words she wasn’t expecting to hear, “I’ve never really done this before but I noticed you from inside while I was waiting for my coffee. But you’ve got one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen and, uh, if you’re interested I’d love to take you out for a drink or something.”

 

Tobin falters a bit, with the way her sentence started she was expecting to be asked for a picture or an autograph or something, but wasn’t expecting the second half of the statement that came from her mouth.

 

“I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to spring this on you and I’m already late but, I uh, wrote down my number in case you were interested,” The girl slips a torn corner of a piece of paper onto the table, and Tobin places one finger on top of it. She bites her lip as the girl rambles on, “If not, that’s cool too. Just thought it was worth a shot.”

 

Before she manages to sling her bag back on her shoulder and escape, Tobin has a moment to regroup and takes a cursory glance over the woman. She’s wearing nike sneakers (brownie points for that she thinks) and a loose gray short sleeved shirt with one of those crazy Lululemon sports bras poking out that Tobin isn’t entirely convinced actually do their job and are actually just a staple for people trying to look casually cute on their errands, “Thanks, and I’ll think about it.”

 

Tobin thinks she sees the girl's shoulders relax a little out of relief at her response, “Okay, great, shoot me a text or something.”

 

Her smile widens a little more at the nervous girl and nods once more before she leaves.

 

“Again, sorry to bother you, and also sorry for rushing away but I really am late,” The woman glances down at her watch, a real life watch, not an apple watch even.

 

“No problem,” The woman grabs her bag once more hoisting it above her shoulder, and with a small wave she exists through the brick arch entrance, disappearing almost as quickly as she arrived.

 

Before Tobin is able to ask for her name or offer her own, the woman is gone. She slides the folded piece of paper closer to her, opening it up, she sees ten digits scribbled down and a string of letters forming a name: Christen.

 

Tobin’s eyes wander back to the inside of the coffeeshop where Alex and Allie are staring out at her with confused expressions on their faces. Allie holds up her hands like she’s holding a camera and making a clicking motion with her fingers, silently asking if the girl wanted a picture and if she did, if Tobin turned her down. She shakes her head no in response before the two girls shrug their shoulders and turn around at the sound of their names being called to pick up their coffees.

 

-

 

As Christen rounds the corner after leaving the coffee shop and walking in the direction of her studio she mutters “oh. my. god.” softly under her breath, before repeating a little louder to herself as she can feel herself distorting her face “OH. my GOD.”

 

Before she can garner any attention to herself from people passing by, she begins chastising herself in her head instead. She needs to align herself into a normal human being in the seven minutes it will take her to walk to the studio.

 

Did I really just start that conversation with stating that I’ve never asked someone out before? Wait what if she interpreted it in that I’ve never been interested in a girl before? Shoot me a text? If not that’s cool? Is she a middle aged middle class working woman with an office job or a 13 year old girl trying to pretend that rejection doesn’t affect her? How many times did I apologize for asking her out?

 

That’s it, her internal monologue states to herself. Deciding that it’s not worth her dwelling and that if the girl decides not to text her that she’ll never even see her again so it doesn’t matter. No harm, no foul. She’s smart, she’s strong, and she’s successful. Her blabbering mouth and a woman she doesn’t even know will not affect the rest of her day. She will pull herself together and help her staff set up for the first class of the day and then she will spin her heart out before her string of meetings and interviews lined up for the rest of the day. Oh, but she will remember to make a note to herself in her planner to never make the first move ever again.

 

-

 

“What was that about?” Allie’s voice is raised, yet again, as she slides two cups of coffee onto the table as she plops into the seat across from her and Alex slides onto the bench next to her, nodding in agreement.

 

“I-” Tobin is still a little confused, a little shocked, and a little flushed over the compliment that the girl had aimed in her direction, “I don’t really know, I think she just asked me out.”

 

“What do you mean you think she asked you out?” The pitch in Alex’s voice rises slightly in excitement at the prospect of what she understands just happened, “Tobin, you’re twenty-seven, you should be able to tell if someone asked you out or not.”

 

“Well, I mean, I guess she just did,” Tobin shrugs her shoulders, “She was kind of in a rush and seemed a little flustered, seemed nice though. She complimented my smile.”

 

Sometimes Tobin thinks that Allie and Alex don’t know that she can see the way they smirk at each other when talking about Tobin’s personal life, but just because she doesn’t necessarily have something to contribute to the situation or she’s not sure of what’s going on in her own life all the time doesn’t mean that she’s oblivious, “Did you say yes?”

 

“First of all, stop it with that dumb look you guys do, I can see it” She finds yet another sigh escaping her lips as she slumps down into the bench slightly, “Al, why would I go on a date with a girl that lives in LA?”

 

“Tobin-” and “Harry-” come out of each of her friend’s mouths simultaneously, but Allie nods to Alex like maybe it’s something she can take control of because Alex is gentler. Sometimes.

 

“Tobin,” Alex lets her head drop onto her neighbor’s shoulder, “I just don’t think it would hurt for you to go out on a date. Just one date, it doesn’t have to mean anything, doesn’t have to go anywhere, nothing has to amount from it. Maybe it’s just time for you to open a new chapter, you know? Get ready for 2016? Start a new page? It’s been a couple of months Tobs, I don’t think it would hurt to just go on a date with someone you don’t even know.”

 

There it is, that part of herself that she tries to hide, tries to pretend that she’s okay and not lonely and fine with being single again. It’s that thing that if you would have asked herself about three years ago she would have been fine with but modern day, not so much. The part that she tries to cover up with a World Cup victory and all her successes in soccer and everything good that’s happening in her life that she has always wanted but this thing just seems to sit nagging in the back of her brain. There’s that part of Tobin that’s annoyed with her two best friends who’ve started trying to nudge her back into the ‘dating scene’ for about a month now even though neither of them have had to break off a relationship in a really really long time and get back into the dating scene themselves, if ever. It’s a lot easier said than done, and to be honest Tobin is just trying to adjust to a slower paced life still much less trying to start a fresh in the dating world. When she had to officially leave France to move back on US Soccer’s demands if she wanted to make the World Cup team, her time originally had been occupied with her season with the Thorns and then her life got turned upside down after the World Cup but she was still making all those trips back and forth whenever she got the time, until it ended. It was now that she was learning how to slow down, adjusting to having her own apartment and not having a team to play for in the seasonal limbo that left her with much more time to herself than she’d ever had before. It was strange, the lifestyle of squeezing in visits to her parents and her three siblings and her best friends between visiting her girlfriend in Paris had kept her on her toes but now it didn’t seem to suit her as much. Now that the whole girlfriend thing was out of the picture, she couldn’t extend her visits longer by much to any of the other people without making them concerned about her or getting too invasive about the life changes she’d had so she was spending more and more time in Portland which had never happened to her before.

