Actions

Work Header

under pink skies

Chapter Text

When Christen calls Tobin about her date idea, Tobin can tell right away how excited she is about it.

 

She invites her over on Saturday afternoon so that they can watch a ‘big soccer game’ Christen read about online (a friendly between the US national team and Canada) and then she can make Tobin dinner afterwards. Nata is spending the weekend with her parents so they’ll have the house to themselves. She gets flustered after realizing how suggestive that sounds and tells Tobin that’s not her plan, but there’s still a slight tension between them indicating it isn’t completely off the table.

 

Tobin doesn’t get her expectations high, but she does make sure she shaves carefully when she showers and trims her nails, just in case. She spends ten minutes trying to decide which bra and underwear to put on. Nothing too suggestive so it doesn’t look like she’s expecting it, but something nice enough in case they do make an appearance, she doesn’t have to feel self conscious.

 

She goes over to teach Christen about soccer, but they spend the first fifteen minutes of the game making out on the couch (Tobin’s so fucking weak for Christen in leggings) before a goal is scored and the shouting from the TV tears them apart.

 

“This is a valuable teaching moment we’re missing out on,” Christen mumbles against Tobin’s lips.

 

“Yeah, I’m teaching you how good of a kisser I am.” Tobin goes in for more, but Christen only lets it go on for another few moments before she’s pulling away again.

 

“Not what I meant,” Christen rolls her eyes and kisses Tobin once more before she puts a careful distance between them and wipes Tobin’s chapstick from her lips. “Seriously, I want to learn about soccer. This is something you love, something Nata loves, I want to know more about it so I can connect with you guys.”

 

“I’m trying to connect with you,” Tobin tries again, leaning in for Christen’s lips, but she pushes her away with a steady hand on her shoulder. “Fine,” Tobin groans, sitting back against the couch and folding her hands in her lap so she’s not tempted. “What do you want to know? My soccer brain is yours to use however you’d like. As is the rest of my body.”

 

“You’re impossible.” Christen rolls her eyes before she continues. “So Kelley’s on this team, right? How is she on both your team and this team?”

 

“Because this is the national team,” Tobin explains.

 

“And that’s different from the league you play in?”

 

“Yeah, I play at the club level and this is the international level,” Tobin starts. “You know how they have basketball in the Olympics? Well, the US national basketball team is made up of different American players in the NBA. That’s what this is like. The NBA is the league level, like I play in, then this is the international level, like in the Olympics. So how I play against teams like Orlando or Seattle, the national team plays against France or England, or in this case, Canada. It’s a much larger scale.”

 

Christen nods in understanding and then watches the game for a few moments before she asks, “so the international level is like, the best of the best?”

 

“Yeah, that’s about right. You have to be really, really good to get called up to this team.”

 

Christen scoots closer and rests an arm behind Tobin’s shoulders on the back of the couch. She does it casually, but there’s a hint of need to it that tells Tobin she was getting antsy by the lack of physical contact between them. She tries not to smirk knowing how much Christen wants to be close to her.

 

She wants the exact same thing.

 

“Then why aren’t you on this team?” Christen asks. “I guess I’m not the best judge of soccer players’ skill levels, but I’ve seen a few of your games and you seem like you’re really good. Nata is always raving about some play you’ve made and you’re always making the crowd cheer about something.”

 

Tobin swallows hard and leans back into Christen’s arm, wanting the comfort of the warmth of her skin in order to talk about this. “I used to play on this team, actually,” she admits.

 

“Wait, really?” Christen turns more towards her for a better look.

 

Tobin scratches nervously at her jawline. “Yeah, but it’s been a few years.”

 

Christen moves her arm so that her hand is resting on Tobin’s shoulder, fingers tapping to draw her attention away from the TV and onto her. “Can I ask what happened? You seem kind of bitter about it,” Christen says carefully.

 

“I’m not really,” Tobin says honestly, “it’s just kind of a screwy situation.” She sighs, knowing it’ll be best to just tell Christen everything. She feels comfortable enough with her to do so, she just doesn’t like admitting how much it still bothers her, even though she swears it doesn’t.

 

It’s a tricky thing watching your dreams slip through your fingers for shitty reasons.

