“Tobin, are you awake?”
Christen’s soft voice cuts through the quiet darkness that’s settled around Tobin’s room now that the light from the window has dulled and the rest of the city has gone to bed.
Tobin is awake, but she’s trying really hard not to be. Once they were finally able to keep their hands to themselves, Tobin had settled next to Christen with her head on her stomach and they’d started to drift off, their breaths deepening and slowing.
Tobin had thought Christen was already asleep, and after the game and three rounds of sex, Tobin was exhausted and eager to join her. Apparently though, Christen isn’t asleep quite yet.
“No,” Tobin mumbles, the word getting lost in the blankets bunched around Christen’s waist. “I’m asleep, you should join me. It’s nice here.”
“Tobin,” Christen whines and it sounds like she’s biting on her bottom lip. “Can I ask you something?”
Tobin sighs, tucks her leg closer next to Christen’s, and says, “can it wait until morning? I’m so tired.”
The breath Christen takes in makes it seem like she’s about to protest, but then she sighs and brings a hand up to play with Tobin’s hair, something she knows lulls her to sleep. “Yeah, it can wait ‘til morning,” she says reluctantly. “After your game and everything I’m sure you’re exhausted. I’m sorry, let’s just go to bed.”
Tobin hears the disappointment in her voice and a disappointed Christen is something Tobin isn’t strong enough to resist. She groans, knowing it’s going to be a little while longer before she actually gets to sleep, and sits up on her elbow. She runs a hands slowly over her face, trying to wipe away her pressing desire for sleep.
“What’s up, honey?”
“Nothing, don’t worry about it. You’re right, it can wait until morning. Just go back to sleep.”
Christen closes her eyes and tries to make it seem like she’s taking her own advice, but there’s a crease in between her eyebrows that Tobin knows isn’t going away until she gets whatever is bothering her off her mind.
“Chris, it’s okay. I’m awake, I promise. Tell me what’s going on,” she coaxes, poking at Christen’s cheek until she grins and finally opens her eyes. “What do you want to ask me?”
Christen chews on her lip before she hesitantly says, “it’s about God.”
Tobin’s the one with a crease between her eyebrows now as she looks at Christen with a confused expression, wondering why this is something that’s keeping Christen up right now. They’ve talked briefly about religion before, enough for Christen to know she’s Christian and takes her faith very seriously while Christen is somewhat spiritual, but doesn’t really identify with any religion and considers herself agnostic if anything.
For some, the conflict of faith might be a point of contention in a relationship, but it doesn’t bother Tobin. So long as Christen respects Tobin’s religion, it doesn’t bother her what her beliefs are, which is why they’ve never talked about it outside of that initial conversation. Christen knows that Tobin goes to church almost every Sunday. Tobin knows that Christen only goes to mass on Christmas and even then it’s only to please her Catholic grandmother.
Differing belief systems could spell a recipe for disaster, but it hasn’t ever bothered Tobin when it comes to Christen and it hasn’t seemed to bother Christen either. Until now at least. Tobin is curious what’s going on in Christen’s head and she nods carefully before she responds.
“All right, what’s it about?”
Christen blows a slow stream of air through her lips and says, “I guess I’m just wondering what makes you so sure? Like, what is it that makes you believe so passionately? I told you my grandma is Catholic, but the rest of my family isn’t so it’s something I’ve always wanted to understand, but she gets offended when I ask about it.” Her words are hesitant, like she’s worried she’s going to say something to upset Tobin.
Tobin tilts her head down to kiss Christen’s shoulder softly. “You know it doesn’t bother me if you ask about my faith, right? If you want to know something, I don’t want you to be afraid to ask. It’s something I’d love to share with you, but it’s also not something I’m going to force on you.”
“I know it can be a sensitive topic for some people so I don’t want to say anything that offends you. I don’t want to upset you.”
“You won’t,” Tobin promises, sealing it with a kiss to her lips this time before she gives Christen her answer. “Aside from soccer, God is the only other thing I’ve ever been 100% sure about,” she starts, settling Christen with a thoughtful look to let her know she’s being sincere. “Even when I question Him, even when I’m pushed towards not believing, I’ll see or hear something and I’ll feel Him and I’m reminded to keep my faith and keep trusting in Him.”
Christen’s quiet as she takes this in, nodding slowly. Her hand finds Tobin’s and she twists the ring Tobin wears on her right hand before she asks, “what kinds of things remind you?”
“All kinds of things, honestly. Everything that’s good. He’s the sun rising out over the water, just as it’s creeping over the horizon and making everything glow golden. He’s the perfect wave, curling just how I want it and catching the light so the water looks like glass. He’s in the crowd when they cheer after I score a goal. He’s in my nephew’s voice, Ryan’s laugh, Luke’s smile, Tyler’s eyes. He’s in you.”
“Me?” Christen asks with wide eyes like she doesn’t quite believe what Tobin’s telling her. “How could you possibly see God in me when I don’t even necessarily believe in Him?
“That doesn’t matter. You’re the best reminder I’ve ever had,” Tobin admits. “You’re like…the ultimate confirmation that all my faith, all my belief in Him is worth it. All those times I questioned myself and pushed through because I believed He had His plan for me and I just needed to let it happen, it all made sense when I met you.”
“I’m your plan?” Christen asks with a grin that lights up the dark room, teeth and eyes gleaming up at Tobin.
“You’re my plan,” Tobin confirms with a nod. “It’s like God steered me right towards you and said, ‘this one, this is the girl I made for you. This is the girl that will make you happy.’ He certainly wasn’t wrong.”