 

Playing with the handle of her mug, she bites her lip. It has been three months to be fair. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to just put herself out there. She didn’t have much to lose at this point and nothing needed to happen. “I think I’ll say yes, nothing to lose right?”

 

Allie smiles at this, “That’s my girl! She was cute too.” She adds a wink onto the end of her statement.

 

“She was, wasn’t she?” Tobin’s cheeks flush a little at that, for as much as they’d talked about her last relationship they’d never really talked much about girls in general since she had pretty much jumped straight into a relationship after her big revelation to her friends. But, she’s thankful that they try and be supportive.

 

“Well,” Allie holds out her hand across the table, “Hand me your phone so we can figure out what to text her, her confidence levels did not look that high when she left so I’m thinking we need to let her know ASAP before she considers you a lost cause.”

 

Tobin smirks herself this time, “Sorry, left it in the hotel room.” Now she’s feeling significantly less frustrated with herself and almost a little pleased that she’ll have some time to figure out what she wants to say for herself.

 

Allie’s head shakes back and forth, “Harry, Harry, Harry, what a lost cause.”

 

-

 

Christen puts her hands on the top of her head as she lets her legs start slowing down at the end of her class. Her instructor turns the volume down on the music and promptly starts talking in a hushed tone, asking everyone to turn their mindsets from the intense class to prepare for their cool down. Tucking her feet outwards until she hears the click of her shoes, she jumps off her bike while everyone is still supposed to have their eyes closed and hurries towards the front, grabbing baskets for the sweaty towels to be disposed of on their way out. Considering she does these classes at least once a day, she almost never does the cool down in favor of helping out with some of the dirty work.

 

She pats her much larger companion on the back, Andy is a crowd favorite with a near cult following at the popular studio. He’s just giving a last meditation mantra and thanking the class for coming out today and asking for any regulars with song suggestions to come up and find him after they exit the room. Christen feels refreshed after the sessions like always, she’s always found solace in spin classes, potentially the only time she’s able to set her mind free and focus on herself for a moment.

 

The regulars take their time leaving, thanking every member of the staff in the building from herself to her instructors to the women who run the front desk and do bike maintenance. There’s a group of sorority girls today and they’re taking their sweet time leaving, not that she minds, and she offers to take a group photo of them out front, reminding them to tag their pictures on instagram and telling them to come back again.

 

She never expected her studio to grow as much as it did. When she finished college and opened their first location near her home town she never expected it to bud like it did but she couldn’t be more grateful for it. As she steps back inside one of her receptionists smile up at her, “You got a few texts but they were from an unknown number so I didn’t think it was that urgent to grab you after class.”

 

“Thanks,” Christen grabs the phone that was held across the counter to her. Glancing down at the screen she sees three texts from an unknown number, and not even a California area code that she can recognize, which she was relatively good at doing considering she’s lived in LA her whole life besides her four years at Stanford. She always leaves her cell at the front desk in case of an emergency from one of her other instructors happened while she was in class but quickly learned to change the setting on her texts so that the whole text message wasn’t displayed for everyone to see. As she slides it open, she glances at the texts and was suddenly reminded of the blubbering mess of a trainwreck she was this morning.

 

Hey Christen? This is Tobin, you gave me your number this morning?

 

I just wanted to let you know that I’m not actually from around here but I’m in the area for work until the 20th and if you’re still willing I’d love to take you up on that offer you made this morning. I’m not exactly allowed to drink while I’m out here for work but if you’re willing to make those drinks coffee I would not be opposed.

 

And if not, that’s cool too.

 

Christen cringes at the last text that was probably teasing her for that statement she made at the shop this morning, each of the texts were sent a couple of minutes apart, seemingly waiting for a response so she hopes that - Tobin - didn’t think she was ignoring her or that she had the wrong number. To be fair, it was the middle of the work day.

 

She takes a moment to process the texts, she wasn’t really sure what she was expecting when she asked the other woman out this morning, just that she would have been kicking herself if she didn’t go for it. So no, she wasn’t expecting that the woman was not from the area but to be fair the coffee shop she had been at that morning was a bit touristy so she’s not necessarily surprised. Would it really hurt though? She’s never really been on a date with someone that she didn’t know anything about. Maybe it would be fun, maybe it would be awkward. Either way, she was the one that extended the offer so she should follow through. She hadn’t worked herself up for nothing, had she?

 

Coffee sounds great! My mornings are pretty busy but I’m free in the afternoons and evenings usually :)

 

-

 

And that’s the story of how two days later Tobin finds herself after their afternoon field practice, standing in front of her suitcase, hands on hips, trying to decide what to wear.

 

Her black skinny jeans are a given, as well as the one pair of shoes she brought that weren’t sneakers, flip flops, or cleats. Her hair is wrapped on the top of her head in a towel and she’s half dressed in her nude bra and said black jeans. She’s got her black leather jacket laying on the bed but all of her shirts that she brought with for the three weeks she was going to be gone were much too casual in her opinion, even though she was just going on a coffee date she wanted to look like a slightly more put together version of her usual self. The door clicks open and she silently thanks Alex in her head.

 

“Do you have a shirt I can wear?” Tobin can almost hear the smile growing on Alex’s face after she had asked incessantly if Tobin needed any help getting ready. She received a firm no every single time.

 

“Thought you’d never ask,” Alex slides open the closet door, “What do you want? Neutral? Black, white, or gray?”