 

“When I was first brought on the team in college, we had this great coach and I really liked her,” Tobin continues. “She gave me a lot of freedom to play the game the way I wanted and encouraged me to push myself as a player. I improved so much because of her. Then about four years after I joined the team, they hired this new guy, and he and I just butted heads a lot. He was trying to box me in and force me to play the style he wanted me to play. I’m not good at confining myself on the field and he got fed up with it, so he replaced me with a player who would do what he wanted. I stopped getting called up after that.

 

“It really kind of broke me, you know? That season with LA was the worst I’ve ever had. I only scored two goals and had three assists, which might be okay for like, a defender or something, but was really shitty for me. It was awful. I was trying my hardest to snap out of my slump and just play, but after being punished for playing the way I loved, it wasn’t an easy thing to just get over it. Coach Foudy did all she could, but eventually I became more of a liability on the field than anything and I ended up getting benched a lot. She hated doing it, but I wasn’t contributing and there were other players who could. I decided to spend a season playing in France and eventually I found my way back to who I was before. After the national team coach was fired, the current coach called me back into camp, but the whole situation just left a really bad taste in my mouth and I didn’t want to get involved again even though Kelley really loves this new coach. I just wanted a clean break, you know? Playing for that team didn’t mean the same thing to me anymore.”

 

It’s easier to tell Christen than she thought it would be. She feels comfortable, safe, around her. It still hurts her pride to talk about it, but it doesn’t hurt her heart anymore. Even if it did, Christen’s there to ease the pain, so it’s barely noticeable.

 

She’s never found it easy to bare her soul, despite being as transparent as she is with so many of her close friends. It’s never been something she’s been inclined to do, but Christen makes her want to tell her everything there is to know about her.

 

“I’m so sorry, that’s awful.” Christen tangles her fingers in the wispy hairs at the back of Tobin’s neck, fingers scratching at her skin. “I can’t imagine anyone trying to change the way you play. You’re really beautiful to watch.” As she realizes what she just said, her cheeks flush red. “I meant like your footwork, or whatever,” Christen tries to save herself.

 

“Uh-huh, sure,” Tobin smirks. “You totally just called me beautiful.”

 

“I mean, you are, but that wasn’t how I meant it.” Christen leans in for a brief kiss. “So how you said there’s basketball in the Olympics, does soccer play too?”

 

Tobin can’t help the cocky smirk that crosses her lips. “Yeah, I uh--I actually played in two Olympics.”

 

“Shut up,” Christen rolls her eyes, “no you didn’t.”

 

“I’m dead serious,” she jabs at Christen’s phone in her pocket. “You can google it right now. I was on the roster in Beijing and London. Lauren and Amy were both with me in Beijing, but they’d retired by London.”

 

Christen’s eyes go wide. “For real? How did I not know this? You seriously played in the Olympics?”

 

“Even better, I won.”

 

Christen goes back to being in denial. “No way. There’s no way you have two gold medals. I know I don’t know a lot about soccer, but there’s no way.”

 

“I promise I do,” Tobin insists. “Google it right now if you don’t believe me. They’re hanging on my bookshelf at home along with my silver medal from the World Cup. You’re more than welcome to join me at my apartment anytime you’d like to see them. Maybe some mood lighting, a little wine, some slow music; I’ll regale you with tales of my international heroics.”

 

“You’re so full of yourself,” Christen groans, but she kisses Tobin all the same. “Wait, what’s a World Cup?” She asks when she pulls away.

 

“It’s kinda like the Olympics, but just for soccer and with a lot more teams.” Tobin leans in and tries to kiss Christen again, but she’s rejected. She tries and fails not to groan in complaint.

 

“This is so crazy,” Christen says, ignoring Tobin’s protest. “I had no idea you were this good.”

 

“You’ve yet to see just how good I am.”

 

“I’m dating a horny teenager,” Christen complains, but she lets Tobin kiss her for a moment before she leans back and turns towards the TV again. “Seriously, tell me more about soccer, I really want to learn. I know there’s a goalkeeper and I know you’re a…left winger? That’s all I know, though. Tell me more about the different positions.” She stops Tobin before she can interrupt. “And I swear if you make a joke about sex positions, I’m kicking you out of my house.”

 

“You’re no fun,” Tobin grumbles, but she tells Christen what she wants to know. She explains outside backs and centerbacks, forwards and midfielders. She tells her what all their roles are and how they interact with each other. She explains how a center midfielder is different from a winger like she is and the difference between a true striker and a regular forward.