Christen kisses her softly, sweetly. She takes her time, appreciating each of Tobin’s lips before she pulls away, smiling wide. “You sure do know how to make a girl weak in the knees.”
“Then I guess it’s a good this we’re lying down,” Tobin quips.
Christen lets out a giggle and smacks Tobin’s shoulder softly. “Oh, hush.” She kisses Tobin again, but with a little more intensity this time, more intent. “Can I ask you something else?” She asks when she pulls away.
“You don’t have to ask permission to ask me a question. You aren’t going to offend me.”
“Was it hard for you, realizing you were gay and still being religious?”
Tobin rolls over and stares up at the ceiling, wanting a moment to herself to collect her thoughts before she answers. She keeps her hand in Christen’s, stroking her thumb across Christen’s palm to keep the line of contact, but she’s quiet while she thinks.
She looks at all the plastic stars above her and thinks of all the nights she spent looking at the real ones. Most nights in Maine with her dad, he'd head in long before she would. She'd stay out on the dock and connect the dots on as many constellations as she could see. She'd make up stories for them as a method of distraction for whatever she had going on in her life at the time. Somewhere along the way, she'd always figure out whatever was worrying her.
The plastic stars are only the next best thing, but they work almost as well.
This isn't a story she shares with a lot of people, but it's one she wants to share with Christen, no matter how difficult it may be to show such a vulnerable side of herself.
“It’s the hardest thing I've ever done,” Tobin says finally, just as Christen opens her mouth, surely to tell Tobin to just forget about it, she doesn't have to say anything. “There were times when I wanted to change who I was. There were times when I loved who I was and wanted to give up religion for supposedly betraying me. There were times when I wanted both. It took me a long while to realize I didn't need to change or give up my faith. It was okay for me to be who I am and still love God and know that He will still love me back.
“Lauren and Amy helped a lot with that. They helped me see I wasn't wrong for loving girls, that I could be both gay and religious. They helped me realize that Christianity and homophobia weren't always synonymous, that there were still good people who would love me just like God still did. I honestly don't think it would've been as easy for me as it was without them. And that's saying a lot because it was still really hard for me.”
“I'm really glad you had them,” Christen tells her. “I would hate to think of you going through that alone.”
“My family was really supportive too, don't get me wrong. It wasn't like Amy and Lauren were the first people to ever accept me for who I was, but they were the first ones to never even hesitate. They took it in stride and never looked back. It was hard for my family at first, my mom especially. She never told me I was wrong and she always made sure I knew she loved me, but I know there were times in the beginning where she wished I was straight. She just didn't want things to be hard for me, you know? She didn't understand, but she did her best. She just knew that not everyone was going to be as accepting and she was terrified of me getting bullied and harassed.”
“Is she still like that?”
“Not at all. She hung a rainbow flag on her front porch four years ago and immediately made friends with the gay couple when they moved in down the street so they’d feel welcome. She's like, totally embraced the ally role now.” Tobin laughs as she remembers the picture her mom sent her from a Pride parade last year that Asher and Greg took her to. She'd had on a neck full of rainbow beads and was posing with a drag queen dressed as Lady Gaga. It's one of Tobin’s favorite pictures ever. “She asks about you all the time too.”
“You've told her about me?” Christen grins, rolling over so she's the one propped up above Tobin now. “What did you say?”
“Of course I told her about you. She's so thrilled I'm actually dating someone for real that she grilled me for two hours after I told her.”
“What did you tell her?” Christen asks again, clearly not wanting Tobin to get out of this.
Tobin rolls her eyes and considers being sarcastic and making up a bunch of fake terrible qualities, but decides against it. They're having a sweet moment and she doesn't want to ruin it.
“I told her you were beautiful, I sent her a picture of us to prove it and she asked for one of just you instead because she wanted the full effect,” she chuckles, remembering the way her mom had gushed over how good they looked together. “I told her all about Nata and she said he reminds her of me when I was little. I told her how smart you are and that you’d definitely be able to beat Katie in Trivial Pursuit so she'll stop bragging about being the family champion. I told her you're the kindest, most selfless person I've ever met and that I don't know what I ever did with my life before I met you.”
“You're such a charmer, Tobin Heath.” She leans in for a quick kiss and then rests her chin on Tobin’s chest, smiling up at her.
“I've got to be when I'm dating someone as beautiful as you. It's the only way to try and level the playing field.”
“Oh stop it,” Christen huffs.
“What was it like coming out to your parents?” Tobin asks.
“As good as it can be, I guess,” Christen says with a shrug. “They were a little confused at first when I told them the ‘friend’ I brought home for Thanksgiving my freshman year at Stanford was actually my girlfriend. I’d only ever dated guys before so it was definitely a surprise, but they accepted it easily enough. I think the hardest thing for them was understanding I still liked guys, but I also liked girls. So many people think it needs to be one or the other. Growing up, they always encouraged my sisters and me to be ourselves and embrace our defining qualities, so it was no different when they found out I was bisexual. Even if they didn’t understand it just yet, they still wanted to make sure I knew it was okay and not feel ashamed about it.”
“They seem really great,” Tobin says with a smile, happy the whole process went so well for her.
“They are. I’m really lucky to have them.” With a quick kiss to Tobin’s cheek, she rolls off her and starts to stand up from the bed, but Tobin reaches out quickly and grabs her hand, not wanting her to leave. Before Tobin’s able to say as much, Christen turns and says, “I'm just going to the bathroom, I'll be right back.”