 

“I don’t really care at this point Al, I just need to finish getting ready ASAP,” Tobin knows that the last time she checked the time she had about 30 minutes before she should leave for the coffee shop.

 

“Don’t laugh at me,” Alex starts, she seems to have paused over something but is unsure as she bites at her lip, “This is a serious suggestion.”

 

“What is it Al?”

 

Alex pulls out a grey top, it’s definitely a bit cropped but not too much, “I think this would look good.”

 

Tobin holds out her hand, it’s really not very her. As she slides the top over her head, she decides it doesn’t look like she anticipated to it. It is high necked and the crop only reveals about a half inch of skin, which she makes the executive decision is not too much for a first date especially if Alex doesn’t think it is, “What do you think?”

 

“I think you look hot,” Alex shrugs, “Wait, one more thing!”

 

Tobin halts her movement back to the bathroom, her light coating of foundation and tiny bit of bronzer is already applied along with her eyeliner and mascara but she still needs to dry her hair. Expecting some sort of accessory, Tobin is pretty surprised when she feels Alex stick her curling wand in her hand, “Al, I don’t have time to curl my hair. I can barely do it when I have time.”

 

“Just take really large chunks and wrap it around, it’ll take three minutes and since your hair is clean it’ll fall out really loose,” Alex stares at her with wide eyes, “I promise, it’ll look good.”

 

“Fine, but if I’m late I’m putting all the blame on you!”

 

-

 

Christen has her bottom lip tucked under teeth, all her focus on the laptop in front of her when a hand softly lands on her table, “Uh, Christen right?”

 

Her eyes pop open as she looks up, Tobin staring right at her, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t get your text, sorry!”

 

“No, I, uh,” Tobin squints down at her laptop, “You weren’t waiting for me, were you? I didn’t think I was that late.” Tobin glances down at her phone, she was only about seven minutes after the time they agreed to meet which Tobin didn’t think was long enough to warrant her date to pull out her laptop to squeeze some work in, “Sorry, I didn’t send you a text when I got here, I just saw you sitting down already so I thought-”

 

“No, no, no, don’t worry about it,” Christen slams her laptop shut and slides it back into the tote that had her workout clothes from the morning that she changed out of for the business (and date) portion of her day, “I decided to come down here early and get some work done before you came, I wasn’t being very productive at home.”

 

“Oh, good, I thought we maybe had some sort of time mix up,” Tobin tries to relax her body, and offers a smile at the other woman as she stands up from her perch. Christen smiles back at her, it’s soft and warm, comfortable Tobin thinks. She hadn’t seen her smile before, presumably hidden by her bundle of nerves when she originally asked Tobin out.

 

“It’s nice to meet you, like properly,” Christen offers her arms out for a hug, silently giving herself a pep talk internally. Tobin accepts, enjoying the brief embrace despite Christen’s bag hanging off her shoulder that forced them into some sort of weird side hug. She doesn’t mind though, she knows from the multitude of personality strengths tests she’s taken on behalf of team bonding exercises that physical touch is one of her top love languages, “I’d love to buy you a coffee, or tea, whatever you drink?”

 

Tobin nods as she leads the way to the line, they talk lightly about their days and coffee preferences while they wait for their orders to be ready but once they sit down in a booth, Christen turns to her, “So, what brings you to LA for a couple weeks?”

 

And this is the point where things start to change for Tobin. She thinks of how odd this situation is but about how friendly Christen is. She thinks about the fact that this is perhaps the first person she’s talked to in a very, very long time that didn’t know exactly who she is or what she does. Potentially she thinks that this may be the first date she’s been on that she doesn’t have that one factor that she’s had in common with all of the previous: soccer.

 

For a moment she wonders how she got here, what she’s doing, why she’s in a coffee shop with a complete stranger that she doesn’t know anything about other than her first name and her phone number.

 

“Well, I’ve got a bit of an unusual job,” Christen nods her head at her, sipping on her tea (Tobin should have pinned that from the start) with her attention just focused on Tobin at the moment, “I’ll just be honest I guess, I’m a professional soccer player. We just finished playing a game in the Bay Area, we’re here until the 19th and on the 20th we drive down to San Diego for a game and then we’re off for the holidays.”

 

“Oh, uh,” Tobin can see Christen’s forehead scrunch together, clearly trying to make the decision of what to say next, “What team do you play for?”

But Tobin can tell that the question she wants to ask is not really about which team she plays for but there is a more puzzled questioning look on her face that shows she’s not exactly sure what the right follow up question is.

 

“Well, I guess that’s a little complicated,” She tries to break down the situation, “I’m here playing with the national team, but I also play for a club team in Portland.”

 

Christen seems intrigued by this new development about Tobin’s life, and Tobin is expecting her to dive further into this side of her. She can almost predict the next question, the follow up question she always gets, “So, you’re really good then?”

 

But Christen doesn’t ask that, “You must really love it then, don’t you?”

 

Tobin’s head cocks to the side, and she nods, looking into Christen’s eyes. She can’t tell if they’re gray or green, “Yeah, I do.”

 

“I can tell by the way you smile, even just mentioning it,” There she goes again Tobin thinks, talking about her smile, “It’s cute.”

 

“I-” Tobin has always been one of those people that doesn’t know how to respond to compliments but instead of fumbling over her words she decides to stick with a traditional, “Thanks.”

 

“So are you from Portland then?”

 

“No, Jersey actually,” There she goes again, making that cute scrunchy confused face.

 

“Not going to lie, wasn’t expecting that,” Tobin laughs with her.

 

“You’re not the first person that’s told me that,” Tobin relaxes a little, settling into her seat, telling herself that this is not as weird as she expected it to be and isn’t as foreign as she anticipated, but that she still knows next to nothing about the girl in front of her, “But what about you? I guess I don’t really know anything besides your first name, what do you do and where are you from?”

 

“I’m from here,” Christen slightly nods her head towards the door, “Not literally, not like Venice but a bit south from here, and I own a spin studio? Company? I guess I never really know what to call it, but just basically a place where we offer really fun, motivating, spin classes. I mean, at least in my opinion they’re fun and motivating.”

 

Tobin wonders if the happiness that Christen saw in her smile was the same as the light she saw in Christens eyes mentioning her studio, “And you really like that?”