 

Christen takes it all in, nodding along with every word Tobin tells her. She points to the screen and asks questions and follows Tobin’s finger when she’s the one pointing. She reminds Tobin of Nata with the way she hangs on every word Tobin says. She listens tentatively and if her notepads from work weren’t tucked away in her bag in the kitchen, Tobin’s pretty sure she’d be making notes of everything she tells her so she could study later.

 

“So there are three rows of players?” Christen asks when she’s finished.

 

“Most of the time,” Tobin confirms. “Different teams use different formations, but three is pretty standard. Sometimes it’s more like four if you have a striker who spends all their time up top, but they can also fall back so it’s like three lines again. Formations change depending on how the game is flowing.”

 

The crowd on the TV shouts about something and Christen’s head jerks towards the screen, but it was just a close shot from one of the forwards that went a little too wide.

 

“So I know Kelley,” Christen says after the replays are finished and the ball starts getting knocked around midfield again. “But do you know any of these other players? Wait, I guess that’s a dumb question. You did play on the team after all.”

 

“There’s been a lot of turnover since I played on the team, but I know all of them really. Only a couple of them don’t play in the NWSL.” Tobin points at the screen towards one of the players. “That’s Kelley’s girlfriend, Emily. She’s a centerback, number 16.”

 

Christen squints her eyes and looks where Tobin is pointing. “Oh, good job, Kelley. She’s cute,” she observes.

 

“She’s a tiny pixelated figure,” Tobin complains.

 

“Yes, but she’s a cute tiny pixelated figure,” Christen adds, knowing how much Tobin’s getting annoyed. She scrunches her nose and smirks at Tobin, making sure to let her know she’s only teasing.

 

Tobin pouts until Christen kisses the frown off her face and then she continues. “Okay, so I went to college with the captain, number 9. Her name’s Heather and she’s from Jersey too so we spent a lot of time playing in the youth leagues growing up. I also went to college with Allie, the one that just had the ball. She’s one of my best friends. And also with Whitney, she’s the other centerback next to Emily. Mallory is one of the forwards.”

 

“Oh, I know her,” Christen says excitedly, proud that she knows something before Tobin has to explain it to her. “She’s the really young one. Nata really likes her, I think he has a little crush.”

 

“Well, she’s young, but she’s not that young,” Tobin teases. “She’s ridiculously good.”

 

There’s a shrill whistle from the TV and both their heads jerk towards the screen.

 

“What just happened?” Christen asks.

 

Tobin smirks, knowing even though Christen’s picked up so well on everything so far, she’s about to get confused now. “The Canadian player was offsides.”

 

Tobin’s suspicions are proven right when Christen’s face scrunches together in confusion and she squints back at the replays on the screen, trying to see if she can make sense of what happened. “What does that mean?”

 

“I think that’s a topic of discussion for another night. It’s confusing and I don’t want to overwhelm you.”

 

Christen looks like she’s about to protest, but then she watches the replay again and her face shows she’s still confused. “Okay, yeah. That seems like a good idea.”

 

They watch the rest of the game with few questions asked. Christen starts to really get into it, cheering when appropriate and groaning when shots go just wide. She compliments Kelley and Mallory a lot, paying extra attention to them since she actually knows who they are.

 

Like Christen when she was watching Tobin and Nata watch the game the other night, Tobin spends most of the second half leaning back and watching Christen. Her eyes aren’t wide like Nata’s were, instead she’s nearly squinting, studying the screen and not wanting to miss a single detail. It’s flattering, the effort she’s making to understand the game Tobin loves so much.

 

Tobin leans over to kiss Christen’s cheek several times throughout the game, unable to hold back just how much she likes her.

 

“Thank you,” Tobin whispers to her at one point.

 

“For what?” Christen barely takes her eyes off the screen, too entranced to look away.

 

“For trying so hard to learn the game. I know it isn’t just for me, but I really appreciate the interest you have in the game I play. You can tell me all editing whenever you want. I promise I’ll listen just as intensely,” Tobin promises.

 

“I’m not doing it for you, I just want Nata to think I’m a cool mom,” she teases.

 

Tobin laughs and tilts Christen’s face so she can kiss her for real. “I knew you were just using me to impress your son,” she pouts.

 

“Well, that and you’re hot.”

 

“At least you think I’m hot, that’s good enough for me.”

 

The game ends 3-2 in favor of the US, with Canada making a late surge, but they aren’t able to find an equalizer. Christen follows along with the American Outlaws’ chants at the end of the game, making Tobin grin. She gets even more into it the more Tobin laughs, clearly enjoying the effect she has on Tobin.