“Wait,” Tobin says when she spots dark coloration on Christen’s back that she hasn't noticed before. “Is this a tattoo?” She slides over closer, brushing her fingers over the mark, feeling how the ink is still slightly raised. It's dark in the room, but there's just enough shadowed light that Tobin can make out the shape of an island that Tobin assumes is Puerto Rico with a small red heart near the bottom coast. There’s a date underneath and below that is something that honestly just looks like a messy squiggle. “What's it for? I didn't even notice it earlier.”
“Yeah, well you were a little distracted earlier,” Christen laughs, turning her body so her back is facing the window and Tobin can see a little better. “The heart is for the city where Nata was born and then it’s the date I signed Nata’s adoption papers.”
Tobin presses her finger against the little heart and then traces her finger over the numbers. They're in a crisp, clean font that makes Tobin think Christen literally had the stencil made right from the adoption papers. “What's this mark beneath it?” Tobin asks as she drags her finger down to the crooked line that looks more like a wobbly ‘Z’ than anything.
Tobin can hear the smile in Christen’s voice as she speaks. “Nata was jealous I got to sign the papers and he didn't, especially since he'd just started to learn to write and wanted to show me. The lawyer made up a fake paper we both got to sign so he'd feel included and that's how he signed it.”
“This is supposed to be his name?” Tobin asks with a small laugh, letting herself memorize the feel of the ink underneath her fingertip.
“He was barely three and he'd just started to learn how to write,” Christen explains. “I know it looks like a ‘Z,’ but it's his version of an ‘N.’ It was all he'd learned so far without the dotted lines to help him.”
“I wish I could've known him when he was that young. I'll bet he was ridiculously cute.”
“He was ridiculously cute,” Christen says, turning so she's facing Tobin. “He was also ridiculously difficult. He struggled a lot adjusting to being here. He hated learning English. He'd already learned a lot in Puerto Rico, but he didn't like to practice it. He was almost impossible to bring anywhere in public because he nearly had panic attacks in big crowds. He was defiant and didn’t like to follow rules. He had the toughest time in school and he wouldn't socialize with any of his classmates. I almost had to hold him back a grade. Honestly, up until about a year ago, I seriously doubted if me adopting him was the best thing for him. He just had such an awful time adjusting.”
Tobin never knew all this about Nata. She's heard before about how difficult it can be for adopted kids to adapt into their new homes, especially ones who were adopted from another country. Tobin graduated highschool with a girl adopted from Russia who had to be held back a couple years in elementary school because her grades suffered so much. By the time she got to middle school, you'd never know there was anything different about her except for the fact she was two years older and taller than everyone else until others started to hit their growth spurts.
Tobin should've assumed Nata had his struggles as well, but she's never really had a reason to. Sure, she's seen a couple tantrums and she's seen him be defiant, but she's seen worse from Ryan. She just assumed that was Nata being a typical kid, but maybe that's not exactly the case.
“What happened a year ago to help him?” Tobin asks.
Christen’s smile goes wide. Her eyes are proud as she brings a hand up to run through Tobin’s hair and says, “I picked him up from school one day and he asked if his best friend could come over to play that weekend. I was so confused because he didn't have any friends at all, let alone a best friend. He wouldn't even talk to any other kids unless his teachers made him during group work. But then this little boy with blond hair and big brown eyes walks up and introduces himself as Nata’s best friend.”
“Ryan,” Tobin says with a matching grin.
“Ryan,” Christen nods. “He said since they were best friends, it meant they had to hang out on the weekends because that's what best friends did. I'd never seen Nata smile like he did when Ryan called him his best friend. Amy probably thought I was crazy when she walked over and saw I was nearly in tears, but we scheduled a playdate and they've been attached at the hip since.”
“I never knew that before,” Tobin tells her. She knew they became friends in kindergarten, but she didn't know Ryan was Nata’s first friend. Ryan is a social butterfly and has always made friends with as many of his classmates as he could. Tobin just never realized how important that friendship might be for one of those kids.
“Ryan’s been such a blessing. He really helped Nata come out of his shell. He never would've joined the soccer team without him or started doing karate. He's made so many friends just because Ryan decided to sit next to him during story time one day and share his animal crackers.”
“Wow, Ryan doesn't even share his animal crackers with me,” Tobin says in proud disbelief. “He always just tells me to get my own. Nata must be pretty important to him.”
“Ryan’s a really great kid. I'm happy Nata found him and I'm happy their friendship led me to you.” Christen leans down to kiss Tobin, but it doesn't last nearly as long as Tobin would've liked. “Sorry to ruin this nice moment, but I really do have to pee.”
Tobin laughs against Christen’s shoulder before kissing her softly and then pushing her away. “Go,” Tobin dismisses, rolling back over to her preferred side of the bed. “I'll just be here trying to get to sleep after being so rudely woken up by you.”
“Oh whatever,” Christen scoffs as she rises from the bed.
Tobin rolls onto her side and pulls the covers up around her chin, suddenly cold now that she doesn't have Christen’s warmth next to her. She closes her eyes, telling herself it's just for a moment and once Christen gets back she's going to try to go for another round, suddenly wide awake.
But the next thing Tobin knows, she's drifting soundly to sleep, just barely aware of Christen sliding back into bed behind her, wrapping an arm over her waist and kissing her shoulder softly.
Those are the first words Tobin hears when she wakes up the next morning. Christen whispers the words right in her ear, breath tickling the sensitive skin. Tobin relishes the feeling.
“Shut up,” Tobin grumbles in her sleepy voice, nestling deeper under the covers. She clears her throat and tries again. “I do not.”