 

“Yeah, I mean, the studio kind of feels like my baby. We’ve come a long ways since we opened but I love it. I still love spin classes, I love my staff, I love our customers, it’s just a really great atmosphere to be in,” Tobin sees her do that dumb self conscious lip bite thing again, “Sorry, I didn’t mean for that to sound like a pitch to get you to come to my classes or anything.”

 

“No, it’s fine, it didn’t come off like that at all,” Tobin smiles at her in an encouraging way, “I’d love to hear more about it.”

 

“Only if you tell me more about your soccer thing,” Christen winks across the table at her, “I’m not going to lie, I know absolutely nothing about soccer.”

 

-

 

Tobin is not entirely sure how long it’s been since she and Christen sat down to start their coffee when she’s brought out of their little bubble by one of the employee's starting to flip chairs onto the tops of tables.

 

“Sorry, I just need to check what time it is,” Tobin reaches into her back pocket to grab her phone, “I have a team meeting at nine so I need-” but before Tobin finishes, she cuts her own statement off, “Crap it’s 8:35, I should really go.”

 

“I could give you a ride if you need one, your hotel isn’t far from here, I could definitely get you back in time?”

 

“I drove myself,” Tobin dangles the team rental car keys from her hands, “I hate to cut this off so suddenly, I completely lost track of time.”

 

“No offense, but” Christen lets out a giggle this time instead of biting her lip, “I wasn’t exactly expecting to be out so late either.” They had agreed to meet at 5:30, with Tobin’s 7 minutes of tardiness, that means they’ve been there for approximately two hours and 58 minutes, “But I’ve had a really great time.”

 

“Me too,” Tobin is shuffling as slowly as she can will her body to towards the door, “I’m really glad I decided to come.”

 

“So am I,” Christen holds her arms wide for a hug, and is pleasantly surprised to feel Tobin’s hand rub up and down her back while they hold the embrace.

 

“It was nice to meet you Christen.”

 

“You too Tobin,” She smiles, hoping that the other girl can see it through the darkness of the December night, “Thanks for coming out.”

 

“No, thank you for the coffee,” Christen can feel Tobin squeeze her hand, “I’m sorry, but I really have to go.”

 

“Of course, I don’t want you to be late.”

 

And it’s then, with one glance back, that Tobin turns in the direction of her parked team car with one final smile back at the girl with the dark curly hair.

 

-

 

Just as Christen is unlocking her car doors, trying to process the events of the night, she can hear the soft clicking of chunky heels running on pavement.

 

“Christen!” She turns her head, wondering if she forgot anything back at the coffee shop but insteads sees Tobin slowing down her jog in her direction.

 

“Sorry, I just thought that since you asked me out, maybe I should be the one to do this,” And it’s sudden.

 

The hands gripping her hips. The tilt of her head. The flutter of eyelashes on her cheek. The dry lips covered in chapstick. The taste of coffee on her lips.

 

It’s just when Christen gets her arms around Tobin’s neck that Tobin pulls back from the short kiss to turn back, “I’m sorry, but I really have to go this time.”

 

Tobin’s hands fall from her waist, where she was using them to pull her in closer in a kiss that was just slightly too long to be considered a peck.

 

“I owe you,” Tobin says as the backs away from her, “Dinner or something on me before I leave?”

 

“Sure.” Christen is quite stunned to be honest.

 

“Great, I’ll text you,” Tobin’s voice is getting louder as she backs farther and farther away from her, “And we have really got to stop apologizing to each other after everything we say!”

 

“I can’t help it if worrying is in my nature!” Christen shouts back teasingly, a smile crossing her face.

 

“I’ll see you soon Christen!”

 

And those are the actual last words that Christen hears from Tobin’s mouth, at least for that night.

 

-

 

Tobin slides into the back row of seats at their team meeting, falling into whatever open seat was closest to her at 8:58. Just in time she thinks.

 

Whit is to her left, chatting with Lindsey softly about her move back to the states when she turns her head to the left, a soft smile gracing her lips, “You look nice.”

 

“Oh, thanks,” Tobin looks down, she’d had just enough time to change out of her outfit into something more comfortable but not enough to wash the makeup off her face. She sees Alex and Allie a few rows up, and they glance back at her, Kelley pulled into their conversation and joining the questioning look she’s been given.

 

When the coaching staff calls for attention, she sees Allie pull out her phone and she quickly types something before flipping it upside down onto her lap. At almost the exact same moment, Tobin’s phone buzzes in her pocket.

 

Jeez Harry, we didn’t think you’d sleep with her.

 

Tobin rolls her eyes, responding in their group message.

 

I didn’t sleep with her.

 

Alex just responds with: we’ll talk later

 

-

 

And so Tobin finds herself sitting outside under a heat lamp at a cantina eating potentially the cheapest taco’s she’s ever bought in her life, but also potentially the best tacos she’s ever had in her life.

 

Christen is wearing a gray wrap dress that hugs her curves but has a sweater pulled around her body to keep her warm, the sun had set since their arrival at the restaurant and it took the warm weather with it.

 

The more time Tobin spends with Christen, listening to the way she talks about her life, her background, her upbringing and the more time she spends looking at her face, in her eyes, at her hair, at the way she bites her lip nervously, the more she becomes more and more comfortable and relaxed in a way that she’s not sure she’s felt potentially since she lost that that first World Cup four and a half years ago.

 

Maybe she should do this more she thinks, maybe she should find ways to surround herself with people whose lives don’t revolve around soccer and World Cups and championships and competition.

 

Because sitting here with Christen is a fresh start. Christen doesn’t know the start of how hard she’s worked her whole life to be the best of the best at her sport, she doesn’t know that she won a gold medal before she even graduated college, she doesn’t know how close she’d been to being named the best team in the world, how she could taste the victory until her shot was saved, she didn’t know about how she went to France with the intent of winning the Champions League and was forced to leave early without the title she wanted and the person who brought her more comfort than she’d felt in a while, and she certainly doesn’t know how she feels about the fact that all her friends are moving or retiring or taking breaks to be with their husbands and start families while she’d been forced to move with no one to follow her.

