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Love on the Weekend

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PT. FC.
PT. FC.

The boisterous Thorns chant was ringing out loudly through Providence Park. It was the 80th minute of their first preseason game. A Friday night clash with Chicago under the stadium flood lights. The score was tied, one-one.

PT. FC.
PT. FC.

Tobin was at the near side corner flag on the North End of the park, right in front of the Rose City Riveters, ready to take the ensuing corner kick.

PT. FC.
PT. FC.

Christen stood up from her seat to get a better view. She wanted to see Tobin strike the ball. She was sitting up in a reserved suite, high above the action, her heart beating loudly in her chest with nerves. 15,000 people had never sounded so loud.

PT. FC.
PT. FC.

Tobin was locked in, her mind blurring out everything else around her. Her only focus was the ball.

The ref blew the whistle, giving the okay for Tobin to play on. She could see her teammate, Allie Long, in her peripheral vision, sprinting towards the box at the perfect angle, pulling a defender along with her.

Tobin took three steps and swung her right leg, hitting the ball off the top of her foot in the exact way she intended to. The thump it made coming off her laces sounded like music to Tobin’s ears.

The ball was curling towards the goal, as Chicago’s keeper was trying to make a play on it. Tobin took a couple of steps to the right, entranced in watching the ball’s path towards goal.

Before she could even blink twice, the ball sailed perfectly around the near post of the goal, swooshing into the back of the net, just before the keeper could get a fingertip to it.

The crowd erupted into a frenzy as the Olimpico goal broke the deadlock. Two-One, Thorns.

Christen was now positive. 15,000 people had never sounded so loud.

This preseason game felt like a championship match.

Tobin ran to the center of the pitch as her teammates dog piled her in celebration, high-fiving and urging each other to hold the line for just a little longer.

When the cheering died down and the ball was back at the center circle, another chant broke out in the supporters section.

TO-BIN. HEA-TH.

TO-BIN. HEA-TH.

The Riveters were singing loudly for their star player. The one who just put them ahead with less than ten minutes to play. It didn’t matter that it was a preseason game that didn’t count for anything. Pride always counted.

Christen could feel the chills run through her. She felt giddy with admiration, knowing Tobin deserved all of the praise. Being here to support Tobin was important to her. She wished she never had to miss another game.

Three weeks. That is what Tobin and Christen told themselves. When they said goodbye to each other in Rome, they knew they just had to survive three weeks apart. Counting in small increments seemed to lessen the sting of separation just a little.  

When it came down to it, they only lasted two. 12 days, if we’re being specific.

In her second week back in the office, Christen had a stressful few days, as two of her adoption placements fell through unexpectedly. She decided that she needed to take a day off to avoid any mental breakdowns and regroup.

When she told Tobin about it on their nightly FaceTime call, Tobin insisted that a three day weekend couldn’t go to waste. It only took a little convincing for Christen to give in, knowing she was never able to say no to Tobin anyway.

And even though Christen tried to protest, Tobin used her airline miles and promptly booked Christen a plane ticket to Portland. So Christen packed a small bag and flew to Portland on Friday morning without a second thought, excited for a whole weekend with Tobin.

The Thorns had a pregame meal and film session before the game that night, so Tobin wasn’t able to see Christen beforehand. She left her apartment key under the door mat, so Christen took a Lyft from the airport to Tobin’s place. Christen was happy to be able to drop her bag off and relax for a few hours.

Seeing Tobin’s apartment for the first time was truly an experience for Christen. She got to check it out, without Tobin there to explain anything, and she felt like it was a small window into the brown eyed girl’s world.

It was a two bedroom place on the twelfth floor of a downtown Portland highrise. It wasn’t overly fancy, but it was nice, and very fitting of what Christen had learned about Tobin so far.

Christen put her bag down in the entryway and slowly meandered through the apartment. She instantly loved how it smelled like Tobin. It felt so cozy to her right away; calming for reasons she didn’t understand.

The whole place had a laid-back beach vibe to it. There was a large blue couch in the center of the living room, accenting the room’s dark hardwood floors perfectly. A couple longboards and a surfboard leaned against the wall in the corner of the living room. Christen wasn’t sure whether they were for decoration or if they actually got used. And a coffee table between the couch and the flat screen tv that hung on the wall.

In Tobin’s bedroom, a huge, handcrafted wooden bed frame stood tall against the wall. A white down comforter was draped over the queen size mattress; not perfectly made, but straighten just enough that Christen knew Tobin had tried.

She spotted a picture frame on the nightstand next to the bed. It was of Tobin and her family on a beach somewhere. Christen grinned at it, hoping that they were all adjusting to life after vacation well. She found herself missing the Heath family and their generosity and funny stories.

Christen exited Tobin’s room again and headed for the kitchen for a glass of water. She saw piece of paper lying on the edge of the kitchen counter. It was a little note from Tobin, scrawled out in slightly sloppy letters.

Babe,

Make yourself at home. I can’t wait to see you tonight. :)

Love,

Tobin

Christen smiled as she felt the butterflies in her stomach for a moment. She loved sweet little gestures like this. She grabbed the note and folded it up, putting it in her purse to take home with her.

Christen glanced at the clock on the oven, realizing that it was later than she realized. She figured she should leave soon, planning to walk over to the stadium.  She wanted enough time to grab a coffee on her way.

Tobin made sure to have everything in place, so Christen knew exactly who to meet at the Stadium to get her passes for suite area. Tobin figured it would be easiest for her to sit there so they could meet up after the game without dealing with the fans and crowd.

Christen made her way over to the stadium on foot, admiring the cute neighborhoods as she walked with her coffee in hand. It was a warm evening and the sun was just starting to set. As she got close, she could tell there was a special buzz happening outside the gates. It was clear that people were really excited to be back and ready to cheer on their hometown team.

Christen laughed to herself every time she saw a little girl wearing a Thorns jersey that had Heath 17 on the back of it. There turned out to be a lot of them. Christen loved the thought of those little kids looking up to Tobin, it made her feel excited for what she was about to witness.

Christen made her way into a side gate of the Stadium, checking in with the guest services counter. They greeted her right away, clearly expecting her arrival. One of the ushers brought Christen up an elevator through one of the tunnels. She could tell it was a reserved area, only a few people milling about.

The friendly usher made small conversation on the ride up to the boxes.

“So you know Tobin?” She asked in a non-invasive way.

Christen probably wouldn't have known the difference, not yet understanding Tobin’s stature around here.

“Yea.” Christen said in a happy voice.

“She’s so awesome.” The usher said with a smile.

Christen nodded as the elevator doors opened to the box. The usher just kind of led her inside and disappeared back down with the elevator.

Christen stepped out to where the open air seats were at the front of the suite. She could tell the players were out on the pitch for warmups, quickly scanning her eyes to find Tobin.

It only took a few seconds before Christen spotted her, Tobin’s lanky arms and legs dancing expertly across the field with a ball at her feet. Christen couldn’t keep the smile off her face. Tobin was so zoned in, flicking the ball up with her foot and juggling it as she walked.

Christen could already tell she was really good. And judging by the crowd cheers for her, they agreed.

Christen stood at the edge of the box, just taking in the whole atmosphere. She had no idea soccer was such a huge thing. She hadn’t played or really even thought much about soccer since high school; until she met Tobin a few weeks ago.

There were rowdy and passionate fans filling up the whole stadium, chanting and beating drums, waving flags and jumping up and down. It made Christen want to join them; to go all in on this super fan thing.

As the teams finished their warmups and started to run into the tunnel, Tobin took a minute to glance up at the box she knew Christen would be sitting in. Christen had been watching her almost non-stop the whole time. When they finally locked eyes, both of them smiled widely. Tobin raised her hand to offer a small wave with her white teeth beaming.

Christen happily waved back and bit her bottom lip, trying to contain her smile as Tobin ran into the tunnel and out of sight. She felt so relieved to know Tobin had spotted her and knew she made it okay. They hadn’t had a chance to talk all afternoon.

When the teams came out of the tunnel for the anthems and player introductions, Christen felt another wave of surprise. The PA announcer called Tobin’s name last in the lineup and the cheers for her were insanely loud. The loudest of all the players, by far. Christen still couldn’t process Tobin’s popularity here.

The game kicked off and was mostly fast paced. There were some lulls in the action with it being the first preseason game of the year, but Christen found herself following along easily. Portland scored first from a header by someone Christen didn’t yet know, with Chicago tying it up about twenty minutes later.

Halftime came and went and Christen was happy to see Tobin still in the game when play resumed for the second forty five. She assumed Tobin played a lot, but they hadn’t really discussed it.

The game was still one-one in the 80th minute as Tobin ran to take the corner kick. Christen felt her fingernails digging into her palms as she stood up to watch what was about to happen. She let her eyes scan over the rowdy crowd down below her for a moment, before focusing back on Tobin.

Christen’s eyes lit up as the kick sailed towards the goal. When it flew past the keeper Christen pump her fist a little, letting a loud cheer escape from her lips. Holy shit, Tobin just scored from a corner kick!

The Thorns held on for the last ten minutes of the game, winning two-one. The crowd continued to cheer for a long time, as the players made their way around the outside of the field, waving and thanking the fans for coming. Christen just stood and watched the whole time.

Tobin was pulled aside for an interview of some sort before she took her time signing autographs for fans. She even took off her cleats and gave them away to two little girls. The girls seemed like they were going to pass out with excitement. Christen’s heart melted at how cute the whole exchange was. She was dying to wrap Tobin into a huge hug.

Finally Tobin waved up to Christen as she was walking towards the tunnel. She gave her a couple of hand signals as if to say meet me downstairs , before giving one last thumbs up to the fans and entering the tunnel.

Christen understood what Tobin meant, grabbing her purse and heading for the exit of the suite. She asked the usher standing at the elevator where to go, and was taken down a few floors. She could tell they had passed the floor that she entered the stadium on.

When the elevator doors opened the usher pointed Christen in the right direction. Christen took a few steps before she heard her name being called out by a familiar voice.

“Chris!” Tobin yelled, starting a jog from behind where Christen was standing.

Christen spun around quickly, a smile forming on her lips as she saw Tobin running towards her. She didn’t know what was about to happen, there were several people walking back and forth between the field and what Christen guessed was the locker room.

Tobin didn’t hesitate, opening her arms wide as she reached Christen, launching into a big hug. Tobin was still in her uniform, her hair sweaty and a little unkempt, falling out from her loose ponytail.

Christen didn’t care. She just hugged her back as tightly as possible.

The momentum from Tobin backed them up a little, and Tobin took a few more steps, so they were rounding a corner, out of sight from people for a moment.

“Hi, babe.” Tobin breathed.

“Hi, superstar.” Christen smiled. They pulled back to look at each other.

Tobin leaned in a kissed Christen quickly, just a peck, but it felt so good to feel her lips again. They stood in their embrace for another moment before Tobin let go.

“Sorry, I’m all sweaty.” Tobin laughed. “I couldn’t wait any longer.”

“I’ll take you anyway I can get you.” Christen shrugged. She couldn’t believe she was standing in front of Tobin again, finally.

“Okay so, you are amazing at soccer!” Christen laughed. “Why didn’t you tell me how good you are?” She playfully nudged Tobin’s shoulder.

Tobin just shook her head and laughed, too modest to ever brag about her skills to anyone other than her teammates.

As the couple was standing outside of the locker rooms, two younger girls came walking by wearing Thorns jerseys. The were stammering back and forth to each other something inaudible along the lines of “ No, you ask her..”

Christen started to laugh when she saw them standing behind Tobin. One of the girls got brave enough, speaking up slightly. “Excuse me?” She asked in a soft tone.

Tobin turned around quickly, making eye contact with the two girls. “Yo what’s up?”

The girls both smiled up at her, eyes wide like they were starstruck.  

“Could we have your autograph, Tobin?” The taller girl said.

“You’re our favorite player!” The other girl added for effect. They both seemed a little nervous.

“Yea, of course.” Tobin laughed. “Do you have a pen?”

Tobin bent down and signed both of their jerseys, thanking them for coming to the game and their nice words. The girls ran off after a few moments and Tobin turned back around to face Christen, who was smiling lovingly at her.

“Tobin Heath.. You’re a really big deal around here.” Christen was proudly exclaiming.

Tobin laughed. “Nah, not really.” She put her head down a little shyly.

Christen felt so shaky with excitement at watching that previous scene unfold, only able to contain it by hugging Tobin again, so she did. Tobin smiled and returned her hug again, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist a little softer this time.

Christen leaned into Tobin’s ear while they held onto each other. “Yes you are. And it’s super fucking hot.” She whispered sensually.

Tobin cleared her throat, her thoughts running wild with want. Christen leaned back and gave Tobin a more mischievous smile, before it faded into her happy face again. Tobin made a mental note to bring that look up to Christen again later.

“God, I missed you.” Tobin whispered as they hugged tight again.

“I missed you so much.” Christen agreed.

Before they could pull back a second time, one of Tobin’s teammates came walking down the hallway, making her way towards the locker room. She was a tall blonde with pretty features.

“Harry!” She called out. Tobin dropped one hand from Christen and turned around, acting like they weren’t caught.

“Is this THE infamous Christen I’ve heard about non-stop for the past few weeks?” She asked in a playful tone.

Tobin started laughing, squeezing Christen’s hip a little. “Hey, Al.”

Tobin looked at Christen who was just standing there with a smile on her face.

“Chris, this is Allie, one of my best friends.” Tobin nodded. “Allie, this is Christen.”

Allie wasted no time shoving Tobin out of the way and wrapping Christen into a hug. It only lasted for a second but Christen couldn’t help giggling.

“Nice to meet you.” Christen smiled as Allie released her.

“You too!” Allie smiled. “Tobin was right, you are super hot.” She winked, turning away from them like she was on a mission again. Christen blushed at her words.

“Tobs, go shower. You two are definitely coming out with us.” Allie said excitedly, pulling open the locker room door and disappearing just as fast as she had come.

Tobin groaned, turning back to face Christen. She didn’t want to go out with her teammates. She had only been thinking about taking Christen home as quickly as possible. She wanted no interruptions for the rest of the night. These past two weeks had felt like a lifetime apart.

“Sorry about that.” Tobin smiled, referring to Allie’s ambush. “We don’t have to hang out with them tonight.”

“It’s totally up to you.” Christen insisted.

“I don’t think I’d be able to keep my hands off of you long enough.” Tobin grinned. She leaned in and kissed Christen again quickly. “Will you wait while I shower?”

Christen broke out into a laugh while she nodded yes to Tobin’s question.

“What’s so funny?” Tobin smiled.

“Of course I’ll wait, I’ve got nowhere else to be.” Christen joked. “You’re stuck with me all weekend.”

“Lucky me.” Tobin laughed, holding eye contact with Christen. She gave Christen’s hand a playful squeeze and turned to open the locker room door.

Tobin got ready quickly as Christen waited in the hallway. When Tobin was done, she was the last one left in the locker room. She got dressed and exited, finding Christen and Allie and two other teammates in the middle of a conversation, all of them laughing at the same time.

“Uh oh.” Tobin smiled as she joined the half circle group that had formed in the hallway where she had left Christen a bit ago.

“Ugh, finally!” Allie yelled when she saw Tobin. “Let’s go slowpoke, we’re starving.”

Tobin narrowed her eyes a bit. “Christen and I aren’t coming with.”

“Yea you are!” Allie insisted. “Christen said she wanted to.”

Tobin locked eyes with Christen as the rest of her teammates picked up their bags to leave.

The expression on Christen’s face just read I’m Sorry . Tobin gave her a smile, knowing Christen wouldn’t have been able to turn them down once they cornered her. She wanted to start off on the right foot after all.

Tobin and Christen spent the next couple hours at their usual after-game bar with Tobin’s teammates, Allie, Lindsay and Emily. The couple sat next to each other in a large booth but didn’t really get a chance to talk much at all, both of their attentions being pulled away into other conversations for most of the time.

Christen learned that all three of them were also on the National Team with Tobin and would be in LA next week for camp as well. Tobin quickly explained the story of Christen knowing Kelley from college and they all thought that was the coolest thing ever.

Finally, after a few drinks, the other girls were making their way around the bar, dancing and talking with different groups of people. Tobin and Christen stayed close together the whole time, barely letting go of each other’s hands under the table.

Christen watched as person after person came up to Tobin. To say hi, or to tell her how much of a fan they were, or to try and buy her a drink. Christen wasn’t bothered by it at all, but she felt like she had totally underestimated Tobin when they first met. Seeing her through the eyes of everyone else was very enlightening.

In Italy, when it was just the two of them, it was easy not to notice the effect Tobin had on everyone around her. Christen just figured she was so drawn to Tobin because of the feelings she developed so quickly. Little did she know it was just a reoccurring theme of practically everyone in Tobin’s life.  

It made Christen feel proud that Tobin’s hand was intertwined with hers all night. Christen would smile silently as Tobin humbly accepted every compliment. She would get lost in silent observations, trying to figure out how she got so damn lucky to meet Tobin.

They finally had a moment to check in with each other as another group of people left their table. Other than the fact that Tobin had been running her hand up and down Christen’s thigh for the past half hour, it was the first interaction they had without anyone else around.

“You’re friends are super nice.” Christen smiled as she felt Tobin’s hand go a little higher under the table.

“They sure like you already.” Tobin laughed. “Pretty hard not to though.”

Christen just gave her a smile, finding Tobin’s hand with her own under the table.

“I’ve been dying to kiss you since we got here.” Tobin continued, her mouth right next to Christen’s ear, in the ever increasing loudness of the bar.

Christen just bit her lip.

“Would you hate it if we got out of here?” Christen questioned.

“Seriously, I thought you would never ask.” Tobin grinned, immediately sliding out of the booth.

She threw down a $20 bill for their drinks and grabbed Christen’s hand gently, leading her towards the exit without finding Tobin’s friends to say goodbye.  

It wasn’t even urgent in a sexual way, their escape from the bar; but more so in a way that they just wanted to be alone. To be able to hold hands while they walked, or stop and kiss each other whenever they wanted.

They both found themselves missing the bubble they had created while in Rome, already realizing it was much harder to shut out everyone else around you when you’re surrounded by people you know.

They walked casually through the streets of Portland towards Tobin’s apartment. Through the Pearl District, where streets were lit up by stringing lights across storefronts, and dimly lit street lamps.

As they paused for a crosswalk signal, Tobin pulled Christen in, grabbing her jaw lovingly and kissing her. The first real kiss they’d had in days. It felt better than either of them had remembered.

“Hi, babe.” She whispered against Christen’s lips.

“Hi.” Christen smiled into Tobin, their lips just barely touching.

“I’m so glad you’re here.” Tobin smiled, not pulling away.

“Me too.” Christen agreed, pecking Tobin’s lips again as their walk sign changed. Laughing as their hands found each other’s again.

When they finally crawled into Tobin’s bed, they were slow and affectionate with their movements. It felt like they gave each other a kiss for every hour they’d spent apart, neither of them wanting to be the one to give up first.

Tobin eased Christen back onto the bed, whispering Christen’s name against her neck. So happy to pick up where they’d left off, finding that every time they did this it was better than the last. Amazed at how good they could make each other feel. When they were done, both of their bodies hummed contentedly, snuggling into each other under the covers.

Christen had her head on Tobin’s chest, listening to her heartbeat. She was tracing a path up and down Tobin’s stomach with her fingertips.

“I don’t think I said this yet, but I was really proud of you tonight.” Christen whispered in the darkness.

Tobin grinned, placing a tired kiss to Christen’s hair. “Thank you, baby.”

They laid in silence for a moment.

“Everything feels just a little different here.” Christen said again after a moment.  

Tobin was sleepy, exhausted from her game and barely keeping her eyes open after their pleasure a few minutes ago.

“What do you mean?” She hummed quietly.

“Just like the effect you have on everyone. It makes me feel so lucky to be here with you. Not that I didn’t feel lucky before, but it just feels like more now.” Christen tried to explain, knowing she probably wasn’t getting it right. “I can just tell, you mean a lot to so many people.”

Tobin yawned, rubbing Christen’s back. “Well, you mean a lot to me.”

Christen lifted her head and gave Tobin a kiss, watching as the older woman under her let her tired eyes shut with a smile. “Night, babe.” Tobin whispered again.

Christen just fell back onto Tobin, inching her way in as close as possible before drifting off to sleep easily.

Tobin had to be up early the next morning for a film and recovery session with her team. She slid out from underneath Christen around seven, showering and dressing quickly, getting ready for her walk over to the stadium. Tobin leaned down on the bed and kissed Christen’s cheek as she slept, unmoved from where Tobin had left her a bit ago.

Tobin stood there for a moment and watched Christen sleep, her dark hair splayed across the pillow. The woman I'm in love with is lying naked in my bed. Tobin thought to herself. God, I’m so lucky.

Christen had woken up once, a little while later, to find the bed empty. She knew Tobin would be gone this morning, but Christen thought she would have woken up when she felt Tobin leave.

Christen yawned and looked at the clock, before rolling over and burying her head in Tobin’s pillow again. Smiling at the scent of Tobin’s shampoo still lingering on it. It only took a few moments before she was sleeping soundly again.

Tobin got back to her apartment just after ten, carrying a bag of donuts and a coffee for Christen. She walked in the door, expecting Christen to be awake by now, knowing she rarely slept in that late.

Tobin rounded the corner into the kitchen, only hearing silence. She walked through the living room and still didn’t find the dark haired woman anywhere. Finally, Tobin made it back to her bedroom, peeking her head around the door frame and laughing quietly to herself. There was Christen, still under the heap of covers, sleeping on Tobin’s pillow.

Tobin set the donuts and coffee down on the nightstand and kicked off her shoes, crawling onto the bed to hover over Christen.

Tobin kissed Christen’s neck softly. “Babe.” She whispered, tracing her hand down Christen’s bare back. Christen flinched under the contact, opening her eyes slowly.

“You’re hands are freezing.” Christen whined quietly, her face still pressed to the pillow.

Tobin laughed. “Oh sorry.” Waiting as Christen turned over on her back.

“I brought you coffee and donuts.” Tobin wiggled her eyebrows.

“You did?” Christen whispered excitedly, smiling at the woman above her. She secretly loved donuts but didn't think Tobin knew that yet.

“Mmhmm.” Tobin leaned up and grabbed the cup of coffee on the nightstand to show Christen.

“You’re my favorite person in the world.” Christen grinned.

Tobin went to the kitchen and grabbed a couple napkins and a glass of milk for herself and came back to her bedroom, perfectly okay with eating donuts in bed with Christen.

When she walked back in the room, Christen was sitting up against the headboard with her pillow leaning against it, already a half a donut in her hand.

Christen gave Tobin a wicked grin, licking the sugar off her lips. “You’re wearing way too many clothes for donuts in bed.”

Tobin bit her lip. “If you insist.”

She lifted her t-shirt over her head and tossed it to the ground as Christen laughed. Tobin then pulled her sweatpants down and stepped out of them, now just left with a sports bra and her underwear.

Tobin crawled onto the bed and reached for the bag of donuts. Christen quickly grabbed them, pulling them out of Tobin’s reach.

“Nah uh.” Christen shook her head sarcastically.  

Tobin gave her a look. “Okay, can I at least have a bite?” She asked, entertained.

Christen laughed and held up her donut for Tobin to take a bite. “So good.” Tobin laughed as she chewed. Still on her hands and knees in front of Christen.

“Lose the rest and you can have your own.” Christen smiled darkly, looking down at Tobin’s body.

Tobin laughed now that she finally caught onto what Christen really wanted. “Seriously, you’re bribing me?”

Christen just nodded, her face barely blushing as she took the last bite of her donut.

Tobin moved off the bed again and stood up, slowly peeling her sports bra off. She made eye contact with Christen as she let it drop to the floor, before bending down and sliding her underwear down around her ankles.

Christen bit her lip as Tobin stepped out of them, now completely naked. Tobin felt a surge of confidence by the way Christen was looking at her. She smiled a little cocky and grabbed Christen’s feet under the covers, pulling her down the bed until she was lying flat on her back and no longer propped up against the headboard.

Tobin crawled up Christen’s body, grabbing the bag of donuts out of her hands sternly and setting them on the nightstand again. Christen was laughing as Tobin pinned Christen’s hands above her head, holding them to the mattress.

Tobin leaned in and licked the remaining donut glaze off of Christen’s bottom lip. Pulling back slightly before she husked in a low voice. “If you want me naked, just so say.” Her eyes dark for a moment.

They both held eye contact in silence for a moment as Tobin licked her lips.

“Oh my god you are so hot.” Christen breathed, barely audible through a thick voice.

Suddenly Tobin’s face softened and she fell off of Christen onto the bed, reaching over her to grab the bag of donuts, plucking one out for herself. She munched on it happily as she looked back over at Christen, knowing that had its intended effect on the younger woman.

Christen’s face hardened in frustration as Tobin smiled lovingly.

“Want another donut babe?” Tobin grinned, taking another big bite as if she was innocent. They finished the remaining donuts tucked under the covers together.

Most of the morning and early afternoon was the same. They cuddled and talked and had sex, enjoying each others bodies and the warmth between them, without giving a single thought to the world outside of those four walls. Christen was sure that she could stay in this bedroom for the rest of her life if it meant she had Tobin there with her.

Eventually Christen figured she should get out of bed at some point. It was well past 2:00 and the day was wasting away. They got ready and headed out to run some errands that Tobin needed to take care of.

Tobin took Christen to Powell’s books and showed her a couple of her favorite stores, giving Christen a small tour of the city for a couple hours. Christen had offered to cook dinner for Tobin earlier, so they also made a stop at the grocery store on their way home.

While they were at the store, they ended up running into Tobin’s coach in the produce aisle.

“Hey, it’s Tobin fucking Heath.” Mark spoke excitedly as he came up behind them. Christen and Tobin were picking out stalks of broccoli for dinner.

Tobin turned around when she heard her name. “Mark! What’s up?”

He turned to Christen and smiled at her. Tobin noticed and introduced them.

“Mark, this is my... this is Christen.”

“Hi Christen.” Mark shook her hand. “I’m Mark, Tobin’s coach.”

Christen grinned and gave him a smile. “Nice to meet you.”

They made small talk for a few minutes, Mark praising Tobin for how good she made him look, until Mark’s daughter came running up to him and pulled him towards the checkout line. Tobin and Christen followed a few minutes later, checking out and heading for home.

Tobin hopped up on the kitchen counter as Christen started to cook dinner when they got home. Tobin was in charge of the music, browsing through her Spotify playlists until she found the perfect one.

The both bobbed their heads and danced around amid conversation as Christen made Rosemary Chicken and broccoli. When dinner was about done, Tobin opened a bottle of wine, pouring them both a glass and setting the table so they could sit down and eat.

Tobin raved about Christen’s cooking several times. “Seriously, Chris. This is like the best meal I’ve ever had.” She mentioned while chewing another mouthful.

“I think you're slightly exaggerating.” Christen smiled. “But I’ll take the compliments.”

“I love that you cooked for me.” Tobin beamed happily across the small table.

“Well I love cooking for you. I may have to do it again sometime.” Christen winked.

After they finished eating, Christen was loading the dishwasher as Tobin got her tv set up so they could watch a movie.

“Honey?” Christen yelled from the kitchen, trying to get Tobin’s attention.

“Yea...?” Tobin responded, a little wonder in her tone.

“Where’s the dish soap?”

Tobin backed up so she could see Christen from the living room. Christen was opening the cupboards around the sink, trying to find the soap so she could wash the pans.

Tobin made her way to the kitchen with a big smile on her face. Christen stood up and turned around, noticing Tobin’s smile.

“What?” Christen asked confused.

“That’s the first time you’ve ever called me anything other than Tobin.” Tobin was so happy about Christen's term of endearment. It was just another little thing that made this feel even more real.

Christen hadn’t even realized what she had said until it was pointed out. “Oh..” She laughed and kissed Tobin. “Well, you are my honey.”

Tobin just returned her laugh and drug Christen to the couch, leaving the dishes for another time.

That night they laid in bed, talking quietly. Christen had to leave in the morning, but it was a happy feeling between them, unlike last time they parted ways where they felt a sense of dread.

“So..” Tobin started, leaning down to kiss Christen’s lips quickly. She was lying on her stomach, mostly on top of Christen. “I have a question for you…”

Christen hummed with her lips pressed to Tobin’s. “Ask away.”

Tobin paused for just a moment before she asked, swallowing down her nerves.

“Christen, will you be my girlfriend?” Tobin got right to the point. Laughing instantly at how cheesy it sounded coming out of her mouth.

Christen opened her eyes. “Your girlfriend huh?” she giggled quietly. “Wait, Tobin Heath wants to go steady with me?”

“I do.” Tobin laughed again. She leaned in and kissed Christen’s lips. “I used to think I didn’t care about labels, but with you I do.” Tobin explained honestly. “I want the responsibility of that title.”

Christen ran her hand through Tobin’s hair as Tobin continued.“It matters to me that I can introduce you as my girlfriend and do special things for you that nobody else gets to do.”

Christen snaked her arms around Tobin’s waist under the covers, pulling her in closer. “It matters to me too.” She kissed Tobin’s cheek once. “Yes. I would love to you be your girlfriend.”

Christen knew she would be replaying this conversation over in her head with a smile all week. It was only five days until Tobin would be in LA, and this weekend together just reinforced their beliefs that they could make this work. For now, the distance meant little to either of them because their feelings meant so much.

Chapter Text

The sun was descending from its peak in the evening sky as the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashed into the seaside cliffs. Christen was making her way South on the iconic California Highway One, only a few miles away from her parents house. This was her favorite drive, one she could make in her sleep; the curving shoreline now ingrained in her memory from countless days growing up in the City of Angeles.

Christen was heading to her childhood home to have dinner and visit with her parents, something that was long overdue. She hadn’t had a chance to see them since before she left for Europe. Playing catch up after being out of the office for almost two weeks was daunting, and her impromptu trip to Portland last weekend hadn’t left her any free time.

She was excited to see her mom and dad and even more excited to see their two dogs, Morena and Khaleesi, whom she claimed as her own most of the time. Her mom had called earlier in the week to set a time for dinner, and tonight was the night.

As Christen pulled into their neighborhood, she found herself getting slightly anxious. She had a lot of information to drop on her parents tonight and she hadn’t prepared them at all. She could only hope that it was going to go as well as her conversation with Tyler had gone on the way home from the airport a couple weeks ago.

Since that night, her big sister had been extra supportive, reaching out to her almost daily for a status update on Christen’s newfound romance. Christen was glad that she had someone other than Tobin to lean on as they started to navigate their relationship. She still didn’t know where she stood with most of her friends after her breakup, and she figured it probably wouldn’t be easy to talk about Tobin with them right now. That was another hurdle that she’d have to conquer, but for now she was content with waiting it out.

If Tyler’s reaction was anything to gauge it on, she knew that this conversation tonight would go just fine. She already felt bad for not telling her parents about Tobin sooner, but it was something she had wanted to do in person and she was just now getting that opportunity.

Christen felt herself calm down again as she pulled into their driveway. Her mom and the dogs were out in the front yard, playing with a tennis ball as they waited for Christen to arrive. The sight of them made Christen smile, knowing that even though everything in her world felt different now, nothing had changed. At least not here in the safety net of her childhood home.

Christen parked her car and opened the door. The dogs were already trying to lick her face before she even stood up out of the drivers seat.

“My babies!” Christen laughed, bending down so she could squeeze both dogs. “I missed you, my loves.” She gave them both a few kisses before she stood up.

“Well, if it isn’t my long lost daughter!” Her mom, Stacy yelled. She was walking towards Christen’s car from across the driveway, before wrapping her in a tight hug. “I missed my favorite green-eyed girl.”

“Hi, Momma.” Christen smiled, returning the hug and holding on a little longer than normal. “I missed you too.”

Christen and her mom waited for the dogs to settle down from their excitement and retrieve the tennis ball one last time, before they all made their way around the back side of the house. Christen’s dad, Cody, was in the backyard grilling some chicken for dinner as the two women approached him.

“Who’s this stranger?” Cody asked jokingly. He pulled the lid of the grill down and walked over to give Christen a big hug.

“Hey Dad.” Christen smiled, engulfed in his giant embrace.

Cody pulled back a little and placed his hands on Christen’s shoulders, spinning her from side to side for a moment, looking her over. “Is that you, Chris?” he smiled sarcastically. “It’s been so long, it’s hard to tell!”

Christen was laughing now at her dad’s antics. “It’s been like three weeks. You guys are so dramatic.” She teased. Christen always loved how goofy her parents could be.

“We missed ya, kid.” Cody smiled, turning back around to check on the chicken again.

After a few minutes Christen and Stacy went inside to get the rest of dinner together, while Cody finished grilling. Stacy put together a salad and Christen busied herself by setting the table outside. Their family loved to eat on the patio and watch the sun go down whenever the weather was nice, which was most of the time around here.

When Christen had the table set, she collapsed onto the grass next to the patio, calling the dogs over so they could playfully wrestle for a few minutes. She let them walk all over her, hugging and kissing the happy pups.

As Christen was cuddling with the dogs, her phone dinged in her back pocket. She wiggled out from underneath Morena and pulled out her phone. There were two texts waiting from Tobin.

{Tobin}: Just got done with our meeting. Heading to the stadium now.

{Tobin}: Wish you were going to be in the stands again tonight.

Christen smiled at the messages, loving the way Tobin had developed a habit of always checking in with her. It made the distance a little easier for them, knowing what each other were up to most of the time. They had spoken earlier on lunch, before Christen was pulled into a meeting, just now finding another free minute to talk.

{Christen}: I wish I could be there.

{Christen}: I’ll be cheering you on from here!

Christen sent Tobin a selfie with the Ocean cliffs in the background, the view of the backyard that she got to grow up with.

{Tobin}: Damn, what a view.

{Tobin}: And I guess the ocean is cool too.. :)

Christen laughed at Tobin’s joke, grinning at her phone as she sent another reply.

Cody noticed Christen’s big smile from where he was standing. He just observed her for a moment, happy to see his middle daughter seemingly happy.

“Who’s got you so smiley?” He asked as he started to take the chicken off the grill.

Christen was pulled from her thoughts, looking up from her phone to see her dad eyeing her amusingly.

“Nobody…” Christen feigned. She fell back on the grass to look at the sky so her dad would look away. She felt herself blush, knowing her smile had been a dead giveaway.

Cody just laughed and walked inside with the plate of chicken, leaving Christen and the dogs alone outside for a moment.

Christen picked her phone back up and returned Tobin’s text now that she was away from her dad’s gaze.

{Christen}: It’s dinner time for me.. Call me after you win?

{Tobin}: Of course, have fun with your parents.

{Tobin}: Oh and like.. 16 hours till I get to see you!

Tobin was flying to LA tomorrow morning, able to break away a couple days early from Preseason like she had hoped. Her and Christen would have a couple nights together before Tobin had to be in camp with the National Team.

{Christen}: I cannot wait.

{Christen}: Good luck, Honey!

Christen stood up and put her phone in her back pocket again, following her parents inside. They each dished up a plate before heading back out to the patio to eat. The setting sun colored the sky in a soft pink hue, with dashes of orange and purple cutting through the horizon. Christen felt at peace as she watched it, admiring another picturesque California evening.

“So, what’s new besides work?” Stacy asked as they continued to eat. She was still a little clueless as to what had been going on in Christen’s life lately.

Christen took a sip of her drink, clearing her throat a bit. “Well.. kind of a lot actually.”

“A lot, huh?” Cody questioned as he finished another bite. “Like what?”

Christen paused and thought about how to explain her past few weeks. It felt like such a whirlwind that she didn’t even know how to describe it all. She decided to just start from the beginning.

“Well, there’s actually something I’ve been wanting to tell you guys.” Christen smiled shyly. She was twisting her napkin under the table, trying to rid the nerves from her fingers.

Her expression must have been a little worrisome, as both of her parents set their silverware down softly.

“Oh, Sweetie, is something wrong?” Stacy asked, her voice now laced with a hint of concern.

Christen noticed the worried look on their faces. “No, no. Pretty much the opposite.” She tried to  ease their minds quickly.

“What’s up, Chris?” Cody asked in a light tone, letting his daughter know she had their full attention.

Christen bit her lip for a moment. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you.”

They both just smiled kindly, waiting for her to explain.

“I actually met someone in Italy.” Christen started, speaking slower than she normally did.

“Oh really?” Cody asked, intrigued by her revelation.

“Yea.” Christen smiled involuntarily, thinking of her favorite brown eyed girl. “Her name is Tobin.”

Christen’s eyes were focused on her half eaten dinner, not wanting to meet her mom and dad’s eyes yet.

“Tobin..” Cody repeated, still listening intently. “That’s a cool name.”

Christen laughed at that. That would be the first thing her dad would say.

“Yea, it is.” She nodded with a half smile, getting a little more confident.

“Anyway, we spent almost the whole week together while I was there, Tobin and I.”  Christen finally looked up from her plate to look at her parents again.

They were still just smiling at their daughter, waiting for her to continue.

“We did a bunch of really of cool things. She was there with her family and I ended up going on a sailing trip with them. And we took a train up to Orvieto one day and saw so many things.”

“Oh honey, that’s great!” Stacy uttered. “Having someone to do that stuff with makes traveling so much more fun.”

“Yea, it really made the week go by fast.” Christen nodded a little firmer this time.

“Well then, I’m glad you met her. Where’s she from?” Stacy asked.

“She lives in Portland, actually.” Christen knew her parents were about to put it all together.

“Oh, and you were just there!” Stacy replied. “Did you get to see her last weekend too?”

Christen hadn’t really told her parents why she was going to Portland, just explaining that she was meeting a friend there, during their short phone call last week.

“Yea, I stayed with her.” Christen smiled, looking between her parents.

“Oh.” Cody was nodding without judgement. “Wow, so you two got pretty close then?”

Christen just wanted to get it over with. This runaround wasn’t doing any of them any good.

Christen took a deep breath. “Actually, what I’m trying to say is.. Tobin and I really kind of connected over there.”

She paused for second. “And before we left, we decided to try and keep seeing each other. Like.. romantically.”

Christen half expected her parents to question what that meant, or to be a little uneasy about it. She watched their faces as they both just listened, no change in demeanor at all. Nobody spoke for a second as they processed the conversation.

“Ha! So that’s who had you all smiley on your phone earlier!” Cody just laughed. “You weren’t fooling me, kid.” He bragged proudly.

Christen shook her head at her dad bashfully. “Yeah.. Okay, you caught me..”

She blushed as her parents both laughed at the teasing. Another moment of silence fell on them before Stacy spoke up again.

“Chris, you seem really happy.” She continued to smile, letting Christen know it was a good thing. “As parents, nothing really matters if your kids aren’t happy.”

Cody and Stacy both looked at Christen, hoping she felt like she could tell them anything and they’d support her. Christen grinned back at them silently for a moment letting her mom’s words sink in.

“Yea, I am happy.” Christen confirmed, feeling like a weight was lifted off of her now that her parents knew what she'd been up to lately. She’d never really kept secrets from them before and felt that it was important for them to know about her love life.

“Alright.. So tell us about Tobin.” Cody spoke again, reaching out and giving Christen’s shoulder a loving squeeze, completely understanding what Christen just told them.

Christen and her parents spent the rest of the night talking about everything. About Tobin, about Christen’s favorite parts of Italy,  and about what she’d thought of Portland. Christen always knew her parents were supportive but as she left their house to go home, she was hit with a huge sense of gratitude for them. She knew that she was lucky to have two supportive parents that wanted the best for her in every aspect of life.

Tobin called Christen just as she was pulling out of her parents driveway to drive home for the night. The Thorns had won their game and Tobin was just starting to pack for the next couple of weeks in Los Angeles.

Christen filled Tobin in on her parents reaction to her news, telling her the whole story as Tobin listened closely. Tobin was happy for Christen, knowing how much it had been bothering her that they didn’t know.

The couple also made plans for Christen to pick Tobin up at the airport tomorrow afternoon. When they finally hung up, Christen fell asleep quickly, looking forward to the great weekend ahead of them.

Friday’s work day passed by slowly for Christen as she counted down the hours until she could see her girlfriend. Finally her one o’clock meeting was finished and she was able to leave her office, trying to avoid the inevitable afternoon traffic heading out to LAX.

Tobin’s plane got in a few minutes late, giving Christen just enough time to park in the short-term parking garage and make her way inside to baggage claim, anxiously awaiting the sight of her favorite person.

She only had to wait about ten minutes, before she saw Tobin’s bright smile, as she was coming down the escalator to baggage claim.

Tobin spotted Christen at almost the same time, slinging her backpack over her shoulder and bounding down the last remaining steps, jogging to where Christen was standing.

“Babe!” Tobin yelled as she ran, quickly reaching Christen. Tobin wrapped Christen into a hug and lifted her feet off the ground, spinning her around animatedly. Almost loving that they were making a scene.

“Hi, ya goof.” Christen laughed as Tobin set her back down, leaning in to kiss her girlfriend quickly.

“Hi you.” Tobin smiled, glad to be back in front of Christen again.

“How was your flight?” Christen asked happily as Tobin intertwined their fingers, making their way towards the baggage carousel.

“Not bad. I slept the whole time.” Tobin grinned.

It only took a couple minutes before Tobin’s US Soccer duffle bag was dropped out onto the conveyor belt. She scooped it up and followed Christen out to the parking garage where her car was waiting.

As Tobin put her bags in Christen’s trunk and slammed it shut, Christen was pulling her in, kissing her for real, for the first time in five days. Tobin responded immediately, spinning them so Christen was pinned against the back of the car. It only lasted a moment, but they both pulled away and laughed.

“Missed you, babe.” Tobin smiled, pecking Christen’s lips again.

“Missed you.” Christen returned, pushing herself off the car, ready to head for home.

They held hands as Christen navigated through LA traffic, Tobin smiling widely at the scenery around them the whole time.

“Chris, this place is awesome!” Tobin complimented as they pulled into Christen’s driveway.

“You haven’t even seen it yet!” Christen laughed, excited to give Tobin the full tour.

Christen’s townhouse had a very modern feel to it, with an open floor plan and high ceilings. The living room opened up directly to the kitchen, which had an oversized granite countertop island filling the room.

The living room was decorated in light earthy colors, with a big tan couch in the center of the room. It was simple yet fancy, perfectly fitting for Christen’s personality. Upstairs there were two spare bedrooms down the hall from the master bedroom, which Christen occupied. Christen’s room had a bathroom attached to it with a big jacuzzi tub and double sinks. There was also a small balcony careening off her bedroom, looking out to the ocean, only a block away.

After Tobin got the full tour, she was even more impressed. “Seriously, this is a dream place.” Tobin insisted.

“Yea I have really loved it so far.” Christen smiled, happy that Tobin seemed to like it just as much.

“So the beach is literally across the street?” Tobin asked rhetorically, looking out the window towards it.

“Yep! Wanna go check it out?” Christen asked, knowing that was what Tobin was implying.

They got changed into their bathing suits and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the beach, just enjoying each other’s company. Tobin would run and dip herself into the water every now and then as Christen watched from her towel in the hot sand.

Tobin wished she had her surfboard with her, but she would have to wait to get it from her teammate’s house later in the week. So for now, she was just content to suntan and stare at Christen in her bikini.

“So, guess what?” Christen asked as she traced the tan lines on Tobin’s back while they laid on their beach towels.

“What?” Tobin grinned at the feeling of Christen’s fingertips, not bothering to guess.

“My parents want to meet you.” Christen smiled, hoping Tobin would be up for it.

“They do, huh?” Tobin laughed, lifting her head off of where it was resting propped up on her fists.

“Would you be okay with that?” Christen asked in a wondering tone. She really wanted them to meet while Tobin was here, unsure of when her next visit would be.

Tobin rolled from her stomach onto her back, right into where Christen was lying, so their bodies were now touching. Her head stopped just under Christen’s, which was propped up by her hand. Tobin smiled up at her girlfriend brightly.

“Of course that would be okay.” Tobin lifted her head off the sand and kissed Christen softly. “I was actually hoping I’d get the chance to meet them.”

“Okay, good.” Christen smiled guiltily. “Cause I kind of already agreed that we’d go to their place for dinner tomorrow night.”

“Good to know.” Tobin grinned happily before Christen snaked her arm around Tobin’s waist, hugging her body close for a moment.

“Also, my sister will probably come.” Christen bit her cheek, hoping it wasn’t too much for Tobin. “Meeting you is all she’s been talking about since I got home.”

Tobin laughed, reassuring Christen that she was more than happy to meet any and all of her family. Christen was secretly looking forward to showing Tobin off.

“I’m happy to have you here.” Christen whispered softly, her face just inches away from Tobin’s, underneath her.

“I’m so happy to be here.” Tobin returned. “I could get used to this in a hurry.”

Los Angeles had always been one of Tobin’s favorite cities. She lived for the sun and the ocean, and now that she had Christen, she felt like she’d never leave willingly.

The couple made their way back to Christen’s place just before dinnertime. Christen had mentioned that she wanted to take Tobin to one of her favorite food trucks that was always parked down the road, and Tobin wanted to shower before they went out for the evening.

Tobin’s version of a shower turned out to be her on her knees in front of Christen, as the water cascaded around them. Christen’s moans filled the steamy room until her legs were shaking with pleasure. The sounds of Christen’s orgasm were quickly becoming one of Tobin’s favorite things in the world. The shower lasted much longer than necessary before Christen finally drug them out, promising to pick up where they left off again later.

After they got dressed, they walked up the street a few blocks, to Christen’s favorite taco truck . When they got ready to order, Christen couldn’t decide which ones were her favorites, so they ended up getting one of every taco on the menu; from roasted sweet potato to wild boar.

They took their food across the street and planted themselves in the sand again, sharing bites while sipping on Pacifico beers.

“I think I’m gonna go to my friend Amy’s house in the morning and get my surfboard.” Tobin mentioned between bites. “She doesn’t live very far from here.”

“So you do surf?” Christen asked, remembering that Tobin had a surfboard in her living room in Portland that she forgot to ask about.

“I try my best.” Tobin laughed, looking over at Christen. “Kelley and I actually learned together.”

Tobin explained how her and Kelley taught themselves to surf during a summer they spent in LA, admitting that they were both pretty bad for a while. Eventually they both got the hang of it and now it was one of Tobin’s favorite things to do when she wasn’t playing soccer.

“Well, I am not one for surfing, but I can’t wait to watch you!” Christen smiled, popping the last bite of food into her mouth.

They stayed on the beach until the sun was completely down, before slowly making the walk back to Christen’s house for the night, snuggling into bed together, both tired from their long day of work and travel.

Tobin spent most of Saturday afternoon surfing on Manhattan Beach while Christen watched and cheered her on. They had plans to be at Christen’s parents house by six, and Tobin took a little more time than usual to get ready, wanting to feel put together for their all important meeting.

Christen watched Tobin dry her hair in the bathroom mirror after their shower, noticing that Tobin seemed a little fidgety, not like the usual cool and collected Tobin that Christen had come to know. Christen smiled at her girlfriend in the mirror before trying to calm her nerves.

“Honey.” Christen said softly as she put her curling iron down on the bathroom counter.

“Hmm?” Tobin asked, looking at herself closely in the mirror for the tenth time.

Christen moved closer to Tobin and spun her around so her butt was against the bathroom counter. She put her hands on Tobin’s shoulders and then slowly slid them down her arms, grabbing her hands after a moment.

“Tobs, relax okay?” Christen smiled sweetly.

Tobin just nodded at Christen’s words, taking a small breath.

Christen leaned in and placed a sweet kiss to Tobin’s lips, trying to steady her.

“They’re going to love you.” Christen smiled, figuring Tobin just needed a couple words of encouragement.

Like I do… she found herself wanting to say. Christen bit her tongue and swallowed those heavy words back down, not yet ready to release them for Tobin to hear. She had never fallen this fast and she still hadn’t fully processed all of her feelings.

They left Christen’s house and made the short drive south down sunny Highway One. As they got close, Tobin bounced her leg a little, until Christen reached out and placed her hand on Tobin’s knee lightly. Tobin smiled at her girlfriend and relaxed again.

When they got to Christen’s parents, Cody and Stacy and Tyler and her husband were all there, waiting casually in the backyard.

Christen got out and grabbed Tobin’s hand, leading them in through the front door. Tobin’s jaw dropped a little at how nice the Press house was. Christen smiled sheepishly at Tobin’s compliments of her childhood home, leading her through the kitchen and out to the back patio. She gave Tobin’s hand one last squeeze before dropping it as they stepped outside.

“Hey guys.” Christen said cheerfully, getting her family’s attention.

“You made it!” Stacy exclaimed, excitedly standing up from her patio chair.

Tobin smiled from slightly behind Christen, watching as they all stood up.

“This is Tobin.” Christen smiled, turning a little and reaching out for Tobin’s hand again, bringing her closer to the group.

“Tobin, this is my mom, Stacy and my dad Cody.” Christen pointed to them. They both greeted Tobin with a warm hug.

“And my sister Tyler and her husband Will.” Christen continued.

Tyler came in quickly, also pulling Tobin into a tight hug. “Tobin! I’ve heard so much about you!”

Tobin laughed, hugging Tyler back. She felt calmer already. She could tell instantly that Christen’s family was just as kind and loving as Christen was, it wasn’t hard to tell where her girlfriend got it from.

They spent a little time getting to know each other before dinner, as Christen’s dad opened a couple bottles of wine. The more they talked and laughed the more confident Tobin got, and before long, she was back to her usual cool self, winning everyone over with her signature smile.

After dinner, they got on the subject of Tobin’s love of surfing, telling Christen’s family how they’d spent the whole day at the beach today.

“Tobin’s an all star.” Christen smiled, looking at her girlfriend. “She could be a professional surfer if she wanted to."

Tobin laughed and protested, assuring everyone that Christen was over exaggerating. Christen wasn’t so sure though, feeling like Tobin was naturally really good at everything she did.

Cody stood up from the table and motioned for Tobin to follow him. “If you like surfing, I’ve gotta show you something.”

Tobin looked at Christen and got up. Christen smiled as she watched Tobin walk away with her dad, across the back yard and out onto the street. The Press house was right across the road from a cliff lookout, where surfers would hit waves from the rocky beach down below. Cody liked to go watch them from time to time.

Tobin was in awe again at the view as she walked with Christen’s dad. She had seen it from Christen’s selfie the other night, and had caught glimpses of it as they ate dinner, but getting to the edge of the cliffs was something else.

“It’s really beautiful up here.” Tobin mentioned to Cody as they came to a stop.

“Yea, I have to say, we are very fortunate to call this home.” Cody agreed with a smile.

He pointed out to his right. “See that area that juts out into the water?”

Tobin nodded looking up at him.

“That’s called Inspiration Point.” Cody continued. “Some of the best waves you’ll ever get in Southern California come in right there.”

Tobin was smiling as she could barely make out a few people with surfboards walking the beach at the Point.

“Make sure Christen takes you there sometime.” Cody smiled.

They stood there in silence for a moment, enjoying the view before Cody spoke up again.

“So, Tobin, I just wanted to say..” He paused and looked at Tobin, who was grinning quietly.

“Christen seems like she’s been happier lately than she has in a long time. If that has anything to do with you, then we are grateful to have you in her life.”

Tobin just nodded, not wanting to take credit for any of Christen’s emotions.

“And as long as you treat her well and respect her, we will love having you around.” Cody finished.

“Of course.” Tobin nodded seriously. “She’s really special.” She felt herself getting a little nervous, not really expecting to get the Father talk so soon.

“Yea, she is.” Cody laughed. He changed his tone into a goofy low voice for a moment. “Dad Mode Deactivated.” He smiled, nudging Tobin with his elbow.

Tobin let out a breath and laughed, understanding that he was just saying his peace and was now moving on. They stood there together for a few more minutes until Christen crossed the street and joined them.

Cody gave one last wink to Tobin and then left them alone to admire the view as the sun was going down. Christen linked her arm through Tobin’s as they walked up the road a bit, just taking in the view.

“I can’t believe this was your home as a kid.” Tobin mentioned to Christen. “I would have died for this.”

Christen smiled, knowing how fortunate she was. “Yea, I was pretty lucky.”

“At least you’re the girl who grew up at the edge of the ocean and knew it was paradise.” Tobin hummed. “Some people would have taken this for granted. But I can tell you don’t.” She smiled.

Tobin loved how Christen appreciated everything in life. It was one of her most endearing qualities. They slowly finished their walk as the sun faded into the horizon, now completely dark.

When they got back, Tobin sat down between Tyler and Stacy on the patio again, falling into easy conversation for the rest of the evening. The whole night couldn’t have gone better.

When they finally left Cody and Stacy’s, it was just past midnight. Tobin offered to drive home since Christen had a couple glasses of wine after dinner. Christen hopped in the passenger seat of her own car and laced her hand with Tobin’s as she drove through Christen’s childhood neighborhood slowly.

It was the perfect night, a full moon was shining brightly overhead, lighting up the stars in the night sky vividly over the ocean.

“Can I show you one more thing?” Christen asked as they exited her neighborhood.

“Of course.” Tobin answered, wanting to see everything that Christen would show her.

Christen directed Tobin to take the next left turn, into a small dirt parking lot just off the road. It wasn’t anything but a parking lot, but it was right on the edge of the Palos Verdes Cliffs, up above Inspiration Point. There was nothing but the rocky Ocean down below. Away from any house lights or street lamps, just the dark sky and water in front of them.

“Park here for a moment.” Christen requested. Tobin did as she was told, parking the car and killing the headlights, following Christen as she got out.

“You can see every star imaginable from this spot.” Christen explained quietly. They were the only two in sight, with how late it was, but she still felt like speaking softly, not wanting to disturb the peacefulness that was the night.

They walked around to the front of Christen’s car and stopped, just far enough away from the edge of the cliffs to still feel safe, but close enough that they were able to make out the waves crashing into shore under the bright moonlight.

Tobin was mesmerized by how visible the stars were. It had been a long time since she had seen them that clear, with no city lights obstructing their view.

“There’s the big dipper.” Christen pointed out after a moment. Tobin smiled as she connected the dots of stars with her own eyes, nodding so Christen knew she could see it.

Christen settled in right behind Tobin, wrapping her arms around the older woman's waist as they looked into the sky, not speaking right away.

“And the little dipper.” Tobin pointed out after she found it. Christen just smiled, placing a kiss to the back of Tobin’s neck.

“Tonight was great, Tobs.” Christen hummed into Tobin’s neck. “They love you.”

Tobin smiled and reached down to link her hand with Christen’s at her waist, giving it a squeeze.

They stood like that for a minute, before Tobin slowly turned around, moving her arms around Christen’s waist to hug her tight.

“This is really gorgeous, Chris.” Tobin whispered.

“Yea, it’s my favorite place on earth.” Christen nodded slightly against Tobin. “It really puts everything into perspective. How small we actually are.”

Tobin lifted her eyes and smiled at Christen, before leaning in and kissing her. The kiss started out softly, their lips moving together in a slow pace, before Tobin parted her lips and slid her tongue into Christen’s mouth.

Their tongues slowly caressed each other for a moment, before Tobin pulled back, leaning down to kiss Christen’s neck. She started at the base of Christen’s ear, working her way downward until she found Christen’s pulse point, sucking on it lightly.

Christen let out a quiet moan at the sensation, loving how quickly Tobin could ignite a fire within her. Tobin continued her path down to just above Christen's collarbone before she sucked lightly again. Christen let her nails dig into Tobin’s shoulders as she felt Tobin’s lips move expertly.

“Christen.” Tobin sighed between kisses, whispering into her neck. “I love you.”

She let those three words slip for the second time, lost in her emotions as she connected her lips to Christen’s skin again, sucking harder at her soft neck.

The butterflies were fluttering rapidly, deep within Christen’s stomach at Tobin’s words. She let another moan escape her lips, sliding her hands under Tobin’s shirt, finding the soft skin at her ribs. What had started out as innocent was quickly escalating into something more.

Tobin pulled back, looking at Christen in the eyes as Christen’s hands roamed under her shirt. “Fuck, babe, I want you so bad.” Tobin groaned.

Christen just nodded, unable to speak for a moment, her voice too thick with desire.

Tobin’s tone got a little darker as she spoke again. “And as much as I’d love to fuck you on the hood of your car.” She smiled wickedly. “I really, really need to take my time with you tonight. In bed.”

Christen whined involuntarily at Tobin’s words before she connected their lips again, pulling back after a second. “Then take me home.”

Tobin nodded seriously, taking a deep breath as they made their way back to Christen’s car, getting in with more urgency than they had a few minutes ago.

Tobin stroked a path up and down Christen’s bare thigh for the rest of the drive home, using her right hand to keep Christen aroused while she steered with her left hand. Christen’s lips found Tobin’s jaw and neck at every red light they hit.

Finally they made it home, not wasting any time getting inside. Christen kicked off her shoes and made her way up the steps with Tobin following closely behind. When they got to the top of the stairs, Tobin reached out and spun Christen around, lifting her up against the wall in the hallway. Christen wrapped her legs around Tobin’s waist as Tobin carried her the rest of the way into the bedroom, their lips connected the whole time.

Tobin set Christen down on her bed slowly, crawling on top of her. Christen made quick work of discarding Tobin’s shirt and bra, before Tobin’s lips worked their way down Christen’s neck again. When Tobin reached Christen’s shoulder, she sat back on her knees, pulling Christen up with her to take her shirt and bra off.

Tobin slowly slid off the bed again and reached for Christen’s shorts, undoing the button and peeling them down her long, dark legs. Tobin bit her lip in concentration, admiring her girlfriend in nothing but the black lacy underwear she had on.

“Fuck, babe.” Tobin husked out at the sight of her, so turned on by the way Christen’s body looked.

Christen scooted to the edge of the bed and reached for Tobin’s shorts as well, moving them down her legs so Tobin could step out of them. She quickly discarded her underwear too, so Tobin was now completely naked.

Tobin hooked her fingers through the hem of Christen’s underwear, sliding them off as Christen fell back onto the bed again, her bare skin meeting the mattress underneath her.

As soon at Christen was naked, Tobin’s hands found her thighs, spreading them apart a little, so she could have full access to Christen. Christen was breathing rapidly, so turned on already, without any contact yet. She gave Tobin a pleading look, begging her not to tease. She was already too far gone for anything but satisfaction.

Tobin’s hand made contact with Christen’s center, slowly applying the pressure that Christen was looking for. Christen let out an appreciative moan at the feeling as Tobin placed a kiss to Christen’s right thigh, gently pulling her body closer so she was just at the edge of the bed.  

Tobin then leaned in as her tongue made a swift pass through Christen’s folds, sucking her clit into her mouth slowly.

“Fuck. Baby.” Christen cried out, loving the way Tobin expertly licked at her most sensitive area. Tobin swallowed the moisture on her tongue before pulling her head back again, instead running two fingers through Christen, feeling her wetness on her fingertips.

“Tobin, please.” Christen begged in a wrecked tone. She was so wound up and was dying for a release.

Tobin listened intently, sliding her two fingers inside of Christen, slowly at first, before Christen adjusted to the contact. Her walls were contracting around Tobin’s fingers as they slid in and out of her. Tobin’s thumb found Christen’s clit again after a few thrusts, adding an extra element of pleasure.

Christen was moaning shallowly at every stroke. Tobin’s mouth began to water, wanting to taste Christen’s pleasure again. Tobin removed her fingers and leaned her head back in, licking another path down Christen’s slick folds, before sticking her tongue deep inside of Christen.

“Oh my god, Tobin.” Christen cried out as Tobin was circling her tongue as best she could. Christen’s hand found the back of Tobin’s head, pulling her in closer, bucking her hips urgently against Tobin.

The movement of Tobin’s tongue inside of her was all Christen needed, moaning loudly as she came. Tobin continued to stroke her tongue a little more as Christen rode out her orgasm, coming down from her high with her heart beating wildly.

“Holy shit.” Christen breathed deep, chest contracting quickly from the pleasure. Tobin kissed Christen’s thighs again, looking up at her with hooded eyes, before slowly crawling back up her girlfriend's body.

Tobin pressed another kiss to Christen’s neck, in the same way she had to start this all. “You’re so perfect, Chris.” Tobin practically moaned. She could feel the wetness between her own legs from what she had just done.

Christen’s eyes remained close for a moment, as the pleasure she just experienced was fading.  Tobin collapsed on the bed next to Christen, as she waited for her girlfriend to regain her composure.

When Christen opened her eyes and looked over at Tobin she laughed lightly, wiping the beads of sweat off of her forehead. She sat up and hooked a leg over Tobin, straddling her as she took her turn.

Christen went slower than Tobin had, trying new movements with her tongue that Tobin loved instantly. Eventually Tobin reached her peak, coming for Christen with a string of moans and curse words.

They both regained their breath and smiled contently at each other, still not used to just how good it felt. Christen never imagined loving sex so much. It used to be more of a chore for her, but now she felt herself constantly craving Tobin’s touch. It was something she’d need to manage if they were going to be forced to spend time apart.

They crawled under the covers, not bothering to put any clothes on, and passed out quickly. Tobin held Christen from behind as her face was buried in Christen’s hair, immersed in the scent of Christen as she drifted off to sleep.

Sunday morning, Tobin got in a run while Christen did a bit of yoga, before they got ready and walked a few blocks to Christen’s favorite brunch spot. Tobin was due to check into camp later that afternoon, so they wanted one more morning of just them.

As they ate brunch, they talked about the week ahead of them, knowing they’d have time to see each other sporadically. Tobin got most evenings off and would be able to come and go as she pleased, whenever there wasn’t a practice or scrimmage scheduled.

They finished their meals and stayed a little while longer, each enjoying a second cup of coffee. Christen reached across the table and linked her hand with Tobin’s loosely, wanting to feel the contact of her strong hands. Christen loved the way they fit together so perfectly, like there was no other hand ever made for hers.

Tobin’s eyes were on Christen’s, both of them holding eye contact and smiling at each other lovingly in silence. Caught up in their own little bubble again. What a weekend this had been,  the two of them in Tobin’s own ideal paradise. The beach, the sun, and the woman she was in love with. She wouldn’t dare dream of anything more.

After another few minutes of quiet conversation, Tobin glanced up and made eye contact with a stranger who was looking in the direction of their table. She looked away again, thinking nothing of it, until she caught the same pair of eyes on them a second time. The stranger grabbed their order from the coffee bar and took a few steps towards Tobin and Christen.

Christen’s back was to them, as Tobin’s eyes darted across the figure. Tobin was now certain that they were heading straight for her table.

Tobin had no clue who it was, but the stranger seemed to know exactly who they were walking towards. Christen registered the puzzled look on Tobin’s face, watching Tobin’s eyes go wide, gazing in the direction behind Christen’s shoulder.

Before Tobin could even say anything, Christen felt a shiver run through her spine as what was about to happen dawned on her; almost like she could sense it. Tobin’s quizzical face was studying the person approaching from behind her girlfriend in bewilderment, realizing that their little bubble was about to pop.

Christen didn’t even have a chance to turn around before she heard a voice that was all too familiar. She felt the blood quickly drain from her face and her stomach drop as she heard her own name ring out from behind her in the loud restaurant.

“...Christen?”

Chapter Text

Christen immediately found herself wishing that she was wrapped in Tobin’s arms somewhere. In a dark bedroom, under the covers and away from the world. With no prying eyes or interruptions, so they could continue to live in this bubble that Christen had created for herself over the past month. In an instant, Christen found out that living that way was a trap. A trap that she had created for herself, to shield herself from her surroundings and everything going on in her real world. She was kicking herself now for pretending to be so naive; because falling into that trap left her unprepared for anything other than Tobin’s touch. Now here she was, caught off guard and stranded out in the water, missing the safety net that was Tobin’s embrace. All she wanted to do was swim towards it.

Instead, Christen slowly let go of Tobin’s hand from across the table and pulled her own hand back to her body; forcing herself to look up to greet the one person that she’d been purposely avoiding. Her eyes were the last thing to register his presence.

Tobin felt her heart sink at the loss of contact with Christen. She bit the inside of her cheek silently and waited, forcing herself not to panic.

“Ryan.. hey.” Christen could hear the dread in her own voice.

Christen’s ex boyfriend had a puzzled look on his face. His eyes were focused on Christen’s hand that had just contracted back into her body, like there was a secret message in it. His eyeline traced from Christen’s hand, up to her face and then slowly across the table to register Tobin for the first time.

“Chris.. What’re you.. “ He trailed off, making eye contact with Tobin. Her brown eyes were boring into his, trying to decipher what exactly was happening.  

It took Tobin a second to process the whole situation. As soon as Christen said his name, Tobin’s brain was working to connect that the person standing in front of them, with a shattered look on his face, was Christen’s ex boyfriend. He fit what Tobin had imagined when they had talked about him, but Tobin was having a hard time wrapping her mind around what exactly was going on.

It was like all three of them were caught off guard, all for different reasons.

“I saw you..” Ryan stammered. “I was getting coffee.. And.. you haven't called, so I.. “ He trailed off again, shaking his head. “I’m... nevermind..”

He backed up a couple steps, locking eyes with Christen again, before he turned and walked towards the door of the restaurant. Christen slowly turned her head around to watch him, still in shock at the situation.

Before Christen could even register it, she was standing up from the table and walking towards the door. Like her body had decided on a course of action before her mind had told her about it.

As she was pushing the door of the restaurant open, her mind had half a thought to look back at Tobin, but she didn’t. She couldn’t wait and this had to happen now.

Christen saw Ryan down the block unlocking the door to his car. She jogged a couple steps to catch up, grabbing the car door before he could start the engine and drive off.

“Ry, wait.” Christen urged, getting his attention. She sat down in the passenger seat and swung her legs into the car, before shutting the door.

He looked over at her with hurt in his eyes, processing the fact that she was in his car, unsure of what to do with her presence.

“Who is that?” He asked in a rough tone, already knowing he didn’t want to hear her answer.

Christen ran her hand through her hair and sighed. Explaining Tobin wasn’t why she was here, not completely anyway. She wasn’t even sure he deserved an explanation at this point.

“Why won’t you answer my calls?” He asked again to Christen’s silence. He looked out his driver side window, pausing for a second. “I’ve been trying to call, you know. And sometimes I just want to know you’re alright.”

Christen waited, forming her words in her head so she could get them out right.

“Ryan, look at me.” Christen asked after a moment, her voice soft and sad.  

He slowly turned his head and met Christen’s eyes. They stared at each other in silence again before she spoke up.

“I’m sorry, okay. I know I haven’t answered your calls lately and I’m sorry, but I just can’t.. It’s not like it’s easy for me to ignore you, I just..”

She stopped for a second and swallowed down the lump in her throat. “I just can’t keep doing this.. You need to let me go.”

If his eyes looked sad before, they were sorrow-filled now. Christen had to shut her eyes for a moment at the sight of them. They were killing her.

“You keep saying that you love me, and I know that..” Christen continued slowly.

“But if you really do, then I’m begging you, Ryan. Please.. just let me go.” Christen asked, her tone sad but urgent.

“It’s hard.” He rasped out again quickly. “I’m trying to.. but do you know how hard it is to give up on something you still want?.. It feels impossible.”

Christen dropped her head, letting her eyes fall on her lap. She felt terrible, knowing the hurt she was causing him. They didn’t speak for several minutes. Christen didn’t know what to say to his words.

“Who was that?” He asked again, finally breaking the silence. “Who were you eating with?”

“Her name is Tobin.” Christen replied, now remembering that she just left Tobin inside with no explanation. She felt her heart drop at that thought.

“You were holding her hand...” He said before he trailed off again.

Christen just nodded her head slowly, letting a silence fall over them again.

Tobin was still seated inside at their table, trying to decide what to do about her current situation. The waiter had brought the bill to the table, and there she was, sitting alone with Christen’s half empty coffee. She wanted to believe Christen was coming back, but as the minutes passed, she wasn’t so sure.

Christen and Ryan were still sitting in his car, as Ryan was quietly processing Christen’s request. He was working through what it all meant in his head.

“I have been having the hardest time figuring out why, you know?” Ryan finally spoke. “I just couldn’t put my finger on the one thing that went wrong, and why you left me.”

Christen just listened, imploring herself not to cry. She was the one who created this mess, and she didn’t want to be the one to cry about it.

“And I still couldn’t figure it out, even this morning. It’s like it was making me crazy.” Ryan continued.

“And then I came here to get coffee, because we always used to come here. And I saw you and you know, as I watched, I realized something.”

Christen turned her head and looked at him for the first time in several minutes.

“I saw the way you were smiling. I saw you reach across the table and grab her hand.” Ryan stopped for a second, trying to hide the hurt in his tone again.

“I don’t think I got it until right now..” He explained his feelings. “The way you looked at her.. I never saw you look at me like that. Not one time in four years.”

Christen could feel the tears coming to the surface, welling up in her eyes. She blinked them back, trying to be strong in front of Ryan’s sadness. She knew what he was saying was true and she couldn’t help that fact.

After about twenty minutes, Tobin gave in and paid the bill. She got up and grabbed Christen’s purse off of her empty chair and headed for the exit. She figured she would just walk back to Christen’s place and wait. Or maybe find her there, she really didn’t know.

“I’m sorry that I couldn’t be the person you needed me to be.” Christen spoke, after more silence filled the car. “I didn’t ever want to hurt you. I hope you know that.”

Ryan didn’t say anything, he just fidgeted with his car keys, not looking at Christen.

“And I know you’re going to find someone who’s perfect for you.” Christen tried to reassure him. “You are such a good man.” She looked over at him and offered a small smile, which he tried to return, without really succeeding.

“So are you like.. with her..?” Ryan asked after another moment of silence. Feeling like he needed to know, in order to start moving on.

“Yeah..” Christen answered honestly, her voice barely above a whisper.

“I figured so, when I saw you in there..” He finally offered. His tone had changed a little, like he was surrendering, deciding that he was not going to fight the separation anymore.

Christen nodded again, unsure of what to say to that.

“I’m sorry..” He spoke again. “I shouldn’t have stopped by your table.”

“I’m glad you did.” Christen replied. “I think we needed to have this conversation. I shouldn’t have been avoiding you, I know that. It’s just hard to face the hurt I’ve been causing you all the time.”

He cleared his throat once.

“I will try, okay?” He gave in. “For you, I will try and move on. I know that it is going to take some time, but I’ll work on it.”

“Thank you.” Christen offered a side smile to him, knowing it wasn’t easy for him to agree to.

They sat there for another moment. Christen didn’t really know what to do now, she had said what she needed him to hear.

“I’ll let you get out of here.” Christen finally spoke again, her voice still soft.

He sighed and wiped a tear from his eyes, knowing that this was it for them. There was no saving it.

“Chris.. if we run into each other someday.. I hope we can smile and catch up. And I hope we can secretly remember that we used to mean something to each other. I know that I will. I know that I won’t stop loving you.”

Christen finally let a few tears fall at his words, hoping for the same. That they could look back and smile eventually. Maybe not now, and maybe not soon, but someday.

Christen nodded to Ryan, making eye contact with him. She leaned over the center console and placed her hand softly on his jaw, leaning in and kissing his cheek once.

“Take care of yourself, Ry.” She spoke quietly as she pulled away again.  

“You too, Chris.” He repeated, watching as she reached for the door handle.  

Christen slowly opened the car door, stepping out of it and leaving behind over four years of her life with that last conversation.

She stood on the sidewalk and watched him drive off, making sure her eyes were dry again before she moved. Her thoughts drifted back to Tobin and the butterflies in her stomach reappeared. All she wanted to do was run to her. To wrap Tobin in her arms and tell her exactly how she felt.

Christen didn’t know how long she had been gone or how long that conversation took, but she was hoping Tobin had waited for her. She made the short walk back to the restaurant and opened the door, searching for her favorite smile. Christen glanced to the table where they had been seated, finding two strangers now occupying the space with fresh drink orders. Tobin was nowhere in sight.

Christen noticed her stuff was also gone and she hoped Tobin took it with her, figuring she probably had. Christen didn’t know where she should go, or what Tobin’s move would have been. She realized just then that she didn’t even have her phone to contact Tobin. She had left it in her purse when she walked out.

Christen felt herself panic a little, imagining Tobin leaving the restaurant alone. Did that mean she was walking away from this? How selfish was Christen to force her girlfriend to sit there while she ran out after her ex boyfriend.

She decided to head for home, with a small hope that Tobin would be there. If nothing else, she’d at least have a place to collapse in sadness if she wasn’t.

Christen walked quickly, navigating the sidewalks that were busy with people on this late Sunday morning. When she reached her driveway, she still couldn’t tell if Tobin was there. The house looked empty from the outside, no lights or open doors to give away any presence.

Christen swung the front door open and walked in, not even bothering to take her shoes off. She rounded the corner of the entryway, to her living room, sighing heavily when she saw Tobin stand up from her couch.

They looked at each other in silence for a half a second, the worried look on Tobin’s face fading gradually.

“You stayed..” Christen choked out, so grateful to see Tobin standing in her living room.

“Of course I stayed.” Tobin echoed softly. “I promised you, I’m always going to stay.”

Christen closed the space between them quickly, slamming into Tobin with all her weight. She felt Tobin wrap her arms around her waist, feeling safe again for the first time since she left the restaurant.

Christen hugged Tobin tightly and just started to sob. Every emotion she’d had over the past four months catching up to her at once, completely unexpectedly.

She didn’t even fully know why she was crying at first. Part of it was for breaking someone's heart when she couldn’t help it. Part of it was because Tobin was still here, waiting for Christen when she didn’t have to be. But part of it was also for working to heal her own heart, and being thankful that she had Tobin there to hold her together while she did it.

Christen knew then that she wouldn’t have survived this without Tobin coming into her life at just the right time. It’s like she was crumbling with sadness and confusion, until Tobin picked up her scattered pieces and put her back together again. Totally unaware of just how much Christen needed her.

They stood there in silence and hugged for a long time. Maybe it was ten minutes, or maybe it was a half an hour, Christen wasn’t even sure; she just held onto Tobin for dear life until her tears stopped.

Finally when Christen felt like she could speak, she pulled her face back to look at Tobin. “I’m so sorry.” She apologized, finding Tobin’s eyes.

“Babe.” Tobin just whispered, reaching up and wiping the last tear from Christen’s cheek. “You have nothing to apologize for.”

Christen bit her lip and swallowed thickly again.

“Are you okay?” Tobin asked sincerely.

Christen nodded her head, leaning back in for another hug, which Tobin gladly returned.

When Christen could form complete sentences, she told Tobin the whole conversation that her and Ryan had in his car.

She explained how she told him about her and Tobin being together. Tobin listened intently, offering her hand to Christen the whole time. When Christen was finished, she fell into Tobin, both of them lying back on the couch and just holding each other, Christen’s face buried in Tobin’s neck.

The unexpected emotions of the morning had worn Christen out, and she ended up drifting off to sleep as Tobin rubbed her back. They napped on the couch for over an hour until Christen stirred again. When Tobin was sure that Christen was awake, she slipped out from underneath her for a moment, getting up to grab Christen a glass of water.

“Here, drink this please.” Tobin requested lovingly. “I know that you're dehydrated.”

Christen did as she was told, downing the glass of water instantly. Tobin laughed a little at how thirsty her girlfriend had been.

Tobin sat back down on the couch and Christen crawled into her again. She spent the rest of the afternoon basically as a cuddly koala, barely separating herself from Tobin at all. Christen knew she was being needy but she couldn’t help it, and Tobin didn’t mind the contact one bit.

“Sorry I ruined our weekend.” Christen spoke up after a while. They had just been watching tv quietly for a while, before she broke the silence.

Tobin leaned back so she could look at Christen. “Chris, please stop apologizing. You’re allowed to have emotions about all of this. I know it hasn’t been easy for you.”

“I know, I just didn’t really want to do this today.” Christen laughed a tiny bit. “We were having so much fun until we finished breakfast.”

“I’m still having fun.” Tobin smiled, reassuring Christen once again.

Christen adjusted herself a little to lean up on her arms, kissing Tobin slowly. They took their time kissing each other, using their tongues to illustrate their emotions. It was the first time all afternoon they had kissed, almost as if Christen had just remembered that she was allowed to kiss Tobin whenever she wanted to. She suddenly wanted to do it as much as possible.

Finally when neither of them had any breath left, Christen pulled back a little and smiled. She looked at the clock on the wall, registering the time.

Tobin had to start camp tonight. Her teammate, Amy, was picking her up around five, so they could make it out to the National Training Center in Carson before their meeting started at six.

Christen realized they only had a little time left together before Tobin had to leave.

Luckily, they would be able to see each other throughout most of the week. Christen had to work and Tobin had training and meetings every day, but they would be able to have dinner together almost every night, something that eased Christen’s mind.

“Are you excited to get back with your team?” Christen asked as they laid there again.

“Yea, I’m excited to see everyone.” Tobin nodded. “But I wish I didn’t have to be away from you.”

Christen smiled and grabbed Tobin’s hand that was resting on the couch. “Dinner date tomorrow night, don’t forget.”

“I would never.” Tobin smiled. She kissed Christen’s forehead. “One night this week, I want you to come meet my friends. If you’re up for it.”

“Definitely.” Christen responded.

“K good, I know Kelley will be dying to see you.” Tobin said again. “I’ll figure it out tonight and let you know.”

After another few minutes of conversation, Tobin’s phone rang across the room. Christen slid off her and went to retrieve it for Tobin. It was Amy calling, letting Tobin know she’d be there in ten minutes to pick her up.

Tobin sighed and went up to Christen’s room to pack up her suitcase. The team had to stay at the training center during the week, only getting free nights when they had a day off the following day. Christen followed her up the stairs to watch as Tobin put her stuff together.

“So you know how we have a game next Sunday?” Tobin asked as she zipped her bag.

Christen nodded. She remembered Tobin mentioning that they played Romania at the end of camp, here in Los Angeles.

“Well, I was thinking I could get you tickets. You and whoever you wanted to bring, if you wanna come watch?”

Christen smiled at Tobin’s suggestion. “Yea, of course. That would be fun.”

“Cool.” Tobin smiled. She was already excited to have Christen watch her play again.

Amy called again, letting Tobin know she was in Christen’s driveway.

Christen followed Tobin back down the steps, to the front door entryway.

“I’ll kiss you in here so they don’t tease me too much.” Tobin laughed, setting her bag down and pulling Christen in. They kissed for a few seconds before pulling back.

“I’ll call you after our meeting tonight?” Tobin spoke, holding onto Christen a little longer.

“Sounds like a plan.” Christen nodded. “Thank you for everything today. And this weekend. I had an amazing time with you.. besides my little breakdown. .” She smiled knowing Tobin hadn’t given it another thought.

“I had the best weekend, Chris. I can’t wait to come back here all the time.” Tobin hummed. She leaned in and kissed Christen again.

When they pulled back, Tobin took the last step to the front door. Christen reached out for her one last time.

“Hey..” Christen gently pulled on her hand, asking Tobin to look at her again.

Tobin silently turned her head to look at Christen with a grin on her face.

“I love you.” Christen stated softly, feeling the butterflies within her again. So simple and so sure.

Tobin smiled wide, stepping back into Christen. Her insides were instantly buzzing with giddiness at her girlfriend's words. The words she had spoken already and was dying to hear back.

Tobin ghosted her lips over Christen’s one last time, whispering. “I love you too.”

They gave each other one last peck as Tobin opened the door and picked up her bag, slinging it over her shoulder and bounding towards Amy’s car. Tobin laughed the whole way, feeling like she was on a high that she would never come down from. Christen loved her and nothing else mattered.

Christen’s work week breezed by in an instant. She was busy during the days with an upcoming project she was working on, as part of a clean water initiative that UNICEF was sponsoring in South Sudan. Her boss had asked Christen and another coworker of hers specially to head up the project. Christen felt excited about being trusted enough to get the job done.

Her evenings were occupied by Tobin, and some nights, some of her wild and fun teammates. Kelley talked her way into dinner with Christen and Tobin on Monday night, and she and Christen picked up right where they left off several years ago in college.

Christen was loving the fact that Tobin wanted her around her teammates and friends. They all made her feel welcome and included in everything they did and every conversation they had.

The team had Thursday off from practice and meetings, so Tobin was able to spend the night at Christen’s Wednesday night. They ended up staying in, since Tobin was sore and tired from a hard double day on the soccer pitch.

Christen was making a Chicken and Cranberry salad for her and Tobin to eat for dinner, as Tobin sat on the kitchen counter and watched her work.

“Did you know..” Christen turned around to look at Tobin with a smile as she held up a cranberry, wanting Tobin to look at it.

“Why do I feel like you’re about to hit me with a fun fact?” Tobin laughed at the face Christen was making.

“Because I am!” Christen smirked.

Tobin chuckled again. “Okay babe, let’s hear it.”

“Did you know that cranberries that are really ripe, like this one.” She held it up again for Tobin, “Will bounce like rubber bouncy balls?”

Tobin laughed again at the randomness of Christen’s fact. “I did not know that. There is no way.”

“Yeah, I swear.” Christen smiled at her girlfriend on the counter.

“You’re pulling my leg, I can tell.” Tobin challenged with a smile.

“I am not!” Christen started to laugh.

“Look at your face. You totally are!” Tobin giggled as she shook her head. “I’m not falling for it.”

Christen walked a couple steps towards Tobin. “I promise you, Honey!”

“Wanna bet?” Tobin asked, wanting to turn this into a friendly competition. There was no way that cranberry was going to bounce off the ground like a bouncy ball, and Tobin was sure of it.

“Oh, I’ll totally bet.” Christen insisted.

“Perfect, what’s the bet?” Tobin wondered.

“If I am right and this thing bounces…” Christen paused for a second, turning her playful smile a little darker. “You have to do one thing of whatever I want.. In bed.” She raised her eyebrow a little, seeing if Tobin would take the bet.

Tobin let out a big laugh at that. “Babe, that’s a terrible bet!”

“Why!” Christen pretended to gasp, not being able to contain her laughter.

“Well, the whole principle of betting is trying to get someone to do something that they don’t wanna do.” Tobin explained. “And I’m pretty sure I’d do just about anything you wanted me to do to you.. In bed or out of it..” She smiled sensually.

Christen bit her bottom lip at Tobin’s words. “Well, then I guess you won’t have a problem betting me.”

“And if I win?” Tobin asked.

“Up to you.” Christen shrugged her shoulders.

“If I win, you have to come to Portland next weekend.” Tobin offered, her voice a little more hesitant. She was already trying to come up with ways to get Christen to visit her again.

Christen just rolled her eyes playfully. She didn’t say no, but she already knew that it would be tough to swing, with work being so busy.

“I will try my best to make that happen.” Christen agreed to the bet. “But I’m not gonna lose.”

“Okay, you’re on.” Tobin nodded. “I get to bounce it though.”

Christen consented with a grin, handing the red cranberry over to Tobin.