“You totally do,” Christen giggles. “Not enough that I can actually tell what you're saying, unfortunately. I'm sure it's just declarations about how beautiful and great in bed I am. I'd expect nothing less.”
Tobin grins, finally waking up enough to roll over and face Christen with her goofy, lopsided smirk. “You're pretty high on yourself, huh?”
“I'm high on you.”
“Honey, that was so bad. You're not a very good flirt in the morning,” Tobin laughs, cringing only slightly.
“Maybe not, but there are other things I'm good at in the morning.” There's a hand brushing along Tobin’s inner thigh before Christen has even finished her sentence.
Tobin groans, but she's conscious enough to clench her thighs together and pull away from Christen’s wandering hand. “Hold that thought, we should probably brush our teeth first. If your morning breath is anything as bad as your morning flirting, we have a problem.”
“I'll have you know, I brushed my teeth thirty minutes ago,” Christen scoffs. “Hurry up or else I'll get things started on my own.”
“After last night, you should know that's not a very effective threat. I would love to see that again.”
“Go brush your teeth,” Christen quips, pressing a kiss to Tobin’s cheek and pushing her out of bed.
In the bathroom, Tobin takes a moment to look herself over in the bathroom. Her hair is a mess and she knows it'll be terrible to brush out, but she can't be bothered to do it just yet. She brushes her fingers across the bluing bruises she knows Christen’s mouth left behind, ignores the ones she knows are leftover from the game. There are bite marks across her collarbones, the outlines perfect and red.
She almost looks like she was attacked, but Tobin can't help but grin. She can still feel Christen’s mouth on her skin, can still feel the way her fingers pull at her hair. The reminders will never measure up to the real thing, but damn are the memories fun to think about.
The thoughts only last a moment though when she remembers what's waiting for her in her bed. She reaches for her toothbrush and cleans her teeth as quickly as she can.
She's got more important things to focus her time on.
“Can I borrow a shirt? I left my suitcase in the living room,” Christen says, hands fluttering over the handles on the drawers, clearly not wanting to open anything without permission.
“No, I want you naked,” Tobin grumbles, sitting up and letting the sheets fall from around her shoulders. She’s hoping the sight of her naked will coax Christen back into bed, but the raised eyebrow Christen gives her tells her she knows exactly what’s going on and she isn’t falling for it.
“Yes, but do you want the whole sixth floor of the building next to you to see me naked too? Those floor-to-ceiling windows in your living room are no joke and I want coffee.”
“You do know I’ve got blinds on those windows, right?”
“Yes, but you didn’t lower them last night. Your plan involves me walking over to lower them while I’m nude. Is that really what you want?”
Just the thought of anyone else seeing Christen naked makes jealousy flare within Tobin’s chest. She doesn’t want anyone else to have that luxury but her. “Fine,” she relents, though not happily. “Second drawer.” She leans back against the pillows and watches the curve of Christen’s back and the way her muscles move underneath the newly discovered ink as she pulls open the drawer.
“Uh, Tobin,” Christen says slowly as she turns around, a red and blue item of clothing hanging from her finger. “Why do you have a Spiderman onesie?” Her voice is laced with amusement and Tobin knows she’s going to be teased about this for a long, long time.
“I uhm…” Tobin isn’t really sure if there’s any good answer to this, so instead of making up a reasonable lie, she decides to just go with the truth, even if it is a little bit embarrassing. “Ryan’s got a Batman one and we wear them when we have sleepovers,” she admits. “They were totally his idea,” she adds in a rush, not wanting Christen to get entirely the wrong idea.
“That’s seriously adorable. Maybe I should wear this to get coffee.”
“No way, that covers far too much skin for my liking.” Tobin sits up onto her knees and moves herself towards the end of the bed so she can pull Christen towards her. She kisses her slowly, hoping that if she isn’t too obvious with her intentions up front, she’ll be able to lure Christen back into bed.
She isn’t so lucky, though, and after a moment, Christen leans back. “I can’t get coffee if you don’t let me go,” Christen points out.
“I don’t want coffee. I want to fuck you again.” Now that she’s able to do such things to Christen and knows how Christen sounds when she does such things to her, she never wants to do anything else.
There’s a slight hesitation that flashes across Christen’s eyes as the dirty words make her reconsider her plan, but she holds strong and steps back from Tobin’s grasp, just out of reach. “Exactly, and I’m going to need energy and a little wake up call in order for that to happen.” She walks back to the dresser and puts the onesie back and picks up a blue Nike shirt instead, one that’s just long enough to reach her thighs until she can get to her bag in the living room.
“I’ve already given you two wake up calls,” Tobin tells her as she gets up from the bed to get her own shirt and shorts from her dresser.
“Which is why I need energy. Three years, remember?”
“You know, after last night and this morning, that isn’t really a good excuse anymore. You’ve proven otherwise that those three years haven’t hindered you as much as you think they have.” Tobin doesn’t miss the slight look of disappointment that passes over Christen’s face as she pulls the shirt over her head and hides her body from Christen’s view.
“I guess I’ve had enough practice on myself to keep up.” The words are a challenge, aimed at working Tobin up just enough to frustrate her. It works.
Tobin groans and reaches for Christen who skips just out of reach and heads towards the bedroom door. “You can’t just say these things and then expect me to let you leave,” Tobin complains, following after Christen.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Tobin thinks Christen might be the death of her one day.