 

Instead Christen knows that soccer makes her happy more than it makes her sad, she knows about how her younger brother is about to graduate college and about how much she loves her nephew and how Perry is the one that takes her in and brings her on adventures when she’s feeling down. Christen knows about how much she loves the ocean and New York and Rhode Island, and she knows that Tobin isn’t necessarily that stoked about the fact that slowly but surely her family is uprooting and moving south. Christen knows that Tobin’s mom is her real best friend and that her relationship with her dad is slowly but surely improving but will probably never be the same as it was before her parents got divorced.

 

It makes her wonder what she doesn’t know about Christen. Tobin knows that Christen loves her family, that her sisters are her best friends and that her parents are really cool people. She knows that Christen loves LA, loves the sun, loves the beach, but doesn’t necessarily love the pace of life. She’s wary of business endeavors and wants to keep control of her business. Tobin knows that Christen is smart, like really smart, and not just because she went to Stanford. She knows that Christen puts her all into her work, and even though she’s the owner, she still tries to stay involved in the day to day operation of her company, that she still helps with laundering the sweaty towels and cleaning the rental shoes and mopping the floors, and all the other dirty work that she could just let her staff members do. Tobin knows that the demand at Christen’s studio is too high and that she has three locations open by popular demand and that she should continue to expand but she’s wary that the more they expand the less she’ll be able to be involved in day to day operation of her business which is part of what she likes the most. She knows that Christen hates dealing with businessmen and investors, even though that’s the basis of what she studied in college.

 

So Tobin thinks she’ll take the time to enjoy herself while this lasts, that she’ll take advantage of this situation while she’s here because maybe she just needs to talk to someone who doesn’t know about the things she’s most proud of but also the things that affect her the most.

 

And maybe, just maybe, she needs to allow her mind to drift off into nothing but the feeling of Christen’s soft hands on her neck and her soft lips on her mouth and the smell of vanilla on her neck as she nips softly into the curly haired woman’s skin in her parked BMW at the back of an empty parking lot.

 

-

 

Tobin’s time is ticking, it’s the eve of her last day off and she’s about to sneak out to see Christen presumably for the final time before she leaves LA. They’ve got a day off tomorrow, then a full day consisting of a morning gym workout, field practice, and strategy meetings the next day, and then the day after that they leave for San Diego and she’s gone for the holidays.

 

Allie and Alex haven’t talked to her much after Tobin’s debrief of their first date. Well, she should rephrase that, they have talked, just mostly about planning Allie’s upcoming wedding and about bridesmaids dresses for the two of them. They don’t know that she’s seen Christen again and they don’t know that she’s going to see her one last time tonight. She thinks that they probably think she’s been leaving to go see Amy or something or just hanging out with other people on the team when she abandons them.

 

Alex is out of their room, off to spend the night at her parent’s house by the time Tobin leaves for her date with Christen.

 

She pulls up in front of the hotel, Tobin hadn’t been able to get one of the team’s rental cars so Christen offered to pick her up before taking her out. Christen is smiling through the window and Tobin reaches to open the door and slides into the passenger seat.

 

“Hey,” Tobin mutters before going full force forwards, fully intending on placing a quick peck to her lips but getting a little caught up, and before she knows it her tongue is in Christen’s mouth and she’s pulling back more breathless than she cares to admit.

 

“Hey,” Christen giggles back once Tobin reclines and slumps into her seat, after she shifts the car from park to drive she drops her hand onto Tobin’s thigh, giving it a slight squeeze before bringing it back to the wheel as she pulls out of the parking lot, “How was your day?”

 

Tobin groans a little, “We had a double day, so I’ve definitely felt better before. And you?”

“Not too bad,” Christen is biting her lip as she focuses on her driving again, “Didn’t have to sit through too many meetings today.”

 

Tobin knows that she has been struggling to maintain attention in her mass amounts of meetings with financial advisors and payroll specialists and everything else that she needs to do to run a business.

 

“Where are we off to tonight Ms. Press?”

 

Christen tries not to shiver as Tobin grabs her elbow, rubbing softly with her thumb at the exposed skin in a comforting way. It’s almost seven and Christen is ready for a drink and a meal, “Well, there’s this place I went to for cocktails a couple weeks ago. It’s pretty trendy, lots of vegetarian options and what not, a lot of twenty something young professionals.”

 

“Nice,” Tobin is glad Christen gave her a heads up to dress a little nicer than she has for their past few dates, but was pleased to hear when Christen told her they’d mostly be inside save for walking from parking the car. They find street parking about two blocks away and Christen pays for two hours with the change she leaves in her cupholders.

 

One thing that Christen would not have expected from her first few conversations with Tobin is how affectionate she would be. She knows that tonight is probably the last time she’s going to see her before she leaves LA for good but Tobin has got her left hand behind Christen’s back, it’s not wrapped all the way around and resting on her waist, but instead is settled half way up the middle of her back and is scratching up and down lightly beneath her jacket and above her dress. Christen offers her a smile while they wait for the hostess to seat them at their table.

 

Tobin tucks the veil her hair has formed around her face behind her ear while she browses the menu, she texted Christen telling her that she didn’t think a drink or two would hurt on her day off so she’s ready to order something from the drink menu when the waiter comes to their table. Tobin settles for a locally brewed beer and Christen orders a mojito.

 

Together they decide to order a salad for two and split a barbeque chicken flatbread pizza for dinner. Christen enjoys the way that Tobin traces the outside of her own right hand but never fully grasps it when she’s not sipping on her beer and the way that her cheeks flush red slightly with each sip she has. The way that Tobin opens up to her, and smiles as she tells her about her childhood and college years makes Christen wonder if maybe Tobin hasn’t opened up to someone in as long as she has, because the tidbits she knows from Tobin’s childhood and college don’t necessarily add up to the person she presents to Christen today. She’s one of those shy, adventurous people that don’t necessarily give you much unless you pry into them and Christen likes that, because Tobin makes her feel comfortable talking about things that her friends don’t understand, things like how much LA really stresses her out and how she really feels about franchising and artificiality.