Tobin hopped down off the counter and took the cranberry in her hand. She placed it between her index finger and her thumb, holding it out over Christen’s hardwood kitchen floor.

“Go for it.” Christen encouraged, excited to watch it happen.

Tobin smiled widely and threw the fruit at the floor. Sure enough, the tiny red berry hit the floor and bounced back up, coming up to about Tobin’s waist, where she reached out and caught it in the palm of her hand.

Her mouth dropped a little, as she slowly lifted her eyes to Christen’s. Christen didn’t say anything, she just raised her hands into the air, knowing she won. Her victory smile was melting Tobin.

“No way!” Tobin laughed. She bounced it again, and again it came back up, a little lower this time.

“Ahh, the sweet smell of victory.” Christen laughed. She grabbed the berry out of Tobin’s hand and tossed it into the sink, before pulling Tobin into a hug.

“You’re a genius.” Tobin hummed against Christen’s hair, kissing her head once.

“God, I can’t wait to cash in that bet.” Christen smiled, tickling Tobin’s sides a little. She placed a kiss to Tobin’s lips before dancing out of her arms to get back to making dinner.

Tobin didn’t say it, but she knew she was also a winner in this, getting another chance to have Christen in bed. She didn’t care what the task was going to be, she knew she’d be up for it.

The remainder of the week went by just as fast, and suddenly it was Saturday evening. Tobin and her team had a film session and a game plan meeting Saturday night, before Christen met up with them at the hotel the team was staying at. They got dinner at an Italian restaurant close to the hotel, before they lounged around Tobin’s room, playing Settlers of Catan with Kelley and Alex.

Christen was amused by how competitive the three best friends were. They trash talked like they couldn’t stand each other, but Christen knew it was just a friendly ploy. Christen had never played before, but she ended up winning, much to Kelley’s chagrin.

“That’s seriously not fair!” Kelley exclaimed as Christen collected her tenth victory point, making her the winner.

“Why isn’t it fair?” Alex laughed, knowing Kelley was being dramatic.

“Ah, because Tobin helped Press the whole time. That’s basically like having two players on a team.” Kelley insisted. “Plus, Press is super smart, so it’s skewed.”

“Kel, chill dude.” Tobin laughed as she high-fived Christen.

“Whatever, next time, no helping.” Kelley smiled at her friends.

Alex and Kelley said goodnight a few minutes after the game finished, leaving Tobin and Christen alone for a bit before curfew was up and Christen had to leave.

“My mom and sister are super pumped about your game tomorrow.” Christen said as Tobin laid her head on Christen’s stomach. Christen was running her fingers through Tobin’s hair, trying to relax her.

“I’m excited for you all to come.” Tobin smiled, opening her eyes to look at Christen.

“My little superstar.” Christen laughed.

They said goodnight a little later, as Tobin walked Christen down to her car in the parking lot. Tobin had Christen pinned against the driver's side door as they made out, until well past Tobin’s curfew. Christen finally pushed her away, insisting that if Tobin got caught and didn’t get to play tomorrow, she’d be upset.

Tobin’s game on Sunday far exceeded any expectations Christen had going into it. She had only seen her play one other time, when she was in Portland during the Thorns first preseason game, but this blew that out of the water.

27,000 people were at the StubHub Center cheering on the Red, White and Blue. They chanted and sang loudly the whole time. Almost everyone had something American flag, or US Soccer related on. Christen had no idea the team had such a following.

Tobin got the start, along with Kelley, Alex and Allie. Christen was happy that all of the people she’d spent time with so far were getting a chance to play while she was there to watch.

Christen did her best to explain things to her mom and sister, who were just as thrilled as Christen was to be there. They stood up and cheered every time the rest of the crowd did, paying close attention to the action.

The game was fast paced and high energy and the US totally dominated. Tobin had warned Christen that Romania was a weaker team than some of the teams they faced, but Christen was still in awe of just how good everyone seemed.

Tobin ended up scoring a goal and assisting on another one that Alex scored. She got to wear the captain’s armband for the last twenty minutes, when their usual captain was subbed out, and Christen would have been lying if seeing Tobin in that stripe didn’t do things to her.

The game finished 6-0 and Christen and her family hung around afterwards, watching as Tobin and her teammates made their way around the field, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

When they were done, Tobin climbed up into the stands where they were sitting, and said hi to Christen, Tyler and Stacy. The kids in their section were freaking out the whole time, as Tobin was talking to them, which Christen couldn’t help but laugh about.

“I just have to shower quick and then we are free to go.” Tobin explained. There was no team meeting scheduled after the game, meaning their camp was now over. Tobin was staying with Christen again for the night, before she had to fly back to Portland tomorrow to rejoin her club team.

“Perfect, we will wait for you at the back of the stadium.” Christen promised. Tobin had shown her where the players entered and exited the stadium earlier.

When Tobin jumped back down onto the field, Stacy laughed to Christen. “Wow, she’s like, kinda famous.”

“Yea, it’s a little wild, isn’t it?” Christen nodded with a smile. Once again feeling proud that Tobin was all hers.

They waited around another half hour, until Tobin was emerging from the stadium. They grabbed a late dinner with Christen’s family before Tobin said goodbye to them, heading for Christen’s home for one more night.

When they got home, Christen wasted no time taking Tobin to bed, where she cashed in her winning bet from earlier in the week. She wanted it to happen before Tobin left so they didn’t forget about it. Tobin willingly obliged, taking care of Christen a few different ways, until neither of them could stay awake any longer.

As they were falling asleep Tobin tried one last time to get Christen to agree to a Portland trip the following weekend.

“Babe, I will book you a flight for Friday night.” Tobin insisted through a sleepy tone. She was hating the fact that they had to say goodbye again early tomorrow morning.

“Can I check my schedule tomorrow?” Christen asked. She would say yes in a heartbeat if she knew it was possible.

“Of course.” Tobin nodded. She yawned again, turning over on her stomach and snaking her arm around Christen’s waist.

“Night, babe.” Tobin smiled with her eyes closed, almost dozing off already.

Christen leaned in and kissed Tobin one more time, thankful for how amazing the last week had been with Tobin in Los Angeles. She closed her eyes and snuggled a little farther into Tobin before quietly returning her sentiments.

“Night, Tobs.”

Chapter Text

Tobin was lounging on the couch in her living room, scrolling through her Instagram feed while halftime of the Arsenal game was muted on the tv. It was an early Saturday morning and she had set her alarm to get up for the game, now killing time between halves by catching up on social media.

As the second half was about to start, Tobin heard a soft knock on her apartment door. She sat up on the couch and looked at the clock on the wall. She hadn’t been expecting anyone else to be up this early in the morning, confused about who it could be.

The Thorns had their second game of the regular season the night before, beating Houston 3-2 at Providence Park. Because of the Friday night game, the team’s schedule worked out where they had the rest of the weekend off.

Tobin stood up from the couch slowly, her legs cracking with soreness as she made her way to the front door of her apartment. Tobin glanced through the peephole and spotted Allie standing in the hallway, with two coffees in her hand.

She unlocked the door and opened it slowly. “Harry, what are you doing here?” She asked, her voice still tired from sleep.

“I came to bring you coffee!” Allie smiled, a little too bright and chipper for Tobin this morning.

“Okay.. thank you.” Tobin commented, still a little puzzled. She stepped aside, letting Allie walk into her apartment. “But why?”

Allie laughed at Tobin’s question, knowing she had a point to be so curious. “What.. can’t I be a good best friend?”

“No you can, but you never do this, so I am confused.” Tobin responded a little sarcastically, as she walked back towards the couch.

“Well I just wanted to say good morning.” Allie smiled, taking a drink of her own coffee. “And.. to maybe ask you for a small, teeny-tiny favor..”

“And there it is..” Tobin let out a laugh as she flopped back down on the furniture. She was quick enough to know that Allie wouldn’t be dropping by before 8 am on a Saturday without a purpose.

Allie laughed along with Tobin for a moment, as the second half of the Arsenal game kicked off.

“So, what’s the favor?” Tobin wondered when Allie didn’t explain.

“Bati and I found a resort that we want to have our wedding reception at, and I need to go make a deposit, so they’ll hold it for us.” Allie explained.

Allie and her fiance, Bati, were currently in the process of planning their wedding, which Tobin had been asked to be a bridesmaid in.

“Okay?” Tobin responded. “Have fun with that.” She didn’t know what she would be needed for on that one, turning her attention back to the game on the tv.

“The only problem is that it’s all the way out at the Gorge.” Allie explained. “And Bati has to work today, so he can’t come with.”

Tobin knew that was over an hour’s drive from Portland. They had gone out to the Columbia River Gorge several times each summer to swim and camp along the river.

“Dude, that sucks.” Tobin smiled, pretending not to know what Allie was asking.

“So.. that’s where you come in, Harry!” Allie continued.

“I don’t think so.” Tobin answered Allie quickly, shaking her head.

“Please come with me?” Allie almost begged. “I’ll buy you lunch on the way back and everything.”

The last thing Tobin wanted to do was spend the morning in Allie’s car, driving to the Gorge and back, just to put a deposit down on a wedding venue that wasn’t hers.

“No can do, boss.” Tobin shrugged nonchalantly. “I wanna see the end of this game, and I have a Skype date with Christen this morning anyway.”

Christen was stuck in Los Angeles for the weekend, getting ready to present her plan for the Clean Water Initiative she’d been working on. It was due on Monday and Tobin knew she had a ton of stuff to finish for it. Christen was a perfectionist when it came to anything work related.

Tobin was bummed that she hadn’t been able to coax her girlfriend back to Portland yet. They hadn’t seen each other since Tobin left LA three weeks ago and it was starting to stress them both out.

“You can FaceTime her from the car. I promise I won’t say a single word the whole time.” Allie begged again.

“Harry!” Tobin whined, not looking over at Allie.

“Harry! It’s your duty as a bridesmaid and my best friend.” Allie tried to guilt Tobin into it.

Tobin started to laugh, knowing she wasn’t going to be able to get out of this. “Oh my gosh, finnneeee.” She gave in with an annoyance in her tone.

“Yes!” Allie jumped up from her place on the couch. “We’re leaving in a half hour.” She turned and walked towards Tobin’s apartment door. “Oh, and could you shower, please?”

Tobin didn’t get a chance to answer her friend before Allie was disappearing out into the hallway, heading upstairs to her own apartment.

She was left wondering why she needed to shower just to ride in the car, but she figured it was best to do what Allie asked. Maybe she looked worse than she thought this morning.

Tobin grabbed her phone and sent Christen a text quickly as she walked back towards her bedroom.

{Tobin}: Morning, babe. Running errands with Allie this morning, call me when you're up.

Tobin tossed her phone on her bed and headed for the shower.

Sure enough, a half hour later, Allie was back knocking on Tobin’s door. Tobin had thrown on a pair of jean shorts and a tank top after she got out of the shower, not bothering to dry her hair.

“Ready?” Allie asked, when Tobin let her into the apartment again.

Tobin went back to her bedroom to grab her phone and her wallet, sliding a pair of flip flips on before she walked back to the door. “Ready.” Tobin nodded.

They made their way down the elevator and to Allie’s car, which was parked out front on the street from her coffee run earlier.

The two best friends drove through downtown Portland, getting on I-84 and heading East towards Mt. Hood National Forest. Tobin had always loved this drive, and this morning was perfect for it.

The sun was rising in the sky, reflecting beautifully off the giant evergreen trees and various waterfalls that lined the freeway as they drove along the Hood river. Tobin had her window cracked slightly for a while and she could smell the scent of warm pine needles that were basking in the sunlight along the freeway. It was one of Tobin’s favorite smells in the world.

“So, tell me about this venue.” Tobin asked as she looked out the passenger side window again, taking in their surroundings.  

“Well, it sits right on the Columbia River bank, overlooking the Gorge down below. You’ll see it when we get there, but it’s super beautiful.” Allie filled Tobin in on what she knew of the place so far.

As they talked a little longer, Tobin’s phone rang. It was an incoming call from Christen, just what Tobin had been waiting on since she texted her earlier. Tobin rolled her window all the way up again to drown out any outside noise.

“Hi beautiful.” Tobin answered the phone with a smile.

Allie rolled her eyes and made a face at Tobin, teasing her wordlessly. Tobin just put her hand up and pushed Allie’s face a little.

“Hi you.” Christen spoke into the phone. “What are you up to?”

“I’m being held hostage by Allie.” Tobin joked.

Allie leaned over the center console, trying to get as close to the speaker as possible. “She’s fine, she is just being dramatic.” Allie yelled for Christen to hear.

Christen laughed on the other end as Tobin switched hands with the phone, trying to distance it from her friend in the driver’s seat.

“Sounds like an interesting situation.” Christen replied at their playful banter.

“Yea, we’re driving out to the Gorge to pay for a wedding venue, because Allie can’t do anything on her own.” Tobin explained to her girlfriend.

Allie socked Tobin’s thigh with her first before Tobin spoke again. “Can I Skype you when I get back? It should only be a couple hours.”

“Yea, of course.” Christen nodded into the phone. “I’ll just be working away on this project.”

“Don’t work too hard, babe.” Tobin insisted. She knew Christen was overthinking everything and would do a great job on her presentation no matter what.

“I’ll talk to you in a bit then?” Christen asked.

“Yep.” Tobin agreed. “I love you.”

Christen smiled again, still getting used to saying those words to Tobin every time they talked.

“I love you. Be nice to Allie.” She laughed as they hung up.

“Ohhh, I love you??? ” Allie repeated as Tobin dropped the phone to her lap again. She pretended to be surprised that they were saying those words already, elbowing Tobin playfully.

“Yea, yea.” Tobin shook her head with a big grin on her face, knowing Allie was just teasing and was happy for them.

A little over an hour later, they were exiting off the interstate near the Gorge, following the signs for the Columbia Cliff Resort and Villas. Allie took the turn into the parking lot and found a spot near the door, shutting off the car as they both got out.

“This is gorgeous, Al.” Tobin mentioned. She was now feeling slightly glad that Allie drug her out of her apartment this morning. Not much compared to a nice view of the Pacific Northwest scenery.

“You’re right, it seems pretty awesome.” Allie nodded as she looked around.

“Wait, you haven’t been here yet?” Tobin asked, a little confused. She thought Allie had already toured the place, and that’s how they knew they wanted their wedding reception here.

“Ohh.. ah, no we just saw it online.” Allie quickly recovered. She reached into the car and grabbed her phone, sending a quick text as Tobin stood there and waited for her.

“Are we going in?” Tobin asked, a little impatiently.

“Yep.” Allie confirmed, looking at her phone again. She pocketed it as they headed for the main lobby entrance.

When they got inside, Allie went to the front desk as Tobin slowly looked around the lobby. There were several pictures hanging on the walls of the familiar landscapes in the area. Tobin slowly meandered to all of them as she waited on her friend.

Allie came up to Tobin a few minutes later, handing her a room key. Tobin looked at her questioningly.

“What is this for?” Tobin asked when Allie didn’t say anything right away.

“That's for the honeymoon suite.” Allie instructed. “I figured you could go check it out while I sign all this paperwork. I mean, if you’re bored.”

“Nah, I can wait for you.” Tobin insisted. She wasn’t in any hurry now that they were here.

“No, go look at it!” Allie urged her. “I think this is going to take a while anyway.”

“Okay…” Tobin said hesitantly. She looked at the desk and saw a few people standing around waiting, figuring that’s what was going to take her best friend so long. She decided to take Allie’s suggestion.

“It’s one of the villas across the parking lot.” Allie pointed in the direction Tobin needed to go.

“Cool, I guess I’ll be back then.” Tobin nodded.

She felt a little weird, going to look at the suite where Allie and her fiance were going to consummate their marriage in a few months, but she did think the place was fancy and wanted to see the rest of it.

Tobin pushed open the lobby doors and made her way across the parking lot, towards the next set of buildings.

The whole resort was gorgeous, even at first glance. There were villas lining both sides of the parking lot, all of which reminded Tobin of a lot of ski chalets she’d seen in Europe. On one side, she could see Mt. Hood peeking over top the roofs of the lodging area; and on the other, the Columbia River. Tobin was heading for the villas on the river bank, with balconies overlooking the Gorge down below.

She looked at the key, noting the number on it. C208. Tobin found the correct set of villas, making her way down the outdoor walkway until she got to 208.

Tobin inserted the key into the door and pulled it out, waiting for the green light to illuminate, before she pushed the door open. When she registered the inside of the villa, she noticed that some lights were turned on and faint music was playing, somewhere in the back bedroom.

Tobin paused before she entered, guessing that someone was in the room and wasn’t expecting her. “Hello?” Tobin said slowly.

There was no answer as Tobin stepped in, the door shutting behind her before she could stop it. Tobin gradually continued to walk through the place, taking in her surroundings. She walked past the kitchen and adjoining living room. The electric fireplace was also going, the wood crackling softly.

Tobin stopped again when she noticed the fire. She would be so embarrassed if she walked in on someone and surprised them. She didn’t need to be here touring this honeymoon suite, and it was probably about to get really awkward.

Just as she spun around to head back for the front door, she noticed a black purse hanging on the shelf next to the entry way. She looked at it, feeling like she had recognized it from somewhere. As she was analyzing the purse, trying to place who in her life had the same one, she heard footsteps padding across the carpet behind her.

Tobin turned around again, about to open her mouth to say something or apologize, when she felt her heart skip a beat, unable to form a word or a thought.

Her favorite pair of green eyes in the whole world were looking back at her lovingly.

Christen was standing under the door frame of the bedroom, wearing nothing but a white bathrobe, that was hanging open loosely. She was completely naked underneath it, her brown skin slightly visible through the opening.  Her dark hair was down around her shoulders and curly, the way Tobin loved it most.

“Christen..?” Tobin questioned in a soft tone. She was so confused and elated to see her girlfriend. She felt like she was dreaming.

“Hi, honey..” Christen grinned and bit her lip, waiting for Tobin to make a move.

“What…? How’re you..?” Tobin murmured, trying to form any type of words.

Tobin forced her mind to work, to take a step towards Christen, wanting to close the gap between them as soon as possible.

“Surprise!” Christen yelled, laughing lightly at the expression on Tobin’s face. Christen opened her arms as Tobin was making her way towards her.

“Babe...” Tobin said again, still so much confusion in her tone.

Tobin stopped in front of Christen and looked at her softly. She reached her hands out instinctively to trace the soft skin on Christen’s hips, sliding them around to her back, under the cotton robe Christen was wearing.

“How are you here?” Tobin breathed, looking into Christen’s eyes, to make sure it was really her.

“I wanted to see you.” Christen beamed at her girlfriend. Tobin was having such a hard time processing Christen’s presence.

“You’re not wearing any clothes..” Tobin mentioned in a whisper as her eyes slowly raked down Christen’s body; like Christen hadn’t noticed or something. “And Allie is on her way up here.”

Christen smiled again, putting her hands on Tobin’s cheeks and kissing her lips once, which Tobin barely returned in her confusion. “No she’s not.”

“Yea she is, I was just with her.” Tobin explained. “That’s how I got here.”

Tobin had seemingly forgotten that her and Christen had talked on the car ride here. She was explaining her morning to Christen like this was some kind of lucky coincidence to be running into each other.

“I know that, baby.” Christen laughed again. “But she already left.”

“Wait, how do you know?” Tobin asked, waiting quietly for Christen’s explanation.

Christen hugged Tobin tightly for a moment. “She helped me to get you here, so I could surprise you.” Christen smiled and kissed Tobin’s neck.

“Oh..” Tobin nodded weakly, rubbing her hands mindlessly up and down Christen’s bare back. She was still trying to put the pieces together.

Christen pulled back again to look at Tobin. “Will you kiss me, please?”

Tobin let out a shaky laugh. She was overjoyed and caught off guard. Tobin had no idea whatsoever that Christen was going to be here when they left Portland this morning. Allie had sold it perfectly.

“Sorry.” Tobin smiled and leaned in, connecting her lips to Christen’s. “Hi, babe.” Tobin whispered against Christen’s lips after a moment. “You totally surprised me.”

Christen took Tobin’s bottom lip in between her own. As they kissed, Tobin’s hands roamed down Christen’s back, finding her firm ass. Tobin grabbed it strongly and pulled her body closer.

When they broke the kiss, Tobin rested her forehead against Christen’s and let her eyes wander down, trying to soak in every inch of skin that Christen had exposed through the un-tied robe.

“You are so fucking sexy.” Tobin rasped out.

Christen finally felt like she got the reaction she was looking for in all of this.

“I was kind of hoping you’d think that.” Christen smiled sensually.

Tobin was still wondering how this actually came to be, Christen standing in front of her, but she would collect those details later. All she could focus on now was Christen’s amazing body that was on display.

Tobin let go of Christen’s ass and brought her hands up to her shoulders. “Can I?” Tobin asked gently, waiting for Christen to answer.

Christen nodded her head, silently watching as Tobin peeled the robe off of Christen’s shoulders, letting it fall to the floor. Tobin almost moaned at the sight of her girlfriend standing in front of her, now completely naked, looking like the goddess that she was.

It was Tobin’s turn to bite her lip as she backed Christen up, until the back of her legs were hitting the edge of the bed. Tobin brought her hands up to Christen’s breasts, palming both of them at the same time.

“Fuck, babe.” Tobin spoke quietly. “This is the best morning ever.”

Christen laughed again, finding Tobin’s hips to balance herself as Tobin felt her up.

Tobin slowly dropped her head and kissed her way down Christen’s neck to her chest. She then went a little farther, sucking Christen’s nipple into her mouth. She let her tongue glide over it as she felt the nub get hard, sucking once more.

“Mmmm.” Christen moaned out at the sensation of Tobin’s tongue on her breast.

Tobin then pulled back and leaned up to find Christen’s lips again. As they kissed, Tobin used her left hand to find the back of Christen’s head, tangling her fingers gently in Christen’s flowing curls, kissing her deeply.

“I can’t believe you’re in front of me right now.” Tobin whispered as she took a breath. “And that you’re naked.”

“Just for you.” Christen nodded passionately. She was loving the way Tobin’s touch felt on her.

Tobin leaned back in for a moment, connecting their lips again.

“Honey.” Christen whispered, asking Tobin to look at her.

“Yea?” Tobin asked. She looked at Christen’s eyes, waiting for her to speak.

“Take your clothes off.” Christen instructed. Tobin grinned and dropped her hands from Christen for a moment, reaching down for the hem of her shirt.

They stripped Tobin’s tank top off together before Tobin threw it across the room, as Christen reached for the button on her jean shorts. They made quick work of getting Tobin out of her clothes, before they were making out again.

When Tobin tried to put her hands on Christen again, she was stopped.

“Nope.” Christen grabbed Tobin’s hands with her own, smiling against Tobin’s lips. “This is about you, not me.”

Tobin just looked at her silently, wondering what that meant.

“Lay down.” Christen almost demanded as she spun them around, so it was Tobin who’s legs were now hitting the mattress. Her tone turning a little more urgent.

Tobin grinned and sat down on the bed, moving herself backwards against the pillows obediently.

“What do you want?” Christen questioned seductively, willing to give Tobin anything she asked for.

“Fuck..” Tobin whispered. Am I dreaming?  

“I’ll take anything.” Tobin whimpered. “Whatever you want to give me.”

Tobin’s level of arousal had increased rapidly. The look Christen was giving her was spurring it on.

“I want all of you” Christen husked. She felt herself burning with desire for Tobin.

Tobin felt a shiver run through her, every nerve in her body lighting on fire at Christen’s words.

“You do have all of me.” Tobin nodded earnestly. “I’m yours.”

Tobin meant that in a greater sense than just right now, in the middle of pleasure. She was at Christen’s mercy completely, so in love with her already.

Christen took a deep breath, trying to slow herself down. She wanted to make this last but she could feel herself barreling towards the edge. It had been too long since they’d experienced pleasure with each other. She wanted to feel Tobin so badly. But it was important to Christen that Tobin enjoyed this as much a possible.

Christen climbed onto the bed, moving to straddle Tobin who had settled against the pillows comfortably. They were both panting lightly with anticipation already. Christen gathered her wild curls in one hand and pulled her hair all to one side, getting it out of the way, as she leaned down and kissed Tobin’s lips again.

Tobin let her hands find Christen’s hips, holding her softly as Christen’s tongue slid into her mouth. Christen kissed her for a moment, before she continued her trail down to Tobin’s neck.

Tobin let her eyes close, trying to feel every kiss that Christen was giving her. As Christen’s lips were on Tobin’s collarbone, she started to run her fingertips down Tobin’s chest and over her abs, making their way south.

Christen then leaned back on her knees, nudging Tobin’s legs apart and settling in between them so she could have full access to her girlfriend. Tobin just smiled lustfully, waiting as Christen reached in to touch her most sensitive area.

“Tobin.” Christen whispered, bring her eyes up Tobin’s body slowly before they made eye contact. “I want to fuck you.”

Tobin nodded surely, craving Christen’s touch. “Please, baby.”

Christen bit her bottom lip in determination, reaching her right hand in and feeling Tobin. She was already soaked with arousal.

Christen ran her thumb over Tobin’s clit once, before she slowly inserted two fingers into Tobin’s entrance, just barely plunging them inside of her girlfriend.

Tobin moaned at the contact of Christen’s fingers in her. She grabbed Christen gently and pulled her body over her own leg, so that Christen was straddling Tobin’s thigh. She wanted to give Christen some friction of her own to rub against. Tobin wanted this to feel good for both of them.

Christen smiled at the feeling of Tobin’s muscular leg underneath her. She started to grind her center into it as her hand worked inside of Tobin. They fell into a steady rhythm of thrusting their hips at the same time, making each other wetter and wetter.

Christen made Tobin come quickly, using her two fingers. Flexing and bending them in a curling motion against Tobin’s walls.

“Oh fuck..” Tobin moaned out. “Babe.” She relaxed further into the pillows as the pleasure overtook her.

Christen used her thumb again and pressed down on Tobin’s clit, the bundle of nerves sending Tobin into overdrive as the moisture was covering Christen’s hand.

When Tobin had fully orgasmed, Christen pulled her fingers out slowly, bringing them to her mouth to lick the moisture off. Tobin watched as Christen slowly darted her tongue out and ran it seductively up her index and middle fingers, swallowing Tobin’s wetness.

Tobin swallowed thickly as her hands found Christen’s hips again. Tobin pulled Christen’s center down harder into her thigh as Christen continued the motions with her hips. Tobin’s thigh was wet from Christen’s arousal, she was so close to coming. Tobin reached down and found Christen’s clit, giving her just enough contact until Christen moaned hard, feeling herself fall over the edge.

Christen collapsed against Tobin as she came, finding her mouth and moaning into it. After a minute, they slowed to a stop, resting their heads against each other, breathing shallowly. Spent but happy.

“God, I’ve missed that.” Tobin whispered, kissing Christen’s forehead softly. They were just hugging now, Tobin’s hands back to tracing patterns up and down Christen’s back.

“Me too.” Christen nodded against Tobin. “I couldn’t wait any longer to see you.”

Christen leaned up again so they could look at each other, smiling more innocently now than they had earlier. It was about lust before, and now it was about love.

“Yea, back to that..” Tobin started, running her hand through Christen’s curls again. “Start from the beginning, cause I still don’t understand how we are lying in this bed naked together right now.”

Christen laughed and kissed Tobin before she launched into the whole story of her surprise.

A few weeks ago, after Christen knew she wouldn’t be able to make it back to Portland the following weekend like Tobin had hoped, she started to come up with a plan for the next time they could see each other.

Christen had a copy of Tobin’s team schedule, that listed games and practice days, and she started to compare that with her own work schedule. Christen was busy preparing for her presentation, which she really did still have to give on Monday, but she knew if she worked hard enough for two weeks, she’d be able to get it finished early and still feel prepared.

She noticed that Tobin had two days off in a row, with no practices or meetings or anything, so she figured that it would be a perfect time for them to see each other again. At first, she thought about just telling Tobin that she was going to visit and buying a plane ticket, but then she decided it would be a lot more fun to surprise her.

Christen had been so grateful for how supportive and encouraging Tobin had been so far with everything. She wanted to do something memorable in return, just for Tobin.  Christen did some research and found the resort they were at, knowing right away that it would be the perfect getaway, that wasn’t too far from Portland.

Christen ended up messaging Allie on Instagram to get her phone number, hoping she’d be able to help her out in this surprise. Allie was on board immediately, offering to help in any way that she could. It turns out Allie is actually very good at making up lies as excuses, and the two of them came up with the “wedding reception” story in no time.

Allie also offered to pick Christen up at the airport, and said they’d let her borrow Bati’s car for the weekend, so she didn’t have to rent one. Christen bought a round trip ticket to Portland for early that Saturday morning.

Just as she promised, Allie was there and waiting to pick Christen up when she got in. Bati went with, so he could drive Allie back home, while Christen took his car. They stopped and got coffee on the way back to their apartment complex, and that’s when Allie knocked on Tobin’s door, putting the whole plan into motion.

Christen made it out to the resort about an hour before the other two. She called Tobin as soon as she got checked in, and pretended to still be in LA. Tobin had no clue. Allie left as soon as Tobin went to check out the room, and headed back to Portland, leaving Christen and Tobin with Bati’s car to get home tomorrow. It was a perfect plan that went off without a hitch, and Christen was feeling awfully proud of herself and Allie.

“Holy shit.” Tobin laughed after Christen got done explaining the whole thing. “You and Allie might be a little scary together.”

“The look on your face was seriously priceless.” Christen laughed. “You had no idea what was going on for a minute.”

“I am still in shock.” Tobin nodded. She reached out to grab Christen’s hand and laced their fingers together. “Seriously, babe. Thank you so much. You totally outdid yourself.”

“I’m glad you’re happy.” Christen grinned. “I still need to give you the whole tour!” She giggled at the fact that they just had sex immediately instead of showing Tobin around the villa.

“Plus, I have all kinds of goodies for us.” Christen quipped excitedly. She slid off of Tobin and stood up off the bed. “Come on, let me show you.”

Christen was determined to spend every hour uninterrupted with Tobin, so before she left LA, she ordered some food and other items to be delivered to the hotel for them. They were all waiting for her when Christen checked in.

Tobin followed Christen out of the bedroom and back to the kitchen, neither of them bothering to put any clothes on. Christen had everything set up already. Champagne was chilling in a bucket of ice, and there were strawberries and whipped cream on the counter, displayed perfectly in usual Christen fashion.

“So I got stuff to make pancakes.” Christen explained. “I thought I could cook you a late breakfast for starters and we could go from there?”

“Babe, pancakes are my favorite.” Tobin smiled happily.

“I know.” Christen grinned back. Of course she knew that, she wanted Tobin to love everything about today.

They took a tour of the rest of the villa quickly, Christen leading Tobin along with their fingers intertwined. The living room and fireplace were cozy and warm, which led to the balcony overlooking the Columbia River Gorge down below.

They didn’t step out onto the balcony yet, both of them still naked and unwilling to get dressed at the moment.

“The bathroom is also super fancy.” Christen mentioned as they went back towards the bedroom, where the bathroom was attached.

It had a giant Jacuzzi tub, with candles lining it. A big glass shower with double shower heads, was next to the tub, and double sinks in front of the mirror.

“We will be using that later.” Tobin commented as they looked at the Jacuzzi. Christen just laughed and nodded her head, walking back out towards the bedroom.

“And I brought some massage oil..” Christen held it up for Tobin to look at. “Also for later.”

Tobin’s head was spinning again, thinking all of the things she wanted to do with Christen. And where she wanted to do them, in this perfect, amazing villa. It felt like paradise.

Christen made her way back to the kitchen to start breakfast for them. She got some orange juice out of the fridge and set it on the counter, asking Tobin to pop a bottle of champagne so they could have mimosas.

Tobin poured their drinks as Christen whisked together the pancake batter, dropping it on the hot skillet a few minutes later.

As Christen was flipping the pancakes, Tobin came up behind her, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist, hugging her close. She placed a few kisses to the crook of Christen’s neck.

They stood there as the pancakes cooked, just enjoying the silence and the feeling of each others bodies pressed together. Christen could feel Tobin’s nipples softly on her back.

“I love you.” Tobin whispered softly after a bit, her face resting on Christen’s shoulder, inhaling the scent of her skin.

“I love you too.” Christen smiled. She set the spatula down on the counter and turned around to wrap her arms around Tobin’s shoulders with their fronts pressing together.

“Nobody has ever done anything like this for me before.” Tobin hummed as Christen hugged her.

“Rented a villa?” Christen questioned.

“No, I mean like surprised me at all. Not like this.” Tobin explained. “This is so incredible.”

Christen pulled back from their hug to look at Tobin. “Well, you make me happy, and I wanted to do something in return.” She kissed her lips again before turning back around to take the pancakes off the skillet.

They both dished up their plates, piling them high with fluffy pancakes. Tobin sprayed some whipped cream into her mouth before she covered her pancakes with it, dropping a bunch strawberries on top of the whipped cream.

Christen laughed at Tobin’s mouthful, before reaching for the canister herself.

They sat on the couch in the living room, talking happily while they ate. Tobin couldn’t believe how good the pancakes were, telling Christen after every bite.

“You know what?” Christen asked between bites as she looked at Tobin next to her.

“Hmm?” Tobin asked, her mouth stuffed with another forkful.

“I just love us. I have so much fun being with you. More fun than I’ve ever had in my life. It’s like every day is a new adventure.” Christen smiled. “I hate being away from you, but things like this make it worth it. You make it worth it, every day.”

Tobin laughed and stole a strawberry off of Christen’s plate. “I love us too. I love you and I can’t believe I get to be with you.”

When they finished their breakfast, Tobin stood up and took Christen’s plate from her, bringing both of their dirty dishes back to the kitchen. She grabbed the canister of whipped cream again and walked back to the living room, smirking excitedly.

“Speaking of fun..” Tobin smiled and held up the whipped cream. “I think I would like to eat some more of this.. Off of you.”

Tobin kneeled down on the floor next to the couch as Christen laughed. “You read my mind.”

Tobin quickly covered her favorite parts of Christen’s naked body with the whipped cream, taking her time with her tongue to lick it off of Christen slowly.

When they were satisfied again and both a sticky mess, left with an empty bottle of whipped cream, they made their way to the shower. They held onto each other as the water kept them warm, washing and caressing each other slowly, which was one of Christen’s favorite things to do.

When they finally climbed out, they both wrapped themselves in the white cotton robes that were provided to them, finally deciding that they were covered enough to step out onto the balcony to take in the view. The panoramic views of the Gorge down below were breathtaking as they stood in the warm afternoon sun.

The rest of the day and evening continued the same way. They shed their robes when they went back inside, wanting to just be with each other, naked and intimate. Tobin insisted that they order pizza for dinner, only putting her robe back on to pay the delivery driver, before stripping back down and joining Christen in bed to devour their pizza in bliss.

They loved being able to just relax, while talking and making each other laugh. They both felt like they could spend forever alone and never run out of things to talk about.

Christen gave Tobin a late night massage with the oil she had brought, making sure to spend sufficient time on Tobin’s legs and abs, which were still sore from her game the previous night. Tobin was in heaven the whole time.

They finally passed out under the covers of their king sized bed after 1 am. Tobin recounted the day in her head before she drifted off, as Christen was already asleep on top of her. She couldn’t believe how amazing it had been, so different than what she expected of her Saturday when she woke up that morning. It seemed as though she was constantly being pleasantly surprised by her gorgeous girlfriend. Tobin pinched herself once in the arm, just to make sure this day hadn’t been some elaborate dream that she created in her head. She smiled to herself at the tiny sting, glad to confirm that this was real her life.

Sunday morning they slept in as late as possible before they had to check out. Tobin attempted to straighten up the place while Christen dried her hair, before they hopped in Bati’s car to head for Portland.

Tobin drove them back to the city on the Columbia River Scenic Highway. It was a longer drive than just taking the freeway back, but they were happy to spend time exploring together, before Christen’s flight that evening.

Tobin made a pit stop at Multnomah Falls so she could show it to Christen. The popular waterfall just outside of Portland was one of the tallest waterfalls in the country. They climbed up the hiking path to the bridge under the waterfall, standing close enough to feel the mist that poured off the cascading water. They took a few selfies and had a lady take their picture in front of the waterfall, so they could have a snapshot of their weekend that would last forever.

Christen looked at the picture several times as they left and made their way back into Portland metro. She couldn’t get over how glowing and happy they both looked. She knew that this quick trip had been so worth it.

“I don’t wanna go.” Christen whined as they approached the airport. Her flight was in an hour and a half, and they were cutting it close enough to drop off time.

“I really, really don’t want you to go.” Tobin returned, her voice sadder now than it had been all day.

This was the hard part of their relationship, always having to say goodbye after not enough time together.

“I think you should just move here.” Tobin smiled at Christen while they waited in the drop off lane at PDX. “Then you’d never have to leave.”

Christen returned Tobin’s smile and leaned over to kiss her. Even if they had been together long enough to consider that, there was no point in wishing it now, with Christen’s job keeping her in LA for the foreseeable future.

Tobin pulled over in the departure lane and got out of the car to say goodbye to Christen, wrapping her in a tight hug.

“Chris, this was so amazing.” Tobin whispered into her ear as they held onto each other.

She pulled back and grabbed Christen’s chin lightly with her hand. “Seriously, babe. Thank you. I don’t deserve you.”

Christen smiled at Tobin, so glad that she had pulled off her grand surprise and got to spend the weekend with her girlfriend, even if it was only for about 28 hours.

“I love you Honey.” Christen said as she leaned in for a kiss. They didn’t have long, as Tobin was stopped right in front of the doors, with more cars waiting behind them.

“I love you so much.” Tobin nodded and kissed her again. “Let me know when you land?”

“Of course.” Christen nodded. She placed one last peck to Tobin’s lips and picked up her bag, turning to head for the automatic doors of the airport.

Tobin watched her disappear into the airport, feeling bittersweet about it. Happy to have had her here, but sad to see her go so soon.

When Tobin got home she parked the car in Bati’s reserved spot and went inside, taking the elevator up an extra floor, to where Allie and Bati lived. She knocked on their door and waited for an answer.

Allie opened her door with a huge grin on her face. “Well, well, well.. Look who’s back from their sexcation.”

Tobin busted out laughing at her best friends teasing. “Hey, Harry.”

Allie stepped aside as Tobin walked in, dropping Bati’s keys on the kitchen counter.

“You know, I think you can force me on car rides every weekend if that’s what it leads to.” Tobin smiled.

“I’m guessing you found her then?” Allie laughed questioningly.

“Yeah, you could say that.” Tobin nodded.

“I figured as much when I didn’t hear from you again.” Allie wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

“Yea, sorry, we got a little sidetracked.” Tobin laughed again.

“So, you had fun?” Allie asked, waiting for Tobin to tell her the PG version of their night.

Tobin told her about everything Christen had done, the food, the champagne, the massage. She smiled until her cheeks hurt while explaining it all.

“Damn, Harry. She seems pretty amazing.” Allie commented when Tobin finished talking.

“She’s perfect.” Tobin sighed, running a hand through her hair.

“You really love her..” Allie smiled kindly. “Tobin Heath, who woulda thought!”

Tobin laughed at Allie’s teasing, knowing she had a point. Before Tobin met Christen, she was never really into anything more than casual.

“I know..” Tobin agreed. “It might be crazy to say this already, but I can just feel it. She’s the one, Al.”

Tobin fell quiet for a moment as Allie let her process her thoughts.

“Like I can picture it all with her.. a ring, some kids, a big backyard..” Tobin sighed again, knowing she was a goner. It almost started to worry Tobin, knowing it had only been two months and she was already feeling this way.

Allie smiled at Tobin again, her face softening as she felt for Tobin’s words. “Don’t stress about it. It’ll all work out. This distance is nothing for you guys.”

“Yea, I know. She makes it easy on me.” Tobin smiled again, pushing her thoughts of the future away again.

Tobin yawned a little, taking a step back towards the door. She was ready to go downstairs and get to bed, knowing they had training early in the morning again.

“Thanks, dude. For being such a good friend, and for helping Christen pull that off.” Tobin mentioned to Allie. “I know Chris really appreciated it. She thinks you're awesome.”

“I’m just ensuring my place in your wedding lineup.” Allie laughed. “You two are wonderful, I’m glad you enjoyed your time together.”

“I’ll see you at training tomorrow?” Tobin asked as she reached for the door handle.

“Bright and early.” Allie confirmed.

Tobin took the stairs down to her apartment and got ready for bed. Just as she was drifting off to sleep, Christen texted her.

{Christen}: Just landed. Miss you so much already.

Christen sent the picture of them at the Falls earlier, for Tobin to have. Tobin smiled at it for a while, loving the way they looked together.

She returned the text and told Christen goodnight, before she saved the picture to her phone. Tobin then changed the lock screen on her phone, so that image would greet her every time she looked at it. She fell asleep shortly after, knowing for certain this is what happiness felt like.


Chapter Text

Christen took a deep breath and smiled her brightest smile, feeling the relief wash over her in an instant. She turned off the projector and closed out of the powerpoint on her laptop, before finding her seat at the conference table, as the lights in the room came back on.

“Well, Christen, I have to say, that’s quite a plan.” One man in a suit, Jonathan, complimented. He was sitting directly across from her at the long table, a pile of notes in front of him.

“Thank you. We really think it has a shot to make a difference.” Christen smiled again. She was feeling confident in her delivery and proud of the business plan she and her team had come up with.

“I think that should do it.” Jonathan smiled politely. “Unless you have any questions for us.”

“No, I think we covered everything before I started.” Christen explained with another genuine smile.

“Great, we will discuss our options and get back to you guys in the next week couple weeks. Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us.” He stood up with a couple others who were seated at the table.

Christen stood up as well, shaking all of their hands and watching as they exited the conference room, leaving her alone for a moment. She sat back down and let out a long, drawn out breath, slowing her heart rate and ridding the nervousness from her body.

Christen was in Boston, presenting her plan for the Clean Water Initiative that UNICEF was trying to secure a sponsorship for. Her initial presentation of the plan to her bosses in LA had gone so well, that they asked her to be the one to pitch it to their corporate partners. These were the business people who were going to fund the initiative, if they accepted the plan. Christen had spent the last two weeks preparing for this trip to Boston for a twenty minute presentation; and she felt like all she had been thinking about was work lately.

Luckily, when her boss in LA asked her to be the one to fly to across the country, he let her pick the date of the meeting. He knew that it was a big task and he wanted her to feel prepared before she went.  It just so happened that Christen was able to delay the meeting for two weeks, finding herself in Boston the same week that the Thorns had an away game there.

Scheduling was Christen’s strong suit and the one thing that made her feel like she could keep her head on straight during hectic times in her life. Working between hers and Tobin’s schedule had become sort of an art for her. Tobin was more than happy to let her figure out the details of it all, knowing they’d see each other as often as possible.

The week of her presentation, Christen spent most of her time in LA, finalizing the plan with her bosses. They all worked sixteen hour days leading up to it, until she felt like they had every single detail covered. Christen didn’t want to risk being unprepared for a question or suggestion, knowing that this pitch was make or break for their Initiative going forward.

The long days made her communication with Tobin a little sparse for the week, but they both knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and just accepted that this was what they’d signed up for.

On Thursday of that week, Christen took a red-eye from LA to Boston, arriving early Friday morning. She had just enough time to drop her luggage off at their hotel and shower before her meeting was set to start. She tried to sleep on the plane as much as possible, but her attempts were futile, her mind racing with nervousness for the morning ahead of her.

The Thorns had a game that Thursday night away at Harvard Stadium. Christen was bummed she was going to have to miss it, but there was no way she could make the trip any earlier and still feel prepared.

Tobin had a few days off after her game, so the couple decided to spend a long weekend in the city together, exploring and relaxing once their work commitments were fulfilled. Tobin had to be in Orlando for National Team camp the following Monday, giving them a perfect opportunity for some quality time together.

Now that Christen was alone in the conference room, she took a minute to grab her phone out of her purse, before sending Tobin a text.

{Christen}: Hey you, finally done. Sorry it took so long.

Tobin was waiting for Christen at the hotel they were staying at for the weekend. It was just across the street from where Christen’s meeting was located, in the heart of downtown Boston.

The Thorns had a recovery session that morning, before most of the team caught their flight back to Portland. Tobin had just bummed around the city the rest of the day, grabbing lunch and a nap, while waiting on Christen.

They hadn’t seen each other yet and Tobin was getting antsy. She had been busy with her team recovery session throughout the morning when Christen arrived, and it had been two weeks since Christen’s surprise trip to Portland.

Tobin let out a huge sigh of relief when she saw Christen’s name appear on the screen of her phone.

{Tobin}: You’re done!! How’d it go?

Before Christen could respond to Tobin, a call came in from her boss in LA. He was wondering the same thing.

Christen took the call and they chatted for about twenty minutes. She explained all the details to her boss; what type of reaction she got, and what questions were asked. By the time she hung up with him, she felt even better about it all. Her boss had been pleased to hear that the finance group had seemed engaged and interested in working with UNICEF. He assured Christen that he knew she had done an excellent job.

When she finally ended the call, she got a chance to reply to Tobin again.

{Christen}: It went well, I think. I was nervous but I’m happy with how I did.

Christen just had to type a recap email to send to her boss before she was done for the day. As she was lost in her thoughts, Jonathan came back into the conference room unexpectedly.

“Oh, Christen. Sorry to interrupt. I didn’t know you’d still be here.” He smiled politely. “I just forgot my laptop cord.” He bent down under the table to retrieve the cord.

“Hey! No problem.” Christen smiled at him quickly, not at all bothered by the interruption.

“You’re working late.” He commented as she typed away on her laptop. Most of the people in the office had gone home by now, as it was Friday evening.

“Yea, just finishing up a few things before I get out of here.” Christen nodded, taking her eyes off the computer screen to look at him.

“Do you have to head back to LA tonight?” He questioned in a friendly tone.

“No, not until Monday actually.” Christen answered him. Thank god, that would be awful. She thought to herself.

He stood there for a moment in silence, clearly thinking something over in his head.

“Well, hey I tell ya what, my wife and I are going to grab dinner just down the block, you’re more than welcome to join us if you’d like.” Jonathan smiled. He figured Christen was probably alone in the city and he wanted to be polite.

“Oh, thanks for the offer. My girlfriend is actually here and I was going to meet up with her for dinner.” Christen explained, almost feeling bad about saying no.

“Well you could always bring her with.” He insisted. “If you want to, of course. The more the merrier.”

Christen bit her lip and thought on it quietly. He could sense that she was unsure.

“No pressure. If you two want to join us, we’ll be at Mistral at seven.” He smiled again.

Christen nodded. She was appreciative of his friendliness and was actually considering it. It would be a great opportunity to make another impression on him, in a more informal setting.

“You know what, yea we could join you.” Christen decided on the spot. “We haven’t made reservations yet anyway.”

“Great.” Jonathan smiled. “It’s just down the block. I’ll email you the address.”

“We will meet you there!” She agreed.

He wrapped up the laptop cord and picked up his briefcase again, walking towards the door, before turning around quickly. “And just between me and you, I think we may be working together some more.” He smiled and turned around without waiting for a reply.

Christen was grinning, feeling like that was a good sign for things going forward. That maybe the group had chosen to sponsor UNICEF. She felt giddy with excitement, looking at her phone again.

She had another text waiting from Tobin.

{Tobin}: Of course it went well, you’re brilliant, babe.

Christen called Tobin instead of texting her back, explaining the conversation she’d just had with Jonathan. No matter what happened in her life these days, her first instinct was to call Tobin and tell her about it. The conversation she’d just had was no different. And she also did need to inform her girlfriend that they now had dinner plans.

Tobin was more than happy to agree to dinner, sensing that Christen was excited about it.

Christen told Tobin she’d meet her at their hotel in a few minutes, so she could freshen up before they walked over to the restaurant together.

Christen quickly finished the email to her boss before she packed up her laptop and gathered her things, making her way down the elevator and out into the warm Boston evening.

When Christen got to the door of their hotel room, she dug through her purse for the room key, before giving up and just knocking. The butterflies in her stomach were fluttering wildly; she was thrilled to almost be in front of her girlfriend again.

“Ugh finally!” Tobin yelled excitedly when she heard the knock. She jumped up from the bed and bounded to the door, opening it quickly with a huge grin.

“You’re here.” Tobin sighed as she locked eyes with Christen.

Christen didn’t say anything, she just wrapped her arms around Tobin shoulders and pulled her close as they stumbled slightly back into the room. The hotel door shut behind them as they held onto each other.

Tobin found Christen’s lips almost immediately, kissing her more than a little frantically. They kissed for several seconds, before they pulled back for a breath.

“I missed you so much.” Christen hummed, hugging Tobin tightly.

“I missed you, babe.” Tobin nodded, they looked at each other again with smiles on their faces. Christen dropped her purse from her shoulder and quickly kicked off her heels, before they crashed their lips into each other for a second time.

This time, their momentum carried them back to the king sized bed in the room. Tobin wrapped her arms around Christen’s waist and eased her down onto the bed, not breaking the kiss. Christen wasted no time pulling Tobin down onto her, as they let their tongues explore each other’s mouths. It was the first time in far too long that they had tasted each other.

After several minutes of playful tongues and wandering hands, Tobin pulled back, completely out of breath.

“Chris.” Tobin sighed, trying to get her heart rate under control. “We should slow down, we have to leave in like ten minutes.”

Christen groaned, immediately upset that she’d agreed to dinner now that she had Tobin in front of her. “Let’s just skip it.” She whispered against Tobin’s lips with a wicked grin on her face.

Tobin laughed and then shook her head. “No way. You know you want to go.” Tobin insisted, even though she was reluctant. “I’d say it’s kind of a big deal that he invited us.”

Christen smiled again, knowing Tobin was right. Tobin sat up and moved off of Christen, resting her weight down on the mattress. Christen laughed at the sight of herself while she fixed her dress, which had become unkempt during their steamy makeout session.

Christen took a deep breath and placed one more kiss to Tobin’s lips before she stood up. She walked to the bathroom, wanting to touch up her makeup in the mirror before they left. Ten minutes later, they were walking hand in hand down the block to the restaurant, happy to be together again.

The restaurant was a nice Mediterranean restaurant that wasn’t too fancy. The waitress walked them to the back of the place, where Jonathan and his wife had gotten a table.

“Christen! You made it!” Jonathan stood up and offered her a friendly hug. He glanced around Christen’s shoulder and spotted Tobin, an almost puzzled look crossing his face immediately.

“Hey! I know you!” He said excitedly. “You’re Tobin Heath.” He laughed and looked at them both, before sticking his hand out.

“I am Tobin Heath.” Tobin nodded with a laugh. She was totally caught off guard about being recognized.

“No way, this is your girlfriend?” Jonathan looked at Christen, who seemed just as surprised that he knew who Tobin was before she introduced them.  

Christen nodded to Jonathan and grabbed Tobin’s arm playfully. “Guilty!” She laughed. “Jonathan, this is my girlfriend, Tobin.”

Tobin finally put her hand out to return his handshake, before all three of them turned their attention to the woman sitting at the table.

“Christen, Tobin, this is my wife, Claire.” Jonathan explained quickly, not wanting to seem rude.

They all exchanged pleasantries as Tobin and Christen found their seats at the round table.

“We have two daughters, third and fifth grade.” He explained as they sat down. “They absolutely love soccer and are huge fans the US team.”

“That’s rad.” Tobin laughed again, now understanding where he knew her from.

Christen found Tobin’s leg under the table and gave it a quick squeeze, loving the subtle blush in Tobin’s face at Jonathan’s explanation. She felt so proud to be introducing Tobin as her girlfriend to them.

The waitress came by quickly and took everyone’s drink orders. Jonathan insisted on ordering a couple bottles of wine for the table, promising Christen that all was fair game outside of board room meetings. He wanted them to enjoy their evening.

Christen and Tobin both ended up having a great time throughout dinner. They learned that the friendly couple lived just outside of Boston; and Claire gave them a ton of recommendations for things to do for the rest of their stay. Jonathan and Claire also told several funny stories about their daughters that Christen and Tobin laughed at. By the time they were halfway through their meal, it was like they were old friends.

“Okay, so I always love asking this question.” Claire started as they were finishing their food. She looked between the couple across from her. “What was your meet cute?”

Tobin and Christen looked at each other quickly. “What’s a meet cute?” Tobin asked with an unknowing smile.

Claire started to laugh as Jonathan spoke up. “Sweetheart leave them be. I’m sure they don’t want to explain that to us.”

“No, I wanna hear!” She insisted, swatting his arm lightly. She had just finished her second glass of wine and was maybe a little tipsy. “It’s fun!”

Tobin and Christen looked at her quizzically again, not knowing what she meant.

Jonathan cut in, knowing his wife always loved to play this game. “A meet cute is the scene in a movie when a future romantic couple meets for the first time. It’s an old thing from like the 40’s.” He explained.

Claire smiled confidently again. “With the way you two have been looking at each other all night, I can tell yours is a good one.”

Tobin laughed at the explanation, looking over at Christen again. “You wanna tell them?”

“Nope, it’s all you.” Christen laughed along with her. She readjusted her chair and put her arms up on the table, looking at Tobin excitedly. “I actually really want to hear your version of this.”

Tobin nodded with a smile on her face, looking at everyone at the table.

“Our meet cute. .” Tobin thought for a moment before she spoke. “Okay well.. we were in Rome.”

Claire gasped instantly. “Okay, I knew it!” She elbowed her husband again, scooting closer into the table to listen. “See, Jon, it’s romantic already.”

They all started laughing at that, before Tobin continued. “So we ended up staying at the same hotel, I was with my family on vacation and she was there for work.”

Tobin paused again. She met Christen’s eyes for a moment and Christen just smiled at her. Tobin didn’t know why, but she was feeling a little nervous to tell the story all of the sudden.

“I was at the front desk in the lobby, waiting on a new room key, because mine wasn’t working, and Christen came walking up.”

Tobin started to laugh to herself, remembering her first impression of Christen.

“I thought she was beautiful the moment I saw her. But I could tell right away that she was having a rough time. She just looked a little lost, but so cute at the same time. So I stood there and listened to what she needed.”

Tobin continued.

“The airline had lost her luggage on the flight over and she literally had like nothing to work with. And then to top it off, the hotel didn’t even stock her room with shampoo or conditioner. They were completely out. Like, what are the chances?”

“Yea, it was not a fun morning.” Christen added with a laugh. “I was pretty stressed.”

“So while the concierge was checking the back room for extra stock, Christen looked over at me and gave me the most adorable smile I’d ever seen. And her eyes, they knocked me out.” Tobin laughed and took a drink of water quickly.

“I knew that I wanted to talk to her right away after that. I was racking my brain with anything to say.” Tobin spoke again.

“I think we said hi quickly, but then the guy came back to the counter and told her they didn’t have anything. She was just so nice and understanding about it, but with a tiny hint of sadness in her eyes.”

Tobin paused for a second, reflecting back on her feelings of that moment a couple months ago.

“So when she walked away from the counter and towards the elevator, I forced myself to chase her down. I didn’t want her to get away without at least trying to help her.”

“So what’d you do?” Claire asked with a big smile on her face, still listening intently.

“I told her she could have mine.” Tobin shrugged. “Actually, I told her that I traveled with my own and didn’t need the hotel supply, which wasn’t exactly true.” She started to laugh, never having told Christen this part.

“So she came up to my room and I gave her the bottles and watched her walk away, hoping that if I ran into her again, I’d have a reason to talk to her.” Tobin smiled happily. “Then I knocked on my sister’s door and told her I needed to borrow her shampoo..”

They all laughed again. “You did not!” Christen grabbed Tobin’s hand under the table. “Seriously?”

“Yep.” Tobin nodded. “What can I say, I just wanted to make you a little happier, anyway that I could.”

“That is so sweet!” Claire commented. She was grinning widely. “So how long was it before you ran into each other again?”

Christen smiled. “That night at dinner actually. And then she made me go watch fireworks with her!”

Tobin shook her head. It sounded a bit cheesy explaining it now, but that night was one of her favorite nights ever. One that she replays in her head all the time when she’s laying in bed alone, after hanging up from a good night phone call with Christen. She is so thankful that night happened to them; unsure of where they’d be without it.

“I’d say I was hooked by the end of that night.” Tobin confirmed with a nod. “And the rest is kind of history. We haven’t stopped talking since.”

“How romantic! Fireworks in Rome!” Claire smiled. These types of stories were exactly what she was looking for when she asked couples in the first place.

Christen and Tobin laughed again at her excitement.

“Very nice.” Jonathan said with a smile. “Ok sweetie, enough personal questions.” He requested to his wife kindly. He didn’t want either of their new friends to be uncomfortable with their prying. They had just met after all.  

The group finished the rest of their meal making small talk about upcoming events and vacations, before the waiter brought the check over.

Jonathan insisted on paying the bill, refusing Christen’s offer to pay since he invited them out. As they got up to say their goodbyes, he praised Christen’s presentation one more time.

“Not to talk about work again, but that was inspiring today.” He smiled. “Seriously, Tobin, you should have seen her. I think she made a great impression on everyone in that room.” He complimented again.

Now it was Tobin’s turn to squeeze Christen lovingly, wrapping her arm around her waist as they stood by the table.

“I don’t doubt it.” Tobin nodded with a smile. “She’s pretty brilliant.”

Christen shook her head as her face got red. “Okay, okay enough about me.”

Claire laughed as she hugged both Christen and Tobin. “It’s great to hear about young women like you two being so successful and happy. It was so wonderful to meet you both.”

“Thank you so much for dinner.” Christen hugged her back tightly, feeling like she gained a friend tonight.

“Next time we play in Boston, I’ll have Christen send you tickets and you can bring your girls.” Tobin mentioned, and she meant it.

“They would die of happiness.” Claire smiled at Tobin’s promise. “Let us know if you need anything the rest of your visit, we would be more than happy to help.”

Christen and Tobin waved as the older couple made their way towards the door of the restaurant, disappearing out of it and into the night.

“They are so cool.” Tobin smiled at Christen now that they were alone.

“I know!” Christen agreed quickly. “I’m really glad we did this.” They were making their way out of the restaurant at the same time.

“Babe, you for sure killed that pitch today.” Tobin hugged her as they stepped out onto the sidewalk. “I’m really, really proud of you.”

Christen grinned back at Tobin, pulling her in for a quick kiss. “Thank you. You are the best.”

“I think we better go celebrate.” Tobin mentioned as they hugged again for a moment. “We are alone in this awesome city and the night is young.”

Christen started to laugh. Both of them had a slight buzz from the wine and Christen was feeling lighter than she had in a few weeks. The stress of being away from Tobin and working ungodly hours now behind her, at least for the long weekend.

“Well, what do you have in mind, my love?” Christen questioned.  She was down to stay out and have a good time with her favorite person.

“Let’s walk.” Tobin shrugged. She reached out and grabbed Christen’s hand as they took off towards the waterfront, strolling casually with no set destination.

A half hour later, they found themselves getting drinks on a rooftop deck bar called Legal Harborside. It was a fun and laid back place that had views of the harbor and the city skyline right in front of them. The roof’s glass walls and ceilings were retracted since it was such a warm night outside, so they sipped on drinks and hung out together under the stars and city lights of Boston.

After a couple drinks, they continued on, walking along the concrete path of the waterfront, watching boats come in and out of the harbor in the dark. The would pause every so often to kiss or hold onto each other, not caring what was going on around them. The waterfront park was almost abandoned at the late hour anyway.

“I can’t believe you’re so famous that one of my potential financiers recognized you before I said your name.” Christen joked as Tobin had her hands on Christen’s hips. They were stopped again, looking at a big boat that was docking in the harbor.

“That was crazy.” Tobin laughed. “I swear that barely ever happens.”

“I’m gonna have to watch my back.” Christen giggled. “I’m quickly learning how much everyone wants the one and only Tobin Heath.”

“That is so not true.” Tobin laughed. “And even if it was, I’d still only want you.”

“Uh huh, you say that now.” Christen joked as she squeezed Tobin’s sides.

“Nope.” Tobin grinned. She brought her finger up to Christen’s lips to stop her teasing words. “I will always say that.”

Christen bit Tobin’s finger that was on her lips playfully, giving her another wicked grin as she let her pointer finger go. Something about the light sting of Christen’s teeth on her did something to Tobin, instantly feeling the fire within her for her girlfriend.

She cleared her throat suddenly, dropping her tone a little. “I think it’s time for us to go.”

Christen laughed again, realizing what she had done to Tobin. “God, you’re  so easy.”

Tobin just shrugged, knowing it was true. “And you’re so hot.” Christen had her wrapped around her finger and there was nothing Tobin wanted to do about it.

Christen dropped her hands from Tobin’s sides and laced her fingers with Tobin’s again, turning and pulling her back towards the direction of their hotel. “Take me to bed, honey.”

They got back to their hotel not long after, clumsily undressing together while laughing against each other’s lips. The buzz of alcohol and anticipation making things a little hasty for them both. As they climbed into bed, they managed to slow down just enough, making love more passionately than maybe they ever had before.

After Christen finished and they were both satisfied, Tobin fell onto the mattress and pulled Christen into her, fitting their bodies together in a way that had become a habit for them. Christen perfectly cuddled into the soft skin on Tobin’s neck.

They laid there silently for a few minutes, until Christen could hear Tobin’s shallow breathing, figuring her girlfriend had surrendered to sleep.

Christen pulled back just enough from Tobin’s neck to look up at her face, loving how happy and peaceful Tobin looked in the moment. She felt so safe and loved, under the covers and wrapped in Tobin’s arms.

Christen smiled and laid her head back down, kissing Tobin’s neck once before whispering into the darkness. "Thank you for existing.”

Tobin didn’t respond, but Christen’s words cut into her unconsciousness just enough to register. She let a smile creep onto her lips as Christen cuddled in close again, before both of them drifted off to sleep for the rest of night.

Tobin was the first one to wake up the next morning, opening her eyes to the bright morning sun shining in from the window. In their urgency the night before, they forgot to shut the window curtains and now the sun was beaming right into Tobin’s eyes. She lifted her head, trying to locate her girlfriend under the heap of covers.

They had separated from each other a little during the night, now only their legs left tangled together. Christen was still sound asleep, with her head resting directly on the mattress next to where Tobin was lying.

Tobin slowly slid her legs out from where they were intertwined with Christen’s, rolling over to climb out of bed. The loss of contact had stirred Christen slightly, and Tobin paused to make sure she drifted off to sleep again, before she made her way to the bathroom.

When Tobin was finished, she came back out, walking to her suitcase on the far end of the room. She unzipped it and was looking for some clothes to put on. The rustling of the suitcase stirred Christen again, as she rolled over and stretched across the king sized bed. Her thoughts coming back to her momentarily before she opened her eyes.

“Honey.” Christen barely whispered in a tired voice. Tobin turned around and noticed that she was awake.

“Hi, babe.” Tobin returned in a soft voice.

“Come snuggle with me.” Christen pleaded, as she lifted her head back onto the pillow above her. She was still really tired from her long week and travel, not wanting to wake up yet.

Tobin just grinned, loving how cute Christen looked when she was sleepy. She wasted no time walking back to the bed, crawling over Christen and laying down again. She pulled Christen in and spooned her from behind tightly.

“Go back to sleep baby.” Tobin whispered and kissed the back of Christen’s neck. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Christen barely nodded her head, grabbing Tobin’s hand on her hip and drifting back to sleep quickly. Tobin wasn’t tired anymore, having adjusted to the East Coast time difference already, but she would gladly lay there and hold Christen as long as she needed to.

An hour later, Christen opened her eyes again, feeling more rested this time. Tobin had just been lying behind her, thinking of ideas for a way to spend the day.

“Morning.” Christen hummed as she flipped over to look at her favorite pair of brown eyes.

“Morning.” Tobin smiled. She brought her hand up from Christen’s waist and moved some hair out of her girlfriends eyes.

They laid there and looked at each other for several minutes, just smiling and running their hands up and down each other’s sides.

“Can I take you on a breakfast date?” Tobin asked after Christen seemed to be more awake.

Christen grinned and nodded her head on the pillow. “But only if I can take you on a lunch date.” She added.

“Not a chance.” Tobin stopped her with a smile. “You used up all your dates for a while with that surprise weekend. This weekend is mine.”

Christen laughed and lifted her head, finding Tobin’s lips quickly with her own. “We will see about that.” She wasn’t giving in that easily.

They finally got up, deciding not to waste their day while they only had a limited time to explore Boston. After they showered and got ready, they grabbed brunch and made a plan for the rest of the day.

Tobin had been to Boston several times, but it was Christen’s first visit to the city. She was admittedly a self proclaimed history nerd, and wanted to do the classic Freedom Trail walk through the city to look at all the historical landmarks.

They spent the day holding hands and collecting brochures, following the red bricks that marked the trial through the city from the American Revolution. Tobin guided them using the map they had picked up and Christen would Google every stop and find the most interesting fact about it.

Tobin just smiled at the way Christen’s eyes lit up every time she remembered something that she learned in high school history class. Her brilliance had no boundaries and it was becoming one of Tobin’s favorite things about her.

When they were done with the walk through the city, Tobin suggested they take a ferry over to Harbor Island, which was a small recreational area situated among the islands of the Boston Harbor.

It was a hot summer day in Boston, both of them working up a little bit of a sweat just from walking around, and Tobin figured a boat ride on the water may help to cool them down a little.

While they were waiting in line to board the ferry, Christen wrapped her hands around Tobin’s neck and kissed her cheek sweetly. “I don’t think I’ve said this yet today.” She spoke quietly, kissing Tobin’s cheek again. “But I love you.”

Tobin couldn’t get her hands to stop roaming up and down Christen’s back as they held onto each other. They knew they were probably being a little too handsy in public, but neither of them could resist the closeness all of the sudden.

“I love you too, my little history nerd.” Tobin smiled. She was loving the feeling of Christen’s lips on skin. The harbor was crowded with people waiting in line for various boat tours, so Tobin turned her head to meet Christen’s, giving her a quick peck on the lips when she thought nobody was looking.

“What if…” Christen whispered as she felt Tobin’s hands drop a little too low on her back. “We took a rain check on this ferry ride?”

Tobin bit her lip like she was thinking it through. Christen kissed her cheek again and tried to wait patiently for an answer, grinning against Tobin’s skin.

“I wouldn’t hate that.” Tobin laughed. Before Christen could even say anything else, Tobin was pulling them out of line and towards the street, trying to flag down a taxi to take them back to the hotel. Christen laughed wildly the whole way, keeping her fingers gripped tightly with Tobin’s.

They made it back to the hotel in record time. Christen had started stripping off Tobin’s shirt before the room key even had the door unlocked.

“We’ve become really good at hotel sex.” Tobin husked as Christen undid her bra.

“I don’t know if that’s a good thing.” Christen laughed in between kisses.

They were heading for the shower, wanting to rise the stickiness off of themselves from the humid summer day. Tobin flipped the shower on before finding Christen’s lips again.

“I’d say it’s a great thing.” She mused, pulling Christen’s shorts down her legs.

When they were both naked, they stepped into the shower. Christen winced a little at the coldness of it, turning the water a little hotter.

“Sorry.” Tobin laughed at her reaction. She pulled Christen in again as they huddled together under the water. Christen let her tongue roam in Tobin’s mouth, kissing her deeply, before easing up and giving her small kisses and biting her bottom lip.

“Babe.” Tobin whimpered as Christen let her bottom lip go from her teeth.

“Hmmm?” Christen asked, her eyes shut as she felt Tobin’s hands on her.

Tobin didn’t respond for a moment, dropping her hands to Christen’s hips and turning her around to face the shower wall. Tobin then reached down and laced both of her hands with Christen’s softly.

“Have I told you how perfect you are?” Tobin asked as she kissed the spot right between Christen’s shoulder blades.

Christen didn’t answer her, concentrating on the movement of Tobin’s lips on her back. Tobin took Christen’s hands and lifted them up above her head, pinning them to the wall of the shower and pushing her weight into Christen a little.

“You’re so sexy.” Tobin breathed between kisses. “I just want to make you feel good all the time.”

She was using her thigh to inch Christen’s legs apart from behind, both of their hands still pinned to the wall above their heads.

She dropped her left hand from where it was laced with Christen’s, finding her hip and running it up her stomach, until she reached Christen’s left breast. Tobin began to massage Christen’s breast, finding her nipple and rolling it between her fingers.

“Tobin.” Christen moaned out. She was looking down, watching Tobin’s strong hand play with her breast, loving the way she cupped her perfectly.  

Tobin then dropped her right hand from Christen’s as well, finding both of her breasts now and mirroring the motion of her hands.

Christen was getting a little anxious, needing to feel more contact than just Tobin’s thigh pushing between her legs. “Baby.” Christen moaned again at Tobin’s movements.

Tobin seemed to understand, given Christen’s tone. She was ready to give her more.

“Keep your hands on the wall.” Tobin instructed, her voice stern and dripping with want.

Christen nodded slightly, as Tobin dropped to her knees behind Christen. She placed a kiss to Christen’s lower back, as her hands started to work their way down her ass cheeks.

Tobin let her hands roam slowly down, until they were gripping the back of Christen’s legs, just under her butt.

“Baby, spread your legs a little more.” Tobin pleaded from down below. Christen did as she was told, scooting her feet apart a little more as her hands remained on the shower wall.

Tobin brought her left hand up and ran it through Christen’s folds once, before cupping her center.

“Mmmm.” Christen moaned again. Tobin stood up and pressed her body into Christen’s, her hardened nipples apparent on Christen’s back.

Tobin kept her left hand on Christen from behind, starting to massage her center gently.

“I want to make you come.” Tobin husked into Christen’s ear.

“Fuck.” Christen urged her on. “Please.”

Tobin inserted two fingers into Christen’s, thrusting them in and out so slowly.

“Oh my god.” Christen cried out. She was loving the angle of Tobin’s hand from behind. That had always been her favorite position.

Tobin continued her movements, in and out slowly, before picking up her pace a little, making sure the palm of her hand was rubbing against Christen while her fingers were inside of her.  

Christen felt like she was going to explode, wanting to grab onto anything other than the shower wall in front of her.

Tobin used her right hand to again find Christen’s breast, rolling her nipple in sync with her left hand moving in and out of Christen’s slit.

When Christen’s legs started to shake with pleasure, Tobin dropped to her knees again, spinning Christen around quickly. Christen let her back hit the shower wall a little roughly as Tobin’s mouth found her center.

Tobin sucked Christen’s clit into her mouth and circled her tongue around it, before inserting her fingers inside of Christen one last time.

“Fuck. Baby.” Christen moaned again. She fell over the edge as Tobin’s tongue made another pass through her.

Christen reached her hand down and found the back of Tobin’s head, pulling her face closer into her center. Christen arched her back off the wall and rode out her orgasm, not giving Tobin any room to breath for a moment. Tobin was loving the intimacy of being surrounded by Christen’s pleasure.

After a few minutes, when the last feeling of pleasure left her body, Christen dropped to the floor of the shower to meet Tobin. They kneeled under the water for several minutes, holding onto each other and not speaking.

“I love you. I love you.” Christen was whispering into Tobin’s shoulder under the stream of hot water.

Tobin started to laugh, knowing Christen was blissed out. “Did that feel good?”

Christen moaned again just thinking of it. “Fuck. That was the best orgasm I’ve ever had in my life.”

Tobin just smiled and kissed Christen softly. She was so in love with the perfect green-eyed girl in front of her.

“It’s your turn.” Christen smiled after a moment. “Can we go to the bed though?”

Tobin nodded and stood up, offering her hand to Christen. They shut the water off and lightly dried off before Christen was pulling Tobin to the bed. She didn’t really care that they would make the sheets damp, it was a big bed.

Christen wasted no time going down on Tobin, sucking and licking at all the right places. And Tobin didn’t take long to come under the guide of Christen’s expertly worked tongue.

When they were both exhausted, Christen laid back on the mattress and Tobin crawled on top of her, before they dozed off for a while.

They spent the rest of the night ordering room service and cuddling, while watching reruns of old tv shows in their hotel room. They were just content to be together.

The couple ended up taking the ferry to Harbor Island on Sunday, when it was a little cooler and a little more manageable. They had a blast renting kayaks and paddling around the harbor, spending the day getting a look at Boston from a slightly different view. Christen and Tobin were both glad they got a chance to do it, even though they loved their change of plans the day before as well.

Sunday night they had a fancy lobster and seafood dinner at a place that Jonathan and Claire had recommended to them. Tobin paid the bill and held Christen’s hand as they strolled back to their hotel in the late evening hours, feeling tired from another long day in the sun.

Christen teased Tobin as they changed into their sleep shirts, loving that Tobin was still wearing her Stanford shirt everywhere she went. Tobin was about to roll her eyes until she saw Christen pull out her US Soccer t-shirt from her bag and put it on as well.

“I hope some things never change.” Christen smiled as they climbed into bed. Wearing each other’s shirts had definitely become their thing.

“So I was thinking..” Christen spoke up after they had been lying in the darkness for a few minutes, neither of them asleep yet.

“About what?” Tobin asked in a quiet voice.

“I think I need a vacation after these last few crazy weeks.” Christen responded.

“Yea, you’ve definitely earned one.” Tobin agreed. She ran her hand over Christen’s hair as they laid there.

“The week after next, you have two home games right?” Christen wanted to confirm what she remembered of Tobin’s schedule.

“Yea, I think so.” Tobin nodded, she was never that good at remembering what games were coming up.

“I think I wanna take that week off.” Christen explained. “And come stay with you.”

“Seriously?” Tobin asked happily.

“Yea, would you be okay with that?”

“Babe, that would be amazing.” Tobin smiled. “I would love that.”

Christen started to laugh at Tobin’s excitement. “So would I.”

“Good, then I may just never let you leave.” Tobin grinned, kissing Christen one last time.

Christen returned the kiss and let her head fall; closing her eyes with the thought that if it came down to it, and her hand was forced, she just might be okay with staying with Tobin forever.

Chapter Text

Tobin was laying on her living room floor, giggling lightly at the sensation of two tiny feet attempting to walk up her stomach. She was holding onto the tiny pair of legs, trying to help the small child balance. He stumbled a little, falling down onto Tobin’s chest, so she pulled him into a hug instead, both of them laughing hysterically.

“Luke, do you love your Tobin?” Amy asked from the dining room table as she noticed the commotion on the floor.  

It was a Tuesday night and Tobin’s friend and National Team teammate, Amy, and her two boys were in Portland with FC Kansas City. They had just finished a game against the Thorns and were now hanging out at Tobin’s apartment, catching up before Amy took the kids back to the hotel.

Christen was there as well, sitting at the table coloring with Ryan, Amy’s older son. She had taken the week off of work and had been in town since Sunday evening; arriving about the same time that Tobin got in from National Team camp in Orlando.

Tobin let go of Luke and watched him stand up and run towards his mom. Tobin’s eyes drifted to her girlfriend at the table, who was smiling at Ryan and the drawing he was showing her. Tobin felt the butterflies in her stomach for a moment, loving how they seemed to be getting along well already.

“Honey, come look at Ryan’s drawing.” Christen turned around to look Tobin. “It’s of you and Amy.”

Tobin smiled and rolled over, standing up and making her way to the table. She leaned on the back of Christen’s chair, looking down over Christen and Ryan’s shoulders at the four year old’s drawing. It was two stick figures and what appeared to be an oval shaped ball.

“Is that me and your mom, buddy?” Tobin asked the young boy.

“Yea!” He nodded happily. “You’re winning.”

Tobin and Christen both started to laugh at his words.

“Wow, it’s very life-like.” Tobin joked at Ryan’s words, raising her eyes to look at Amy.

The Thorns had won again tonight, beating Kansas City 3-0, to remain undefeated on the season. Tobin had been in a groove lately, already notching five assists and two goals through six games. She felt like she was playing the best soccer of her life.

“Very funny, Tobs.” Amy smiled. She handed Luke over to Tobin again, starting to pack up the coloring books and crayons that Ryan and Christen had been using.

“It’s way past your bedtime, Ry.” Amy said to her son. It was late; much later than either young boy got to stay up usually, but Amy made an exception so they could spend time with Tobin.

Christen and Amy had spent the last hour sitting at the table, immersed in a conversation about growing up in Southern California and what life was like there now. Tobin was loving how easily the got along already. It was important to her that her friends got to know Christen, and every one who had so far loved her.

“Ryan, can I keep this drawing?” Christen asked as she stacked the paper and coloring books, handing them over to Amy to put away.

“Sure!” He nodded with a smile.

“I’m gonna hang it on Tobin’s fridge.” Christen smiled back.

“Then you can see Tobs beating Mommy every day.” He laughed.

He thought it was awesome that his cool auntie Tobin was so good at soccer. They played every chance they got.

“Okay, ya little rascal.” Amy calmed him down. “Geez, I didn’t think I was that bad.”

They all laughed at Amy’s son teasing her, before Amy scooped Luke up again, making her way towards the door to put their shoes on.

“Ry, grab your stuff please.” Amy instructed, insisting that it was time for them to head back to the team hotel. They had a flight out of Portland pretty early the next morning.

“Bye buddy!” Tobin smiled, lifting Ryan up over her shoulder and hugging him tightly. “I will see you soon okay?

He just nodded and hugged her back. Tobin set him down and without hesitation, Ryan turned to Christen at the table and gave her a hug too.

“See ya, Ryan. It was nice to meet you.” Christen smiled. She loved how sweet of a gesture the hug was, especially for just meeting the little boy.

“Bye.” He grinned, running to the door where Amy was holding his shoes for him.

Amy gave Christen a warm hug to say goodbye. “Keep this one in line for me, Christen.” She smiled over her shoulder.

Tobin rolled her eyes and made her way to the door. She helped Amy carry all of their stuff down to the team van that she borrowed, making sure the kids got situated okay.

“Tobs! She is awesome.” Amy reflected on Christen with a grin as her and Tobin hugged in front of the van, once all of their stuff was loaded.

“Yea, she is.” Tobin nodded, loving the validation from one of her oldest friends.

“I’m glad you’re happy.” Amy smiled again, opening the driver side door.

“Me too. It was good to see you.” Tobin smiled, watching as Amy got in the van.

“Call me soon?” Amy asked, reaching for the handle of the door.

“Of course.” Tobin agreed. “Bye guys!” She leaned in to look into the back seat where Ryan and Luke were strapped into their car seats.

Amy shut her door and pulled out of her parking space. Tobin watched them drive out of sight before she headed back inside, taking the elevator up to her apartment again.

Tobin found Christen lying on the couch, reading a book she had started this week. She looked so cozy, curled up under Tobin’s mermaid blanket, concentrating on the words on the page.

“Hey babe.” Tobin smiled, sitting down next to Christen.

“Hi love.” Christen grinned, adjusting herself so that she was leaning into Tobin, before diverting her attention back to her book.

They sat there in silence for a while, Christen reading while Tobin rubbed her back lightly, watching her. Tobin was just enjoying the quietness of the apartment. When Christen finished the chapter she was on, she closed the book and dropped it to the floor, before turning to look at her girlfriend.

“You know what I loved about tonight?” Christen asked as she grabbed Tobin’s hand.

“My team winning again?” Tobin smiled and intertwined her fingers with Christen’s.

Christen laughed. “Well, I suppose that too, since it makes you happy, but that wasn’t what I was thinking of.”

“What did you love?” Tobin asked, waiting for Christen to explain.

Christen leaned in and kissed Tobin’s cheek sweetly before she spoke.

“I loved watching you with Ryan and Luke. They absolutely adore you.” Christen smiled. “You’re so good with both of them.”

Every time she had looked up at Tobin while their guests were over, she found herself beaming at the brown eyed woman. It was obvious to Christen how much Tobin loved them both. It made Christen’s heart beat a little faster all night.

“They are the best.” Tobin grinned. “I think Ryan might already have a crush on you. Watch out for that one, he’s a heartbreaker.” She laughed and squeezed Christen’s hand once.

“He’s a sweetheart.” Christen agreed. “And Amy is so nice.”

Tobin just nodded, putting her arm around Christen and pulling her in a little closer. They stayed cuddled up on the couch for a little while longer, before Tobin yawned and suggested they go to bed.

Christen got up and stuck her hand out, pulling Tobin up off the couch as they made their way to the bedroom. They changed into their pajamas and brushed their teeth next to each other, grinning and bumping shoulders as they got ready. It had become a routine of theirs throughout the week, flirting playfully before bed.

“Chris?” Tobin asked in the darkness after they had settled under the covers. Christen was tucked into her usual spot, halfway on top of Tobin.

“Hmm?” Christen whispered. She had found Tobin’s hand resting on the mattress and was playing with the ring on her middle finger casually.

“Do you think you want kids someday?” Tobin wondered quietly. She had been thinking the night over in her head as she was waiting to fall asleep, remembering how much she loved watching Christen with the boys.

“Yea, definitely.” Christen answered. She realized they must have been thinking about the same thing, since she was imagining Tobin and Luke on the floor from earlier at the same time. “Do you want kids?” She asked back softly.

“Yea.” Tobin nodded. “Kids are awesome.”

They both smiled to themselves, as Christen snuggled a little closer into Tobin.  It was one of those down-the-line thoughts that they hadn’t discussed yet, but they both felt happy drifting to sleep, knowing where they stood on the subject.

The next morning they got up and ate breakfast together, before Tobin had to go to the stadium. The Thorns had a recovery and film session on the schedule for the day, after their game the night before; and then Tobin and Allie were volunteering for Stand Together Portland during the afternoon.

Stand Together was a community outreach program that the Thorns and Timbers participated in throughout their seasons. The teams would help build houses and playgrounds for the community, mentor young kids in after school and summer programs, and raise money for different projects throughout Portland.

Tobin and Allie had decided that for this round of volunteering, they would meet with a summer camp; to play soccer and do whatever the kids wanted to do for the afternoon.

Christen knew that Tobin had a busy week before she booked her flight to Portland, but she was more than happy for them to each do their own thing and spend time together during the evenings.

“I gotta go, babe.” Tobin said, looking at the clock on the oven. She downed the last bit of her orange juice and stuck the glass in the dishwasher.

“You’ll be home before dinner, right?” Christen double checked Tobin’s day. She wanted to run to the store and get stuff to make them something to eat. She loved cooking for Tobin.

“Yep.” Tobin nodded. She walked to the other side of the island where Christen was sitting on a stool, wrapping her arms around her from behind. “What are you gonna do all day?”

“I’m gonna go for a jog here in a bit, and then probably walk to the store.” Christen responded. She brought her hands up to grab Tobin’s that were around her shoulders.

“I will miss you.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s hair, giving her a quick kiss.

Christen smiled. She wiggled out of Tobin’s grip so she could stand up and give her a real hug.

“Love you, have fun with the kids.” Christen smiled and kissed Tobin’s lips.

“I love you too.” Tobin smiled. She let go of Christen and picked up her workout bag, giving her girlfriend one more kiss before heading for the door.