Their morning is relatively quiet after that. Tobin makes coffee and starts on brunch while Christen gets dressed. She puts on a pair of leggings, which Tobin promptly tells her aren’t fair because of how good her legs look, but she keeps Tobin’s shirt on.
Tobin makes sure to tell her repeatedly how beautiful she looks.
Once they’re settled on Tobin’s couch with plates of cinnamon waffles and scrambled eggs with a La Liga match playing quietly on the TV, Christen runs her foot along the back of Tobin’s calf and it all just feels so domestic and perfect that Tobin can’t help but smile.
“What are you thinking about?” Christen asks when she notices her expression.
“Just how happy I am,” Tobin tells her, ramping up her smile now that she knows she’s being watched. “How happy you make me. This is really nice.”
Tobin wants to cringe at how sappy and lame she sounds, the old Tobin would never say anything like that and would laugh at anyone who would, but Christen doesn’t seem to mind. She just smiles and leans across the short distance between them to press her lips against Tobin’s smile. She tastes like cinnamon and orange juice and honestly, it should be a weird combination, but Tobin loves it.
“You make me happy too,” Christen says when she pulls away. After shooting a wink in Tobin’s direction, she goes back to her breakfast and turns to watch the game, still trying to learn and understand it all without having to ask Tobin questions every other play.
Once they’re finished eating, Tobin leans back against the couch and has Christen’s legs in her lap as Tobin flips through the channels after the game ends. They both know they should get up and shower, find something to do today maybe, but for right now they’re both perfectly content to lounge around and be lazy.
They’re halfway through some 80s movie that Tobin’s never seen and Christen insisted upon when Christen reaches for the remote on the coffee table and presses pause. She turns back towards Tobin and there’s an emotion on her face Tobin can’t quite decipher. She looks almost nervous, but Tobin doesn’t know why she’d have any reason to be. Tobin doesn’t say anything, she can tell Christen’s working through something in her head, so she stays quiet until she figures it out, drumming her fingers across Christen’s calves all the while.
“Tobin, there’s something I want to talk to you about,” she finally says. “There’s something I’ve got to tell you.”
Her tone reminds Tobin of the night of their first date when she was driving Christen home and she talked about how if Tobin was dating her, she had to know that Nata was involved as well. That night Tobin would describe her as serious, but not worried. She had something she needed to say, but she didn’t seem concerned that it would be an issue for Tobin. Now though, she seems scared.
“Okay,” Tobin says quietly, adjusting so she’s facing Christen more headon. “Tell me what’s wrong.” This is such a change of pace from the rest of the weekend that Tobin’s worried she missed something and wonders where she went wrong, if there should have been a sign that something was bothering Christen and she just didn’t see it.
Christen shakes her head and says, “nothing’s wrong, it’s not like that,” but she doesn’t seem any less tense. “It’s not really a big deal, I guess, but it’s just something about me that I want you to know. Maybe this isn’t the most appropriate time for a conversation like this, but I didn’t know when else to do it and considering I’ve now bared literally everything else about myself to you, this part should be easy.”
“Okay…” Tobin still isn’t sure at all where Christen is going with this, but she’s trying to be supportive and open, anything to make this easier for Christen than it is. Her mind is urging her to let it run wild with all the possibilities of what she could say, but Tobin does her best to rein it in. “Just tell me what’s going on, honey. It’ll be okay,” she assures her.
“This isn’t something I want you to worry about,” she rushes out, her words tumbling over each other. “Because it really isn’t a huge deal or whatever and I’ve been handling it for years now, so I’ve got a pretty good control on it and I--”
“Chris, slow down,” Tobin cuts in. She didn’t want to be rude and interrupt when clearly Christen is dealing with something big, but Tobin was worried if she didn’t, Christen’s nervous rant would never end. “Just take a deep breath and tell me, okay?”
Christen bypasses the deep breath part of the suggestion, but she does finally tell Tobin what’s bothering her.
“I have depression,” she blurts out. She swallows hard and then continues before Tobin can say anything. “It started my sophomore year of college, at least that’s when I was officially diagnosed. I think I had a couple episodes in high school, but that one was bad enough that I knew I needed to get help and I’ve been dealing with it on and off since then. I went back on antidepressants about a month before I met you and I’m still on them and I go to therapy once every other week, so things are good. I really don’t want this to freak you out or anything, but I really wanted you to know.”
Tobin honestly hadn’t been expecting that, but there’s a part of her that isn’t really surprised. She knew Christen had several OCD tendencies and that she dealt with anxiety, but she’s had the suspicion for a few weeks that there was something else going on as well, she just never wanted to mention it. She figured if Christen was dealing with something, then she’d bring it up, which is what she’s doing now. She wants to pull her closer, hold her or something so she will relax, but with the exception of her legs, Christen seems content to keep some space between them so Tobin respects that.
“Why would that freak me out?” Tobin asks softly, changing the drumming pattern of her fingers on Christen’s legs to slow, smooth strokes. Even her legs are tense and she holds herself stiff, bracing herself for something to go wrong.
“Because I’m ‘crazy,’” Christen says with a self deprecating laugh.
“Stop it, no you aren’t,” Tobin chastises. She leans forward and brings a hand from Christen’s leg to her cheek, trying to relax her in any way she can and also let her know how sincere she’s being. “I don’t want you to say that again, okay? You aren’t crazy and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. I had no idea you were dealing with this.”
“I’ve gotten really good at covering it up and the medicine really helps, too,” Christen tells her, leaning her face against Tobin’s hand and enjoying the comfort it provides. “Some days I can’t rein it in, though, and that’s why I wanted to tell you about this. If it ever seems like I’m ignoring you and I get kind of distant, I’m not doing it on purpose. I’m just not having a good day. I tend to close myself off when it gets bad and I don’t want you to take it personally if that happens.”