 

“Are you excited for your game?” Christen asks halfway through their pizza, the conversation they were having about their respective best friends from college coming to a lull.

 

“Yeah,” Tobin shakes her head in that so-so way when she feels pretty mediocre about something, “It’s been a quick two weeks here. I hate to sound like a cocky professional athlete but, I guess what I’m about to say is the truth, but it’ll be an easy game, we’re playing Ireland. I probably won’t play much so they can test out some of the newbies they called into camp. But I think I’m ready for a break, I’ve kind of not stopped playing for even like a month in the past two years maybe since normally if I was still playing in France I would’ve already been packed up and been over there to start the season by now.”

 

“Do you miss it? France, I mean,” Christen has been wanting to ask Tobin this for a while, she’ll occasionally mention how she moved back permanently last year but Christen has been wary of bringing it up since Tobin usually will choose to focus on something else after mentioning the past few years of her life there.

 

“Um,” Tobin wipes her hand on the napkin in her lap before taking a sip of her beer before she answers, because maybe a couple of months ago her answer would have been a steadfast yes but recently she’s been questioning herself as to what is causing her to feel like she’s been in an emotional rut and is starting to realize that maybe it’s not as much to do with France as she originally thought, “I don’t know if it’s necessarily France itself that I miss, or even necessarily the club, but maybe more of the lifestyle. Like I always had something to do, there was always somewhere new to travel, I didn’t have much time to just sit down and do my own thing, you know?”

 

Christen shakes her head, nodding at her response. She’s been getting a sort of feeling that Tobin is not necessarily completely set with her life in Portland, that she’s a little unsure of what’s to come when she returns, or even that she’s avoiding the city potentially. That’s what doesn’t make sense in her brain, “And where are you headed for Christmas? What are your plans?”

 

Christen doesn’t know much more about what is to come for Tobin other than that she’s leaving, but she’s genuinely curious as to what Tobin is going to get up to in her apparently extensive free time, “Well I’m going to fly up to Portland for a day, I’ve been living out of my suitcase for three weeks and need to switch out all my gear for new clothes and stuff. Then I’m going to fly to meet my brother and we’ll drive from his college down to Florida to my mom’s place. Stay there through New Years, hit up Perry’s place in New York for a little, then I’m going to go back to Portland for a week or two before visiting some of my friends from the team who are pregnant and retired. Then it’s Olympic trials and preseason and then, well, life resumes I guess. Sorry, that was probably more than you were looking for.”

 

“No, no, I’m glad that you seem excited for the next couple weeks,” She takes a drink from her own glass, “I think it’ll be good for you to relax after the year you’ve had.”

 

That’s a feeling that she thinks she’s been secretly harboring from Christen, she doesn’t know much about soccer but she does know that winning the World Cup was probably a really big deal and Tobin mentioned that they had an additional ten games with the national team this year. It hasn’t sounded like she’s had much time to sit down, take a breath, and reflect on whatever has happened to her this year.

 

“Yeah,” Tobin glances down at her lap, nodding slightly more confidently than she maybe would have a couple weeks ago but still not completely there yet, “It should be fun, good for me even.”

 

“I mean, Tobin, I do not know you that well, at all but,” She snatches the bill that the waiter put down at the table mid sentence before Tobin even has a chance to think about it, and slides a card into the pocket, “It sounds like you’ve been go, go, go for a long time and I think you like your life to be like that. Maybe it might be nice though, I can tell that you’re not necessarily looking forward to this break for whatever reason, but it might be nice for you to just sit and be still and breath for a second. Regroup at the beginning of the year, take the world by storm after. You know, decorate your apartment a little, make it feel more like home. I don’t think having somewhere to call home base will necessarily be as bad as you think it will be. I mean, maybe it would be nice to have somewhere to come back to, relax, be by yourself for a while.”

 

Tobin knows what she’s talking about, she remembers mentioning a while ago about how her friends and her had decided to move out of their shared house and into apartments, mainly because Alex was moving to Orlando and Allie was getting married, leading them to split from the house they’d shared since they started in Portland years ago and leaving Tobin feeling that much more lonely than she’d been. Christen doesn’t know about that, just that she mentioned that her moving into this apartment meant living by herself for the first time in her entire life.

 

They linger for a few minutes, talking about the headboard, table, and shelf that she wants to get made when she returns back to Portland. As the restaurant starts to empty out, Tobin and Christen decide that it’s maybe time to head back to the car. Tobin wraps her arm completely around Christen’s back this time as the walk back to the car and Christen reciprocates with her own. She feels comfortable with Tobin’s warm body pressed into her side as she digs for her keys. It’s dark out, and what should be a quick endeavor is much more difficult than it should have been, and it takes her even longer as she starts to fumble when Tobin’s lips find her neck, again .

 

There’s something different about it this time, it’s not as playful and more purposeful, more urgent than it had been previously. When Tobin kisses down her chin and up to her mouth she lets out the softest and weakest of moans, then the arm that Tobin had previously wrapped around her back dropped down, her hand half covering the curve of her butt. Tobin is huffing in her ear when she asks, “Could we maybe go back to your place?”

 

Christen’s hands are tucked into Tobin’s hair, keeping her face as close to her own as possible, “Of course.”

 

This is where Christen had wanted the night to go when she set out for dinner tonight. She wasn’t sure what was up with this weird temporary dating thing they had going on but she knew that she didn’t want Tobin to leave before she was able to release this pent up physical tension that they had going on. She would be lying if she said that Tobin’s small touches of endearment didn’t affect her more than she had let on.

 

The car ride to her place is quiet, Tobin has their hands clasped together though and Tobin’s thumb is rubbing over her own. There’s music turned on quietly in the background of the short drive to Christen’s town house.

 

Christen pulls into her driveway and she hears Tobin unbuckle her seatbelt before she even puts the car in park. She unlocks her door to let Tobin in and she follows her, a hand resting lightly on her waist as they each toe the shoes off their feet.

 

“Do you like red wine?” She moves in the direction of the kitchen, Tobin following her from a safe distance. Tobin slips into a spot at her kitchen counter, “I have like half a bottle leftover from when I had some friends over the other night.