 

Tobin tries to convince Christen to spend some more time making out on the couch before they make dinner, but Christen only entertains her for a few minutes before she’s rising from the couch and taking Tobin to the kitchen.

 

Tobin grumbles, but only for a few minutes until she sees how sexy Christen is in the kitchen. She moves around effortlessly, chopping and mixing and seasoning, all without a recipe. Tobin watches with appreciation, stealing food and kisses whenever she can and sipping on red wine. She offers to help, but Christen puts her in charge of music instead.

 

She's scrolling through the recently played songs on Christen’s phone when she sees a familiar one that makes her grin. ‘pink skies,’ the same song they danced to on their first date. She presses play and waits for it to dawn on Christen what the song is. When she realizes, she turns to Tobin with a wide grin.

 

“Good choice.”

 

“You bought this song?” Tobin asks her.

 

Christen blushes slightly, continuing to stir the chicken around the pan slowly until she casually says, “It's a good song.”

 

“It's my favorite,” Tobin reminds her.

 

“You said that about all of their songs,” Christen points out, still trying to make it seem nonchalant that she bought the song and has been listening to it lately. “It's a good song and I like it,” she defends.

 

“Okay,” Tobin says with a smirk, knowing there's more to it than that.

 

“I'm serious. It's just a song that I like.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Seriously, it's no big deal.”

 

“I never said that it was.” Tobin’s still smirking as she slides up behind Christen in front of the stove, bringing her hands to her hips and her lips to her shoulder, kissing her through the soft fabric of her shirt. “Why are you getting so defensive about it?” She teases.

 

“I'm not,” Christen insists, trying to ignore Tobin's hands and lips, though the hitch in her breath and the way the muscles in her arm tighten as she grips the spoon harder give her away. “I just said it wasn't a big deal, that's all.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Tobin, I'm serious.”

 

Okay.” Tobin decides to let her off the hook, knowing she bought it for her, but deciding to let it slide after seeing how flustered Christen is getting. Instead, she starts the song over and tugs on Christen’s hand towards the middle of the kitchen, wanting to not only recreate the moment from their first date, but to make it even better. “Dance with me.”

 

Christen resists at first, planting her feet in front of the stove and not budging. “Tobin, I can't. I don't want to burn dinner.”

 

Tobin’s relentless, refusing to take no for an answer.

 

“Come on, it's a short song. The chicken will be okay until then. Please dance with me?”

 

Christen’s still hesitant, but once Tobin starts pouting, sticking out her bottom lip and giving her best puppy dog eyes, Christen melts. She groans as she sets her spoon down and lets Tobin pull her towards her.

 

“You're worse at sucking up than Nata trying to stay up past his bedtime,” she complains.

 

“I take that as a compliment. Kid’s a genius.”

 

Tobin wouldn't necessarily call herself a great dancer, but she thinks she's okay. She's able to follow a beat and her hips can move fluidly. Dancing with Christen, though, she feels looser than she ever has.

 

They dance on their own, but close, bumping against each other intentionally and egging each other on. There's really no rhyme or reason to it, just moving to the music and doing what feels right. Tobin does her best to make Christen smile, knocking their hips together and pulling her close when she's least expecting it.

 

Christen can't really hold the tempo of the song, hips never keeping a constant beat, but she looks so good while she's doing it, carefree and smiling, that Tobin can't help but stare. She's having fun and letting her guard down and Tobin’s proud of herself for being able to bring this side out of Christen. She's being silly and not caring what Tobin might think of her dance moves. She's simply happy and that's a look Tobin always wants to see on her.

 

Tobin pulls her in closely for a moment and whispers in her ear, “this song reminds me of you,” and then lets her spin away again, grin plastered across her face.

 

Tobin knows that’s the real reason Christen bought the song, aside from it just being a good song. It reminds her of them and it reminds her of that night, so she bought it so she could remember those moments whenever she heard it. It’s the same reason the song’s had a spike in plays on Tobin’s own phone. Christen might be a little embarrassed to admit that, though, so Tobin has no problem doing it for her.

 

By the time the song ends, Tobin tries to keep it going for another, but Christen backs away, citing the chicken on the stove which is starting to smell like it's burning. Tobin lets her go after a long kiss and then follows her across the kitchen, leaning against the counter beside the stove, returning to her glass of wine.