Tobin hates that Christen has to deal with this. She’s so kind and selfless and good, that it doesn’t seem fair she has to cope with something so difficult. Tobin wants nothing but everything good in the world for Christen and she wishes there were something she could do to take this away from her, but she knows she can’t. She does want to help in any way she can, though.
“Do you think maybe you could let me know when you feel that happening? Even if you’re just feeling it a little bit? I want to be able to help you if you’ll let me. I’ll do whatever.”
“That’s the thing, though. Sometimes it’s just--” She cuts herself off abruptly, snapping her mouth closed and shaking her head. “Never mind, it’s not important.”
“Sweetheart, anything about this is important.”
“It’s about an ex,” Christen tells her, quiet. “I didn’t really think that was something you wanted to hear about.”
Tobin swallows hard. She doesn’t like thinking about Christen with anyone else. It’s not just a jealousy thing. She’s worried the more Christen thinks about her exes, the more she’ll realize Tobin doesn’t measure up. She’s got basically zero relationship experience and she’s worried all the time she’s failing this. Comparing her to any of Christen’s exes definitely doesn’t help.
If it’s got to deal with her depression, though--if it’s something that could help Tobin help Christen with this--then Tobin unfortunately wants to hear about it. She begrudgingly tells Christen as much, through nearly gritted teeth.
Christen takes her time thinking over if she really wants to bring this up, but eventually she gives in with a sigh. “With Alex, the hardest thing for her to realize was that there wasn’t really anything she could do to help me. She was always trying to get me out of the apartment and go to the beach or visit an animal shelter to try and cheer me up. It took her a while to understand none of that was ever going to help and that the only thing she could do to help me was to just do nothing. When I get like that, I don’t want to go out and be around people or even animals. I just want to stay in bed in the dark and maybe watch movies.”
Tobin doesn’t like hearing Alex’s name come from Christen’s mouth, but she’s grateful for the information so she looks past it. Anything that will help her with Christen is useful to her.
“So, just do nothing? That’s what you’re saying?” Tobin asks.
“Pretty much,” Christen says with a small laugh. “Just understand that sometimes I’m going to want to be with you through it and sometimes I’m going to want my space, but it’s nothing personal. I hate feeling like a burden so I probably won’t ask you for anything and I don’t like people having to take care of me, but just knowing you’re there is really all I need from you, even if you aren’t physically there.”
“I’d do whatever you needed me to,” Tobin assures her. “I just want to help you in any way I can, even if that just means joining you in bed all day.”
“You already do help me, babe. I’m happier with you than I’ve been in a long time. I haven’t had an off day since I met you.” Her face pales as she realizes what her words mean and the position she’s just put Tobin in because of them. “Oh god, I shouldn’t have said that. I just put so much pressure on you to be with me, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that, I swear. Please don’t feel obligated to stay with me or anything because of that.”
“Christen, relax, it’s okay.” She uses a thumb to rub away the worried crease that’s formed between Christen’s eyebrows. “You didn’t freak me out and I don’t feel obligated. I’m with you because there’s nothing else I’d rather do, not because I think I have to because of this. I love knowing I make you happy. That’s literally all I ever want to do.”
“Well, mission accomplished.” The crease returns between Christen’s eyebrows, but this time it’s because of the wide smile that stretches across her face as she leans in to kiss Tobin before she scooches closer until she’s nearly in her lap.
“Thank you for telling me about this,” Tobin says, pressing a kiss to Christen’s temple. “I’m glad you trust me enough.”
“Of course, I like telling you things about myself, even the messy bits. I feel like I don’t have to hide anything from you and I love that. I also wanted you to know so that if I ever started acting weird, it isn’t because of you. I just can’t help it.”
“You’re weird all the time,” Tobin teases.
“Says the girl who owns a Spiderman onesie and actually wears it,” Christen counters, devilish smirk on her face.
Tobin rolls her eyes and mutters, “touché.” She kisses a line across Christen’s jaw before she pulls away again and says, “seriously, thank you, though. It really means a lot to me to learn this.”
“You’re welcome,” Christen says. “I know maybe this isn’t exactly the best time for this after we’ve just spent all night and morning and having sex, and then right after breakfast, but I really wanted you to know. Sorry that mental health isn’t exactly sexy.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Learning about what’s going on inside that beautiful head of yours is very sexy. I love your brain, even if it is a little chemically imbalanced.”
Christen’s eyes spark at the words ‘love,’ but she quickly tampers her excitement, clearly knowing they’re getting ahead of themselves. Instead of mentioning the word, she kisses Tobin soundly and then tucks her head underneath her chin and reaches for the remote, playing the movie again.
Tobin lets the movie play for a couple minutes before a thought crosses her mind. “Does Nata know about this?” She asks.
“He doesn’t know specifics, but he knows I get sad sometimes and he’s really good about it. I’ve always tried so hard to not let my illness affect my ability to be a mother and while it’s really, really difficult sometimes, he’s great with me despite how young he is and not understanding it all yet. He always suggests we wrap ourselves up in blankets and watch movies in my bed. Then he’ll ask to borrow my phone and look up pictures of different dogs and we’ll rate them on cuteness. He makes it seem like it’s his idea, but I know he’s doing it for me.”