 

Tobin watches as she pulls out the bottle, “I’d love some wine.”

 

So Christen pours two glasses and motions in the direction of the couch, she sits down and tucks her legs up under her. Her body is leaning slightly to the left, towards the spot where Tobin settles down in. Tobin sits down facing her as much as possible while still allowing her crossed legs to dangle over the edge of the couch, she takes a long sip of the wine before she sets it down on the coffee table in front of her.

 

Christen’s house is homey, much homier than Tobin would have anticipated. The walls are light with a few paintings here and there and her furniture is a soft gray with a few colored accent pillows and dark wood accents. Tobin rests her hand on Christen’s thigh, before changing her mind and letting it slide up to her waist again. “I like your house,” She mutters as she dips her head in Christen’s direction, falling directly onto her lips exactly like she aimed for.

 

Christen has a thanks poised at the tip of her mouth for a few seconds before she loses it to the tip of Tobin’s tongue as it wanders into her mouth. Tobin’s hands are moving up and down her side, she can feel her palms across the side of her breasts in her passes. Christen has moved her hand from its usual perch on the side of Tobin’s neck and lets it drift down Tobin’s front, her hand slowing at the curve of her breasts and down the ridges of her abs and then runs her hand around as far towards Tobin’s ass as she can reach but not quite being able to get to her destination so she repeats the same track in reverse and can feel the hitch of Tobin’s breath in her mouth this time. When Tobin separates to catch a breath, she tilts her head back so she can make a move before Tobin reattaches them at the lips, “Tobin, I have a bed.”

 

“Oh, you do, do you?” Tobin chuckles against her neck as she had started nipping her way down after Christen had turned her head, “And where would this bed be located?”

 

Christen stands up, pulling Tobin up with a tug of her hands as they abandon post on the couch and their wine glasses on the table. When they had walked in, Christen had suspected that they might need one more drink since they’d only had one each at the restaurant before things would progress but she underestimated themselves.

 

Christen hadn’t thought that Tobin would abandon the hand that she had used to pull her up on the short walk to her bedroom but then again she also wasn’t surprised as she felt Tobin’s hand trace from the bottom of her zip just above her butt to the top, and as they’re still walking she feels her dress becoming loose right before they reach their destination, at which point Tobin pushes her back into the door she had just shut and she keeps their heads attached by the mouth but steps back her body and uses her hands to slide Christen’s dress off down her shoulders. Once it’s off, Christen uses her own hand to push at Tobin’s shoulder so she spins around and Christen can unzip her. She watches as Tobin lets her dress fall to the ground as she walks to the bed before turning around and almost lounging back, resting her palms down so she’s half laying on the bed and half sitting, “You coming?”

 

She chuckles at her partner and motions for Tobin to move back and lay down on the bed before she crawls over top of her. She starts her own pattern of nipping and sucking down Tobin’s neck, down her chest, along the edges of her bra and down the other girls abs. Tobin’s hands fumble behind her back as she’s doing her own work and she can feel the material that normally hugs her close fall and expose her to the colder air around her. When she’s balanced and stable, she lifts her hands that were keeping her balanced one at a time to allow Tobin’s thin fingers to slide the straps completely off her.

 

Taking a moment to forcefully slide her hands under Tobin’s back, she’s thankful for the way that Tobin arches as she returns the favor, unleashing her as well. She misses Tobin’s smirk as her hands drift down to Christen’s chest, having their own fun. Christen groans either at the touch or at the fact that Tobin’s own chest is bare and naked for her to see. The lacy bra and panty set is not something she anticipated Tobin would be wearing and it just slightly reminds her of how little she actually knows about the other woman in front of her, not that it matters now that they’re wrapped up in each other.

 

Christen has got a million and one thoughts running through her head while she’s tending to Tobin, how little she knows her but also how much she does know about her, the way that Tobin’s muscles contract and how she can see them contract, the way that Tobin’s hands never leave her body fully, even as she moves further south and places her mouth against her core, she thinks about how light she feels, and how she hopes Tobin is enjoying it (and from the sounds of it she is really enjoying it), and she’s thinking about all the ways that she can make the next few hours matter before Tobin leaves her for good.

 

-

 

When Tobin starts to wake it’s to the touch of soft incredible sheets pulled up to her chest, her head is on a pillow that is possibly the softest she’s ever felt, and a mattress that her body sinks into perfectly.

 

As she pops one eye open she notices that the stark white pillowcase is on the opposite end of the color spectrum from the dark gray pillowcase she travels with on her own pillow. The sleepy fog covering her memory starts to dissipate as she rubs the sleep from her eyes. Even if her memory failed her, the ache between her thighs certainly doesn’t. An ache that is certainly not from Dawn’s two-a-day from the day before.

 

Then she notices the other side of the bed, comforter and sheets pulled back, exposing a noticeably empty spot. Tobin didn’t think that Christen would be the type of person to just leave like that but sometimes intuition leads you astray. She reaches over to the bedside table for her phone but comes up empty. Obviously, she thinks, her phone was probably still down in the kitchen or on the couch or wherever her purse ended up before her dress fell to the floor. So much for ordering an uber before she got changed back into her fallen panties and dress. But just as she’s pushing herself to sit up, holding the sheets tightly to her chest, she hears the softest possible swing of a door and sees Christen entering, trying to be as quiet as possible.

 

“Shit, sorry, I hope I didn’t wake you,” She’s got a soft smile on her face as she abandons her cautionary tiptoeing.

 

“You didn’t,” Tobin returns the soft smile back as Christen makes her way back towards the bed. She lets her body softly return to its previously horizontal position as Christen sits back down in her previously occupied spot. She’s got a soft fluffy white bathrobe on (of course Christen is a robe person, Tobin thinks) but when she sits back down with her back still facing Tobin, she unties the waist and lets it fall back down, exposing her nudity briefly before she pulls the sheets back and slides ever so closely to Tobin.

 

“There, like I never left,” Christen can’t help but smile back at Tobin, she feels warm and comfortable staring at her face as she curls further into the pillows, “I had to go let my dogs out. I was hoping you didn’t hear them barking.”