 

“You're a pretty good dancer, you know?” Christen asks, moving the chopped chicken around the pan so it doesn't burn anymore than it's already started to.

 

Tobin laughs, narrowly avoiding choking on her wine. That seems to be a running theme with them on dates and Tobin would really rather it not continue.

 

“I don't know if I'd say that,” Tobin dismisses.

 

“No, I'm serious,” Christen insists, adding in some sort of spice to the pan that Tobin doesn't recognize. “Your hips move really well.”

 

“I’m going to spare you the dirty joke because it’s way too easy,” Tobin smirks with a click of her tongue. “I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a good dancer, but I have had a few lessons. Kelley was on Dancing with the Stars a couple seasons ago and her partner and some of the other dancers came to practice once day to teach us some moves as part of a promo thing. I guess I just remember them.”

 

“Kelley was on Dancing with the Stars? She seems like she’s way too laid back for that.”

 

“She became good friends with her partner and she liked the challenge of learning something new, but the experience as a whole wasn’t really her thing--all the makeup and cameras and production. They tried to get me to do it first, but there was no way in hell,” Tobin tells her.

 

“You?” Christen asks in disbelief. “Now that’s something I definitely would have watched.” She winks at Tobin in that crooked way she does and it more than softens the blow of the mild teasing.

 

“I can’t even be offended by your tone because it honestly sounded like such a horrible time to me and I can’t deny I wouldn’ve been terrible at it.” Tobin reaches over to steal a piece of tomato from the bowl Christen chopped up earlier, narrowly avoiding getting her hand smacked by Christen. “When’s dinner? I’m starving,” Tobin whines, exaggerating on purpose just to get an eye roll out of Christen.

 

“Never if you don’t stop eating everything.”

 

“I had one piece of tomato!”

 

“Don’t think I didn’t see you stealing pinches of cheese while I was cutting up the chicken. You forget I have a six-year-old who thinks he’s sneaky too, I’m well conditioned to not let anything slip past me.”

 

“You’re just too good.” She kisses Christen’s cheek and walks across the kitchen to the cabinet she saw Christen get a bowl out of earlier. “Let me help, I’ll set the table or something,” she offers as she opens the cabinet.

 

Christen tries to deny her help, citing that it’s her date and her house, so she should be in charge of everything, but eventually she relents and tells Tobin where all the dishes and silverware are so she can set the table.

 

They work well together, moving around each other without getting in each other’s way. They each work on their own task quietly, with just the music playing softly in the background. Tobin slips up behind Christen to kiss her cheek or her neck whenever Christen starts humming along to a certain song because she’s so damn cute and Tobin can’t help it.

 

When it comes time to eat (Christen made her specialty tacos since they didn’t end up eating them on their first date), Tobin only needs to take one bite before she’s groaning over how good it is.

 

“Seriously? You’re a writer, you’re a kick ass mom, you can crochet and now you can cook too? Is there anything you can’t do?” Tobin asks, eagerly taking another bite.

 

“I can’t play soccer,” Christen points out, amused by Tobin’s enthusiasm at her meal.

 

“Then it’s a good thing I’ve got that part covered for the both of us.”

 

“We balance each other well.”

xxx

The rest of dinner goes just as smoothly as the rest of the night. Tobin eats her fill, not just because she wants Christen to think she’s impressed, but because she genuinely is impressed. When they’re cleaning up the table afterwards, Tobin pulls Christen back in to dance again, this time to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, Tobin claiming it would be a crime not to dance to her favorite song.

 

“You’ve got a lot of favorite songs,” Christen tells her, but she still sets down the sponge in the sink and let’s Tobin pull her in.

 

“‘pink skies’ is my favorite LANY song. This is my favorite all-time song,” Tobin corrects.

 

Tobin exaggerates the dance this time, spinning Christen around and dipping her low. She holds her close, almost like she’s afraid that if she let’s her go she may never get to hold her again, maybe she is.

 

She’s trying so hard to be strong, but she feels so fragile on the inside. This is all so new to her and she’s putting herself on the line, exposing a part of herself to Christen that she’s never shown anyone before, and she feels like she’s in charge of landing a plane with no flight experience. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, but as the last notes of the song fade away and Christen slants her lips across Tobin’s mouth, she realizes this is the one part of dating she most certainly does know how to do.