“He’s such a good kid,” Tobin says. She feels like she’s said that so many times to Christen, but it never seems like enough. He’s so kind and thoughtful and so much like Christen that it’s staggering sometimes and Tobin always wants to make sure Christen knows just how highly she thinks of her son. She knows moms love hearing good things like that about their kids and Tobin loves doting on Nata, so they both win.
“Yeah he is,” Christen beams, proud. “He’s the best. I love him more than anything.”
Tobin wants to say she loves him too, because honestly she thinks she does. It’s not in the way that she loves Ryan or in the way she’s falling in love with Christen or in the way she knows she’ll really love him one day down the line, but she does love him and wants nothing but the best for him. She doesn’t want to tell Christen that yet, though. She doesn’t want to admit she loves her son before she can admit she loves her. It’s a different kind of love, but it’s the principle of that matter.
She’ll tell Christen when she’s ready to say it and when Christen’s ready to hear it.
Christen seems to be picking up on the mental war raging within Tobin’s head, so she jumps to change the subject and take some of the unneeded pressure off.
“Thank you for this weekend.”
“This weekend’s not even halfway over,” Tobin points out and an excited flutter rushes through her body.
She’s still got all day, all night and then all day tomorrow to spend with Christen, just the two of them, and she can’t wait to make the most of all that time. She knows she’s going to get spoiled at how easy this weekend is once Nata gets back and they have to plan their schedule around him again, but she doesn’t mind. As much as she’s enjoying her alone time with Christen, she misses the kid, honestly, and she’s already hoping that she’ll get to stop by Christen’s after her parents drop him off tomorrow evening.
“I know, but still. Thank you. I appreciate how great you’ve been through all this.”
“You mean how great I was in bed? The multiple orgasms were pretty impressive, I must admit.”
“You’re so full of yourself,” Christen says as she rolls her eyes. “Seriously, though. Thank you for being so patient with me.”
“Of course, Chris. I’m happy this all went so well. I was so worried I was going to mess something up for you.”
“You didn’t mess anything up,” Christen says. She tilts her head up and whispers the next words right in Tobin’s ear. “Well, except for maybe my ability to ever have anything but dirty thoughts about you ever again.”
Tobin’s blood turns warm and she wraps an arm tighter around Christen’s waist. “Well, as long as you tell me what all these dirty thoughts are, then my mission was very well accomplished. I’d call this weekend a success.”
“You said these blinds close, right?” Christen asks as she pushes herself away from a pouting Tobin and towards one of the windows.
“Y-yeah, why?” Tobin’s skin feels hot and prickly and she has a feeling she knows exactly where this is going to go, but she’s still excited. Even after last night and this morning, her hands are itching to be on Christen again. Tobin doesn’t think there will ever come a day where she doesn’t want that, especially not anytime soon at least.
“Because if I’m going to go down on you, I’d rather not have an audience,” she says as she lowers down one of the blinds. Her voice drops to a lower, smoother pitch as she adds, “Unless you’re into that sort of thing, then I’m sure an arrangement could be made.”
Yeah, definitely not anytime soon.
First, Tobin takes her to the small cafe a few blocks from the stadium. Usually she gets a protein smoothie and breakfast sandwhich before morning training sessions, but today they just get coffee and continue on their way to the stadium.
Christen laughs when Tobin tells her to stretch and get ready to run, but Tobin reminds her that she wanted to see what Tobin goes through on a normal day and running is par for the course. Christen’s in shape and she goes on runs by herself frequently, but she knows she isn’t nearly as in shape as Tobin. She goes along with it, though, keeping pace with Tobin the whole way and even racing her at the end.
Christen wins, but once she’s twirling around and doing her victory dance, Tobin doesn’t mind at all.
After their warm up, Tobin challenges her to a shoot out. Considering there isn’t a goal keeper, Tobin figures it should be easy enough, but she forgot just how bad Christen is at sports. Despite standing at the top of the box, only about half of Christen’s shots actually make it in the goal.
On her first kick, she misses the ball entirely and if it weren’t for Tobin stepping forward to catch her, she would’ve fallen on her ass. Her next try she actually manages to strike the ball, but it’s a weak kick and it doesn’t make it past the six yard line. Christen isn’t discouraged. Her next is so strong it goes sailing over the crossbar. She keeps trying until eventually, her fourth ball smacks the back of the net and she jumps into her victory dance again.
After a half hour or so, more of Christen’s shots are actually making it into the back of the net than going over top or wide, so Tobin decides to challenge her further, this time to 1v1. Tobin goes easy on her for a few minutes until Christen complains and demands she take this seriously.
This time, Christen actually does fall on her ass, but she’s laughing the whole time, and then she gets right back up and tries again. Only once does she manage to beat Tobin’s challenge, strip away the ball and kick it right into the bottom corner. Tobin doesn’t tell her that she faked tripping so that it could happen, but something about the way Christen kisses her after another dorky victory dance tells Tobin she already knows.
Eventually it gets hot enough and Christen gets winded enough that she flops down on the grass and refuses to go on. Tobin takes mercy on her and suggests they go back to her place to shower and figure something out for dinner.
They shower together and it manages to be intimate without being overly sexual. Tobin’s got a nice shower, but it’s not that big and Christen rules out shower sex immediately based off past experiences that Tobin certainly does not question her on, not wanting to imagine Christen having shower sex with anyone else. It’s nice, though. They help wash each other’s hair and scrub each other’s back. Sure, there’s some pretty intense making out, but other than that Tobin is able to keep her hands to herself and focus on getting cleaned up.