Christen spent the rest of her morning finishing her book on the couch with a second cup of coffee. When she was done with it, she changed into some workout clothes and a pair of sneakers, making her way down to the lobby and out into the Portland afternoon.

Tobin had given Christen her spare key, so she could come and go as she pleased and Christen was loving being able to explore the city on her own while Tobin was busy.

It was a rainy but warm day outside, so Christen figured she’d head up to Washington Park and do a trail run. Her and Tobin had done some hiking inside of the park earlier in the week, so she felt like she knew her way around enough not to get lost.

Christen put her headphones in and took off, jogging through the streets of Portland. When she reached the park entrance, she slowed to a stop so she could look at the park map that was displayed. She decided on a route, and followed the signs towards it.

Christen loved how big and grand all of the evergreen trees were inside of the park. She felt so small underneath them. It was so freeing for her to just be apart of nature, even if she was still in the heart of Portland. It was the perfect urban escape.

She took deep breathes in and out, inhaling the freshness that was in the air. Something about the Pacific Northwest just smelled clean and earthy to her.

After walking through the park for a while, Christen found the trail she was looking for. She set her fitbit and started to jog again, wanting to get a couple miles of trail running in. The rain had died off and she took her time dodging mud puddles as she ran.

When she finished the looping trail and was making her way back towards the park exit, she spotted a dog standing next to a nearby road, watching as cars drove by. Christen immediately panicked a little, worried that the dog would step out into traffic and get hit by a driver that didn’t see it.

She jogged up to the dog quickly, calling out to try and get it’s attention. “Hey buddy!” Christen yelled. “Come here!”

Christen knelt down and the dog quickly trotted over, letting Christen pet her. Christen noticed the dog was a female. She had light brown fur and small floppy ears with big golden brown eyes. The dog reminded Christen of her two dogs at home, and she found herself missing them suddenly.

“Hey girl, what’s your name?” Christen questioned out loud, like the dog could answer her.

The pup had no tags or collar on. She was a little thin looking, all wet and dirty from being outside. Christen’s heart ached at the thought of this dog being abandoned by someone. She sat there and petted the dog for several minutes and the dog just loved the attention. She laid down calmly as Christen stroked her damp fur,  looking at Christen like she was smiling.

Christen didn’t know what to do. There weren’t any people around to ask if they’d recognized the dog and she didn’t know where she could bring her. Maybe she belonged to someone and was just missing?

Christen stood back up and started to walk a few steps, seeing what the dog would do. As soon as Christen turned her back on the dog, the dog stood up as well and took a couple steps after Christen.

Christen smiled at that reaction, taking another short walk. Sure enough, the dog followed right along, stopping next to Christen again. They looked at each other and Christen laughed at their silent exchange.

“You’re a good girl, huh?” She commented. The dog started to wag her tail and Christen reached down to pat her head again.

Christen bit her lip and thought about what to do. She wished she could call Tobin, but she knew Tobin was busy with her volunteering event and wouldn’t answer her phone anyway. It was only 4:00 and Tobin wouldn’t be done for another hour at least.

The dog stuck her tongue out and licked Christen’s hand softly, and Christen was left with no choice.

“Alright, let’s go.” Christen motioned with her head and started to walk again.

She was nervous about walking the dog through downtown and back to Tobin’s apartment. There was no collar or leash to make sure she didn’t bolt into traffic, so Christen walked slow, making sure the dog kept up.

Step for step they walked perfectly with each other. When Christen would stop for a crosswalk, the dog would pause right beside her, like they had trained this a hundred times. Christen would smile each time she looked down, feeling a sense of companionship already with the cute dog.

They made it to Tobin’s apartment a half hour later. Christen opened the door to the lobby and the dog paused, unsure of whether it was okay to enter.

“Come on, girl.” Christen encourage her. She wanted to take her upstairs and give her a bath and maybe some food, before she figured out her next steps.

The dog stepped forward at Christen’s words, and they waited next to each other in front of the elevator. Christen led her down the hall and to Tobin’s door, fishing the key out of her pocket and opening it.

“Okay, stay here.” Christen instructed to the dog as they stepped inside Tobin’s apartment. “Stay.”

The dog just looked at her and waited. Christen kicked off her wet tennis shoes and walked to Tobin’s bathroom, finding an older looking towel. She walked back to the door where the dog had waited obediently, bending down to dry the dog off.

“You’re such a good listener.” Christen complimented the dog as she wiped the mud off her fur and paws. “What should we call you, girl? Huh?” She cooed in a playful voice. “How about Zoey?”

The dog started to wag her tail harder at the name. “Oh you like Zoey?” Christen asked her with a laugh. The dog licked her face a little.

When the dogs paws were no longer muddy, Christen led her to the bathroom, running the water in the tub. Christen looked around, trying to find something to use to wash the dog. She had nothing else but Tobin’s shampoo and conditioner in the shower, which clearly weren’t meant for animals.

“Well, at least you’ll smell good.” Christen shrugged with a smile.

“Okay, come here, girl.” Christen called her over to the tub. She put her hand in the water and splashed it lightly. “Hop in!”

The dog listened, stepping over the tub and into the water. She immediately sat down in the warm water, wagging her tail again a couple times. Christen laughed as a little water splashed her.

“Zoey, do you like the warm water?” Christen asked, squirting some shampoo into her hands.

Christen started to massage the shampoo into the dog's fur, feeling her ribs under her skin. She was clearly underfed. Christen felt another pang in her heart, wondering when the last time the dog ate anything was.

While Christen was giving the dog a bath, Tobin was coming up the elevator of the apartment building, home after her day out. Tobin unlocked the front door and stepped into her apartment, noticing Christen shoes and the muddy towel lying in front of the door.

“Chris?” Tobin yelled into the apartment as she took her own shoes off.

Christen faintly heard her named called from the other room. “Uh oh.” Christen smiled at the dog. “I think somebody is home..”

“Babe?” Tobin yelled again, walking into the kitchen.

“Yea?” Christen yelled back, unsure if Tobin could hear her from the bathroom. “Zoey, stay. Okay?” Christen asked the dog.

She stood up and dried her hands for a moment, walking out of the bathroom.

“Hey babe.” Tobin smiled when she saw Christen coming down the hallway. “How was your day?”

Christen started to laugh, not answering Tobin until she got right in front of her. “Guess what?” Christen said with a smile. Tobin leaned in and kissed Christen’s lips quickly.

Tobin’s attention was drawn away for her girlfriend when they both heard a splash coming from the bathroom.

“Is someone here?” Tobin asked with a puzzled look on her face. “What was that?”

Christen pursed her lips and then smiled. “That was Zoey.” She said hesitantly.

“Who is Zoey?” Tobin asked again.

Christen grabbed Tobin’s hand and pulled her towards the bathroom. When she rounded the corner, her face went a little red. The dog had shook the water off of herself while Christen was out of the room, and there was water splashed everywhere in the bathroom. Zoey was back to laying down in the warm water of the tub.

“Honey.. This is Zoey.” Christen smiled weakly as Tobin entered the room behind her.

“What the...?” Tobin blurted out. “There is a dog in the bathtub..”

Christen just looked at Tobin silently, and bit her lip again. Tobin looked between the dog and her girlfriend a couple of times.

“Christen, who’s dog is this?” Tobin asked again after a moment. She was still puzzled.

“I don’t know.” Christen admitted, looking at Tobin again.

“What does that mean?” Tobin asked, not understanding.

“I mean I found her during my run and she kind of just followed me home.” Christen explained. “She doesn’t have a collar or any tags, and I couldn’t just leave her!”

Christen knelt down next to the tub and and Zoey stood up, wagging her tail as Christen petted her again.

“She’s so good! Come pet her.” Christen urged.

Tobin sighed and stepped forward. As uneasy as she was about this dog, she had to admit she was really cute. And Tobin couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pet a cute dog.

Tobin kneeled down next to Christen and reached out to pet Zoey. She laughed a little when the dog licked her hand. Christen smiled, knowing Tobin was softening already.

“How do you know her name is Zoey?” Tobin asked.

“I don’t.” Christen shrugged. “That’s just what I’m calling her.”

“Babe..” Tobin groaned a little. “You named her?”

“Tobs, I can’t just not call her anything.” Christen defended.

“Yea and now you’re going to be attached, I know it.” Tobin whined. “She probably has a home. We have to try and figure out who her family is.”

“I know.” Christen nodded. Her tone was almost a little sad. She knew they would need to take the dog to the vet and see if she was chipped, and try to find the owner.

“I didn’t know what to do so I figured I would just clean her up and we could give her something to eat, before we take her in.” Christen mentioned.

Tobin looked at her and nodded.

“Sorry..” Christen whispered.

Tobin sat down next to the tub and pulled Christen onto her lap, so Christen was sitting looking at Zoey. “Baby, don’t be sorry. We will figure it out.” Tobin smiled and kissed Christen’s cheek.

They dried Zoey off and brought her out to the living room. Tobin made some rice and chicken for the dog to eat, while Christen laid on the living room floor with her.

As Zoey scarfed down the food, Tobin found the closest vet that was open during evening hours. She called them and made sure they could bring the dog in that night.

An hour later, Zoey jumped into the back end of Tobin’s Jeep, and the three of them were heading to the vet to get the dog checked out and hopefully find out where her home was.

It turned out that Zoey did not have a chip, and without any tags, there was no way for the vet to identify her. He guessed that Zoey was maybe two or three years old, and that she was healthy, as far as he could tell. Christen insisted that the vet give Zoey all the precautionary shots, just to make sure she was covered.

“So we can keep her here and bring her to the animal shelter tomorrow, if you’d like.” The vet offered to them.

“Are we allowed to keep her with us?” Christen asked the vet hesitantly, she wasn’t sure how these things usually worked with stray dogs.

When the words came out of her mouth, she turned around and looked at Tobin, realizing she should probably check with her girlfriend, since it was her apartment after all.

Tobin sighed, knowing they were getting themselves into a little bit of a situation. She was quiet for a moment as Christen and the vet both looked at her.

“Well, we can just leave her..” Tobin gave in, running her hand through her hair.

Christen grinned and bent down to hug Zoey again.

Christen paid the vet bill and all three of them hopped back into Tobin’s Jeep. Tobin let the dog into the backseat this time, and they drove out of the parking lot with Zoey standing on the center console between them, looking out the windshield.

Christen smiled and grabbed Tobin’s hand. “Thank you baby.”

Tobin just nodded with a smile. She was loving it more than she was letting on.

They made a late night stop at Target and bought a dog bed, dog food and a couple toys, so Zoey would have something to call her own, at least for now. Christen promised she would take a picture of Zoey tomorrow and put a Lost Dog ad up on Craigslist, to try and find her owner.

They laid Zoey’s bed in the corner of Tobin’s bedroom, and she curled up on it quickly as Tobin and Christen got ready for bed. It was crazy how well behaved she was in her new environment.

Christen climbed into bed and just curled up on her side, watching Zoey in the corner. Tobin came into the room a minute later and laughed at Christen, shutting the light off and crawling across the mattress, before settling in behind Christen.

“Do you think she’ll sleep there all night?” Christen wondered aloud as Tobin pulled her in.

“I guess we’ll find out.” Tobin laughed. “I can’t believe we are taking care of a dog.”

Christen rolled over to face Tobin and kissed her slowly. “Thanks again for tonight.”

Tobin kissed her back for a moment. “I couldn’t tell you no even if I wanted to.” She grinned. “But I didn’t want to anyway. She’s a good dog. I’m glad we can help her.”

They talked quietly for a while about Tobin’s day and what she did during her volunteering event, falling asleep a while later to the sounds of Zoey snoring softly on her bed.

Christen was woken up in the darkness a little while later by a heavy weight pressing down on her legs. She quickly sat up, confused about what was happening, when she noticed Zoey cuddling up against her on the bed. Christen looked over at Tobin, who was still sound asleep, before she pulled Zoey up the bed and hugged her tight against her body, grinning happily before her and the dog fell back to sleep.

When Tobin woke up in the morning, she lifted her head off the pillow to notice that she was spooning Christen and Christen was spooning Zoey. She just shook her head and laughed, kissing Christen’s neck softly.

God I love you.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s skin, before climbing out of bed and heading for the bathroom.

They spent the next couple days in the same sort of routine. They would take Zoey to the dog park early in the morning and grab coffee on the way home, before either of them had other obligations to attend to for the day.

When Tobin got home from practice on Thursday night, they had dinner together before cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie. Zoey was positioned right in between them on the sofa, already claiming it like she owned the place. Tobin reached over the dog and grabbed Christen’s hand, smiling at her as the movie played.

“Seems like our sex life is about to take a hit.” Tobin joked and looked down at the dog, knowing full well that if she wasn’t in between them, the movie would have been forgotten a half hour ago.

“I’d never let that happen.” Christen smiled. “You’re too sexy for that.” She winked, earning a laugh from Tobin.

“So I guess nobody is going to claim her..?” Tobin spoke again after a moment.

“It kind of seems that way.”  Christen agreed. “I can’t believe she was a stray. She’s such a good dog.”

She had made a Craigslist ad like she had promised, with no results so far.

“What do you want to do about that?” Christen wondered to Tobin. She was unsure of what Tobin was thinking going forward.

“Well I’d say we’re pretty attached at this point.” Tobin shrugged. “She did sleep in our bed the past two nights.”

“What about when you travel?” Christen asked, knowing Tobin was never in Portland for long with her club and national team commitments.

“I mean I guess I can drive up at some point and take her home with me.” Christen suggested when Tobin didn’t respond right away.

“No way, Portland is her home.” Tobin quickly nixed that idea. She actually was really looking forward to having Zoey around. They’d become close after only a couple days.

“Look at you, you love her!” Christen laughed.

Tobin nodded. “Plus, Allie said Bati would be happy to watch Zoey whenever you or I can’t be here with her.”

Christen got butterflies in her stomach with the way Tobin was talking about them and Zoey.

“We’ll make it work.” Christen agreed. She was so happy.

“I can’t believe we have a dog!” Tobin laughed.

“Ahhh! I know!” Christen grinned. “I love you and I love her.”  She smiled before climbing over Zoey’s sleeping body and straddling Tobin on the couch.

“And she loves you, and I love her and I really love you.” Tobin laughed, pulling Christen’s face down until their lips connected.

Christen leaned into Tobin’s ear when they pulled apart. “Shhh. If we’re quiet, we can make it to the bedroom without waking her up.” She grinned and bit Tobin’s earlobe softly.

Tobin felt the fire in her stomach at Christen’s mouth on her. “After you.” She whispered.

They both tiptoed to Tobin’s room, getting half undressed before Zoey noticed their absence and wandered down the hallway to find them.

They just laughed when she came around the corner, falling into bed and letting her join them. They’d work on their sex life another time.

Tobin had practice Friday during the day, followed by a meeting and team dinner. They had a game Saturday night, and the day before game days were always busy for the team.

Christen hung out with Zoey, taking her on a walk and grabbing coffee at a cafe she had started to love, sitting outside so Zoey could sit at the table with her.

When Christen got back to Tobin’s place, she tried to get some work done on her laptop while Zoey napped at her feet.

Christen opened her work email for the first time in a few days to see a string of emails from her boss about the sponsorship presentation she gave in Boston. Her heart started to race as she quickly clicked on the last email in the thread.

She scanned it quickly, gathering that the sponsorship partners had agreed to invest $500,000 in UNICEF to get the Clean Water Initiative off the ground. Christen jumped up quickly, looking for her phone. Her excitement startled Zoey, who also hopped to her feet and barked a couple times.

“Sorry, Z.” Christen quieted down, petting her quickly. She sat back down on the couch for a moment, reminding herself to finish reading the email chain so she had all the information before she called anyone.

One paragraph in particular caught her attention almost immediately.

They are looking for a team of 3-5 people to do the grassroots work on this, with one supervisor position overseeing the project. They would like the team to be based out of New York, as that’s where their headquarters are. If I get any recommendations, you’ll be first on my list.

Christen read those three sentences several times in a row. She was filled excitement at her boss’s willingness to help her get the job, but she was uneasy about the location instantly. All she’s ever known is California.

I can’t wait to tell Tobin. Christen thought immediately. She thought Tobin would be proud of her, knowing how hard she had worked on the project.

Christen glanced at the clock on the wall, seeing what time it was. She knew Tobin was in the middle of her meeting and wouldn’t answer her call, so she got up to find her phone, texting her sister quickly instead.

{Christen}: CALL ME ASAP.

She sent the text and started to pace around Tobin’s apartment. So many thoughts were running through her mind. She couldn’t believe her hard work had actually paid off. She got the sponsorship.

Her sister’s reply came back a minute later.

{Big Sis}: Ok, I have five minutes left of this meeting. What’s up?

{Christen} Can we Skype? I have news and want to see your face when I tell you.

Just over five minutes later, Christen’s laptop was ringing in the living room with an incoming Skype call from her older sister Tyler.

Christen answered the call and settled on the couch with Zoey climbing up right next to her. They spent a couple minutes gushing over the dog again, for the third day in a row, before Tyler couldn’t wait anymore.

Christen read her the email out loud and they both yelled loudly with excitement over each other. Tyler assured her in her best Older Sister voice that Christen was a lock for the job. They also discussed what the whole New York aspect meant, but decided not to worry about that for now. Everything would work itself out like it was supposed to.

After about twenty minutes, they finally shifted to other subjects and were just making small talk through the computer screen.

Tobin had finished her team strategy meeting and was heading for home, excited to get back to Christen and Zoey. She absolutely loved that she got to come home to Christen every night this week. It felt so perfect and natural for them.
 
Tobin wasted no time leaving the stadium, making the short walk back to her apartment and riding the elevator up to her floor.

When she reached her floor, she walked down the hallway and opened the door to her apartment, walking in and kicking her shoes off. She quickly noticed that Christen was Skyping on her laptop so she tried to be quiet.

Christen waved to Tobin as Tyler was talking about her schedule for the next week.

“Hi honey.” Christen smiled when Tyler finished her sentence.

“Hey you.” Tobin smiled. She walked to where Christen was sitting on the couch, standing behind her and looking at the laptop screen.

“Hey Tyler.” Tobin waved politely.

“Hey Tobin! Sounds like you and Christen are having a great week.” Tyler smiled.

“We are.” Tobin nodded. “It’s been pretty awesome.”

She put her hands on Christen’s shoulders and squeezed lovingly. They stood there and talked for a few minutes about Tyler’s plans for the weekend, before Tyler changed the subject again.

“Anyway enough about me. Tobin, did Chris tell you about the Sponsorship yet?” Tyler asked excitedly. She wasn’t aware that they hadn’t had a chance to talk all day.

“Ah no, not yet.” Tobin answered her, the cheer in her voice fading to confusion.

Christen turned her head upside down to meet Tobin’s eyes above her. Tobin just looked down at her unknowingly for a moment.

“Well, I’ll let you two go. Chris probably wants to celebrate her soon-to-be job offer. New York City, look out!” Tyler laughed, letting another burst of excitement escape for her little sister.

Christen cringed immediately as she felt Tobin’s hands tense up on her shoulders.

Tobin pulled her hands away from Christen and backed up slightly. “See ya.” She offered weakly, making her way to the kitchen.

“Bye, Ty. I’ll call you when I’m home.” Christen attempted to smile. She suddenly felt like her whole day was about to go south.

They hung up their Skype call and Christen closed the laptop. She turned to look at Tobin who was standing in the kitchen, her hands gripping the counter top tightly, with her head looking down at the floor. Both of their moods had changed in a split second.

“New York?” Tobin said quietly. It wasn’t even a question so much as it was a statement. “How long have you known?”

“Tobin..” Christen offered quietly, knowing Tobin was upset instantly about being blindsided with the news she just got.

“Seriously, Chris?” Tobin cut in with a sigh. “You know.. It would have been nice to hear that news from you.”

Her voice was filled with a mixture of sadness and hurt. She felt like Christen had been keeping it from her.

Tobin didn’t wait for Christen to say anything back. She dropped her glass into the sink and turned to walk towards her bedroom, shutting the door behind her as soon as she got there.

“Damn it.” Christen whispered into the silence.

That’s not at all how she wanted Tobin to find out. She knew her girlfriend was totally blindsided by what she just learned.
 
Christen felt the tears of frustration rise almost to surface, before she cleared her throat and pushed them back down. What just happened? She thought to herself.

Zoey lifted her head off the couch and dropped it onto Christen’s lap, offering her a little comfort.

Christen patted her head a little, whispering down the the dog on her lap. “I think I’m in trouble..”

Chapter Text

Christen could hear the shower turn on from down the hall as she sat on the couch, trying to figure out what to do next. She let Zoey rest her head on her lap for a while, just petting the dog while she waited for the shower to turn off again. She let her mind replay their conversation, or lack there of, a few times in a row; trying to figure out how it went so poorly.

After about twenty minutes, Christen slid out from underneath the dog and took a deep breath, standing up and slowly walking down the hall towards Tobin’s bedroom. She paused in front of the door for a moment, listening for any sounds coming from inside.

Finally she gave in and knocked lightly. “Tobin?” She said into the door in front of her.

There was no answer from inside. Christen turned the door handle and slowly pushed the door open. She could see Tobin sitting on the edge of the bed facing away from her, looking out the window in her room at the view of downtown Portland.

“Tobs..” Christen said again. Tobin turned her head slightly at the sound of Christen’s voice before she refocused her attention back on the window, like she was looking for something happening on the street down below.

Christen walked to the near side of the bed and climbed onto it, slowly crawling across it to get closer to Tobin. Neither of them said anything in the quiet room.

“That obviously isn’t how I wanted you to find out.” Christen said softly after a minute. Tobin just let out a drawn out breath and then nodded a tiny bit. Her hands were resting on her thighs, balled up into fists. The vexation was radiating off of her body.

Christen leaned in and rested her face on Tobin’s back, right at her shoulder blade. She was hoping the scent of Tobin would soothe her a little. And that maybe her touch would calm Tobin down. All she could smell was the detergent from Tobin’s t-shirt and the shampoo from her freshly washed hair.

They sat there in silence again for a moment. It was driving Christen crazy that Tobin wouldn’t acknowledge her. She couldn’t let the quietness linger any longer.

“I can tell that you’re upset with me.” Christen whispered. She felt her throat tightening again in frustration.

“I’m…” Tobin started to speak in a small voice but then stopped again immediately. “Can I just have a few minutes please?” She asked in a distant voice.

Christen swallowed down the lump in her throat and pulled back from resting against Tobin. She was hoping that the loss of contact would make Tobin turn around, or shift, or anything. Still, Tobin sat unmoved in silence.

Christen turned around and climbed off the bed, the same way she came, making her way back to the door at Tobin’s request. Right before she grabbed the door handle she turned back around to look at Tobin one more time.

“You know the really shitty thing about this?” Christen questioned in a sad voice before she walked out of the bedroom, not giving Tobin the chance to ignore her again.

“I was really excited to tell you about this.. All afternoon. I couldn’t wait for you to get home. So I could tell you that all of my hard work paid off. And that I accomplished something. You’re always the first person I want to tell everything to.”

She paused as she felt herself getting angry now at how this whole situation was playing out.

“But right now, all that work just feels like a waste.”

Christen didn’t wait for Tobin to respond this time, exiting the bedroom and pulling the door closed softly. She made her way back to the kitchen, giving Tobin the distance she wanted.

Tobin let herself fall back onto the bed as soon as she heard the door close. She ran her hand through her hair and felt the tears coming. She was so exasperated with the whole situation. This was not what she was expecting to come home to tonight.

Tobin laid there and let herself calm down for a few minutes. She started to repeat the conversation in her head over and over, trying to make sense of it all. What did Tyler even mean about New York, and a new job offer? Why did I just get so mad at Chris?

Christen . The one person who had quickly become Tobin’s whole world. She had a way of pulling every emotion out of Tobin and showing her what it actually felt like to be completely in love. And now here they were, in a weird limbo of confusion and frustration after an amazing week together.

Why does she ever have to leave me?

Tobin realized then that maybe that’s what it was. What was so upsetting about this for her. She had adjusted so quickly to having Christen there when she came home every night. And cuddled into her when she opened her eyes every morning. It had been a perfect week of just feeling like they had all the time in the world together.

This bit of information had totally pulled Tobin out of that feeling. It made her remember that Christen had to go back to California on Sunday. And now maybe to New York for good.

Tobin knew she should have given Christen an opportunity to explain. They hadn’t even gotten a chance to talk before Tobin stormed out of the room. She wasn’t proud of her reaction.

“Fuck.” Tobin whispered into the quietness of her bedroom, knowing she screwed up.

She quickly realized she didn’t want to waste another moment away from Christen. If they only had two more nights together this week, she was going to make the most of them.

Tobin stood up and made her way to the door, taking a deep breath before she opened it, going to find Christen. She hoped she could find the words to rectify their current situation, knowing sometimes words weren’t her strong suit.

Christen was leaning against the sink in the kitchen. Standing there with a glass of water in her hand and a lost look on her face. When Tobin rounded the corner Christen shifted a little, but her eyes didn’t move.

“Chris..” Tobin whispered hesitantly. She stopped a few feet from Christen and waited for her to move. She didn’t get a response for a moment, as Christen was deep in thought. Now it was Tobin’s turn to squirm under the silence.

“You didn’t kiss me when you got home.” Christen said slowly as she raised her eyes from the floor to meet Tobin’s.

”I didn’t like that.” She said again after a pause. Her voice was slow and defeated.

Tobin felt another pang of confusion. The change in subject catching her off guard again. She remembered her entrance and realized Christen was right, they hadn’t kissed yet.

Tobin nodded, letting Christen knew she understood.

They didn’t speak for a moment. Tobin just bit the inside of her bottom lip before Christen continued.

“You always kiss me when you see me..” She explained with hurt in her voice.

Tobin’s face looked broken with that statement. Like not kissing Christen every chance she got was the biggest regret of her life. If she had any, that would be at top of the list.

“I’m sorry, babe.” Tobin said quietly in response to Christen’s observation.

She was still planted in the middle of the kitchen, a few feet from Christen.

“And I’m sorry that I walked away. I shouldn’t have gotten so upset without talking to you.”

“You know I was going to tell you, right?” Christen spoke right away. Her voice was quiet and a still little angry. “As soon as I could, I was going to tell you. I tell you everything.. You were gone all afternoon.”

Tobin nodded quietly again, feeling terrible now. She knew she brought this fight on them because of her overreaction to Tyler’s vague words. It wasn’t her proudest moment.

“I know.” She just nodded. “I think I just panicked. I love having you here and it has been so perfect and I don’t want it to end. I hate when you leave.” Tobin’s voice cracked a little at that last part.

“Do you think it’s easy for me?” Christen almost laughed in frustration. “Do you think I like getting on a plane and leaving you every weekend? It’s just as hard for me as it is for you.”

“Of course not.” Tobin defended herself. “I know that it’s not easy, I just...”

They fell silent again as Tobin trailed off. Tobin let out another long breath.

“Christen, I just… I love you so much.” Tobin cleared her throat.

“And not the type of love that fades out and goes away. I love you in the way that it just gets stronger every day.  Like I didn’t even know I could feel this way about someone; I had no idea this feeling existed.. Everything about you being here just feels right . Falling asleep next to you. And making breakfast with you. And, I mean, we basically have a dog together now.” Tobin was rambling a little, but she needed Christen to know her feelings.

Christen finally softened at that, looking over at Zoey on the couch. Again loving this little bubble that they had created around them.

“I love you that much too, Tobin. This isn’t one sided.” Christen finally spoke.

She hated to think that maybe Tobin felt like she was more into this than Christen was. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Tobin didn’t wait and longer to close the gap between them, stepping towards her girlfriend. Christen opened her arms and waited for Tobin to reach her, hugging her tightly as soon as she did.

“I’m sorry.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s neck, breathing in her scent. They stood there for a moment before Christen pulled back to look at Tobin.

“Me too.” Christen nodded. She placed her hand on Tobin’s cheek, leaning in and kissing her once softly.

Tobin let her forehead rest against Christen’s as she collected her words.

“Babe..” She whispered and pulled back her face back so they could look at each other more easily. Their faces still just inches apart.

“I am sorry for being upset. I have just gotten so used to you being here, that I almost forgot that you have to leave again. And then to be caught off guard by this New York stuff… It was all just a lot for me to process.”

Christen nodded into Tobin’s shoulder, hugging her again. She understood Tobin’s point of view and it was a lot for Christen to process herself. She barely had any details yet.

When they pulled back from the hug again, Tobin grabbed Christen’s hand and drug her to the couch, falling into it and pulling Christen down on top of her.

“Babe, can you please tell me about your day?” Tobin decided to try and start over, with her arms wrapped around Christen.

Christen finally smiled for the first time since she hung up her Skype call with Tyler. She leaned in and kissed Tobin again, longer this time.

Tobin let her hand find the back of Christen’s neck, holding her as close as possible as their lips slotted together. Christen parted her lips and slid her tongue into Tobin’s mouth, kissing her slowly for a long moment.

“That’s what I want every time you come home to me.” Christen breathed when they broke the kiss.

Tobin just nodded, her lips still grazing Christen’s. They made eye contact for a second before Christen shifted a little. She bent down to grab her laptop from the coffee table where she had left it.

Christen opened her computer and pulled her email up on the screen again, wanting to read it word for word to Tobin. She didn’t want any piece of information that she knew to be left out.

“Damn, babe.” Tobin squeezed her arms a little tighter around Christen after she had read the emails twice. “I knew you killed that presentation.”

Christen smiled a little unsurely at Tobin’s words. She didn’t know if Tobin was really excited or not, given their argument a moment ago.

“Hey, look at me..” Tobin requested softly.

Christen turned her head to meet Tobin’s eyes fully. Tobin gave her a smile as they locked eyes.

“I’m so proud of you, Chris.” Tobin insisted. “Honestly.”

“Thank you.” Christen grinned a little wider. She leaned down into Tobin so her head was resting on her shoulder. “But you’re right, it’s a lot to process.”

Christen still hadn’t talked to her boss about it. He told her in the email to take the rest of her time off to enjoy herself, and they would meet on Monday when she was back in the office. So Christen did as he said, making a mental list of things she wanted to ask about, but not responding to his email.

“So now that you’ve read it and have all the information that I have, can I get your thoughts?” Christen asked Tobin after a moment of silence between them.

Tobin let out the tiniest laugh. “So you don’t want me to overreact again..?” She joked about her mood earlier, hoping Christen understood that she was feeling better about it.

“I mean, preferably not.” Christen laughed lightly too. “But I do get why you were upset.”

Tobin sighed a little, thinking over her thoughts on the whole situation.

“It’s so hard being away from you, even when we're in the same time zone. New York is so far away..” Tobin started. “So I am obviously bummed about that, if I can be honest.”

Christen nodded. She felt the same way Tobin did about the location of the new position.

“I know, but I don’t think we should get hung up on that for now.” Christen responded. “I mean, all we know so far is that they are agreeing to sponsor the program. Who even knows if I would be able to interview for the job?”

“Chris, you and I both know that job is yours if you want it.” Tobin cut her off.

She wasn’t just saying that to be nice. It was Christen’s plan and Christen’s work that went into even coming up with the idea. Tobin knew they would be crazy not to offer her the position.

“I guess I’ll find out more on Monday.” Christen shrugged. “But I want you to know that this decision wouldn’t just be about me.”

“What do you mean?” Tobin asked.

“I mean you factor into it.. And now we have Zoey..” Christen explained.

The dog popped her head up at the mention of her name, which she had taken to quickly. Both women laughed before Christen continued.

“I have a lot going on, on the West Coast. My family is out here.. It wouldn’t be something I would just agree to on a whim. It would have to be the perfect situation.”

“Okay, well that’s good to know.” Tobin responded.

She was glad that their relationship meant enough to Christen to be a part of her decision.

“But babe, this could be a huge opportunity for you. And you’ve earned it.”

“Yea possibly. I don’t know, can we just wait it out and see?” Christen requested.

She didn’t want to cloud the rest of their week together with thoughts of work and moving 3,000 miles away from Tobin. It was too much for her to digest right now.

Christen lifted her head off of Tobin’s shoulder and kissed her jaw once. Tobin nodded in agreement, feeling like they were okay again. Christen stayed in Tobin’s lap as they shared several small kisses, just holding each other.

“Tell me about your day?” Christen asked, breaking their comfortable silence after a few minutes.

“My day was good. I think we’re ready for the game tomorrow night.” Tobin answered her as she flipped through the catalog in her mind of the day’s events. “Oh! That reminds me! I have something for you.” The excitement in her voice suddenly apparent.

Tobin wiggled out from underneath Christen and made her way to the door, where she had dropped her team duffle bag when she came in. She unzipped it quickly and grabbed something out of it.

“Close your eyes.” Tobin instructed to Christen.

Christen giggled from her spot on the couch, looking over the back of it at where Tobin was standing.

“Why?” She questioned, not sure what Tobin was doing and what was behind her back.

“Cause! Just do it, please?” Tobin insisted. It was more fun this way.

Christen shut her eyes tightly, laughing through her nose at the anticipation. Tobin made her way back around the front of the couch and stood in front of Christen, holding her surprise out for her girlfriend.

“Okay, you can open them.” Tobin finally said.

Christen cracked one eyelid first, taking in the sight of what Tobin was holding in front of her. Her other eye opened quickly after she saw it.

“What is this!” Christen smiled excitedly.

Tobin laughed at her girlfriend’s enthusiasm. She was holding up a red Portland Thorns home jersey for Christen.

“It’s for you!” Tobin smiled. “I figured it was time to get you some gear, since you’re now a huge Thorns fan.” She winked, knowing she gave Christen no choice in the matter.

Christen reached out for the jersey and held it closer to inspect it. “Tobs! This is awesome.”

“And look at the other side.” Tobin directed, wanting to get to her favorite part.

Christen spun the jersey around to read the back of it.

Heath. 17.

Christen was beaming at the name and number. She pulled it tight into her chest, almost hugging the jersey for a moment.

“Honey, this is so cool!” Christen smiled up at Tobin. “I love it.”

“Yea?” Tobin asked. She had hoped Christen would be as excited about it as she was.

“Yes. Definitely.” Christen nodded.

“It’s a real one too. I took an extra from the equipment room, so you could have the same one I wear.” Tobin smiled again, feeling proud of her gift and Christen’s reaction to it.

Christen stood up from the couch and pulled her hoodie over her head, followed by her t-shirt. Tobin licked her lips at the sight of Christen’s body, now only covered by her black bra. Before Tobin could make a move, Christen pulled the jersey on to see how it fit.

“Holy shit.” Tobin husked out quickly.

Christen looked down at it, seeing that it fit perfectly, before she spun around to show Tobin the back of it.

“You look so fucking hot in that.” Tobin said again at seeing her name on Christen’s back.

Christen looked over her shoulder at Tobin and gave her a sexy smile. “Guess I’m all yours. The jersey says so.”

Tobin bit her bottom lip and wasted no time closing the gap between her and Christen. Insanely turned on in an instant. Her hands found Christen’s hips as Tobin started to push them towards the bedroom, placing kisses to Christen’s neck as they walked.

Christen giggled the whole way at Tobin’s eagerness. She found Tobin’s hands with her own and led them down the hall, suddenly just as impatient as Tobin was.

When they got to the bedroom, Tobin kicked the door closed behind her, assuring there were no interruptions from their newfound companion, who was left sleeping in the living room.

“I want you.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s neck in between kisses. They had just hit the edge of the bed, Christen’s knees touching the mattress.

“What do you want?” Christen questioned, wanting Tobin to spell it out. She loved the way Tobin’s voice sounded when she was turned on.

Tobin trailed her kisses up the back of Christen’s neck until she reached her earlobe. She bit down on it gently once before she whispered into Christen’s ear.

“I want to fuck you while you wear my jersey.” Tobin admitted, her voice thick with desire.

Christen let out the smallest moan at Tobin’s words. She nodded and craned her head around to find Tobin’s lips behind her.

They stood at the edge of the bed for a moment, their lips on each other’s at this awkward angle, before Tobin got too anxious. She pulled back and let her hands find Christen’s hips, pushing her forward just a little.

“Kneel on the bed, baby.” Tobin instructed, taking total control of the moment.

Christen did as Tobin asked, sliding onto the edge of the bed on her knees, letting her weight rest fully on the pillowy mattress underneath her.

Tobin brought her hands up to Christen’s shoulders, running them down Christen’s collarbones and chest, cupping her breasts over the fabric of the jersey and her bra for a moment. Tobin’s lips were back to sucking on Christen’s neck from behind.

Christen’s hands covered Tobin’s on her breasts, palming them harder, looking for a little more friction. Tobin bit down on the soft skin on Christen’s neck, before moving her hands farther down Christen’s body. Tobin traced her sides and stomach, before her fingers hit the waistband of Christen’s yoga pants.

Tobin pulled her lips back and whispered into the quiet room. “Can I?”

Her fingers had just dipped under the top seam of Christen’s pants and she wanted permission to pull them down.

“Please.” Christen nodded. Tobin felt a shiver run through her at the sound of Christen’s voice, almost as if she was begging.

Tobin wasted no time sliding her hands inside the hem of Christen’s yoga pants, slowly pulling the tight fabric down, exposing Christen’s bareness underneath them.

When Christen’s yoga pants were down around her knees, Tobin ran her fingertips up the insides of Christen’s thighs. She could feel the heat coming from Christen’s center as she got closer, stopping before she reached her eventual destination.

“Fuck, baby. You’re ass is perfect.” Tobin rasped. Her pulse was quickening at the sight of Christen’s firm ass, exposed just under the red jersey she was wearing.

“Baby, touch me.. please.” Christen asked impatiently. She was trying to rub her thighs together, looking for any amount of friction where she needed it most, waiting on Tobin’s touch.

“I love you.. Fuck, I love you .” Tobin whispered, just loud enough for Christen to hear. Her eyes wouldn’t stop roaming from Christen’s ass up to where her name was written across the jersey on Christen’s shoulder blades.

Heath.

It looked perfect to Tobin. She wanted it all in that moment. The feeling almost too overwhelming to focus. She wanted to make the woman in front of her writhe in pleasure for the rest of their lives. It was all that mattered to Tobin right now.

“I love you too.” Christen whined, her voice pulling Tobin back to reality. “Please fuck me.”

Tobin stepped a half step closer, letting the fingertips on her left hand continue up Christen’s inner thigh, until she could feel the wetness that had started to pool between Christen’s legs.

She stuck two fingers out and continued her journey north, until she reached Christen’s center from behind.

“Fuck.” Christen moaned at the feeling of Tobin’s fingers on her slit. Tobin hadn’t even moved them yet or entered her, but it was driving Christen to the edge.

“Baby. You are mine.” Tobin husked out. She was about to fuck Christen and was feeling very territorial in the moment, with her name on Christen’s back. She needed to hear Christen say it.

“I’m yours.” Christen nodded in a moan, lowering her body a little on her knees, trying to increase the pressure against Tobin’ fingers. “You’re the only one who gets to make me come.”

That confirmation was all Tobin needed, flexing her fingers sternly and pushing them into Christen’s opening slowly.

Mmmmm.” Christen moaned out at the feeling of Tobin’s fingers inside of her. “Yes.”

Tobin started to work her fingers in and out of Christen, slowly at first and then increasing the pace with each thrust. Christen was rocking down into Tobin’s hand with every motion, meeting her movements perfectly. They set a steady pace as Christen was getting worked up.

Tobin’s right hand moved from Christen’s hip, up to her shoulder, gently pushing her upper body forward.

Christen understood what Tobin wanted immediately, leaning forward and resting her weight on her hands, so she was now on all fours in front of Tobin. The slight change in angle was a new jolt of pleasure inside of her.

Tobin let her strong hand rest on Christen’s back, holding her steady as her left hand continued to fuck Christen. It had all become more crass than how they normally had sex, but their passion was running high and they both couldn’t slow down.

“Fuck. Baby, I’m close.” Christen whined out. She let her right hand come up off the mattress, trailing it down her stomach and finding her own clit.

It was the last bit of contact that she needed. She pressed her hand into her clit as Tobin’s fingers thrusted into her one last time, feeling herself break.

“Tobinnn.” Christen moaned out. “Oh my god..”

The wetness was pouring out of her and covering Tobin’s fingers that were still inside of her. Tobin’s movements slowed, but she didn’t stop, letting Christen ride out her orgasm.

Christen’s left arm was shaking, still supporting all her upper body weight against the mattress.

“Babe, come here.” Tobin instructed. She could see the struggle in Christen’s shaking arm, wanting her girlfriend to lean back into her again.

Christen pushed herself back up and let her body fall against Tobin’s who was standing behind her. Tobin wrapped her right hand around Christen’s waist, holding her close from behind.

“I love you, baby.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s neck, kissing her softly again as she finally pulled her fingers slowly out of Christen.

“Mmmmm. I love you..” Christen moaned again, letting her head fall back to rest on Tobin’s shoulder, her eyes shut tightly. She could still feel her orgasm jolting through her body, down to her toes.

Tobin licked her fingers once, wanting to taste Christen’s pleasure, before she wiped them off on her t-shirt. She then wrapped both arms around Christen’s waist and hugged her tightly.

They stayed in that position for another moment, Tobin holding Christen from behind as she stood at the edge of the bed. When Christen finally caught her breath fully, she lifted her head off of Tobin’s shoulder.

“That was so good.” Christen spoke, breaking the silence.

“That was so hot .” Tobin agreed. She loved what had just happened, so turned on from pleasuring Christen.  

Christen giggled a little, craning her head again to find Tobin’s lips, for just a moment. When she broke the kiss, she leaned forward, away from Tobin and fell down on the bed. She spun around to sit, pulling her yoga pants all the way down and off now, instead of leaving them around her knees.

“Take your clothes off baby.” Christen instructed as Tobin stood at the foot of the bed watching her girlfriend.

Christen pulled the jersey off and discarded her bra quickly, her body now completely bare, on top of the covers. Tobin did as Christen requested, quickly ridding the clothes off her body as well.

“Come here.” Christen asked, reaching out for Tobin’s hand. Tobin climbed onto the bed and straddled Christen, who was now lying flat on the bed.

“What do you want from me?” Christen asked, ready to give Tobin anything she wanted to return the favor.

Tobin didn’t say anything, just reached down and spread Christen’s thighs apart as wide as they would go. Tobin settled in between Christen’s thighs, her eyes hooded in want.

“I want to feel you. Every inch of your skin on mine.” Tobin whispered. She lowered her body down into Christen’s, lining up their centers perfectly so they were rubbing against each other. Their clits creating sparks against each other instantly.

“Kiss me.” Tobin begged to Christen underneath her. Christen listened quickly, lifting her head to meet Tobin’s lips. She held the back of Tobin’s neck as they kissed deeply, keeping her as close as possible.

Tobin grinded down into Christen over and over, loving how intimate and good it felt. It was slow and perfect, their hips creating a rhythm together.

Tobin let her tongue roam in Christen’s mouth, tasting her and letting her tongue explore. Christen’s hands found Tobin’s ass, bring them as close together as possible. They made love until they both found a release together.

When Tobin finished, she let her head fall into Christen’s neck, trying to steady her breathing. Her eyes closed and she just let Christen hold her, neither of them saying anything for a while. Before long, Tobin felt herself dozing off, before Christen’s voice coaxed her out of it.

“Tobs?” Christen asked, wondering if Tobin had indeed fallen asleep on her.

“Hmm?” Tobin hummed into Christen’s skin. Her eyes still shut in contentment.

“I should go let Zoey out.” Christen spoke, wanting Tobin to slide off of her.

“Ohh..” Tobin chuckled a little. “I forgot about our girl for a little bit.” Tobin admitted.

Zoey was hopefully still on the couch in the living room. They hadn’t given her much thought after they made their way to the bedroom earlier.

“Want me to do it?” Tobin asked softly. She moved off of her girlfriend and onto her back on the mattress.

“No, I’ve got her.” Christen urged as she sat up slowly. She just wanted Tobin to relax.

“Hey..” Tobin grabbed her arm before she could move off the bed.

Christen looked over at her girlfriend, who had a happy little smile and swollen lips. Christen’s heart swelled at her appearance, knowing she was mostly responsible for her current state.

“I love you.” Tobin said to Christen again. So simple and sure, just because she felt like saying it.

“I really love you too.” Christen laughed, leaning down to kiss Tobin quickly again.

She stood up from the bed and put her yoga pants and Tobin’s t-shirt back on, walking towards the bedroom door.

“We should probably eat dinner too. You’ve gotta keep your energy up for the big game tomorrow.” Christen smiled, opening the door and heading out of the room to find their dog. Tobin knew she was right, grinning as she climbed out of bed to head for the kitchen.

The Thorns beat North Carolina FC on Saturday night in front of 18,000 rowdy supporters at Providence Park. The game was the final one of their two game homestand, and Christen was happy to be there to support her girlfriend for the second time this week. She proudly wore Tobin’s jersey as she sat in the friends and family box with Allie’s husband and a few other significant others.

After the game, they all went out to the team’s favorite bar to celebrate. There was a thrilling energy around the whole team, all of them feeling high after starting the season a perfect 7-0. The drinks were flowing and the team took turns dancing and making conversation with each other and the supporters around them.

Tobin found herself at the bar, waiting on another drink for her and Christen, watching her girlfriend from a distance. Christen and Allie were talking animatedly, laughing in unison at something Tobin couldn’t hear. Tobin just watched with a smile on her face, feeling so blown away that Christen Press was her girlfriend.

Tobin knew she had a good buzz going, but she could feel the happiness thrumming inside of her. She felt like running out of the bar, to scream to the world at the top of her lungs, how in love she was with Christen. She had never wanted to put her relationship out there for everyone to consume before, but Christen made her want to. She was proud to be with Christen and felt like the luckiest woman in the world.

When Tobin had her and Christen’s beers secured in her hand, she approached her girlfriend and best friend from behind, pulling her phone out and snapping a couple pictures of them unsuspectingly. Christen had the biggest smile on her face as she listened to Allie talk.

Tobin zoomed in a little and captured the perfect photo of Christen. Her curly hair draped over her shoulder and Heath clearly displayed on her back. Her white teeth beaming as her head was turned to the side, just enough to capture her profile. She looked like a goddess.

Tobin stared at the photo for several seconds as she set the beers down on the table in front of them. She couldn’t believe how great it turned out, knowing she just clicked the capture button as she was walking. Something about the moment made Tobin do something she never would have done before.

Without saying anything to Christen or Allie, Tobin opened Instagram on her phone and selected the picture of Christen. She didn’t even filter it, knowing her girlfriend looked perfect already.

Tobin just bit her lip as she typed out a caption.

How did I get so lucky?

Before she could second guess her thoughts, she uploaded the photo of Christen for all of her followers to see. There was no going back on it now, but she didn’t care. She just laughed and pocketed her phone, knowing it would cause some commotion if she paid attention to it. She reminded herself to warn Christen later.

“Tobs, get over here!” Allie yelled to her, pulling her out of her thoughts.

Christen just smiled and put her arm around Tobin, as they all fell back into the conversation again, all hanging out and talking happily for the rest of the night.

Tobin and Christen slept in on Sunday morning. Christen got up once and took Zoey out, before climbing back into bed with Tobin. They just laid there cuddling, the three of them awake but not ready to start the day. Tobin knew Christen was leaving that afternoon but she didn’t let herself dwell on it. It had been an amazing week and she was so thankful for it.

When they finally got up, Tobin and Christen showered before they got dressed, deciding to take Zoey to the dog park for the rest of the morning. They walked hand in hand the few blocks, just enjoying the sunny Portland morning together.

Zoey had made a couple of dog friends through the week, so Tobin and Christen spent some time talking to their owners as the dogs played and wore themselves out, before walking back home. Christen still had to pack and her flight was leaving in the early evening.

On the way back into Tobin’s apartment, Tobin stopped and checked her mail for the first time in a few days. She noticed she had Perry’s wedding invite in the stack of bills and junk mail, opening it quickly.

The envelope was just addressed to her, but when she opened the invite and read it, it was addressed to both Tobin and Christen. Tobin smiled, knowing Perry loved being able to invite Christen to her special day.

“Babe.” Tobin said, trying to get Christen’s attention, who was filling up Zoey’s water bowl.

“Yea?” Christen responded, letting Tobin know she was listening.

“Here.” Tobin said, handing the invite over to Christen to read when she had set Zoey’s water down.

Christen read the invite and smiled widely.

“Can you make that weekend work?” Tobin asked hopefully.

They had loosely discussed Perry’s wedding a couple of times, but Tobin hadn’t told Christen for sure which weekend it was. Christen scanned her mental calendar, not remembering any current conflicts.

The wedding was in Rhode Island, but they’d make it work. Christen was already excited to see the Heath family again.

“I will do everything I can to be there.” Christen nodded. “I love that she put my name on your invite.”

Tobin smiled. She loved that too. She wasted no time filling out the RSVP, putting it by the door to mail back to her sister.

They spent the rest of the afternoon packing Christen’s bag and lounging with Zoey. Tobin helped fold Christen’s clothes so they could all fit in her giant suitcase. She had overpacked for her week, like she usually did.

She went through her purse, making sure she had everything, when she felt Tobin’s apartment key in the bottom of it.

“Oh, I guess I’ll give this back to you.” Christen said, holding the key out for Tobin to take.

Tobin looked at it and then met Christen’s eyes.

“No, you keep it, I’ll just make another one.” Tobin said, nonchalantly. “That way you can come and go whenever you want.”

Christen smiled at Tobin’s words. Like she could just swing over after work or something. She wished that was the case.

They went over the plan with Zoey again, making sure Tobin had everything she needed to care for the dog until Christen came back again. Tobin was so thankful that Zoey was staying with her, knowing how lonely she was about to be with Christen leaving again.

Tobin took Christen’s bags down to her car as Christen said goodbye to the dog.

“I love you, Z. You were such a fun surprise this week.” Christen said, hugging the dog tighter than was probably comfortable for either of them.

She kissed her face a bunch of times. “Take care of Tobs for me, okay girl?”

Christen stood up before she got too emotional, knowing she’d find a way to see the dog again soon. She grabbed her purse and made her way down to the car where Tobin was waiting for her, not wanting to be late for her flight.

They held hands as Tobin drove them to the airport, talking quietly about how great their week had been. They both kept their sadness at bay as they said goodbye, kissing each other passionately in the airport departures lane. Tobin leaned against her passenger side door as Christen walked into the airport, offering her a small wave and a forced smile as she disappeared towards the security line.

When Christen got to her gate she dug around her purse for her phone, wanting to kill time as she waited. She felt the cool metal of Tobin’s apartment key hit her hand again. She pulled it out and let her chest tighten at the sight of it. It was a happy feeling, almost like a small promise for their future. Another step in the right direction for them and their relationship. She clutched her hand around the gold key for a moment with a smile.

The week behind her had been special and amazing. The week ahead of her was full of unknowns and big possibilities. But Christen knew in that moment that no matter what happens next, she can count on having Portland to come back to. For now, all she cared about was the hope in that feeling.

Chapter Text

Christen heard a light knock on her office door as she typed away on her laptop. She only had a few minutes in between meetings, still trying to play catch up on this Monday afternoon. It was her first day back to work and she felt overwhelmed by everything she had missed over the last week while she was in Portland.

“Come in.” Christen called out to whoever was knocking. She looked at her watch and knew this had to be quick.

“Hey Christen!” A cheery blonde lady said as she opened the door.

Christen hadn’t glanced up yet, still finishing the email she was typing. “Hey Jessica.” She recognized the front desk receptionists voice before she even registered her face.

“Special delivery for you, my dear.” Jessica said as she made her way across the small office towards Christen’s desk.

Those words caught Christen’s attention, finally diverting her eyes away from her computer screen to look at her coworker.

Jessica was holding a giant bouquet of red roses, beautifully displayed in a glass vase, with a white envelope sticking out of the middle of them. She set the vase down on the edge of Christen’s desk, the only spot where there weren’t papers or work materials scattered about.

“What the heck?” Christen questioned aloud, completely caught off guard by this delivery.

Jessica laughed at Christen’s response. “I don’t know.. But I’d say whoever sent them sure fancies you.”

The young receptionist was dying to hang around and find out who they were from. Christen could tell by the look on her face. She didn’t want an audience when she opened the card.

“Thanks, Jess. I’ve gotta run to another meeting now.” Christen spoke, hoping she would take the hint.

Jessica relented, backing up and exiting the office with a smile, knowing she’d be able to pry the details out of Christen later.

When Christen was alone again she slid her chair over to the vase on the edge of her desk, plucking the white envelope out of it. She didn’t waste any time ripping the card open, reading the handwritten note quickly.

 

          Babe,

          I just wanted to say..

          I LOVE YOU.  

          Hope you’re having a great day!

          All my love,

               - Tobin

 

Christen’s heart felt like it was going to burst as she read the card a few times in a row. She clutched it to her chest after a moment, gazing over the gorgeous flowers with a big smile on her face. One dozen red roses, Christen counted.

I don’t deserve her. Christen thought to herself, looking for her phone in her purse.

She couldn’t believe what an amazing gesture this was. She looked at the card again, knowing that Tobin had written it herself. She would recognize her girlfriend’s all caps handwriting anywhere. Which meant Tobin had to have planned this in advance, so they could be delivered today. They were just together in Portland yesterday after all.

Christen found her phone and noticed the time. She was already two minutes late for her next meeting. She stood up from her chair and snapped a picture of the flowers, before grabbing her phone and laptop and heading out of her office towards the meeting room.

{Christen}: Tobin Heath. You are unreal. I love you so much.

{Christen}: They’re gorgeous, thank you.

Christen texted Tobin as soon as she got situated. Luckily she wasn’t the last one to sit down at the conference room table.

{Tobin}: Anything for you baby.  :)

Tobin responded quickly, already having received a delivery confirmation email on her phone.

Christen didn’t get a chance to respond again, as her boss stood up to start the meeting. She put her phone face down on the table and tried to force herself to concentrate on the discussion at hand, instead of daydreaming about her favorite honey brown eyes and perfect smile. It was going to be a long afternoon.

 

----------------------------

 

“Hi beautiful.” Tobin beamed into her laptop screen as her Skype call was answered.

She was lying on her bed, her head cushioned by her pillows, propped up against the giant wooden headboard. Zoey’s head was resting on her stomach and the laptop was resting on the tops of her thighs. She was wearing her trusty Stanford t-shirt of Christen’s, which she basically lived in when she was at home without her girlfriend.

“Hi my loves.” Christen smiled back, fixing her screen so she could see Tobin and Zoey through it a little clearer.

It was late Monday night, and this was the first chance they’d had to talk all day, save for a few scattered text messages about the flowers earlier. Christen had been busy with meetings for most of the day, and then she had dinner with her boss to discuss the important topic hanging in the air over them now.

“Ugh, you both look so cute. I wish I was there.” Christen whined a little, dying to be cuddled up in bed with her girlfriend and dog again.

“We really wish you were here too.” Tobin smiled softly. “Don’t we, Zo?”

Tobin ruffled the fur on Zoey’s head as she rested on her. The dog lifted her head for a moment to look at Tobin, before dropping her chin to Tobin’s stomach again. Both Tobin and Christen laughed lightly at their dog’s reaction.

“How was your day, babe?” Tobin asked, not wanting to seem too eager, but anxious to know what information Christen gathered today about her possible future. It was all Tobin had been thinking about all day.

“Ah, it was…” Christen paused, looking for the right words to use. “Borderline overwhelming.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Tobin wondered aloud.

If Tobin had to guess, she’d think that maybe good and bad meant the opposite to both of them on this subject. She didn’t want to dwell on that thought.

“I don’t know. Neither I guess? Or maybe both?” Christen shrugged.

Her head was spinning a little from everything that went on during her meetings today and she hadn’t fully processed it yet. She was actually trying to avoid processing it without Tobin on the line.

“I get that.” Tobin nodded, understanding what Christen meant. “Wanna tell me about it?”

Christen smiled at Tobin’s easiness. Reassured that they’d figure it all out together.

“I love you.” Christen interjected before she answered Tobin. Wishing again so much that she was in front of her instead of a thousand miles away.

“I love you too.” Tobin gave Christen her signature smile.

Christen started to recap her whole day for Tobin, taking her time not to miss anything, and being patient to answer all of Tobin’s questions as she went. She even made sure to include Jessica’s excited reaction to the flowers, which they both got a kick out of.

Christen’s bosses had been in contact with the sponsorship group almost daily, now that the plan had been accepted. They had asked for recommendations on people who would fill out the team based in New York. They had also brought up Christen’s name most of the time when discussing the supervisor position.

For now, the general idea was for the team to be in New York for twelve months. They would work out of the East Coast UNICEF branch in Manhattan, close to where the sponsorship group was based. It would ensure that the plan was progressing properly, with the investors being able to oversee the process step for step.

The team would be tasked with launching the Clean Water initiative from the ground up, and getting it to a point where it could actually be implemented in Sudan. And possibly other countries in Africa, if it all went according to plan.

They wanted to meet with Christen and have her spend some time with them in New York, to get a feel for how both sides would handle the job, should an offer be made and accepted for the new role.

“Wait, so you’d be switching employers?” Tobin asked in the middle of it.

“No, I’d still be working for UNICEF technically.” Christen clarified. “But we’d basically be a sub-contracted entity, doing the work for the sponsorship group.

That fact made Christen almost more nervous, knowing she’d essentially have two sets of bosses, if this thing panned out.

“So I guess you have a trip to New York coming up?” Tobin mentioned after Christen was finished. She wanted to get a feel for Christen’s outlook on the next few weeks.

Christen let out a deep breath. “Ahhh!” She sighed heavily. “I don’t know honey…”

She covered her face with her hand for a second, still trying to wrap her head around it all.

“Babe, will you look at me please?” Tobin asked into the computer screen.

Christen slowly ran her hand down her face until it dropped back to her lap, refocusing her eyes on Tobin again.

“First of all.” Tobin held out her pointer finger. “I’m so proud of you. Seriously. You’re amazing.”

They both smiled at Tobin’s words, and she meant them.

“And second of all.” Tobin said, putting another finger up. “It doesn’t hurt to go spend the week in New York, babe. Get a feel for it. Meet some of the people who you would be working with.”

“It’s just so much, Tobs.” Christen replied hastily. “I’m already stressed about it and I’ve been back to work one day. I don’t want to get in over my head.”

“Chris, you’re the smartest person I know. If anyone can do this, it’s you.” Tobin continued to encourage her. “You know you’ll regret it if you don’t go meet with them and hear what they have to say.”

Christen knew Tobin was right. And she already knew she would be making the trip to New York, regardless of what she was telling Tobin now. It was just how she was. Always crossing off all her checkmarks before making a decision about anything. Even if she didn’t end up wanting the job, there was no way she wouldn’t go and make sure.

If Christen really stopped and thought about it, Tobin was probably the one exception to her rule of calculated preparedness, ever.

Falling for Tobin immediately, and jumping in head first to Tobin’s world is for sure the most spontaneous thing Christen has ever done. And without a doubt the best thing. Maybe that was a sign?

“I know..” Christen nodded with a smile, loving the fact that Tobin knew her better than anyone already .

“Well, let’s figure it out then.” Tobin returned her smile.

She was happy that Christen was agreeing to explore her options more. Even if Tobin didn’t want Christen to move across the country for selfish reasons, she still wanted Christen to do what was best for herself. She loved her too much not to want that. Whatever Christen wanted out of this situation, Tobin promised herself she would support.

“And.. you know, your favorite soccer team is playing in New Jersey next weekend..” Tobin hinted with her eyebrows raised, hoping Christen could swing it in her favor.

“Is that so?” Christen feigned surprise. They both knew she had Tobin’s schedule memorized three times over.

“Mmhhhmm.” Tobin nodded again, laughing lightly. “And I know someone who’d definitely want to see you there. You know, if you could make it work...”

“I’ll see what I can do..” Christen rolled her eyes jokingly and grinned at Tobin. It would be worth the trip just to see her girlfriend, if it worked out.

 

----------------------------

 

“Let’s go Tobin!!” Perry yelled loudly from the stands. She was sitting in between her mom and Christen at Rutgers Stadium in New Jersey. They were in attendance for the Thorns away game against Sky Blue FC.

Tobin’s whole family was there together. Her mom and dad. Her sister Katie, Katie’s husband Scott and their son Cole. Perry and Taylor. Everyone, except her brother Jeffrey, who wasn’t able to make the trip up from South Carolina. The whole crew was decked out in Portland gear, ready to cheer on the Thorns.

Christen joined them like she was naturally part of the family. She had met them all in Rome, and felt comfortable around them for the most part; but she still had that nervous feeling about wanting to make a good impression. It was slightly different now that she was Tobin’s girlfriend, instead of just someone they’d all met on vacation.

The weather was perfect for this late summer evening. The sun was starting to set in the sky, only a couple hours away from darkness. Christen let her knee bounce against the bleachers anxiously. She couldn’t figure out if it was from the nervousness of sitting next to Tobin’s family, or the fact that she wanted her girlfriend’s team to win. It was probably a mixture of both.

When Tobin’s name was announced in the starting lineup, she gave a small wave and a big smile, directed right at the group, who were sitting just behind the visitor's bench.

Tobin held Christen’s eye contact for just a moment, before the brown eyed woman took a deep breath and focused into her team huddle, getting her mind fully into game mode.

“I’m nervous!!” Cindy yelled lightly, grabbing Perry’s knee next to hers.

Tobin’s family didn’t get to see as many games as they would like to, being on opposite coasts from Tobin, so they loved when she got to play in her home state of New Jersey.

“Nah, they’re gonna win.” Perry reassured her mom. “Tobs has her good luck charm here.”

They all laughed and looked over at Christen, who was blushing slightly in her Heath jersey. Perry nudged her playfully as Christen shook her head, knowing she was just teasing.

Christen was indeed able to plan her trip to New York to coincide with the Thorns game, just like Tobin had hoped. It ended up working out perfectly. Perry and Katie volunteered to pick Christen up at the airport when she had arrived earlier that morning. Tobin was busy with team stuff and wasn’t able to see Christen before the game, but she was happy to know Christen would be with her family.

The plan was for Christen and Tobin to spend the night in Jersey with Tobin’s family, before they made their way into Manhattan on Sunday. Tobin was going to stay with Christen on Sunday night before she left early Monday morning to head back to Portland.

Christen was thankful for how lucky their schedules had been so far, knowing there was no way it would stay this way long term. Catching each other on opposite coasts every few weeks was not sustainable. That was a thought she actively avoided thinking about.

The first half of the game was a hard fought battle. Sky Blue went up early 1-0, on a long range shot that sailed just past the Thorns keeper. The sun had been blinding on their side of the field as it set, and Christen guessed that played a part in the goal.

During halftime, Christen and Perry got up to get a beer at the concession stand, waiting in line through the throngs of people ahead of them. They found their seats again just as the second half was about to start.

The second half played out much more in the Thorns favor. Allie had been taken down in the penalty box during a corner kick, and a penalty was called on a Sky Blue defender. Lindsey stepped to the spot and buried the kick, tying the game 1-1.

Tobin was pumped up, willing her team on as they ran back to their half, waiting for the kick-off again. Christen couldn’t take her eyes off of Tobin, even when she didn’t have the ball. Her intensity on the field was so much different than her personality off of it. Christen was still getting used to the contrast between the two sides of Tobin, even after seeing her play a few games now.

Just before the 77th minute, Tobin picked up the ball on the left flank and dribbled down the field with it, keeping her head up to spot Allie in the center of the pitch. Tobin laid it off to Allie and continued her run, getting in behind the defense. Allie played a perfect ball back to Tobin and she found herself one on one with the goalkeeper. Tobin stutter-stepped once, faking out the keeper just enough, before slotting it into the corner of the goal. Putting the Thorns up 2-1.

The Heath family went crazy, all jumping up and yelling wildly. Perry grabbed Christen and hugged her tightly, yelling in her ear with excitement.

“Yes TOBIN!!!!” Tobin’s dad, Jeff, cheered loudly.

They all remained standing for the rest of the game, too amped up to sit back down. The Thorns held on for the win, even as Sky Blue threw all their players into the attack in the final minutes looking for the equalizer.

When the game ended, the group made their way down to the walkway behind the team benches, waiting for Tobin. She stayed on the field a long time, first with the team huddle and then talking to Kelley, who played for Sky Blue. When the two friends were done catching up, they signed autographs for fans on the opposite side, before slowly making their way across the field, towards where the group was waiting by the bench.

“PRESS!!!” Kelley yelled when they got close, shoving Tobin slightly to run ahead of her.

Christen looked at the two friends, giving Tobin a smile before she directed her attention at a quickly approaching Kelley.

“Hey Kelley!” Christen waved, waiting as Kelley reached her.

Kelley launched herself at Christen, giving her a big hug. She was purposely being a little shit, trying to tease Tobin who was approaching slower behind them.

“Thanks for coming to my game.” Kelley beamed at her old college friend. “Means a lot. Sorry we couldn’t win for you.”

“I’m happy I could be here.” Christen laughed. She let go of Kelley and locked eyes with Tobin again. The butterflies in her stomach going crazy in anticipation at seeing her girlfriend.

“Move it, KO.” Tobin instructed with barely a smile, not breaking eye contact with Christen.

Kelley giggled and stepped out of the way, knowing her teasing had run its course. She turned to greet the rest of Tobin’s family, whom she’d known for years from their time on the youth teams.

“Hey superstar.” Christen spoke quietly as Tobin reached her.

“Hi baby.” Tobin almost whispered, pulling Christen into a tight hug.

She was dying to kiss Christen, but knew it wasn’t the place for it. That would cause too much of a scene around them now. Her Instagram post of Christen two weeks ago had done enough to start a commotion and she didn’t want to keep adding fuel to the fire.

Tobin released Christen after a long moment, turning to her parents and sisters to hug them as well. They all stood around and talked for a few minutes, waiting for the stadium to clear out.

“So, dinner on us?” Jeff asked the group as they stood there.

Kelley agreed to join them, before her and Tobin went to their respective locker rooms to shower and change. When they were done, they all met in the parking lot, deciding on a Thai restaurant that Kelley had recommended.

Tobin and Christen rode with Kelley to the restaurant, insisting that they wanted to keep her company. Tobin grabbed Christen’s hand as the got to Kelley’s car.

“Sit in the back with me.” Tobin requested. “Kelley can chauffeur us.”

Kelley pulled out of the parking lot, waiting in traffic to get on the freeway.

“I’m glad I could drive while you two made out.” Kelley pointed out to the silence in the car, as she looked in the rearview mirror at the couple.

They were in the midst of a series of long kisses. Kelley knew their offer of company was really just an excuse at some alone time, away from the prying eyes of Tobin’s family.

Christen smiled against Tobin’s lips and pulled away, slightly embarrassed. “Sorry, Kel.”

Tobin grabbed Christen’s face softly and turned it back towards her. “Ignore her, she’s fine.” She laughed, pulling Christen back in and kissing her again.

Kelley just turned up the music and focused her eyes back to the road, not actually bothered by her friends in the backseat. She was glad they were happy.

The group spent a couple hours eating and catching up with Kelley. Tobin had her hand intertwined with Christen’s under the table the whole time, not wanting any space between them if she could help it.

Before Kelley left to head home, she promised Christen they’d get dinner this week and hang out while she was in the city. It made Tobin happy to know Christen would have someone familiar to spend time with while she was here.

Tobin and Christen rode with Tobin’s parents back to Katie’s house after dinner. They were all staying there for the weekend, since Jeff and Cindy had sold their house when they retired to Florida. Tobin wished she could show Christen her childhood home but since they no longer owned it, that wasn’t really an option.

Christen adored being with Tobin’s family. Katie and Scott’s house was so warm and welcoming, just as she’d assumed it would be. Tobin brought her and Christen’s suitcases to the spare bedroom they would be sleeping in, before giving Christen a quick tour of the rest of the house.  

Christen loved looking at all the old family pictures that were displayed in the living room. She spent several minutes there, even as Tobin tried to pull her along.

“Oh my gosh, Tobs. Is this you?” Christen asked, laughing. She was pointing at a photo of a young girl with both front teeth missing.

Before Tobin could answer, Katie walked up to see what Christen was looking at.

“That’s her!” Katie started to laugh along with the dark haired woman. “She lost both front teeth at the same time and then they took a super long time to grow back in. She could pronounce S’s for like 4 months!” Tobin’s oldest sister explained through a chuckle.

Tobin joined them, huddling around the picture on the shelf. “Yea, yea. Laugh it up.”

“You were so cute.” Christen smiled, turning her head to look at Tobin.

Tobin was blushing slightly as Christen wrapped her arm around Tobin’s waist and leaned into her.

“If you think that is funny, wait till you see the rest.” Tobin joked, grabbing Christen’s hand and pulling her towards the basement, where Katie kept all the old photo albums.

They spent quite a while looking through the pictures, listening as Cindy and Jeff told stories about their kids growing up. Christen laughed the whole time. Their description of Tobin as a kid was exactly who Christen would have pictured. Tough and stubborn, but kind and more generous than anyone else her age. Basically the same way she is now.

Cindy left the room after a while and came back a few minutes later, handing Christen a stack of photographs that looked new.

“We just had these developed.” Cindy mentioned as Christen took them.

“Cindy might be the last person in the world that still prints all of her pictures.” Scott laughed from his seat in the corner of the room. It was a running joke among the kids. Who even knew that still existed?

Christen started to flip through the stack, smiling widely right away. She would recognize the scenery from anywhere. Blue water and a big sail boat and rock cliffs in the background. All captured during their sailing trip in Italy; the first full day Christen ever spent with the Heath’s.

“I had no idea you were taking pictures that day!” Christen beamed, looking up at Tobin’s mom.

“She likes to be sneaky.” Tobin laughed, scooting a little closer to her girlfriend to look through the stack with her.

Two photos in particular caught both of their eyes immediately. The first one was Christen standing on the edge of the sailboat with Tobin down below in the water, waiting for her to jump in. Christen was in just her bikini, looking directly down at Tobin.

Christen flipped to the next picture, biting her lip as she looked at it.

It was from when Christen had just jumped in the water and her and Tobin were holding onto each other, their heads just inches apart. You couldn’t see Christen’s face as her back was turned away from the camera. But you could see Tobin’s. She had a huge grin on her face as she supported the green eyed beauty in front of her.

“Oh my gosh!” Christen said again. She was elated to see these, like a snapshot in time had been saved forever. She was also the smallest bit embarrassed at how unsubtle they were, even that day.

“Flip back to the first one.” Tobin requested, reaching for the two pictures.

Christen gave them to her to hold.

“Look at how hot you are.” Tobin mused, just above a whisper, grinning at Christen.

Christen elbowed her side playfully. “That would be your first thought.”

“I want you to keep those.” Cindy said as she took her seat on the couch again. “That was the day we all knew you two liked each other. You weren’t very good at hiding it.”

They all laughed and Christen dropped her face into Tobin’s shoulder for a moment to hide the redness in it. Tobin just pulled her a little closer, not embarrassed in the slightest.

The family all sat around together a while longer, before Tobin’s parents went to bed, followed by Scott and Katie a while later. Tobin and Christen were the last ones up, watching tv quietly as they laid on the couch together.

“Wanna go to bed?” Tobin asked as Christen yawned against her neck.

Christen just nodded, waiting until Tobin moved off of the couch to pull her up.

They got ready together in the bathroom before climbing into bed, just down the hall from where Scott and Katie slept, and right next door to the room Jeff and Cindy were staying in.

Christen got comfy under the covers as Tobin shut the bedroom door and turned the lights off. She kneeled on the bed, crawling up Christen’s body that was guarded by the blankets.

“Hey sexy lady..” Tobin whispered jokingly, leaning down to kiss Christen, who was now underneath her.

“No..” Christen laughed as she shook her head. She already knew what Tobin was thinking.

“No what?” Tobin smiled, pulling the covers down a bit so they were no longer tucked under her girlfriend's chin.

“No, we're not having sex tonight.” Christen responded quickly.  

“Why not?” Tobin asked, pretending to be upset. She leaned down to kiss Christen’s neck, trying to sway her decision.

“Because your parents are sharing a thin wall with us.” Christen smiled at the sensation of Tobin’s lips on her skin for a moment, before she wiggled out from underneath Tobin. “And you are not that quiet.”

“I can be so quiet.” Tobin giggled, pinning Christen against the mattress.

They just looked at each other with big smiles, in a silent showdown. Both of their white teeth barely visible from the moonlight outside the window. Finally Christen lifted her head and kissed Tobin quickly, breaking the standoff.

“I promise tomorrow night at the hotel we can have as much sex as you want.” Christen offered.

“I’m holding you to that!” Tobin relented, kissing Christen’s forehead sweetly.

“Will you snuggle with me?” Christen almost begged, pulling the covers back so Tobin could get under them.

Tobin let out a sigh, moving so she was under the blankets and no longer holding herself up over Christen. Christen rolled over into Tobin, wrapping her arm around her waist and slotting her leg in between Tobin’s so she could lay on her chest.

“I’m glad you here with me.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s hair as she cuddled in close.

“Me too.” Christen replied, angling her head up to kiss Tobin once, softly.

It was silent for a few minutes, and Tobin thought Christen had drifted off to sleep, until she spoke again.

“What do you think Zoey is doing right now?” Christen asked softly.

Tobin chuckled. She shouldn’t have been surprised to hear that’s what Christen was thinking about.

“She’s probably busy being spoiled by Bati.” Tobin answered with a shrug.

“I miss her.” Christen said, running her fingertips over Tobin’s ribs and the defined muscles there.

“She misses you too.” Tobin said, moving out from under Christen quickly. “And I forgot, but she told me to give you this.”

Tobin rolled over, pinning Christen to the mattress again, kissing her lips once, chastely.

“And this..” She said again, kissing her forehead.

And again on her cheek and quickly all over her face. Until Christen was gasping for air between fits of laughter. Tobin just laughed too, not letting Christen squirm away.

When they finally calmed down, Tobin settled back onto the mattress, pulling Christen back onto her. “Wanna FaceTime her?” She asked.

Christen lifted her head again, nodding happily.

Tobin reached for her phone on the nightstand, calling Bati on FaceTime. He answered after the fourth ring, Zoey’s sleeping face greeting the camera right away. He knew that’s why they were calling.

They gushed over their cute sleeping dog for a few minutes, making sure she had been good for Bati, before they said goodnight and ended the call.

“I’m glad our baby is happy.” Christen smiled, lifting herself up to reach Tobin’s lips again.

“She is.” Tobin nodded. “And it’s all because you saved her.”

Christen placed one last kiss to Tobin’s lips before she settled back down onto her.

“I love you honey.” She whispered, letting her eyes close.

“I love you too baby.” Tobin smiled, feeling so complete with Christen and her family together again.

It didn’t take long for either of them to doze off to sleep in the comfort of each other’s embrace.

 

----------------------------

 

“See, Christen.. Move to New York City and this can be your life every night.” A preppy guy wearing a suit that was way too tight spoke, giving Christen a suggestive smile. He was pointing to the view in front of them.

They were standing on the rooftop lookout of a Manhattan skyscraper, the same building where they’d been working at all week. UNICEF’s east coast headquarters. It was Friday night and everyone was ready to cut loose; sipping cocktails in the late summer evening, watching a particularly beautiful New York sunset.

The sky was illuminated in a soft pink, fading to purple just at the horizon. There were only a few scattered clouds, far off in the distance, which allowed them to see the vast expanse of the city under them for miles. The Hudson River running parallel to the buildings on their right.

In any other moment, Christen is sure she would love this view. It was one that she would deem ideal, in most situations. Here she was, celebrating a great week of work with a lot of very smart and ambitious people. She had a new job offer sitting in her email, waiting on her signature to make this all official. It was a good offer, almost too good to pass up.

Something about it all just felt off though. She couldn’t put her finger on it.

“So, when do you think you’ll move?” He asked again after a moment, pulling Christen from her thoughts.

She glanced up at him to fully register his question, pausing for a moment.

“Oh.. Umm, I’m not sure.” Christen said, focusing back on the skyline in front of her.

“Well, maybe I can get your number? You know, for when you do move. I’d love to show you around.” His hair gel was making Christen queasy.

Before Christen was forced to make up an excuse as to why she didn’t want to give her number to him, Jonathan saved her, approaching the pair from a distance.

“Christen, can I steal you for a moment? There are a couple other people I would like you to meet.” Jonathan asked as he reached them.

Christen was instantly thankful for the excuse to exit her current conversation. Jonathan had become someone who Christen would call a friend, especially after their dinner in Boston with Tobin and his wife. Working with him all week had been a highlight for Christen. Maybe the week’s only saving grace. The rest of it had been chaotic and exhausting.

“Yea, of course.” Christen spun on her heel, not giving the guy next to her another glance.

Jonathan introduced her to a few more investors, all people she had yet to meet. They greeted her with firm handshakes and made small talk about how she enjoyed her week in the city, not keeping her for too long.

“Look, I know you have a flight back to LA tonight.” Jonathan said as the group left them to continue other conversations. “But can we talk for a bit? I’d like to go over that offer I emailed you earlier.”

Christen nodded, finishing the last bit of her vodka soda and following Jonathan back inside where the elevator bank was. They rode it down a few floors, back to where their offices were located.

Christen and Jonathan sat in his office and conference called Christen’s bosses back in LA, who were still in the middle of their workday. They all spent the next hour talking about the job itself and what the offer was.

Implementation Supervisor on the Clean Water Initiative, is what it was being titled.

Christen’s head was buzzing as she listened to them all go back and forth on logistics. She rarely offered any input in the conversation, unless it was requested of her. Finally Jonathan ended the call, knowing Christen needed to get back to her hotel to check out and catch her red-eye back to LA.

“So, you had a good week here, I hope?” Jonathan asked as Christen was gathering all her things.

“Yea, it was a lot to take in.” Christen nodded. “Everyone was great though. Thanks for all your help.”

She gave him a friendly smile as she slipped her computer and belongings into her travel bag.

“I know you probably feel overwhelmed right now, but we really do want you for the job.” Jonathan offered. “You’re the best fit and we think you’d do everything needed to make this idea come to life.”

“Thank you. I appreciate the confidence.” Christen laughed a little unsurely.

“Take the weekend and think about it okay?” He requested. “We can talk Monday when you’re back in Los Angeles.”

Christen nodded again, sticking her hand out to shake Jonathan’s. She looked at her watch, knowing she needed to get going. Jonathan gave her a warm handshake and a smile, waiting with her until the elevator arrived at their floor to take her down to the lobby.

“Have a safe flight, Christen.” He waved as she stepped on. “We’ll be in touch.”

“See ya. Take care.” Christen waved back. As soon as the elevator doors closed, she slumped against the wall, sighing heavily. She was more than ready for the week to be over.

Christen dug her phone out of her purse, looking at it for the first time since lunch. She had a couple messages waiting, but only one name in the list mattered to her.

{Tobin}: Hey babe. Heading to the stadium now. I hope you had a great day.

{Tobin}: Have a safe flight home. I love you so much.

Tobin had a Friday night game in Portland, and had already gone to the stadium to prepare. Christen knew that they wouldn’t get to talk again after their quick lunchtime chat, with the time difference and busy day throwing them off.

All she wanted now was to hear Tobin’s voice, but she’d have to wait until she landed on the west coast before Tobin would be able to answer her call.

It had been a tough week for communicating between them. The three hour difference made it hard enough, not to mention their opposite schedules. By the time Tobin would be free from training, Christen would already be in bed, worn out and preparing for another long day.

Christen texted Tobin back when she got in a cab, waiting to get to her hotel.

{Christen}: Just left the office. Good luck tonight baby.

{Christen}: I really can’t wait to hear your voice.  

There was an odd sense of panic building inside of Christen and she couldn’t figure out why. Nothing had happened between them to make her feel insecure or anxious. Tobin had been as great and loving as always. All week, she was supportive and understanding of Christen’s hectic schedule, letting her dictate when they talked.

But for some reason, being away from her favorite brown eyed woman was harder than normal for Christen tonight. She just missed Tobin so much.

The cab ride back to her hotel was short, and Christen didn’t waste much time getting the rest of her suitcase together. She changed out of her dress and heels into something more comfortable for the plane and let her phone charge for a bit, before she went down to the lobby to check out.

Her flight was leaving out of JFK, just after midnight, heading back to Los Angeles overnight.  Traffic was crazy on the way to the airport, with cars and cabs honking frantically through Manhattan traffic. It was all becoming too much for Christen. New York life was obviously far more rushed than what she was used to in California, and now in Portland.

By the time Christen was dropped off at departures, she only had an hour to spare for her flight. Christen grabbed a coffee after she got through security and found her gate, sitting down and pulling out her phone. She needed a distraction from constantly mulling over the job offer in her head. There would be plenty of time for that for in the next few days.

Tobin’s game tonight was a nationally televised game, so Christen found a stream of it, watching for a few minutes as the second half had just kicked off. The Thorns were down 2-0.

Christen watched through the choppy stream as the Thorns searched for a goal. It was pouring down rain in Portland and the team couldn’t connect more than two passes at a time. At one point, Tobin was fouled hard at the top of the box, and Christen’s heart sank a little, seeing the frustration written across her girlfriend’s face through the camera. She wished she could be there to hug Tobin when the whistle blew.

Ladies and Gentleman, we will now begin boarding for flight 278 with service to Los Angeles

Christen heard the flight announcement over the speakers in the terminal. She couldn’t place the reasoning, but she felt herself dreading going back to LA. At least for tonight. She stood up and went to look at the departures list on the tv screens next to her gate, finding all the west coast bound flights. Christen’s eyes quickly searched the list, finding the destination she wished she was going to.

Christen took a deep breath, trying to talk herself out of it. She pulled her suitcase towards the airline counter at the gate, ignoring her zone’s call for boarding.

“Can I help you miss?” The friendly American Airlines attendant asked behind the counter.

Christen glanced at her phone screen again, seeing the Thorns were now down 3-0. She pocketed it quickly, glancing back to the attendant.

“Yes please.” Christen spoke, giving into her own wants and needs in the moment. “I actually need to change my flight.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” The flight attendant mused. “Let’s see what we can do.”

Christen handed over her ID and current boarding pass for the attendant to look at, pulling her information up in the computer.

“And what changes would you like to make?” The attendant asked, needing to find a few ticket.

Christen took a deep breath, not turning back now. “I need a flight to Portland.”

Chapter Text

Christen took her phone off of airplane mode as the plane touched down on the runway, not waiting for the announcement to be made by the flight attendant that it was okay to do so. The past six hours had been torture, with Christen in the air, and not able to call or text Tobin. She had just seen the final scoreline of Tobin’s game before takeoff and the results were not favorable. The Thorns had lost their first game of the season, being shut out at home, no less.