 

They only spend a couple minutes making out in the middle of the kitchen until Christen drags them to the living room. Christen pushing Tobin down onto the couch and straddling her while biting her bottom lip is easily the hottest thing she’s ever seen and Tobin tries so hard not to groan when Christen slips her tongue past her lips, but she can’t help it.

 

Christen’s hands never stay still for longer than a few moments. They tangle in Tobin’s hair. They frame Tobin’s face. They curl around Tobin’s biceps. They trace up and down Tobin’s sides, catching on the hem of her shirt on the way up each time, pulling it higher and higher until most of Tobin’s stomach is exposed and Christen’s blunt nails are scratching at her tanned skin, abdominals twitching and Tobin humming into the kiss in response.

 

Tobin grips the back of Christen’s thighs, digging her fingers into Christen’s jeans, careful not to wander too high. Her legs are taut underneath her hands, the product of long hours spent running and doing yoga.

 

Tobin’s first instinct is to bring her hands up to cup Christen’s ass, see if it’s just as firm as she’s been imagining it to be, but she doesn’t want to push things too far. She commends herself for her self control, something she’s frequently lacking with her past conquests (not that Christen’s a conquest, not even close.) She cares about Christen, though--wants to take care of her--so she restrains herself.

 

But Christen doesn’t want her to.

 

After a few minutes of playing it safe, Christen sighs impatiently and wraps her fingers around Tobin’s wrists, moving her hands higher until one is on her ass (even firmer than Tobin had been hoping) and the other is high on her ribs, right beside her breast.

 

“You’re allowed to touch me,” Christen says breathlessly, lips barely glancing Tobin’s ear before she moves lower to her neck. “I want you to touch me.”

 

That’s a request Tobin certainly can’t deny.

 

Turns out Christen has another skill to add to Tobin’s running list. She knows how to kiss better than anyone Tobin’s ever been with. Their brief makeout on the deck the other night was just a glimpse into what Christen is capable of.

 

She knows exactly how long to focus on one of Tobin’s lips before she switches to the other one, taking them between her own and tugging in the most delicious way. Her hands know just where they need to be, moving where Tobin wants them before she’s even able to ask. She can read Tobin’s sighs and body language, giving her what she wants and figuring her out more easily than anyone ever has. She rocks her hips with just the right amount of pressure, enough to work Tobin up slowly. It’s like she’s got a ratchet strap around the core of Tobin’s being and with each gentle push of her hips, she tightens the strap, one notch at a time.

 

Tobin knows she’s good, she’s been told many times before that she is, but she relishes in all the confirmations Christen gives her. Christen’s pretty vocal, letting out strained whimpers and sighs, small moans whenever Tobin does something particularly well. When Tobin spends time kissing down Christen’s neck and across her collarbone, her nails dig into Tobin’s biceps and Tobin can’t wait to see the little crescent shaped marks she knows will be left behind.

 

Tobin finds Christen’s sweet spot early on, right at the back of her jawbone. When Tobin bites down there, Christen lets out this high pitched whine that strikes Tobin right between her legs, working her up just as much as Christen’s rocking hips.

 

Things are going better than Tobin ever could have imagined. Tobin’s always liked making out, but usually she’s just focused on what comes after that. That’s not to say she’s one to skimp out of foreplay, in fact she thinks it’s one of the best parts. But with them still fully clothed and being relatively tame, Tobin thinks this is the longest she’s ever simply just kissed someone before.

 

She likes it.

 

Just as she was afraid of doing earlier, she takes things a little too far too soon. When she moves the hand on Christen’s ribs inwards to cup her breast, Christen pulls away, lips red and ruined, breath coming in short bursts across Tobin’s face.

 

“I-I’m sorry, that was too much,” Tobin rushes to apologize. “I should have asked if that was okay first. I didn’t mean to do anything you’re uncomfortable with.”

 

“No, no, you didn’t do anything wrong,” Christen insists. She spends another few seconds kissing Tobin to convince her she didn’t mess this up. “I just…I can’t do this here. Nata watches Saturday morning cartoons here. It’s too weird, it feels wrong, I guess.”

 

“Bedroom?”

 

“Bedroom.”

 

Tobin pulls Christen closer against her chest and stands, wrapping both arms under her legs so she can hold her up as she walks towards the stairs. Christen busies herself with tugging down the collar of Tobin’s shirt so she can bite down and suck on her collarbone. Her neck is bowed down at an awkward angle to do so, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

 

She only makes it about halfway up the stairs before Christen is pulling away again and pressing her legs against Tobin’s arms so she’ll let her down.