 

“You have dogs?” Tobin’s eyes light up and Christen’s smile widens at her expression, “As in more than one, plural?”

 

“I have two,” Christen nods, letting a giggle escape her mouth at the fact that somehow between their fun last night and waking up Tobin had transformed mentally from a twenty-something (Christen realizes just now that she doesn’t know exactly how old Tobin is) to a six year old in the matter of hours, “Morena and Khaleesi.”

 

“Wow, you named your dog after the mother of dragons?” Tobin is silently happy that Christen is into Game of Thrones but is still more focused on the dogs, “Can I pet them before I leave?”

 

“Of course, do you watch? Or read?” Christen can’t help but reach out her hand to push some of Tobin’s fallen hair behind her ear so that she can see her face again.

 

“Attempted to read,” Tobin laughs at her pathetic excuse of an attempt at reading just the first novel, “It’s not exactly an easy series to travel with.” She says referring to the thick, dense books, “I liked the plot line though so I just turned to the tv series.”

 

Christen mumbles, catching herself before saying they’ll have to watch the new season together before she remembers that Tobin is leaving, and she probably won’t be seeing her again after this, “Speaking of leaving, I was thinking if you wanted, that we could shower and then grab brunch? One last hurrah before you leave?”

 

She’s a little surprised when she feels Tobin’s familiar fingers dance along her side under the sheets and suddenly her lips are pressed against her own for a brief second, something Christen definitely wasn’t expecting, “Yes to breakfast, for sure, but about the shower thing? Depends, will you be there?”

 

Christen smirks back at her, giggling softly as Tobin’s hands get a little more adventurous with their paths, “I think we can arrange that.”

 

-

 

Christen ends up at brunch with Tobin sometime around one by the time they managed to finish their fun in the shower and change into some of Christen’s extra workout clothes that she didn’t mind Tobin keeping after today. They both think that it’s a little odd, Tobin’s still a little annoyed with herself for succumbing to Christen’s lips and kissing her when she probably shouldn’t have. Christen plays along with whatever is happening, certainly won’t complain about the shower activities but she would be lying if she didn’t say she was a little confused by Tobin’s affection as they waited their fifteen minutes for a table.

 

It’s almost like nothing happened, like the rewound to before they had sex and were just going to one last meal before Tobin left. They drag their brunch out, much too long than it should have been and when they slide into the car Tobin finally addresses the topic they had a silent agreement on but that desperately needed to be talked about now that the moment was looming. After Christen switches the car into drive, Tobin reaches to grab her hand and loops their fingers together, but she also places her other hand on top of Chirstens, “Chris, I really enjoyed this time we had together. It meant more to me than I think you know.”

 

Christen turns her head to her with just a tinge of sadness in her smile, “Tobin, I don’t know exactly what’s been going on in your life that’s kept you down, but I think you’re moving in the right direction. Give it a little more time and you’ll be home free.”

 

“Thanks,” Tobin smiles down at her lap a little, “I mean it though, I really like you and I had a really good time getting to know you. I wish we had more time.”


“I really like you too Tobin,” Christen slows into the parking lot of the hotel, the drop off lane is full of cars and she pulls into a parking spot, knowing this goodbye could take longer than would be acceptable anyway, “And I agree, but you have to go, and I understand. I had a lot of fun and you’re a pretty great person.”

 

Christen pulls their interlaced hands to her mouth, dropping a kiss onto the back of Tobin’s hand. She lets go after and opens her door, watching as Tobin does the same.

 

When she walks to the other side of the door, both her and Tobin’s bodies collide rather harshly as Tobin holds onto Christen rather tightly, “Do you regret leaving me your number at that coffee shop?”

 

Christen laughs, blushing a little at how flustered she had been just a few days ago in front of the exact same person, “Of course not,” she pinches Tobin at the hip where her hand had been resting.

 

“Good, I’m glad I didn’t disappoint,” Tobin looks back into her eyes, flashing down at her lips, “Do you mind if I kiss you one more time?”

 

Christen is barely able to shake her head no before Tobin’s lips are pressing against hers. They aren’t crashing this time like they did in the rush after the first time they had coffee together, nor are they searching like they were after tacos, and nor were they frantic in an attempt to memorize as much about the other person as possible before Tobin’s departure. They’re just soft, thankful and grateful.

 

“Thanks again Christen,” Tobin pulls back so that her hands are still on each other but their bodies aren’t touching anywhere else, “I know I’ve said it like five times but I had a really good few days.”

 

“No problem,” Their hands completely drop now, but before Christen completely lets Tobin walk away from the situation she stops her, “Tobin, if you ever find yourself single in LA, give me a call.”

 

Tobin gives her a nod with a grin on her face.

 

“I’m serious,” Christen states again, “Or even if you’re not single, I’d love to hear how your life is going, okay?”

 

“I’m sure I’ll be back,” Tobin thinks, LA is a pretty regular training spot. Maybe she’ll take Christen up on the offer sometime.

 

“Okay, well,” They’re just standing and staring at each other at this point, “I guess this is goodbye.”

 

“Yeah, I guess it is,” Tobin takes a few backward steps, “Bye Christen.”

 

“Bye Tobin.”

 

Christen watches as Tobin retreats one last time, offering her one final wave as she enters the building, which Christen returns. She can’t help but feel a little sad as she watches the girl retreat, she can’t place the feeling really. She didn’t know Tobin well enough to really feel all that completely heart broken to see her go but more that she just wishes they could have had a little more time. A little more time to get to know each other so she could feel a little more confident letting Tobin go, a little more confident that Tobin was feeling okay about what happened, and a little more confident that this, whatever this was, had been a good thing for Tobin and that she could get back on her feet soon.

 

-

 

When Tobin finally reaches her empty room, she drops the bag that Christen had given her to put her dress and purse in on the ground and collapses onto the bed. She has a funny feeling that she can’t quite pinpoint, she’s sad to see Christen go but she doesn’t feel broken. If anything she feels a little more stable than before they met. Something like Christen had instilled a confidence in her and allowed her to talk honestly about her life to someone from an outside perspective. Maybe Christen was exactly the nudge she needed to get her out of the emotional rut that she didn’t even really know she was in.