Christen had barely made this flight, switching destinations from LA to Portland at the last minute. She had to run to the end of the American terminal with her backpack bouncing wildly against her shoulders the whole way, trying to keep her carryon suitcase from tipping over as she pulled it behind her. She knew she probably looked like a crazy person when she sat down in her seat, completely out of breath and slightly sweaty. It was important though, going to see Tobin tonight. She felt like it couldn’t wait.

Christen hoped she would be able to get some sleep on the overnight flight, but of course her mind wouldn’t allow that. She was too busy going over every scenario in her head a hundred times. When she felt like she had come to a possible solution that would work out best for her personal and professional future, her mind would think of a counter reason as to why it wouldn’t work. Take the job, it’s only a year and Tobin travels all the time anyway. We’ll figure it out. Then she would think about how hard one week in New York City had been and she would immediately talk herself out of it again. It was a constant cycle for the duration of the flight. The middle seat she was stuck in after the last minute flight change wasn’t much help to the sleeping cause either. Now here she was, sitting on a plane that was taxiing to the jetway, completely worn out and feeling at her wits end. She just needed Tobin.

Christen had a message waiting for her when her phone regained signal, lighting up her homescreen against the darkness of the plane.

{Tobin}: I know you’re in flight right now but call me when you land. Whatever time it is, I want to hear your voice. I love you babe.

The other debate that Christen had been having with herself throughout the flight was deciding what to do when she landed in Portland. Should she call Tobin and ask her to come get her? She should just take a Lyft to Tobin’s apartment? She didn’t want to shock Tobin by just showing up unannounced at 4 am; but she also didn’t want to make Tobin get out of bed to come get her, just hours after her game had finished.

The text from Tobin made her smile a little, easing her mind as she always did. Even if flying to Portland for basically one night had been a crazy and irrational decision, Christen knew it was the right one. She was almost positive that Tobin needed her too.

Christen looked at the time on her iPhone. 3:27 am. There was no way she was going to call Tobin now. I’d be quicker for her to just take a car, and she had Tobin’s key after all. Christen just hoped she wouldn’t startle her too much when she got there.

When the plane finally parked and the passengers got off, Christen wasted no time darting through the stream of sleepy people towards the exit, ordering a Lyft on her phone as she walked. The ride to Tobin’s apartment was quiet, which Christen appreciated since it was the middle of the night. She was too anxious about seeing Tobin, the butterflies in her stomach going crazy with anticipation. She knew Tobin would make her feel better instantly. She needed that calming feeling and she needed it now.

Christen was dropped off in front of Tobin’s downtown highrise, entering the lobby with her rolling bag and backpack secured to her body. She rode the elevator up to Tobin’s floor and fished her key out of her purse, thankful that she hadn’t misplaced it, since her purse was known for being a black hole where random items went to disappear.

She inserted the key in the front door and stepped inside, met instantly with a comforting scent that was just so Tobin. Christen felt like she was home. The whole apartment was dark, like she had expected it to be, only the automatic nightlight in the hallway illuminated. Christen flicked on the entryway light and took her shoes off, before making her way down the hallway towards Tobin’s bedroom, all her belongings left sitting by the door.

When Christen reached Tobin’s bedroom, she let out a tiny laugh through her nose, totally unsure of how the next twenty seconds would go. She made sure to keep her hands up by her face, consciously aware that Tobin may think she’s an intruder and come out of her sleep swinging. That was hopefully worst case scenario.

Christen turned the doorknob and let the door slowly creak open, only a tiny bit of light flooding in from the entryway down the hall. Zoey lifted her head off of the bed as soon as she heard the commotion, the tags on her collar jingling quietly from her movement.

Christen could make out Tobin’s figure, buried under the blankets and completely still, undisturbed by her entrance. When she took one step into the room, Zoey pushed herself up, so she was standing on the bed, looking at the approaching person.

“Hi babygirl.” Christen whispered quietly, walking to the bed quickly and grabbing Zoey’s head. She pulled the dog close and kissed her right between her eyes, making sure Zoey wouldn’t bark and create more of a commotion. The happy dog wagged her tail at Christen’s affection, not alarmed in the slightest by the new arrival. Tobin was still sound asleep.

Christen let go of her dog and made her way around the side of the bed, stopping right next to the nightstand that was closest to where Tobin was lying. She sat down on the edge of the bed and stuck her hand out, deciding to coax Tobin out of her sleep the most gentle way possible. Christen noticed her hand shaking slightly as it extended towards Tobin, but she couldn’t figure out why.

“Honey..” Christen whispered out, connecting her hand on Tobin’s back and rubbing softly.

Tobin barely moved, only adjusted her head the tiniest bit on her pillow, before exhaling again. Christen smiled at how cute and peaceful she looked, before trying to wake her again.

“Honey, wake up.” Christen whispered, getting a little closer to Tobin’s ear. She applied a little more pressure to Tobin’s back, hoping to stir her girlfriend.

Tobin moaned a little and shifted her body so she rolled over onto her back, now pressed up against Christen’s leg. Christen leaned down and kissed Tobin’s forehead softly, stroking her messy hair gently.

Tobin’s eyes popped open quickly at the contact of Christen’s lips on her forehead. She sat up swiftly, trying to orientate herself. Christen made sure to lean out of the way as Tobin’s head come barreling up into the air, not wanting them to knock heads.

“Tobs. It’s me.” Christen whispered again, gently cupping Tobin’s cheek so she could register her girlfriend’s presence.

“What?” Tobin asked into the darkness, totally bewildered. She blinked rapidly several times, trying to register Christen’s face through the confusion.

“Tobin.. Baby.” Christen said again, pulling a little farther back so Tobin could see her better.

“Chris?” Tobin rasped out, her voice laced with sleep and wonder.

“Yea..” Christen nodded through another whisper. “It’s me.”

“What the heck?” Tobin asked out loud, not bothering to wait for an answer before she was wrapping her arms around Christen’s shoulders.

Christen leaned into the hug, pushing into Tobin so she fell back down on the mattress. Christen leaned down on top of her, her lower body still in a seated position.  

Christen felt her throat tighten quickly, her emotions rising to the surface. She was so happy to be wrapped in Tobin’s arms again, even if it had only been five days since they last saw each other. She dropped her face down until she was inhaling the scent of Tobin’s soft skin on her neck, tightening her grip on Tobin’s body. She wanted to get as close as possible.  

“Is this a dream?” Tobin asked in a little louder voice, trying to make sense of what was happening.

Christen let out a chuckle, lifting her head to look Tobin in the eyes. “No, I’m really here.” She said softly.

Tobin leaned up and reached for the lamp on her nightstand, flicking it on quickly. She could see the water in Christen’s eyes as soon as she did.

“Babe, what’s wrong?” Tobin questioned, running her hand through Christen’s hair and holding the back of her head firmly.

“Nothing.” Christen shook her head, not wanting to alarm Tobin. “I just missed you so much. And I’m probably over-tired.”

Tobin used her hand that was tangled in Christen’s hair to pull her in, kissing her lips once before pulling back. “I missed you too. Did you have this planned?”

“No.. I just, I needed to see you. I couldn’t wait.” Christen said, falling into Tobin again. Tobin scooted over and pulled Christen until she was on the bed fully. Christen moved to lay on top of her girlfriend, only the comforter in between them.

“I’m here baby.” Tobin cooed, trying to relax Christen. She tightened her grip and started to rub the dark haired woman’s back. “I’ve got you.”

Christen buried her face farther into Tobin’s neck, like she was trying to dig a hole and crawl into the one place where she would be safe. She wiggled in until she couldn’t get any closer. Tobin was still confused, but stayed silent, knowing Christen would explain when she was able. All that mattered to Tobin in the moment was that Christen was in her arms.

They laid like that for several minutes, Christen clinging to Tobin, before she finally took a deep breath, now fully calmed and comforted. Christen knew she was being needy, but it’s just how she was. Tobin was now the anchor that held her down when life got too crazy. How quickly she had become so important.

“I saw the end of your game.” Christen mumbled after a bit, not moving from her spot.

“Oh..” Tobin sighed, remembering how poorly it had went. She was running her hand up and down Christen’s back again.

“You seemed upset. And I guess I was a little upset.. I don’t even really know why..” Christen spoke, lifting her head to look at Tobin. “I kind of just needed you to calm me down. So here I am.”

Tobin smiled and kissed Christen’s forehead. “You couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Tobin had a rough night on the pitch, something that had become kind of uncommon for her these days. She was stressed out and couldn’t make anything work the way she intended to. Every pass or trick she tried seemed to go wrong or end up as a turnover.

Tobin knew that the week of minimal contact with Christen was bothering her and it clearly affected her play tonight. She hated that thought, knowing Christen wasn’t at fault, but she couldn’t help it. The scattered communication and distance between them this week was weighing on her.

Christen’s hunch had been right, Tobin did need her too. Even if she was the strong one who didn’t always admit it, she did. Sometimes Tobin figured that it was better to keep her emotions to herself while Christen was away, knowing it would just make the separation harder on her girlfriend. But now she was glad that Christen knew her so well, not even having to ask if something was wrong. She just knew to come to her rescue.

“I’m so tired.” Christen yawned into Tobin’s neck after another moment of silence.

“How about you get ready for bed and we can sleep. Let’s save the talking for the morning.” Tobin insisted. She figured they had a lot to discuss, but it would do them no good to do it now.

Christen sat up and nodded. “Yea, I should sleep.” She stood up and went to Tobin’s dresser, pulling out an old t-shirt, before stripping off her pants and bra and tossing the shirt on.

“Your toothbrush is still in the bathroom.” Tobin mentioned, knowing Christen left one last time she had been here.

Christen made her way into the bathroom and started to brush her teeth. Tobin slid out of bed and joined her, silently smiling at her in the mirror. Tobin stepped into Christen and wrapped her arms around her waist, resting her face in the back of Christen’s neck. Just holding her as Christen brushed her teeth. Neither of them wanting any space between them, even for a couple of minutes. Christen smiled at the contact, moving her hair over her shoulder so it wasn’t in Tobin’s face.

Christen spit out the remaining toothpaste and rinsed her mouth quickly, leaning back up and spinning around to hug Tobin tightly again.

“I love you.” Christen whispered against Tobin’s cheek, pecking it once.

“I love you too. I’m so happy you’re here” Tobin murmured. She was almost delirious from sleep but she was happy. What an amazing middle of the night wake up this had been.

She leaned back in and kissed Christen’s lips, before grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the bed.

“Come here babe.” Tobin moved to lay on her back as Christen crawled into bed.

Christen climbed on top of Tobin, resting all of her weight down on her girlfriend and nuzzling her face back into Tobin’s neck. Tobin just smiled, loving the feeling of Christen’s body on hers. They were quiet for a few moments before Christen spoke against Tobin’s skin.

“It’s so hard being away from you now.” Christen sighed softly. “I don’t ever want to leave.”

“Then don’t.” Tobin whispered with a shrug. “Just stay here.”

Christen lifted her head from Tobin’s neck again to look at her through the darkness.

“Move in with me so I can take care of you.” Tobin continued, rubbing patterns on Christen’s back underneath her t-shirt. “I’ll get to come home to you every night and it will be perfect.”

They both smiled, knowing it wasn’t that simple or easy. Christen wouldn’t acknowledge that tonight though, because deep down she knew that’s all she really wanted. The one thing that wasn’t one of her options right now.

“Okay.” Christen pretended, leaning in to kiss Tobin goodnight.

“Okay.” Tobin smiled, shutting her eyes and hugging Christen even tighter.




----------------------



Christen’s senses registered the fresh aroma of coffee before her eyes were even open. She felt the mattress dip next to her, and then the soft pillowy sensation of Tobin’s lips on her forehead and then down to her cheek. She basked in the feeling for a moment, before opening her eyes slowly. Tobin was looking down at her lovingly, a tray of food and coffee resting on her lap.

“Morning beautiful.” Tobin whispered, brushing the stray hair out of Christen’s eyes.

“Hi.” Christen smiled, letting her eyes linger on Tobin’s face for a long moment. This was her favorite thing to wake up to in the world.

“I wasn’t sure if I should wake you up, but I know you usually hate sleeping the day away.” Tobin spoke in a quiet voice, letting Christen regain her bearings.

“What time is it?” Christen wondered. Tobin’s bedroom was fully lit by the outside light so she knew it wasn’t early.

“Almost 11.” Tobin confirmed, not taking her eyes off of Christen, even to glance at the clock.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to sleep so late.” Christen instantly felt like she was missing out on valuable time with Tobin, just as Tobin had guessed.

“Don’t be sorry, babe.. you didn’t sleep all night.” Tobin hushed her, running her hand through Christen’s hair lightly, not wanting to pull the tangles.

Tobin shifted, setting the tray next to her on the bed. “I made you coffee and breakfast.”

Christen pulled herself up to scoot back against the headboard. “Honey, you didn’t have to do that.”

“I wanted to.” Tobin shrugged simply. “I was awake and thought I could make myself useful.”

Christen looked down at the offerings. Coffee with a little cream, just how Tobin knew she liked it. A toasted bagel with peanut butter and jelly on the side, and some scrambled eggs with cheese. It wasn’t fancy, but it was the thought that counted.

“You’re the best.” Christen grinned, leaning in to give Tobin a closed mouth kiss.

“I could say the same to you.” Tobin smiled. “How many times will you surprise me here?”

They both laughed softly, acknowledging Christen’s kind of crazy last minute flight change.

Now it was Christen’s turn to shrug. “I just can’t stay away from you, Tobin Heath.”

“Well I am definitely not complaining.” Tobin smiled again, holding eye contact with Christen. After a second her tone turned a bit more serious. “Are you sure nothing is wrong Chris?”

“Nothing is wrong.” Christen nodded, squeezing Tobin’s thigh once. “Nothing is ever wrong when I’m lying in your bed.”

Tobin gave her an unconvinced look, her lips pressed together. “I guess I’m still kind of wondering what made you fly here in the middle of the night instead of to LA…” Tobin asked. “Not that I don’t love that you’re here, because I do.”

Christen picked up the coffee mug from the tray, taking a slow sip, so the hot liquid didn’t burn her. She cupped the mug with both of her hands and let her eyes focus on it for a moment, waiting before she answered Tobin.

Tobin could sense her desire to delay the conversation for a little longer. “How about you eat and try and wake up a little, and then we can talk?”

Christen agreed, thankful Tobin wasn’t going to push her. They sat in silence for a moment as Christen took the plate of food off the tray and started to pick at it. Zoey jumped up on the bed and hovered close, waiting to see if either of them would give her any bites.

“This is really good.” Christen complimented, after she had most of the eggs gone. Zoey got a few bites of the bagel and then Tobin ate the rest of it when Christen got too full.

After the food was finished, Tobin took the empty plate from her girlfriend and put it back on the tray. Christen reached for the coffee mug again, wanting to finish it before Tobin took the dishes away.

“So…” Tobin asked, hoping to get the conversation that she knew was coming out of the way. She couldn’t be patient much longer.

“So… they offered me the job.” Christen said in a small voice, getting it over with. She didn’t meet Tobin’s eyes again. “I have the offer letter sitting in my email.”

Tobin felt her throat tighten, but she forced herself to keep her eyes on Christen. She begged them not to betray her now. “Congrats, babe. I knew they would.”

Christen didn’t respond, just let her eyes trail up Tobin’s body until their eyes met. Tobin could see the sadness in Christen’s green eyes right away.

“I love you, Chris.” Tobin spoke, just to break the silence. Her voice was a little shaky. She leaned in to kiss Christen, hoping it conveyed some happiness.

“I love you too.” Christen smiled delicately as she me her girlfriend’s lips.

When they pulled apart, Christen released one hand from the coffee mug and cupped Tobin’s cheek with it. They just looked at each other for a moment.

“I don’t think I’m gonna take it.” Christen said slowly, so Tobin could process her words. She let her eyes drop from Tobin’s again, feeling like she just admitted something she shouldn’t have.

“Christen…” Tobin breathed.

When Christen didn’t look at her again, Tobin reached out towards her girlfriend, letting her pointer finger find Christen’s chin, tilting her head up with it.

“Why not?” Tobin asked when Christen’s eyes found hers again.

“Because.. I just.. I can’t do it.” Christen shook her head. “I can’t be that far away from you.”

Tobin grabbed the tray from the bed and set it on the nightstand, before she reached over and took the coffee mug out of Christen’s hands. When there were no objects with a chance of spilling in her way, Tobin crawled over Christen and leaned against the headboard next to her, pulling her girlfriend onto her. She wrapped both arms around Christen and just held her against her chest for a moment.

“Are you saying that because of how I reacted to the news the first time around?” Tobin questioned curiously. “Because I promise, I truly want you to do whatever you want.”

“No.” Christen whispered into Tobin’s shoulder. “I’m saying it because I barely survived the week.”

Tobin kissed her forehead, unsure of how to respond. She agreed internally, the week had been pretty brutal; but Tobin guessed that it was probably an extreme situation. Christen probably wouldn’t always be that busy. And Tobin wouldn’t always be in season. There would be down time and things would get easier. Probably.

“Did you know that New York City is the most populated city in America?” Christen asked after a moment of silence, like it wouldn’t be obvious or common knowledge for Tobin to know that.

“Yea.” Tobin nodded. She grew up right outside of New York, of course she knew that.

“So don’t you find it a little concerning that a city with over eight million people felt completely empty to me?” Christen turned her head to look at Tobin now. “You’re the one person who I need, and if you’re not there, it just feels lonely and abandoned.”

Tobin just looked at her, knowing exactly what she meant by that. She wasn’t sure of what to say.

“I watched the most gorgeous sunset last night and I didn’t even enjoy it because all I was doing was wishing you were there standing next to me, so that you could see it too.” Christen continued. “It made me realize that you are basically, pretty much always, on my mind.”

Tobin bit her bottom lip as Christen kept talking.

“So yea, I could take this job and move across the country and make more money, but I wouldn’t be happy. Not fully anyway. And we’d survive, you and I, because I just know we would figure it out; but life isn’t worth living if you aren’t completely, hopelessly in love with it. And without you there with me, I wouldn’t love it.”

Tobin felt like Christen’s mind was made up. And she agreed with every word her girlfriend was saying. Tobin knew she would be just as miserable that far away from Christen, but it wasn’t her decision to make.

“I just want to make sure that you are positive.” Tobin spoke. “I know you’ve done way more than your fair share of traveling to see me, and I promise when the season is over, I will do my part. I just don’t want you to regret turning this down in three months.”

“I’m sure.” Christen nodded. “Plus, if I move to New York, there will be no more weekend visits. It’s impossible to fly that far for one or two nights. So it’s not worth it to me.”

Tobin still couldn’t shake the feeling that this was somehow her fault. Like Christen wasn't even giving it a chance because of her. And as much as she loved that Christen would still be closer to her, she felt bad.

“I’m sorry, babe.” Tobin sighed.

“For what?” Christen wondered, looking at Tobin quizzically.

“For not being able to be more flexible. And for not being able to give you both things. I want to, you know. I want you to be able to take this job and still see you all the time. I wish I could see you every single day. I just hate that I’m the one holding you back.”

“Stop that. You have nothing to be sorry for.” Christen insisted quickly. “You’re not holding me back. This is what I want. And it’s not like this plan won’t get accomplished. It will, I just won’t be the one running it. The world will still get a little better from it. And I’m okay with that.”

“You’re such an amazing person, Chris.” Tobin smiled, pulling Christen in to connect their lips again. “I’m so lucky to have you. I can’t even believe how lucky I am.”

“And I’m lucky to have you.” Christen said truthfully, before she kissed Tobin back.

They made out for a few minutes, until Zoey came and sat right down on Christen’s lap, wanting their attention. They both laughed heartily at that, loving how cute their dog was.

“Can we please go do something fun today?” Christen questioned. “I don’t want to think about work the rest of the weekend.”

“Of course.” Tobin nodded. “You have to leave again tomorrow, I’m guessing?”

Christen confirmed Tobin suspicions. Even if she wasn’t going to accept the New York offer, she still had to be back in LA on Monday morning for work. Tobin booked Christen a flight home on Sunday night using her miles, before they finally got out of bed, ready to start the day.



---------------------

 

“Okay on three, go.” Tobin had her phone up and ready to capture Christen’s movements. “One, two, three…”

Christen set out, taking tiny steps with her bare feet, using her toes to hang on for dear life. She was trying to stay low and keep her core steady. Her strong legs helping her balance as she tried to navigate the tightrope. She was only suspended two feet in the air, but she didn’t want to fall.

“Come on, Chris!” Tobin cheered her on encouragingly.

Christen had gotten about halfway across the tiny rope, before she started to sway. It was the fifth time she was trying it, making Tobin video each one in case she reached the end.

“Oh gosh!” Christen laughed, feeling her legs shake rapidly, trying to regain her composure.

As she took another step, she lost her footing, falling off the tightrope before she reached the end of the line.

“Ohhhhhh!” Tobin yelled out, laughing hysterically. “So close, baby.”

“Dang it!” Christen laughed, turning around to walk back towards Tobin and the camera, with a huge grin on her face. Her momentum from falling had carried her a few feet away. She closed the gap between her and Tobin quickly, hugging her between laughter. Tobin let the camera fall, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist lovingly.

“That was your best one yet!” Tobin smiled as Christen held onto her.

They had spent the afternoon at Tobin’s favorite indoor rock climbing wall in Portland, wanting something fun to do as it rained outside. They did some bouldering and classic wall climbing and attempted tightrope walking, which Christen hadn’t mastered yet, and Tobin wouldn’t dare try. It was the perfect way to get Christen’s mind off of work and they both had a great time.

Of course Tobin was a natural. She was so strong and agile, scaling up each boulder in half the amount of time that it took Christen. Tobin had no problem sitting back and watching Christen when she was done, enjoy the view of her girlfriend bending and lifting her body while wearing tight yoga pants. Christen caught her staring more than a few times. Finally they got tired out and Christen gave up on her quest to walk the tightrope all the way across. Tobin promised her they’d come back again and that Christen would eventually get it.

They stopped and picked up some Mexican food to-go from Tobin’s favorite restaurant on the way home, deciding that tacos and beers on the couch was the perfect way to enjoy dinner together.

“So I was looking at flights for Perry’s wedding.” Tobin mentioned between bites of guacamole that was overflowing her tortilla chip in hand. “Would you be able to take that Friday off of work?”

Christen reached for her phone before answering, pulling up her calendar to make sure that she hadn’t forgotten about anything that would conflict with the dates.

“Yea, I don’t have anything scheduled.” Christen nodded, taking another swig of her Pacifico beer, which Tobin kept stocked in the fridge most of the time.

“Perfect.” Tobin grinned. “I’ll get our flights this week then.”

Perry’s wedding was only three weeks away and Tobin had finally finished working out the details of her time away from her team. Mark had insisted that she take an extra day of practice off in order to fly to the East Coast, promising Tobin that she could use the break and that the team would survive for three days without her. So Tobin finally settled on going Thursday morning and coming back just in time for their game that Sunday night. It would be a quick turnaround, but since the wedding was on a Saturday night, it didn’t leave Tobin with many options.

“I can book my own flight, Tobs.” Christen insisted.

“Don’t argue with me.” Tobin instructed with a grin, leaning over to kiss Christen. “I’’m getting it.” Before popping another chip into her mouth.

Christen opened her mouth to protest but decided against it. There was no use in being stubborn on this when she knew Tobin would win.

“That’s probably the next time we’ll see each other, huh?” Tobin wondered, thinking of the next few weeks.

The National Team was set to play two friendlies in Norway, in just over a week and a half. Tobin had been called up and would be traveling with the team across the pond. She was excited to get back to playing with the Senior team, since they hadn’t had many games to start the year, with it being an off year in the cycle. The only downside of it was being forced to go that long without seeing Christen.

“More than likely.” Christen confirmed. “It’ll fly by for you though, and before you know it, you’ll be showing me around Rhode Island.”

Tobin smiled thinking of it. She was so excited for Christen to see the place where she spent every summer growing up. It was a part of her childhood that she would forever cherish, those hot summer days on the water in New England.

“I’m gonna have the hottest date at the wedding.” Tobin bragged to herself, earning an eye roll from Christen.

Christen gathered up their empty takeout containers and brought them into the kitchen, tossing them in the garbage.

“Speaking of hot, I think I could use a shower after our sweaty climbing session.” Christen raised her eyebrows suggestively and looked over at Tobin.

Tobin giggled again and stood up from the couch, not hesitating to following Christen towards the bathroom. She met her girlfriend in the hallway, reaching for Christen’s hand who was leading them down the hall, before calling over her shoulder.

“We’ll be back, Zo.”



--------------------

 

“Hey Press, can you walk with me?” Christen’s boss, Tony, asked as he poked his head around her office door quickly.

It was Monday morning and they had a conference call with Jonathan scheduled in fifteen minutes. Christen’s insides were going crazy, knowing she was about to have to break the news to them about not accepting their job offer. She barely slept a wink the night before, even though it was the first night back in her own bed in over ten days.

“Sure, where to?” Christen asked, standing up from her desk.

“I was gonna run across the street and grab a coffee, figured you could use one too.” Tony mentioned with a smile. “I know how addicted to caffeine you are.”

Christen appreciated his attempt to keep the conversation light. He was in an unusually cheery mood for a Monday morning.

“Is it an addiction if you choose it?” Christen played along as she followed him into the hallway. “I thought they just called that a habit?”

“Okay, a habit, we’ll go with that.” He nodded. “What will this be, your fourth - fifth cup of the day then?”

Christen laughed, feeling herself starting to relax. Her and her boss had a great relationship and she’d learned a ton working for him since she graduated college. She couldn’t figure out why she was so nervous to talk to him or Jonathan about the job. She trusted both of them as mentors and friends.

The pair made their way to the Coffee Bean across the street quickly, getting a couple coffees to go. By the time they made it back to Tony’s office, Jonathan’s Skype call was ringing through the speakers in the room. Right on time.

The trio greeted each other pleasantly and made small talk about their weekend’s for a few minutes as Christen opened her computer. She had made a pros and cons bullet point list last night at the airport, wanting to make sure they both understood that she had thought this offer over thoroughly. Part of her knew it was for her own benefit though, crossing off that last mental checkmark.

“So Christen, I am guessing you had a chance to mull over the offer this weekend?” Jonathan asked through the speaker. They could see his face projected on the wall in Tony’s office, but the video was lagging behind the sound a half second.

Christen bit her bottom lip for a moment, before answering him with a small smile. “I did.”

Jonathan smiled back at the camera. “Tony, you should have seen your protege last week. She was killing it in New York. For a California native, she sure kept up. I know how you west coasters can be..”

They all laughed at his joke before Tony defended them. “What, do you think I’d send her in unprepared? Press knows what she's doing. Hell, she keeps me in line most of the time.”

“I can tell, which is why I offered her the job.” Jonathan agreed.

They all pulled up the offer letter on their respective screens. “Well, what do you think Christen?” Tony asked after a moment.

“It’s a great offer.” Christen answered. She cleared her throat, willing herself to be strong and calculated with her words. Now wasn’t the time to let emotions creep in. “Almost too good, if I can be honest.” She continued.

“Well, it’s an important job.” Jonathan replied. “And I won’t lie that it will be a lot of work and probably more hours than most people are used to.”

Christen nodded. They had talked about that already, last week while they were together. The hours weren’t what she was afraid of. She liked being busy at work.

“It does seem like a lot of work, but it also seems very rewarding. I know that team will put together something amazing, that really will help to changes lives for less fortunate people.”

Christen spoke again. “But I just don’t think that I’m the right person for it.”

Tony was mid-sip of his coffee as Christen finished her sentence. He coughed a little, like some had gone down the wrong pipe, trying to mask his confusion.

“Christen, it’s your plan. I can assure you, you’re the perfect person for it.” Tony spoke once he regained the ability. His tone was encouraging, like that was the one little thing Christen needed to hear in order to say yes.

Jonathan didn’t say anything for a moment, but he didn’t drop his smile, almost as if he was expecting that type of answer from Christen.

“I think the plan itself I can handle.” Christen explained. “It’s everything that goes with it that I’m not sure is for me.”

Tony didn’t know what to say, turning his attention back to Jonathan on the screen for a moment.

“Well, if I had to judge by your mood on Friday when you left, I can’t say I’m overly surprised.” Jonathan finally spoke. The video cut in and out for a moment before it refocused.

He could tell by Christen’s body language on Friday how overwhelmed and out of her element she seemed when she said goodbye to him.

“I don’t mean that in a bad way, just to be clear.” The friendly man spoke. “It was just a hunch I had all weekend.”

Christen just nodded, confirming that he was right.

“What is holding you back from saying yes to this job?” Tony asked, genuinely wondering. Neither of their tones were condescending or judgmental.

“Okay, well if I’m being honest, I can’t see myself living in New York. I’m not ready to give up my life on the west coast full time. And I just don’t think it suits me.”

“Okay, I understand that.” Tony nodded. “What else?”

Christen ran over the pros and cons list in her head again, but there wasn’t anything else that was really jumping out at her as to the reason why she was saying no.

“That’s really it. It’s just a lifestyle decision.” Christen shrugged. “But I am willing to help whoever does take the job in whatever capacity I can. I truly want this Initiative to succeed.”

“So let me make sure I am understanding you correctly.” Jonathan asked. “The only reason you are turning down the job, which, that’s what you’re saying, right..?”

“That’s what I’m saying.” Christen nodded firmly.

“The only reason, is because you don’t want to move to New York?” He finished his question.

“Yes.” Christen confirmed.

“Ok hold on. Can I call you guys back in five minutes?” Jonathan asked almost immediately.

They both agreed, and the Skype call quickly ended. Christen was a little surprised, not totally sure of what was going on, but she didn’t question it out loud.

She felt a little awkward now sitting in mostly silence, as Tony typed away at his computer. She wasn’t sure if he was upset about her saying no, being that he was the one who recommended her for the position in the first place. Before she could stress about that for too long, another call from Jonathan was coming in over the speakers again.

“Could you give me one week a month in New York?” Jonathan asked after they greeted him again. “Would that be doable?”

Christen didn’t know what to say, feeling completely caught off guard that this is the direction the conversation had taken.

“I mean.. Yea, I could..” She nodded questioningly.

“And if that were the case, you’d take the job?” He asked.

“What would the other three weeks a month be?” Christen asked, wanting to make sure she was understanding him correctly.

“Sorry, let me back up.” Jonathan laughed. “Would you be willing to work remotely for most of the time and spend a week a month in New York, meeting with the team? Our guys here think that could work.”

“Umm, yea if you’re seriously offering that.” Christen grinned apprehensively. Her whole outlook changing slightly, in an instant.

“Honestly, we want you to have this job.” Jonathan explained. “I usually don’t stick my neck out there for too many people, but I just feel like you need to be the one to oversee this team. It’s your plan and you will make sure it gets executed properly. There are a lot of expectations riding on the success of this.”

“I think we can make that work.” Tony nodded, reaching out and patting Christen’s shoulder a couple times when he noticed her hands shaking slightly.

“I’ll send you a new offer letter in the morning. The rest of my day is booked. But is this something we can all verbally agree on?” Jonathan asked again with a more hopeful tone.

“Yeah.” Christen was beaming. It was everything she wanted out of this situation but would never let herself wish for. Her blood pressure was probably through the roof with adrenaline.

“We’re in agreement.” Tony confirmed.

They all said goodbye after another minute, knowing Jonathan had another meeting to get to. Tony kept Christen a little longer, talking over some of the smaller details, before his phone rang.

By the time Christen was walking back to her own office, her heart was pumping so wildly that she felt like she should go run a marathon just to calm down.

She only had one call to make now. One person occupying all of her thoughts.

Christen shut her office door quickly and sat down in her black leather desk chair. She grabbed her phone off the desk and found Tobin’s number, calling it instantly.

Tobin picked up after the second ring, her voice cautious. “Hey babe, are you okay?” She asked right away, knowing Christen had probably just finished giving them the bad news.

“I’m okay..” Christen almost wanted to laugh with joy. “Honey… Guess what!”

Chapter Text

Christen ran her free hand slowly through her hair, attempting to tame her soft curls a little as her dark mane fluttered around with the breeze that was whipping through the open windows. It was unseasonably hot for late September, the wind helping to quell the humidity just enough to make it bearable.

She looked over at Tobin, who had a grin on her face; her blue Raybans sitting coolly on the bridge of her nose. Christen could still see the crinkles at the edges of Tobin eyes behind the lenses, prominent now from her wide smile. Their fingers were loosely intertwined as their hands rested on the small cab seat in between them. Dust particles from the dirt road Tobin was driving down were being kicked up behind the old Ford pickup.

It was Tobin’s grandfather’s pickup. The old type with the steel frame and ingrained FORD tailgate, purchased brand new in 1970 and driven to the bone ever since. It was the same pickup that Tobin learned to drive with, too young for it to be legal, but old enough that she knew how. Back when she spent summers with her grandparents in this sleepy New England town.

The truck was so old that it only had one of those classic dial stereos; two or three stations able to pick up a signal. One long seat with two seatbelts in the cab, the long joystick shifter protruding from the floor. But this truck was a part of Tobin, so she jumped at the chance to drive it when leaving to pick Christen up from the train station in Providence.

Christen had taken the Amtrak up from New York, where she had been working all week. Her first official week in her new job. It was Friday afternoon and she was more than ready to escape the bustle of New York City once again, trading it in for a weekend in Newport, Rhode Island with Tobin and her family. They were all excited to celebrate Perry and Taylor’s wedding. The quaint island town couldn’t have been a more perfect change of pace.

Tobin could barely take her eyes off of Christen as she drove slowly, a country station playing through the speakers, mixed with a bit of static. It was the best they had to work with on this old radio. Tobin would never call herself a country music fan, but right now she felt like the radio was preaching to her.

 

We're out here in the boondocks, With the breeze and the birds

Tangled up in the tall grass, With my lips on hers

On the highway to heaven, Headed south of her smile

Get there when we get there, Every inch is a mile

 

She was dying to kiss Christen. Really kiss her, like she wasn’t able to at the train station or while they were driving. The slow type - where she got lost in the feeling of Christen’s lips and tongue, until she wasn’t able to think of anything else. That is what she was wanting now.

Tobin turned off onto another dirt road, which was basically just a path that was barely wide enough to fit the truck. If they met another car, they’d have nowhere to go but the grassy ditches on either side. Christen turned her head again to look over at Tobin, a smile playing across her lips.

 

Body like a back road, drivin' with my eyes closed

I know every curve like the back of my hand

Doin' 15 in a 30, I ain't in no hurry

I'mma take it slow just as fast as I can

 

“I want to show you something.” Tobin said slowly when she noticed the amusement on Christen’s face.

This was definitely all new to Christen and Tobin was loving every bit of it.

The tiny road led them down to a grassy expanse that opened up to the shoreline, the Atlantic Ocean now staring them in the face, just beyond the sandy beach in the forefront. Tobin parked the old truck and shut it off, the radio still quietly playing in the background.

“I used to pretend this was my private beach.” Tobin smiled, turning to look at her girlfriend now that she wasn’t driving anymore. “My grandparent’s, well I guess just grandpa’s house now, is just on the other side of the road, back the way we came.”

Christen scooted a little closer to Tobin, towards the center of the cab. She had an idea of where this was headed. Or at least where she wanted it to go.

“We would ride our bikes over here and spend every day in the water when we were kids. All summer long.” Tobin explained their surroundings, thinking back to the years when her and her siblings would spend summers in Rhode Island with their grandpa and grandma.

The beach was set back in a cove, with long golden brown grass lining the edges, right before the sand. Christen could see a couple sailboats in the water, far off in the distance.

“This is so pretty.” Christen almost whispered, like she was trying to keep this spot a secret, just between them.

They sat in silence for a moment, just holding hands and looking out into the water as the song finished. The breeze had picked up a little now that they were at the shore, which Tobin was thankful for. The humidity was making her hair stick to the back of her neck.

 

I'mma take it slow

Just as fast as I can

 

“I figured this would be a good place to come make out for a bit before we are bombarded by my family all weekend.” Tobin laughed, squeezing Christen’s hand that was laced with hers. She was half kidding but half serious. Definitely serious about the making out part.

Christen turned to look at her girlfriend again, cocking an eyebrow at Tobin’s suggestion. “Oh yeah?”

Tobin just nodded and laughed lightly, waiting to see if Christen would make a move.

She didn’t hesitate at all.

Christen let go of Tobin’s hand, shifting her body towards the brown haired woman. She sat up on her knee quickly, swinging her leg over Tobin’s waist, straddling her in front of the steering wheel. Tobin’s hands found Christen’s hips instantly, holding her close. Yea, this is what she had in mind.  

“Hi honey.” Christen grinned, staring down at Tobin underneath her. She bit her bottom lip teasingly, waiting for Tobin to close the space between them.

Tobin sat up a little straighter, craning her neck towards Christen, so their lips just barely brushed against each other’s.

“I missed you.” Tobin hummed against Christen’s lips.

They hadn’t seen each other in almost a month, since before Tobin had gone to Norway with the National Team. It had gone by pretty quickly for both women, busy with work and travel; but they were so happy to finally be together again.

“I missed you too.” Christen spoke as she was smiling. “And now I’m all yours.” She whispered against Tobin’s mouth before pressing her lips firmly to Tobin’s.

Christen held her lips against Tobin’s for a long moment, not wanting to rush. When she pulled back, she quickly pecked Tobin’s lips a couple more times, before deepening the kiss a little.

Tobin opened her mouth and ran her tongue over Christen’s bottom lip slowly, until the dark haired woman parted her lips just enough for Tobin to slide her tongue into her mouth. Their tongues found each others and danced softly in Christen’s mouth, both of them unhurried in the moment. They just wanted to enjoy this.

Christen pulled back after a minute, taking a deep breath and releasing it through her nose, trying to keep herself steady. She leaned back in, looking for more control.

Her hands found both sides of Tobin’s neck, right at the base of her jaw. The pads of her thumbs running patterns across Tobin’s tanned skin on her jawline. Tobin’s hands found Christen’s toned stomach under her shirt, roaming up to her ribs but not daring to go any higher for now.

The sensation of Tobin’s hands caused Christen to shift, leaning back into the steering wheel and accidentally pressing into the horn. The loud HONK broke the silence in the air around the truck, causing them both to laugh hard.

When they regained their composure, it was Christen’s turn to find Tobin’s tongue, pushing gently into her mouth with her own tongue, loving the familiar taste of Tobin. They kissed like that for several minutes, alternating between deep slow kisses and small pecks.

Finally they broke apart, hugging each other and just enjoying the closeness. Tobin was breathing in Christen’s scent with her face tucked into Christen’s neck. Both of them ignoring the humid air around them.

“We’ve never had car sex before.” Christen whispered as Tobin kissed the sensitive skin right under her ear.

“Babe…” Tobin whined, wanting so much more from this situation, but knowing they needed to control themselves for now. They were already supposed to be back at the house Tobin’s extended family had rented for the weekend, and they certainly didn’t have time for sex right now.

Christen pulled Tobin’s face up again to look at her eyes. She leaned in and pecked her lips another time.

“I was just stating a fact.” She defended herself with a wicked grin.

“That is now officially on my list, you know.” Tobin giggled, kissing Christen again.

“I love you.” Christen mused, sitting up a little higher to create a small amount of space between them.

“I love you too.” Tobin returned surely, reaching up and smoothing out Christen’s windblown hair a little.

They shared one last kiss before Christen unhooked her leg from around Tobin hips, moving off of her and settling back onto the seat. Christen fixed her shirt that had gotten a little bunched up while Tobin’s hands were underneath it, before running her hand through her hair again.

“Let’s go say hi to everyone. We’re now super late.” Tobin laughed, starting up the truck.

She knew Perry would give her shit when they got back. Tobin was only supposed to be gone an hour tops, just long enough to pick Christen up and bring her back. Their grandpa and extended family were dying to meet the woman that had Tobin so hooked.

They got back on the dirt road for a couple miles, before pulling up to a large beach house at the end of a long driveway. Not far from Tobin’s grandpa's house at all.

The beach house had a wraparound porch with large windows, giving it what Christen guessed was a gorgeous view of the water. Tobin parked the truck behind a few other vehicles and looked over at her girlfriend.

“I’m kinda nervous.” Christen admitted. She was about to meet the rest of Tobin’s family. The crazy cousins and aunts and uncles who were all in town for the wedding.

“Don’t be.” Tobin smiled reassuringly. “They will love you.”

Christen just nodded. There was no going back now and she was excited for the weekend ahead of them.

Tobin opened her door and waited to step out of the truck until Christen did the same. They left Christen’s bags in the back of the pickup, since they were staying at the hotel in town with the wedding party.

“Ready?” Tobin asked with a smile, reaching for Christen’s hand as they met around the front of the truck.

“Ready.” Christen confirmed, lacing her fingers with Tobin’s again. They made the short walk up the cement path towards the house and climbed the porch steps.

“Christen is here!!” Perry yelled from the living room when the front door swung open, wanting to alert the family who had surely been discussing her arrival for the past couple hours.  

Christen laughed and took another deep breath as Perry approached first.

“Hey girl!” Perry smiled, wrapping Christen in a tight hug. “I’m so glad you could make it this weekend.”

“Me too! I wouldn’t have miss it.” Christen replied honestly. She relaxed quickly next to Tobin’s sister, who’d always made her feel right at home.

They stood in the living for a few minutes as various cousins and aunts and uncles came in and out of the room. Perry did most of the introductions, while Tobin just kept her hand on Christen’s lower back, offering her a little comforting contact.

“I think Grandpa is out back.” Perry mentioned when they had said hello or talked to almost everyone else.

“Let’s go see him.” Tobin suggested to Christen, grabbing her hand again pulling her through the house and towards the back porch.

They made their way out of the back double doors, onto the wooden porch that was now overlooking the water in the rear of the house. Tobin’s grandpa was sitting in a rocking chair, looking out to the ocean.

“Tobin, you’re back!” Her grandfather said excitedly as they approached. Christen was trailing just behind her.

“We’re back.” Tobin confirmed. “Grandpa, this is my girlfriend, Christen.” Tobin explained quickly with a big grin on her face.

Tobin’s grandpa stood up from the chair, gently moving Tobin out of the way to get a good look at Christen.

“Well, Christen!” He said happily, putting his hands on her shoulders slowly. “My goodness, you are a beautiful young woman.”

Christen laughed shyly as he pulled her into a soft hug. “Hi!” She greeted him cheerily.

He let Christen go and looked her up and down again.

“Tobin.. she is even more beautiful than you described her.” He winked. “You should really work on that or she’ll knock somebody out with her looks.” The old man joked playfully.

“I tried to warn you.” Tobin laughed, knowing his teasing was good natured.

“I had to learn that with your grandmother as well.” He smiled as if he was reflecting on the past. “You’ll get there.”

Tobin and Christen just laughed again.

“It’s really great to meet you Mr. Heath.” Christen smiled. She could tell he and Tobin were close, even after only a few seconds of watching them together.

“Oh please, call me George.” Tobin’s grandpa insisted. “Mr. Heath is that tall businessman over there.” He said, pointing to Tobin’s dad who was standing in the yard playing with Tobin’s nephew, Cole.

They stood there and talked with Tobin’s grandpa for a while, about Christen’s week in New York and what her new job was all about. He told them a story about the first time he ever visited California, when Christen mentioned that’s where she was from. She was charmed by the elderly man instantly, clearly able to see why Tobin loved him so much. He just had that classic grandpa quality to him.

“So Christen.. you’re the first person Tobin has ever brought home.” Her grandpa mentioned during a lull in conversation, like it was the most casual thing in the world. “You must really be something..”

Tobin blushed as Christen gave her a look, just for a moment. Tobin hadn’t mentioned that fact to Christen. Not that it mattered, but it made her feel special, knowing Tobin didn’t let just anyone into this part of her life.

“She is.” Tobin nodded proudly, wrapping her arm around Christen’s waist in front of her grandpa. Tobin bit the inside of her cheek to keep herself from laughing at how perfect and natural and important this all felt. She just knew it was going to be a good weekend.


----------------------


Tobin lifted her head off the pillow as the loud knock came on their hotel room door. She was woken from a dead sleep, with Christen lying unmoved on the pillow next to her. Tobin glanced at the clock on the nightstand. 7:05 am.

“Shit.” Tobin whispered softly, sitting up. She was supposed to be up and in the shower already.  

She had to be ready for “pre-hair-and-makeup breakfast and cocktails” - as Perry called it on the itinerary - in twenty five minutes. She guessed that’s what the knock was about.

Tobin slid off the bed to find a shirt and shorts to throw on, not willing to answer the door completely naked. Her and Christen had come back to their hotel room late last night, after the rehearsal dinner and a quick stop at the local bar with the rest of Tobin’s family. They didn’t waste much time undressing and falling into bed together, only letting themselves drift to sleep after some much needed I Missed You sex. Tobin now wished they had went to bed a little earlier, as exhausted as she currently felt.

Whoever was knocking on the door was growing impatient, knocking harder a second time.

“I”m coming!” Tobin whispered, as she pulled a t-shirt out from her suitcase and threw it on.

She glanced over at Christen on the bed, her bare back exposed with the covers around her butt. Her dark curls were spread out across the pillow and she was still sleeping softly. Tobin smiled at her for a moment, before turning to walk to the door.

Tobin swung the door open, greeted instantly with a coffee and her mother’s smiling face.

“Are you awake?” Cindy questioned loudly from the hallway.

“I am now.” Tobin nodded obviously, accepting the coffee from her mom without hesitation.

Tobin was standing in front of the doorway, not opening the door all the way for Cindy to see into the room.

“Can I come in?” Her mom questioned after a second of Tobin not moving.

Tobin shook her head no. “Christen is still sleeping.” She explained quietly.

She wasn’t about to let her mom into the room while Christen was naked in bed. And it wasn’t a lie, the dark haired beauty was still asleep, unless Tobin’s mom’s loud talking had woken her up by now.

“Did you forget to set your alarm?” Cindy questioned after Tobin denied her request to enter.

Tobin had thought she set her alarm at first, thinking maybe she just slept through it. But then she remembered the way she was undressing Christen as they crawled into bed. And then her thoughts flashed to that thing Christen did with her tongue right before she fell asleep; and yep, she definitely forgot to set her alarm . She probably couldn’t have told you her own name in that moment. She smiled to herself, pushing those thoughts away to focus on the conversation with her mom.

“Yea, I guess so.” Tobin responded through another whisper. “Sorry.”

“Good thing you have me to wake you up.” Cindy said smugly. Her voice still louder than necessary.

“Okay, thanks mom. Can I please shower and meet you downstairs?” Tobin asked, wanting to end this conversation. She really did need to get in the shower. If she was late for the first scheduled event of the day, Perry would be stressed out and it would be a bad situation for everyone.

“I’ll see you down there.” Cindy relented with a nod. “Tell Christen good morning for me.”

Tobin agreed, saying goodbye to her mom before she let the hotel door shut again. She made her way into the bathroom and cranked the shower as hot as it would go, hoping the steam would shake the drowsiness from her mind.

When Tobin was done showering she got dressed quickly, needing to head downstairs to meet the group. She sat down on the bed, trying to coax Christen awake so she could say goodbye.

“Baby.” Tobin whispered as she kissed Christen’s bare shoulder.

“Hmmm?” Christen hummed, not opening her eyes, but clearly not asleep anymore.

Tobin continued her trail of kisses, across Christen’s back and up to her neck slowly, before ending at Christen’s cheek that wasn’t pressed to the pillow.

“You are so beautiful.” Tobin whispered in Christen’s ear. “And hot and gorgeous and pretty and sexy.” She kissed her jaw once, and then again.

Tobin couldn’t get over how perfect her girlfriend was, lying naked in her bed. She didn’t think she would ever get used to it.

Christen didn’t say anything, just smiled with her eyes closed.

“I gotta go.” Tobin whispered between kisses.

“Nooo.” Christen whined. She didn’t want Tobin’s affection to end yet. It was such a good way to wake up.

“Sorry love.” Tobin smiled, moving her hand around Christen’s side and rolling her over onto her back gently. That movement finally made Christen open her eyes.

Christen knew Tobin had to spend her day up until the wedding with the wedding party. She was a bridesmaid after all. They were all going to get their hair and makeup done after breakfast, before meeting at the house Perry had rented for the bridal party to get at ready in Jamestown. The tiny island town across the water was where the beachfront wedding was being held later.

Christen sat up, gathering her hair and tucking the wild mane to the side of her head. Tobin laughed at her tired expression.

“Baby you’re so cute.” Tobin grinned. She loved how adorable Christen looked first thing in the morning.

“So many compliments this morning.” Christen noted with a smile, reaching out for Tobin.

“I’ll see you in a while?” Tobin asked, meeting Christen’s eyes.

“Of course.” Christen nodded. “I can’t wait to see how beautiful you look.”

Tobin leaned in and connected her lips with Christen’s, kissing her softly.

“I love you.” Tobin hummed, kissing her again before pulling back. She was going to be late.

“I love you more.” Christen replied, pushing Tobin’s wet hair over her shoulder. “Go, before I don’t let you.”

Tobin stood up, grabbing her phone and wallet. She was thankful that her mom had taken the rest of her wedding stuff the night before, so she didn’t have to worry about it now.

“Bye, babe.” Tobin yelled over her shoulder as she opened the door, heading down to the lobby to meet the other gals for breakfast.

Christen fell back asleep for a while before she got out of bed to get some coffee and breakfast of her own. She set out to explore the small town, walking a few blocks through the downtown area of Newport, falling in love with the narrow streets and charming old buildings quickly. She found herself enjoying the sunshine as she popped in and out of a couple boutique shops throughout the morning. It was another unseasonably gorgeous early Autumn day.  

Christen also walked down to Newport Harbor, located just at the end of the downtown strip.  She watched as sailboats came in and out of the marina, killing time before she had to get ready for the wedding. As she sat and watched, Christen could picture a life here, realizing easily just how magical it must have been for Tobin as a kid to spend her summers here. There was just a warm feeling about the quaint, historic little town.

After a couple hours on her own, Christen went back to the hotel to shower and get ready. She took her time curling her hair and clipping half of it up, so it was back off her face. She wore a long floral skirt with a white crop top that accentuated her curves perfectly, paired with dressy sandals, deciding that walking in heels on uneven sand would be impossible.

When she was ready, she met up with Jeffrey’s girlfriend, Sarah, and they took the ferry over to Jamestown together, grabbing a cocktail before they made their way to the beach where the ceremony and reception were going to take place.

The wedding itself was a laid back and casual beach ceremony, that was just fancy enough to be perfect. Christen felt the butterflies in her stomach as Tobin entered her line of sight, getting ready to walk down the aisle with the groomsman she was paired up with; just before the bride. Christen hadn’t seen her girlfriend all day, since before she and the rest of the wedding party got all dolled up.

Tobin was wearing a flowy light blue satin bridesmaid dress that fit her perfectly. Her toned arms on display for Christen to stare at the whole way. Her hair was curled and pinned back and she had the biggest smile on her face, clearly excited for the celebration of love.

When it was her turn to walk down the sand in between the congregation chairs, she basically worked the crowd, like only Tobin would in the moment. Waving to various family and friends as she held her flower arrangement in her right hand. Christen giggled softly as she watched, it was such a Tobin thing to do.

Tobin especially appreciated the fact that the bridal party got to be barefoot on the beach as the nuptials were exchanged. She stood proudly behind her eldest sister Katie, as Perry and Taylor said I Do. And when the pastor announced them as husband and wife and insisted that Taylor could kiss his bride, Tobin let out a loud cheer, but couldn’t take her eyes off of Christen in the crowd, both of them smiling widely at each other in happiness.

---------------------

 

“Can we go get some air?” Tobin husked into Christen’s ear as she rocked back and forth on the dance floor.

The string of white lights were making Christen’s eyes shine bright, like they had changed from her usual green to a lighter gray. Tobin had been mesmerised by them all night.

They were both breathing a little heavily as the song changed; in the middle of dancing with the rest of the wedding party and a few of Perry and Taylor’s good friends. Tobin and Christen had been owning the dance floor all night, having a blast as the DJ played song after song.

“Yes, please.” Christen nodded.

She linked her hand with Tobin’s as she was led across the wooden dance floor and past the DJ booth in the corner of the giant white tent. They made their way through the crowd of wedding guests, moving outside towards the grassy area that was lining the beach.

The music started to fade as they got farther away and Tobin was instantly thankful for the muted air, the Autumn breeze blowing her hair a little to cool her down. It was the perfect night, stars visible in the night sky, not a cloud in sight.

“Honey, I love that dress on you.” Christen commented as they walked, checking Tobin out from behind. “You look so hot.”

Tobin had changed out of her bridesmaid dress after dinner, into a dark blue knee-high dress that was more comfortable and breathable for dancing.

“Thank you, babe.” Tobin laughed at Christen’s compliment.

She pulled on Christen’s hand, leading them a little farther away from the tent, wanting a few minutes to just be alone. They had been with family and friends all night, not even having much of a chance to check in with each other.

Tobin had been introducing Christen to so many people that Christen didn’t know anyone from Adam at this point. Not that she minded. Tobin had been so great and outgoing the whole time, like she was proud to be talking about Christen to whoever would listen.

“Ahhh, it feels great out here.” Tobin sighed, letting go of Christen’s hand for just a moment so she could gather her hair that was still around her shoulders. She pulled it up, letting the breeze hit the back of her neck for a moment.

“I’m so sweaty.” Christen nodded with a laugh. “All that dancing really takes it out of ya..”

Tobin giggled, turning to her girlfriend and wrapping her arms loosely around Christen’s shoulders. Feeling the effects of the champagne they’d been drinking all evening.

“You’re a dancing machine.” Tobin nodded. “The crowd totally loves you.”

“I’m just trying to keep up.” Christen shrugged with a grin. “You’re the life of the party.”

And it was true, Tobin had been the first one to hit the dance floor after dinner and toasts and speeches. They had only taken short breaks to refresh their drinks at the bar since first stepping foot out there.

“You’re the life of my party.” Tobin countered, being silly with the help of the alcohol. She leaned in and kissed Christen quickly, tasting the sweet champagne on her lips.

“Or the party of my life?” Tobin laughed. “I don’t know.. you’re just my life.” She said again. Bouncing her shoulders up and down as her arms remained around Christen.

Tobin felt like she was high; on life or love or a combination of the two.

“Oh my gosh, you’re such a dork…” Christen rolled her eyes playfully through a chuckle. They stood there laughing, with big smiles on their faces, just staring at each other for a few moments.

When they both had calmed down enough, Christen took a step into Tobin, wanting to be closer to the brown haired woman in front of her. Tobin returned the sentiment, tighten her arms, so Christen was pressed against her body.  

It was quiet for a minute, until the song changed again in the distance. The music was just loud enough now for them to make out the words coming from the giant white tent where the wedding dance was still happening. It was now a slower song playing, like the mood had changed and the music was changing with it; just for the couple who was alone in the middle of the grass.

I found a love for me

Darling, just dive right in and follow my lead

Well, I found a girl, beautiful and sweet

Oh, I never knew you were the someone waiting for me

 

Tobin started to sway with Christen in her arms, not even realizing she was doing it. Christen just held on a little tighter, following Tobin’s lead. They both had a good buzz going from the alcohol, making them feel every emotion just a little stronger all of the sudden.

“Chris...” Tobin whispered after a minute of silence. Not wanting to break the mood of the moment, but feeling suddenly like she had so much to say.

“Hmmm?” Christen wondered, burying her face into Tobin’s shoulder.

“Thank you for being here with me this weekend.” Tobin whispered. “It’s been incredible and it means a lot to me.”

 

Well I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know

She shares my dreams, I hope that someday I'll share her home

I found a love, to carry more than just my secrets

To carry love, to carry children of our own

 

Christen nodded with a smile but didn’t say anything for a second, as she let it all sink in. The moment, the song, the perfect woman holding her.


We are still kids, but we're so in love

Fighting against all odds

I know we'll be alright this time

 

“Isn’t it funny that I can’t imagine my life without you now.” Christen said. “We’ve only been together for four months, but it seems like a lifetime.”

Tobin bit her lip. How had it only been four months?

“I can’t remember what my life was like before you, and I’m so thankful for that.” Christen continued, lifting her head off of Tobin’s shoulder and kissing her cheek as they swayed.

 

Baby, I'm dancing in the dark, with you between my arms

Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song

When I saw you in that dress, looking so beautiful

I don't deserve this, darling, you look perfect tonight

 

“Do you ever picture your future?” Tobin questioned softly as she inhaled Christen’s scent. Getting lost in the familiarity of her girlfriend.

“You mean our future?” Christen corrected innocently.

“Yea, our future.” Tobin smiled. That’s what she meant but she was hesitant to say it.

“Yea, I do.” Christen answered. “All the time, actually.”

Tobin was slowly dancing them around in a circle, barely paying attention to their steps. Slow enough that they weren’t getting dizzy or anything, but enough to register that they were moving.  They could both feel the evening dew on the bottoms of their bare feet. Their sandals discarded before they hit the dance floor a few hours ago, now probably lost somewhere under an abandon table.

“Do you?” Christen asked when Tobin didn’t say anything else on the subject.

Tobin nodded, pulling back from their dancing just enough to look at Christen’s face for a moment. They smiled at each other before Tobin went back to dancing, leaning in to hold Christen close again.

“You know, as I stood up there today, watching my sister get married, all I could think about was you.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s hair.

“I know what you mean.” Christen nodded. She had felt the same throughout the ceremony, barely taking her eyes off of Tobin for most of it.

“I can picture it all with you, babe.” Tobin spoke honestly with a soft tone. “Every time I think of the future, I see you. And I want it all.”

“Like what?” Christen wondered aloud. She knew what she thought of when she pictured their future, but she wanted to hear Tobin’s thoughts too.

Tobin cupped Christen’s chin softly and kissed her lips once before she spoke, debating only for a half a second on telling Christen the whole truth. But of course she was going to tell her, she told Christen everything.

“Umm.. Like marriage.” Tobin smiled against Christen’s lips. “I want to marry you, baby.”

That was Tobin’s favorite thing to think about when she would think about her future. Marrying Christen. And it was different and new for Tobin. She’d never been one to spend time fantasizing about her wedding when she was growing up and she hadn’t really ever given it much thought. Until she started to think about it with Christen.

Christen smiled and kissed Tobin again. She loved hearing Tobin say that; and it didn’t freak her out at all, not like it used to when she would hear that in her last relationship.

“You are it for me.” Tobin shrugged her shoulders casually. “I just know you’re the one.”

Christen gave Tobin a loving smile. She felt that confident in them too.

“And a family.” Tobin said again between kisses. “A bunch of little babies running around a big house. I can see that for us.”

“Me too.” Christen laughed. They kissed again. Just barely. Like they were just talking against each other’s mouths more than actually kissing.

“We’ll live on the beach and our little surfer babes will be happy and carefree and we’ll take care of them and just be in love with each other.” Tobin imagined again with a laugh.

Christen was running her hands up and down Tobin’s back. Her insides giddy with happiness as she listened to Tobin’s words.

“And we’ll get to make love every night and fall asleep holding each other?” Christen asked.

Tobin just nodded surely, confirming Christen’s wishes. “Of course. All of it. That’s going to be us.”

Christen let her mind picture that scenario, breaking out into another wide grin again. She wanted that so badly . Christen inched even closer to Tobin, causing them to stop dancing. They just held onto each other in the middle of the grass, their bodies pressed together tightly.

“I’m so glad you found me.” Christen said after a minute, looking Tobin right in the eyes. “You saved me, you know.”

Tobin shook her head softly, wanting Christen to understand the full scope of their relationship from Tobin’s point of view.

“I think we saved each other.” Tobin countered.

She had no idea how she even existed before Christen came along. Her world was so much different then. And a whole lot emptier, like she had just been going through the motions before.

Tobin leaned in a kissed Christen’s lips again, wanting to deepen it a little. Christen didn’t hesitate, opening her mouth for Tobin, their tongues finding each other as they kissed slowly.

“I’m so in love with you.” Tobin said after they pulled back. “I know I tell you that all the time now, but it’s true.”

“And I’m so, so in love with you.” Christen returned, her voice serious. “And I hope you never stop telling me that. Even if you say it a billion times, you’ll never wear it out.”

The song ended in the distance and a faster one started to play again, changing the mood in the air just enough. Both women content to let the deep conversation die out again for now.

“Thanks for being such a wonderful and sexy wedding date.” Tobin grinned, squeezing Christen’s sides lovingly. “How lucky am I that I get to be the one to take you home tonight?”

Christen smiled devilishly, her eyes going a little darker with lust. “I’ve been looking forward to that all day.” She leaned in and bit Tobin’s bottom lip until Tobin moaned a little.

They stood there and kissed for another minute, before Christen pulled back.

“Let’s go finish celebrating this awesome wedding.” She said, grabbing Tobin’s hands and starting to walk backwards towards the dance again. “And then I get to take that dress off of you.”

Tobin followed Christen willingly, smiling as she wrapped her hand around Christen’s waist as they walked.

When they entered the tent again, Cole spotted them and started running right for them. The little boy was still decked out in his tiny tuxedo from his duties as ring bearer. He was up past his bedtime but Katie and Scott decided that one night couldn’t hurt. The little boy was having too much fun.

As Cole approached them, he extended his arms to Christen, running and launching himself at her. Christen didn’t miss a beat, bending down and scooping Cole up to hold him on her hip. He giggled playfully and buried his face in Christen’s neck, like they’d been close his whole life.

Christen winked at Tobin. “We’re going to dance!”

She laughed and started to walk back towards the dance floor with the little boy in her arms, spinning and dancing them around as she made her way next to Katie and Scott and Perry again. Tobin stood in her spot for a moment, just watching her girlfriend and nephew and sisters dance happily. Yea, she could picture it all.


----------------------


Tobin’s lips were on the back of Christen’s neck as soon as she heard the hotel room door click shut behind them. They had to play it cool until then, trying to control themselves as they rode the ferry back to Newport with Jeff and Cindy and most of Tobin’s family, after the wedding reception ended.

Now though, Tobin was pushing them towards the bed, her arms around Christen’s waist, walking just behind her girlfriend.

Christen was just as eager, shimmying out of Tobin’s grip and spinning around so they were face to face, just as the backs of her knees hit the bed.

“Mmm, baby..” Tobin whispered as Christen leaned in and kissed the soft skin under her left ear, sucking hard on her pulse point. Tobin’s hands were running up and down Christen’s back.

“Baby.” Tobin said again.

Christen lifted her head to look at Tobin, removing her lips from her skin for just a moment.

Tobin grinned when their eyes met. Instead of saying anything, her hands just found the bottom of Christen’s top, moving the tight fabric up her body.

“Take this off.” Tobin instructed.

Christen grinned and lifted her arms, silently giving Tobin the okay. Tobin smiled and lifted the crop top the rest of the way up Christen’s chest and over her head, tossing it across the room animatedly.

Christen was standing in her long floral skirt and a white lacy bra. The tanned skin on her stomach shimmering in the dim lights coming from the outside window.

She wasted no time leaning down and finding the bottom of Tobin’s short blue dress, running her hands over the back of Tobin’s legs,  and then her butt, as she pulled the dress up her body as well.

“I loved this on you.” Christen smiled as she pulled the dress over Tobin’s head. “But I like what’s underneath it even more.”

Tobin was wearing a matching black bra and black laced underwear. Most of her skin now visible without her dress. Christen leaned back in and found Tobin’s neck again.

Tobin shut her eyes and let her nerve endings feel Christen’s lips for a moment, before her hands trailed down Christen’s stomach, to the top of her skirt. Tobin hooked her index fingers inside the fabric, right at both of Christen’s hips. She pulled it down, until the tight flowy fabric was past her butt, letting it fall to the floor.

Christen moved closer to Tobin, stepping out of her skirt altogether. Her bra and pink thong now the only thing covering her. Barely.

“You're so sexy.” Tobin smiled. “Have I ever told you that?”

Christen laughed at kissed Tobin’s lips. “Maybe once or twice.” She hummed in response. She’d never get tired of hearing it though. Tobin made her feel sexy, all the time.

Christen ran her hands around to Tobin’s back again, unclasping her bra. She discarded it quickly, letting it fall to the floor.

“But so are you.” Christen returned, as her eyes raked over Tobin’s bare chest. No matter how many times she’s seen Tobin naked, she still gets blown away by how fantastic her body is, every time.

Christen reached up and palmed both of Tobin’s bare breasts, as their lips met again. Tobin moaned softly at the contact, pressing her chest into Christen’s hands.

Christen was spurred on by Tobin’s low moan, trailing her lips down Tobin’s chin and jaw, to her neck and farther south, until she reached Tobin’s chest with her mouth.

“I love your body.” Christen whispered as she kissed a path across the tops of Tobin’s breasts.

Tobin’s hand lovingly ran through Christen’s dark curls as Christen’s mouth worked her chest. Christen sucked one of Tobin’s nipples into her mouth, feeling it harden instantly.

“Babe..” Tobin moaned, letting her eyes shut again. “That feels so good.”

Christen released her nipple after a moment, switching to the other breast to do the same thing. After a minute, Tobin was too turned on to continue in this position. She wanted more.

“Kiss me baby.” Tobin husked out through a thick voice.

Christen complied, releasing Tobin’s other nipple and lifting her head back to Tobin’s lips. They kissed deeply for a moment, while Tobin’s hands found the clasp on Christen’s bra. She didn’t waste any more time taking it off as well, so they were on an even playing field again.

When they pulled back from the kiss, Christen gathered her hair, pulling it up into a messy bun quickly. She used the ponytail holder on her wrist to tie it up, as Tobin kept her hands on Christen’s hips.

“Much better.” Christen smiled when her hair was off her face. Her hands found the back of Tobin’s neck as they looked at each other, waiting to start again.

“You’re gorgeous.” Tobin smiled lovingly, looking Christen in the eyes.

It was so sexy to her how Christen could just throw her hair up and make it look perfect, in the middle of their undressing. Everything Christen did was sexy to Tobin though, as she already stated.

Christen giggled and ran her hand down Tobin’s body again. From her neck, to in between her breasts and down to her stomach, before finding Tobin’s underwear.

“I think it’s time these go.” Christen grinned, lifting her eyes to meet Tobin’s as she pulled the underwear down.

Tobin just nodded and bit her lip, watching as Christen removed the last bit of fabric from her body. When Tobin’s underwear hit the floor, Christen reached for her own, pulling her thong down and stepping out of it as well.

“Come here.” Tobin begged, grabbing Christen’s ass with her hands and bringing her naked body flush against Tobin’s.

They shared another deep kiss as their skin was pressed together all over. The skin to skin contact sent shivers through both of their bodies. Both of them about to go crazy without more contact, but wanting to enjoy the foreplay.

“Honey..” Christen spoke against Tobin’s lips when they pulled back again for a breath.

“Yea, babe?” Tobin asked. They were still standing at the foot of the bed, waiting to make a move to get in it.

“I kinda wanna try something…” Christen smiled. “Something I’ve been thinking about for a while.”

“Oh yeah?” Tobin laughed. “Is it something you’ve been fantasizing about?”

Christen smiled and nodded her head yes, kissing Tobin again. Tobin felt herself shudder in anticipation, thinking about Christen fantasizing about them in bed.

“What do you wanna try?” Tobin asked, pulling back just enough from Christen’s lips so they could look at each other.

Tobin could almost see the hesitation in Christen’s face about saying what she was thinking. Like Christen was maybe slightly embarrassed to say it out loud. Almost. Tobin knew that wasn’t the case; knew that they’d tell each other anything. Christen just needed a moment.

“I’ve never done it before so I’m kinda nervous..” Christen responded, biting her bottom lip.

“Babe..” Tobin giggled. “I’ll do anything with you. Anything you want. If it sucks or isn’t fun, we’ll just try something else.”

This was actually Tobin’s favorite thing about sex with Christen. Their ability to talk through it and feel completely comfortable and safe and loved with each other. Nothing was off limits between them.

“What do you want?” Tobin questioned between small kisses against Christen’s lips.

“I want to go down on you.” Christen grinned sensually. “While you go down on me.”

Tobin laughed again, pulling Christen’s hips even closer into her own, trying to create a little friction between their centers, before they climbed into bed.

“You mean like, 69?” Tobin wondered, making sure she understood Christen correctly.

“Yea.” Christen nodded, waiting for Tobin to respond.

“Fuck.” Tobin moaned as she thought about it. “That’s really fucking hot to think about.”

“I know.” Christen laughed, burying her face in Tobin’s neck and kissing it again. “Wanna try it?”

“Definitely.” Tobin nodded without hesitation.

She grabbed Christen’s chin and pulled her lips back to her own, walking them a couple steps back into the mattress again as they kissed.

“I’m already so wet for you.” Christen teased, grabbing Tobin’s hand from her hip and bringing it towards her center. She ran Tobin’s fingertips through her folds once, letting Tobin feel what she meant.

“Oh my god.” Tobin moaned as the wetness laced her fingertips. “Fuck, babe. Me too.”

Tobin was so turned on, clenching her thighs together, needing something to take the pressure off of her core. She knew she was just as wet as Christen was.

“I can’t wait any longer, baby.” Tobin whined. She felt like she was about to start begging Christen to get into bed. “You’re gonna kill me.”

“Okay.” Christen laughed. “I’m ready when you are.”

Tobin kissed her way down Christen’s chest and stomach until she was low enough to sit down on the bed. She slid herself back until she was against the pillows, reaching out for Christen who was still standing at the end of the bed.

“Come here babe.” Tobin pleaded.

Christen kneeled onto the bed and crawled up Tobin’s body on her hands and knees, until their faces were right in front of each other.

Christen leaned in and kissed Tobin’s lips again, before she sat back on her heels. She wanted Tobin to take the lead here.

Tobin could sense that’s what Christen wanted. “I’ll be on the bottom.” She insisted, reaching for Christen’s hand.

Christen nodded at Tobin, biting her bottom lip again. That look she was giving her girlfriend was about to kill Tobin. It was a mixture of hunger and want and love.

“Get on up here baby, I want to taste you.” Tobin demanded with a wicked smile. She was getting too impatient to wait any longer.

Christen swung her leg over Tobin’s body, so she was straddling her, right above Tobin’s breasts.

“Chris, turn around and put your knees against my shoulders.” Tobin instructed again. She had a vision of how this was about to go. Her mouth watered in anticipation.

“I love you.” Christen whispered, pecking Tobin’s lips again before she moved. “If it’s too much, just say so, okay?”

Tobin nodded confidently. “I love you too.” She made sure to reply.

Christen turned herself around next to Tobin and then looked back at her girlfriend's face for a moment, smiling as she moved to straddle Tobin’s face. She didn’t lower herself down yet, but she made sure her knees were pressed up against the tops Tobin’s broad shoulders, her body weight fully on the mattress.

As soon as Christen’s body was above Tobin’s face, Tobin lifted her head off the pillow and kissed her center. It was almost unexpected for Christen, who was still situating herself on top of Tobin before she leaned down.

“Oh god.” Christen moaned as she felt Tobin’s tongue run over her slit once. “Oh fuck.” She whined again. She took a deep breath, cursing herself internally for being so turned on. She definitely did not want to orgasm already, they hadn’t even done anything.

Tobin started to laugh. “Baby, don’t come yet.” She joked playfully.

“Well then wait for me to get ready!” Christen laughed back, almost sarcastically, focusing herself. One tiny move from Tobin had her a mess, she was excited for what was ahead.

Tobin dropped her head back down onto the pillow and wiggled the back of her head against it, creating just enough space between her mouth and Christen’s core, so Christen wouldn’t feel her there for the moment. Tobin’s hands were holding Christen’s strong thighs on both sides of her shoulders.

When Christen was ready, she began to run her hands slowly down Tobin’s stomach, leaning forward as she went. Tobin felt herself burning with anticipation as she felt, but couldn’t see, Christen’s movements.

Christen paused as she hovered over Tobin’s center, upside down on top of her girlfriend. She swallowed the saliva that was pooling in her mouth from the anticipation of tasting Tobin’s unique flavor. Christen parted her lips just a little, leaning down to connect her mouth to Tobin’s clit once.

“Fuck.” Tobin moaned in pleasure. God that felt good.

Christen kept going, placing a few kisses to Tobin’s center before sticking her tongue out and running it through Tobin’s folds.

Tobin lifted her head off the pillow again at the same time, sticking her tongue out and running it through Christen, tasting her wetness. Christen moaned as her mouth was on Tobin. The vibrations of Christen’s breath caused Tobin’s eyes to shut tightly, forcing herself to keep it together. It was clear neither of them were going to last very long.

Christen used her hands to spread Tobin’s thighs a little farther apart, wanting more access to her core. She ran her tongue from Tobin’s clit, down through her until she reached her opening. Without thinking, Tobin bucked her hips into Christen’s mouth, trying to increase the pressure.

Tobin was struggling to keep up her end of the work, forgetting to pleasure Christen who was on top of her. Everything that Christen was doing to her felt too good for Tobin to focus at the moment. Christen didn’t mind though, too lost in pleasuring Tobin to noticed that Tobin’s tongue had gotten lazy.

“Baby. I’m close.” Tobin moaned against Christen’s core. It was muted since she didn’t have much room to move under her girlfriend.

With that statement, Christen was determined to make Tobin come first.

Christen trailed her right hand in and found Tobin’s entrance with two of her fingers, sliding them inside of Tobin as her tongue sucked hard on Tobin’s clit.

Tobin was releasing a string of curse words under Christen, not even trying to pleasure Christen in the moment.

The upside down angle was a little tricky for Christen but she was good enough with her tongue that it didn’t matter. She was making tight circles around Tobin’s clit as her fingers worked inside of Tobin.

“I’m gonna come.” Tobin whimpered again, feeling her legs go numb underneath her.

Christen removed her fingers and leaned her head forward, her hardened nipples rubbing against Tobin’s stomach. Christen then moved her tongue inside of Tobin and flicked it back and forth a few times.

That was all Tobin needed, her walls contracting around Christen’s tongue as she orgasmed.

“Fuckkk.” Tobin moaned, bucking her hips against Christen’s mouth again. “Oh fuck, Chris.”

Christen was swallowing rapidly as Tobin’s wetness was running over her tongue. She pulled her tongue out and kissed her way backwards to Tobin’s clit again, sucking and kissing it, until Tobin fell silent underneath her. Christen continued to lap up her wetness until Tobin rode out her orgasm fully.

Tobin was trying to keep her eyes from rolling back into her head, it all felt so good.

When her orgasm had subsided just enough, Tobin made herself refocus on Christen’s dripping wet center just above her face, knowing it was her turn to finish Christen off.

Tobin grabbed at Christen’s hips and pulled her body down onto her face, letting her tongue find Christen’s center. Christen leaned her upper body back so she was in more of a kneeling position, finding Tobin’s thighs with her hands for balance.

Tobin’s grip tightened even more on Christen’s hips, not letting her up at all, while her tongue held firm inside of Christen’s entrance. Christen pressed her body down so she could feel Tobin’s mouth and tongue fucking her.

“Ohhhh..” Christen moaned into the quiet room. “Baby. Fuck.” She whined in pleasure.

A few more thrusts of her hips down onto Tobin’s tongue was all it took, before Christen was breaking. She came loudly through a string of undetectable words as Tobin lapped up her wetness.

“Tobinnnn.” Christen moaned again.

Christen leaned back a little more on her heels and found her breasts with her own hands. She rolled her nipples with her fingertips as Tobin was still rocking Christen’s hips back and forth over her mouth, letting her girlfriend ride out her orgasm.

After a moment, Christen finished, feeling the bliss overtake her body. She needed to relax against the bed, having no energy left to support herself, and she didn’t want to suffocate Tobin.

Tobin let go of Christen’s hips and Christen moved off of her quickly, collapsing onto the bed next to Tobin’s body. Their feet and heads next to each other on opposite ends of the bed.

Tobin wiped her mouth with the back of her hand quickly, as they were both sucking in deep breaths, trying to regain control of themselves again. That was a trip for both of them and they were both completely wrecked in the best way.

Tobin’s hand found Christen’s thigh as they laid there, not speaking. She squeezed it lovingly, almost silently checking on her girlfriend since she couldn’t see her face.

“That was so good.” Tobin whispered into the darkness when she could speak again.

Christen just laughed, completely agreeing but not able to form a sentence yet.

“Can we please act out all of your fantasies from now on?” Tobin questioned playfully, thinking back to how they even got into that situation. “That was so hot.”

“Holy shit, it was so hot .” Christen agreed, laughing again. “I’m spent.”

Tobin sat up then, moving down the bed towards Christen. She wanted to cuddle with her girlfriend, feeling a surge of love run through her body.

“I love you so much, baby.” Tobin whispered, crawling on top of Christen.

Christen was still breathing deeply so she just nodded firmly. She wrapped her arms around Tobin’s waist and pulled her in, as Tobin settled on top of Christen, face to face again.

Tobin kissed Christen’s lips once and they both smiled at each other. Tobin brushed the sweat coated baby hairs off of Christen’s forehead before dropping her head to Christen’s neck. She was exhausted and sleepy, letting her eyes shut as Christen held her.

They both steadied their breathing until their shallow breaths turned almost mute. Falling asleep with their heads at the wrong end of the bed, in love and blissed out from the orgasms. They didn't even bother to fix themselves on the bed. They didn’t need pillows or a sense of direction if they had each other; more than content to let sleep overtake them.

----------------------

 

Four hours of sleep were not nearly enough for either of them when Christen’s alarm blared in the quiet room. Neither of them had moved a muscle since falling asleep after having sex; Tobin still perfectly on top of Christen now.

4:55 am. That’s what Christen’s phone read, as the annoying alarm stirred them. Christen would swear on everything she owned that time couldn’t possibly have moved that fast. They had just fallen asleep. But she’d be wrong.

They were waking up extra early because they had to catch a flight extra early. Tobin needed to be back in Portland today for her game, which started in about 14 hours. Christen was going with her, deciding to work from Portland all week. The biggest advantage of being able to work remotely now.

“Noooo.” Tobin whined softly, snuggling further into Christen’s neck and tightening her grip around Christen’s body. She really did not want to get up.  

Christen didn’t even respond, shutting her eyes again, instead of getting up to shut the loud alarm off. They both laid there unmoved for over a minute, until the alarm noise became too annoying to ignore.

“Damnit.” Tobin said, rolling off of Christen finally. She figured she should be the one to make the first move, since it was her fault they were leaving this early anyway.

Christen sighed when the alarm finally got turned off. Tobin got out of bed and made her way to the bathroom, flicking on the light and starting the shower. They had fifteen minutes before Tobin’s dad wanted to leave and they both needed to at least rinse off.

When Tobin was done in the shower, she came out of the bathroom to find Christen still tucked under the covers, with her head still at the foot of the bed. Tobin turned on the bedside lamp to illuminate the dark room, laughing when she saw Christen.

“Baby, I’m sorry, but if you want to get ready at all, you have to get up.” Tobin whispered. “My dad will be knocking in ten minutes and you know he’s never late.”

“I’m so tired.” Christen whimpered, knowing Tobin felt the same way. She let out another loud sigh but rolled out of bed, walking towards the bathroom to rinse off her naked body.

Jeff was right on time, knocking on their hotel room at 5:10 am. He had volunteered to drive them to the airport in Providence so they wouldn’t have to take a car. Their flight was at 7:05 am, and they weren’t leaving much time to spare.

Neither of them said much on the half hour car ride to Providence. Cindy had ended up coming along too, just so she could properly say goodbye to her daughter and Christen.

They exchanged long hugs in the departures lane, before Tobin grabbed her suitcase and one of Christen’s out of the trunk.

“Talk to you both soon, okay?” Cindy requested as she hugged them.

“It was great to see you.” Christen smiled, hugging both of Tobin’s parents.

“Bye momma.” Tobin spoke, hugging her mom, before moving to hug her dad. “Thanks for the ride, dad.”

“We love you both.” Cindy waved as Tobin and Christen slowly made their way inside the airport.

Luckily the tiny airport was dead this early Sunday morning, so they didn’t have to wait long to get through security.

Christen went and got them both a coffee, before boarding their flight a little while later.

Tobin took the window seat and Christen sat in the middle seat next to her, nobody on the aisle next to them.

“You okay?” Christen questioned before takeoff, noticing how quiet Tobin had been all morning.

Christen guessed Tobin was either super tired still or just a little bummed to be leaving her family and the place she grew up.

“I’m okay.” Tobin nodded, yawning. She reached out and grabbed Christen’s hand on the arm rest next to her.

“Are you sad to be leaving?” Christen asked again, knowing it would be natural for Tobin to feel that way.

“No not really.” Tobin shrugged. “As long as you’re coming with me, there is nothing to be sad about.”

Christen smiled and leaned over to kiss Tobin’s cheek softly. “Thanks for a great weekend, honey.”

Tobin grinned at the contact, lacing her fingers through Christen’s as the plane started to taxi away from the gate, bound for Portland. “Let’s go home, baby.”

Chapter Text

The thing about time is that it moves forward, even if you don’t want it to.

When you’re enjoying it, time flies. Faster than anyone can even imagine possible.

One minute it’s summer and you feel like the long, hot days will last forever. Bare feet scurrying across the hot pavement before it can burn you.

And before you know it, you're shivering as the winter wind blows harshly against your exposed skin, pulling your coat a little tighter to try and keep the warmth in.

Over and over again, it’s a cycle that won’t break.

 

That’s something that used to terrify Tobin. Something she hated. She didn’t want time to move so fast because she didn’t want to get older and let her youth slip away.

But Tobin has come to learn that the only thing more precious than time, is who her time is spent on. Now that she’s spending all her time on Christen, she thinks she could lose track of it all together and she wouldn’t mind one bit.

The thing about time when Christen is there, is that it doesn’t matter how fast it moves.

It’s simultaneously too fast and not fast enough, all at once. It’s like Tobin wants to savor every single moment, but also hurry up and move on to the next one, because she knows how great it will be.

The Autumn flew by in an instant for both Christen and Tobin. They had fallen into a sort of comfortable routine, with Christen spending more and more time in Portland. At one point, she spent four straight weeks away from Los Angeles and three of those were in Portland; with only a week working in New York City tucked in there for good measure.

The week that Christen was in New York, Tobin made it her mission to get Christen situated, so that she could work a little easier from Tobin’s apartment.

Tobin went to Ikea and bought a desk and a chair and a lamp and put them together - with Allie and Bati and Lindsey’s help, because Tobin would swear Ikea furniture is impossible to assemble - and Christen came back to her new little workspace, right in the corner of the Tobin’s living room. With a view looking out the window and down onto the street below. A little vase of flowers sitting on the corner of the desk as Christen’s welcome home gift. The flowers would have been Christen’s favorite part of it all, if not for Tobin’s happy smile.  

When Tobin would be gone for away games, Christen would watch the Thorns games online, while her and Zoey hung out on the couch, or cuddled in Tobin’s bed.