 

“Wait. Wait, stop, I can’t do this,” she says in a shaky voice, eyes filled with panic. She sits down on the stair and buries her face in her hands, dark waves of curls falling to hide her face.

 

Tobin lowers herself slowly beside her, reaching out to carefully brush Christen’s hair away. “What’s wrong?” She asks softly, not wanting to frighten Christen anymore than she clearly already is. “What did I do?”

 

Christen raises her head and leans in to rest her forehead against Tobin’s. She doesn’t open her eyes, but Tobin’s pretty sure if she did they’d be watery. “No, no, you didn’t do anything wrong,” she tells Tobin, her voice as sweet as sugar, albeit a little shaky. “I just…I want this, I promise I do, but I don’t think I’m as ready for it as I thought. I like making out with you, but moving to the bedroom just feels like too much right now. I don’t think I can do that just yet, I’m sorry.”

 

“Will you look at me?”

 

Christen takes her time about it, but eventually she lifts her head and opens those hazy green eyes that Tobin has come to love so much. They’re glassy, but not as bad as Tobin was expecting them to be. Her hands are shaking where they rest in her lap, so Tobin reaches out to hold them in her own.

 

“Don’t apologize, all right? It’s okay,” Tobin says. She leans in and kisses her carefully, continues until Christen’s bottom lip stops trembling. “It’s okay, I get it. I promise.”

 

“I want this, though. It’s just been so long and I guess I didn’t realize how out of practice I was.”

 

“I can promise that you are most definitely not out of practice,” Tobin smirks. “My collarbones are proof of that. She nods down to the purple speckled skin and Christen follows her eyes, grinning proudly when she sees her handiwork, which will just barely be covered by her practice top, but certainly not by just a sports bra. Thankfully the marks will be starting to fade by the time they have practice again or else Kelley would have a field day with them

 

God, I want you so much,” Christen sighs, resting her temple on Tobin’s shoulder and tucking her face underneath her chin.

 

“And you’ll have me, but we have to make sure you’re ready for that first, okay?”

 

Christen tucks her head in closer, lips brushing against the skin on Tobin’s throat as she says, “I don’t know if I’m ready to do that in this house either. It’s just…I don’t know. It feels weird, like it’s too much.”

 

“You don’t need to explain anything,” Tobin assures her, wrapping an arm around her and rubbing small arcs onto her back with her thumb. “I have an apartment of my own that we can use when the time comes. All I care about is you being comfortable, okay? All that matters to me is taking care of you.”

 

Christen lifts her head and studies Tobin’s face carefully. “You really mean that, don’t you?”

 

Tobin’s eyes turn curious, wondering why Christen is questioning this. “Of course I do,” she says slowly. “You’re really important to me, honey.” She lets the word slip without even meaning to, but she likes the way it sounds falling from her lips, the way it feels when the tip of her tongue presses against the roof of her mouth, right behind her teeth, to form the word.

 

“Honey?” Christen asks with a kinked eyebrow. “I like that.”

 

“Good.” Tobin leans in to kiss her slowly, waiting until Christen sighs before she pulls away. “When you’re ready, I’m ready, okay? Let’s just go watch a movie or something. Or I can head out if you want some space.”

 

“I don’t want you to leave,” Christen says quickly. “I liked what we were doing before.”

 

“Yeah?” Tobin smirks. “You liked that, huh?”

 

Christen hums her response and nods, pushing forward until Tobin is pressed up against the wall, kissing her hard. When things start to turn a little dirty (Christen’s tongue is literally too good for words), Tobin pushes her away a little so she can breathe, but Christen refuses to move too far, so the words end up glancing across her lips.

 

“You know, the backseat of my car is much more spacious and comfortable than these stairs. No traces of Nata anywhere and totally not sexy like a bedroom. It’s definitely a safe zone,” Tobin offers with a wry smile, hoping she’s coming off as charming and not like some skeevy high school boy trying to get a girl into her backseat.

 

Even though that’s exactly what she’s trying to do.

 

But only for selfless reasons.

 

For the most part.

 

Christen grins at the suggestion and says, “sounds perfect, let’s go,” as she stands and takes Tobin’s hand in hers, leading her down the stairs.

 

Tobin’s never moved faster than she does when she’s pulling Christen towards her car.