While they’re waiting for their chinese food to be delivered--Christen claimed it was only fair she got to pick since Tobin was so mean to her while playing soccer--Tobin goes to put on some music while she lets Christen alphabetize her bookshelf like she’s been itching to do since the night before. Tobin is scrolling through her different playlists when she lands on one that’s been very present lately. She’s honestly a little embarrassed to look at some of the times played number on some of them with how often she’s had the playlist on repeat.
“I want to play a song for you,” Tobin blurts out before she can talk herself out of it.
“Good, that’s what I told you to do,” Christen teases from her spot on the floor, sipping from her wine glass while she rearranges the books, most of which Tobin hasn’t touched for years.
“Yeah, but this is an important song,” Tobin mumbles, hoping Christen can’t tell how embarrassed she is. “I want you to listen to it and pay attention to the lyrics.”
That catches Christen’s attention. Her head jerks up and her eyes narrow as her lips curl up into a suspicious smirk. “Tobin Heath, did you make me a mix tape?”
“What? Pft, no,” Tobin denies immediately, feeling the tips of her ears start to burn red. “Why would you think that? I would never do something so lame…but I might have made a playlist of songs on my phone that make me think of you.” She rushes the last words out, hoping that maybe Christen won’t be able to hear them, but she’s not so lucky.
Christen pushes herself up from the floor and crosses the room to where Tobin is standing by the kitchen counter, iPhone in hand as she fiddles with the volume control on her wireless speaker. She sets her wine glass on the counter and wraps her arms around Tobin’s waist, face painted with a wide grin. “You did make me a mix,” she beams. “Babe, that’s so nerdy.”
“I’m not good with talking about feelings, okay? Music is an easier way to express myself,” she explains. “If you don’t want to hear it…”
“Don’t even joke about that,” Christen scolds. “Of course I want to hear it. I’m sorry for teasing you. So what’s this song? Let’s hear it.”
Tobin takes a deep breath, finger hovering over the song for a moment, and then she finally presses play and the opening electric guitar notes of Milo Greene’s “Afraid of Everything” start filtering through the apartment.
“Dance with me,” Christen says, pulling Tobin back into the open area between the couch and the counter.
“This isn’t really a slow dance kind of song,” Tobin claims, though she isn’t refusing since she’s wrapping her arms around Christen’s shoulders and swaying with her.
“Too bad, this is happening. Now shh…I’m trying to listen to the lyrics.”
Oh, I know I can’t decide
Anything at all for fright
I could barely breathe at the sound of your voice
I could never run that fast
I could never see how you called this a choice
When you left me none
I, I’m afraid of everything
I’m afraid of everything
I’m not afraid of you
“That line is kind of a lie,” Tobin says quietly, not wanting to drown out the music too much. “I actually am afraid of you.”
Christen looks at Tobin curiously, eyebrows knitting together in confusion. “You’re afraid of me? Why?”
“You’re ridiculously gorgeous and you’re so smart and confident and I guess it’s just a little intimidating,” Tobin says. “Really though, I don’t think it’s necessarily you that I’m afraid of. I think it’s more so that I’m afraid of the way you make me feel. It’s new and while it’s exciting, it’s also scary.”
Christen smiles softly at this, eyes dancing across Tobin’s blushed face. “How is it exactly that I make you feel?”
Tobin was hoping Christen wouldn’t ask her that. She doesn’t know how to put it into words. Sure, she was able to talk about her feelings for Christen last night, but Christen had initiated it and besides, it’s easier to talk in the dark. Tobin didn’t have to look right into Christen’s green eyes and watch her smile at her lovingly while she talked. She does her best to power through, though, wanting Christen to know how much she means to her.
“I feel like…I feel…safe, I guess? Comfortable? I don’t know, I guess it’s just always felt temporary with everyone else, but this doesn’t feel that way and it’s nice. I just really like you and I’m really happy. If I were Ryan, I’d say that I like you more than I like Batman. I don’t know,” Tobin huffs out, followed by a frustrated sigh. “I feel like I’m not making any sense. I’m not good with words.”
“You’re better than you think,” Christen chokes out, voice thick with emotion. She kisses her quickly, before her eyes are able to betray her and let tears fall. “I really like you,” she mumbles against Tobin’s lips and kisses her again. Once she’s in control of her emotions again, she pulls away with a smile that’s just the slightest bit shaky, but Tobin pretends not to notice. “So what other songs are on this playlist?”
“Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.””
“Shut up!” Christen smacks her shoulder, but she’s laughing underneath her mock annoyance. “You’re such a jerk,” she grumbles.
“You know I’m just kidding,” Tobin insists. “Let’s see…uh, “Slow Show” by The National.”
“I’ve never heard of that song or that band.”
“I’m so disappointed,” Tobin sighs. “Uhm, “pink skies,” obviously. “Speechless” by Glades.”
“Haven’t heard of that one either.”
“What about “Let Me Touch Your Fire” by Arizona?”
“Nope, but it sounds kinky,” she smirks. “I like it already.”
“You really have to expand your music interests past Tracy Chapman,” Tobin teases.
Tobin can tell her Christen’s about to lecture her about how all she ever needs is Tracy Chapman when “I Know a Place” by MUNA starts playing and Christen’s eyes light up in recognition.
“Ooo! I actually know this one!” She exclaims proudly. “I love this song!” She starts jumping around, dancing happily in a way that mirrors her victory dances from earlier. She only gives Tobin five seconds of standing still before she pulls her towards her and coaxes her into dancing along.
They’re dancing around Tobin’s apartment and singing along loudly. They’re laughing and smiling and honestly, Tobin doesn’t think she’s ever been happier in her entire life.