She’d FaceTime Tobin after the games and offer positive feedback and encouragement and Tobin would just laugh at her cheerleader on the other end, since Christen never had a negative thing to say. All the while, Tobin would be dying to get back to her girls.

Christen’s work life had settled into a good routine as well. She would wake up early during the weekdays and log in remotely for work, using her desk, and the lamp on it, to illuminate the workspace; trying to be as present as possible for her team on the East Coast, since they were three hours ahead of her.

Sometimes Tobin would get up with her; to make her breakfast or just drink coffee at the kitchen table while her girlfriend answered emails. And sometimes Tobin would convince Christen to hit her snooze button a few times, or let her wandering hands coax Christen into some early morning sex.

Christen hadn’t become any better at telling Tobin no. Not that she wanted to.

The early morning hours became something of a sacred time for them, like they had everything they needed before the sun ever lifted into the sky. As if time didn’t count until the world around them woke up.

Some days were easier than others, as is natural for any relationship, and they genuinely found that the more time they spent together, the easier life became. They just fit.

They would bicker here and there, but nothing that wasn’t normal for a couple who was more-than-part-time living together.

They had Zoey and they had each other and life just felt right.

Tobin couldn’t believe how fast time had gone when she found herself preparing for the Thorns first playoff game of the year. How it had turned from late September to early December with her barely even noticing.

Coming home to Christen almost every night made it easy not to notice how the days had gotten shorter and colder. She had her own personal sunshine waiting at home, in the form of a beautiful, brilliant, and caring green eyed woman who loved her for exactly who she was.

The couple spent Thanksgiving in California with Christen’s family, since Tobin only had a couple days off from training. She didn’t want the stress of flying all the way to the East Coast to see her own family and she was excited to go home with Christen.

The long weekend was a great change of pace from the rainy Portland Fall, and they were both extra relaxed being in the Los Angeles sun for a couple of days. Tobin loved getting to know the Press family better and they both had started to look forward to spending more time in LA during the off season that was quickly approaching.

The Thorns had a great regular season, only losing three games all year. They went 16-3-5, losing just once at home and winning the Supporters Shield with seven points separating them from second place. Tobin also set the regular season assist record with three games to spare. She was playing the best soccer of her career, and even though she probably would never acknowledge it to anyone but her girlfriend, Tobin knew that Christen had a hand in her form. She was happy and in love and just flat out killing it.

Tobin was having the time of her life.

On Monday of the semifinal game week, Tobin found herself at a Mexican restaurant across from Providence Park. She was checking the time on her phone as she waited at the bar for Christen to show up, so they could grab a table. They were meeting for an early dinner after Tobin got done with practice and Christen was running more than a few minutes late.

These quiet moments alone were the only time Tobin ever even registered the time. Usually only when she was waiting on Christen.

You know, people usually order a drink when they sit at the bar.

A brown haired woman, who looked to be about Tobin’s age, commented as she sat down a couple seats from Tobin. Nobody was sitting in between them.

Tobin’s attention was pulled from her phone at the woman’s voice. She glanced up to acknowledge her.

“Oh yea, I’ll probably have one with dinner.” Tobin smiled a friendly smile, not really giving the woman another thought, as she turned her attention back to the cell phone in her hands.

She was scrolling through Instagram while waiting on a return text from Christen, after checking in to see where her girlfriend was at.

“How about I buy you one now?” The woman asked again, a smile playing on her lips.

Tobin’s head whipped up at that. She set her phone down on the bar counter top in front of her.

“Oh no thanks, I’m waiting on someone actually.” Tobin laughed a little, awkwardly. She was caught off guard with how forward this stranger was being.

“Okay… No problem.” The woman trailed off. She was eyeing Tobin up and down from her place at the bar.

Tobin pressed the home button on her phone, to glance at the clock on her screen again. It had been a bit. It was unlike Christen to be late, especially this late, without a call or text. She knew Christen had a Skype meeting with her team in New York, that was probably running a little long.

“It’s been like twenty minutes, so I was just making sure.” The brown haired woman said again at Tobin’s silence.

Tobin looked over at her again, a little puzzled. How long had this woman been observing her?

“I got here a little early.” Tobin nodded, trying to keep the conversation short so it would end.

“I’m Fletcher by the way..” The woman offered.

Tobin wasn’t sure why.

“Tobin.”

Tobin glanced up at the TV playing on the wall above the bar. Hoping that if she seemed uninterested, this woman, Fletcher, would leave her alone.

It was silent for a minute.

“Well whoever is making a beautiful woman like you wait is crazy.” The woman smiled flirtily.

Tobin flat out laughed at that. This girl has no idea..  

“My girlfriend..” Tobin clarified, a hint of annoyance in her tone. “And she’s definitely worth the wait.”

The woman laughed back and nodded, before she looked down at the beer the bartender had slid in front of her. Like she was finally taking the hint.

Tobin’s phone chirped just then. She picked it back up, as a text from Christen had come in at just the right time. She was thankful for the distraction.

{Christen}: Sorry, honey!! I’m like a block away.

Tobin took a breath, glad that she was about to escape this stranger’s gaze.

Before Tobin even got a reply typed out, the door to the restaurant swung open and Tobin glanced over at it. There was her perfect, stunning girlfriend, glancing around the room to try and find Tobin.

Tobin smiled widely without even thinking. The way she did every time she saw Christen. It wasn’t even a choice.

“There she is.” Tobin mused. She stood up from the bar and grabbed her bag from the floor.

The woman’s gaze followed Tobin’s line of vision to Christen at the door.

“That’s the lucky girl, I take it?” Fletcher smiled.

Tobin gave her one last glance. “I promise I’m the lucky one. But yep.” She nodded, while turning and walking towards Christen.

“Enjoy your dinner.” She called after Tobin.

Tobin’s eyes didn’t leave Christen’s again, until she was wrapping her in a big embrace. Breathing in Christen’s scent as if it’d been more than an afternoon that they’d been away from each other. Something about the exchange Tobin just had at the bar made her want to pull Christen in and never let her go again. She was Christen’s and Christen’s only.

“Hi, baby.” Tobin smiled and kissed her quickly.

“Hey you.” Christen laughed. She was a little surprised by Tobin’s overeager greeting. “Sorry to keep you waiting, that meeting took forever and then I had another call on my walk over here.”

“That’s okay.” Tobin shrugged. “I’ll always wait for you.”

Christen just eyed her for a second with an entertained smile, before pulling Tobin back into a hug.

Tobin put her hand on Christen’s back as they followed the waitress to a table near the rear of the restaurant. Her uneasiness forgotten immediately, calmed again by Christen’s presence.

 

xx

 

“So, how was your workday?” Tobin asked as she grabbed Christen’s hand across the table. They had just placed their order with the waitress and were enjoying their beverages.

“Really busy, but very good.” Christen smiled. She squeezed Tobin’s hand a little tighter and their eyes met.

“What?” Tobin marveled happily, knowing Christen had something to share. She could just tell by her look. That was Christen’s excited look.

“Nothing..” Christen shook her head with a laugh. “Just, the plan is really, actually coming together. It’s crazy.”

“It’s incredible.” Tobin beamed at her. “I’m so proud of you.”

They held eye contact for a moment in silence before Tobin let out a laugh. She was toying with Christen’s ring finger on her left hand. The empty spot of soft skin there. It was something she found herself doing a lot of the time, without even thinking.

“My call on the way over here was from Jonathan.” Christen explained. “They are starting to figure out locations in Africa to start implementing the clean water initiative.”

“Wow, that was pretty quick.” Tobin nodded, listening intently.

Christen and her team had been working on building the plan up for a couple of months now - from strategies, materials and implementation tactics, to finding people on the ground to work through - but Tobin figured it would take longer than that to actually start using the plan with purpose.

“I know, it’s insane how fast it’s moving.” Christen agreed. “They want me to go over there with the team. To scout villages and meet with people on the ground.”

There were a lot of variables in place that the team needed to figure out in person. Each village would need a specific type of water project, depending on their surroundings. Sometimes it would be a rain catchment and sometimes it would be a drilled well or a sand dam that would work best to supply clean drinking water to the village. This was the work that couldn’t be done remotely.

“To Africa?” Tobin’s eyebrows raised. “Wow, babe, that’s awesome.”

“Yea, Sudan first and possibly Ethiopia, depending on how many villages we start with.” Christen continued.

“When would you go?” Tobin wondered.

“They are thinking the beginning of February, at the latest. So in like, a month and a half?” Christen said. It was all tentative at this point anyway. “I think I’d be gone for three weeks.”

Tobin nodded silently, processing the information as the waitress brought their meals to the table.

The beginning of February was during Tobin’s off season. She already hated thinking about being away from Christen for that long. Tobin honestly had planned to be wherever Christen was throughout the whole offseason. She’d take no days away from Christen if it were possible.

Tobin knew she had become almost needy with Christen. It was so unlike her, but she couldn’t help it. Even after six months, she couldn’t get enough. She guessed she never would.

Christen must have sensed that’s what Tobin was thinking about. They could read each other so easily now.

“I was thinking.. Maybe you could come with.” Christen said a little softer. “Well, I guess the idea kind of just popped into my head.. But we would need volunteer help. We’re working with a pretty small budget.”

Tobin looked at Christen silently, nodding again. “We’ll have to see. I’m not sure what the National Team schedule is yet. But that would be amazing.”

Christen gave Tobin’s fingers one last squeeze before she retracted her hand, ready to dig into their food. “Yea we can see.”

 

xx

 

That night, as they were laying in bed, Christen was reading a book quietly while Tobin was writing in her journal. Tobin couldn’t help but keep stealing glances at her girlfriend.

Christen’s face was scrunched up in a tiny hint of confusion or wonderment at whatever she was reading in her novel. Tobin just smiled to herself. Silently reflecting again on how amazing and smart and perfect Christen was. Tobin jotted down the date and one simple phrase:

My life is perfect.

Tobin hoped right then, just to herself, that she got to experience these quiet moments for the rest of her days.

A few minutes later, Christen closed her book and quietly dropped it to the floor next to the bed, leaning over to kiss Tobin softly, before she yawned.

“Night, honey. I love you.”

 

-----------------------

 

The buildup to the Thorns first playoff game of the season was intense. They were slated to play North Carolina FC, the same team that beat them in the Semifinal last year, after a hard fought battle. That game ended up 2-1 and it had been a crushing loss for everyone, especially for Tobin. This year they were determined to get it right.

The team spent more hours than usual at the stadium throughout the week, watching footage of North Carolina’s games over the season, trying to make sure they didn’t miss a single thing. The team wanted to know every formation and how to cover them. When to be aggressive and when to sit and wait for the counter. Who would start and who would sub for the opposing team, and all their little quirks.

Even when Mark would call practice or film sessions for the day, most of the team would hang around a while longer and get some more work in.

This year was the Thorns year. Everyone in the locker room and around the team truly believed that.

Thursday afternoon, when practice and film were done, Tobin took her time changing and walking towards home. She didn’t want to go home yet and distract Christen from her afternoon meetings, but she couldn’t stay at the stadium any longer. It was becoming too much.  She couldn’t wait to just get out on the field and play. Tobin found herself thinking about the game and soccer in general so much that she needed a distraction.

Christen’s birthday that was coming up at the end of the month seemed to be a good thing to focus on, at least for the rest of the afternoon.

Before Tobin even consciously decided on it, she found herself wandering down side streets throughout the Pearl District, looking for a store or two to pop into.

Tobin gazed through the window of an antique shop for a few minutes, before giving in and entering the store all together. The items in the window seemed interesting enough and Tobin knew that if Christen were there with her, she’d wanna go in and look. She figured it was probably a good place to start.

“Anything I can help you with, young lady?” An older gentleman, probably in his sixties, asked Tobin after she’d been browsing for a minute.

“I’m just kind of looking.” Tobin smiled at him, before continuing her trail through the store.

The whole place was filled with old vintage items. All placed strategically in a fashionable way, unlike some of the antique shops that Tobin had been in before that just kind of grossed her out.

Old records and record players, a couple bicycles lining the back wall that were probably from the 70’s but still in good condition, a case full of old Canon and Nikon cameras with film that still needed to be developed, clothing and scarves and other retro stuff.

Tobin found herself glancing through some glass cases lining the wall by the cash register. The things inside of them seemed to be of more value. Her eyes landed on a binded stack of old books with some felt tipped pens tied to the stack. A black ribbon holding them all together.

“Can I see those?” Tobin asked the man, who was more or less following her around slowly. Tobin was the only one in the store at the moment.

“The books?” The man asked.

“Yea.” Tobin nodded, pointing through the glass.

The man unlocked the glass case from behind, sliding the door open and grabbing the stack of books that Tobin had been pointing at.

“These were donated by a local author a few weeks ago.” The man explained, as he handed the stack to Tobin. “Original copies from their first publication in the 60’s.”

Tobin gently undid the ribbon and separated the bunch. There were two leather bound Ernest Hemingway books. A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises. Tobin paged through them softly, able to smell the old paper right away. They were in mint condition.

She smiled to herself.

Also included in the stack was a leather bound journal. The blank pages fluttered as Tobin flipped through it. The two felt tipped pens bundled together on top to go with it.

“These are incredible.” Tobin said, just above a whisper.

The man just smiled at her and nodded.

Tobin picked up the copy of A Moveable Feast again. She opened it and began to skim a couple of pages. The old binding staying open easily. One page in particular caught her attention, even in the middle of the book. She read it slowly, holding the old book in both of her hands.

 

We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright.

 

Tobin wanted to laugh. How perfect that line was. Like she was meant to find it there.

Tobin knew this would be the perfect gift for Christen. Even if she had read them before, these books were priceless. Tobin never expected it to be this easy.

“These are for sale?” Tobin clarified with the man.

He nodded and watched as Tobin clutched them to herself, holding them close like she was protecting them. As if someone else was about to come in a buy them up, right in front of her.

She continued to step down the row, glancing at the other glass cases next to where the books had been, not wanting to miss anything else.

“Are you shopping for yourself or someone in particular?” The man asked after a moment.

“My girlfriend, actually.” Tobin explained, lifting her eyes from the glass case to meet the man’s again.

“Christmas?” He questioned, knowing the holiday was looming.

“Kind of. I guess.” Tobin nodded. “And her birthday is a few days after. The 29th.”

“Ahh, the cursed birthday-holiday.” He laughed heartily. “My granddaughter is the same way.”

Tobin laughed lightly with him. She’d never thought much about that.

The front door of the store dinged just then and the man’s attention was pulled away from Tobin momentarily, as he headed off to greet the incoming customer.

Tobin continued on, until she was browsing through a case of jewelry, just down from where the books had been. There were several vintage pieces on display. Necklaces, earring sets and rings. Tobin squatted down to get a better view.

Tucked in on the bottom shelf, right on the end, was a rose gold Victorian-era ring, with a dark blue gem in the middle and a ring of diamonds surrounding the gemstone.

Tobin angled her head closer to the case, until her forehead was almost pressed up against the glass. She marveled at how beautiful it was. And her mind wandered to how great that gem would look against the olive skin of one person in particular. That soft spot of skin she always found herself holding onto. Tobin felt the butterflies low in her stomach at that thought.

“Something you want to see?” The man asked, startling Tobin from behind.  

She hadn’t heard him approach again and her forehead knocked lightly against the glass at the jolt. She stood up, rubbing the sting from her forehead quickly.

“..Oh no, that’s okay.” Tobin smiled kindly at him.

Her tone must have been unconvincing.

Tobin’s eyes wandered down to the ring again as the man watched. He didn’t ask a second time, just opened the case and bent down to grab it. Before Tobin knew it, she was holding the ring in her fingertips, twisting it so the fluorescent lights of the store made the diamonds dance and sparkle.

“That’s a very beautiful engagement ring.” The man said, as Tobin admired it.

Tobin agreed. “Yea, it’s gorgeous. Very unique.”

“It’s Tanzanite, the gem in the middle.” The man explained, pointing to the ring. “December’s birth stone.”

Tobin laughed. She knew what he was insinuating before he even said anything. She was quiet until he spoke again, reflecting on the birthday conversation they’d had a few minutes ago.

“Maybe it’s fate.” He raised his eyebrows a little.

Tobin bit her bottom lip for a moment before answering him.

“Maybe.. But we probably haven’t been together long enough for this.” She said, slowly handing the ring back to him.

He tisked a little, eyes glancing over Tobin’s face in a gentle way.

“My dear, as you can see, I’m an old man now.” He started. “I can tell you, after years and years of experience, the length of time doesn’t matter.”

He smiled lightly again.

“I’m afraid when you know, you just know.” He shrugged. “It’s the blessing and the curse of love.”

Tobin nodded at his words, giving him another smile. He moved to put the ring back in the case, shutting the door slowly.

Just as quick as he’d been to suggest Tobin buy it, he relented.

“Just the books then?” He asked, walking towards the register.

“Please.” Tobin responded, walking with him and handing the bundle of books over.

Tobin paid for the books and watched as the man wrapped them in old newspaper. She unzipped her gym bag and put Christen’s gift inside of it, knowing she’d need to find a place to hide them until the end of the month.

“Thanks.” Tobin waved, walking towards the exit of the store.

“See you.” The man smiled, turning to approach another customer.

Tobin pushed the door of the store open and stepped out into the cold December air again. The sun had set in the half hour she was inside the store and it was dark now. Street lamps lighting the sidewalks of the city blocks.

Tobin made it to the end of the block with the thoughts of the ring bouncing around in her mind. She couldn’t get over how perfect it seemed. It was just so Christen.

When you know, you just know. The man’s words from earlier kept replaying on a loop in Tobin’s head. She paused at the crosswalk, waiting for it to change so she could cross the street.

When the light turned green and the crosswalk signal changed to illuminate the tiny little man in white lighting, Tobin paused. She spun around and took a couple steps back towards the store. If I don’t get it now, someone else will she thought.

She made it a few feet before shaking her head. This is crazy. We can’t get engaged yet. Tobin thought again, trying to talk herself out of it.

She stopped walking and turned back around, back towards the direction of her apartment. The internal debate was raging on inside of her.

And I didn’t even look at the price of the ring, God knows how much it would cost me. She pondered again, now just standing in the middle of the sidewalk as a few people trickled past her. She knew she probably looked like a lunatic, spinning around and around like she was.

Before she could go absolutely mad, she was pulled out of her thoughts by her phone chirping in her jacket pocket.

She pulled out her phone to see a text from the one person who always had the best timing.

{Christen}: Hi love. Are you coming home to me soon?

Tobin grinned at the text. She was out later than normal for a practice day, and she was glad to see Christen missed her while she was gone.

Tobin typed out a quick reply.

{Tobin}: On my way, babe.

She put her phone back in her pocket and her mind was finally made up for the night. She crossed the street in front of her and made her way the few blocks home, pushing thoughts of the ring to the back of her mind for now.

 

xx

 

Before Tobin even stepped fully inside of her apartment, she was greeted with the amazing smells of dinner wafting through the whole place. She guessed it was some sort of garlic and herb mixture that Christen was cooking up, the way she did most nights.

Zoey came running to the door when she heard Tobin’s keys jingling, wagging her tail happily at Tobin’s arrival.

“Hey, Z.” Tobin smiled, petting the dog after she dropped her bag in the entryway.

Tobin couldn’t see Christen, but she could hear music coming from the kitchen, knowing Christen was working away. She always loved to play music when she cooked.

Tobin made it the few steps in from the entry way and looked around the corner into the kitchen, spotting Christen with her back to Tobin. She was swaying back and forth lightly as she stirred whatever was on the stove, seemingly still unaware of Tobin’s presence.

Her hair was up in a messy bun and she was wearing a baggy sweatshirt of Tobin’s and a pair of shorts. Even from behind, Tobin’s heart tightened a little at how cute she looked.

Without hesitating any longer, Tobin floated through the kitchen, snaking her arms around Christen’s waist from behind, pulling her girlfriend in tightly against her.

Christen jumped a tiny bit at the contact, before turning her head to smile at Tobin.

“Honey!” She laughed, placing her free hand over her chest. “Oh my gosh, I didn’t hear the door.”

“Surprise.” Tobin laughed back, leaning in to kiss Christen at the weird angle.

“You’re always my favorite surprise.” Christen whispered with her mouth against Tobin’s, before she pressed her lips into her girlfriend’s. She turned around in Tobin’s arms, kissing her again properly. Slower the second time.

When they broke apart, Tobin placed one more kiss to Christen’s forehead. “It smells amazing in here, baby.”

Christen danced a little, happily, before turning back around to keep stirring.

Tobin grabbed her bag from the entryway and walked towards her bedroom, noticing on the way by that the dining room table had already been set, with candles burning in the middle of the small table.

“Chris, I woulda helped you.” Tobin said over the music, motioning at the table.

“Nope!” Christen smiled as she dumped the contents of the pan into a serving bowl. “You just sit your cute butt down.”

Tobin shook her head, walking to her room quickly to drop her bag of soccer clothes down. She quickly grabbed Christen’s present out of the bag and stuck it high up on the shelf in her closet, under some old shirts, where Christen wouldn’t find it.

They sat down a few minutes later to eat dinner at the small table in the apartment. Christen had made chicken and pasta in white wine garlic sauce, with warm fresh bread on the side.

“Babe, this is sooo good.” Tobin almost moaned as she took her first couple bites.  

“It’s my grandma’s recipe” Christen informed her, chewing with a smile on her face. “We’ve gotta get you carbo-loaded for the big game.”

Christen put her arm up, sarcastically acting like she was flexing, as she scrunched up her face, trying to act mean.

Tobin laughed at how cute Christen looked and took another big bite. “You take such good care of me.” She beamed at the beauty across from her.

“It’s my job.” Christen said, dropping her arm to her lap again and shrugging, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

They talked about their day as the finished their meal, before Christen got up and took their plates to the sink.

“Before dessert, Zoey and I have a surprise for you.” Christen smiled, coming up behind Tobin who was still sitting at the table.

Christen stood there for a moment and massaged Tobin’s shoulders.

“There’s dessert?” Tobin asked, letting her eyes shut and her head fall back against Christen’s stomach.

“Oh yea.” Christen mused. She used her hands to press into the knotted muscles at the base of Tobin’s neck, down to her shoulder blades.

“You muscles are a mess, honey.” Christen said after a moment. “You need to relax.”

She knew Tobin had been stressed this week. That the upcoming game was occupying a lot of her mind. The waiting around for it was making her more tense than usual.

“Well this is helping.” Tobin smiled.

Christen continued to work her muscles for another minute.

“Wait, did you say surprise?” Tobin asked suddenly, letting her eyes open again and looking upside down at Christen.

Christen nodded with a laugh, releasing her grip from Tobin’s shoulders and walking down the hall towards the bedroom. Tobin stayed rooted in her chair at the table, waiting to see what Christen was doing.

“Zoey, come here girl!” Christen called from down the hall, patting her leg.

The dog stood up from where she was lying, half under the table, and trotted down the hallway towards Christen’s voice.

Tobin could hear the dog’s collar shaking and Christen encouraging her softly, Zoey’s nails scratching against the hardwood floor in some sort of commotion. But Tobin didn’t want to get up and see what they were doing. It would ruin the surprise.

A minute later, Christen came walking down the hallway again, smiling excitedly.

“Okay, Zo, come on girl.” She called back over her shoulder.

Zoey came running after Christen again, towards where Tobin was sitting. The dog passed up the dark haired woman down the hall and ran right to Tobin.

Tobin busted out laughing immediately at the sight of their dog. “No way!”

Zoey had on a red Portland Thorns dog jersey, which was more than a little snug on her. The back had a giant Thorns crest on it, with black trim around the edges. Her two front paws tucked through the arm holes. It looked like any sudden movements and the jersey might rip in half against the dog’s strong back.

Christen had taken a black sharpie and written HEATH in perfect lettering above the crest.

“Zoey!” Tobin beamed, sliding off her chair and onto the floor, to cuddle the dog. She kissed Zoey’s head a couple times as the dog wagged her tail again, plopping down on the hardwood floor.

“Chris, this is so awesome.” Tobin smiled, looking up at Christen who was standing before them with a huge smile on her face.

“I’ve been trying to find one of these since we got her.” Christen laughed. “It just came in the mail today.”

Tobin reached for Christen’s hand, pulling her down onto her lap on the floor. Christen laughed and let her weight fall, snuggling into Tobin.

“Zoey Heath needed a jersey to cheer her mama on.” Christen cooed into Tobin.

“Zoey Heath.” Tobin whispered with grin. Loving that Christen used her last name. “Babe..”

Christen pulled back and looked at Tobin in the eye. “She’s your number 2 fan, only behind me.”

“My girls are the best.” Tobin leaned in and kissed Christen. “I love you both so much.”

Christen laughed again, hugging Tobin tightly. “We love you too.”

Zoey got up and practically jumped on them at their excitement, licking Christen’s face as they both laughed on the floor. Tobin buried her face into Christen’s neck, swallowing down the lump of happy emotions that were rising to the surface.

She listened to the sound of Christen’s laugh ricochet off the walls in the quiet apartment and all she could think was I should have bought that ring.

 

-----------------------

 

The Thorns falling behind 2-0 at halftime was not the way anyone expected the game to go.

Christen sat nervously from her perch in the family suite as Tobin and the rest of the team tried their hardest not to let frustration take over. They needed to remain calm and stay in the game, knowing they had plenty of time to turn the tides in their favor.

Christen felt like she was going crazy, talking a mile a minute to Bati throughout halftime; about how bad the refs had been and how cheap all of North Carolina’s fouls were. He just nodded with resounding agreement, laughing a little at how much passion Christen had.

Following halftime, things started to get a little better for the home team. The Thorns started to slowly crawl back into the match. First, off of a Christine Sinclair goal on a counterattack, spurred from a huge stop from the Thorns keeper.

The goal cut the score to 2-1. The Thorns had life.

Ten minutes later the Thorns equalized, as Tobin sent a free kick into the box, which floated perfectly over the onrush of defenders. Emily got on the end of it, cooly tying the game as she slotted the ball into the lower left hand corner of the goal. The sellout crowd at Providence Park was sent into a frenzy.

Christen and Bati both jumped to their feet at the equalizer, high-fiving each other and cheering loudly. Christen smiled as the Riveters chanted over and over, watching the red smoke blow through the north end of the stadium.

The atmosphere felt like it was changing. Like it was time for the Thorns to lock in and take the game over.

It was a battle.

The score remained 2-2 through most of the second half, as both teams pushed for the go-ahead goal, while also trying to keep their defense steady. The longer the game remained tied, the chippier it got.

Tobin was taking the brunt of most of the fouls, as the right back from North Carolina had basically been tracking her step for step, all game long. She wasn’t going easy on Tobin in the slightest.

Tobin did her best to shrug off the aggression building inside of her every time she got up off the turf after another hard tackle.

Allie picked up the ball in the 79th minute, off of a North Carolina turnover, and tried to advance it quickly up the field. Tobin sprinted up the left flank, keeping an eye on Allie’s movements.

She received a perfect pass from Allie and dribbled the ball as she cut into the center of the pitch, just as she spotted Sinclair making a run, on the shoulder of the last defender.

Tobin made a move to juke one defender, as one of the North Carolina centerbacks tried to cut off her passing lane.

The defender terribly misjudged her footing, and instead of stomping her foot down onto the turf in order to block Tobin’s pass, she landed her foot directly on top of Tobin’s boot.

The studs from her cleat driving into the center of Tobin’s foot. All of the defenders weight came with her, sending a shriek of pain out of Tobin’s mouth before she even hit the ground.

Ahhhhhh! ” Tobin cried out, hitting the turf quickly as the ref blew the whistle for a foul.

Christen could hear her cries, even from her spot way up in the stands. Her heart about shattered in an instant.

Tobin was crumbled into a ball, holding her foot gingerly as the sobs escaped her mouth.

It was like you could hear a pin drop in the stadium. All 21,000+ fans shutting up at once as they held their breath for their star player.

Christen stood up and looked out over the railing of the suite, as the trainers ran onto the field to tend to her girlfriend. She clutched Bati’s arm nervously as the staff huddled around Tobin, making her no longer visible to Christen. Her cries could still be heard though.

The ref issued a yellow card to the defender as the Thorns players all stood around nervously. It took several minutes for the training staff to stand Tobin up. Allie helping to wipe the tears off of Tobin’s face as she clutched onto the trainers, one arm around both of the shoulders.

Tobin wasn’t able to put any weight on her right foot.

Christen didn’t take her eyes off of Tobin for a second, as the trainers carried her off the field and directly towards the locker room. Not even attempting to pause at the bench for evaluation.

Everything just felt a little off after that. The game restarted a minute later, with a sub replacing Tobin, the Thorns still trying to find the winner.

Christen couldn’t have cared less about the game anymore though. She felt numb, unable to think about anything other than Tobin and how was she doing. She bounced her leg nervously and chewed at her lip as Bati tried to reassure her that Tobin was probably fine. His tone wasn’t a convincing one. They both knew she wasn’t.

The last ten minutes of regular time ended with the score still 2-2. Extra time would be needed to decide the winner.

Just as the first fifteen minutes of extra time were about to kick off, one of the stadium staff members popped into the suite asking for Christen.

“Are you Christen?’ The young woman asked as she looked at her and Bati.

Christen’s head turned around quickly as she stood up without thinking. “Yea, I am.”

“Do you wanna come downstairs?” The woman wondered. “Tobin is asking for you.”

Christen nodded quickly, walking towards the hallway without even turning around to say anything to Bati next to her.

She followed the woman to the bank of elevators and they waited in silence. Christen was cracking her knuckles and playing her her hands nervously as the elevator descended, before stepping out into the tunnel where the locker rooms and training rooms were. The same spot where she saw Tobin after their first preseason game so many months ago.

“She’s in there.” The woman motioned for Christen, continuing down the hall and leaving her be.

The door the the training room was cracked only slightly, as Christen quietly pushed it open, finding Tobin laying on the training table. Nobody else was in the room at the moment.

Tobin’s boot and sock were off and a huge bag of ice was wrapped tightly around the bridge of her right foot. Her eyes were closed but Christen could still see the tear streaks on her red cheeks.

“Honey..” Christen choked out, her voice cracking sharply at seeing Tobin like this.

Tobin opened her eyes and lifted just her head, meeting Christen’s eyes. “Babe..” Tobin said through another cry.

Her bottom lip was trembling as Christen rushed over to her, leaning down to hug Tobin as best as possible on the training table. Tobin buried her face in Christen’s neck and paused for a moment before she was able to speak again.

Christen could feel the wetness from Tobin’s tears on her neck. She had a few tears of her own forming in her eyes.

“I have to go get x-rays.” Tobin whimpered, trying to explain through a shaky voice.

Christen pulled back just enough to look at Tobin’s face. She used the pad of her thumb to wipe away another tear that was running down Tobin’s face.

“What did they say?” Christen asked softly.

Tobin let her eyes shut and her head drop against the training table again as she shook her head slightly.

“They think it’s broken.”

Chapter Text

Tobin knew the Thorns would win. She could feel it within her body in the days leading up to the game. She could sense that the team had a calm confidence about them, in the way they had prepared and trained and battled all season. She could visualize it. Like she had dreamed it a million times before and knew the ending by heart.

Knowing the Thorns would battle back from being 2-0 down, to win on a Lindsey Horan header in the 113th minute of extra time, that was just filling out the storyline. The minor details she couldn’t have told you beforehand. But the ending had already been written in Tobin’s mind. The Thorns were always going to win and play for the Championship.

There was one part of it all that she hadn’t visualized or dreamed up or been absolutely sure of. One part of the plot that threw a snag into the whole story.

Tobin being carried off the field and not finishing the game due to injury. That was something she would have never dreamed up.

That part was a nightmare.

Instead of celebrating with her teammates after a hard-fought win, she spent the evening at the emergency room, clutching Christen’s hand tightly as the doctor did a series of tests and x-rays on her already swollen and bruising right foot.

Christen could almost feel the pain radiating off of Tobin. Tobin, who was trying to be strong and tough. Her teeth clenched together as she willed herself not to cry again, while the doctor performed his tests. Like her being tough would make the diagnosis better.

Christen could tell that’s what she was doing, and she wanted to cry for Tobin.

An acute hairline fracture to the fifth metatarsal.

That’s what the doctor officially called it, after he examined the x-rays for the fourth or fifth time.

He insisted that the force of the stomp on Tobin’s foot definitely didn’t help things, but he guessed there had been a bit of a stress fracture there to being with. The effects of a full season’s worth of hard play and not much rest or time off.

That kind of wear and tear eventually takes its toll.

The good news was, Tobin’s foot wasn’t totally broken, so a lot of ice and elevation and no weight on it would probably be enough to not require surgery. They’d re-evaluate in a week to be sure that was the case.

It was late when Tobin was finally sent home. On crutches, with her foot wrapped tightly in a bundle of ice; a walking boot included as an added prize for later. A week to ten days with absolutely no weight on it were her instructions, and then she could switch to the boot.

Tobin didn’t say a word on the drive home, as Christen navigated the streets of downtown Portland. The same streets that had become all too familiar to the dark haired woman in the past few months. She almost wanted to ask Tobin for directions, just to hear her say something, even though she knew the way to Tobin’s apartment like the back of her hand by now. The silence in the car was deafening, and Christen didn’t know how to make it better.

This was all new to Christen. Seeing Tobin in this state. Upset and hurting and unusually quiet, especially after her team got a big win. It was understandable that she didn’t feel like talking, but it was still slightly alarming.

Christen kept telling herself she was going to need to be patient and supportive. To let Tobin deal with this how she needed to. So Christen bit her tongue as she drove, letting the quietness wash over them.

When they got home, Tobin slowly made her way to the elevators on her crutches, as Christen carried her things. Tobin couldn’t do much else except collapse on the couch as soon as they got upstairs, already exhausted from the extra work that using the crutches required. They were something she hadn’t been forced to use for quite a while.

Christen tried to make Tobin something to eat but Tobin just shook her head, her appetite non-existent after the night she’d had. Christen wanted to argue, knowing it had been too long since Tobin had eaten anything, but she let it go. Choosing to pick her battles.

Before Tobin could go to sleep, she needed to clean herself up, still unshowered from her game. The sweat long since dried on her body after hours at the hospital.

Christen helped her as best she could. Undressing Tobin slowly in a way she never had. No sexual connotations behind it for the first time, probably ever, between them. Being careful not to touch any part of Tobin’s injured foot.

“I got it.” Tobin said numbly after she had stepped into the stream of hot water, implying that she didn’t want Christen’s help to wash off. She almost cringed at the sound of her own voice.

Christen bit her bottom lip in frustration but just nodded, closing the shower door behind Tobin, so the water stopped splashing all over the bathroom floor.

“I’m gonna take Zoey out quick. Let me know when you are done.” Christen yelled over the noise of the water cascading down around Tobin.

Tobin was quiet until Christen exited the bathroom.

When Tobin was sure Christen was gone, she finally let herself break again. Standing under the hot water on one foot, holding onto the wall for support, as the tears streamed down her face. Her quiet sobs hardly masked by the splashing noise of the shower.

She let herself get lost in it for a few minutes, feeling sorry for herself in a way she wouldn’t do in front of anyone else. A solid ten minute cry was all she needed and she was thankful for the few minutes of aloneness. She felt a little guilty about shutting Christen out but she just wanted to sulk in solitude.

When Christen came back inside after letting Zoey out, she walked back to the bathroom and paused outside the door that was still open. She could hear Tobin crying, even from the hallway. Christen leaned against the door frame for a few minutes and just listened to Tobin’s angry sobs, not wanting to interrupt her sadness.

Christen let a few frustrated tears of her own slip out, for Tobin and the hard work she’s put in all season. And for how unfair it is that she’s forced into this situation; before she pushed her feelings down and moved back into the bathroom. Christen wasn’t going to let Tobin go through this alone. She’d be the strong one for them both, for once.

Without saying anything, Christen slipped out of her clothes and cracked the shower door open. If Tobin noticed her arrival again, she didn’t acknowledge it. The goosebumps that appeared on Tobin’s skin from the sudden rush of outside air told Christen she probably had.

Christen stepped into the shower behind Tobin and wrapped her arms around Tobin’s waist, pulling her weight back into her body a little.

Tobin softened at the contact, giving in and leaning back into Christen, her eyes still closed.

“I’ve got you.” Christen whispered into Tobin’s ear. “I’m here.”

Tobin just let her head fall back onto Christen’s shoulder for a minute, suddenly grateful that Christen was there, even if she thought she wanted to be alone. The last few tears ran down Tobin’s face until she calmed herself again at the feeling of Christen’s embrace.

They stayed like that in the shower until Tobin’s hands were wrinkled from the water. Christen shampooed Tobin’s hair and helped her wash her body as the remaining dirt and sweat and turf beads ran down the drain. Finally cleansed from the day behind her. Ready to start anew.

Tobin knew it was going to be a tough road the next few days but she focused on the good things; her team still winning tonight, having Christen there to ease the pain, and their little world they’ve created together. Tobin ran through the list in her mind until her eyes finally opened, meeting her girlfriends green eyes for the first time all night, seeing the concern in them.

Tobin gave Christen a look, letting her know she was okay. Maybe not physically, but mentally she was, at least. Christen needed the confirmation in that moment, completely gathering the meaning behind Tobin’s eyes. Hugging her tightly for another moment, until the water turned lukewarm on them. She helped Tobin out of the shower slowly and carefully, not a word spoken between them, but understanding each other all the same. Tobin would get through this.

“This isn’t the way I saw this night going.” Tobin said through a tired voice, as she slid carefully into bed a while later. It was the first real sentence she’d spoken since they’d left the hospital.

“I know, baby.” Christen nodded, making sure Tobin’s foot was propped up on a couple pillows at the end of their bed. “I’m so sorry.”

“I mean, I definitely thought I was going to get laid tonight after a big win.” Tobin smirked, waiting for Christen to meet her eyes.

Christen didn’t react until she looked up and saw Tobin was smiling a little.

She let out the tiniest laugh, feeling like Tobin was back to her old self, even if just for a moment.

“Believe me, I wish that’s what we were doing. I’ve never been so sad about undressing you before.” Christen smiled solemnly, crawling up the mattress to where Tobin had settled back into the pillows.

Christen leaned down to meet Tobin’s lips, kissing her softly once, just a peck. She pulled back just enough to look Tobin in the eyes.

“Honey, I’m here for whatever you need, okay?” Christen moved some of the damp hair off of Tobin’s forehead.

“Thank you, baby.” Tobin spoke quietly. “For taking care of me tonight and always. I know I can be a pain in the ass and I’m sorry.”

“Please don’t apologize.” Christen leaned back in and kissed Tobin’s forehead softly. “I’ll always be here to take care of you. I told you, it’s my job.”

“I love you.” Tobin gave Christen another half smile, letting her eyes shut. The exhaustion of it all hitting her like a ton of bricks all of the sudden.

“I love you too.” Christen said as she slid off the bed and tucked the blankets into Tobin, only her right foot sticking out at the end. “I’m gonna stay up for a bit with Zoey, yell if you need me.”

Tobin succumbed to the exhaustion before Christen even had the bedroom door closed.

 

----------------------

A week to ten days. That’s what the doctor had told Tobin before she left the hospital that night. No weight or pressure, at all, on her foot for seven days, at a minimum - if God was feeling generous enough - urging her it would probably be longer.

Tobin lasted four days.

Christen came home from the grocery store on Wednesday afternoon to find Tobin standing in the kitchen with her walking boot on. Her crutches positioned against the couch in the living room, across the apartment. A soccer ball lying next to her good left foot.

Before Christen could even open her mouth to say anything, to protest and argue with her girlfriend about how important rest was for her recovery, Tobin gave her a look that just said don’t .

Instead, Tobin limped her booted foot back towards their bedroom, slowly dribbling the soccer ball as she went, not meeting Christen’s eyes again, knowing the disapproval she’d find in them.  

Christen shook her head and clasped her hands together silently in frustration, forcing herself to stay out of it. Instead, she busied herself with making them dinner, as she listened to the soft knock of the soccer ball hitting against the wall in the bedroom over and over again.

On Thursday, when Allie stopped by the apartment to pick Tobin up for her first practice and film session since the injury, Christen basically just shuffled Tobin out the door with a kiss and gave Allie a look that said good luck .

It had been a slightly frustrating week for both of them, for different reasons. Christen wasn’t used to having the distraction Tobin caused being around all day while she tried to work; and Tobin wasn’t used to being forced to sit and do nothing at all. They both needed a small amount of space.

Tobin getting back with the team was a gift for the couple, even if she’d only missed a few days. Plus, Christen was happy to let the coaches and training staff be the bad guys, instead of trying to tell Tobin what to do with her recovery and causing a fight she knew she’d lose.

The Thorns were busy preparing for the Championship match against Chicago.

After the semi-final games, both teams had a week off in between to prepare for the Final, which was taking place in Orlando the following weekend.

Tobin hadn’t voiced it to anyone yet, but she knew what she was doing. She was preparing for the game like she was going to be playing in it. She knew she’d be shot down immediately if she said it out loud, so she just kept her head down and focused. Attending every practice and film session with the team for the rest of the week. Recovering with them and staying late to work with the trainers, even if all they were having her do was muscle and coordination work. Allie was a good friend and teammate, staying late with Tobin, to make sure her best friend got home alright.

“So, don’t you think you’re maybe rushing this a little bit?” Allie asked questioningly as Tobin limped to Allie’s car on Friday after practice.

Tobin was carrying her walking boot in her hands, attempting to put pressure on her foot by itself for a few steps out to the parking lot. Judging by the hard-set grimace on her face that Tobin was trying to mask, it wasn’t going very well.

“Nope.” Is all Tobin answered, not glancing at Allie.

“Okay..” Allie said, her tone annoyed. “What’s even the point of you walking without your boot right now?”

Tobin opened the car door and sat down in the passenger's seat. “I need to know where I’m at. I can’t get a feel for it with this stupid thing on.” She replied as Allie opened the back door and tossed their bags in.

“What does it matter where you’re at?” Allie asked, looking over at Tobin as she started her car. “Where you’re at is on the injury report.”

“Yea, for now.” Tobin said, her jaw set in a firm way.

Allie wasn’t giving in that easily. “This is serious, Tobs. Look, we all want you out there with us. You’re obviously a huge part of this team. But don’t make this worse, you’ve got a big year ahead of you.”

“I’m fine, I know my pain levels.” Tobin urged, looking over to her best friend with an unusually hard expression on her face.

“And what if you hurt yourself worse by trying to come back too quickly?” Allie challenged.

“I won’t!” Tobin was practically yelling now. “Just stay out of it, okay?” Her tone had even surprised herself slightly.

The car fell silent. Neither of them used to this type of conversation with each other.

“I’m just trying to help.” Allie said after a minute of awkward silence. “I want the best for you, Tobs.”

“I know..” Tobin acknowledged quietly, looking out the window. Her tone had softened but Allie knew not to press any farther.

They drove a few blocks in silence until Tobin spoke up again, changing the subject.

“Hey, can we do an errand quick?”

“What errand?” Allie asked, trying not to be even more annoyed at her best friend. Tobin’s words and tone a few minutes ago had stung and she was still trying to get over it. She didn’t particularly feel like helping her with errands at the moment.

Tobin turned to Allie as she was waiting at a stop light, a small grin playing on her lips. Her mood a little better already.

“I’ll show you in a few minutes, just say yes.” Tobin answered her. “Please? It’s important.”

Allie kept her eyes focused on the stop light ahead for a moment, waiting for it to change.

“Fine.” She finally said, acting like she wasn’t interested, but knowing she couldn’t just abandon Tobin on the side of the road. Plus she did want to know what Tobin was holding out on.

Tobin gave Allie directions and a couple minutes later, they were parking on the street in front of a store in the Pearl District. They hadn’t said anything else to each other in the few minutes it took to drive there.

“Harry..” Tobin said, turning to look at Allie before she opened her car door. “Sorry..”

Tobin gave Allie a sheepish grin and shrugged her shoulders, swallowing the lump that had formed in her throat.

Allie looked at her for a minute before softening completely.

“It’s okay.. Just put that stupid thing back on.” Allie smiled, pointing to the walking boot in Tobin’s hands. “Otherwise Christen will yell at me .”

Tobin laughed, feeling a little better than she had in a few days. Even if just for a moment. It helped to know her best friend cared about her so much. And that Christen was at home, worrying about her too. She promised herself to lay off of them both.

“So why are we at this old ass store?” Allie asked when they got out and she saw where Tobin was slowly limping towards.

“I’ve gotta pick something up.” Tobin responded. “I’ll show you in a minute.”

Tobin opened the door to the store and heard the doorbell ding, with Allie following behind her. The sight of the vintage clothing and items made Tobin smile a little.

“Can I help you?” Tobin heard the man’s voice before she saw him. As soon as the older gentleman appeared around the corner, he smiled, recognizing Tobin quickly.

“You’re back!” He greeted her with a big smile.

“I’m back.” Tobin nodded.

“Is this the special girl?” He asked, looking to Allie.

Tobin busted out laughing. “Oh, no.” She breathed deeply, laughing again. “Sorry, this is just my best friend, Allie.”

“Oh, my apologies.” He smiled, entertained at how funny Tobin thought that was. “Let me go get it for you, one moment.”

Allie put her hand on Tobin’s shoulder. “What is he talking about? You’ve been here before?”

“Yea.” Tobin nodded.

Tobin wasn’t able to stop thinking about the ring she found that night she bought Christen’s birthday present. It was basically the only thing on her mind all week as she was laid up on the couch nursing her injury.

At first she thought she was just using it as a way to distract herself from the constant thrum of pain in her foot, until she realized she kept thinking about it so much because it was the ring.

Every time she watched Christen quietly from across the room, Tobin would wish she had the ring right then.

When Christen made sure Tobin was comfortable on the couch with a fresh bag of ice, or when she was making them dinner for the fifth night in a row, or when she was playing with Zoey in the other room, Tobin would feel it. Christen was the one.

So when Christen went to run a few errands yesterday, Tobin called the vintage store and spoke to the man about the ring. She was relieved to find out it was still there for sale and asked him to hold it for her. He told her he could keep it in the back for a few days, if she wanted to stop in and get it.

“I polished it up for you this morning.” The man said as he reappeared from the back room with the small black ring box, handing it over to Tobin.

“What the hell?” Allie basically gasped, dramatically, when she saw what the man was handing to Tobin.

Tobin looked at Allie, amused. She opened the lid of the ring box so Allie could get a glimpse.

“Is that what I think it is?” Allie asked quizzically.

“Probably..” Tobin laughed at her friends reaction. “What do you think of it?”

Allie wasted no time taking the ring box out of Tobin’s hands, to inspect it closely.

“Tobin Heath!” She said after twisting it around so the ring would sparkle.

Tobin raised her eyebrows and waited for Allie to speak again.

“Is this an engagement ring?!” Allie asked excitedly, the octave of her voice rising with each word.

Tobin grinned and nodded her head. “It is.”

“Oh my god, Har!” Allie said again. “It’s so beautiful.”

Tobin smiled, letting out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.

“You think so?” Tobin questioned eagerly.

“I know so.” Allie nodded emphatically. “I love it!”

“Well, it’s not for you.” Tobin joked, taking the ring back from Allie.

They both laughed as Allie rolled her eyes and elbowed Tobin.

Tobin handed the ring over to the man and followed him to the register, pulling out her credit card to pay for it.

The man took his time shining the ring again, as Tobin stood there and tried to be patient with all of Allie’s questioning. How long she’d known she wanted to marry Christen for sure, and when she decided to buy the ring, and when she was going to propose and if her and Christen had talked about it.

Not once did Allie ever act like it was too soon or a bad idea. Tobin didn’t say it, but she knew that meant a lot. If Allie felt like this was a good idea, then it was a good idea. It reassured Tobin that she wasn’t crazy for wanting this already.

“So, do you have a plan?” Allie asked as they got back in the car.

“No, not yet.” Tobin said, burying the ring box in her duffle bag.

Tobin knew she was going to need to be extra sneaky with it, since Christen was currently doing her laundry and would not hesitate to grab Tobin’s workout clothes out of her bag.

“I will probably wait a while.” Tobin continued when she had her bag zipped back up. “I still have stuff to do, like ask her parents and make sure she’d actually say yes. I just wanted to buy it now because this ring is perfect for her and I didn’t want someone else to have it.”

They pulled into the apartment complex they shared and Allie parked in her reserved spot, shutting off her car.

“Obviously, please don’t tell anyone about it.” Tobin said for good measure, even though she knew Allie would never.

“Are you kidding me?” Allie pretended to be offended. “I’m just honored to be in on the secret.”

Allie leaned over the center console of her car and pulled Tobin into an a silly half hug.

“My little Tobs is growing up so fast.” Allie teased.

Tobin just rolled her eyes, peeling herself away from Allie’s grip.

“Seriously, Tobin..” Allie’s face turned into a genuine smile. “You did great, and she will absolutely love it. You two really are perfect together and she is a total catch.”

“Thanks, Harry.” Tobin nodded. “And thanks for putting up with me.”

“As if I had a choice.” Allie smiled again, as they climbed out of her car, making their way towards the elevators and to their apartments for the rest of the night.

-----------------------

Tobin had a follow-up visit with a Podiatrist on Saturday morning. A week after the injury. She crutched her way into the office following behind Christen, like she’d been using them dutifully the whole week. Christen just looked out the window and pretended not to hear Tobin’s answer when the doctor asked her for confirmation that she’d been non-weight bearing, like she had been told to be.

The recovery had been going well, all things considered. The Podiatrist cleared Tobin to start using the walking boot and told her to keep it on whenever she wasn’t sleeping or resting her foot in an elevated position. Tobin and the Thorns Head Medical Trainer, who met them at the appointment, decided that they’d judge the rest of her recovery without another foot specialist visit; and if the pain got worse again, they would schedule another evaluation.

Tobin left feeling happier than she’d been in a week. Like maybe she actually had a shot to factor into the Championship game. She just had to start working on Mark and the trainers to prove that it was an option.

xx

 

“So I changed a couple of meetings around and I’ll be able to get to Orlando on Thursday night.” Christen mentioned as she was folding her laundry next to Tobin on the couch that night.

The upcoming week was Christen’s week to be in New York for work, which actually worked out well, since the Championship game was also on the East Coast. She mostly felt okay about leaving Tobin now, since she was cleared for the walking boot full time. Her flight was fairly early the following morning.

“That’s perfect.” Tobin smiled, bringing her eyes away from the game tape she was watching to look over at her girlfriend. “My parents are coming down on Thursday too.”

The Thorns were flying to Orlando as a team on Tuesday, to continue prepping for the game on Saturday. The team wanted to be fully adjusted to the time zone change and the field playing conditions as early as possible.

“I put a few things in the freezer for you to eat since we had a bunch of leftovers. You can just reheat them. And I think your laundry should all be done, so you don’t have to worry about it when you pack.” Christen said again as she concentrated on the pile of clothes in front of her.

Tobin just looked over at her quietly for a moment, watching her girlfriend. Christen’s eyebrows were creased together as she folded her clothes neatly, setting them in particular stacks to make her own packing go quicker. She was clearly lost in her thoughts, running through the catalog of things she wanted to tell Tobin about the next few days.

“Baby..” Tobin said, asking for Christen’s attention.

“Huh?” Christen finally looked up to see Tobin’s crooked smile directed at her.

“I’m not dying.” She laughed, dropping the remote on the couch and crawling across it to where Christen was sitting. “I’m capable of surviving on my own.”

“I know that.” Christen smiled almost shyly, like she was defending her own need to take care of Tobin.

Tobin laughed and took the shirt out of Christen’s hands, tossing it on the ground. They were both quiet as Tobin reached out and cupped Christen’s cheek with her hand gently.

“I love you. Thank you for worrying about me.” Tobin said seriously, looking into Christen’s green eyes. “But I will be fine for three days without you. Well, besides the fact that I’ll miss you too much.”

Christen laughed softly. “I can’t help it, I just wanna make sure you're okay, you know? I really love you too.”

Tobin’s heart almost burst again. God this woman.

Tobin leaned in and connected her lips with Christen’s. It started out slow and innocent, before Tobin deepened it, sliding her tongue into Christen’s mouth as her left hand wandered underneath Christen’s shirt. They made out like that until Tobin needed to pull back for a breath.

“Bedroom?” Tobin hummed against Christen’s lips after she took a deep pull of air.

“Are you sure?” Christen asked hesitantly.

They hadn’t done anything remotely sexual since Tobin got hurt. Christen had basically made sure not to put them in a situation where they’d be tempted, because she didn’t want Tobin to hurt herself even more. Tobin wasn’t oblivious to what Christen was doing, but she didn’t push it. She did need to be careful.

Sure, it had only been a week, but that was a lifetime compared to what they had become used to.

Tobin laughed, almost a little sarcastically. “Babe, I am so sure. I will be dying if we hold out much longer.”

“I don’t want you to hurt your foot any worse.” Christen urged, looking Tobin in the eyes again.

“My foot is fine, Chris.” Tobin insisted. She slid off of her girlfriend and stood up, resting most of her weight on her left foot. “Plus, I need some way to start saying thank you for everything you’ve done this week.” Tobin winked suggestively.

Christen couldn’t help but check Tobin out, letting her eyes roam slowly down Tobin’s body. Marveling at how hot her girlfriend looked in just a Nike tank top and joggers. Her strong arms making Christen weak in an instant.

Tobin held out her hand for Christen to take. “I want you, baby.”

Christen’s insides were already buzzing, thinking about being intimate with Tobin again. She was craving it. Already turned on just by hearing Tobin say those words.

God, I want you too. ” Christen whined, lacing her fingers with Tobin’s as she stood up.

They made their way towards the bedroom, Tobin’s lips attached to Christen’s neck as they went, slowly for good measure. Christen’s laundry and Tobin’s game tape all but forgotten, neither of them caring about anything but each other for the rest of the night.

-----------------------

 

Tobin had done enough throughout game week to convince Mark to list her with the substitutions for the Championship game. The night before the Final, the trainers and Tobin went out to the practice field to do a series of tests on her foot, to determine if she’d be fit enough to play.

Tobin acted like she had never felt an ounce of pain in her life. Running and cutting for the trainers and Mark, so they could test her reactions. She probably would have bitten all the way through her tongue if it continued much longer, but she did enough to prove that she could dress for the game.

It was an insane recovery for the severity of her injury.

Deep down, Tobin knew she’d be back in the walking boot, if not on crutches, come Saturday night, but she didn’t care. She needed a chance to help her team, in any way possible. Winning a Championship meant everything to her and the whole team. They just needed to win one more game to ensure this dream season ended the right way.

The training staff gave her a cortisone shot about an hour before kick-off, to make sure she didn’t feel any pain effects during play, if she did happen to get subbed in.

The game itself was the most intense thing Christen had ever sat through without having any control over, in her life. She was wound so tightly, barely breathing every time the ball even came close to either goal. She sat in between Cindy and Jeff, all three of them in their Heath jerseys, cheering loudly throughout the game.

The first half saw a couple of chances for both sides, but no goals were found, sending the teams to the locker room with the game tied nil-nil.

Every time Mark stood up and looked down the bench during the second half, Tobin sat up a little straighter, making sure she was in his line of vision. Like a little kid who wanted to make sure their coach remembered they were on the team, wishing and hoping they’d get picked to play at some point.

The game had turned almost brutally physical, with five players getting carded throughout the second half. It was wild out there and neither team wanted to be the first one to go too far and end up conceding.

When the game entered the 80th minute still at a scoreless tie, Mark yelled down the bench and told Tobin to warm up again. She wasted no time jumping up from the bench and running down the sideline.

She only got a couple of sprints in before Mark called her back to the bench, deciding to make the change. The assistant coaches gave Tobin a few instructions before Mark looked Tobin dead in the eyes without saying anything. They both just nodded at each other, like a silent statement. He trusted her to make something happen and she trusted herself to deliver.

When the 4th official’s substitution board lit up with 17 in green, Christen leaned over and buried her face into her hands on her lap for a moment. Her stomach did a few somersaults from her nerves, until she sat up again, watching Tobin sprint onto the field.

Six minutes plus stoppage time. That’s all that was left.

Tobin barely even had time to get into the swing of the game, before Allie found Sinclair on the attack, sprinting between the two Chicago center backs. Allie played the perfect through ball, splitting the defenders as Sinclair ran onto the ball, perfectly in stride.

The Chicago center back closest to the ball had no choice but to almost bearhug Sinclair, to stop her from being one on one with the keeper, bringing her down just outside the box and earning a yellow card. The Portland players went crazy immediately, calling for a red to be given. The ref just waved them off and set the ball down for a free kick, 25 yards out from goal.

Tobin didn’t hesitate, sprinting up to where the ball was placed. She hadn’t event touched the ball yet in the run of play. But If anyone else had even considered taking the kick, they would have been out of their minds. It was Tobin’s. This was the whole reason she had been subbed in.

Tobin took a deep breath to center herself, as she lined up behind the ball. All of her teammates already getting into position in the box, ready to jockey for a header or a poor clearance and a chance to score.

The ref blew the whistle as the wall got set and Tobin looked up at the goal once last time, finding her target.

Christen’s mind quickly flashed back to the first game she ever saw Tobin play, the preseason match in Portland all those months ago, and she instantly knew what was about to happen. Tobin was magical in these situations.

Tobin took three steps and swung her right leg, connecting her partially broken right foot with the ball. The momentum and force of her kick caused her follow through to be over-exaggerated and she landed with a yelp of pain, coming down hard on her right foot, watching as the ball sailed towards the goal.

The ball had just enough lift on it that it soared up over the three woman wall in front of Tobin, before dipping just enough to fly under the bar and into the upper corner of the goal. Swooshing against the back of the net.

Christen felt like she might pass out. If it weren’t for Cindy’s tight hug around her shoulders, she certainly would have fallen over.

Tobin had just put the Thorns up 1-0 with a picturesque, bending free kick in the 87th minute of the Championship game.

Tobin was completely dog-piled by her teammates, smiling widely as she attempted to keep her throbbing foot out of the way of their celebration pile, trying not to get stepped on. The celebration only lasted a few seconds before Sinclair got them all focused again. They still had a few minutes to hold on and see this game out.

Chicago didn’t get another shot off.  

Christen had never claimed to be a sports fan, and for most of her life, she couldn’t have cared less about these types of things. If you would have told her a year ago that this would be one of the best moments of her life, she would have told you that you were crazy. But watching Tobin collapse on the field as the full time whistle blew, under the canon of red confetti that was raining down around them, Christen was positive she wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

Seeing Tobin completely happy meant everything to Christen.

The way they locked eyes when Tobin finally stood up took Christen’s breath away again. The couple held eye contact as Tobin made a heart sign with her hands from the center of the pitch, directed right at her beautiful girlfriend in the stands. Holding it there as Christen did it right back. Until Allie wrapped Tobin in a hug from behind and engulfed her in another celebration with their teammates.

That moment will always be burned in Christen’s mind though. Tobin looking at her like everything in the world was just right.

The team celebrated together for a few minutes before the players made their way to the sidelines, motioning for their significant others and families and friends. Tobin waved Christen down so she could say hi, before the medal and trophy presentation.

Christen skipped down the steps of the stadium, to right behind the team bench, where Tobin had walked to. She leaned over the wall and wrapped her arms around Tobin’s shoulders from above her. The angle was difficult and Christen couldn’t hold her properly, the way she wanted to, but it was good enough for the time being.

“I am so proud of you.” Christen whispered into Tobin’s ear, just for her to hear. “You’re incredible.”

“That goal was for you, babe.” Tobin smiled with her arms around Christen. She pulled back just a little so she could crane her neck up, asking for a kiss from her girlfriend.

Christen knew everyone was watching them. That people would know Tobin Heath was kissing someone in celebration, but she didn’t let it stop her. If Tobin wanted a kiss, she’d give it to her. A thousand times over, she would.

Christen leaned a little farther forward, on her tip-toes over the railing and pressed her lips softly into Tobin’s. Holding the kiss for just a moment. Tobin’s smile when they pulled back sent another wave of butterflies through Christen. Tobin was all hers.

“Tobs!” Lindsey yelled from the bench where most of the team was gathering back together. “Get over here!”

Tobin spun around to wave at Lindsey, acknowledging her request. When she turned back around to see her smiling girlfriend, Christen just laughed.

“Go. Celebrate with your team.” She insisted.

Tobin just nodded. “I’ll be back before I head into the locker room.”

“I’ll be here.” Christen confirmed, her smile so wide.

Tobin gave Christen’s hand one last squeeze and waved up to where her parents had remained standing at their seats, before turning around to limp back towards her team.

The laughter bubbling out of Tobin as she went was the best sound Christen had ever heard.

Chapter Text

Baby, this is what you came for

Lightning strikes every time she moves

And everybody's watching her

But she's looking at you

 

Tobin could hear the loud thumping of the bass from the now way -overplayed Rihanna song. It was blaring through the speakers as the door of the club would open and then close again, as the bouncer was letting various young people - in way too little of clothing - inside after checking their ID’s.

Tobin was glad she wasn’t actually inside of the club, since the music was surely deafening everyone slightly. She could almost still feel the beat in her chest from how loud it was, even outside, leaning against her car that was parked on the street.

She was waiting on Christen and Tyler and a couple of their friends, playing the role of designated driver tonight, as the ladies celebrated one of their oldest friends bachelorette parties at a nightclub in Hollywood.

She had gotten a text a half hour ago, one that she assumed was Christen asking for them to be picked up. Although it was mostly a series of misspelled words and a lot of kissy face emojis. The alcohol clearly having an effect on the green eyed woman’s ability to send a legible message.

Tobin didn’t mind though, she was just happy that Christen was out having fun and that she was able to get them all home okay at the end of the night.

 

The couple had been back in LA for a few weeks now, after Tobin’s season was finally over, championship trophy and all. They had road tripped down from Portland in Tobin’s Audi, with Zoey and a bunch of Tobin’s belongings packed into the SUV; excited to spend the coldest winter months in the sun and warmth that was Southern California. Tobin had flown home to Jersey for Christmas but was back in time for Christen’s birthday a few days later, and they’d been enjoying California and Christen’s Manhattan Beach condo ever since. Plus, Zoey seemed to like the beach just as much as they both did, so it had all been working out perfectly.

 

It took a bit of convincing from Tyler to get Christen to agree to go out tonight. Even though it was with the group of her oldest friends, Christen still felt a little weird about it.

She hadn’t had that much contact with any of them since she’d met Tobin, or really at all since her previous breakup. She had been using the excuse of spending a lot of time in Portland as her way to justify the separation from her friends. That, coupled with how busy she was flying back and forth from New York let her pretend it wasn’t necessarily a choice.

Deep down though, Christen knew she was avoiding them since things had gotten weird when she ended her last relationship, seemingly out of nowhere. She had felt unwelcomed by her closest friends because of it and she let that take its toll on their friendships, instead of trying to fix it.

But now that Christen was going to be back in LA for a while, Tyler played the role of mediator and forced Christen to reach out to the girls. She promised her little sister that they’d all missed her greatly and insisted that she couldn’t just ignore her friends forever.

The group of friends all ended up getting together for coffee and Christen got around to mentioning Tobin, and to her surprise, they all were seemingly happy that Christen was happy. None of them really missed a beat when Christen filled them in on how much her life had changed. They even made Christen let them meet Tobin that same night, going over to her house and introducing themselves, not even really caring that Christen hadn’t actually invited them to.

Of course, Tobin charmed them all instantly with her signature smile and that cool vibe she puts out with ease. That evening was all it took before Christen was right back in with her best friends. Whether she would admit it or not, it had been a welcomed relief. Tobin could tell Christen was happier than ever. She was no longer being weighed down by any remaining guilt over drifting away from her friends because a failed relationship.

Now here they were, the group of best friends, celebrating with a night out, dancing and drinking and having a blast together, just like they have always done.

 

Tobin had sent Christen a text a few minutes ago, letting her know she was outside and ready to pick them up.

She just got another heart emoji back from Christen in response.

Tobin smiled to herself when she read it, assuming that meant Christen would be rounding up the girls and coming outside. God knows how long that would take.

Another ten minutes went by, before Tobin finally spotted Tyler first. She had emerged from the front door of the club, holding hands with one of their friends. Both girls swerved as they walked towards the car, giggling at each other as they went.

“Shotgun!” Tyler yelled when she saw Tobin, releasing her friend’s hand and taking off into an attempted sprint.

Tobin cringed internally, noticing how wobbly Tyler was, trying to run in her insanely high heels and almost too short dress.

Tyler’s friend drunkenly took off running at the same time, both women giggling again as they stepped out onto the street, hurrying towards the car. Tobin watched in mixture of concern and amusement, until both girls feet tangled into each other, sending them both stumbling drunkenly.

Tyler’s friend regained her footing just in time, but Tyler wasn’t so lucky.

“Uh oh.” Tobin whispered to herself, her eyes going wide as Tyler started to fall.

There was no traffic coming outside the club and Tyler wasn’t going fast enough to hurt herself, almost crumbling down to the road in slow motion, not being able to stop her momentum.

Tobin bit her lip to keep herself from laughing, pushing her body up off the car to walk towards Tyler.

“Oh my god, I just broke my ass!” Tyler yelled through a fit of laughter after she hit the pavement.

Her friend was standing there laughing as well, hands on her knees, gasping for air.

Tobin reached Tyler, putting her hands out. “Okay, up we go Champ.”

Tyler laughed again as she let Tobin pull her back up.

“You alright?” Tobin asked with a chuckle when Tyler was back on her feet, just to be sure.

“Yes.” Tyler smiled, her eyes not focusing properly. “I am drunk!” She yelled, before she was back to her original task of trying to get the front seat, as if somebody else would take it from her.

Tobin just followed them to the car and climbed in, waiting on the rest of their group. It took another few minutes for another one of their friends to join them, sliding into the back seat by herself.

“Tyler, where’s Chris?” Tobin asked as she started to get a little anxious.

There was a line of cars behind her starting to get backed up. It was 1:30 in the morning and last call was soon. Tobin wanted to get out of there before there were people and cars all over after bar close. It would be a nightmare to navigate through that.

“I don’t know, probably getting hit on by everyone in sight.” Tyler shrugged without thinking about who she was talking to. Like she was used to her younger sister getting a lot of attention when they went out.

One of their friends chimed in as well. “Everyone wants that hottie, it’s like.. Give a little love to the rest of us, people.”

Tobin rolled her eyes at their drunken explanations. Though she’d obviously seen Christen with her own two eyes before, so she wasn’t exactly surprised.

Another minute went by before Christen finally came walking out of the club. One more friend with her. They were laughing at something a guy standing in line was saying to them, but they didn’t break their stride.

The couple hadn’t seen each other all day. Tobin was out surfing with Kelley when Christen got ready and left for the bachlorette party, so seeing Christen now made Tobin’s throat go dry.

She was wearing a short black skirt with a matching black crop top, which was hanging loosely off her shoulders. The top dipped low, exposing quite a bit of skin, down to her chest. She had her hair down and straightened and she was wearing black high heels to match. A string of pink beads around her neck, that all the girls were wearing as part of the celebration.

Tobin couldn’t help but stare at the way Christen’s legs looked, her tan skin seemingly endless on her long, muscular legs. Tobin was unabashedly checking her girlfriend out, even as she crossed the mostly dark street towards the car. Damn, my woman is a total knockout, she thought to herself.

Christen’s eyes lit up as soon as she saw Tobin in the driver’s seat, seemingly forgetting that’s who was picking them up. Christen smiled happily as her and her friend walked around to the drivers side, climbing in the backseat finally. Christen ended up in the middle seat, sitting right behind the center console between her friends.

Tyler turned the music up as soon as the doors were closed, not even waiting for Tobin to drive off.

Tobin laughed when Christen tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around in her seat to look back at Christen, whose eyes were glassy from all the alcohol she’d consumed.

Upon closer inspection, Tobin could tell Christen had worked up a sweat inside the club, a light glean still on the soft skin of her neck. Like she had been dancing her hardest for the past few hours.

“Honey!” Christen beamed over the loud music as Tobin made eye contact.

“Hi, babe.” Tobin smiled back. “Are you doing okay?”

Christen nodded with another happy smile, clearly feeling good from the effects of the vodka sodas she’d been drinking all night.

Tobin just looked her over for another moment to make sure.

“Can I have a kiss?” Christen questioned then, moving forward and half-standing up, to lean over the console, closer to the driver’s seat.

Tobin laughed again, leaning in sideways and pressing her lips to Christen’s, who was halfway in the front seat now. She could taste the alcohol and a hint of lime on Christen’s lips, even though the kiss only lasted for a couple seconds.

One of Christen’s friends started teasing them immediately, ohhhhhh -ing as she slapped Christen’s ass that was sticking up in the air in the backseat. Christen pulled away from the kiss and sat back down onto the seat, laughing with her friends, seemingly content again for the time being.

“Everyone good?” Tobin asked, looking over at Tyler who was bobbing her head to the music.

Tyler nodded, distractedly singing the words to the song that was playing, as Tobin put the car in drive, pulling out from the curb with the five girls securely in tow.

The drive to Tyler’s, where most of the girls were staying for the night, was interesting to say the least. Everyone loudly rambled on about the craziest things; recounting the funny stories that had happened during their night out. Surprisingly, they only had to pull over once, when one of their friends thought she was going to puke, but thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm.

Tyler had demanded they stop at Taco Bell, so Tobin did; attempting to order for the drunk girls as best she could. She didn’t even know it was possible to spend over fifty dollars at Taco Bell, since everything was so cheap, but they all just kept shouting out random food items to the intercom. Tobin just smiled apologetically at the young guy working the drive-thru and handed over her card to pay for all the food.

It was nearly 3 am by the time Tobin and Christen pulled into her driveway, after dropping everyone else at Tyler’s. Christen jumped out of the passenger seat and took 3 steps sideways, before righting herself and finding the sidewalk up to her front door. Tobin followed closely behind, after making sure her car was locked for the night.  

Tobin had to stand behind Christen, to steady her as she swayed, while she brushed her teeth in the bathroom and attempted to get ready for bed. When she was done, Tobin left Christen in the bedroom to let Zoey out one last time before bed.

Tobin filled up a glass of water for Christen, before heading back upstairs. When she got back to Christen’s room, Tobin found her girlfriend standing next to her bed, completely naked, with a trail of her clothes leading from the bathroom. She was trying to plug her phone into the charger on the nightstand.

Christen concentrated with one eye shut, even though she was clearly still struggling.

Tobin just shook her head when she saw her drunk girlfriend, setting the water glass down on the dresser before she moved to help her.

Christen’s hair was messy, clearly ruffled from when she pulled her top over her head, but she still looked just as hot as ever. She had a mischievous smile on her face that Tobin noticed right away.

“Baby, let me help you.” Tobin suggested with grin, letting her eyes roam slowly down Christen’s unclothed body, as she walked to where she stood.

Christen’s head snapped up at the sound of Tobin’s voice. She tossed her phone onto the bed, but it bounced up and off the mattress, ending up on the floor instead. Christen didn’t pay it another glance though, walking towards Tobin with a look in her eyes.

“Finally.” Christen mused, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s shoulders. “You were taking forever.”

Tobin’s hands found Christen’s waist, holding her gently. Christen’s strong muscles firm under her soft skin.

“Sorry, babe.” Tobin smiled, pulling Christen a little closer. “I had to make sure our girl didn’t pee her pants, she hadn’t been out in a while.”

“Zoey is wearing pants?” Christen’s eyes lit up quickly as she tried to look around Tobin’s shoulder for where their dog was.

“No..” Tobin said through a laugh. “I was just kidding.”

The point of the joke was completely lost on Christen in her current state.

Christen backed up, pulling Tobin with her until she hit the edge of the bed, her confusion forgotten immediately as she was back to her original mission. “I wanna have sex.” she insisted, sitting down and scooting back on the mattress.

“Babe..” Tobin groaned lightly. “I think you’re too drunk.”

“No uh!” Christen protested quickly.

“No uh?” Tobin started to laugh again, repeating Christen’s slurred words. “Really, baby?”

Christen started to laugh at Tobin making fun of her. “I mean... no.. I am not..” she corrected, taking longer than normal to get her words out. She reached out for Tobin’s hands, trying to pull her onto the bed.

“Do you love me?” Christen asked softly, trying to focus so she could look Tobin in the eyes.

“I do. I love you very much.” Tobin nodded truthfully as she knelt on the foot of the bed. She was still fully clothed in her t-shirt and shorts.

Christen sat back up and reached a hand behind Tobin’s neck, pulling Tobin on top of her and into a kiss, which Tobin returned for a moment.

“That’s good cause I love you too.” Christen hummed when they broke apart.

Christen tried running her hands under Tobin’s shirt until Tobin pulled back, kneeling above Christen on her hands and knees. “Babe, you should sleep.”

“Nooo.” Christen whined. “I’m horny and I want to have sex with you.”

Tobin let her face drop into Christen’s neck, trying not to let herself get turned on, although her girlfriend being naked underneath her was making it pretty difficult.

“Not tonight, baby.” Tobin forced herself to say.

She kissed Christen’s cheek once, letting her lips linger there.

“Why?” Christen questioned almost childishly, not letting her hands fall from Tobin’s body. “Are you not sexually attracted to me anymore?”

She was being a more than little needy in her inebriated state.

Tobin lifted her face again, still on her hands and knees above Christen, and shook her head. “I’m very sexually attracted to you.”

Christen grabbed Tobin’s left hand and ran it up her stomach, up to her chest. “Then you should touch me.”

“Christen…” Tobin groaned again. She sat back on her knees, trying to create a little space in between them.

“Is it cause I just ate a lot of Taco Bell?” Christen questioned seriously.

Tobin laughed a little harder at that question, before replying. “Of course not.”

Tobin collapsed onto the mattress next to Christen, dropping her head on her own pillow, hoping that if she wasn’t on top of Christen, it’d help the situation.

Christen’s eyes got another hint of excitement in them when she realized the upper hand she now had. She didn’t waste any time slinging her leg over Tobin’s hips and straddling her.

Tobin realized then that was probably a poor decision on her part, giving Christen too much access and control.

Christen started to unbutton Tobin’s jean shorts before Tobin grabbed her hands again, stopping her before she could get the zipper all the way down.

“Chris, you had a lot to drink.” Tobin tried to explain in her most compassionate voice. “I wouldn’t feel okay about having sex with you when I’m sober and you’re not.”

“Tobin, we have sex almost every day. I’m obviously okay with it.” Christen tried to reason.

Tobin just smiled. “Sorry, babe.” She pushed Christen’s hair out of her eyes as she was straddled above her.

Christen grabbed Tobin’s hand that had come to a rest on her neck, kissing her palm softly. They just looked at each other in silence for a moment, like they were having a standoff.

“Did you get hit on a lot tonight?” Tobin wondered after a minute, taking her hand back and moving to run her hands up and down Christen’s arms lovingly.

“I don’t know..” Christen shrugged. She linked her fingers with Tobin’s, pushing herself forward so Tobin’s arms were pinned above her head against the pillows for a moment.

“So, yes?” Tobin laughed. She knew Christen had, Tyler even said so.

“I don’t really pay attention.” Christen shrugged again. “I only think about you.”

Tobin pushed back with her hands so she could sit up again. It didn’t take much to get Christen to lean back so they were chest to chest again.

Tobin kissed Christen then. “Good answer.” She said through another laugh.

Christen just winked sarcastically before she pushed Tobin’s shoulders back against the mattress again, as they continued their battle for control of the situation.

“What do you want?” Christen asked sensually, trying again to get Tobin to cave.

“Sleep.” Tobin whispered, almost faking a yawn just for the extra effect.

“So you don’t want me to go down on you right now?” Christen asked with another teasing smile, not breaking eye contact with Tobin underneath her. She leaned back again, so Tobin had a better view of her naked body.

“Cause I want to.” She was giving it her best shot.

“Fuck.” Tobin whispered, looking into Christen’s eyes that were still glassy and a little bloodshot. Tobin shut her eyes and swallowed thickly without responding, willing herself to be strong.

Christen waited another few seconds before she sighed in frustration, sliding off of Tobin and falling onto the bed, facing away from her girlfriend in protest.

“Fine..” Christen pouted, burying her face in the pillow. “I’m mad at you. No more sex for us, we’ll see how you like it.”

Tobin grinned to herself at Christen’s dramatics, rolling over and spooning her girlfriend. “I’d still love you.”

She kissed Christen’s shoulder once and pulled the covers up over Christen, knowing the dark haired beauty would be passed out in a few moments.

A minute later, when Tobin was sure Christen’s breathing was steady in sleep, she got up and took her clothes off. She picked up Christen’s phone from the floor and plugged it into the charger on the nightstand and shut the lights off, sliding under the covers and back into Christen again.

“Night baby.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s neck, letting sleep take her quickly.

 

-------------------------

 

Tobin was awake by 8 the next morning, as the sun was shining and the salty breeze from the ocean was blowing into the open window in Christen’s room. Tobin stretched her limbs out across the mattress, looking over at Christen for a moment.

The dark haired girl hadn’t moved a single inch since she passed out, still curled up on her side facing away from Tobin. Tobin just smiled at her before she sat up.

As soon as Zoey noticed Tobin was awake, she jumped up from her dog bed in the corner of the room, wagging her tail excitedly, ready to start their day. The dog was always good about being patient until one of them woke up, but usually had a ton of energy to burn once they were awake.

Tobin got out of bed and threw some clothes on, taking Zoey outside before making herself some coffee. She wanted to let Christen sleep in, knowing she probably needed it to recover from her night out. Tobin and Zoey ate breakfast in the kitchen and then made their way across the street to the beach. They spent the morning there, playing in the water together with Tobin's surfboard. Tobin was actually working on teaching the dog how to stand on the board well enough to ride it in the water, like a real surf dog.

Every day since they’d been in LA, the pair had spent some time on it, trying to get Zoey comfortable enough with being on the moving object. Tobin hadn’t told Christen about it yet. She didn’t want to reveal her off-season project before her and the pup had it perfected. Tobin also just liked that it was their little secret, like a special bonding thing between the dog and herself.

Zoey was actually getting really good with it, balancing well enough to stay on the board as Tobin pushed her through the waves in the shallow part of the water, just off the beach. She’d ride it for a few feet, before jumping off and swimming back to shore, Tobin following her every time.

Finally when the dog had drank a little too much of the salt water, they found a spot on the warm sand and took a seat.

“You’re such a good girl, Z.” Tobin ruffled Zoey’s wet fur as they sat. “Mommy is gonna love this when we show her.”

Zoey just licked Tobin’s face a few times, before getting up and moving almost into her lap. Tobin laughed and hugged the dog tight against her as they watched the surfers around them for a few minutes, just enjoying the warm winter sun.

When they’d burned enough energy to start the day, Tobin checked her watch, noticing it was almost 11 already. She dried herself and Zoey off before they made their way back home, ready to check on how Christen was doing. The couple had errands they had to do during the afternoon, so Christen couldn’t sleep all day.  

Tobin discarded her wetsuit in the garage before she climbed the stairs and walked back into the bedroom, finding Christen in a new position.

She was now sleeping on her stomach, all the covers pushed down around her feet, like she had experienced an alcohol induced hot flash at some point during the morning. Her naked backside fully on display again.

The ibuprofen and water that Tobin had left on the nightstand were gone, so Tobin knew she had at least sat up for a small amount of time, though she was currently asleep again.

Tobin pondered for a moment, before deciding she should probably get her girlfriend up. She sat down on the edge of the bed and rubbed Christen’s back softly, trying to coax her awake in the most gentle way possible.

“Babe.” Tobin spoke quietly.

There was no response. Christen’s breathing still regimented in sleep.

“Chris, wake up.” Tobin said again, only slightly louder this time.

Christen stirred and buried her face a little farther into the pillow, not opening her eyes at Tobin’s words.

Tobin applied a little more pressure with her hands, rubbing the muscles in Christen’s shoulders, hoping it would wake her girlfriend up a little more. It only took a few seconds before Christen came to.

“Don’t..” Christen whined softly when she felt Tobin’s presence.

She just wanted to be left alone. She lifted the pillow over her head and hid herself under it to try and drown out the world around her.

“Chris, we have to leave in an hour.” Tobin said again, not lifting the pillow out of fear of Christen’s reaction.

They both had a doctor's appointment scheduled for early afternoon, needing to get their travel immunizations before their upcoming trip to Africa. Tobin had been able to work it out to go along with Christen as a volunteer and the trip was coming up quickly. Christen scheduled the shot appointment at the local clinic for a Saturday afternoon, thinking it’d be easiest to not have to miss work in case it took a while. She was regretting that now though.

“We can skip it.” Christen barely whispered, not wanting to get up feeling the way she was.

“No we can’t.” Tobin responded softly.

She knew Christen knew that. There was a certain grace period for getting the vaccinations and it needed to be done a few weeks in advance. Their window was almost up.

Tobin laid down, inching her way up the bed so her head was level with Christen’s. She lifted the pillow that was covering Christen’s face just enough so she could get under it as well. They laid there for a minute, the pillow covering both of their heads, until Christen finally opened her eyes, seeing Tobin’s face right in front of hers.

“I don’t feel good.” Christen said softly again.

“I can tell..” Tobin smiled apologetically. “Sorry, babe.”

She removed the pillow from over their faces completely, so the sunlight was hitting them again.

Christen slung her arm over her eyes to lessen the sting of the brightness until she could readjust her vision.

Eventually Tobin convinced Christen to get up. All it took was the threat of losing her job if she couldn’t go to Africa and the promise of coffee and cinnamon rolls that Tobin was about to make.

“Go shower, drunky.” Tobin smiled annoyingly as she started to slide off the bed, once Christen agreed to get up. “Breakfast will be ready in twenty.”

Christen groaned as she sat up, feeling queasy as she got her bearings about her again.

“I’m never drinking again.” She promised as she stood up off the bed.

Christen took a minute to rub her temples softly, trying to get her headache to go away before she made any moves as Tobin headed for the hallway.

“By the way, you owe me an orgasm.” Christen said as she took a step towards the bathroom.

Tobin stopped in her tracks in the doorway, turning around to look at Christen again.

“Wait, you remember that?” She laughed in amazement.

Tobin figured there was no way Christen would have any memory of them getting home or going to bed last night.

“Yea, and I’m still mad.” Christen tried her best not to smirk, failing slightly as she walked past Tobin to head to the shower.

Tobin just shook her head and watched her girlfriend disappear into the bathroom, knowing it was going to be quite the afternoon.

 

-----------------------

 

“Honey…” Christen whispered, leaning over the arm of the chair towards Tobin, where they sat in the waiting room of the clinic an hour later. “Can you please stop that.” She questioned as kindly as she could.

Tobin hadn’t even realized she was doing it, tapping the pen she was holding against the clipboard full of pre-exam paperwork, as they waited to be called back for their shots.

The continuous rapping sound was only intensifying the slow pound of Christen’s headache. The remaining effects of her unfortunate but deserving hangover. Like every time the blood pumped through her body, her temple decided to throb with it, just so Christen knew she was still alive.

Tobin stilled the pen, giving Christen an almost apologetic look before focusing back on the TV playing in the corner of the waiting room.

A minute later, her knee started to bounce against the leg of the uncomfortable wooden chair. The sole of her flip flop making that quiet thwapping noise against her heel as she did it.

Christen leaned forward, burying her face in her hands, trying to not let that sound annoy her, until it also became too much for her to not say anything.

“Tobs.” Christen said again, reaching out and putting her hand on Tobin’s knee to stop the movements.

“Huh?” Tobin said, diverting her eyes from the TV back to her girlfriend.

Christen just looked at her for a moment, until Tobin realized what she had been doing.

“Oh.. sorry.” She smiled softly again.

Christen could read Tobin like an open book, always loving how easily they could communicate with just a look, hardly needing words to get their point across. Christen knew with one glance that something was bothering her girlfriend.

“What part of this is freaking you out?” Christen questioned, sliding her hand just a little higher up Tobin’s leg to comfort her.

“What?” Tobin asked again. “Nothing…”

She didn’t know why but she hated to admit it. Doctors offices in general weren’t something Tobin enjoyed, but needles were one of her worst fears.

“You’re a bad liar.” Christen said, pulling her hand back slowly from Tobin’s leg.

Tobin let the silence go for a minute, until she felt herself wanting to fidget again. She leaned into Christen and gave in.

“Okay, I just don’t really like needles.” Tobin admitted, basically whispering in Christen’s ear.

Christen turned her face to meet Tobin’s, giving her the most entertained smile she’d mustered all day.

The couple admittedly still learned something new about each other every day. It was one of the most fun parts of their relationship, how they could be so in tuned with each other but still get little surprises all the time. The revelation that Tobin just shared was probably one of the most surprising that Christen had learned about her girlfriend yet.

Christen only saw Tobin and tough and strong and not afraid of anything. Her being scared of a tiny needle prick and a second of pain really amused Christen for some weird reason.

Before Christen could even say anything back to Tobin’s admission, a nurse came out of the door, calling Tobin’s name first. It was her turn.

Christen almost laughed at Tobin’s audible gulp. Instead she just offered up some good luck wishes, as Tobin quickly swallowed her fears and trudged towards the nurse waiting to take her back to the exam room.

Twenty minutes later, when Christen emerged from the back hallway, having just completed all of her shots, she spotted Tobin slumped in the waiting room chair again, a bright neon pink Band-Aid over her right bicep. She was almost visibly pouting.

Christen could still feel the sting in her bicep muscle as well and her headache hadn’t really subsided, but Tobin suddenly looked much worse for wear.

Christen approached her girlfriend with a small smile, trying to be comforting. Tobin didn’t say anything, she just stood up, ready to get out of there as quickly as possible.

“You survived?” Christen asked, reaching for Tobin’s hand.

“Barely..” Tobin nodded before giving Christen a side smile, linking their hands together as they made their way to Tobin’s SUV and climbed in.

“Did you still wanna go look for that stuff for your room?” Tobin asked as she started the car.

Christen had been wanting to paint her bedroom for a while now and before she was a hungover mess, she’d made plans to spend this Saturday afternoon picking out paint colors and finishing the project.

“No.” Christen shook her head. She’d rather die than do any more errands in her current state.

Tobin let out a sigh of relief, thankful that she didn’t have to be a good sport about it.

“I think we both need some cuddle time.” Christen smiled. “I mean, that arm wound looks rough on you.”

Christen hadn’t even gotten a Band-Aid on her arm and the fact that Tobin had made it seem that much more comical for Christen.

Tobin tried not to laugh at Christen’s teasing. “Babe, it’s not funny. It’s a real fear, you know.”

“I know.” Christen laughed lightly. “You were so brave today, baby. I’m proud of you.”

“Thank you.” Tobin returned, ignoring Christen’s sarcasm.

Christen leaned over towards Tobin and placed a soft kiss to her arm, right above the pink Band-Aide. The small gesture made Tobin smile and made her insides buzz with affection.

“Sorry I’ve been a wreck today.” Christen hummed against Tobin’s skin. “And thanks for taking care of us all last night, I know we were probably annoying at the end there.”

“Nah, it was funny.” Tobin shrugged. “I’m glad you went out. I’m here anytime you wanna go have fun.”

“You’re the best.” Christen smiled, leaning back to her side of the car again. “Let’s go home.”

Tobin pulled out of the parking lot and grabbed Christen’s hand again, giving it a squeeze as they headed for home.

The couple spent the rest of the afternoon ordering Chinese takeout and cuddling on the couch like Christen had hoped. By the time Christen felt like she was back to her usual self, it was well past dinner time and their day was basically shot. Finally before bedtime, Tobin convinced Christen to go back on her no more sex declaration from the previous night, and they spent the rest of the night in between the sheets, with Tobin graciously repaying her debts, much to Christen’s delight.

 

----------------------

 

Christen was back to work Monday morning and Tobin busied herself with training during the morning, meeting up with Kelley and a few of their National Team teammates at the training center in Carson. They spent a few hours working out and doing shooting drills, before going their separate ways for the day.

Tobin got back to Christen’s just before lunch, ready for a nap in the sun after a grueling morning, just needing to let Zoey out before they could find their spot on the back patio.

Tobin was scrolling through the messages on her phone as Zoey did her thing in the front yard, not really paying attention to anyone around her.

Just as Tobin was about to call for Zoey and head back inside, she felt a stream of water hit the back of her t-shirt.

Confused, Tobin spun around quickly, looking behind her to make sure she wasn’t going crazy. There was nobody in sight, but Tobin ran her hand over the back of her shirt, and sure enough, it was all wet.

Tobin looked back at Zoey, who acted like she hadn’t seen anyone either, still just milling about in the grass.

“Okay..” Tobin whispered to herself, thinking maybe she’d gotten a little bit of heat stroke or dehydration and it was making her imagine things.

Just before she took another step towards her dog, Tobin felt it again. This time, it was accompanied by tiny giggles, giving away whoever was there.

Tobin spun around again and took two steps, to look over the shrubs that separated Christen’s yard from the neighbors on her left.

Tobin let her eyes peer over the greenery and was met with two pairs of hazel eyes looking back at her.

Two little kids, a boy and a girl who couldn’t have been older than five or six, were crouched on the ground behind the bushes; both of them holding water guns with huge smiles on their faces.

“Hey!” Tobin laughed looking down at them. “Did you just squirt me?” She asked in a playful tone.

The little boy stood up and pointed the water gun at Tobin again, letting out a chuckle. The girl stood up as well, giggling as she sent another stream of water at Tobin, hitting her in the chest and causing her gray t-shirt to darken as the liquid hit it. Tobin’s eyes widened as she realized what was happening.

Both kids took off running, towards the other side of their house, laughing wildly as they tried to escape after their ambush.

Tobin jumped the line of bushes and bound into their yard after them, her laughter matching theirs.

Those little shits. Tobin giggled to herself, highly entertained by their bold moves to squirt a stranger with their Super Soakers.

Just when Tobin was about to actually start running fast to catch up to them, a guy swung the front door of the house open and stepped onto the porch.

When he saw Tobin, his face went red with embarrassment.

“Oh my gosh, did they spray you?” He asked, seemingly able to notice right away that Tobin’s t-shirt was wet.

Tobin stopped her jog, quickly turning to face the guy on the front porch.

“Oh, yeah a little..” She laughed as she looked down at herself, not really wanting to get them in trouble.

“I am so sorry!” The guy rushed to say. “I told them not to use that on anyone else. Kids!” He yelled out, looking around the corner to see where the little munchkins had gone.

“Oh, it’s okay.” Tobin waved him off with a grin. “I don’t care, it’s hot out anyway.”

Instead of apologizing again, the man just turned on his heel, heading to the corner of the porch as Tobin watched. He bent down and picked something up before smiling at Tobin.

When he stood back up into view, he was holding another Super Soaker, bigger than Tobin had probably ever seen before.

“I think you better go get them back..” He laughed, holding the water gun up in the air like he was offering it to Tobin.

Tobin looked to her left, towards where the kids had run to, around the backside of their house. She could see the little girl, peering around the corner of the siding. Her brown hair blowing in the breeze and giving her away.

“Okay.” Tobin nodded with a laugh.

The man just tossed the water gun to Tobin, who caught it easily as she stood at the bottom of the porch steps.

“Pro-tip.” He almost whispered. “They like to hide behind the shed.” He signaled for Tobin.

Tobin nodded as she saw the little girl spin around and take off towards her backyard again. Tobin laughed and took off after her slowly.

When Tobin rounded the side of the house, she could hear faint giggling coming from the backyard. She spotted the shed the guy was referring to and she slowly crept up to it.

Sure enough, the kids were crouched on the ground trying to quiet their giggles as they hid from Tobin.

Tobin popped around the side of the garden shed and pumped the Super Soaker a couple times, letting a stream of water burst out at the kids.

They both jumped up again and fired back at Tobin, all three of them getting soaked as laughter rang out. The kids started to back up, trying to create some distance between themselves and Tobin’s stream of water.

Suddenly, Tobin was losing water pressure, as her water gun ran out of ammo. It must not have had much in it to begin with.

“Dang it!” Tobin laughed as her water sputtered out before going dry. “Alight! I surrender!” She held her hands up until the kids stopped spraying her. All three of them laughing together.

“Gotcha!” The little boy said, turning to high-five his sister.

They gave up after a moment, letting the water guns fall to the grass.

“You guys are good shots!” Tobin complimented them, looking down at herself again. Her shirt and shorts were both more than a little wet from the children.

“Thanks.” They both smiled up at Tobin.

“What’re your names?” Tobin asked again as both kids went quiet.

“Sunny.” The little girl said, before she pointed to the boy. “And this is my big brother, Ziggy.”

“Sunny and Ziggy?” Tobin said again. “Those are cool names. I’m Tobin.”

They both just looked up at Tobin again, squinting as the sun was shining in their eyes.

“Wanna play with us?” They boy asked. It was like they had seen Tobin around for a while and were just now brave enough to ask. “We’re having a battle.”

“Sure.” Tobin smiled, she had nothing better to do and the nap could wait. “I’ll go fill this up and you guys can hide again.”

The kids didn’t hesitate, taking off into another sprint around the front of their house again. Tobin jumped the bushes back to Christen’s yard and made her way inside to the kitchen sink, pulling the cap off the water gun and letting it fill up.

When the Super Soaker was full and much heavier from the water weight, Tobin opened the garage door again, stepping out and heading back towards the backyard. She glanced around to see if she could find the kids, but they weren’t in sight.

Zoey came walking up to her side and laid down on the patio, seemingly uninterested in whatever Tobin was going to do next. The dog just wanted to lay in the sun on the hot concrete.

Tobin heard some rustling in the driveway up front, so she made her way back through the garage, running out into the sunlight of the open garage door. She popped around the corner of the house, thinking she had caught the kids in action. Tobin let the stream of water shoot out again at where the noise was coming from, before she even realized who or what she was spraying.

“TOBIN!!”

Tobin heard an all too familiar voice immediately, before she even registered who was standing there in the front yard. The sun was bright and blinding, her eyes having a hard time readjusting from the contrast of the darker garage a moment ago.

“What the hell are you doing?”

Tobin eyes finally focused and sure enough, Christen was standing in the grass, her purse on her shoulder and a bottle of water in her hand. Her maroon dress now dripping with water down the front of it.

“Chris!” Tobin yelped. “What are you doing?”

Christen just looked down at herself confused and basically in shock, seeing how wet her dress and the ends of her hair were. She slowly looked back up at Tobin with an unreadable expression on her face.

“What am I doing..?” Christen asked again, perplexed. “What are you doing? I came home to have lunch with you and now I’m soaked. I have a meeting in an hour!”

“Shit, I am so sorry.” Tobin rushed to explain what was happening. “I was playing with Sunny and Ziggy and I thought they were sneaking up on me again so I wanted to get them first.”

Christen was dumbfounded. “Who are Sunny and Ziggy?”

Tobin clapped her hand against her forehead. “Sorry, they’re the neighbor kids. They asked me to play with them..”

Ugghh!” Christen let out a frustrated noise. “You are so dead, Heath!”

Christen dropped her purse in the grass and uncapped the water bottle in her hand, suddenly bounding towards Tobin. Tobin turned back around took off into a run again, letting a scared laugh escape her mouth. She hated being chased. She busted into the house quickly, barely making it to the living room, before Christen caught up to her.

Christen jumped onto Tobin’s back, laughing through a deep breath before she turned the water bottle in her hands upside down, letting most of the contents of it fall onto Tobin’s head. The water drenching Tobin and splashing all over the floor in the living room.

“Okay, okay!” Tobin laughed as her and Christen slowly fell to the ground. “You win! I’m sorry, baby! I didn’t know you were coming home!”

They were both laughing hard as Tobin rolled onto her back on the floor. Christen pinned Tobin down, straddling her and using one hand to pin Tobin’s hands to the carpet. She held the remaining water in the bottle in her other hand.

Tobin figured now was as good of a time as any to make light of the situation.

“Bet you didn’t think I’d make you so wet on lunch, huh?” She joked, wiggling her eyebrows at Christen above her.

“I can’t believe you.” Christen laughed again, looking down at Tobin.

“I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened..” Tobin continued with an insinuating tone.

“You think you’re so smooth.” Christen replied, narrowing her eyes and tipping the water bottle slowly again, so it was lined up over Tobin’s face.

“Okay, babe, don’t.. Please. I surrender.” Tobin begged, watching the remaining water run up the sides of the clear bottle.

Christen just grinned, turning it upside down and letting the last bit of water slowly splash onto Tobin’s face.

Tobin shut her eyes and let the remaining water hit her as she held her breath. When the bottle was empty, Christen tossed it to the side, using her now free hand to grab Tobin’s face lightly.

“How are you going to make this up to me?” Christen questioned, her green eyes holding Tobin’s gaze, her expression changing into something different and darker.

Tobin bit her lip, wanting to give into Christen's challenge. “Well, I think I would start by getting you out of this dress. It’s all wet, babe.”

Christen licked her lips above Tobin, ignoring her girlfriend’s obviously sarcastic observation.

“Then what?”

“You mentioned something about eating..?” Tobin trailed off, swallowing thickly.

How quickly this had turned into a completely different situation.

Christen released her grip on Tobin’s hands, letting them up from above her head.

Tobin moved her hands to Christen’s hips. “And it seems like you need a shower now, so..” She continued.

“I have fifteen minutes.” Christen said through a thin voice.

“I can work with that..” Tobin grinned.

They looked at each other for just a moment, a smile playing on both of their lips.

Christen got up off of Tobin, standing again. Tobin got up too, hardly wasting any of their precious time. She found the zipper of Christen’s dress, pulling it down as they made their way upstairs towards the bedroom, Tobin’s water gun fight completely forgotten.

The shower was barely even hot before they climbed in.

Twenty minutes later, Christen was throwing her wet hair into a bun on top of her head, touching up her makeup, with a new dress on and a relaxed feeling coursing through her body, thanks to Tobin’s hard work.

Tobin handed Christen a freshly made sandwich for the road as she kissed her lips one more time.

“Enjoy the rest of your day, baby.” Tobin hummed, feeling pretty impressed with herself.

Christen shook her head and laughed, pulling Tobin back in for a second kiss.

“Thanks for the pick-me-up.” Christen smiled, taking the sandwich from Tobin and heading for the door. She was going to be late getting back to work but she didn’t really care.

“Am I forgiven?” Tobin wondered, amused, as she watched Christen swing the door leading to the garage open again.

“You’re getting there.” She winked, walking out the door and letting it shut behind her.

Tobin brought Christen lunch for the rest of the week.

Chapter Text

Tobin has done some profound things in her life. Things that have made her feel on top of the world and seemingly untouchable, if even for a few moments. Things that have humbled her and made her grateful for the life she has gotten to live, knowing full well that she has been blessed beyond belief.

Watching the American flag get lowered from the rafters of Wembley Stadium, as the United States National Anthem played. Gold medal dangling heavily around her neck, with 80,000 people cheering in the stands. That was a big moment. One of the biggest that Tobin will remember forever.

Or three years later, riding a float down the streets of New York City while thousands of people lined the streets for a ticker tape parade, to cheer on Tobin’s team. Welcoming home the World Cup Champions. The way all those people smiled and cheered and cried as their heroes rode past them, Tobin still sees that sometimes when she closes her eyes at night. It still brings goosebumps to her skin when she thinks of it.

Or standing atop the Great Wall of China and watching the sunrise, during a trip she took with her family to Asia one summer in college. Realizing then that most people would never get to experience that kind of travel and world exploration. She has that morning burned into her mind like a photograph.

But nothing has ever felt more profound to her than what she felt spending three weeks in South Sudan, Africa.

Nothing has ever made her feel so small, like being one tiny drop in the giant bucket of the world. Nothing has ever been as intense, or overwhelming or powerful as those nineteen days on the ground were. Nothing could compare to what she learned, and experienced, and felt, and struggled with, while in one of the most impoverished countries in the world.

It would take her a while to process it all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the cabin door is now secured. We will be pushing back from the gate momentarily.

Tobin was lost in her own thoughts when the flight attendant made the announcement. She lifted her head from where it was resting against the airplane window and looked to her left, offering a smile to Christen in the seat next to her.

They both took a long, slow breath at the same time, like some sort of final release on what they had just experienced. Both of them more than ready to get home, but also feeling contrite about the fact that they got to go back to their cozy, luxurious life and leave the struggle behind. Why did they get to be so lucky?

Tobin reached over and gave Christen’s hand a squeeze, holding on for a moment as they made eye contact, before letting go and dropping her hand to Christen’s thigh instead. Tobin leaned her head back against the window, letting her eyes fall shut once again.

They still had another eleven hour flight ahead of them, already completing two layovers.

First there was a flight from Juba, South Sudan to Entebbe, Uganda; then an overnight flight to Dublin, where they were splitting from the rest of their group and now catching their last connection to Los Angeles. The final leg of their whole journey.

Tobin was glad for the long travel, for once. She needed time to reflect.

As the plane started to taxi down the runway, Tobin felt Christen’s head fall against her shoulder. It was some of the most intimate contact they’d had since they left LA almost three weeks ago. Christen’s shallow breathes now on Tobin’s neck were comforting in a way she didn’t know she needed.

She sat up in her seat just enough to make the position comfortable for Christen, before drifting off into her thoughts again as the airplane lifted into the sky, bound for the States.

 

x

 

Tobin was in and out of consciousness for the next several hours, unsure if she was dreaming or just vividly remembering what she had just experienced, but her mind kept coming back to certain moments from the last few weeks.

Almost as if her brain was replaying the whole trip in order, trying to commit it to memory, so she wouldn’t forget any of it. She was too tired to write it down now, but she still wanted to recount the stories all the same.

She remembered how different she felt when they had arrived in Africa. Totally unaware of what to expect, even from the moment the group of UNICEF workers and volunteers touched down.

There were six of them in total. Christen, Jonathan and two team members from New York, plus Tobin and another volunteer; a young student who was majoring in international studies at NYU. All of them part of this group that was going to try and help improve the lives of those less fortunate.

It was eye opening for all of them from the get-go.

As soon as they landed, the group had been picked up in a open-top Jeep, and driven about sixty miles outside of the capital city of Juba by one native Sudanese man and one translator.

Tobin was expecting deserts and wild animals and desolate landscapes, which there were during parts of their drive north; but there were also bigger villages and green plateaued landscapes that stretched on for miles.

It was easy for her to recognize right away that there was water in this land, and she was inspired by the fact that the group was there to bring it to the people. Or to help in even minor ways, however they could.

The first night was a whirlwind of introductions and a tour of the first tiny village they visited, called Sengelel, before the group retired to their small tents in the center of the village.

Both Tobin and Christen slept soundly that night, exhausted from their days of travel from the other side of the world, barely able to get through dinner before passing out, just as the sun was setting.

The second night was the hardest, as the reality of the situation settled in a little more.

It was smotheringly hot that night, humid to a fault. Tobin maybe got two hours of sleep in total, as she continuously readjusted her position on her too-short cot, in their tiny tent. Never able to find enough comfort to fully fall asleep.

She almost welcomed the inconvenience of it, so she could feel what these people had to go through on a daily basis.

It was the first thing that had humbled her on this trip. The first of many.

 

x

 

Tobin was jolted back into consciousness slightly as their plane hit a bit of turbulence over the Atlantic Ocean. She felt Christen lift her head and readjust her position, no longer resting on her girlfriend.

Tobin took the opportunity to reposition herself, leaning her seat back slowly, before falling quickly back into that hazy state between sleep and consciousness.

She smiled to herself when memories of day three came to her then.

Day three might have been one of her favorites and also one of the hardest.

It was the first day the group really started to work. And it was the day Tobin met her favorite new friend.

Christen and the rest of the UNICEF team, plus several men from that village, spent that day tapping a mountain spring just outside of the village and piping water down to Sengelel. The first phase of their water initiative being put into motion.

While the piping system would set the village up for the future, giving them access to water easily, it wasn’t complete yet. So Tobin spent the day as most of the women and children in the village did. Retrieving water.

That’s when Tobin met Cheru.

Cheru was a fiery five year old girl, doing more for her family than Tobin had seen most teenagers or adults ever do. Although small in stature, she made up for it in sheer determination, dragging a small water can across the dirt throughout their almost four mile journey to the watering hole and back.

Tobin was amazed.

It was the first of two trips they would do that day. The same trip that the group of mostly women and children did every day, just to survive.

It was hot and the sun was unforgiving, shining down on them with no shade in sight, the dry land spanning on everywhere Tobin could see.

Every time the group would stop and rest, Tobin would squat down next to Cheru and talk to the child, trying to get the little girl to smile. To her let know her struggle was felt, and that soon, this hard work would hopefully be a distant memory.  

When they finally got to the watering hole the first time, Tobin couldn’t believe what she was witnessing. The reality of the situation was worse than she could have ever pictured it. She couldn’t fathom how other human beings had to live in those conditions.

Tobin hung at the back of the group, where adults and children huddled around a small pond of water. Tobin’s group had to wait for a turn to dig, and others behind them were waiting to take their place. Goats, cows, and camels all jockeyed for position too, trying to get their fill of the only accessible water in the area.

Tobin made sure to stay close to Cheru, watching the little girl when they finally got a turn to fill up their cans.

Cheru’s battered aluminum tea kettle was small. Tobin knew it would barely hold enough water for the child’s morning tea. Not even enough to cook a meal or wash dishes with.

The group swatted away wild honeybees as they all filled their water cans, before getting out of the way quickly, heading back for the village. The longer they took, the less they would get accomplished for the day. The walk for water was just one part of their lives.

During their second trip of the day to the watering hole, Cheru started to cry when the older kids pushed ahead of her because she was going too slow. Tobin scooped her up for a while then, walking at the end of the line of people, carrying the little girl and both of their water cans until the little girl cheered up again.

Cheru wouldn’t leave Tobin’s side after that.

Even that night when the village held a small dinner for the team, Cheru climbed up in Tobin’s lap, wrapping her little arms around Tobin’s neck and hanging on tightly.

Christen loved that so much, offering a loving smile to both of them across the small gathering of people. Seeing Tobin and the little girl bond, in only a way Tobin could do in such a short amount of time, just melted her heart. Seeing how happy the native people were, even in the harshest of conditions, it was the whole reason Christen did what she did for a living.

That had been a long day for everyone, working sixteen hours until the sun was about to set. But the water pipe was up and working and the village now had accessible water, without needing to walk almost four miles round trip for it. It made it all worth it.

Tobin had survived one day of that journey, and she was grateful that they could bring a little relief to the village. It would make things like sanitation easier. And it would allow the children more time for school and less time spent on basic human needs.

She went to sleep that night feeling like she’d never take water for granted again.

 

x

 

Tobin’s mind then drifted to the tenth day, when she and Jonathan were in a tiny village called Chepoyotwo.

Those two had split from the larger group the night before, and made their way to one of the first villages that had a water retention system, which had been installed the previous year. It was a prototype for what the UNICEF team was installing in the other villages now.

Jonathan and Tobin were there to teach a class to the local school children as part of the initiative. WASH club - as they named it - for water, sanitation, and hygiene.

It was almost just as important to teach water health and hygiene to the primary school children as it was to have accessible water in the first place.

That night, after school and chores and dinner had finished for the locals, several children from the class Tobin and Jonathan visited ended up playing a pickup game of soccer in the barren lands at the outskirts of the village.

Tobin’s eyes lit up as one of the older kids went to their hut and came back with a worn and faded soccer ball, inviting their guests to join them.

They split into two teams of four and kicked the ball back in forth across the dirt landscape for over an hour. Tobin even talked Jonathan into kicking the ball around with them.

It was happy and carefree and the most relaxed Tobin had felt since arriving in Africa. It made her fall further in love with the game, knowing that even in a village of sixty people in the middle of nowhere, fútbol still had it’s place.

The kids all stood there and cheered as Tobin did a few tricks with the ball, before laughing and kicking it around again. They were amazed when she told them she got to play soccer as a job.

She had wished Christen would have been there to see it, instead of twenty miles away in another village. Tobin made sure to take a couple videos of the kids on her iPhone to show her girlfriend later. It was one of the happiest nights she’d had in a long time.

 

x

 

As the flight went on, Christen gave up on trying to sleep, pulling out her planner and getting lost in scheduling out all the upcoming events she had. The rest of Spring and Summer would be crazy for her between trips to New York, the European UNICEF Gala and a road trip back to Portland. Now that her work in Africa was done, she needed to shift focus to the other aspects of her life, trying not to stress herself out.

Tobin let her eyes stay shut the whole time but couldn’t really get into a deep sleep either. It was almost as if they were both over-tired, the effects of minimal rest catching up to them quickly.

For three weeks, they were awake before the sun, either from the roosters outside their tents or the people of the villages just beginning their day. It would surely take severals days to recover and get their sleep schedules back to normal.

 

x

 

Tobin’s mind wandered then to day fifteen, just a few nights earlier. She realized she was smiling without even meaning to, her eyes still closed in thought.

The couple had eaten dinner with a mother and father that night after being invited into their home as a thank you for all their hard work. The pair spoke English, which made it easier to communicate and hear each other stories.

That same day, the team had drilled a well at the edge village and by nightfall, the first few buckets of water had been brought up to the surface.

Watching the parents faces as they spoke during dinner, that memory will be forever engrained in Tobin’s mind. They were so thankful.

“This is a good life now.” The mother, Julia, repeated several times throughout their conversation.

Such a simple thing to Tobin meant a whole new life for them.

 

x

 

Thinking back over it all though and Tobin’s favorite thing about the whole trip was easy for her to decide on.

Christen.

The way she put so much effort into every little detail. Tobin knew she was usually like that with most things, but seeing it at this magnitude was captivating.

Seeing the way Christen’s eyes conveyed so much emotion every time she talked to someone new that they had met. Someone who was sharing their stories of struggle. She knew Christen truly felt for them at such a raw, human level.  

Tobin would get caught up in watching her from time to time, in quiet moments when nobody else was paying attention to anyone in particular.

She would pause when they were digging through the hard dirt with shovels, and there Christen would be, beads of sweat streaming down her temples, her tongue sticking out of her mouth in determination, forcing her muscles to work just a little harder, even though she was already exhausted. Like that current task was the most important one she would ever complete.

Or when they would get their first drops of water from whatever system they had just installed, Christen’s smile would light up Tobin’s soul, with the way she seemed so proud of the team around her.

The way Christen would take charge of every single day, like she knew exactly what needed to be done to efficiently and effectively bring her plan to life.

Tobin could tell that Christen was having a hard time mentally with a lot of it.

Even though they didn’t really talk about it, Tobin could tell that Christen was quieter than usual most of the time. Seemingly distracted by her thoughts whenever she wasn’t working or talking with someone. But no matter how down Christen got about what they were witnessing, she always powered through.

So when Tobin would get tired or frustrated, she would look at Christen, and instantly be inspired again. It’s what got her through the toughest moments of their time in Africa. And when they weren’t by each other, she’d just think of how much this all meant to Christen and push on anyway.

Christen was truly one of the good ones.

 

x

 

Christen put her planner away and put on a movie when the food service started, keeping Tobin’s dinner on her tray table until Tobin sat up and opened her eyes again, which wasn’t until they were a just couple hours from landing.

“Hey you.” Christen smiled when Tobin lifted her head from the seat back, coming fully back into consciousness.

Tobin could instantly feel the stiffness in her neck from holding one position too long while she was laid back. She took a minute to stretch her neck out before looking over at her girlfriend.

“Hi babe.” Tobin she smiled sleepily, reaching out and linking her fingers with Christen’s.

Christen smiled at the contact and leaned into Tobin, kissing her cheek softly. “I saved your dinner for you.”

Tobin grinned, leaning in again to steal a quick peck from Christen’s lips. “I missed doing that.” She hummed softly when they pulled back.

They had hardly shown any affection towards each other while over there. Partly because they wanted to keep it professional since it was Christen’s work environment, partly because they had barely spent any time alone and partly because they didn’t really know the culture.

“Me too.” Christen whispered, watching as Tobin took her meal and started to unwrap the sandwich that was provided. “I can’t wait to get home.”

 

x

 

Eventually, the plane touched down at LAX, after just over eleven hours in the air. Tobin and Christen waited at the baggage carousel for their checked luggage before they took a Lyft home.

Christen swung the door to her house open and dropped her bags immediately, kicking her shoes off more recklessly than normal.

“Honey, we’re finally home.” She sighed softly.

It was mid-afternoon now and they were both exhausted, the time zone changes really messing with them, and the overnight flight from Ireland not helping either.

“Should I go get Zoey now or wait until later?” Christen wondered out loud to Tobin.

Their dog had been staying with Tyler and Will while they were gone and the plan was for them to pick her up whenever they were back and settled in.

“Babe, let’s nap first.” Tobin suggested. “I will go get her when we get up.”

Christen thought about protesting as they made their way upstairs, since she missed their dog so much, but one look at her comfy bed was enough to convince her. Everything else could wait until later.

Tobin shut the blinds to block out the sun and then discarded most of her clothes, climbing into bed. She waited on Christen to use the bathroom and then do the same.

Christen crawled into bed a minute later, hovering above Tobin to kiss her slowly, for just a moment. “I love you.” She whispered against Tobin’s lips, before resting her weight down fully on her girlfriend.

Christen was pretty sure she was asleep before Tobin’s arms were even around her.

 

x

 

Tobin was the first one awake, a few hours later. She laid there silently for a while, just enjoying the feeling of Christen lying on her chest, before she got too restless to stay still any longer.

It was evening now and Tobin was starving. She sent Tyler a text, letting her know she’d be over in a hour to get Zoey, before slowly sliding out from underneath Christen, careful not to wake her. She wanted her to sleep as long as she could.  

Tobin took a quick shower and got dressed before scribbling a note for Christen and leaving it on the kitchen counter just in case she woke up while Tobin was gone.

 

Went to pick up Z and get some dinner for us. Be back in a bit. I love you. - T

 

x

 

Before Tobin even had her car door open, Zoey was bounding down the steps of Tyler and Will’s front porch, headed straight for Tobin’s SUV. Tobin laughed excitedly when she opened the door, just as Zoey was jumping up, her front paws landing in Tobin’s lap.

“Hey girl!” Tobin beamed to the dog, petting her head instantly.

Zoey jumped down after a moment, letting Tobin slide out of her car and stand on the driveway, before she bent down to really wrap Zoey into a hug. The dog spent a few moments licking Tobin’s face while her tail wagged happily.

Tyler was watching from the porch with a smile on her face, waiting for Tobin to stand up again.

“Welcome back, Mother Teresa.” Tyler quipped as Tobin started to walk towards the house, Zoey following at her heels.

“Hey Tyler.” Tobin laughed as she climbed the few steps to stand level with the older woman.

“I can’t believe Chris didn’t come over here with you, how has she been holding up without her baby girl for so long?” Tyler continued.

“She was still asleep, otherwise you know she’d be here.” Tobin laughed again at Tyler’s teasing. “I figured it would be cute if Zoey woke her up with a bunch of sloppy kisses, so I decided to sneak out and come get her.”

Awww!” Tyler put her hand over her heart, exaggerating how thoughtful that was of Tobin. “You two are so gross..”

Tobin just rolled her eyes with a smile, following Tyler into the house to catch up for a few minutes.

“Hey, Tobin!” Will greeted from his spot on the couch. “How was your trip?”

Tobin paused for a moment trying to find the right words to describe it. “I don’t even know… Incredible and insane, I guess?”

Tyler nodded more seriously now, her teasing demeanor falling away as she waited for Tobin to continue.

“I don’t think I’ve really processed it all, to be honest. It was so much to take in. Chris and I have barely even talked about it all yet.” Tobin explained. “It was definitely a crazy three weeks.”

“I bet.” Will agreed quietly. “I can’t even imagine.”

“I can’t wait to talk to Christen.” Tyler beamed, thinking of her little sister. “How did she do with it all?”

Tobin’s eyes lit up as she broke into an involuntary smile.

“She was..” Tobin trailed off, before starting again. “She’s so amazing.”

They both nodded, listening intently.

“I can tell it really affected her but she was, like, so inspiring over there. I don’t even know how to explain it.”

Tyler and Will looked at each other then, smiling widely at Tobin’s near rambling.

“I don’t know.. I just love her..” Tobin shook her head slightly, her voice getting softer. “Like, she’s just so good, you know?”

She smiled then in reflection, finally looking up from where her eyes had wandered to the floor. Back at Tyler and Will in front of her, like she forgot she was saying her thoughts out loud.

“She is.” Tyler nodded, grinning at Tobin now. “Christen has a heart of gold, she was meant for that stuff.”

They spent a few minutes longer talking, before Tobin and Zoey headed for the door, needing to leave and pick up the pizza Tobin had ordered for dinner, before going home to Christen.

“You three have to come over for dinner this week.” Tyler insisted as she followed Tobin back through the house. “I want to hear every single story, and I’m sure our mom and dad will too.”

“Yea, for sure.” Tobin nodded in agreement. “Zoey, say thank you.” She then cooed to the dog.

Tyler petted the dog’s head lovingly as Tobin watched.

“Seriously, thanks so much for watching her.” Tobin said looking back up at Tyler. “We owe you.”

“Of course, she was so great.” Tyler waved her off. She was more than happy to do it.

“And you are too, by the way..” Tyler added after a second. “I know earlier you said Chris is so good, but you are too, Tobin. Don’t discount yourself there.”

Tyler offered her a warm smile, before stepping in and pulling Tobin into a short hug.

“I’m glad Christen has you.” Tyler said, before releasing Tobin again.

It was probably the most genuine interaction they’d ever shared, both of them typically used to sarcastic comments and jokes, instead of serious conversation. That was just Tyler’s personality.

Tobin laughed, going for the laid back route before a weirdly emotional lump could form in her throat.

“Thanks, Ty.” Tobin said again. “We’ll see you this week.”

Tobin opened the front door and stepped down the porch towards the car, loading Zoey in the passenger seat before climbing in herself, giving Christen’s sister one last wave.

“Alright Z, let’s go see your mommy.”

 

x

 

Tobin pushed the door leading in from the garage open slowly, letting Zoey go ahead of her as she balanced the pizza box and her phone in one hand. Tobin assumed Christen would still be asleep, since she hadn’t heard from her girlfriend in the hour it’d been since she left.

Two steps into the house and Tobin found Christen smiling at them from the couch.

Zoey wasted no time sprinting towards Christen, jumping up where Christen was sitting and attacking her mother with loving kisses.

“My baby!” Christen laughed, opening her arms wide for the dog to settle into her lap. “I missed you so much!”

Tobin started to laugh at Christen’s baby voice, standing there in the entryway, watching them reunite.

Christen placed a series of kisses to Zoey’s head and face, squeezing her tight for a moment, before finally letting go and glancing up at Tobin for the first time.

They both laughed when they made eye contact.

“Hi, honey.” Christen winked, smiling at Tobin. “I missed you too.”

“Not as much as you missed her, I’m sure.” Tobin teased back.

Christen pulled Zoey back onto her lap again, giving her another squeeze as Tobin moved into the kitchen.

“I got us pizza, I hope that’s okay.”

“That seriously sounds amazing.” Christen confirmed, scooting over to make room for Tobin on the couch.

They ate until the whole pizza was gone, feeding most of the crust to their dog. All three of them cuddled up on the sofa together. When Christen was too full to take another bit, she sunk down into the couch a little further, feeling like she might burst.

They sat in silence for a bit, not even bothering to turn on the tv. It felt like that would be a betrayal of everything they’d been through the past three weeks. Instead they just enjoyed their closeness for a while.

Tobin took their plates into the kitchen a little later, before joining Christen again, pulling her girlfriend’s legs into her lap. Christen had her head resting on Zoey, who had settled into a nap on the far end of the couch.

“So.. that was quite the experience, wasn’t it?” Christen mused after a moment. Breaking the hold on whatever conversation they hadn’t had about the trip.

“Yeah..” Tobin agreed. “Tyler and Will asked me how it was and honestly, it’s kind of indescribable. Like, you won’t get it unless you lived it.”

Christen let her eyes shut, thinking it over again in her mind as they laid there.

“It was really hard.” She commented after a moment, letting a breath out as she spoke.

“I know.” Tobin just nodded, watching Christen.

Christen didn’t say anything else for the time being, instead holding eye contact with Tobin quietly.

“Well, I hope you’re prepared to be spoiled for the next week.” Tobin mentioned casually as she started to massage Christen’s feet.

Christen laughed a little. “Why..?”

“Because you’re amazing and you deserve it.” Tobin shrugged like it was obvious. “I just saw you work so hard for the past three weeks, not to mention everything leading up to it. You’ve earned some time off.”

“Baby.. you worked just as hard over there..” Christen pointed out. “I don’t know if you remember this, or if you just blocked it out already, but you were in Africa with me too.” She half-laughed.

Tobin smiled back at Christen’s teasing. “I know, but it wasn’t the same. I was just a small part in the background. You were everything.”

Christen shook her head, not knowing what to say.

“Tobs.” She hummed into the quiet room. Her eyes were now shut again as she laid with her legs still in Tobin’s lap.

“Hmmm?” Tobin wondered.

“I just realized I haven’t said this yet and I feel really bad about that, but.. thank you.” Christen said. “You have no idea what it meant to me for you to be over there with me. You were my safety net there and you made me feel so supported. I can’t express how much that mattered.”

Tobin smiled, running her hands up to Christen’s calves and massaging there now.

“Thank you for trusting me enough to go.” Tobin returned. “I will always support you.”

Christen opened one eye and glanced at Tobin, giving her a loving smile.

“I’m so proud of you, babe.” Tobin said again after a moment of silence. “I can’t even begin to explain how amazing you are. You’re so selfless and kind and smart. Just watching you every day, it was really incredible.”

Christen sat up then and crawled towards Tobin on the other end of the couch, looking her in the eyes as she swung her leg over Tobin’s waist, straddling her lap. “Tobs, you’re really incredible. I’m so lucky to have you.”

Tobin giggled at Christen’s words.

“I’m serious, don’t laugh!” Christen smiled, pinching Tobin’s stomach softly.

“No, I know..” Tobin said, trying to explain. “I’m just laughing cause Tyler called us gross before and I think she’s kinda right.”

She scrunched up her nose and made a goofy face at her girlfriend.

Christen laughed again too, dropping her face into Tobin’s neck. “Just proclaiming our love to each other.. we’re quite the pair.”

“I know..” Tobin breathed another chuckle, pulling Christen tighter into her. “I don’t even care though. I’m so in love with you.”

Christen kissed Tobin’s neck a few times, before moving slowly up to her jaw and eventually to her ear.

“I’m so in love with you.” Christen whispered in return.

She pulled back to look at Tobin in the eyes again. “And.. you know what we haven’t done in three weeks…”

Tobin smiled as Christen leaned back into her ear, biting her earlobe softly.

Tobin almost let out a moan at the sensation, forgetting how good it felt to have Christen’s mouth on her.

“22 days, to be exact..” Tobin recovered, playing along.

“Not that anyone was counting..” Christen laughed, kissing back down Tobin’s jaw and chin.

“I was counting.” Tobin joked. “That’s some sort of world record, I’m sure. We should be proud.”

Christen rolled her eyes, before leaning in and pressing her lips firmly to Tobin’s.

“I would proudly break that streak right now..” Christen murmured against Tobin’s mouth. “I mean, if you’re willing to..”

Tobin’s hands moved to Christen’s hips and she nodded enthusiastically. “Oh, I’m more than willing.”

Christen smiled, brighter than she had in awhile. “Well then, take me to bed, baby.”

Tobin didn’t hesitate a second longer, smiling as they made a trail of clothes up the stairs to Christen’s room.

When they were unclothed and in bed, Tobin could hardly wait, reaching for Christen’s hand and moving it down her stomach, down to where she was dying to feel Christen. More needy than she usually was.

Christen pulled back from their series of kisses, catching her breath.

“Tobs, slow down a little.” Christen begged with a grin. “I want to love on you, not just fuck you.”

“Sorry.” Tobin husked, taking a deep breath to steady herself. “ I missed this so much. I don’t know if I’m gonna last very long.”

“That’s okay.” Christen promised, pecking Tobin’s lips softly. “If you don’t, then we’ll just have do it again.”

Tobin grinned, lifting her head off the pillow and kissing Christen again. “You’re perfect." 

They took their time the rest of the night.

 

x

 

Tobin was jolted harshly out of sleep early the next morning, her eyes opening quickly as Christen gasped loudly, flying into an upright position in bed next to her.

Tobin could tell her girlfriend was panting heavily before she even realized what was happening.

“Babe?” Tobin questioned in a confused, slight panic, sitting up next to Christen.

Christen didn’t say anything for a moment, trying to catch her breath, before Tobin tried again.

“Chris?” She asked, rubbing Christen’s back softly. “What’s wrong, babe?”

Christen turned to look at Tobin before calming down slightly. “I was having a bad dream.”

“Okay. It’s okay.” Tobin urged, rubbing her back a little firmer. “You’re safe.”

“Where’s Zoey?” Christen asked then, her voice going back into panic mode a little.

“She’s right here, babe.” Tobin said, leaning back so Christen could see their dog lying on the bed, pressed up against Tobin on the opposite side.

Christen took another deep breath, turning over towards Tobin. Tobin could see beads of sweat on her forehead, using the pad of her thumb to wipe them away gently.

“I’m here, babe, I’ve got you.” Tobin tried to comfort her, pulling Christen down on top of her and into a hug. “We’re both right here.”

Christen let herself lay back down on Tobin, before reaching over and pulling Zoey closer as well.

The dog let out a couple of soft grunts, letting Christen pull her up and onto Tobin’s body, so she could cuddle them both.

Tobin could only take shallow breaths from the weight of Zoey on her stomach, but she didn’t dare move. She just wrapped her arm around Christen and rubbed her back some more, waiting for her girlfriend to settle in again.

Christen moved so close, until she was half on Tobin, with her arm around Zoey. She nuzzled into her girlfriend, burying her head under Tobin’s chin, with her face pressed against Zoey’s soft fur.

Tobin wanted to ask more questions. She wanted to make sure Christen was okay. But after a minute of them laying like that, Christen appeared to have fallen back to sleep, her breathing back to normal. 

It took a while for Tobin to drift off again as she laid there. She lifted her head and looked down at her girls cuddled on top of her and smiled. One thing in particular filling her thoughts until she was unconscious again.

 

x

 

A couple hours later, Tobin was awake again. Zoey had slid off of her and was now lying on the mattress in between them, still wrapped in Christen’s arms.

Tobin moved the covers back and got out of bed, putting on some clothes and walking towards the bathroom.

Zoey lifted her head and watched her go, like she wanted to follow, but didn’t move with Christen still holding her. Tobin winked at the dog as if to say good girl, happy that she didn’t get up and wake Christen, before disappearing out of the room quietly.

She put on a pot of coffee, letting it brew before she poured herself a cup. She grabbed her phone and stepped out onto the back patio, coffee in hand.

It was mid morning and the sun was already shining brightly in the sky, in the way it always did in Southern California.

Tobin stood there on the pavement and just listened to the breeze for a while, sipping her coffee and spinning her cell phone in her hand. Eventually, she made up her mind and looked down at her phone, scrolling through her contacts until she found the name she was looking for.

Before she could decide against it, she pressed the call button, bringing the phone up to her ear and waiting as the ringer sounded through the speaker.

Tobin fidgeted around as it rang through to voicemail, before she ended the call and dropped the phone to her side again, looking back up at the sky.

She barely heard the patio door open a minute later, lost in her thoughts. She was pulled back to reality as she felt Christen’s arms wrap around her waist softly.

“Morning.” Christen hummed into Tobin’s shoulder blade from behind.

Zoey trotted to the grass ahead of them as they stood there. “Morning, sleepy head.” Tobin smiled, turning around to hug her girlfriend.

“You look so cute when you’re tired.” Tobin hummed into Christen’s hair and they stood there.

Christen had one of Tobin’s oversized t-shirts on, her hair still in a messy bun from the night before. She smiled and looked down at the cup of coffee in Tobin’s hand.

“I’m gonna go get one of those.” She motioned with her eyes.

Tobin nodded and removed her arm from around Christen, watching her walk back inside before following her a few moments later.

Christen settled onto the couch with her cup of coffee and Tobin joined her, reaching for her girlfriend and pushing the baby hairs out of her eyes a little.

“Do you remember waking up early this morning?” Tobin asked softly, hoping to get some details about Christen’s minor freak out earlier.

Christen took a sip of her coffee as her eyes held Tobin’s, before she nodded her head yes.

“Do you remember what the bad dream was about?” Tobin questioned.

Christen nodded silently again.

“Do you wanna tell me about it?” Tobin tried again.

Christen rested the cup down on her lap, wrapping both hands around the warm mug and letting her eyes linger there before she spoke.

“It’s just something I keep having. Or that I’ve had since we were in Sudan.” Christen started to explain, clearing her throat.

Tobin’s eyes softened even more, giving Christen a sad look. “How many times have you had it?” She wondered.

“Like three or four now?” Christen guessed. “I had it a couple times over there and now this morning.”

“What happens in it?”

Christen took a deeper breath before she started to explain.

“I haven’t mentioned this yet but that day we dug the well in West Pokot, we had to do a water run first.” Christen spoke, starting to tell the story of what happened during one of the days she was separated from Tobin.

“It was so dry in that area, and we had to dig so deep, probably down like 20 feet before we found any water.” She continued. “The villagers hadn’t had any new water that day and they needed it for energy before we could start, it was going to be a long day.”

Tobin just watched Christen, listening intently.

“Well, there was a group of men doing most of the work, but they were using one of the cows to hold the line on the opposite side of the well area for balance. The harder they started to pull on the rope, the more the cow started to lose its footing. Before they could reposition, the cow ended up falling down into the side of the well. He was kind of just dangling there.”

Tobin’s eyes went wide as she listened, imagining what Christen was describing.  

“Everyone was freaking out and trying to pull the animal back up but he was so heavy, I’m sure. And the rope ended up snapping and the cow fell down into the water. It was so awful and the noise it was making was like unbearable to hear.”

“Oh my gosh, Chris.” Tobin said, sliding closer. 

“Yea and so the cow obviously couldn’t get out and he ended up drowning, and we all just had to stand there..” Christen trailed off, finally looking up from her coffee to meet Tobin’s eyes.

Tobin didn’t know what to say.

“It was so sad. Everyone was devastated, obviously.” Christen said softer. “And I can’t seem to get that imagine or sound out of my mind, every time I fall asleep. I’ve been sleeping so poorly since it happened."

“And what’s worse is that we just had to keep working after that. You know there are no other options there. I talked to one of the men after that and he said that happens from time to time and it’s just part of life.”

“Babe, why didn’t you tell me?” Tobin asked, moving closer to Christen and pulling her into a hug.

“I don’t know.” Christen shrugged. “I didn’t see you that day, and then I really didn’t want to talk about it again. But now I keep, like, dreaming about it..”

“Chris, I always want you to tell about things that are bothering you or weighing on you.” Tobin insisted. “Maybe talking about it will help you to forget that it happened?”

“Hopefully? I’m sorry, I just didn’t need you to have that image in your mind.” Christen explained.

“I’m so sorry you had to see that.” Tobin said seriously. “I had a feeling something bad happened, you seemed so off that next day when I saw you. But I figured it was just the stress of everything.”

“Yea, it was just a lot to process. And for some reason I kept thinking of Zoey then. Every animal I looked at afterwards, I could just see Zoey in them. I missed her a lot.” Christen added.

“That’s why you asked for her this morning..” Tobin caught on.

Christen nodded again, letting the topic die out. Tobin shook her head to herself, realizing it was even heavier for Christen than she had thought.

They just laid there in silence for a bit, finishing their coffee, before Tobin got an idea.

“Hey, can I show you something that will cheer you up?” Tobin asked, sitting up a little more.

Christen smiled a little. “Sure.”

Tobin stood up from the couch. “Go put some shorts on, we have to go across the street, so sadly, you can’t be half naked.”

Christen narrowed her eyes a little but stood up too, doing as Tobin requested.

Five minutes later, Tobin and Zoey were leading Christen across the street to the beach, Tobin’s surfboard tucked under her left arm.

Tobin smiled when they stopped at the edge of the water, setting her board down where the sand and water met. Christen stood there with a smile, watching as Tobin waded a few feet into the water and then called for Zoey, who had been running in and out of the water as soon as they hit the beach.

“Okay, Z.” Tobin motioned. “Come here.”

Zoey eventually listened, trotting over to Tobin in the water. Tobin laughed and lifted Zoey up onto her surfboard, holding it still until the dog seemingly had her balance.

“What is happening?” Christen laughed, standing with her toes in the sand.

Tobin turned and looked at Christen, giving her a big smile. “We’ve been practicing.”

Without saying anything else, Tobin took a few steps in the water, pushing the board as the small waves were about the break and hit the shore.

She gave one harder push and released the board from her grip, both of them watching as Zoey stood, looking out over the front of the board and riding the wave. Balancing perfectly, just as her and Tobin had worked on so many times before.

“Honey!” Christen laughed, walking into the water to where Tobin was standing. “Our dog surfs?!” She asked excitedly.  

Tobin laughed and nodded, pulling Christen into a hug as Zoey jumped off the board and into the water again.

“That was so cute!” Christen said again.

“I know!” Tobin agreed, letting go of Christen and running to where the empty board was sitting in the shallow water a few feet away. She walked it back towards Christen and they called Zoey over again, having her do the trick again.

Fifteen minutes later, Christen was sitting behind Zoey on the board as they balanced in knee deep water, Tobin standing next to them.

“That definitely worked to cheer me up.” Christen commented, petting Zoey. She reached out for Tobin and pulled her down into a quick kiss.

“I’m glad.” Tobin smiled when they pulled apart. “We wanted to wait and show you until she had it mastered.”

“Well, I’d say she’s a pro now.” Christen beamed, so proud of her dog. “Both of you are, I might have to learn just to keep up.”

Their conversation was interrupted then by a faint ringing sound that was coming from where they’d left a couple towels on the sand.

“That’s yours.” Christen said, looking to Tobin.

“Oh, shoot.” Tobin said, feeling her insides freeze up a little. She quickly skipped out of the water to where she’d left her cell phone with the rest of their stuff, leaving Christen and Zoey in the water.

Tobin bent down and picked up her phone, looking at the screen for a moment, knowing who was returning her call.

She spun sideways so her back was to Christen, sliding the answer button across her iPhone, before she could second guess herself.

She took a small breath to steady her voice before speaking. “Hello?”

“Tobin!” The familiar voice came from the other end of the line. “Hey, sorry I missed your call earlier.”

“Cody, hey!” She tried to talk a little quietly. “No problem, thanks for calling me back..”

“What’s up this fine morning?” Christen’s dad wondered.

Tobin turned her head around to make sure Christen hadn’t gotten out of the water before speaking again.

“Ah, actually, I was just calling to see if you and Stacy were free for lunch on Monday?” Tobin explained, not bothering with any small talk. “I was hoping I could take you guys out to eat.”

“Lunch!” Cody laughed in his particular way. “We love lunch, eat it every day.”

“That’s.. Good.” Tobin laughed. “Me too.”

Cody let out a belly laugh from the other end of the line. “We can do that. Is that mysterious daughter of mine coming too?”

“No, just us three, if that’s alright.” Tobin requested.

“Okay, sure.” Cody agreed. “Meet us at Salty’s at noon? I should be able to leave the office by then.”

Tobin firmed up the plans to meet Christen’s parents in a couple days, before letting Cody go, thankful that he didn’t press for more info as to why.

She tossed her phone back onto the towels and waded back into the water where Christen and Zoey were still sitting.

“Who called you?” Christen wondered when Tobin approached again. 

“Oh just my sister..” She fibbed. “I told her I’d call her back later.”

Christen nodded, climbing off of the surfboard to stand in the water again. “I wanna see some more tricks.” She requested.

Tobin just smiled, standing Zoey up on the board again to do another run.

Chapter Text

“Honey….?” Christen yelled down the stairs from the doorway of her bedroom, trying to get Tobin’s attention. “Have you seen my laptop charger?”

She had been frantically searching for the missing cord for the past several minutes, after not finding it in its usual spot in her work bag. She was already running late for a Monday, having slept through three alarms and ignoring the fourth, before she willed herself to roll out of bed. She’d still been having a hard time getting her sleep schedule back on track, even though they’d been home for six days.

“Ah, check the black suitcase, the big one.” Tobin yelled back, coming out of the kitchen to stand at the bottom of the stairs, so Christen could hear her response.

Christen shook her head, spinning on her heel to head back into her bedroom, knowing she’d already checked the suitcase twice and hadn’t found it. She spent another minute searching all of the last places she remembered leaving it, before forcing herself to give up. She had a conference call with her team in New York at ten, that she was going to be late for, knowing she should have left the house five minutes ago. She’d just have to borrow someone’s charger at work and find her own later.

Tobin waited at the bottom of the steps for a moment to see if Christen was going to say anything else. When she got nothing, she made her way back to the kitchen, walking to where Zoey was standing. The dog had been pawing at her empty water bowl, clanking it against her food bowl, to show her impatience at Tobin’s response time in getting her more water.

“Sorry.. hold on..” Tobin hushed to the dog, looking at her for a moment, before scooping up the bowl and walking to the sink.

Christen came bounding down the steps a few minutes later, passing through the living room and into the kitchen in a rush, still zipping the back of her dress up. Her hair was slightly damp and she didn’t have time to dry it or straighten it now. Her natural curls bouncing off her shoulders as she walked.

“Is there coffee?” She wondered, hopping up and down on her left foot as she tried to slide her right foot into one of her heels, then using the countertop for balance to put the left one on.

Tobin nodded and turned around, grabbing a to-go mug from the cupboard, pouring it full of the black liquid for her girlfriend.

“Thanks, baby.” Christen hummed, grabbing her phone from the counter and slinging her purse over her shoulder before she took the mug from Tobin.

Tobin just smiled and moved in for a kiss, pressing her lips firmly against Christen’s.

As soon as their lips touched, Christen’s phone rang in her hand, pulling them out of their moment.

Christen looked at it and sighed as she silenced it. “I really have to go.”

“Yea, go.” Tobin nodded again.

“K, I’ll see you for lunch, right?” Christen wondered as she headed for the door.

“Oh.. ahhh..” Tobin faltered for a moment, not expecting Christen to want to have lunch today, since it was her first day back at the office since they’d been gone and she was already going in late.

“I don’t have time to make anything now so I figured I’d come home or we could just grab something by the office?” She continued.

“Babe, I can’t today.” Tobin started to explain.

“What, why not?” Christen wondered as she walked towards the garage. She had become used to having lunch with Tobin, with her not having a set schedule during her offseason.

Tobin paused, racking her brain to come up with any excuse that would make Christen accept her answer.

“I have training.” Tobin said then. “It’s been three and a half weeks since I’ve really done anything and I really have to get back into the swing of it before camp next week.”

Christen turned around to face Tobin, her hand on the doorknob. “Okay, can’t you do that after? I’ve gotta be back to the office by 1:00, so I promise I won’t keep you all afternoon.”

“Babe, remember? I made plans with Kelley to meet her at the Training Center at noon.” Tobin fibbed, trying not to look away and let on that something was up.

“No..?” Christen responded, confused. “I don’t remember that.”

“Yea, I told you that..” Tobin insisted, though she wasn’t sure why. She obviously hadn’t.

“Tobin, you did not tell me that.” Christen returned, her eyebrows raising in annoyance.

“Oh, I thought I did..”

“..Alright..” Christen just trailed off quietly, feeling uneasy, like Tobin was hiding something.

Tobin felt bad, watching Christen’s face fall a little. She was sure Christen knew she was lying, with how easily they could read each other.

“Sorry..” Tobin offered, trying to give her the softest look possible.

Christen rolled her eyes and turned towards the door again, turning the doorknob and pulling it open.

“It’s fine..” She spoke in a tone that clearly let Tobin know it wasn’t, before stepping out into the garage as the door was swinging closed behind her.

“I love you.” Tobin returned a little louder, just before the garage door shut.

The thud of the door was the only response she got.

Her insides ceased up into a ball of nerves then. She was already anxious about her planned lunch with Christen’s parents and Christen’s reaction to their conversation just now didn’t help.

Tobin sighed again, glancing back to Zoey and shrugging. “She’s upset now, but it’ll be worth it.” She explained to the dog, as if Zoey could agree. “Hopefully..”

Christen got to her office fifteen minutes later, her stomach churning the whole drive with the way she walked out of the house. She felt bad for not returning Tobin’s sentiments when she left. It was kind of an unspoken rule of theirs to always say I love you. Plus, she knew it was unfair of her to expect Tobin to just be available whenever she wanted her to be. 

Maybe Tobin had mentioned it? She’d had a lot on her mind lately.

She put her car in park and decided she could be thirty seconds later than she already was, finding Tobin’s text string in her phone and typing out a quick message.

{Christen}: Sorry, I’m just crabby this morning.

{Christen}: Have fun at training. I love you a lot.

Tobin felt a little better as she read her texts, taking a deep breath. She then opened up her Postmates app and found Christen’s favorite sandwich shop, ordering her a sandwich and a salad to be delivered to her office for lunch; hoping that would ease the stress of a hectic morning for her girlfriend.

Tobin noticed the time then, running upstairs and tossing her phone on the bed before she jumped in the shower, forgetting to send Christen a response in her rush.

She didn’t want to be late for her very important lunch date.

 

x

 

“I have a reservation for three, under Heath.” Tobin smiled as she stepped to the hostess desk, fifteen minutes before noon. She had wanted to get to the restaurant first and get settled at their table, before Cody and Stacy showed up.

A minute later the hostess was walking her through the restaurant and out to the patio, setting three menus down at a table right in the corner.

The place had a prime view overlooking the Pacific Ocean that was just out ahead of them, rock cliffs down below.

It was a perfect early afternoon for an outside lunch, a steady but calm breeze blowing that was just strong enough to take the edge off the hot sun. Even though it was only late March, it felt more like mid summer today.

Tobin hadn’t been to this restaurant before, but she knew it was one of Cody’s favorites, not too far from their home in Palos Verdes. He’d mentioned how great Salty's was several times in passing, so Tobin wasn’t surprised the other day when Cody suggested they meet there for lunch.

She glanced at the menu as she waited, noting the prices of the mostly seafood menu, laughing a little to herself. It was more upscale than a usual lunch place, so she’d be earning her keep for the next hour or so.

Just as the waiter was dropping off three waters, Tobin spotted Cody and Stacy stepping out onto the patio. She gave them a small wave to get their attention, before standing up to greet them.

Tobin let out one long breath as they approached, trying to settle her nerves a bit.

“We found ya.” Cody spoke as he approached, giving her a smile. He moved in and wrapped one arm around Tobin before stepping out of the way and taking a seat across from where Tobin was sitting.

“I’m glad you could make it.” Tobin returned the smile, turning towards Stacy to give her a hug.

“Of course, we’re happy you invited us.” Stacy smiled, sitting down after their brief hug.

When they all had taken their seats, Tobin reached out for her water glass, suddenly noticing she was a little parched. Her hand shook a tiny bit as she reached for the glass, feeling more nervous now than she was before, now that Christen’s parents were in front of her.

She hoped they didn’t see the tremble before she picked up her glass, bringing it to her lips and taking a short drink. If they did, neither of them mentioned it.

The waiter came back just then and took drink orders, giving Tobin a little time to settle herself while Cody and Stacy listened to the specials of the day.

“So, Tobs, you’ve never been here before, right?” Cody asked when the waiter walked away, taking his eyes off the menu to look across the table.

“Nope.” She shook her head. “But you’ve talked it up so much, I feel like I have.”

They all laughed and Cody nodded. “You have to try the fish tacos, they're the best I’ve ever had.”

“That’s actually what I had my eye on.” Tobin smiled back up at him.

They made small talk for a while as they waited for their food, and Tobin was thankful for how easy going her girlfriend’s parents were. The awkwardness that Tobin felt from being alone with Cody and Stacy for the first time without Christen quickly fell away and soon it was like they’d had lunch together every week.

In fact, conversation flowed almost too freely, and Tobin just couldn’t find a good opportunity to broach the one subject she’d wanted to talk about. No matter what turn the chatter would take, it never felt like the right moment.

Eventually, Tobin started to push the remaining food around on her plate, stuffed from the fish tacos that turned out to be as good as advertised. She sat back in her chair a little and was dying to think of any way to bring up her thoughts without just blurting it out. Hoping there could be a smooth segue of some sort.

“Oh man, that was fantastic.” Cody sighed, dropping his napkin on his plate and scooting back a little, giving himself a little room to breathe. “This place never disappoints.”

He took another sip of his Diet Coke and then looked at his watch. “Time is flying.” He commented. “How is it already almost one?”

Tobin’s stomach dropped a little, knowing he’d have to get back to work soon and they’d just spent the last hour talking about everything but the one important thing.

“What are you up to this afternoon, dear?” Stacy wondered, looking at Tobin.

“Oh, I’ve just gotta get some training in before Chris gets done with work.” Tobin mentioned. “I’ve gotta get back in shape before camp kicks my butt.”

“It’s a perfect afternoon for it.” Cody added. He then turned to signal for the waiter, flagging him down.

“I’ll take the check when you have a chance.” Cody said as the waiter approached, smiling and turning on his heel to go get it instead.

Shit he has to leave. Tobin was panicking internally now. Like some sort of timer was about to run out on them.

“No.” Tobin spoke, clearing her throat. “No, I wanna get it. I asked you guys to lunch.”

Cody and Stacy both smiled.

“Oh, that’s not necessary Tobin, we enjoyed getting to spend some time with you.” Stacy waved her off.

“Yea we did.” Cody nodded. “I have to admit I was a little surprised when you called and asked, but we should do this more often. You make good company.”

The waiter came back and set the check down in the middle of the table and before Tobin could really process what she was doing, she quickly reached forward and grabbed the black booklet, putting it in her lap, before giving them a smile.

Cody raised his eyebrows in amusement at the gesture, but didn’t argue.

“Sorry.” Tobin smiled, clearing her throat again. Seriously, go for it already,Tobs she willed herself internally.

“There’s, ah, actually a reason I wanted to meet you guys for lunch.”

Her voice was a little shaky now and she felt like she had something in her throat, wanting to clear it again, but annoyed of herself for doing it so many times already.

“Oh?” Cody feigned surprise, his tone conveying that.

Stacy just laughed slightly.

Okay, so they figured that? Tobin surmised to herself.

“Yea.” Tobin nodded, more firmly.

“Well, what’s up?” Cody wondered then, looking at Tobin quietly, trying to be patient.

“Okay, so..” Tobin started, not really sure how to continue. “Well..”

“Is everything okay?” Stacy asked kindly to Tobin’s stuttering.

“Ohh, yeah.” Tobin cut in quickly, not wanting to alarm them. “Sorry, I’m just..”

“Nervous?” Cody smiled gently, calling out Tobin’s clear uneasiness.

Tobin laughed and then they all did.

“Yea, apparently..” Tobin conceded, nodding her head.

They both waited as Tobin took a deep breath and then started again.

“I wanted to have lunch with you both, so I could talk to you about Christen and I.”

Neither of them said anything, not wanting to interrupt now that Tobin had actually started to form a sentence.

“I just really love her.” Tobin smiled more at that, the way she always did when she thought of how she felt about Christen, looking between them both as she continued. “She’s pretty perfect and I’m kind of amazed that she’s with me.”

“I’ve always said that about Stacy, too.” Cody cut in with a grin. “Guess you gotta learn to count your blessings.”

“Right!” Tobin agreed, a little too quickly. “And you guys have been married for what, like, thirty years?”

“Thirty two.” Stacy corrected, looking over at Cody happily.

“Yea, okay and see, that’s so awesome!” Tobin added. “When I think about Christen, I want that so badly for us.”

“Well, hey, maybe someday you will have that.” Cody shrugged, about to start begging Tobin to just get on with it.

“Yea, I hope so. So that’s why I wanted to have lunch with you guys, so I could ask you that.”

“To ask us how long we’ve been married?” Cody wondered, playing dumb again. As much as he was ready for her to spit it out, he was going to make Tobin work for it.

“Oh, right.” Tobin half-laughed. “No.. um, to ask you if I could marry Christen. Or, if you would be okay with me asking her. To marry me, I mean.”

Cody just started laughing, putting his hand over his stomach and leaning his head back for effect.

Stacy swatted at him with a smile, trying to get him to knock it off. She could tell how nervous Tobin was.

“Sorry, sorry.” Cody said, calming down a little. “I mean, seriously...”

Tobin’s smile faltered a little as she bit her bottom lip, unsure of what Cody was thinking.

“That was kind of hard for you, wasn’t it?” Cody wondered, smiling kindly again.

He was really enjoying this, watching Tobin squirm a little, just in a good natured Dad way.

“Yea.” Tobin agreed with a chuckle of her own. “I’m sorry, it’s just that, this matters a lot to me.”

“Well, that’s important.” Stacy spoke again, calming Tobin a little with her soft voice.  

“Yea, so I am wondering if I could have both of your blessings to ask Christen to marry me.” Tobin finally got it out in a concise way.

Cody studied Tobin for a moment before responding, more serious now. “Don’t you think it’s a little soon for that?”

Tobin sighed. She had pictured this going one of two ways; that question leading them down the path of way number two. The way she hoped it wouldn’t go.

Instead of backing down at that question, she knew she just had to be confident in what she felt.

“Honestly?” Tobin shrugged, pausing to make sure she got these next words right.

“No, I guess I don’t think it’s too soon. I mean, to be honest, I would have married her the day I met her. I just knew it right away. She changed everything for me.”

Tobin paused for a second and then continued again.

“She’s like nobody else in this world and I know that she is the one for me. So, maybe we haven’t been together that long, but it doesn’t matter. I am sure of us. I’ve never been more sure of anything. She’s the love of my life.”

Cody and Stacy looked at each other and then smiled, looking back at Tobin.

“Just checking.” Cody winked.

Tobin looked at him and quietly laughed, still feeling uneasy, which he could sense, so he continued.

“If you would have went back on that question, I’d maybe think you weren’t ready.”

Tobin nodded like she knew what he meant.

“You can relax, Tobs.” He urged kindly, wanting Tobin to release the tension in her shoulders before she got a neck cramp. “Listen kiddo, we can tell how much you love her. And how much she loves you.”

“And we know she’s never been this happy in her life.” Stacy added, reaching over and grabbing Tobin’s hand that was resting on the table and giving it a squeeze in such a warm, motherly way.

“So, I will just tell you the same thing I told Will when he asked if he could marry Tyler.” Cody said then.

“Marriage is a permanent thing. There are no refunds or take backs. It’s a lifetime of good days and bad days, but it’s forever. Just as long as you’re sure on that.”

“Of course.” Tobin nodded seriously. “I just want to take care of her for the rest of my life and love her and giver her everything she deserves.”

They both smiled again.

“Well, then you have my blessing.” Cody spoke.

Stacy nodded. “And you have mine.”

“Thank you.” Tobin smiled. “You don’t know how much that means to me.”

“Well, it means a lot that you would ask us. Not everyone has the respect to do that.” Cody admitted. “Sorry that we made you nervous.”

They all laughed again.

“Do you have a ring?” Stacy wondered excitedly. “Are you thinking of doing it soon?" 

“I have a ring.” Tobin nodded, her smile getting bigger and bigger. “I am going to start planning it, but I want it to be a surprise, so it might be a little bit yet. But yea, this was step number one.”

“Well your secret is safe with us, dear.” Stacy grinned again.

“Wait, so I have to ask.” Tobin questioned. “Did you know why I wanted to have lunch or were you totally caught off guard by this conversation?”

She wanted to know how obvious she’d been.

“We had a pretty good idea something like this was up.” Cody chuckled.

“Stacy wanted to bet me, but I wouldn’t take it. I mean I’ve seen the way you and Chris go all googly-eyed at each other, so this wasn’t exactly shocking.” He was waving his hands sarcastically as he spoke.

Tobin laughed harder at his explanation, knowing she hadn’t been very subtle.

“Honestly though, I thought we were gonna walk out of here without you bringing it up. Your face was pretty pale throughout the whole meal.” He was teasing now.

“I can’t help it.” Tobin put her hands up in the air. “You guys are a little intimidating. And you could have said no!”

“Oh please, we think you’re wonderful, Tobin.” Stacy urged.

Cody’s shoulders bounced with laughter again, before he glanced at his watch, now reading 1:20.

“Good thing I’m the boss.” He smiled, signaling to his wrist. “I hate to cut this short but I do have to get back to the office.”

“No problem.” Tobin grinned. “Thank you for joining me. Sorry about the awkward buildup.”

“Don’t worry about it, we had to have a little fun with you.” Cody insisted, reaching across the table. “Let me get the bill, dear.” Asking for Tobin to hand it to him.

“Nope.” Tobin moved her chair back a little further, like he might snatch it out of her lap if she didn’t. “I mean it, I want to get it.”

“Thank you, that’s really sweet.” Stacy smiled, standing up.

Tobin got up too and hugged them both, feeling so happy about the way the conversation ended.

“Bring that mysterious daughter of ours over soon, huh?” Cody asked as they were about to walk away. “Before you steal her back to Portland and we never get to see you two.”

“I will.” Tobin promised, giving them a small wave.

Just like that Cody and Stacy were exiting the patio, back through the restaurant the way they came.

Tobin sat back down and pulled out her credit card, unable to stop from smiling. So happy that the conversation went well, and that it was now over with. They said yes.

 

x

 

Tobin did end up training that day, later than she had told Christen was she going to, but she met up with Kelley after lunch and they stayed at the Training Center longer than she had anticipated.

It was 6:00 before she was walking through the door of Christen’s house again, finding her girlfriend’s car in the garage, realizing she was already home.

Tobin put her bag of training gear down in the entryway and slipped off her flip flops, looking around for her girls. When she didn’t find Christen or Zoey in the living room or kitchen, she made her way upstairs to check the bedroom.

“Christen?” Tobin wondered aloud when she got upstairs, only met with silence in return.

She quickly changed into a clean tank top and a different pair of shorts before taking the steps back down, two at a time. She walked through the kitchen and glanced out the patio door, finding Christen sitting on one of the laydown chairs in the back, with work materials spread out all over the long chair. Zoey was sprawled out in the grass ahead of her, soaking in the sun.

Tobin watched Christen through the glass for a moment before opening the door, not giving away her presence just yet. She smiled at the way Christen’s eyebrows were knit together in deep thought as she read some sort of document, the baby hairs from her bun blowing lightly in the wind. She had a white t-shirt and a pair of shorts on, obviously changing out of her dressy work clothes as soon as she was home.

God, I love her was all Tobin thought, before reaching for the door handle and stepping out onto the patio herself.

Christen lifted her head when she heard the door creak open, looking up at Tobin through the sun in her eyes.

“Hi.” Tobin smiled.

“Hey.” Christen returned a little quietly.

They hadn’t talked all day, since Christen left that morning. Tobin had been so focused on her talk with Cody and Stacy that she never did remember to text Christen back.

“You trained late.” Christen hummed softly, watching as Tobin slowly walked to her.

“Yea, time kind of got away from us.” Tobin nodded. Christen didn’t need to know she didn’t start till almost 3:00.

Christen moved some of her work supplies off the long chair so Tobin could sit down next to her.

“Did your day get a little better?” Tobin asked as she sat down where Christen had made room.

“Yea, kind of.. I don’t know.” she shrugged. She felt a little off about their conversation earlier that morning, almost being shy about it now.

Tobin wasn’t very convinced with her answer, studying Christen’s face silently for a second.

“Sorry again about this morning.” Christen spoke, squinting with one eye shut from the sun in her eyes. “I came home a little early to do some work and hang out with you, but you were obviously still gone.”

Tobin just leaned over and kissed her forehead softly. She was surprised that Christen was even mentioning their conversation this morning, since Tobin had forgotten about it almost immediately.

Christen paused momentarily at the contact of Tobin’s lips. “Which I was kind of guessing meant you were upset with me?”

“No, babe, I’m not upset.” Tobin insisted, her lips still ghosting over Christen’s forehead. “Of course not.”

“Oh.” Christen said, her eyes darting down to her lap.

“What would make you think I was?” Tobin questioned sincerely.

“Well, you never texted me back after I apologized, or when I said thank you for lunch.. and then you were gone at training for like six hours, which, you only ever go for that long if you’re mad about something..”

Tobin started wracking her brain about what texts she’d gotten from Christen, remembering the sorry text but not the one about lunch being delivered.

“I was distracted this morning when you said sorry, which I now realize means I forgot to respond, but I didn’t get any other texts.” Tobin said. “I definitely wasn’t ignoring you, babe.”

Christen bit her tongue, not wanting this to turn into an argument about who said what via text.

“I guess we’ve just been a little off on our communication today.” Christen shrugged, reaching for Tobin’s hand.

Tobin felt bad then, knowing that was because of her. Letting Christen think all day that they were in a weird place, when in reality, Christen had been right about the whole conversation.

“That’s all my fault.” Tobin admitted. “I’m sorry I didn’t text you back. I got sidetracked wanting to order you lunch, and then when I was done, I realized I was going to be late, so I didn’t really look at my phone again. I would never just purposely not respond.”

Christen nodded like she understood. “I’m sorry that I acted like you should just be waiting around on me, I know that’s unfair. I guess I’ve just gotten used you being here every day.. I shouldn’t have walked out like that.”

“It’s okay, babe.” Tobin whispered. “I love that you want me around all the time.”

“Of course I do.” Christen smiled a little, leaning in to kiss Tobin’s lips.

“I feel really bad.” Tobin acknowledged when they pulled back.

“Why? Don’t. It’s really okay.” Christen tried to ease her worry.

“Because I actually had a really good day and then to find out you didn’t because of me, it really isn’t a good feeling.”

“Honey, stop.” Christen insisted. “It wasn’t just you, it was a combination of things. I just had an off day. It happens. And it makes me happy that you had a good day.”

Tobin nodded and kissed Christen again quickly.

“Is everything else okay, though?” Tobin wondered then, running a hand over Christen’s hair.

“Yea.” Christen hummed, looking at all the papers stacked next to her. “I’ve just been stressed about figuring out our schedules for everything that's coming up. It’s going to be a crazy few months and I’m already dreading not being with you all the time.”

“I know.” Tobin almost whined, hating even the thought of not waking up to Christen on a daily basis. “Which reminds me, I got an email from US Soccer today about a few upcoming games that are about to be announced.”

“You did?” Christen wondered softly. “Do you have the dates handy?”

She reached for her phone and pulled up the calendar, ready to add them in for future reference.

“Two here next month, one in Chicago and one in Denver.” Tobin said, scrolling through her email on her phone. “But more importantly, two in Europe at the end of May. Which means we need to figure out the Gala stuff soon.”

The annual European UNICEF Gala was being held in Barcelona, Spain this year. Christen was again invited as one of the honorees, having been asked to tell her story about the Water Initiative and what her team accomplished while in Africa.

Tobin had already promised to go with her and they’d RSVP’d a few days ago.

“The Gala is the first Saturday in June, so I’ll probably have to go a week or so ahead of that again.” Christen said, waiting as Tobin found the dates.

“Okay, yea, so we have a game in London and then one in Paris, with camp ending on May 28th.” Tobin said, looking up at Christen again.

“Okay, that should work well, actually. I’ll be heading over there that week too.” Christen nodded.  

“So I could meet you in Spain right from camp.” Tobin said, hoping that wouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

“Yea, that would be good.” Christen said again, typing into her phone. “Oh! And you know what that means..” She said, looking up at Tobin with an excited look on her face.

Tobin pondered for a second before Christen turned her phone and pointed to May 29th on the calendar.

Tobin started to laugh. “Birthday celebration in Barcelona!”

“That is going to be perfect.” Christen smiled, feeling better about their upcoming plans already.

“I can’t wait.” Tobin smiled, pulling Christen in a little closer.

Christen dropped her forehead onto Tobin’s shoulder and they were quiet for a moment.

“I’m excited, but I really don’t want to go back to only seeing you once every three weeks.” Christen whispered quieter, knowing that Tobin was about to get busy again with National Team duty, and eventually preseason, after their European trip.

“I don’t either.” Tobin agreed. “How about we sit down tonight and figure out the rest of the weeks through June? I don’t want you to stress about it anymore.”

“Okay.” Christen nodded, giving Tobin more of a smile. Happy that her girlfriend was offering to help, even though she was much less of a planner than Christen was.

“We can make some dinner and we’ll lay it all out on the kitchen table. You can even fill in your new day planner that I know you’ve been dying to use.” Tobin continued.

Christen laughed lightly. “Have you seen it, it has so many colors!” She squeezed Tobin’s thigh, feeling better now that they’d talked through it.

“Yep, I noticed that both times you showed me.” Tobin winked. “My little nerd.”

She then leaned back in again. “I love you, babe.”

Christen grabbed Tobin’s jaw and kissed her slowly, all her worries forgotten. “I love you too.”

 

x

 

“Which ones?” Christen asked, holding up a couple pairs of sneakers for Tobin to pick from.

They were both standing in Christen’s bedroom, deciding what Christen should pack for their road trip back to Portland.

Tobin had just gotten back to LA from her games in Chicago and Denver, and Christen had been in New York for the whole week prior. They were finishing up their laundry and packing now, before leaving in the morning to drive Tobin’s car back up. It was the only free time they both had to get it done, before heading their own ways to Europe the following week.

“Umm..” Tobin said pondering the choice. “Both? You will probably need them at some point.”

Christen dropped both sets of shoes and looked down at them. “Well, I know, but I was trying not to pack too much.”

Tobin flopped down on the bed. “Babe..why? It’s not like I don’t have the space for it.”

“I don’t know.” Christen shrugged. “If I’m gonna be back and forth, there really isn’t a point.”

Tobin didn’t say anything for a moment, running a hand through her hair as she laid on the bed.

“What are you thinking about?” Christen wondered after a bit of silence, knowing Tobin was being quiet for a reason.

“I’m..” Tobin sat up again. “I don’t know..”

Christen just looked at her and waited, knowing Tobin was working out in her head what she wanted to say.

“I’m thinking I don’t really want you to be back and forth.” Tobin finally said. “I mean, I know you have work stuff that you’ll need to be gone for, but outside of that..”

Tobin trailed off and looked away, her eyes landing on the ocean waves out the window.

Christen took a few steps towards Tobin and came to a standstill right in front of her.

Tobin turned back and looked up at Christen, reaching out and grabbing her waist, pulling her closer, so that Christen was standing in between Tobin’s legs. Tobin wrapped her arms around Christen’s middle, pulling her into a hug and resting her head on Christen’s stomach in front of her.

Christen stood there and let Tobin hold onto her for a moment, running her hand through Tobin’s hair softly.

“I want you to live with me.” Tobin whispered after a beat, turning her head and resting her chin on Christen’s stomach, looking up at her with soft eyes. “I mean I know you came to visit this past season when you could, but I don’t know..”

She paused again and Christen moved, putting her hands on Tobin’s shoulders. She then moved forward and pushed Tobin back, so her upper body was falling back against the mattress again.

Christen climbed on top of Tobin on the bed, her knees pressed to the mattress on both sides of Tobin’s body, straddling her lightly. She was looking down at her fervently, her face just above Tobin’s.

“Continue...” Christen whispered, giving Tobin an amused smile.

Tobin smiled back, moving her hands around Christen’s back and thinking for a moment.

“I guess I’m just wondering what you would think of considering Portland home?”

Christen didn’t respond right away, so Tobin continued, explaining her thought process.

“I mean, is it just me or has it been so nice living together down here while I’ve been in the offseason?”

“It’s been wonderful.” Christen nodded, smiling like she truly meant it. And she did.

“It’s been amazing.” Tobin said in agreement.

“And now that I have to go back to Portland soon, I don’t want that to have to end. I still want to be able to come home to you and be together all the time, and sleep next to each other every night and wake up holding each other every morning.”

“I don’t want that to end either.” Christen agreed, running her hand through Tobin’s hair again.

“So I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and maybe, when I’m in season, we could live together in Portland? You could bring your things up and just travel from there. And obviously you can still come visit LA whenever you want, but maybe you could, like, think of Portland as home..”

Christen leaned down and cupped Tobin’s cheek, running her thumb over Tobin’s bottom lip slowly as they locked eyes. She then leaned in and kissed Tobin softly, letting her lips linger against her girlfriend’s for a moment.

After a few moments, she pulled back just enough to be able to talk.

“So what you’re saying..” She started, smiling a little wickedly. “Is that you want me to bring all of my shoes?”

Tobin laughed quietly, moving her hand behind Christen’s head and holding her face close. “All the shoes.” She nodded, before kissing her again.

Christen opened her mouth and let Tobin’s tongue slide in, kissing her a little deeper. They spent a few minutes making out before resuming their conversation.

“That sounds pretty ideal, honey.” Christen smiled when she finally pulled back.

She sat up a little and took a deep breath, trying to think practically about Tobin’s suggestion and what that would actually mean for her.

“But…?” Tobin asked then, watching Christen’s face as she ran through the catalog of things in her mind.

“No..” Christen said, trying to ease Tobin’s worry that she knew was about to come. “No buts, really. Just like logistically, I’m thinking it through.”

“Well, talk to me.” Tobin said, leaning up on her elbows and pulling her legs out from underneath Christen, so she could sit up eye to eye with her.

“I mean, you don’t need anything big. You know what’s mine is yours..” Tobin continued when she’d positioned herself cross legged in front of Christen. “So you’d probably want your clothes and stuff, but I have everything else.”

“Yea, I know.” Christen nodded. “I’m not worried about that.”

“And I was thinking, I could put you on the lease, just in case.” Tobin explained. “Like if something happens while I’m gone for a game or something, then you would be able to get everything you need taken care of with no issues.”

Christen started to laugh. “Baby, if you want me to pay rent, just say so.”

Tobin rolled her eyes with a chuckle, knowing Christen was teasing. “Like I’d ever let you do that.. I’m just saying, I want you to be as comfortable as possible.”

“I know..”Christen returned. “Why are you so good to me?”

“I just want to make you happy.” Tobin insisted.

“I’m the happiest.” Christen smiled.

Even though she was just looking at Tobin in front of her, she felt that familiar rush butterflies in her stomach. Loving the way she still got them all the time.

“So, what do you think?” Tobin asked again as Christen continued to think.

“I think it sounds like a good plan.” Christen nodded. “I think it may take a few trips before I have most of my stuff up there, and I may need to come back down here more often at the beginning, just to kind of ease into being away from the office all the time.”

“That’s okay.” Tobin promised.

“I’ll talk to my bosses and see what they think, but there shouldn’t be any reason for it to be an issue. At least until the Water Initiative project is fully complete. And then we can figure it out from there. Who knows what role I’ll move into after that, anyway.”

“So you’re say yes?” Tobin clarified, a huge smile on her face.

Christen beamed right back at her. “I’m saying yes." 

Tobin started to laugh, feeling so light and giddy. Nothing could be bad if she had Christen by her side. 

“We better start packing.”

 

x

 

Christen yawned as she put her blinker on, to signal that she was about to exit. She glanced over her right shoulder to make sure no cars were in her blind spot, before sliding over a lane and taking the off ramp as she pressed the brake.

 The rain was falling lightly in the evening sky, dotting the windshield in between passes of the wiper blades, hardly more than a sprinkle.

Christen pulled up to the stoplight and waited for it to turn green, tapping her fingers against the steering wheel to the beat of the soft music playing; the volume turned way down, barely audible in the quiet car.

Tobin and Christen had been driving all day, finally getting to Portland just as the sun was about to go down. They stayed somewhere in Northern California the night before and decided to do the rest of the trip in one day, switching off driving every few hours to make is less painful.

Christen glanced to her right and smiled.

Tobin was asleep with her head resting against the window, Zoey curled up in her lap in the front seat, with Tobin’s arms around her. They’d both been passed out for a couple hours now, missing the final stretch of their journey.

Christen and Tobin had tried to make Zoey ride in the backseat yesterday when they left LA, but after pushing her back there a few times and listening to her whine, Tobin gave in and held her in her lap instead.

The dog had been a perfect passenger ever since, climbing onto whoever's lap was in the passenger seat every time they stopped for gas or a bathroom break.

Before the light turned, Christen grabbed her phone out of the cup holder, pulling up her camera and snapping a picture of her two favorite girls. She laughed softly when she looked at it, loving how cuddly they were.

“You two are the cutest.” Christen murmured quietly, running a hand over Zoey’s fur, before finding Tobin’s hand and wrapping her fingers around hers loosely.

“Tobs.” Christen said quietly, giving her fingers a gentle squeeze.

“Hmmm?” Tobin hummed, not opening her eyes, but not fully unconscious either.

“We made it.” Christen whispered, letting Tobin know they were finally in Portland, just a few blocks from her apartment now.

Tobin seemed surprised, opening her eyes and lifting her head to take in their surroundings.

“Already?” she commented. “That was fast.”

“Yea, you slept for a while.” Christen nodded with a smile.

Just then the light turned green and Christen continued on, navigating the familiar streets around Tobin’s place before pulling into the apartment parking lot, into Tobin’s reserved spot.

“Uhh, finally!” Christen cheered quietly, stretching her arms dramatically over her head, more than ready to be out of the car after two full days of driving.

They both slowly climbed out of Tobin’s SUV and Tobin hooked Zoey’s leash to her collar, walking over to the grass on the far side of the parking lot so the dog could go to the bathroom before they went upstairs.

Christen lifted the back tailgate and started to gather some things to take in, wanting to get the car unloaded as quickly as possible, so they could relax the rest of the night.

She started to dig around in her purse for the keys, realizing Tobin had taken them with her after they got out of the car. Christen was too lazy to find her own set at the moment.

“Hey babe?” Christen yelled for Tobin before she even turned around.

When she got no response, Christen stuck her head around the car towards where Tobin was standing with Zoey.

“Honey, can I have your keys?” Christen asked as she made her way towards the two across the small parking lot.

Tobin nodded, pulling the keys out of her pocket as they stood there. Just then, the couple was interrupted by a voice coming from behind them on the sidewalk.

“Oh my gosh!” A woman’s voice said excitedly. “You’re Tobin Heath!”

Tobin’s head jerked up and she turned around, completely caught off guard. Christen turned around too, trying to see who it was that had spotted her girlfriend. They hadn’t noticed anyone approaching.

Every time Tobin got recognized, it was still a little weird for Christen. She hadn’t seen it happen enough to be used to it yet.

“Oh my gosh, this is crazy.” The woman said again. “Holy crap, can I have a picture with you?”

Tobin froze, not wanting to take a picture outside of her apartment, but not wanting to be rude either.

“I’m such a big fan.” The woman said again, her hands shaking a little as she was reaching for her phone.”

“Oh, thank you.” Tobin smiled politely.

“I hate to bother you, but I’d really love a picture.” She tried again.

“Ahh, sure.” Tobin nodded, biting her tongue a little.

“Would you mind?” The girl turned to Christen, holding out her phone with the camera app already open.

“Oh.” Christen said, reaching out for the phone. “Yea, sure..”

Tobin stood next to the woman a little awkwardly, giving a closed mouth smile to the camera as Christen took the picture.

“Thanks so much!” The woman said again. “I hope you know everyone in Portland loves you!”

“No worries.” Tobin nodded, bending back down to pet Zoey, hoping the woman would walk away now that she got her picture.

The woman pocketed her phone and turned to keep on her way, giving them a wave. “By the way, you two are super cute together.” She said as she backed up, catching them both off guard again.

Tobin didn’t know how to respond so she just ignored the comment, giving the woman a nod and turning around again.

When the woman was far enough away that she couldn’t hear them, Tobin turned to Christen. “Sorry about that.”

“I always forget that everyone knows you here, especially since we’ve been gone for a while.” Christen returned, her tone not unkind.

“Yea, it’s weird..” Tobin agreed.

Christen just looked at her for a second. “Did that bother you?”

“The picture?” Tobin wondered. “I don’t know, I’d prefer if it didn’t happen in front of our home, but it’s fine...”

“I meant her knowing that we are together.” Christen clarified. “You just seemed a little weary about saying anything back to her about it.”

“Oh..” Tobin spoke. “No, it wasn’t that, I just didn’t have anything to say cause it’s not like we know her.”

Christen just nodded, seemingly dropping it.

“I’m obviously not, like, embarrassed or anything.” Tobin said again after a few seconds of silence, hoping Christen wasn’t offended. “I’m proud to be with you, Chris.”

“No, I know.” Christen jumped back in. “I was just curious.”

“Did that bother you?” Tobin questioned then. “Her knowing who you are, I mean." 

“It’s a little strange, I guess.” Christen shrugged. “But it’s okay.”

Outside of gaining probably 300 new Instagram followers since Tobin had tagged her in a couple pictures the past few months, Christen hadn’t really had to deal with fans knowing she was Tobin’s girlfriend. Nothing in person at least, and she didn’t have much of a social media presence other than Instagram that Tobin’s fans would find.

Tobin realized then that would be something they’d probably have to deal with more, the more serious they got. What will it be like for Christen to deal with that stuff if we’re married? Does she not want that? Tobin felt a little panic hit her then.

“Hey..” Christen said, pulling Tobin out of her thoughts. “Should we go in?”

Tobin shook the thoughts from her mind, not wanting to stress about something as uncontrollable as strangers and their actions.

“Yes, sorry.” Tobin nodded with a smile now. “Let’s go in.”

She reached for Christen hand as they made their way to the car, grabbing a couple bags before heading inside. They rode the elevator up to Tobin’s apartment and once they were in front of her door, Tobin dropped her bags and turned to Christen.

“I get to carry you across the threshold.” Tobin spoke, unlocking the door and pushing it open.

Zoey trotted into the apartment, unconcerned with what Tobin and Christen were waiting on.

“What?” Christen questioned with a smile, unsure of what Tobin meant.

Tobin just turned around and scooped Christen up, swinging her legs out from under her and holding her sideways in her arms while she laughed.

She stepped through the doorway and into the apartment holding Christen, setting her down again right inside the door.

“Welcome home, baby.” Tobin smiled, knowing it was silly but still loving it all the same, after their conversation a few days ago.  

Christen laughed and stepped back into Tobin, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s neck quickly, before whispering against her lips. “It’s good to be home.”

Chapter Text

“Guess who?”

Tobin heard her favorite voice in the world whisper in a sing-song tone, just as two hands had come to cover her eyes from behind.

She’d recognize that voice anywhere.

She had been standing there looking up at the tv screen that would tell her which baggage carousel her luggage was about to come out of, not expecting anyone to find her in this overcrowded airport.

“Babe!” Tobin laughed out before she could even try and pretend to ponder who it was. She was too excited by the prospect of seeing her girlfriend again to wait even a second longer.

Tobin reached up and softly latched onto Christen’s hands over her eyes, attempting to bring them down so she could see again.

“Hi, love.” Christen breathed into her ear from behind, dropping her hands so Tobin could spin around and face her.

Tobin couldn’t contain the smile on her face when she finally faced Christen, seeing her favorite pair of green eyes for the first time in three and a half weeks.

“I thought I was meeting you at the hotel?” Tobin questioned, stepping in to wrap her arms around Christen’s shoulders, pulling her into a tight hug.

“I wanted to surprise you and I don’t think I could have survived a minute longer with knowing you were finally here and not seeing you.” Christen laughed, letting her arms wrap around Tobin’s waist, leaning in to let her lips ghost against Tobin’s gently. “Happy birthday, baby.”

“Thank you.” Tobin grinned against her lips.

They stood there holding each other for just a moment. Eye to eye and not even an inch apart, both with huge smiles overtaking their faces; before Christen leaned in the rest of the way and placed a kiss to Tobin’s lips. Totally unaffected by who may or may not be watching them.

“I missed you.” Tobin sighed when they pulled back from their quick kiss. “So much.”

“I bet I missed you more.” Christen smiled, so happy to have Tobin in Barcelona with her, finally.

Christen had been in Spain for the past two weeks, busy working to help organize her second UNICEF Gala that was set for Saturday night, and Tobin had just landed from Paris, where the National Team had a game the previous night. Both of them ready to spend a little time together in one of their favorite cities in the world, even if it was just for the rest of the week.

Tobin finally let go of Christen and turned around to actually find where her bags were going to be deposited at, and it wasn’t long before she had her big suitcase rolling along behind her, one hand tangled loosely with Christen’s, as they made their way out of the airport and into the warm Barcelona afternoon. They caught the train from the airport to the City Centre, where their hotel was located, easily navigating the trek with the help of Christen’s Spanish and a couple of friendly locals making sure they didn’t miss their stop.  

 

“Babe, I’m coming.” Tobin chuckled as Christen was practically dragging her by the hand, down the hall to their hotel room that Christen had been living out of the past two weeks.

“Sorry, I’m just excited.” Christen hummed, letting go of Tobin’s hand to fish out the room key and let Tobin pull her luggage along the last few feet a little easier.

Christen opened the door and held it against the wall while Tobin pulled her suitcase through, dropping it once they were far enough into the hotel room for it not to be blocking the exit.

“Holy shit, this place is nice.” Tobin muttered as her eyes wandered around the room.

One king bed sat in the center of the room, facing a giant window that had a ridiculous view of the Roman Walls, a historic Barcelona landmark, just off to the left. A large bathroom was positioned just to the right, around the corner from the hallway.

“I know it’s been amazing.” Christen smiled and turned back around to face Tobin. “Before you look around, can you sit down and close your eyes, please?” She requested.  

Tobin laughed as she kicked off her flip flops and plopped down on the bed, moving back to the headboard to rest against the pillows. “Okay, why?”

“Because, just close them, please? It’s more fun this way.”

“Ohhh are you gonna get naked?” Tobin teased and let her eyes shut, as she was asked.

“Well, I hadn’t planned on it yet.” Christen giggled, making some sort of rustling noise that Tobin couldn’t place without looking. “But I guess I could..”

“You should always be naked.” Tobin commented casually under her breath, getting no response from her girlfriend for a moment.

Christen made her way around the room, pulling the desk chair over in front of the TV. From what Tobin could tell, Christen was tearing a few pieces of tape off of a tape dispenser, and then everything was quiet again for a minute.

Tobin grinned happily into the silence, waiting to see what was going to happen, breathing through her nose with her eyes still shut. She didn’t move until she felt the bed dip a little from Christen’s weight climbing onto it a minute later.

Before Christen had even instructed her to open her eyes, Tobin felt tiny flutters of some sort of paper material sprinkling down onto her. After a few of them hit her face gently, she slowly opened her eyes to see red and yellow and green pieces of cut up confetti paper littering her body and covering the bed around her. The colors contrasting brightly against the white down comforter and hotel sheets.

She could also see a Happy Birthday banner hanging slightly crookedly on the wall above the TV, having been taped up there quickly for added effect.

“Happppyyy birthday to youuuuu.” Christen started to sing in a low and sultry voice, barely making it through the first line before she couldn’t contain her laughter any longer.

Tobin was laughing too, reaching for Christen’s hips and pulling her on top of her as she laid on the bed.

“Birthday confetti and a banner!” Tobin thrilled, picking up a few of the strewn about pieces and letting them flutter down on them again.

It was such a Christen thing to do, her taking the time to go buy this stuff before she flew to a foreign country, and having it all ready before Tobin arrived; just to make Tobin’s day a little brighter, even for a moment.  

“Birthday confetti for my one and only.” Christen beamed. She leaned down and placed a soft kiss to Tobin’s lips, until they were both smiling so widely again that they had to break it.

“I hate that I wasn’t able to be there when you woke up this morning, and I only get to spend half of your day with you, but I thought a hotel celebration would make it a little better.” Christen explained. “So, happy birthday and I love you so much.”

“Babe, this is awesome.” Tobin smiled happily. “I love you so much, and you just totally made my day. I’m so glad I’m finally here with you.”

“Me too!” Christen kissed Tobin’s lips again. “You’re right though, naked would have been a little better.”  She looked down between their clothed bodies with a big grin on her face.

They both laughed and Tobin sat up, flipping Christen over so her back was hitting the mattress quickly. “How about you let me help you with that.”

“I was going to give you your present now, but yeah, that can wait..” Christen nodded and trailed off, pulling Tobin’s lips down to hers again, letting her hands tangle in Tobin’s hair as she leaned down from above her.

“You’re all the present that I need.” Tobin hummed, letting her lips find Christen’s neck and drowning out the world around them until the quiet hotel room was filled with soft moans for the next hour.

 

xxx

 

Tobin cranked the shower handle to the off position, watching as Christen stepped out of the see-through glass door first, before joining her on the bath mat. They wrapped towels around themselves, starting to dry off. Tiny goosebumps had found both of their skin, a chill running through them for just a moment at the sudden end of a hot shower.

“So, I was thinking we could check out the Skybar on the roof for a late dinner and then take a walk through the city centre and see what we find after that?” Christen mentioned as she ran her towel over her hair, stopping the water droplets from falling from her curls any longer.

They were trying to make a plan about how to spend the rest of the night, with Tobin shrugging nonchalantly several times about it. She didn’t care what they did and knew that whatever ideas that Christen had would be great. She was the one who had spent the last two weeks in the city and probably had a better feel for what would be good anyway.

“Sure, that sounds good to me.” Tobin nodded, hanging up her towel on the back of the door after she had finished drying off.

Christen walked back out into the main room of the hotel and bent down to her suitcase, pulling out some clothes to get dressed.

“Honey, did you remember to pack that shirt I forgot?” Christen questioned as her attention was focused on her attire for the night. She went shopping and had bought a few new tops before she flew out, and forgot her favorite one at home, asking Tobin to pack it and bring it with her before she left LA.  

“Yeah.” Tobin nodded, “It’s somewhere in my bag.”

Christen stepped into a black lacy thong and slid it up her legs and then grabbed a pair of skinny jeans, pulling each leg through them, before putting her matching black bra on. When she was done, she walked over to Tobin’s suitcase and bent down to pick it up, hoisting it onto the luggage rack so it was a little higher in the air.

“Wait, I’ll get it..” Tobin rushed out of the bathroom then, quickly moving next to Christen in front of her suitcase.

“Okay..” Christen paused, looking up at Tobin next to her, a little caught off guard. Wondering where that sudden outburst of rushed energy had come from. “I can find it, it’s fine.”

“No, babe, I’ll get it. Some of my stuff is dirty and I know it’s buried at the bottom anyway.” Tobin explained, seemingly not wanting Christen to dig through her stuff, even though Christen and Tobin’s dirty laundry was always combined at home.

“Alright.” Christen took a step back, figuring Tobin’s words had just come out more eager than she had meant them to, walking back towards the bathroom to start applying her makeup while Tobin looked for the shirt.

Tobin waited until Christen was occupied, concentrating in the mirror as she applied her foundation, before she unzipped her suitcase and grabbed an old rolled up t-shirt. She made sure nothing fell out of it before she stuck the balled up fabric into the bottom of her backpack and zipped it up again quickly.

“Here you go.” Tobin came up behind Christen in the bathroom, kissing her bare shoulder once and holding up the shirt that Christen had been looking for.

“Thanks, dear.” Christen smiled, taking it from Tobin and pulling the flowy top on. She was happy to find that the shirt wasn’t even wrinkled, with the way Tobin usually handled her packing, before focusing back on her makeup.

They both finished getting ready in relative silence for the next several minutes, before Christen was sliding on a pair of heels, sitting on the bed for balance as she did.

Once she had her heels on, she stood up again and took one last look in the full length mirror next to the TV, making sure her outfit was complete and she was ready for a night on the town. Adding a little extra effort in order to look good for Tobin on her birthday.

“You’re so hot.”

Tobin was admiring Christen as she leaned against the doorframe of the bathroom, watching her girlfriend look herself over in the mirror. “How the hell did I land you?”

Christen made eye contact with Tobin through the reflection in the mirror, smiling at her sensually as she teased her hair one last time. “You’re pretty damn hot yourself, so I’d say we make a good pair.”

Tobin loved this side of Christen. The confident, sexy version of her girlfriend that she got to see most when they were alone, getting ready or not yet surrounded by people. Christen was always modest in general, but she knew she was hot, and Tobin loved when she let that show through her personality a little. Especially when it was just them.

Christen spun around and slowly walked to where Tobin was leaning, moving in for a short kiss, trying to not mess up her makeup that she had just perfected.

“Before we go, I want to give you your gift.” Christen hummed when she pulled back. She grabbed Tobin’s hand and pulled her back to the bed, motioning for Tobin to sit down again. “That way we won’t have to carry it around all night.”

Christen let go of Tobin’s hand and walked to her suitcase, pulling out a small gift bag with the same color tissue paper as the confetti had been earlier.

She walked back to the bed and sat down, handing it to Tobin for her to open.

“Chris, you really didn’t have to get me anything. Being here with you is already an incredible gift.”

Christen laughed and rolled her eyes playfully. “Well I wanted to, and you should open it.”

So Tobin did, smiling as she pulled the tissue paper out of the gift bag, finding a card sitting on top of something that was wrapped in more paper.

Tobin grinned quietly as she ripped open the envelop of the Happy Birthday card and read it quickly.

 

Tobin,

Happy birthday to my favorite person in this world. 29 looks incredibly sexy on you.

Here’s to many more.

I love you.

<3 Christen

 

She bit her lip when she finished reading it, grabbing Christen’s hand and leaning in for a quick kiss. “Thanks, babe.” She muttered, before reaching into the gift bag again, to pull out the rest of the present.

Tobin pulled out the gift that was wrapped in more tissue paper and let it fall open. A rolled up jersey and another envelop came fluttering out as she did it.

Tobin’s eyes lit up as she processed what it was. A blue and red striped FC Barcelona home jersey, Messi 10, donning the back of it, noticeable as soon as she held it up.

“Chris, no way!” Tobin smiled, turning the jersey around quickly to examine the front. Qatar Airways labeled across the front of the authentic kit.

Christen knew that Tobin was a huge Barcelona fan and she thought it was the perfect thing to get her while in the city. She had made time to go over to the team store outside of the stadium last week and pick it up, deciding to go with Messi’s jersey because that was the only name she had recognized without googling it.

“And what’s this?” Tobin questioned softly as she picked up the envelope that had fallen out of the jersey and onto her lap when she unrolled it.

“That’s the actual present.” Christen smiled, watching with amusement at Tobin’s face.

Tobin opened the flap of the unsealed envelope and pulled out two printed tickets.  

FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

Camp Nou, Barcelona

Sunday, June 4th, 2017 8:00 PM

“Christen..” Tobin’s jaw dropped as she looked at both tickets. “Are you kidding me?” She looked up from the tickets in her hand to meet Christen’s eyes, her face full of bewilderment, like this was some kind of joke.

“Happy birthday!” Christen mused, grabbing Tobin’s free hand and squeezing it.

Tobin was speechless for a moment. “I…” she muttered, glancing back down at the tickets in her hand.

Christen just laughed, seeing Tobin this surprised was more than she could have hoped for when she came up with the idea a couple months ago. As soon as she knew the Gala was going to be in Barcelona, she started working on getting tickets to a game.

Tobin had mentioned that El Clasico was the same weekend they were going to be in Barcelona, but assumed it would be impossible to get tickets and hoped that they could at least watch the game at a bar somewhere near the stadium, to feel the excitement of the city, at least.

“How did you get these, babe?!” Tobin questioned then when she could finally speak. “Oh my gosh, are these for real?”

“It’s for real!” Christen nodded through another laugh. “I had to call in a couple favors, but it turns out one of the UNICEF marketing managers knows a contact at Nike, and they gave a few tickets to our company. I begged the rest of the team members that are here to let me have them, with the promise of work favors for as long as they wanted.”

“Chris, you totally outdid yourself.” Tobin shook her head. “Thank you so much. I can’t believe it.”

“Well, I know how much you would love to go and then when I found out who they were playing, I knew we couldn’t pass it up. Kind of the perfect opportunity that were actually in Barcelona for it.” Christen explained with a smile.

“I’m so excited!” Tobin laughed, setting the tickets down in her lap and softly grabbing Christen’s face with both of her hands on either side of her face. “You’re amazing and perfect and I love you and you give the best gifts.”

“I love you too.” Christen returned, leaning in and kissing Tobin again.

“Sunday night football date!” Tobin pumped her fist animatedly when they pulled away.

“Should be a great way to end our trip.” Christen nodded, kissing Tobin again one last time.

“My girlfriend is better than all the other girlfriends in the world.” Tobin hummed loudly, like she was bragging to someone else in the room, standing up from the bed and offering her hand to Christen, so she could pull her up as well.

“Let’s go eat, I’m starving.” Christen suggested.

“Me too.” Tobin nodded, setting the tickets and her new jersey on the dresser at the front of the room, staring at them again for a moment with a huge smile. “After you, beautiful.”

Christen grabbed Tobin’s hand and headed for the door, both of them ready for a night on the town to finish the rest of Tobin’s birthday in style.

 

xxx

 

“Okay.. so… I have an idea..” Tobin giggled, her words slightly running together. Not really slurring them, but not totally nailing the delivery of them either.

She was sitting on the ground, on a small blanket they had bought from a street vendor after dinner. Christen was sitting sideways in her lap with one arm wrapped around Tobin’s neck. There was a mostly empty bottle of wine next to them, wedged down in the sand so it wouldn’t spill on the uneven surface.

Christen giggled too, the effects of the wine making them do almost nothing but giggle for the last half hour. She dropped her face to Tobin’s neck and breathed in her scent as she did.

“What’s your idea?” Christen pondered quietly, letting her hand run up and down Tobin’s forearm softly.

“Me and you.” Tobin started. “Skinny dipping. Right now.”

After dinner at the rooftop bar at their hotel, the couple had made their way through the City Centre, stopping at various street vendors as they walked. They bought the blanket and the wine and made the ten minute walk to the beach, hand in hand as they went. Enjoying the vibe of the old city and how alive it became after the sun went down.

It was dark now and nobody else was around, just them as far as they could see. They found a spot a few feet from where the waves were crashing into the shore, laying out the blanket and settling in to cuddle and listen to the water as it reached the land, as they took pulls right from the bottle of wine. Passing it back and forth in between a series of long, slow kisses.

“I don’t think that’s a very good idea, honey.” Christen laughed, nuzzling herself a little closer to Tobin, even though she was already sitting on top of her.

“I think it’s a great idea.” Tobin insisted, probably against her better judgement.

Swimming naked in the dark, with a decent buzz, in the Mediterranean Sea, was probably not the best overall plan that Tobin had ever come up with. But it was romantic and sexy and the fire running through her right now made those factors outweigh the potential dangers and disaster of what could happen.

Christen lifted her head to look Tobin in the eyes, a loving smile playing at both of their lips. “What do I get if I do it with you?” Christen questioned amusedly.

“Well, you’d get to see me naked..” Tobin teased. “And I know you love that.”

“That’s true, I really do..” Christen bit her bottom lip slightly, trying not to smile even more.

“And, I guess I’ll give you whatever else you want too.” Tobin shrugged. She’d always give Christen anything she wanted, even without the naked swimming.  

Christen pushed herself up without another word, standing with her bare feet in the sand, swaying just slightly before she got her bearings about her again.  She didn’t hesitate any longer, pulling her top over her head and letting it fall to the ground, before undoing the button on her jeans and pulling them down too.

Tobin laughed out loud as stood up as well, both of them undressing completely, before Christen took off jogging towards the water, completely naked, except for the red wine buzz flowing through her and giving her all the confidence in the world.

She waded into the water and dove under before she could second guess herself, probably trying to go under before she was quite deep enough, and having to basically dunk her head under as she swam farther out. Tobin was giggling the whole time as she skipped into the water right behind her girlfriend, getting a little deeper before she dunked herself as well.

“Holy shit!” Christen squealed when she came up for air. “It’s freezing!”

Tobin took a deep breath and swam towards Christen. “Oh my god, it’s so cold!” She agreed, splashing wildly as they tried to get near each other.

Christen went underwater again, trying to let her body adjust to the chilly sea temperatures, knowing that the water was still cold for late May, not yet having warmed up from the sweltering summer sun.

When she came back up again, Tobin was pulling her in. They were standing just deep enough in the water to touch the bottom sand on their tiptoes, the water flowing gently over their shoulders as the waves came in towards the shore.

Christen tried not to think of all the unknown creatures that were probably circling around them, choosing instead to focus on the way Tobin was looking at her with the most intense gaze.

They stood there holding each other, pressing their bodies fully together, Christen’s arms around Tobin’s shoulders, feeling Tobin’s body completely. For as cold as the water was, both of them felt like they were suddenly burning up, every inch of skin that was possible touching, setting them on fire.

“I can’t believe you actually came in.” Tobin grinned, pressing her lips to Christen’s shoulder and then working her way up her jaw slowly.

“I think I’d do just about anything you wanted me to.” Christen smiled, placing her hand on Tobin’s cheek and pulling her face back up so they were eye to eye.

Tobin smiled, pulling Christen in for a slow, opened mouth kiss. “Truly, this has been the best birthday, ever.”

After a few minutes of holding each other, both girls could suddenly see some faint lights down the beach a ways, like there was a small ATV or something making it’s way down the beach, headlights shining in the darkness.

“Uh oh.” Tobin murmured, noting that they were no longer about to be alone.

“Okay, time to go.” Christen ordered, unlatching her hands from around Tobin, and starting to swim back to shore.

They both climbed out of the water and ran back up the sand quickly, unsure of how to dry off before putting their jeans back on.

“Okay, this was a terrible idea!” Christen admitted as she picked her clothes back up. “How do we dry off?”

“Ahhh.. use the blanket?” Tobin suggested, picking it up and tossing it to Christen, a lot of sand coming with it, making Christen dirtier than she had been a moment ago.

“Wet jeans are the worst!” Christen groaned, although she was still smiling, trying to get her jeans on even though her body was still all wet. It would have been a lot more unpleasant without the alcohol, she knew that much.

Tobin just watched her before picking up her clothes too, shrugging like she didn’t know what else to do.

Just as Christen was sliding her top back on, the ATV got close enough for her to make out the lettering scrawled across it, in the darkness.

Policía

Christen’s heart rate spiked just slightly as she read the lettering, turning her head to look back at Tobin, who was bent down, trying to get her shirt over her head, using Christen as a small shield until she was mostly dressed.

Both of their bras and underwear were still sitting in a pile on the sand, not having enough time to put them back on before the ATV had made it to them.

“Tobs, police..” Christen whispered before she turned back around as the ATV came to a stop in front of them.

Tobin grabbed the blanket and tossed it over the mostly empty wine bottle on the sand, hoping they hadn’t noticed the open container. She didn’t really know how many laws they were breaking at the moment.

“Buenas Noches!” One police officer called to them, his partner waving a flashlight up at them, trying to see who was on the beach in the middle of the darkness and what they were doing.

“Hola!” Christen waved, forcing her voice to be confident and not act like they were doing anything wrong.

“¿Está todo bien?” The same man asked again.

Christen’s mostly fluent spanish saving them again as she answered him back.

“Sí, estábamos saliendo.” Christen nodded, letting him know they were just getting ready to leave the beach.

“I’m sorry, we just lost track of time.” She said again, this time attempting to speak in English, hoping they understood.

“Sí, the beach closes at dark, señoras.” The man said again, this time climbing off the small ATV to stand a little closer, his flash light shining down at all their stuff on the ground.

“No problem, we were just leaving.” Christen nodded.

“Swimming tonight?” He asked again as the flashlight settled on their pile of bras and underwear, right next to their shoes.

Tobin gulped, trying to hold in another laugh. She knew she should be worried, but for some reason the red wine in her bloodstream just wouldn’t let her get there.

“Sí, birthday celebration.” Tobin piped up, stepping out from behind Christen, not wanting her to have to do all the explaining. It was her idea that got them into this current situation anyway.

The police officer turned back around to his partner on the ATV and they both chuckled to themselves, saying something to each other that was too quick for Christen to pick up on.

He spun back around and waved the flashlight at them one more time.

“Time to go, señoras.” He continued, signaling back up to the city behind them with a nod of his head. “I don’t want to write any tickets tonight.”

“Of course not.” Christen nodded, smiling at him to know she was being serious. “Gracias.”

He stood there as they bent down and picked up the rest of their stuff. Tobin did her best to swoop the blanket and wine bottle up at the same time, making sure to hide it as they went.

Christen smiled again as she grabbed both of their bras and underwear, still in plain view of both police men, offering them a look that just said whoops, knowing they both had a pretty good idea of what the two women had just been doing.

“Guarde su ropa, next time.” The man said and then laughed. His partner laughed too. 

“Buenas noches.” Tobin waved, turning around to lead Christen back up the sand, until they were hitting the sidewalk, watching as the ATV drove off into the dark, continuing its path down the sand and out of view.

“Oh my god!”

They both lost it, breaking out in a huge fit of laughter as soon as they were alone again.

“Baby, are you kidding me!” Christen gasped, shaking her head at Tobin like she wanted to be mad at what they just did, but couldn’t help and just laugh. “You almost just got us in so much trouble.”

“Nahh!” Tobin laughed too. “We were fine. You’re too hot to arrest. I’m just lucky I had you there to cover for me.”

“Yeah, he totally knew what we were doing.” Christen nodded. “He said next time, keep our clothes on.”

They both laughed again, softer this time as they reflected on what just happened.

“Seriously, best birthday ever.” Tobin smiled, uncovering the wine bottle from under the blanket and taking the last swig of it. She was absolutely loving everything about this night. She lived for a good story like this.

“Yeah, yeah, you’re so confident..” Christen shook her head, trying not to smile any more. She really would do anything Tobin wanted her to.  

Tobin reached out and grabbed Christen’s arm just as she was starting to walk away, pulling her back in for one last kiss. “Thanks for a great day, babe. This is one I’ll remember forever.”

 

xxx

 

They spent the rest of the week doing a lot of sightseeing around Christen’s work schedule. Although she felt more relaxed than she had last year before the Gala, she still had a ton of things to get done before the big night on Saturday.

Thankfully it was only four days, because she probably wouldn't have survived on such little sleep for more than that.

When Christen was working, Tobin would keep herself busy by checking out different parts of the city, always meeting up with Christen when she was done for the day so they could experience as much of Barcelona together as possible.

Christen knew she was going to need some time off to recover from the craziness that the week with Tobin had been. She’d get up early for work and they’d stay out late, trying to take in as much of the Spanish culture as they could while they were here.

Despite it all though, Christen didn’t say no to a single thing. How much she had changed in the almost year it’d been since she’d met Tobin. Last year’s version of Christen would have forfeited the fun evenings in favor of 8 hours of sleep. But Tobin had constantly been pulling more of Christen out of herself since they’d met, and it made the green eyed woman so thankful that she had someone in her life that lived for every adventure. Almost as if she could tangibly feel herself being so much happier for it.

Sure, Tobin would have gladly went back to the hotel and fallen asleep with Christen before the sun went down every night if she had asked, but Christen didn’t want that. She had never felt more alive than she did currently, knowing full well that it had a lot to do with her favorite brown eyed girl.

Being in Spain was so different from what they were used to growing up in the States. Dinner didn’t typically start until 9 or 10 PM in Barcelona, so they’d be out late every night, just trying to soak it all in. There was one night in particular that they didn’t crash till almost 3 am, after finding a Salsa dancing spot that turned out to be one of the funnest nights of their lives. Every time Tobin would suggest they leave so Christen could sleep, she’d just dance away and make Tobin follow her, both of them laughing all the while.

The morning of the Gala, Tobin had arranged for them to have a yoga and spa session on the rooftop of the hotel, complete with facials and full body massages. The yoga was mostly an hour of Tobin watching Christen master every pose, instead of trying to do them herself.

She just wanted to make sure Christen was as relaxed as possible before her big night, knowing how much work had went into the lead up to it.

“Oh my gosh, that was glorious.” Christen commented as they rode the elevator back down to their room after their 90 minute massages had finished. They had to start getting ready soon to head over to the venue before the Gala started.

“Yeah, that was definitely the best massage I’ve ever had that didn’t come from you.” Tobin winked, letting her hand find Christen’s lower back as they stepped off the elevator on their floor; both of them still wearing the white cotton robes that were complementary with the spa package.

“Wait, did yours coming with a happy ending that mine didn’t?” Christen questioned teasingly. “They better not have been holding out on me!”

Tobin laughed at Christen’s joke before responding. “Unfortunately not, I kept waiting for it, but it just never happened. What a bummer..”

“I know, honestly, I don’t think they were too far off.” Christen quipped, thinking back on just how good that massage had felt.

“Well, I think we still have a little time, if you need to relax a bit more before we leave?” Tobin wiggled her eyebrows suggestively at the turn the whole conversation had taken.

“Shower?” Christen proposed as they swung the hotel room door open, suddenly feeling more wound up than usual.

“Shower.”

Tobin’s robe was dropping to the floor before the door was even slamming shut behind them.

Her hands found Christen’s hips as she lightly pushed her towards the bathroom, turning the shower on, just as Christen was untying her own robe.

“K but be careful.” Christen instructed as Tobin’s lips were on her neck, both of them stepping into the water once they knew it was hot enough. “I don’t want to get my hair wet, so I can curl it easier.”

“Yes, dear.” Tobin laughed at how Christen that request was, spinning her girlfriend around and backing her gently up against the wall of the shower.

“You’re so sexy.” Tobin husked as she kissed her way down Christen’s neck, to the tops of her breasts, before taking her time with each nipple, just for a moment.

Christen took a deep breath as Tobin’s lips found her, feeling her nipples harden at even the smallest contact of Tobin’s warm mouth on her. Once again loving how good it felt to be taken care of by her girlfriend.

Tobin slowly dropped to her knees, letting the water cascade down over her and blocking it from hitting Christen too much above the waist, as she worked.

Her hands then found Christen’s thighs and she softly inched her legs apart, making room for herself, so she could get to what Christen really wanted. Going slow but being diligent with her movements.

She placed a few kisses down Christen’s stomach, letting her tongue lick along her soft skin, making a path down towards Christen’s most sensitive area.

Tobin didn’t tease for long, giving in and sucking Christen’s clit into her mouth then, massaging the sensitive nub with her tongue, until she heard Christen moan loudly above the noise of the shower.

“Fuck. Honey..” Christen whined out, hating how close she was already, before things had even really started.

Christen’s hand found the back of Tobin’s head, pulling her face even closer into her and bucking her hips a little for the added pressure and a slightly better angle.

Tobin let her left hand drop from Christen’s thigh, trailing it in towards Christen’s core, pulling her face back to breathe for a moment. Just as she did that, she inserted two fingers inside of Christen, pumping in and out slowly before picking up the pace, matching the tempo that Christen had set with her hips.

Christen’s eyes were shut tightly and her head had fallen back against the wall as she basked in the sensation, feeling every stroke that Tobin’s long, skillful fingers were making inside of her.

Tobin leaned back in and licked a path up Christen’s folds once more, before she was sucking on her clit again. That was all Christen needed to fall over the edge, coming quickly after only a couple minutes.

“I love you.” Christen moaned out, unable to help how loud she was being, and not even caring. “Fuckkk. I love you.”

Tobin didn’t ease up until Christen’s hips stopped thrusting into her, finally slowing her movements until they were both stilled completely.

Christen caught her breath for a second and softly latched onto the back of Tobin’s head again, tilting her head back so they could make eye contact, as Tobin was licking her lips and swallowing the rest of Christen’s wetness.

“Come here.” Christen begged, softly asking Tobin to stand up, wanting to show her just how amazing that had been.  

Tobin smiled and slowly pushed herself up, sliding her hand around the back of Christen’s neck and pushing her tongue into Christen’s mouth, kissing her deeply.

Christen moaned again as she tasted herself on Tobin’s tongue, not pulling back until she ran out of oxygen.

Tobin kissed her lips one more time, before letting her forehead rest against Christen’s, as they stood there in silence for a moment.

“Love you.” Tobin whispered when she knew Christen was coherent again, smiling at her before she backed up and dunked herself under the shower head, starting to wet her hair.

Christen stayed resting against the wall for another moment, watching as Tobin had her eyes shut, until she had the feeling back in her legs completely.

She just marveled at the simple smile Tobin had on her face, and how happy she seemed. It gave Christen a rush of butterflies suddenly, realizing once again just how in love she was with the woman in front of her.

She giggled softly to herself at the thrill of it all, before she was pushing herself up off the wall.

Christen moved to pour some shampoo into her hands and help Tobin wash her hair, making sure to keep her own hair out of the water as much as possible, until they were both clean enough to climb out once again.

Christen was definitely ready for the night ahead of her after that.

 

xxx

 

“Okay, Tobs, turn around.” Christen yelled from where she had stopped behind Tobin.

Tobin had been so engrossed in where she was headed that she didn’t even notice Christen had dropped away and was no longer right by her side, both of them trying to make their way through the throngs of people without getting separated.

She had given up on trying to hold her hand five mintues ago when Christen just couldn’t keep pace at the speed she wanted to walk at.

Tobin’s head jerked around when she heard Christen’s voice again, looking for where her girlfriend was, before spotting her a few yards back.

Christen had her phone out, already holding it up in front of her face, pointed right at Tobin.

Tobin paused and let a huge smile take over her face, knowing Christen wanted to take a picture of her. She was standing proudly in her new jersey, making sure the crest was visible under her long hair that was lying down over her shoulders.

They were outside of Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s home stadium; getting ready to head inside and find their seats, still an hour and a half before the game started. But Tobin wouldn’t let them be any later than they were now, not wanting to miss a single moment of action before kickoff.

Christen giggled when she brought the phone back down, smiling at it before she sent the picture to the group chat she was in with Tobin’s family, so they could all see how happy she was to be going to the game.

“Let’s take one of both of us, too.” Tobin suggested as Christen approached her.

They huddled together and Tobin took Christen’s phone, holding it out and angling it so they could both be seen, with the infamous stadium still visible in the background.

Tobin sent it to herself before she even handed the phone back to Christen, and then immediately set it as her new wallpaper.

“Damn, we look good.” She smiled, reaching for Christen’s hand now that she was ready to go again. “Keep up, would ya?” She winked, not wanting to get split up and not willing to slow down.

Christen shook her head again at Tobin’s eagerness, but allowed herself to be pulled along, loving how happy Tobin was and going along with whatever she wanted to do. This was her evening.

The whole atmosphere was unlike anything Christen had ever seen in her life. And Tobin had seen some big games, even played in some huge games, but she had never seen anything like the pregame buildup of El Clasico.

There were so many people.

If Christen hadn’t had Tobin leading her through the crowds, she would have undoubtedly been overwhelmed by just how crazy the whole thing was, but having Tobin’s hand in hers made everything just fine, just like it always did.

And even if she did get overwhelmed in large crowds, this was all worth it, seeing the way Tobin’s eyes lit up as she watched the teams take the field for warm ups a little while later.

She wouldn’t even sit down, pointing out players to Christen like she understood what was going on. After a while, Christen just had to give up and offer to go get them beers, just so Tobin would stop rambling and breathe for a moment.

The few minutes just before kickoff though, those were Christen’s favorites.

She’d had her phone out again, videoing Tobin from where she sat on her right side, as they were still standing up in their seats, in the highest level of the stadium.

Tobin was joining over 99,000 other people, all of whom were chanting in unison, as Barcelona and Real Madrid made the walk out of the tunnel, before the Sunday night game was about to begin.

Christen couldn’t peel her eyes away from Tobin’s smile.

The brown eyed woman was holding up her piece of the tifo that the whole stadium was involved in, a blue piece of paper that matched the others in their section.

Christen could make out the words Força Barça, as she looked around at the whole crowd slowly. All of it spelled out in various sections of red and blue and yellow colors.

Christen was stunned at how passionate everyone was.  

She looked back at Tobin and just started to laugh, not even able to hear her own voice through how loud the crowd was being in that moment.

Tobin was chanting to every word, like she’d been to this stadium a thousand times before. Bouncing up and down happily like a kid in a candy store, a huge grin plastered on her face as she looked around, completely soaking it all in. 

It wasn’t until she spun to her right that she even noticed Christen was filming her again, smiling even wider when she noticed the phone and Christen’s eyes locked on her. She let her jaw drop a little and fell perfectly back in with the chant, raising her banner a little higher to show how proud she was to support her team, looking right at Christen the whole time.

As soon as the chant died out, Christen opened her Instagram and quickly uploaded the video of Tobin, tagging her and adding a caption.

El Clasico with my love @tobinheath. I’m pretty sure she’s never been happier.

Christen pocketed her phone, just as the ref blew his whistle, with the game finally starting. Tobin wrapped her arm around Christen’s waist and leaned into her ear, trying to be heard over the loud cheers. “Isn’t this the coolest thing ever?”

Christen leaned into the half hug a little bit, before turning back to the game with just as big of a smile, nodding in agreement and figuring she might as well join in with the rest of them.

“Let’s go, Barca!!”

 

xxx

 

“Which airline, amigos?”

The taxi driver was looking through the rearview mirror, back at Tobin and Christen who were sitting in the backseat, trying to figure out where to drop them off at.

They had just entered the airport departures lane and traffic was hectic around Barcelona-El-Prat on this Monday morning.

“United, please.” Tobin spoke up, her attention pulled from her phone momentarily when she heard the question.

A minute later, the taxi was pulling over in front of United Airlines check-in counter, with Tobin excited to see there was a curbside check-in area, so they wouldn’t have to haul their large suitcases through the airport longer than necessary. 

Tobin quickly opened her text messages and fired off a ‘Call Me’ text to her mom, just as Christen was paying their ride fare.

“Gracias!” They both smiled, moving out of the backseat and heading for their luggage in the trunk.

“I got it, babe.” Tobin mentioned, pocketing her phone again as she went to lift their things out of the back of the car.

As soon as their luggage was on the ground, Christen slammed the trunk closed and they watched as the taxi took off again, leaving them to check their bags and head inside the airport. 

“Let’s just do curbside, it’s easier that way.” Tobin commented, waiting for Christen to agree.

Christen pulled her suitcase along behind Tobin, the few feet it took to make it to the United counter, before Tobin felt her phone vibrating in her pocket.

Perfect timing.

Tobin dug her phone out and looked down at the screen, Mom, lighting up the screen, along with the picture of both of them that popped up every time Cindy called Tobin.

“Hey, answer this while I check us in.” Tobin hummed, attempting to hand the phone to Christen quickly.

Christen looked at it as it was still in Tobin’s hand, a little puzzled about why they would take a call at this very minute. “Can’t we call her back in a few? We’re a little busy here.”

“I got the bags, babe. I already answered it.” Tobin insisted, holding the phone out a littler further.

Christen looked at the screen and could see that Tobin had already accepted the call. She tried not to be annoyed with the timing, taking the phone out of Tobin’s hand as she had requested.

‘Hey Cindy, it’s Christen.’ Tobin faintly heard her say, watching as Christen spun around to talk to her mom, leaving Tobin to deal with her two large suitcases.

Tobin stepped up to the counter and checked them in, showing her ID in order for their seat reservations to be found, watching over her shoulder for a moment at where Christen had wondered to, making sure she was occupied.

Tobin made small talk with the airline attendant while their luggage tags were being printed, and soon enough, all three suitcases were tagged and handed over, disappearing down the conveyor belt in route to their flight.

Tobin approached Christen again, where she was right in front of the automatic doors of the airport.

“Everything good?” She pondered, watching as Christen hung up the phone after the quick call.

“Yeah, I told her we just got to the airport and she just said for us to call her later. She wants to hear about our week.” Christen nodded.

They stepped inside the airport and up to the United ticket kiosks, both of them finding their own computer screen, to print their boarding passes.

Tobin picked the screen directly across from Christen, printing three tickets out quickly and shoving two of them into her backpack, before Christen rounded the kiosks to stand next to her.

They got in the security line, Christen leaning on Tobin as they waited, still overly tired from her crazy few weeks, and up earlier than she would have liked to be after their late night last night.

When they finally made it through security, Tobin waited with a smile on her face as Christen tied her shoes again, holding Christen’s purse while she did.

“We need coffee.” Christen hummed as she took her purse back, glancing around the terminal to see where they should head. “Let’s see what gate we are and then we can walk that way.” 

They were both looking up at the departures board that was positioned above them, trying to find the gate that they were taking off from.

“A7, it looks like.” Christen pointed, spotting the United Airlines flight 2034 to Los Angeles on the screen after scanning for a moment.

Tobin smiled at her. “Well there’s coffee in the D terminal.” She pointed to her right. “Wanna go grab something there?”

“I bet they have coffee at every terminal, honey.” Christen commented, not really seeing the point in walking the opposite direction of where they needed to go.

“Yeah, I’m sure they do.” Tobin nodded. “But A7 isn’t our gate.”

Christen looked back up at the screen and lined up Los Angeles under the United flights with her eyes, to make sure she had read it correctly. When she was sure she had, she visibly pointed at it again, trying to get Tobin to follow her finger.

“Yes it is, look.” She insisted, turning her head to look at Tobin, to see where her eyes were pointing.

Tobin wasn’t even looking up at the screens, just grinning dumbly at Christen instead.

“Nope, looks like D13 is our gate.” She said then, looking back at the board and pointing like Christen had just done.

Christen’s eyebrows scrunched together in clear confusion, looking to where Tobin was pointing and reading what D13 said.

“Babe, D13 is to..” She started and Tobin cut her off.

“I know.” She nodded happily.

“And that’s not LA…” Christen continued, trying to make sense of what Tobin was saying.

Tobin just laughed. “Baby, I know that. But we’re not going to LA. Not today, anyway.”

“I’m really confused.” Christen tried to smile, but her face was blank like she had no idea what was happening and couldn’t make sense of what she thought Tobin was saying.

Tobin just reached down for Christen’s hand, lacing her fingers in between her girlfriend’s and pulling them towards terminal D without trying to explain it much further. 

“Christen Press, I think you deserve a vacation.”

xxx

Chapter Text

“I can’t just go on a vacation, Tobs..” Christen piped up as they walked, her stride just a step behind Tobin’s, even though their hands were still intertwined.

Almost as if she was protesting, making it a little harder for Tobin to lead her along, by not keeping pace.

“Yes, you can.” Tobin shrugged, weaving them through a group of teenagers that had stopped in the middle of the terminal, blocking the path of most of the pedestrians that were trying to get by.

Tobin didn’t stop walking until they were in front of a coffee shop in terminal D, turning to Christen and giving her another smile.

“Want your usual?” She asked, like getting Christen’s coffee order was the most important thing for them to discuss right now, even though there were several people still ahead of them in line.

“I…” Christen shook her head, ignoring Tobin’s question. “I can’t just miss work, baby, I have a bunch of meetings already scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. I only get two days off for travel.”

“No you don’t.” Tobin hummed, taking another step forward as the line moved. “Jonathan cleared your schedule last month when I told him about this. You’re free for the next 10 days.”

“You talked to him?” Christen questioned, her lips forming into a closed mouth smile at the prospect of having some time off of work, even if she didn’t quite believe it yet.

“Yep, remember? We’re best friends now.” Tobin grinned vexatiously.

That was sorta true, Tobin and Jonathan had gotten to know each other well when they spent time together in Africa, but it's not like they kept in touch regularly.

“Okay..” Christen went quiet for a moment. “But we have to get back to Zoey. Did you forget we have a dog?” She voiced her next concern with Tobin’s mysterious plan.

“Babe, your parents have Zoey.” Tobin countered. “You know they love watching her, and they also know we won’t be back until next weekend.”

“So you told them about this too?” Christen wondered again, trying to figure out who knew about this before she did. Her head felt like it was spinning.

“I told all of the important people.” Tobin nodded seriously, turning to face Christen as the line moved again.

“Alright.. so.. what? We’re just gonna buy different plane tickets instead of going home?”

She really was trying to keep up, or catch up; and Tobin, in classic fashion, wasn’t making it all that easy with her lack of explanation.

“I have our tickets.” Tobin smiled, slinging her orange backpack off her shoulders and opening it, pulling out the two boarding passes, listed in both of their names, that she had just printed at the United kiosk while Christen wasn’t looking.

Christen grabbed the tickets in her hand and narrowed her eyes a bit as she pulled them closer to examine them. She was quiet for a moment as her brain was processing what was going on, until she looked back up at Tobin.

“We’re seriously going to back to Italy? ..Today?” Christen’s voice raised in excitement, knowing that’s what she had seen listed on gate D13 earlier and what she was reading on the tickets in front of her now.

“Seriously..” Tobin nodded. “I figured we had so much fun there last year, so why not go back?”

“Oh my gosh..” Christen trailed off as a grin spread across her face, thinking of her next question. “Wait, so why Florence?” She asked then, wondering why Tobin had picked that city. Not that she minded.

“Because that’s where the airport is.” Tobin smirked, still trying not to give too much away.

“But we’re not staying there?”

“The rest is a surprise.” Tobin smiled again, just as they were almost to the counter. “So, same coffee order as usual, right babe?”

Christen rolled her eyes, wanting to argue about being kept in the dark on this, but it was their turn to order before she could say anything else. “Yes, please.”

Tobin pulled out her wallet and ordered a latte for herself and a macchiato for Christen, paying with a few euros that she had acquired over the past week in Barcelona.

Christen walked away so she wasn’t blocking the other patrons waiting to get their coffee and was now standing off to the side, in a quiet corner of the terminal, while Tobin waited for their drinks in front of the counter. She was fidgeting with the strap on her purse, the way she did when she needed to keep her hands busy; usually when she was lost in thought.

Tobin approached her a minute later, moving to hand over her coffee, trying to pull Christen back to reality.

“Chris..” Tobin muttered when her girlfriend didn’t say anything.

“Hmmm?” Christen hummed, finally turning her head to look at Tobin again.

“You’re doing that thing where you zone out and scrunch up your face like you’re worried...”

Tobin ran her hand through Christen’s dark hair, until she stilled it on the back of her head, and then pulled her in; kissing the spot right between her eyebrows that always creases together when she’s stressed, hoping it would relax her.

That seemed to help, at least for a moment.

Christen grinned at the contact and shook her head when she leaned back, like she was actively shaking her thoughts away. “Sorry, I’m not worried.. I guess I am just very surprised and a little in shock. I expected to be going home today.”

Tobin smiled like she understood and held out her coffee a little farther, until Christen actually took it out of her hands.

“Oh!” Christen’s head snapped up again then.”Honey, our bags! They still think we’re going to LA.”

Tobin laughed now at how cute Christen was, the concern still evident in her tone. “Nope, I took care of them. They’re coming with us, too.”

Christen went quiet for another moment.

“So that’s what you were doing when you made me talk to your mom?” She caught on then, figuring out why Tobin was so adamant about her answering Cindy’s call while they were getting dropped off.

“Yep.” Tobin beamed, feeling so proud of herself. “I wanted the surprise to last a little longer.”

“We’re really doing this?” Christen asked hopefully, like she wouldn’t let herself fully believe it. It seemed way too good to be true.

“Yeah.” Tobin smiled, nodding quickly. “I mean, if you want to, of course.”

Christen nodded her head positively and stepped into Tobin, burying her face in Tobin’s neck and hugging her tightly. “You’re so sneaky..”

“I try, sometimes.” Tobin murmured, wrapping an arm around Christen and hugging her back.

Christen lifted her head then to make eye contact, trying to get Tobin to crack and tell her the rest of the plan, knowing she could usually use certain looks to make Tobin give in to just about anything.

“Where are we going when we get to Florence?” Christen purred in her sexiest voice, knowing what it did to her girlfriend.

“That is top secret.” Tobin shrugged, recognizing exactly what Christen was doing and trying to be strong against it.

Christen pulled back from their hug a little and looked around, making sure nobody was paying attention to them in the corner of the terminal, before she leaned back in.

“Please tell me, baby.” Christen tried again. She then nuzzled in next to Tobin’s ear and bit her earlobe, pulling on it with her teeth lightly. “I want to know how soon I get to have my way with you.”

Tobin almost audibly moaned, a surge of electricity soaring through her at the contact of Christen’s mouth on her, even if it only lasted a half a second.

“Babe..” She husked out and swallowed thickly. “We are in public, that is so unfair.”

Christen laughed quietly and gave it one last try, giving Tobin her softest, most loving eyes. Her dark green pools holding eye contact with Tobin’s, until they both smiled.

“Ughhh.” Tobin whined, practically stomping her foot, knowing she’d lost. “We’re flying to Florence and then renting a car to drive to Tuscany.” She finally gave in, wanting Christen to look forward to this and not being able to hold out when Christen looked at her like that.

“A friend of mine who I know from when I lived in Paris, her family has a villa in one of the little towns about an hour outside of the city. Her dad is a businessman in Florence, so they rarely get up there, and just use it for vacation, mostly. They’re letting us use it for the week.”

“Tobs!” Christen’s jaw dropped, before she smiled victoriously, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s waist and hugging her again.

“I just want you to be able to relax completely. You can catch up on your sleep and we can just lay by the pool and not think about anything important at all. You deserve that so much after all the work you’ve done this year.” Tobin explained.

“Honey, this is so amazing of you.” Christen hummed, pulling her even closer in their hug.

“We don’t even have to do any lame touristy stuff, just whatever you want, okay?” Tobin continued. “Work and Zoey and all your other responsibilities are taken care of for the next week, and then we’ll head back to LA and to our crazy lives.”

“Would it be weird if I cried right now?” Christen asked, laughing softly and burying her face in Tobin’s shoulder as she swallowed down a lump of happy emotions that were building up in her throat.

“Nothing you do is weird.” Tobin mused with a smile, turning her face just enough to place a quick kiss to Christen’s hair.

“I’m so excited.” Christen squealed quietly into Tobin, letting the reality of a vacation actually sink in.

“Yeah? So do you want to go, then?” Tobin teased, cocking her head just slightly in question.

Christen lifted her head to look at her again.

“Hmm.. do I get to have you naked all week, and eat a ton of Italian food and sleep past 9 am every day?” She returned playfully.

“Absolutely, yes to all three.” Tobin beamed, already looking forward to it all.

“Yeah.” Christen leaned in and pecked Tobin’s lips before she spoke again. “I definitely want to go to Italy.”

 

xxx

 

“Okay, I think.. This should be the place?” Tobin pondered aloud, coming to a stop on the narrow gravel road they were driving down, so Christen could confirm that the numbers on the stone driveway marking matched the address they had been given.

“Number 12?” Christen questioned, ducking her head enough to look out of Tobin’s window to try and see for herself.

“Yep.” Tobin confirmed, putting on her blinker, even though nobody was behind them on the mostly quiet country road. “We made it!”

They peered out through the windows happily as Tobin took the long driveway slowly, unsure of what exactly they would find once they got to the end of the lane.  

They had landed in Florence early afternoon, and after waiting a bit for their luggage and picking up their rental car, they navigated their way into the Italian countryside, to start their week of relaxation.

The whole process had been pretty hilarious to both of them.

Neither had actually driven a car in a foreign country before, so Christen insisted that Tobin be the one to drive them. She didn’t trust herself enough to avoid panic at the first crazy driver she’d surely encounter on the road. She’d heard stories of how wild Italian drivers were and wanted no part in it, happy to let Tobin take the lead through it all.  

On top of that, their small Fiat with two doors was hardly big enough to hold all three of their large suitcases and still fit them in comfortably. In fact, the car was so small that Christen had to slide her seat all the way up to the dash and sit the seat back straight up and down, just so her biggest bag would even go in the backseat. Tobin had to use her strong arms to cram it in for a minute before they actually got it to fit.

When they both finally had their doors closed, they turned to look at each other and just busted out laughing, knowing all along that they wouldn’t want to struggle through this trip with anyone else but each other.

Christen did her best to co-pilot, using google maps to navigate for Tobin as they made their way out of Florence, and as soon as they hit the smaller roads, they were in awe of the landscapes.

They passed rolling Tuscan hills covered in vineyards and tall grass and trees, the sun shining perfectly for them the whole time, until they made it to the small village where they would be staying for the week.

Both of them were left almost speechless as they pulled into the circular parking area at the end of the small lane, stopping right in front of the villa, as Tobin turned the car off.

“This looks…” Christen paused, trying to find adequate wording. “Insanely nice.”

“I would say so..” Tobin agreed, both of them looking out the windows at the villa and surrounding land on the property.

The house was tucked down the gravel lane far enough that it was secluded by trees, but they had passed several other driveways along the road, so it wasn’t completely isolated from people around them, making it just private enough to be left alone if they wanted to be.

There were cypress and olive and fruit trees lining the green grass around the front and sides of the house, for as far as they could see without walking the property yet.

“Wanna go check it out?” Tobin asked then, turning to look at Christen before she opened her door.

“Definitely.” Christen beamed, both of them pulling at the door handles and stepping out onto the paved portion of driveway where they had parked.

Tobin grabbed her phone and pulled up the email her friend had sent her with instructions on how to get into the house and any pressing information they would need, quickly finding the hidden key box, before letting them inside.

The house itself was stunning.

On the upstairs level there was a huge living room full of windows, letting the sunlight fill the room naturally, making it seem warm and inviting; with a big wood burning fireplace in the center of the room. That opened up to a hallway, leading to a giant kitchen, accented by stainless steel appliances and a huge granite countertop island. There were pots and pans and every cooking utensil imaginable stocked inside of the glass cupboards, like some sort of Italian chef’s dream.

“Holy shit, honey.” Christen laughed in disbelief as they made their way through the top floor, room by room. “This is like my dream house.”

Three bedrooms were on the upper floor on the opposite side of the house from where a large dining room led to a deck area just off from the kitchen.

When they were done touring the upstairs, they both stepped out onto the back deck and were blown away again.

There were more Tuscan hills for as far as they could see in the distance surrounding the big backyard. They could spot random houses scattered throughout the vast greenery in front of them, visible for miles from where the house sat perched on it’s own hill in the countryside.

Directly in front of them in the backyard, was a big pool on the right side of the property, fenced in with several beach chairs lining the pool deck. A giant patio table and marble work surface with a sink, right next to it.

On the left side of the yard was a sitting area with two cushioned benches and a coffee table in between them, accompanying more panoramic views of the scenery out in front of it.

And farther down the yard, a wood burning barbecue pit and covered dining area.

“I can’t believe how nice this is.” Tobin commented again, shaking her head at how fortunate she was to know so many people around the world.

People that allowed her amazing opportunities such as spending a week on a fantasy vacation with the love of her life. She knew she’d never be able to say thank you enough for how blessed she was.

They made their way downstairs, where they found another bedroom, the largest of the four, with double wooden doors that opened right to the backyard, leading down to the pool just a few yards away. There was a bathroom attached to that bedroom, with a giant bathtub and granite shower in it.

“Okay, we’re definitely taking this room.” Christen mused as they stepped out onto the brick patio outside of the basement bedroom.

The couple walked down to the pool area to take a closer look, spotting an outdoor shower along the corner wall of the fenced in area. There were enough tall trees around the pool to make it totally excluded from the rest of the property, making it the perfect place to relax and suntan and probably do other things. Both of the envisioning the possibilities at the same time to themselves.  

They then made their way over to the seating area on the edge of the property, standing in front of the benches and looking out over the Tuscan landscape another time, really taking it all in.

“This is like a fairytale.” Christen spoke in shock again, moving in to hug Tobin from behind. She wrapped her arms tightly around Tobin, resting her chin on her shoulder; thinking again of how thoughtful this all was for her to arrange. “I literally feel like this is all fake.”

“I had no idea it was going to be this nice.” Tobin agreed a second time, latching onto Christen’s hands that were resting on her chest.

“Thank you so much for all this, Tobs.” Christen murmured, kissing Tobin’s jawline as best she could from her angle.

“You’re welcome.” Tobin smiled, pulling Christen’s arms tighter around her. “It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

They stood there quietly, just listening to the birds and the breeze as they embraced for a few minutes, before Tobin broke the silence again.

“Look, babe.. pool to shower to bedroom.” She turned them around and pointed, pausing at each thing before moving her hand again. “All right here for us.”

Christen laughed, knowing what Tobin was insinuating. “Looks like we aren’t gonna need any clothes at all.”

Tobin chuckled, grabbing Christen’s face and kissing her soundly. “My thoughts exactly.”

xxx

 

“Babe?” Christen whispered, leaning in from where she had squatted down, placing a kiss to Tobin’s bare shoulder, letting her lips linger against her hot skin for a moment.

The brown haired woman was lying on her stomach on a beach chair, soaking up the sun on the deck of the pool. Secluded from the rest of the world, in the backyard of their villa.

Christen had just finished doing some meditation and yoga on the grass behind the pool area, needing to burn off some energy and trying to stay in shape through their week of vacation. It was a hot afternoon and she was sweating lightly through her sports bra.

“Hmmm?” Tobin breathed in response, not even half awake.

Her eyes were shut and she had been drifting in and out of sleep for over an hour, after finishing a surfing magazine that she was reading. She hadn’t been able to keep her eyes open any longer. There was a towel balled up under her head, giving her a little support as she laid with the chair completely flat.

“Your shoulders are getting pretty red.” Christen hummed again, kissing Tobin’s skin a second time. “Do you want some more sunscreen?”

Christen could tell the sun was doing a number on Tobin, the golden hue of her skin contrasting vividly against the small, white bikini that she was wearing. She had been in the sun all afternoon and it wouldn’t be long before she went from perfectly tanned to burnt.

“You do it..” Tobin mumbled, not even opening her eyes or lifting her head as she answered.

Christen smiled to herself at how cute a sleepy Tobin was. It was one of her favorite ways to observe her girlfriend, with how peaceful the brown haired woman seemed every time she drifted to sleep.

After a few moments, Christen reached for the bottle of sunscreen that was sitting on the table next to Tobin and then sat down on the edge of her chair, taking up just enough space to keep her balance. She squirted some of the lotion into her hands and rubbed them together, making sure the cool liquid had warmed up enough so she didn’t startle Tobin when she touched her.

She started at Tobin’s shoulders, working the thick lotion in slowly, making sure not to miss any exposed skin. Even for early summer, the sun felt like it was more powerful than usual today, with the air temperature sitting easily somewhere in the 90’s.

After Tobin’s knotted bikini top had gotten in the way a few times, Christen paused her movements and set the lotion bottle down. She grinned to herself and then untied Tobin’s top, letting the skinny bikini straps fall loosely towards the ground, giving herself uninterrupted access to Tobin’s muscular back, so it was easier to work.

Tobin breathed out a small breath of laughter when she realized what Christen had just done, before going quiet again, letting her girlfriend continue exactly how she wanted.

Christen picked up the lotion bottle again and poured some more into her hands, moving down Tobin’s back and around to her sides, grazing the edges of her breasts lightly, and then moving on again, until she had her whole back mostly covered.

She then concentrated on Tobin’s lower back for a moment, letting her soft hands roam over the back dimples right above Tobin’s swimsuit bottoms, around the sides of her hips and back, massaging firmly as she went.

When Christen was sure she hadn’t missed any uncovered skin, she slid her hands under the fabric of Tobin’s white bikini bottoms, rubbing over her firm ass cheeks, teasing slowly to see how Tobin would react.

She was biting her bottom lip trying not to laugh as she did it, knowing she was being pretty obvious about trying to turn Tobin on.

Tobin lifted her head with a smile, simply turning to face the other direction, before laying it back down on the towel that was bunched up underneath her.

Christen took the acknowledgement as a sign to continue, knowing how much Tobin was enjoying her hands on her.

Christen then pulled her hands back out of Tobin’s bottoms and stood up, moving to position herself on the bottom of the chair, kneeling in between Tobin’s legs.

She picked up the lotion bottle again, and this time, let tiny droplets of the liquid fall into random patterns on the back of Tobin’s legs, dotting her tanned skin, before Christen moved to rub them in.

Tobin laughed again at the cool sensation hitting her skin, but stayed quiet, a big smile still playing at her lips as her eyes remained closed.

Christen began to massage the lotion in again, running her hands up and down Tobin’s left leg first, from her ankle all the way up to her butt, letting her fingers graze the inside of Tobin’s thigh, too close to where she was starting to throb. And when she was done with that, she did the same thing to Tobin’s right leg, making her movements even more obvious, before letting her hands roam under Tobin’s bikini again, this time from the bottom side.

“Babe…” Tobin finally gave in with a whine, when Christen’s exploration had become too much to ignore.

She was loving how her girlfriend’s hands felt on her, but now she was completely worked up; and Christen was intentionally avoiding the exact spots that Tobin needed her to find.

“What, honey?” Christen questioned in her sultriest tone, smiling wickedly to herself and looking off into the distance so she wouldn’t laugh. Pretending like she didn’t know what she was purposely doing to Tobin. She playfully liked to watch Tobin squirm sometimes, knowing the effect she could easily have on her.

Tobin buried her face in the towel for a moment, before turning her head to the left again and letting out a shaky breath.

“You’re torturing me.”

Christen laughed in the sexiest way, leaning down from her kneeled position and placing a kiss to the back of Tobin’s neck, happy to finally be getting the acknowledgement to her movements that she was looking for.

“Turn over.” Christen husked out then, right in Tobin’s ear. She kissed her neck a second time and then stood up.

Tobin took another breath and grinned, not even pausing to consider Christen’s request. She leaned up on her side and flipped over, her untied bikini top dropping to the concrete next to the pool chair.

Christen walked over to the pool and dunked her hands in, rising off the remaining lotion, before walking back to the chair Tobin was lying on. She picked up a towel and dried her hands again, moving to kneel back on the chair, straddling Tobin’s leg as her hands found Tobin’s stomach for balance.

They smiled lovingly at each other as Christen’s right hand started to roam down her stomach again, slowly tracing random patterns with her fingertips as she went.

Tobin gripped the edge of the chair with her left hand, trying to keep herself grounded as she felt Christen’s fingertips dance on her skin, every nerve ending being lit on fire as she went.

Christen let her right hand dip under the edge of Tobin’s bikini bottoms again and Tobin sucked in a breath, anticipating the contact that her girlfriend was about to make.

Christen paused with her hand just above Tobin’s center and then leaned down to kiss Tobin’s lips for a moment, biting on her bottom lip and giving it a tug with her teeth before she pulled back.

Tobin let a small moan escape in her throat when Christen let her bottom lip go, reaching her right hand up and gripping Christen’s waist softly to steady her.

“Please, babe.” Tobin whispered then, feeling like she might explode if Christen didn’t touch her right then.

Christen leaned back on her heels and finally let her two fingers trail down to Tobin’s center, running them slowly over her clit once, before continuing down through her folds.

“Mmmmm.” Tobin moaned softly at the first bit of contact.

Christen smiled and trailed her fingertips back up, pulling her hand out of Tobin’s bikini again.

“Lift up for a sec.” Christen hummed, moving to hook her fingers in Tobin’s bottoms as she did. “These have to go.”

Tobin complied quickly, lifting her hips enough for Christen to pull her swimsuit down past her knees, giving herself unhindered access to Tobin. Tobin kicked the material the rest of the way off, so she was lying on the beach chair completely naked, ready for Christen to do as she pleased.

Christen trailed her fingers back up Tobin’s inner thigh, not wanting to tease her anymore. She let her hand wander up, until she was tracing over Tobin’s slit, suddenly able to feel Tobin’s wetness now. She gently inserted two fingers into Tobin, letting her adjust before she started to move her hand.

“Baby.” Tobin hummed again, letting her eyes shut as she took Christen in. The throbbing between her legs easing just slightly from the pressure of it.

Christen started to pump her fingers in and out of Tobin slowly, wanting this to last for Tobin as long as possible, reacting perfectly to the soft moans coming out of Tobin.

“Can you go a little deeper?” Tobin questioned after a minute, opening her eyes to meet Christen’s again, her brown eyes pleading for more.

Christen pushed in a little farther on the next stroke, twisting her hand so her thumb could reach Tobin’s clit as she did, sending another wave of pleasure through her girlfriend. She curled her fingers inside of Tobin as she pulled them back out, hitting the exact spot Tobin wanted her to.

Tobin moaned louder at that. “That feels s- so good.” She whimpered out.

Christen continued to quicken her movements, before leaning down and kissing Tobin’s breast softly, working her lips in a line, until she was sucking Tobin’s nipple into her mouth, while continuing her strokes inside of Tobin.

“Fuckkk.” Tobin moaned again, her breathing picking up rapidly. “Babeee. Fuck.”

Christen circled her thumb tightly over Tobin’s clit again and gave her nipple another soft tug with her teeth, all at once sending Tobin over the edge and into a climax.

“Oh my goddd.” Tobin breathed, not even bothering to try and be quiet. There was nobody around to hear her anyway.

Christen pulled back from Tobin’s breast to watch her, loving how Tobin looked when she was orgasming, completely at Christen’s mercy.

“I love you.” Christen whispered sweetly in Tobin’s ear, slowing her strokes in and out of Tobin, as her girlfriend came down, her breath heaving in her chest at the pleasure of it all.

Tobin panted harder, her eyes still shut tightly as she basked in the sensation. Christen words almost making her come again, with how much she truly felt them.  

Tobin’s hand found the back of Christen’s head, holding her face close until she was completely done.

Christen slowly pulled her fingers out of Tobin, tracing them up to her hip and wiping Tobin’s wetness off. She then grabbed Tobin’s face softly with her right hand, silently asking for Tobin to look at her.

Tobin opened her eyes to Christen right above her, both of them holding eye contact passionately.

“So good.” Tobin said again, taking a last deep breath to slow her heart rate. “You’re so perfect.

Christen smiled and leaned in unhurriedly, pressing her lips to Tobin’s, holding them there for a few seconds. “I love making you come.” Christen murmured then, ghosting against Tobin’s lips as she spoke.

Tobin laughed and pulled Christen down onto her, hugging her tightly, feeling exhausted in the best way possible. “I love coming for you.”

Being woken up from an afternoon nap in the sun with sex was probably the best thing that had ever happened to her. She could do this forever; hoped with everything in her that they would do this forever.

After they both laid there for a moment, Tobin traced her hand over Christen’s forehead, wiping away the line of sweat that had formed there from her hard work on Tobin.

Christen giggled when Tobin did it. “I think I need to go cool down.”

“Let’s take a dip in the pool.” Tobin suggested then.

Christen lifted herself up on her elbows and then kissed her sweetly one last time.

“Great idea.” She moved off of her completely and stood up, peeling her sports bra over her head quickly and tossing it to the side. She then slid her shorts down her legs and walked to the edge of the pool, not even pausing before she turned back and smiled at Tobin, jumping into the deep end, to cool down.

Tobin was up off the chair and following her in seconds.

xxx

 

“What should we do tonight?” Christen hummed as she softly threaded her fingers through Tobin’s long hair.

She was lying on Christen’s chest, with her face pressed against her neck and her arm wrapped around Christen’s waist.

They had both just woken up from an afternoon nap, snuggled up cozily in bed, with the big white down comforter pulled up to their shoulders, warming them against the cool air conditioned basement of the villa.

Their morning bike ride through the small village ended up being longer than both had expected and they basically collapsed onto the bed as soon as they got back, just now waking up after a couple hours of sleep. Afternoon naps had quickly become a ritual for them throughout the week.

“Hmmm.” Tobin pondered, rolling onto her back slightly so she could speak easily, without mumbling too much into Christen. “I’m up for anything... did you have anything you wanted to do?”

“I don’t know.” Christen whispered. “I kind of just feel like relaxing here some more. Maybe we could cook dinner and just hang out?”

They had gone into town for dinner the first two nights and had, in turn, tried every restaurant option that was available. Although, both places were very good and neither of them would mind going back.

“Yeah, that sounds good to me.” Tobin nodded, rolling back on top of Christen. “I love being alone with you.”

Christen laughed silently to herself, but Tobin could feel her chest shaking a little as her head was pressed to it. “Well then, you’re sure getting your fill this week. Don’t get sick of me, please.”

“I could never.” Tobin grinned, turning her face to press a kiss to Christen’s neck before she sat up. “How about I run into town again and get some groceries and we can cook and just chill in the backyard?”

“That sounds perfect.” Christen nodded, sitting up too, now that Tobin was no longer holding her down. She ruffled her curls a little and then stretched for good measure, trying to rid the last bit of sleep from her muscles.

Tobin moved to climb off the bed but Christen stopped her, wrapping her fingers around her bicep lightly and getting her attention.

“Have I told you that I love you?” Christen wondered with the cutest smile.

“Ummm?” Tobin twisted her head up and pretended to be thinking on it. “Not recently?”

Christen giggled at her antics. “Well, I do. I love you a lot.”

Tobin leaned back into Christen again and kissed her. “I love you too, beautiful girl.”

And with that, Tobin was jumping up off the bed and heading upstairs, trying to find a cookbook for an idea of what to make for dinner, Christen following behind her at a slightly slower pace.

After scouring through a few cookbooks that were piled up in the kitchen, they settled on making a pasta bolognese and a caprese salad.

Tobin argued that the bolognese would be too difficult to make after she read the directions, but Christen promised she’d do most of the work and that they could manage. Plus, it’d be a good way to spend the early evening; cooking and music and wine and each other.

Tobin hopped in their tiny rental car and drove the three miles into the village, armed with the recipe and her credit card; and returned an hour later with the listed items, plus some dessert and more wine than they’d surely be able to drink for the rest of the week.

“Tobs, this is a lot of stuff.” Christen commented when Tobin came back inside with the second round of groceries.

“Yeah, I got carried away.” Tobin offered. “The guy working in the little market, he was just suggesting so much stuff, and it all sounded so good so I figured, why not? We can just leave the stuff we don’t use for when the family comes back.”

“Whatever makes you happy, dear.” Christen shook her head and smiled, unpacking the reusable grocery bags alongside her girlfriend.

They got to work for the next hour, humming along to a random playlist that Tobin had picked on her phone.

Christen gave her some smaller jobs, like chopping the onion and measuring a few things, all of which Tobin took very seriously. Only pausing now and then to pull Christen in for a kiss or to hug her waist from behind while Christen stirred the simmering sauce on the stove.

After dinner was finally done, they dished up and made their way out to the table on the upper level deck, wanting to enjoy the warm evening sun as they ate, quite impressed with how well they did at their first attempt with the classic Italian dish.

They finished their first glass of wine with dessert, before they both cleaned up the kitchen, wanting to get it out of the way so they could relax the rest of the night.

Tobin was just drying the last few pots and pans as Christen wiped down the countertops, finishing up the last bit of cleaning. It was late evening now and the sun would be descending before long.

“Wanna go watch the sunset at that little sitting area?” Christen wondered as she hung up the wash rag on the faucet.

“Yeah, for sure.” Tobin nodded. She was actually about to suggest the same thing.

They had found out over the first few nights that the best spot to watch the sun go down was the cushioned benches right at the edge of the backyard. It gave them the best view of the land out in front of them, while still being comfortable enough to relax with their feet up on the coffee table there.

Christen reached for the last pot to dry but Tobin grabbed it first. “How about you take that fresh bottle of wine and our glasses out there and I’ll finish up in here?”

Christen relented, smiling at Tobin and moving around the island to pick up the new bottle of wine. She made sure to grab the wine opener and their glasses as well, carrying everything towards the door.

“Don’t take too long.” She winked, sliding the door open and heading down the back stairs, out to the grass.

Tobin put the last pot in the cupboard and hung up the dish towel to dry, peering out the window quickly to watch Christen walk across the grass towards the sitting area. She took a deep breath, waiting until Christen sat down on the bench and started to uncork the wine bottle, before Tobin made a break for the stairs.

She quickly hurried downstairs to the room they were sleeping in and grabbed her backpack from off the floor.

Tobin’s hands started to shake the tiniest bit as she pulled out the thing she was looking for in her bag, finding it buried at the very bottom, still wrapped in her old t-shirt.

The one thing she had been hauling around for the past four weeks all over Europe, making sure to not lose it every time she flew to a new city.

The one thing she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about since the day she bought it.

The one thing she’d gazed at almost every time she was home alone without Christen.

The black ring box.

She palmed it and stood up, walking towards the bathroom quickly.

Tobin shut the door and turned on the faucet, making it seem like she was washing her hands, in case Christen came back inside for some reason.

She held the box out again and opened it, taking another deep breath. She couldn’t believe how nervous she suddenly was, her pulse point thrumming quickly against her skin. She set the box down on the counter in front of her, eyeing it intensely.

She had been waiting for the perfect time to do this since they had gotten to Italy, but the first few nights had just never seemed right. She didn’t want to do it when there were other people around, wanting it just to be a special memory for them only, if it all went smoothly.

When Christen had suggested staying in for the evening, Tobin knew right then that tonight would be the night. She couldn’t think of a better way of asking Christen than while they watched the sun go down together. Sunsets were kind of their thing.

Now all she had to do was actually ask her.

Tobin suddenly realized she was giving herself a silent pep talk in the mirror, hunched over with her hands on the sink in front of her, gazing at her own reflection for a moment.

She shook her head at how dumb she felt, standing upright again and taking one last deep breath.

She picked up the ring from the open box and smiled at it, marveling again at how perfect it was for Christen. How lucky she had been to find it all those months ago.

The way the blue gemstone contrasted perfectly with the diamonds around it, set against the thin rose gold band; shimmering vibrantly in the bright vanity lights as Tobin twisted the ring in her hand.

She kissed the ring once for good luck and then put it in her pocket, knowing she couldn’t carry the box out to the backyard, since it was too big to hide in her pocket without giving anything away.

Tobin shut off the running water and grabbed the box off the counter again as she walked out of the bathroom. She tossed the box onto her backpack and walked to patio door, opening it with a slow breath, steadying her nerves as she walked out onto the back patio, making her way across the grass towards where Christen was waiting for her.

“I thought I was gonna have to send out a search party.” Christen joked when she noticed Tobin approaching her.

“It was like five minutes.” Tobin laughed, moving around the bench where Christen was sitting.

“Five minutes too long.” Christen grinned, reaching out for Tobin’s hands and scooting over just enough so Tobin could sit down on the end of the cushioned bench next to her. “Come here.”

“Sorry to keep you waiting.” Tobin hummed, sitting down right where Christen had made room. She wrapped her arm around Christen’s shoulders as soon as she was seated, pulling her into a half hug.

They sat there in silence for a few minutes, looking out over the short rock wall in front of them, out across the vast Tuscan hills in the distance. The sun had just started to descend into their line of vision now, the orange ball of light getting larger as it sank into the earth.

“I wonder what Zoey is up to?” Christen asked then, leaning her head down into Tobin’s chest, tucking herself under Tobin’s chin.

“I bet she’s napping.” Tobin guessed, knowing it was only midday back in the States, and their dog usually slept all day long. “She probably misses us, though.”

Christen smiled, thinking of their cute dog. “I miss her too. I’m gonna give her so many kisses when we get home.”

Tobin just laughed quietly knowing that was the truth, before they fell back into silence again.

“This is so romantic.” Christen hummed again, angling her face up just enough to press a kiss under Tobin's jaw.

Tobin grabbed Christen’s legs and lifted them up on her lap, holding her even closer.

“Do you think we could just buy Zoey a plane ticket and then we could just move over here for good?” Christen questioned when Tobin had her situated again.

“That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?” Tobin agreed, running her hands over Christen’s thigh a couple times. “I can’t believe people actually get to live here.”

“It would be so perfect. Our little family.. I could learn to be a great Italian chef and you could be the next Italian soccer superstar.” Christen grinned, voicing her fantasy out loud.

“I’d do it.” Tobin nodded with a smile.

“Me too.” Christen said again, placing another kiss to Tobin’s neck and hugging her arms around Tobin’s waist again. “I’d stay here forever with you.”

Tobin bit her lip for a moment, looking out over the horizon again. She could feel her heart beating heavily in her chest and hoped Christen couldn’t feel it too, with how close they were sitting.

“Speaking of forever.” Tobin started, feeling like now was as good of a time as any to segue from Christen’s fantasy back to their reality.

“Hmmm?” Christen hummed with her head still lying on Tobin’s shoulder, still looking out at the sunset.

“I really do want to do this with you forever.” Tobin started. “I can’t imagine my life any other way except with you right beside me.”

Christen lifted her head to look at Tobin, making eye contact at her sweet words. “Me too, honey.” She smiled.

“The past year has been incredible and I couldn’t imagine being more in love with you.” Tobin continued.

She tried to move to sit up a little, needing to be able to reach into her pocket, which was difficult with Christen practically sitting on her. She straightened her back enough like she was trying to adjust, and Christen got the hint, releasing her grip around Tobin just a little.

“You know when I used to picture my life before I met you, I really had no idea what would happen in five years or ten years or farther down the line. I didn’t really care to figure it out, I kind of just went with the flow of things. But then you walked in out of nowhere and made everything so clear for me.”

Tobin was trying to remember everything she had been building up in her head for this moment, wanting to say so many things to Christen, even though she wasn’t always the best with words. She didn’t want to forget anything.

Christen started to sit up a little more, giving Tobin more of her attention at the sudden burst of conversation that was flowing out of her girlfriend.

They made small declarations to each other all the time, but this suddenly felt bigger than that. She was a little surprised, but she wanted to make sure Tobin knew she was listening.  

Now that Tobin had more room to move, with Christen just leaning into her and no longer having her legs laid over her lap, she reached into her pocket and palmed the ring again, sliding her balled up fist out and resting it on her leg.

“I remember the day we met and how instantly drawn to you I was. Even before we said anything to each other, I knew you were the most beautiful woman in the world.” Tobin smiled a little, thinking back on it.

Christen rolled her eyes playfully and latched onto Tobin’s shirt, balling her fist up in hit. “Well you know, I always try my hardest..” She laughed.

“I’m serious.” Tobin laughed too, feeling herself starting to relax a little at Christen’s playfulness.

In the midst of Tobin’s nervousness, it was so like Christen to calm her down at just the right moment. Reaffirming again how right this all was. This was by far the biggest moment in Tobin’s life to date, and yet she was feeling totally at peace and ready for it, all because of Christen’s smile that was directed right at her.

“I would have married you that day, you know.” Tobin kept going, not wanting to pause and let Christen say anything else. “I just knew you were the one for me, and I’ve known that every single day since.”

Tobin unclenched her fist and grabbed the ring between her thumb and forefinger, holding it up so Christen would notice it.

Christen’s jaw dropped and her eyes went wide when she saw it, sitting up even more to look at Tobin. She wasn’t able to say anything, complete confusion crossing her face for just a split second.

Her brain was working in overdrive to catch up to what was happening.

Tobin slid off of the cushions and onto the brick patio at their feet, kneeling on one knee and looking up from the ring in her hand back to Christen’s eyes.

“Tobin!” Christen rushed out, realizing what exactly was in Tobin’s hand finally. Realizing the pose she was now in.

“Christen.” Tobin smiled her signature grin. “Babe..”

She could sense the emotions rising inside of her, wanting to get the rest of her words out before her throat tightened too much to speak.

“You are the love of my life. I adore every single thing about you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I knew that right when I met you, and I’m even more sure of it now. I’ve never been more sure of anything than I am of us.”

Tears were now filling up Christen’s green eyes too, ready to spill over at any moment. Tobin swallowed again to get the last sentence out.

“Christen, will you marry me?”

Christen reached out for Tobin, her hands shaking wildly as she cupped Tobin’s face, palms pressed to both of her cheeks softly.

“Is this for real?” She wondered in complete shock, still barely able to move her jaw enough to speak.

Tobin laughed softly and nodded. “It’s for real, Chris. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, if you’ll let me.”

“Oh my gosh, yes!” Christen leaned down into Tobin, moving her hands around her head and pulling her closer. “Yes, yes, yes.”

Tobin met Christen the rest of the way, leaning up to kiss her firmly, as both of their cheeks were now lined with happy tears. Tobin pulled back after a second and wiped her cheek, before holding up the ring again.

Christen wiped away a few tears of her own as Tobin took her left hand, moving to slide the ring onto Christen’s ring finger.

“Tobin, this is so gorgeous. Oh my god.” Christen rushed out, pulling her hand in closer to her eyes to really look at it for the first time.

“You like it?” Tobin wondered, wiping another tear from her other cheek.

“I love it.” Christen nodded, pulling Tobin up onto the bench again. “I love it so much.”

Christen wrapped her arms around Tobin’s shoulders and buried her face in Tobin’s neck again, letting a few more tears fall. Tobin could feel the wetness running down her neck as she held Christen for a minute, until her girlfriend pulled back again.

“Are you okay?” Tobin smiled, brushing her thumb along Christen’s cheek to rid the last bit of wetness from it.

“I’m so happy.” Christen nodded. She paused and took a deep breath before continuing.

“I didn’t ever really know what it actually felt like to be in love before I met you. I never got the hype, to be honest. But ever since I fell in love with you, it’s all that I want to feel, every second of the day. You completely changed me in the best way possible.”

Christen leaned in slowly to kiss her then. “I love you so, so much, Tobin.”

“I love you too, Chris.” Tobin beamed, kissing her again.

Christen took a deep breath to settle her emotions and looked at her left hand again for a long moment, marveling at the gorgeous ring now on it.

“We’re engaged?!” Christen whispered out in excitement, looking back up at Tobin with the biggest smile on her face. “Holy crap!”

Tobin started to laugh and then nodded, running a hand through Christen’s curly hair. “Yeah, babe. We’re engaged.”

They fell into a series of slow kisses and cuddles until the sun was completely down, not even bothering to try and watch it disappear. All that mattered was focusing on each other.

The phone calls and pictures and announcement texts would come, but for tonight it was just theirs to enjoy entirely.

The last thing Tobin can remember of the night is being tucked under the covers with the love of her life, feeling the sensation of the cool metal on Christen’s ring finger trace back and forth in a slow path across her stomach, until she was consumed with pleasure again. Both of them falling asleep contently, knowing they would get to do this forever.

Chapter Text

“Well, well, well.. If it isn’t Tobin Heath.. summoning us from her week of hiding. Actually, I’m surprised to be hearing from you at all, after you bragged to us that you’d just be having non-stop sex all week.. Wait, are you naked right now, cause that would be weird…”

Tobin rolled her eyes, fixing her laptop screen a little as Christen flopped down on the bed next to her. She covered the microphone with her hand and offered her new fiancée an apologetic smile, ignoring Kelley’s continued rambling through the screen.

“I promise I never said that..”

Christen laughed and nudged Tobin with her shoulder, “Yeah, sure..” She nodded playfully as she scooted a little closer, enough so she could see Kelley in the computer screen now.

“You can see me, so I’m obviously not naked..” Tobin finally answered Kelley’s teasing with a laugh, looking back at her through the computer. “Seriously, why are you like this?”

“I’m just saying, I’ve seen Christen Press with my own eyeballs and she’s super hot, so I wouldn’t really blame you..” Kelley continued.

“Kel, she’s literally right here..” Tobin returned, angling the laptop so Christen’s face was front and center of the camera now. “Can’t you just be good for once?” She begged of her friend with an exasperated tone.

Christen and Tobin heard a loud burst of laughter on the other end, as Kelley’s face disappeared from the screen for a moment. She popped back into view a second later with a big grin, her face just slightly red.

“Whoopsies. Just messing with you guys..” Kelley grinned. “Hi, Pressy!”

Christen waved cutely with a big smile on her face, not bothered by her teasing. “Hey, Kelley!”

Just then two more notifications chimed in through the speakers, letting the three of them know that two others had joined the group Skype session.

Allie’s face popped up first, followed by Alex’s a few seconds later.

“What up my Italian lovers..” Allie hummed out slowly when she saw Tobin and Christen on her screen.

“Hi, guys.” Alex yawned a second later, now that they were all logged in.

Tobin had sent a group text to her three best friends a half hour ago, asking if they would all Skype with her and Christen for a few minutes; hoping they were all free so they could share their good news.

Tobin wanted to tell them all at the same time, otherwise she’d never hear the end of it about who got to find out first. It was still early morning back in the States and she wanted to catch them before they got busy for the day.

Tobin and Christen had spent the morning lounging in bed, drinking coffee and just enjoying each other's company, before they got up and showered together. As soon as it was late enough back home, they decided to start sharing the news of their engagement from the night before.

They Facetimed with Tobin’s parents first, who were on the East coast, and then Christen’s parents a while later. Eventually making their way down the list of all their siblings, recounting the same story over and over. It felt like a whirlwind for them already, but they weren’t complaining.

“So, what’s up?” Alex’s raspy voice rang through again. “How’s Italy been?”

“It’s been awesome!” Christen beamed. “We’re having a blast so far, and the house we’re staying at is gorgeous.”

“Were you surprised, Press?” Kelley questioned. “Oh my gosh! Tell us everything!”

They all knew Tobin was going to surprise Christen with a trip at the end of their stay in Spain, and Kelley could barely contain her excitement over it, even though it had nothing to do with her.

“I was shocked. I thought she was joking for quite a while.” Christen nodded with a wide grin, looking over at Tobin next to her. “This one is pretty sneaky..”

“How’d it go at the airport?” Alex wondered, wanting to hear the story of how the surprise was revealed.

“Yeah.. Tobs, did you do the phone call thing with your mom like I told you to?” Kelley asked again.

“Ahh, woah!” Allie cut her off. “That was one hundred percent my idea.”

“What?!” Tobin scoffed in disbelief. “I came up with all of that myself. Don’t try taking credit for that smoothness. You two could never pull that off.”

Nah uh!” Both Kelley and Allie shouted at the same time in response.

“Guys!” Alex cut in, trying to calm the three of them down. “It doesn’t matter who thought of it.”

They would argue for hours about it, if she and Christen let them.

Everyone was talking over each other for a moment as Christen and Alex just shook their heads, entertained by the three of them, while waiting for the commotion to die out again.

“But yeah.. so anyway, I got our bags checked and then when we got through security, I told her what gate we were supposed to go to, and she slowly caught on. It took a little bit of convincing before she believed me.” Tobin explained with a chuckle; eventually mumbling under her breath, just loud enough for Christen to hear her. “The phone call was my idea, though.”

“Good job, honey. I believe you.” Christen leaned in and kissed Tobin’s cheek sweetly, both of them smiling like idiots at each other again.

“Ohh my god.” Allie whined when she noticed them, ending her playful argument with Kelley. “Will you two stop being so adorable and gross? I’m gonna barf.”

“Ha! Look, now Tobin’s blushing..” Kelley sing-songed, pointing at her screen to a chorus of laughter.

“I think it’s cute.” Alex grinned, trying to defend the couple to Allie and Kelley. “Leave them alone, they’re in love.”

“Okay, fine.” Kelley relented, still smiling widely. “But seriously, are you guys bored or what? Why are we having a Skype sesh while you’re on vacation?”

“Yeah do you need us to entertain you already?” Allie quipped. “It’s only been like four days, you can’t be sick of each other already.”

“Nope, definitely not sick of each other.” Tobin grinned. “Actually, I’m hoping we can hurry this up so Chris and I can get back to having all that sex I was bragging about..”

“See! I told you, Press!” Kelley pumped her fist in the air in triumph, even though she knew Tobin was being sarcastic.

“Well I mean, she’s not lying..” Christen mused, picking up right where Tobin left off. “We’ve been having a lot of fun this week.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, catching everyone off guard from her usually reserved manner.

“Get it, Tobs!” Alex laughed.

“Harry!” Allie joined in. “Ow, ow!”

“Yeah, yeah.” Tobin chuckled, now actually blushing for real.

Christen nudged her playfully again, loving how cute Tobin looked when she was mildly embarrassed from her friend’s teasing, knowing she set her up for it.

“Anway..” Tobin cleared her throat, calming everyone down from their laughing fit. “We wanted to Skype because we have some news.”

“You have news? Uh oh!” Kelley giggled with excitement, having a good idea of what was coming. She was practically bursting at the seams now. “What is it!?” She clasped her hands together in front of her like a kid.

Kelley, Allie and Alex all had a bet going, on if Tobin was going to propose this week or not - and more importantly - which day it was going to happen. The three of them had hounded Tobin about it the whole time they were in London and Paris for National Team camp, but Tobin wouldn’t admit to anything. She wanted to keep it to herself for as long as possible.

Even without actually saying it, there wasn’t much that she could get past her three best friends.

A few months ago, Alex and Kelley had tricked Tobin into admitting to them that she had bought a ring for Christen, and Allie smugly joined in the conversation as soon as they found out. She had been dying to discuss it with the two of them since the day Tobin and her picked the ring up.

After the ring was common knowledge, the friends knew it was only a matter of time before Tobin popped the question.  So of course, they had to make a friendly competition out of picking the right day, knowing a surprise vacation was the most likely time for her to do it.

“Tell us!” Alex squealed, not wanting to wait any longer.

Tobin and Christen looked at each other again and smiled, before Christen nodded her head, urging Tobin to be the one to tell them.

Tobin turned back to the laptop screen, to face her three best friends with a huge grin.

“Well..” she started to speak, before her throat suddenly tightened, totally catching her off guard.

She tried to clear her throat a moment, biting her lip quickly when she couldn’t get the emotions to go away.

Tobin turned and looked over at Christen again and her eyes were suddenly a little glassy, her eyebrows scrunching together in confusion. As soon as Christen saw the expression on Tobin’s face, she quickly realized she needed a moment before she could talk.

Christen reached out and ran her hand over Tobin’s back to comfort her, silently letting her know she’d take this one, while Tobin composed herself. Not wanting to keep their friends waiting and hoping they wouldn’t notice and give Tobin a hard time about it.

“So, last night..” Christen started slowly. “Tobin.. asked me to marry her.. and I said yes!” She explained then, holding up her left hand to the screen, so the girls could see her ring. “We’re engaged!”

Tobin was smiling and just nodding along at Christen’s words, still trying to get the happy lump in her throat to go away.

She had no idea why all of a sudden she was being so emotional about it again. Obviously last night with Christen, she expected it completely; but she had gotten through telling all of her family and all of Christen’s family just fine this morning.

Looking at her three best friends though, and telling them that she gets to marry the love of her life, somehow got her worked up again.

Maybe it was because at every huge moment in her life since she was a young teenager, those three had been there for her. Every huge win or crushing loss, every injury or setback or heartbreak, Kelley and Allie and Alex had always been the people who Tobin turned to.

Sharing the happiest news she’s ever had, it just felt right that they were all smiling back at her now.

“Ahhhh!” Allie screamed, quickly getting drowned out by Kelley’s excitement as well.

“Shut up!!” Kelley’s jaw dropped with actually hearing the news, even if she had expected it. “That’s so amazing!”

“Congrats, babes.” Alex smiled, sending a wink right at Tobin, trying to comfort her a little as well.

Alex had always had that small amount of extra understanding, taking things a little more seriously than Kelley and Allie did. Like she knew on a deeper level just how much this mattered to Tobin.

“Thanks.” Tobin finally got out, clearing her throat again and reaching for Christen’s hand. “We’re really, really happy.”

All three of their friends audibly “Awww- ed” at the same time. At how adorable the smile on Tobin’s face was, and the way Christen was beaming right back at her.

Like a silent understanding that they will always to be the people that will be there for Tobin; now with Christen fitting in as that perfect, final piece of the puzzle.

Before Tobin even realized it, she was leaning over and kissing Christen’s lips, almost out of instinct at their friends reaction and how happy she was.

“Ok, while they make out, I would just like to say, I win bitches!” Kelley celebrated, ending the emotional moment in the most Kelley way possible.

“Such bullshit!” Allie rolled her eyes, knowing Kelley was referring to the bet again.

She had picked the first night, not expecting Tobin to be able to hold off any longer. Kelley went for Wednesday, since it was right in the middle of their vacation, and Alex thought Tobin would wait until the end of the week.

“I was so close!” Alex admitted defeat. “Two more days, Tobs. Would it have killed you?”

Tobin pulled back from her quick kiss with Christen and turned back to the computer, realizing what they were going on about. “Don’t tell me you guys bet on this..”

Christen just started to laugh again. They were the most competitive people she had ever met. She knew Tobin would have been right there with them had the bet not involved her.  

“Of course we bet!” Kelley admitted excitedly. “I just won a hundred bucks. Easy cash, my friend.”

“Whatever..” Alex whined. She hated losing and wasn’t going to dwell on it any longer. “Anyway, back to what’s important right now..”

“Yeah..” Allie agreed. “Harry, how’d you do it? Tell us the story.”

Tobin grinned as she told them the story about proposing to Christen as the sun went down, and then Christen was showing her ring to the screen again.

“Send us lots of pictures, please.” Kelley requested. “I need to zoom in on that rock. Nice job, Tobs!”

“It’s gorgeous.” Alex hummed. “Chris, it looks really great on you.”

Christen grabbed her phone then and sent them a group message with a few pictures of the ring that she had already taken.

“So, your parents and everyone know, I’m guessing?” Alex asked after they gushed about the ring for a while longer.

“Yep, we called them earlier.” Tobin nodded. “We figured we should tell them first.”

“For sure.” Kelley agreed. “What did they say, are they stoked?”

“Yeah, they seem like they are really excited.” Christen answered, looking at Tobin for reassurance.

Tobin jumped in again, nodding quickly in agreement. “Yeah, my mom actually cried.” She laughed, her eyes crinkling around the edges as she did.

“Cindy cried!” Allie giggled. “Ohhhh my gosh.”

“It was really cute. She was so excited.” Christen smiled, thinking on it again. “I love them.”

“Wait, Tobs, did you ask Christen’s parents for permission or were they surprised too?” Alex questioned then.

“Yeah.” Tobin explained. “Of course I asked them.”

She laughed again because she had just recounted that story to Christen this morning, explaining the day that Christen thought she was mad at her, but really Tobin had just been sneaking around with her parents for lunch.

“I was so nervous for that conversation.” Tobin continued. “I don’t know if you know this, but Cody Press is slightly intimidating.”

“I can definitely see that.” Kelley agreed with a chuckle, thinking back to meeting Christen’s mom and dad during Parents weekend in college. “Big Daddy don’t play.”

Christen rolled her eyes at their friends calling her father Big Daddy, even though that’s what he constantly insists on being called to anyone new he meets.

Big Daddy is all talk. He and my mom love Tobin and they never would have said no.”

Tobin grinned happily at that reassurance from Christen.

“Too cute.” Kelley smiled. “I’m really happy for you guys.”

“Yeah, we all are.” Allie nodded. “You two really do make the best couple.”

“So, engagement party when were in LA for camp next month?” Alex suggested then.

Kelley and Allie both raised their eyebrows in excitement, quickly throwing out options on where they could have the party. All three of them in a hurry to start planning everything, before Tobin and Christen had even responded.

The couple just looked at each other as their friends continued to ramble on over Skype, not even bothering to pay attention to them anymore. They were ready to get back to their alone time and finish enjoying the rest of their vacation.

“Okay, my people.” Tobin cut in then. “You guys can plan whatever you want, but for the next three days, me and my fiancée will be busy enjoying the rest of our vacation, alone.” She paused for effect, loving the way that new word sounded rolling off her tongue. “I’ll call you fools when we get back.”

“Fineee.” Allie conceded first. “Enjoy the rest of your trip. Peace out, Harry. Bye, Chris!”

“Congrats again!” Alex waved. “Love you both.”

“Bye, cuties. Love you!” Kelley smiled.

“Bye, ladies.” Christen grinned, offering a wave of her own. “See you soon, hopefully.”

“Later, dudes.” Tobin threw them a peace sign, before reaching for her trackpad to close out of the Skype window.

Just like that the call ended and Tobin shut her laptop, taking a deep breath. Glad to have that out of the way, as much as she loved her friends.

“You okay?” Christen wondered with a soft smile, scooting in a little closer to Tobin again.

Tobin grinned, pushing her computer out of the way and pulling Christen on top of her.

“I’ve never been better.”

xxx

“Hey babe?” Tobin hummed out softly as she walked into the bedroom, popping her head around the door, trying to get Christen’s attention.

The green eyed woman was curling her hair in the master bathroom of her house in Manhattan Beach, putting the finishing touches on her appearance for the night ahead of them. Tobin had been ready for twenty minutes and was trying to be patient as she watched tv on the couch next to Zoey.

They were spending their last week in LA, before Tobin’s preseason with the Thorns started again. The National Team had just finished up camp there the week prior. Kelley and Alex and some of their other friends had stayed in town to train and were hosting an engagement party for the couple tonight, before they all went their separate ways again to be with their club teams.

“Yeah?” Christen murmured in response, watching as Tobin came into her view, spotting her in the reflection of the mirror.

“You almost ready?” Tobin wondered. “Not to rush you, but we’re supposed to be there in a half hour and Alex will probably kill me if we’re late. She’s already texted me three times.”

Christen smiled as she let a strand of now-curled hair drop from the curling iron, double checking that she hadn’t missed any hidden pieces on the back of her head.

“What did she text you about?” she asked as she spun herself around once more, still looking in the mirror.

“Well, the first text was letting me know my that parents made it and that she had picked them up at the airport. The second one was saying how excited she was for tonight, and then just now she said, and I quote,‘You and your fine-ass fiancée better get here before Kelley is drunk, or I’ll be pissed’. I’m not sure how Kelley could be drunk already, since the party hasn’t even officially started yet, but it’s Kelley, so nothing would surprise me.”

Alex had planned everything to a T, and now she just needed it to go off without a hitch. Tobin and Christen really couldn’t have cared less, but they were being good sports for Alex’s sake.

“Oh boy..” Christen hummed, reaching for her perfume and spraying herself a couple of times to complete her process. “Good to see she’s already at an eleven with all this wedding stuff, it’s honestly going to make my life so easy.” Christen laughed, leaning in close to the mirror again, giving herself one last inspection.

“I know.” Tobin teased. “You two are going to plan the perfect wedding and I’m going to be so proud when I show up.”

Christen directed her attention at Tobin through the mirror for a moment, silently raising one eyebrow, to let Tobin know she wasn’t getting out of any wedding planning just because Alex was helpful.

“Just kidding, my dear.” Tobin winked when she noticed Christen’s expression.

Christen gave her a closed mouth smile and then focused on herself in mirror again.

Tobin watched her from behind, resting against the wall of the bathroom until Christen turned around to face her, once she was completely finished.

“You’re so gorgeous.” Tobin smiled, pushing herself up off the wall again. “I love your hair like that. And your ass looks fantastic in that dress, just like it usually does.”

“Thank you, honey.” Christen grinned, making sure her curling iron was turned off, before she finally directed her attention fully at Tobin, giving her a once over. “You look really amazing, too. You’re so sexy.”

Tobin grinned and turned around to walk out of the bathroom, until Christen reached out and grabbed her arm, gently stopping her movements. Tobin looked back as soon as she felt Christen’s hand on her.

“Can I just have you for one moment before the craziness starts?” Christen requested, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s shoulders when she was facing her again.

Christen was looking forward to the night ahead, but after a while, big parties kind of wore her down.

Plus, Cody and Stacy were meeting Jeff and Cindy for the first time tonight, which was stressing her out more than it needed to. She didn’t even know why, since she was certain they were going to get along just fine; and she really was looking forward to seeing her future in-laws again.

For some reason though, it just felt like a big night. She just needed a quiet moment alone with Tobin to get her mind right before they left.

“You can have me for all the moments.” Tobin nodded seriously, pulling Christen in and hugging her tightly.

Christen buried her face in Tobin’s neck, inhaling her scent and letting it settle her nerves as they stood in the doorway of the bathroom together.

“You’re a good hugger.” Christen whispered after a long moment, feeling Tobin’s hands run over her back slowly. “I’m glad I’m marrying you.”

“I am pretty good at it, huh?” Tobin agreed with a big grin, letting her hands drift down Christen’s back slowly, before dropping them down far enough to grab Christen’s ass.

Christen laughed when she felt both of Tobin’s hands squeeze her ass firmly, pulling her body even closer. “You always have to go that extra mile, don’t you?”

“For you, of course.” Tobin shrugged, grinning against Christen’s hair.

Christen lifted her head so she was eye to eye with Tobin again, a playful smile on her lips. “Will there ever be a time when you don’t grab my ass?”

“Nope, I will never pass up the opportunity to touch The Butt. It’s just too nice.” Tobin laughed, squeezing her a little more. “Sorry, baby. You’re stuck with me for good now.”

“I could do worse.” Christen teased, kissing Tobin’s lips once.

“Well, I couldn’t possibly have done any better.” Tobin returned, kissing her again.

Christen reached up and cupped Tobin’s chin with her hand, kissing her soundly a few more times before she gave in, knowing they needed to get going.

“Alright, let’s go introduce our parents to each other and make sure Alex doesn’t freak out.” Christen sighed, stepping back from Tobin a little.

“Hey..” Tobin whispered, not letting Christen go yet. “I love you. Whatever happens tonight, or any day after this, that’s all that really matters, you know? You and me. The rest will figure itself out. And our parents will love each other, I promise.”

“I know.” Christen smiled, feeling much better already. “I love you too. And I really am excited for this. I can’t wait to see your mom and dad, it’s been too long.”

Christen kissed her lips one last time and then stepped around Tobin to head out, both of them ready for the night ahead to celebrate their love.

 

xxx

 

Alex had reserved the rooftop bar of a restaurant called Mama Shelter in Hollywood for their party. It was the perfect place for a large get together, complete with stunning, panoramic views of the Hollywood sign and downtown LA just in the distance. The couple insisted they didn’t need anything over the top, but Alex just ignored them, wanting this party to be as fun and memorable as possible.

Tobin drove Christen’s car through the slow LA traffic, but they made it only a few minutes late of Alex’s requested time, handing the keys to the valet driver instead of bothering with parking.

They rode the elevator up to the roof in comfortable silence, until Tobin turned to Christen and gave her one final smile just between the two of them.

“Are you nervous?” She wondered as she looked over at her fiancée.

“No, I’m good.” Christen shook her head confidently. “I’m excited. It seems like there will be a lot of people here that we haven’t seen enough of lately.”

Tobin bounced on her toes a couple of times, realizing she was actually the one who was slightly nervous, though she couldn’t figure out why.

“Babe, hold my hand.” Tobin hummed, just as the elevator came to a stop, before the doors started to open.

Christen reached out and slowly laced a few fingers with Tobin’s as the warm outside air hit them again.

Two steps off the elevator was all it took for them to be spotted, Kelley’s loud yell getting everyone’s attention immediately.

“Heyyyyy! Look who is finally here!” The freckled woman shouted excitedly, raising her drink in the air.

The rest of the party all turned their attention to the elevator when they heard Kelley’s announcement, almost everyone shouting some sort of greeting at the same time, when they noticed who had walked out onto the rooftop.

Tobin and Christen just looked at each other and laughed, totally not expecting that type of welcome. There had to have been nearly fifty people there, all of them looking directly at the pair, who were seemingly the last two to arrive. Almost as if it were a surprise party.

Christen gave Tobin’s fingers one final squeeze and then dropped them softly, both of them spotting their parents standing in a semicircle together, with Kelley and Alex acting as a buffer.

“Huh, looks like they’ve already been introduced.” Christen commented to Tobin as they headed straight for them.

“See baby, no pressure.” Tobin whispered as they broke away from each other and approached their own parents separately.

“Hi Mama.” Tobin waved when she got close enough to be heard.

Cindy and Jeff had insisted on flying out for the party as soon as Tobin mentioned it to them a month ago. When Alex found out their flight information, she had practically demanded that she pick them up from the airport, so Tobin and Christen wouldn’t have to worry about rushing beforehand. Tobin was just seeing them for the first time now.

“Hi sweetie.” Cindy beamed, pulling Tobin in to a warm hug.

“Missed you guys.” Tobin mentioned softly as her mom held onto her for a long moment.

Jeff stood behind Cindy, smiling as he waited his turn to hug his daughter as well, finally getting his wife to release Tobin so he could do the same.

Christen was wrapped into a hug of her own from Cody first, and then Stacy, before moving on to hug Kelley and Alex.

“You outdid yourself, lady.” Christen mentioned gratefully as she hugged Alex tightly. “Thank you for all this, it looks really great.”

Alex laughed and squeezed the green eyed woman again. “I’m glad you like it. I just want you guys to enjoy yourselves tonight.”

“Christen, it’s so good to see you, dear!” Cindy exclaimed to Christen when her and Alex broke apart.

Christen turned to Cindy and Jeff and opened her arms for a hug, letting Tobin’s mom pull her in. “Hey you two! I’m so glad you could make it, it really means a lot to both of us.”

“Oh, of course, we wouldn’t have missed it.” Cindy smiled, rocking them back and forth slightly while Christen just laughed in her arms.  “Now, let’s see that ring in person.”

Cindy grabbed Christen’s left hand and studied her ring intently, grinning happily and then hugging her again. “It looks beautiful on you, dear. She did a great job.”

“Yeah, she did.” the younger woman agreed, smiling at Tobin’s mom again.

Christen hugged Tobin’s dad too, before the group all looked at each other. Tobin had gone the other way around the semicircle and was now standing next to Cody on the opposite side.

“Cindy and Jeff, you guys met my parents, Cody and Stacy, right?” Christen wondered pointing across the group at her folks. Making sure she did the introduction too, even though she assumed they had spoken already.

“We did!” Jeff nodded. “As soon as they arrived.”

“Sorry, I took it upon myself.” Kelley cut in with an explanation. “Alex is forcing me to play hostess, after all.”

“Thanks, Kel.” Tobin smiled genuinely. “Sorry that we were a little late.”

Oh yeah, and why was that.. ?” Kelley started to tease under her breath, before Tobin pinched her arm gently, letting her know she better not even start. “Ouch.. kidding, dude.” Kelley laughed, just loud enough for Tobin to hear.

Tobin was still feeling a slight amount of nerves as her parents and Christen’s parents stood in a group together. She wasn’t about to let Kelley start making sex jokes already.

“Yeah, Stacy and Cody were just giving us a few recommendations for the weekend.” Cindy added.

“Cool, well I’m sure we’ll all be hanging together.” Tobin nodded.

Her parents were staying at Christen’s house with them, and Tobin knew they’d end up spending time with Christen’s family too. They needed to get all their bonding time in before the couple left for Portland the following week.

“Yes, you guys are definitely coming to our place for dinner tomorrow night.” Stacy insisted.

“You know, quite the daughter you guys have raised here.” Cody bellowed suddenly, slinging his arm around Tobin’s shoulders as she stood next to him. “I think she’s gonna be my favorite daughter-in-law.”

Everyone laughed as Tobin wrapped her arm around Cody in return, as they stood close together.  

“Well, I mean, there’s not much competition..” Tobin added, knowing she was going to be the only one.

“That’s true.” Cody nodded. “Unless Channing still has something to tell us. Then you might have to try a little harder..”

Dad.. stop.” Christen’s face turned red, begging him to give his teasing a rest.

“What, Mo?” Cody continued, pretending like he was serious. “I’m just saying.. I think Tobin would still win.”

“That’s great.” Christen shook her head, smiling but embarrassed. “I agree, Tobin is very wonderful.”

Jeff and Cindy laughed and Tobin just winked at her, before dropping her arm from around Cody again.

“Anyway.. Honey, we should probably go say hi to everyone else.” Christen conceded. “There are a lot of people here.”

“Yes, and get yourself a drink.” Alex added. “The tab is already open at the bar.”

Christen looked around to see a few of her high school friends sitting in a group on the couches, deciding she’d start with them. She walked towards Tobin and gave her arm a loving squeeze.

“We’ll catch up with you guys in a bit.” She mentioned to their parents.

Tobin nodded, following Christen’s instructions and moving to head the opposite direction, to make her own way around the party.

It was a few hours before Tobin and Christen got to check in with each other again. For it being their engagement party, the couple certainly didn’t get to spend much time together. They had been pulled into various conversations every time they turned around. Both of them explaining the details of their Italian vacation and telling the story of the proposal, and what else they had coming up in their lives, to everyone who asked. Tobin felt like a broken record after the third person she talked to.

Cody stood up in front of everyone and a made a heartfelt and surprisingly joke-free speech, about how excited he was for his daughter and future daughter-in-law, as Stacy and Cindy both teared up a little. And after that, it was just a wonderful night full of laughter and conversation coupled with ping pong and foosball games, while everyone enjoyed the open bar and spread of appetizers.

There were a series of selfies and group pictures taken as the sun was setting, and by the time it was dark, almost half of the people had left, making it a little easier to shift from group to group.

Eventually, Christen saw Tobin making her way to the bar from across the rooftop and silently dipped out of the conversation she was in with her sisters and Kelley, wanting to go say hi to her favorite brown eyed girl.

“Hey hot stuff..” Christen husked into Tobin’s ear, wrapping her arms around her waist from behind. “I’ve been watching you from across the room all night and I have to say.. I like what I see..”

Tobin was leaning against the bar, waiting on her drink, when she felt Christen’s arms slip around her. She let out a soft chuckle when she processed her words, spinning in her arms just enough to face the dark haired woman.

“I knew I saw you checking me out.” Tobin smirked. “You weren’t being very subtle.”

They both laughed softly before Tobin leaned in and pressed a quick kiss to Christen’s lips. “Hi, babe.”

“Hey you.” Christen smiled, holding eye contact with Tobin for a moment.

The bartender slid Tobin’s drink to her over the countertop and then took Christen’s order before they spoke again.  

“Holy crap, this is exhausting..” Christen sighed just for Tobin to hear.

“Uh, thank god.” Tobin let out a slow breath in agreement. “I was worried it was just me.”

“Can you tell me again how you proposed?” Christen whispered sarcastically. “I can’t seem to remember.”

Tobin started to laugh a little harder. “We should just start making up random stories and see who believes what..”

Christen grinned again and thought on it, before shrugging slowly. “I suppose we should probably be good.. Everyone was very nice in coming tonight.” She relented.

“Yeah, I know, you’re right.” Tobin nodded. “I would like to spend a little time with you though. I’ve missed you all night.”

Christen thanked the bartender when he set her drink up on the bar top and then she turned back to the party behind them.

“Good news is, it looks like our parents are getting along well.” She pointed to where the foursome had settled on the couches in a group together.

“See, we had nothing to worry about.” Tobin agreed, happy to see them all spending time together.

“We should go sit with them for a bit.” Christen suggested.

Tobin laced her hand with Christen’s and nodded. “Yea, I’m following you.”

Tobin and Christen snuggled into each other on one of the small cushioned chairs where their parents had settled, all sitting in a square around a fire pit; mostly listening as the two older couples talked to each other, just content to enjoy the warmth of the evening air.

A while later, Kelley and Alex sauntered up to the group, both clearly riding a good buzz. They had somehow formulated a plan to play beer pong on one of the ping pong tables, and were looking for some worthy competition.

“We just ordered twenty beers.” Kelley laughed loudly, pointing to where the waiter was walking with a tray full of beers in actual beer glasses. “So, who wants to lose to us in beer pong?”

Alex giggled along, clearly in cahoots with Kelley, trying to clarify when Tobin’s eyes went wide at the mention of twenty full beers. “We asked for like, half beers, don’t worry so much, Tobsie.”

Tobsie?” Tobin mouthed to herself while scrunching her eyebrows together, but then laughed at how brilliant they thought they were being.

“First of all, please don’t ever call me that again. And also, I am not playing with you guys.” Tobin shook her head sternly, trying to stifle a big smile. “Last time I played, I threw up all over.. thanks to you.” She pointed right at Kelley.

“Moi?” Kelley pointed to herself, pretending to be offended. “No way that was my fault, pal. I’m sorry you can’t hang..”

“Chris will play.” Alex rasped out, reaching her hand out for Christen to take.

“I’m with Tobin on this one.” Christen laughed and shook her head no. “We will come over there and watch you though.”

“Ugh, do you guys ever not take each others sides?” Alex whined a little.

“You know the saying.. happy wife, happy life.” Tobin winked, purposely trying to annoy Alex.

“Yeah ok, you’re not married yet..” Alex rolled her eyes. “Save it for when you need it.”

Kelley had already lost interest in their refusal to play and was now working on Tobin and Christen’s parents.

“Okay, I’ve got an idea.” Kelley proclaimed as she stood in front of them, almost demanding their attention. “Dads versus us.”

Cody and Jeff looked at each other and laughed.

“Ohhh!” That suggestion caught Alex’s attention. “Yes! Let’s beat The Dad’s!”

“That wouldn’t be fair competition..” Jeff waved them off teasingly. “You young pups have nothing on us.”

“Try us!” Alex returned instantly, her competitive side coming out quickly.

“Ok, well what do we get when we beat you?” Cody asked, standing up and stretching a little.

“More beer!” Kelley cheered. “Let’s go, old men!”

She didn’t wait for them to respond, grabbing Alex by the arm and walking off towards the ping pong table with her in tow.

They took a few minutes to set up the glasses of beer, all of which were only about a fourth of the way full, into the classic triangle beer pong shape. Cody and Jeff gave in and stood at the other end of the table, deciding to be good sports about it and play against their daughters friends.

An hour later, Tobin and Christen had said goodbye to almost everyone, and the remaining people were standing around watching the heated Winner Takes All fifth game of beer pong.

The group had politely been told that it was bar close a couple different times, but they somehow got to finish out their game, before being asked to leave.

Cindy and Stacy were in the middle of a long conversation about Mom things and Tobin was hanging on Christen a little, with her arms around her shoulders. She was getting antsy to leave, but felt bad ducking out early. Tyler, Channing and Will were the only other people left.

“Alright, alright. We surrender.” Jeff sighed when Alex sank the last shot. “You girls sure you’ve never played this before?” He joked.

Alex and Kelley were jumping up and down wildly, celebrating like they had just won another Olympic gold medal.

“Time to go, kiddos.” Cody nodded, finishing the last glass of beer. “To the after party at Casa De Press. The Uber will be here in fifteen minutos.”

“After party!” Kelley started to dance again, pumping her fist in the air.

Tobin groaned softly in Christen’s ear as she was resting her weight against her.

“I’d rather just take you home..” She whispered, just so Christen could hear. “Unless you wanna go, then we can.”

Christen turned around to face Tobin and placed a hand softly on her stomach, gauging her lack of interest. “No, that’s ok. Let’s go home.”

Tobin smiled like she was getting her way, clearing her throat before she spoke up louder.

“Chris and I are just gonna head home. We’re exhausted.”

“Booooo.” Alex cut her off, yelling until Kelley covered Alex’s mouth with her hand, laughing softly.

“Mom and Dad, you guys wanna ride with us?” Tobin wondered again, knowing her parents were planning on sleeping at Christen’s place for the weekend.

“Nonsense.” Cody waved. “They don’t need to call it a night just because you two wanna go home. They can just stay at our place. We’re more than happy to have them.”

“Perfect! We can grab your luggage outta my car on the way through the parking lot.” Alex mentioned, as Jeff and Cindy agreed. They were having fun on their vacation and didn’t want the night to end either.

Tobin smiled at the fact that her parents and Christen’s parents were going to have an after party with Alex and Kelley. She honestly wouldn’t have expected anything else.

She pulled up the Lyft app on her phone and ordered a ride for her and Christen.

“Good to see that we’re the lame ones.” Christen commented, waiting for Tobin to get their stuff so they could leave.

They both hugged their parents and thanked Alex and Kelley for everything, before they were walking hand in hand towards the exit.

“One day, you two won’t be so obsessed with going home alone together, and you’ll wanna go to the afterparty too.” Cody shouted as the couple was stepping into the elevator. “Enjoy it while it lasts.”

“I hope it lasts forever.” Christen frowned to herself when she imagined there ever being a time when Tobin didn’t want to steal her away and go home at the end of the night.

“It will, babe.” Tobin hummed confidently as the elevator door closed, leaning in and kissing the frown right off of Christen’s face.

“Well, until we have kids, then we’ll probably have to take those little rascals home at the end of the night too.”

Christen’s moment of thought vanished as quickly as it had come, trusting Tobin’s words instantly and letting her happy, carefree laughter fill the deepest parts of her soul.

No matter what, she was sure they’d always have each other.

 

xxx

 

The jingling of Zoey’s dog tags against the metal ring on her collar were the first sounds that Christen registered, before she felt the bed shake a little, knowing their dog had just bounded up onto it.

She laid there with her eyes closed as she regained her senses from a deep sleep.

She could tell Tobin’s arm was laid across her stomach lightly, with their legs tangled together in the middle of the bed. Even though they were both using their own pillows, they were lying close enough together that they might as well have been sharing one.

The couple had been forced to start leaving their bedroom door open a little at night, so Zoey could go in and out of the room as she pleased. The dog had taken on a new interest in patrolling the apartment overnight, ever since they had been back living in Portland. Almost as if she preferred to sleep out in the living room, but still needed to be able to check in on Tobin and Christen whenever she wanted.

There were two nights in a row of the dog waking them up by pawing and barking at the closed door, before Christen got smart enough to just leave it open. It was just them anyway, so there was no use in keeping it shut.

In this moment though, Christen found herself wishing just slightly that she had kept it closed, knowing it was far too early to be waking up, even if Zoey thought it was time.  

Zoey slowly inched her way up the bed, walking on Christen’s lower body, with her paws stumbling unevenly, as she was unable to see what was buried underneath the heap of covers. The dog plopped her full weight down onto Christen when she reached her desired spot, nuzzling her nose under the covers to get her attention.

Christen giggled to herself when Zoey’s snout worked its way into her neck, the dog tickling her slightly as she sniffed Christen’s soft skin.

“Hi, baby girl.” Christen whispered, lifting her head from under the down comforter.

Zoey’s tail started to wag as she licked a sloppy kiss across Christen’s forehead, excited when she noticed that Christen was awake.

Christen wiped her forehead with a big grin and then shifted enough so she could wrap her arms around Zoey and snuggle her close, rolling to her side and spooning the dog.

Tobin hadn’t moved an inch next to them, even as her arm limply dropped back to the bed from where it had been around Christen.

The dog let out a long sigh but laid still as Christen clung to her, being patient for a few minutes of cuddles, until she got anxious again.

Eventually Zoey squirmed enough that Christen let her go, sitting up as the dog jumped down from the bed again.

“Fine.” Christen whispered, when the dog looked back at her. “I’ll take you outside.”

She glanced at the clock and noticed it was barely past 7 am, but she knew Zoey wasn’t going to go back to sleep now.

The noise of Zoey’s nails hitting the hardwood floor in their bedroom must have woken Tobin slightly, as she adjusted her position and wiggled further into her pillow.

“Chris..” Tobin whimpered out, searching her hand across the mattress with her eyes still closed, trying to locate her fiancée. “Cuddle with me...”

Christen turned back to face Tobin and smiled, running a hand up to move the loose hairs that were covering Tobin’s forehead, as her face was pressed to the pillow.

“Z wants to go out.” Christen whispered.

“Nooo.” Tobin whined again. “Come here. Please.”

Christen laughed softly, unable to deny Tobin’s request when she looked so cute and sleepy.

Christen snuggled back into Tobin for a moment and kissed her bare shoulder, until Tobin’s arm wrapped around her again. Tobin had just situated them so she was spooning Christen, when Zoey popped back up onto the bed, pawing at them under the covers again.

Tobin started to laugh into the back of Christen’s neck, knowing she wasn’t going to be let off the hook from their dog.

“Mommy is staying here with me, Zo.” Tobin whispered, reaching out to pet the dog’s head. “Lay down, girl.”

“She’s not going to let you win.” Christen teased softly.

“I know.’ Tobin grinned, breathing in Christen’s scent for a moment longer.

Zoey started to whine just a little, crawling on them and trying to force her way in between the couple, before Christen gave in.

“Ok, I’m coming, I’m coming.” Christen hummed, sitting up as she petted Zoey again.

“Can we have sex when you come back?” Tobin questioned with a mischievous smile, letting go of Christen so she could get out of bed.

“Probably not.” Christen answered nonchalantly, sliding off the bed and walking to the closet to find some clothes to throw on.

“Why not, babe?” Tobin asked slowly through a yawn, rolling onto her back and pulling the covers up around her shoulders.

“We just had sex like five hours ago.” Christen mumbled as she pulled one of Tobin’s t-shirts over her head. “And we stayed up way too late because of it.”

“Yeah, and that was your idea.” Tobin explained with a sleepy voice.

“I know, but aren’t you worn out?” Christen questioned amusedly.

Tobin didn’t answer as Christen dug around in her dresser drawer.

“Plus, you really should save your energy for your first day of preseason. I don’t want you to be too tired for your double day.”

Tobin just giggled and flipped herself over, watching as Christen got dressed. “I don’t think I’m ever too tired. At least not for you.”

“Well, I don’t have your stamina.” Christen responded, stepping into a pair of loose fitting sweatpants, pulling them just high enough so they were sitting low on her hips.

“Babe.” Tobin groaned. “This is so not fair. You can’t just not put a bra or underwear on, and then look super hot in my clothes, and then tell me we can’t have sex.”

“Well, close your eyes then.” Christen returned, trying not to laugh.

“This is a form of torture.” Tobin protested seriously. “You’re being really mean.”

“You’ll survive.” Christen smiled, moving towards the bedroom door.

Without another word, she was exiting the room and leaving Tobin to fend for herself in bed, while she took Zoey out to go potty.

Twenty minutes later, Christen was sitting at the island in the kitchen, answering a few work emails that had come in over the weekend, while Tobin stood at the stove, waiting to flip the first batch of pancakes she was making for breakfast.

She just smiled to herself as she listened to the soft click of Christen’s keyboard, silently loving how perfect and domestic it all felt. Tobin had everything she’s ever wanted right there in front of her. She was pulled out of her thoughts when Christen’s work phone rang, refocusing on the stove and flipping the pancakes before they could burn, as Christen took the call.

Tobin stacked up a few pancakes for Christen and then made a plate for herself, before they sat down and ate, mostly in silence.

“What time are you heading to the stadium?” Christen wondered after finishing an article that she was reading on her phone.

“Ah, soon, I think. I wanna try and be the first one there.” Tobin spoke after she swallowed her mouthful of food. “What’s your plan for the day?”

“I’ve got a call at eleven with the New York team, then I wanna run to the store, and I’ll probably take Zoey to the dog park.” Christen explained, going through her mental list of things to do.

“Will you stop by the UPS store and send that package for me?” Tobin asked, mostly as a reminder so Christen wouldn’t forget.

She was sending a box Thorns gear to Perry’s brand new baby boy, who was just born a couple weeks ago. They hadn’t gotten a chance to meet him yet, but Tobin wanted to make sure he was all set for the upcoming season. Even if none of the stuff would actually fit him yet.  

“Yeah, I already put it next to my purse last night.” Christen answered.

Tobin nodded and got up to put her plate in the dishwasher, dumping the last remnants of her coffee down the sink.

“Thank you for breakfast.” Christen smiled, stopping Tobin with a kiss, before she made her way to the bedroom to get ready for practice.

It only took Tobin a few minutes to throw her hair into a loose ponytail and change into some shorts and a tank, before she was grabbing her duffle bag and sliding her flip flops on.

She made her way back out to the kitchen and stood behind Christen at the island, spinning her stool around slowly, so she could say goodbye.

“Have a good day, beautiful.” Tobin murmured, placing a finger under Christen’s chin and tilting her face up for a kiss.

“I will.” Christen smiled against her lips. “Good luck today, Captain Heath.”

Christen pecked her lips once before speaking again.

“I love the sound of that. Captain Heath..” She repeated. “It’s pretty hot.”

Tobin smiled proudly at the thought of her newly appointed team captaincy for the upcoming season and leaned down for another kiss, lazily sliding her tongue into Christen’s mouth. Christen’s hands found the back of Tobin’s neck and their short goodbye kiss quickly turned into more of a make out session, without them even meaning for it to.

Tobin dropped her bag off her shoulder and let her hands run under the t-shirt Christen was wearing, slowly making their way up her stomach, until she was palming both of her bare breasts.

“Honey..” Christen sighed, pulling away from the kiss after she let Tobin touch her for a few moments.

“Still no bra?” Tobin husked, way too worked up to be leaving at the moment. “...gonna be the death of me, woman.”

She let her forehead rest against Christen’s and took a deep breath to slow her wildly beating pulse, before standing up straight again.

“If I don’t go now, I’m gonna get carried away and then I will be late.” Tobin almost frowned. “I love you.”

“Love you more.” Christen nodded. “Go. I’ll see you tonight. Text me when you know what time you’ll be home.”

Tobin gave Zoey one last pat on the head and made her way to the door, winking at Christen, before heading out.

 

xxx

 

Christen showered and got ready for the day after Tobin left, before she had her conference call with her team in New York, which lasted quite a bit longer than she was expecting. It was mid afternoon by the time she got Zoey loaded into Tobin’s Audi, so they could run some errands before going to the dog park.

She left the AC on and locked the car door so nobody would steal Zoey, before running into the UPS store, carrying the big box to send to Perry’s family on the east coast.

“Can I help you?” The young kid working at the counter flagged his hand at Christen as his register opened up.

She stepped up and set the package down on the counter, pulling her wallet out of her purse.

“I just need to send this, regular ground, please.”

The kid started to type in the shipping address, confirming the city and zip code with Christen.

“And what’s the last name on the return address?” The kid wondered as he typed.

“Heath.” Christen replied. “H-e-a-t-h.”

He typed a few more things as he read the ship-to address that Tobin had written on the outside of the box.

“Alrighty, just about got it. Oops missed one section - Sorry, what was your first name?” He asked again.

“Christen. Spelled with a C-h.” She answered again without really thinking about it.

He typed it into the computer and a moment later, the shipping label was printing out. He tore it off and handed it over to Christen to inspect, to make sure there were no errors, so it would get where it needed to go.

She browsed it for a second and then spotted the name listed at the top of the return address section.

Christen Heath

Listed just above the apartment’s address.  

She smiled at the mistake and then handed it back to him, deciding it wasn’t worth correcting. Perry would still get the package without any confusion.  

“Looks good.” She nodded, pulling out her debit card to pay for the shipping charges.

The kid ran her card and then handed her receipt back, smiling as she turned around to exit the store.

She made it back to the car and smiled at Zoey, who was patiently waiting in the passenger seat like a good dog. Christen ruffled her ears a little and then fixed her collar that had gotten a little twisted. The lettering on her tag caught Christen’s attention just then, even though she knew what it said.

Zoey Heath

908-284-2174

With Tobin’s phone number listed under her name, in case the dog ever got lost.

Christen laughed again. “Well aren’t we all just the Heath family today.” she cooed to Zoey, before putting her seatbelt on to drive off again.

The whole way to the dog park, she couldn’t stop thinking about that funny little mixup.

Heath.

She liked the way it sounded when she said it out loud. She even practiced a few times.

Christen Heath. Christen Annemarie Heath. Christen Heath and Zoey Heath and Tobin Heath.

She laughed at herself when she noticed the guy at the stoplight next to her was watching her talk to herself.

By the time they actually made it to the dog park, she had all but made up her mind.

When she really stopped to think about it, it mattered to her that her and Tobin had the same last name once they were married. Hyphenating their names was too much work and it didn’t really flow together, plus she wanted to honor Tobin’s name, since she was the one who proposed.

Christen suddenly felt like she couldn’t wait to tell Tobin what she had decided.

Before she could get totally sidetracked by her thoughts, Christen opened her door and Zoey was jumping over her lap and out of the drivers side; not being able to control her excitement when she saw the other dogs scattered around the dog park.

Christen hurried to climb out after her, watching where the dog ran off to, so she wouldn’t lose her in the distance.

Christen made friendly conversation with a few other dog owners that she recognized from previous visits, and Zoey played for over an hour, until she had worn out most of her energy.

Christen was filling up a water dish for Zoey when her phone sounded in her pocket, letting her know she had a new text. She looked at her phone as the dog took a long drink of water, splashing it all over the ground in front of her.

{Tobin <3}: Hey baby. Gonna be here for a little bit yet, but can I take you to dinner tonight?

{Tobin <3}: We haven’t had a date night in a while..

Christen looked at the time on her phone, noting to herself that Tobin was already gone later than normal. She guessed maybe she had extra responsibilities now that she was Captain, otherwise she wasn’t sure what was still keeping her at the stadium. The team’s second practice of the day had ended over an hour ago.

She wanted to have a conversation with Tobin about what she had decided on her afternoon out, but she didn’t want it to be in public. She wanted to be able to sit in Tobin’s lap and look her right in the eyes and kiss her freely when she told her.

{Future Wifey}: Dinner sounds great, but do you just wanna grab something and eat at home?

Tobin didn’t really care, she guessed Christen was probably tired from her afternoon out, sending a response back quickly.

{Tobin <3}: Sure, I’ll pick up dinner on my way. Be home in like an hour or so..

Christen knelt down next to Zoey and wrapped an arm around her, holding her phone out as the dog licked her face. She took a quick picture of herself and the dog and sent it to Tobin with another message.

{Future Wifey}: We’re just heading home from the dog park. We love you!

Tobin felt the butterflies in her stomach as she looked at the picture Christen had just sent, typing back one last reply while she laughed to herself.

{Tobin <3}: Hot and Cute. Love you both.

Christen read it and shook her head, before standing back up. “Let’s go home, girl.”

xxx

 

An hour and a half later, Christen was lounging on the couch when Tobin finally got home, carrying her duffle bag and a big plastic bag of takeout food.

“Sorry I’m so late, that took way longer than I thought it would.” Tobin hummed as she kicked her shoes off. “But I come bearing your favorite Mexican food.”

Christen sat up and looked over the back of the couch at Tobin, raising her eyebrows excitedly. “Fajitas?”

“Oh yeah.” Tobin grinned, setting the food on the counter and walking towards the couch to kiss Christen.

“Uh oh, what are you trying to do, butter me up?” Christen teased as Tobin walked towards her.

“Maybe..” Tobin smiled, leaning down for a kiss. “Missed you.”

Christen leaned up to meet Tobin’s lips, humming when she pulled away. “I missed you too. But no distracting me with kisses right now...”

Tobin laughed and walked back to the kitchen to grab some plates. “Nah, I’m not trying to butter you up. But I do wanna talk to you about something.” She conceded.

Oh really…” Christen questioned.

She got up too and grabbed a couple beers for them out of the fridge, carrying them back to the living room, as Tobin grabbed the plates and food. Christen settled in on the couch, sitting close enough to Tobin so that she was leaning against her lightly, her knees tucked up underneath her.

“Well I wanna talk to you about something too.” She said as they piled their plates with meat and veggies.

Tobin took a swig of her beer and looked at Christen with a curious grin. “What’s up babe?”

“No, you go first.” Christen mused, taking a drink of her own. “Mine might lead us to be distracted by other things..”

Tobin cocked her eyebrow in wonder. “Like.. naked things?”

“You never know..” Christen shrugged coolly.

“Okay, well let’s just talk about mine later then. I’m not even that hungry..” Tobin murmured.

Christen giggled and rolled her eyes. “Focus, honey.”

Tobin laughed and took a bite of her food. “Right, okay. Yeah, this is important actually.”

They both ate for a moment until Tobin cleared her throat to speak again.

“So, I was late getting home tonight cause I had a meeting with Merritt and Gavin, do you remember meeting them?” Tobin started. “I introduced you at that dinner last year..”

“The owner guys, right?” Christen confirmed who she thought Tobin was talking about.

“Yeah, Merritt is the owner and Gavin is the GM.” Tobin nodded. “They asked me to meet with them to talk about a few things after practice this afternoon.”

“What type of things?”

“Well.. so there is a development academy starting up in the Fall. The front office is about to announce it.” Tobin explained. “It’s basically going to be a kind of a youth system, so the Thorns can develop players for the future. Like in a professional training environment and all that..”

“Oh that’s awesome.” Christen smiled. “Future Tobin Heath’s in the making.”

Tobin laughed. “Well, hopefully better than Tobin Heath, but yeah essentially. Future pro players, is the hope.”

“Nobody is better than Tobin Heath.” Christen said seriously, looking at Tobin with a slight smile on her face.

“Probably biased.. But fair..” Tobin mused.

Christen just laughed, waiting for Tobin to continue.

“So, they asked me to be involved in the Academy. I had talked with them, probably before I met you even, about wanting to be involved in youth soccer development when I retire. So they knew I already had that idea in my mind. They kind of think this would be a good starting point for me right now. Kind of like a way to get my foot in the door.”

“Wow, they want you to start doing it now? While you’re still playing?” Christen questioned.

“Well yeah, it would be during the offseason, so it wouldn’t affect any games or training or anything..” Tobin nodded. “But yeah, they offered me a job as the Assistant Technical Director. I’d basically be helping scout younger players and helping to map out training plans for them and stuff.”

“Babe, that’s amazing.” Christen smiled, reaching out and resting her hand on Tobin’s thigh encouragingly. “You would be really, really good at that.”

“Thanks.” Tobin beamed for a moment. “But…”

Christen just looked at her, nodding for her to continue.

“Well, the catch is.. It’s something I would need to do from here.” Tobin said after a short pause.

“Okay..” Christen nodded, wondering if she was getting confused or not.

“Basically all off season.” Tobin said again. “Like, it would be hard for me to really live anywhere else, even for a few months.”

“By anywhere else you mean like, California..” Christen guessed that’s what Tobin was trying to get at.

“Right.” Tobin nodded, looking away from Christen for a second.

“Oh.”

“Chris, we’re getting married, obviously you are my number one priority. I’m only going to do what’s best for us as a family. And right now - but especially when we’re married - I want us to live together one hundred percent of the time.”

“I know.” Christen nodded, squeezing Tobin’s thigh a little so she knew she wasn’t getting freaked out by this.

They had already talked about needing to make some changes so they could live together full time. Neither of them wanting to do this back and forth, most of the time, stuff anymore.

“So I guess I’m just wondering how you would feel about being up here in Portland like, mostly year round. I know we said we could spend the offseason in LA, but this would probably change that..” Tobin’s voice went a little small, like she was almost afraid of Christen’s answer.

“I mean.. First of all…” Christen paused and leaned in to kiss Tobin. “Congrats, baby. That is seriously awesome. I’m really proud of you.”

“Thank you...” Tobin gave her a small smile.

“Second of all..” Christen started again. “Honey, we will figure it out, okay? If Portland is where we need to be, then this is where we’ll be.”

“Yeah, but your job..” Tobin started to speak but was cut off by Christen.

“..Is going to be up in the air in a few months. Who knows what role I’ll move into.. We already need to cross that bridge anyway, so I’ll just tell them I need a job that I can do from Portland. If they want me to stay with the company, they’ll make something work. And if not, there are a ton of other job options for me up here.”

She was looking at Tobin lovingly, trying to convey her sincerity.

“And if I can’t find another job, well then, you’ll just have to support me..”

Christen laughed, so Tobin did too.

“I will...”

“I know.” Christen nodded seriously, though she was still smiling. “I’m not worried about that.”

“I just don’t want you to sacrifice everything you’ve worked for, just because of me.” Tobin bit her bottom lip, looking up at Christen again.

“Well, Tobs.. Sometimes marriage is about sacrifice.” Christen shrugged. “I love my job, but if I had to give it up, I would do it for us. We’re an us now, you know.. Ever since you put a ring on it.”

She held up her hand and twisted her wrist back and forth a few times like Beyoncé, both of them laughing together for a moment, until Tobin reached up to hold her hand.

Tobin looked into Christen’s eyes with an easy smile, knowing she was right. She’d do the same for Christen if the roles were reversed.

“Look, I know how much you mean to this community, Tobin. I saw it the first time I ever visited you here. You matter to people here. If you can stay in Portland and make a difference, doing what you love, why would I ever say no to that?”

Tobin let out a long breath. So happy that Christen reacted to her news this way. Even though she hadn’t expected for this conversation to go any other way. Christen had always been nothing but supportive.

“It’s not hard for me to envision us building a life here, Tobs. Not to mention, our kids are probably going to be soccer stars anyway, if you have anything to say about it..” Christen smiled. “I’m fully prepared for a long road of this.”

“You’re incredible.” Tobin hummed. “I just.. I can’t believe how amazing you are. I’m so lucky to have you.”

“Well, you can tell me that every day for the rest of our lives, if it helps...” Christen smiled, leaning it to kiss Tobin.

“I will be sure to do that.” Tobin laughed, kissing her again.

“Good.” Christen “So, tomorrow when you go to the stadium, tell them you want the job.”

“Yeah, I will.” Tobin agreed. “Thank you, baby.”

Christen let her face drop down to Tobin’s shoulder for a moment, wrapping her arm around her waist for a sideways hug, before she sat back up and grabbed her beer off the coffee table.

“Okay, so now that I got that out of the way, what did you wanna talk about?” Tobin questioned, finishing the last of her food and setting her plate down again.

Christen laughed happily, knowing how fitting this was after the conversation they just had. She moved to sit up a little, swinging her leg around Tobin, until she was straddling her waist. Christen then wrapped her arms around Tobin’s shoulders, sitting so they were eye to eye.

“I like where this is going already.” Tobin grinned, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist in return.

Christen leaned in and hugged Tobin tightly. “I just wanted to be closer to you.” She murmured in Tobin’s ear.

Tobin pulled her in even tighter as they held onto each other for a moment, until Christen leaned back again.

“You know.. when I was little..” Christen started, speaking softly right in front of Tobin. “I always used to imagine what my last name would be when I got married.”

She leaned in and kissed Tobin’s cheek.

“You know how in like middle school, when you would write your first name with your crush’s last name and pretend it was real.. to see how it looked on paper..”

Tobin laughed. She hadn’t really ever done that, but she knew what Christen meant.

“Do you know what I’m talking about?” Christen wondered.

“Yeah.” Tobin answered her.

Christen leaned in and kissed Tobin’s other cheek sweetly, before she spoke again.

“That always seemed so romantic to me. Marrying the person you love and then taking their last name. It’s all very permanent after that.”

Tobin nodded with a smile like she agreed. She let her hand run under the hem of Christen’s shirt, rubbing her back gently.

“I’ve been thinking about that a lot..”

Christen spoke again, before she leaned in and pressed her lips right to Tobin’s, softly for a moment.

“Babe..” Tobin hummed with a big smile, wanting her to explain where she was going with this.

“Little twelve year old Christen would be so mad at Currently Engaged Christen if I didn’t take your last name, right?” she mused to Tobin.

Tobin smiled a little wider as Christen continued.

“I mean, you’re my crush for life so.. It would only be fitting, right?”

“Chris…” Tobin whispered, looking at her right in the eyes again, really trying to read her.

“And Zoey has your last name..” Christen hummed, kissing Tobin again.

“So I was thinking.. We should be The Heath’s..” Christen shrugged. “If you want..”

“Are you serious?” Tobin questioned happily, looking at Christen like she didn’t believe her.

“I mean, don’t you think Christen Heath sounds nice?” Christen asked with a playful smile, threading her fingers together behind Tobin’s neck.

“I think she sounds really hot” Tobin teased. “And amazing and perfect.”

Christen giggled again, narrowing her eyes at Tobin’s joke.  

“Tobs..” Christen hushed her lovingly. “It matters to me that we share a name after we're married. If we have kids, I want them to have your last name and Zoey already has your name, and if you’re okay with it, I want to take your last name too.”

“Christen.. I would love that.” Tobin beamed, sitting up so their faces were barely an inch apart. “That would mean the world to me, baby.”

“Yeah?” Christen wondered hopefully.

“Absolutely.” Tobin nodded with conviction.

“It would mean the world to me too.” Christen smiled, kissing Tobin another time.

Tobin fell back against the couch again, running her hand through Christen’s hair as they stared at each other.

“Christen Heath.” Tobin whispered again, loving the way it sounded.

Christen laughed, knowing she had done the same thing earlier in the car.

“Wow.” Tobin laughed, almost in disbelief that Christen wanted that. “And we can get one of those wooden signs to hang above the door that says The Heath’s.”

“Okay, well.. we’ll talk about that..” Christen countered. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves on ugly home decor, we’re not that old yet.”

Tobin laughed happily in agreement.

“I love you, Chris.” Tobin smiled. “I can’t wait to marry you.”

“I know, I can’t wait to be a Heath.” Christen smiled.

She leaned in again to hug Tobin, pulling her close enough so she could feel Tobin’s heartbeat through her own skin. Slow and steady, just like Tobin had been from the start. So sure of everything.

Tobin went quiet at the same moment, thinking back on everything they had been through; realizing how crazy and perfect their lives have been since the moment they met. It almost didn’t seem real to either of them.

“Hey, babe?” Tobin murmured, her face pressed to Christen’s shoulder.

“Hmmm?”

“This is it, right? That reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of love?”

Christen felt her breath catch in her throat at Tobin's words, remembering what she had told her all those months ago. She leaned back slowly to look Tobin right in the eyes again. Tobin’s smile instantly lighting up every part of darkness that had ever been inside of Christen.

All she could do was nod for a moment, clearing her throat enough to finally speak again.

“Yeah.” She whispered. “This is everything.”


xxx

Chapter Text

Tobin was lying awake, tracing the patterns of shadows that were cast across the ceiling of the bedroom with her eyes, the dim sidewalk lights outside the window illuminating the dark room just slightly.

 

She was wired.

 

It had been over an hour since she shut the lights off and crawled into bed, but sleep still hadn’t found her. So she just laid there, slowly counting each line that was projected into the darkness. She hoped that maybe if she counted the shadows enough times, she’d drift off into unconsciousness.

 

Sure, she could get up and close the curtain a little tighter, to make the room pitch black, but honestly, she didn’t mind how the shadows were keeping her mind occupied.

 

It was either that or go crazy with thoughts.

 

Tobin was never like this. She never had a hard time sleeping. Usually, she was out as soon as her head hit the pillow. She almost prided herself on that quality, making Christen envious of her ability most of the time.

 

But tonight, it was like every thought she’d ever had about life was circling around in her brain.

 

She had stayed up late, putting the finishing touches on her wedding vows that she would be delivering tomorrow, feeling like she’d never get them just right. What do you say to the love of your life, on your wedding day, that will ever convey how much you love them?

 

It was one of the questions rolling around in her mind over and over again.

 

When she had finally been content with her vows, she wrote everything else that she was thinking down in her journal, just trying to free her mind of its restlessness before she got ready for bed.

 

All of that didn’t seem to matter now though. When it came down to it, she was just too excited.

 

The couple had rented a house for themselves and their wedding party to use for the night before the wedding, right on the property of Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu; where they were getting married. The house and surrounding area were part of the Malibu Wine Estate, and it had been one of Christen’s ideal wedding locations for as long as she could remember. It was an easy choice for both of them to make in the end.

 

The house was big enough that Tobin and Christen could have their own rooms for the night, with everyone else sharing with one or two others; and the fact that it was close to where the ceremony was being held made it perfect.

 

Everything was set and ready to go. They’d spent almost a year planning every last detail, and now all the day had to do was get here.

 

The brown haired woman let out a long, drawn-out sigh and flipped over in bed, burying her face in the pillow. Willing her mind to shut off and go to sleep.

 

Tomorrow was a big day, the biggest day, and she couldn’t wait for it to arrive. All she wanted to do was pass out, hoping it would make the time go faster.

 

Just as Tobin shut her eyes and concentrated on her breathing, she thought she heard the handle on her bedroom door turn the slightest amount. She figured it was just her tired imagination, not bothering to even lift her head and see if that’s what the noise actually was.

 

Maybe it was just someone in the hallway who hadn’t gone to bed yet.

 

A moment later, she heard another click, like her door was shutting again.

 

This time, Tobin rolled back over and lifted her head, spotting a familiar figure tiptoeing towards the bed through the darkness.

 

“Chris?” Tobin whispered out, sitting up more so she could see clearly.

 

“Sorry..” Christen whispered back, taking the last two steps towards where Tobin was lying. “Hi.”

 

Tobin pulled her covers back a bit without question, scooting into the middle of the bed enough so Christen had room to climb in next to her.

 

“Hi..” Tobin returned, opening her arms up so Christen could snuggle into her. “What are you doing, babe?”

 

“I couldn’t sleep.” Christen murmured, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s midsection and moving down into her.

 

“Me neither.” Tobin admitted quickly.

 

“Really.. did you miss me that much?” Christen questioned playfully.

 

Tobin just started to laugh softly, falling back against the bed. “If I remember correctly, spending the night apart was your idea..”

 

“Yeah, I know..” Christen grinned back.

 

“So you can’t even stick to your own rules for more than two hours, huh?” Tobin teased.

 

“Shhhh.” Christen hummed. “I won’t stay long, I just needed you to hold me for a bit.”

 

“Yeah, come here.” Tobin urged, pulling Christen into herself tightly.

 

She flung the blankets back over her and Christen so they were cozy under them again. Christen nuzzled in a little closer without speaking, finding her usual sleeping position mostly on top of Tobin, her face tucked into Tobin’s neck.

 

Tobin rubbed her back as they laid there for a few minutes, listening to each other’s breathing without saying anything else.

 

Just wanting to be close to each other.

 

Christen was the one to finally break the silence a bit later, hoping she hadn’t lost Tobin to sleep yet.

 

“Are you nervous?”

 

She asked the question as though she was scared to hear Tobin’s answer; like she’d have to answer the same question in return, once she did.

 

“Yeah..” Tobin breathed, stilling her hand on Christen’s back.

 

“Me too.” Christen let out a slow breath of her own.

 

She really hadn’t been expecting Tobin to be nervous, or to admit it, even if she was. Tobin’s admission calmed her though, making Christen feel okay about her own feelings and emotions.

 

“What are you nervous about?” Christen questioned into the quietness again, this time lifting her head off of Tobin’s chest so she could look at her face.

 

“Just the usual.” Tobin shrugged. “Falling on my face, or using up all my good dance moves too quickly... that would suck.” She paused with a grin. “..Or looking way worse than you will..”

 

Christen smiled and shook her head, just enough for Tobin to notice in the dark room.

 

“Those are silly things to be worried about, baby.” Christen sighed at Tobin’s typical goofiness.

 

She rested her head back down on Tobin’s chest, realizing now how calm Tobin actually was about it all. She was right the first time to assume that’s how Tobin would be. It how she always was. Steady and calm and sure of everything.

 

Ever since day one.

 

Tobin chuckled a little underneath Christen. But it was the truth. She  was  nervous about walking down the aisle in heels, knowing it’d be hard to concentrate on anything other than how stunning Christen was surely going to look. Or messing up during their first dance after the ceremony, knowing dancing was never her strong suit. She just wanted it all to go perfectly. It was going to be the most important day of their lives.

 

“Well, what are you nervous about?” Tobin asked instead of continuing, knowing Christen meant that question on a deeper level.

 

“I’m just..” Christen tailed off. She hugged Tobin tighter before speaking again, her voice a little more pensive. “Everything..”

 

“I mean, we’re getting married tomorrow. It’s really wild to think about.”

 

Tobin kissed the top of Christen’s head and started to rub her back again, trying to ease her nerves the best way she knew how.

 

“Yeah, it is.” Tobin hummed. “But I’m so excited. I can’t wait for you to be my wife.”

 

Christen smiled at that, lifting her head again and leaning in enough so she could kiss Tobin’s lips. All of her unnecessary worries and thoughts about the future falling away at Tobin’s words.

 

Your wife.” Christen almost swooned when she said it in return, her lips still ghosting over Tobin’s. “I am going to love being called that.”

 

“Good.” Tobin chuckled and pecked her lips again. “Cause I’m sure gonna try and wear it out.”

 

Christen let herself get lost in kissing Tobin for a few minutes, sitting up to straddle her waist as their tongues explored until the brown eyed woman’s hands started to wander a little too much.

 

It was classic Tobin to push the boundaries as far as Christen would let her.

 

“Honey..” Christen lightly scolded, pulling Tobin’s hand out from where it had dipped into the waistband of Christen’s sleep shorts. “Not tonight.”

 

“Ughh.” Tobin pretended to whine, not able to stifle her smile for long.

 

“You know how seriously I take my No Sex Before Marriage rule.” Christen teased, moving up and leaning back more so she could put enough distance between her and Tobin’s chests, to make it less tempting.

 

“You and your rules..” Tobin smiled lovingly.

 

She reached out and cupped Christen’s breasts over her t-shirt, just to see if she could get a reaction out of Christen.

 

“Babe.. you know I’m a rebel who lives for breaking the rules.” Tobin husked out in her sexiest voice.

 

She had used that trick one too many times though, only making Christen laugh in return as she slowly removed Tobin’s hands from herself again.

 

“Well, parenting with you is going to be quite a challenge then.”

 

She pulled Tobin’s hands up to her lips and kissed her knuckles lovingly, before letting both of their interlocked fingers drop back to Tobin’s stomach.

 

“Nah, we’re going to be great at it.” Tobin responded. “We make an awesome team.”

 

Tobin sat up enough so that she could kiss Christen again, sweeter this time, not trying to take it any further.

 

Christen sighed into the kiss and held Tobin’s face close when they pulled back, getting a little more serious.

 

“Are you sure you want to marry me tomorrow?” Christen asked.

 

The whole reason she couldn’t sleep tonight finally coming out.

 

“I’m absolutely positive.” Tobin nodded, slowly but so surely.

 

Christen kissed her lips again. “Promise you’ll still love me in thirty years?” She asked then.

 

“Promise.” Tobin nodded again. “I can’t even imagine how much I’ll love you then.”

 

“You better.” Christen relented and smiled. “Cause I’d never survive without you.”

 

“You won’t ever have to.” Tobin hummed, running her hand through Christen’s curls.

 

Christen smiled softly at the dopey grin on Tobin’s face. Her heart feeling like it was going to burst with how happy she was.

 

She trusted Tobin with her whole life, and if Tobin said they’d make it forever, Christen believed her without a doubt.

 

She believed in them.

 

“I’m so excited.” Christen said then, kissing Tobin another time. “Let’s do this forever thing.”

 

“Oh, we’re doing it.” Tobin agreed, both of them laughing softly for a moment.

 

“I suppose I should go back to my own bed.” Christen conceded softly after she released Tobin’s lips again.

 

“You can stay in here with me.” Tobin offered, running her hand down to Christen’s cheek. “The best thing about it being our wedding weekend is that we can do whatever we want.”

 

Christen shook her head no. “We can survive one more night apart.”

 

She wasn’t sure why, but she liked the tradition of spending the last night before marriage separately and getting ready the next day apart from each other. It was going to make it that much more special when they saw each other before the ceremony.

 

“Fine.” Tobin nodded, leaning in again and stealing another kiss. “I love you.”

 

“I love you too.” Christen murmured, landing one last kiss on Tobin’s bottom lip.

 

Christen slid off the bed and walked back towards the bedroom door, turning around as she reached for the door handle.

 

“I’ll see you at the altar, my love.”

 

Tobin felt the butterflies in her stomach as she smiled widely. “See you at the altar.”



xxx


Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my absolute honor to introduce to you - for the first time as a married couple - Tobin and Christen Heath!

 

Christen barely registered the announcement as her lips connected with Tobin’s again. The second, and much quicker, kiss they were sharing after Pastor Jones finally told them they could kiss their bride.

 

As of thirty seconds ago, they were officially married; and Christen was too happy and exhilarated not to kiss Tobin again, almost as soon as they pulled away from the first one.

 

The nearly three hundred wedding guests were sitting in white chairs across the grass landscape behind them, taking in the incredible views of rock formations and vineyards that surrounded the ceremony.

 

Everyone let out loud cheers and hollers and whistles at the Pastor’s words.

 

“I love you.” Tobin beamed as they pulled back again, looking her wife right in the eyes. Her hands still on Christen’s waist, gripping the tight lace fabric of Christen’s wedding dress to keep her close.

 

“I love you. So much.” Christen grinned back, loud enough for Tobin to hear over the chorus of wedding guests. She ran her hands down Tobin’s bare arms as they slowly stepped back from each other again.

 

The couple found each other’s hand and linked their fingers together, before turning to face the congregation of their family and friends, both of them laughing happily at the excitement of it all.

 

Tobin gave Christen’s hand one more squeeze, and the newly married couple stepped forward from under the canopy where they and the pastor had been standing, ready to make their grand exit past all the guests and down the aisle of green grass in front of them.

 

They received a series of high-fives (Tobin) and gentle arm squeeze’s (Christen) as they made their way past the everyone, never breaking their hold on each other.

 

When they got to the back of the crowd, Tobin wasted no time kicking off her heels, before Christen shrugged with a smile and did the same. When they were both on easier footing, Christen wrapped her arms around Tobin’s shoulders and pulled her in for a tight hug.

 

Taking a moment for just the two of them, before the wedding guests started to file out of their seats and join the procession line to greet the wedding party.

 

Tobin spun her around happily, Christen’s legs swaying as they moved in a circle.

 

“We’re married, honey!” Christen almost shrieked in excitement, tightening her arms even more around Tobin’s shoulders. “Oh my gosh!”

 

“I can’t believe it.” Tobin grinned, setting Christen back down and letting her face rest in the base of Christen’s neck just slightly. Not wanting to mess up her makeup too much. “I am so lucky.”

 

Christen placed another kiss to Tobin’s lips, just quick enough before Tyler and Perry made it down the aisle to where Christen and Tobin were waiting. Both sisters serving as respective Matrons of Honor for the couple.

 

“Perry! I have a wife!” Tobin basically shouted in amazed excitement as soon as her sister got close enough. Already putting that term to good use.

 

She felt like she needed to keep saying it, in order to actually believe that it was true.

 

“Congrats you two beautiful brides!” Perry laughed in return, hugging Tobin and then new her Sister-in-law.

 

“You two are the most gorgeous couple.” Tyler added, moving opposite of Perry to hug them both as well.

 

“Welcome to the family, Tobin.”


xxx


“Tobin, it’s so great to see you again.”

 

Their realtor, Susan, who they’d spent more than their fair share of time with recently greeted her with a firm handshake as soon as she’d stepped through the door of the house.

 

Tobin greeted her back with a big smile of her own. “Yeah, thanks for meeting us.”

 

“This is Jeremy, the Closing Agent I told you about.” She introduced the pair. “He’s gonna help us get every wrapped up today.”

 

“Hi, Tobin, it's nice to meet you.” The young guy greeted her kindly. “Is it just you signing all the documents today?”

 

“Ah, nope.” Tobin looked at the time on her phone quickly before answering Jeremy completely. “My wife should be here any minute. I guess she’s running a little late. Sorry about that.”

 

Tobin had waited in her car for a few minutes hoping Christen would show up before she had to walk in alone, but after it got later than their scheduled meeting time, she gave in and greeted them by herself, not wanting to be rude.

 

The three of them were standing in the empty kitchen of the five bedroom house in the West Hills neighborhood of Northwest Portland that Tobin and Christen had toured a couple of times, finalizing the purchase of it this afternoon.

 

That is, if Christen ever showed up.

 

Tobin had come right from the stadium and Christen was coming right from the airport, after spending a quick 24 hours in LA for a couple meetings. They didn’t have time to meet up and ride together, but Christen had let Tobin know she’d landed safely an hour ago.

 

The dark haired woman was now about ten minutes late and Tobin was getting slightly concerned.

 

Christen was never late. Especially not when it was for something this important.

 

Tobin shot her a short text as the three of them made small talk, getting a response back quickly. She was only a couple blocks away.

 

Not more than a minute later, Tobin saw Christen’s SUV pull into the driveway from out of the large bay window in the living room.

 

She could see Zoey’s head sticking out of the passenger side window that was halfway rolled down. The dog's tongue hanging out of her mouth happily.

 

Tobin shook her head to herself, now realizing why Christen was late.

 

She walked out of the front door and down the short sidewalk to the driveway, moving around the front of Christen’s new car that they had just bought, looking at her wife questioningly.

 

“Is everything okay?” She asked as Christen opened her door.

 

Tobin leaned in and kissed Christen’s lips without thinking as Christen answered her question.

 

“Yeah. Sorry, traffic sucked..” Christen smiled. “I had to stop and get Zoey and it took longer than I thought it would getting into downtown.”

 

“I can see that.” Tobin nodded as she looked at their dog, trying to keep up. They didn’t have any plans after this that Tobin could remember so she wasn’t sure why Zoey needed to come. “Why is she here?”

 

“Because we’re signing for our house today.” Christen said like it was obvious.

 

“Babe...” Tobin sighed hesitantly.

 

“What?” Christen wondered as she slid out of the front seat and let Zoey jump down after her. “It’s gonna be her home too, she deserves to be here.”

 

She really shouldn’t have been surprised about this.

 

“That’s great but we’re kinda running late now.” Tobin pointed out gently.

 

“Honey, it’s fine.” Christen shrugged. “We’re paying these people a lot of money, they can afford to wait for a couple minutes.”

 

“Alright...” Tobin just sighed again, deciding not to argue when it was already done with.

 

She grabbed Zoey’s leash out of Christen’s hand and then laced her fingers with Christen’s, leading them both towards the house without wasting any more time.

 

Christen stepped into their soon-to-be new home first, her heels clicking against the hardwood floor as she confidently strode towards the kitchen.

 

Tobin stepped inside with Zoey after her, following Christen and giving both their Realtor and the Closing Agent an apologetic smile as if to say  ‘Wives, am I right?’

 

Christen being soft and bringing Zoey along didn’t matter one bit though as she quickly kicked into business mode, shaking both of their hands seriously and getting right down to it.

 

Tobin let Zoey out into the fenced-in backyard and then just stood back and smiled as Christen did the talking, making sure everything was complete before they signed all the paperwork.

 

Loving how sexy her wife was when she meant business. It was a side of her that Tobin didn’t get to see often enough for her own liking.

 

An hour later after the final inspector had come and gone and all the paperwork had been signed, Tobin palmed the new set of keys that Susan had dropped into her hands.

 

“It’s officially ours?” Tobin wondered with a big smile.

 

“All yours.” The realtor nodded to both of them. “Congratulations you two, and of course, Zoey.”

 

Tobin and Christen looked at each other and smiled happily.

 

They had just bought their first home together.

 

Portland was now all but permanent and they couldn’t have been more excited about building their lives here together.

 

Susan left after a while and Tobin popped the bottle of champagne she had picked up to celebrate with, giving Christen the bottle to take a swig from first.

 

“I can’t wait to make this house our home. There is nobody I’d rather do it with than you, my hot and amazing wife.” Christen hummed as she raised the bottle, handing it over to Tobin, along with a kiss, after she took a drink.

 

“And to being one step closer to buying that The Heath’s sign we’ve always wanted.” Tobin laughed, taking her own big pull from the bottle.

 

They ordered Chinese food delivery and drank the rest of the champagne right from the bottle and ended the evening by having sex on the empty living room floor, just as a way to officially break in the place before they went back to their downtown apartment for one final night.

 

Knowing quickly that they were going to settle in here just fine.



xxx



Tobin and Zoey were lying on the couch in the living room, watching and rewinding some game film from the Thorns loss the night before. Letting the fireplace warm the room against the chilly, rainy evening.

 

Tobin was jotting down some training notes when the faint sound of the garage door registered in her ear.

 

Zoey heard it too, sitting up from her spot on the couch quickly and wagging her tail in excitement.

 

It was later than Tobin had been expecting, finally hearing the soft click of Christen’s heels against the linoleum floor of the laundry room and then hearing her keys dropping onto the small table next to the door.

 

She pushed herself up enough to look over the back of the couch, waiting for Christen to come around the corner and into view.

 

She could recognize the tired but happy look on Christen’s face as soon as she saw her.

 

“Hi, baby.” Tobin smiled, watching as Christen walked into the room and around the couch to sit down right in her lap.

 

“Hi.” Christen returned, leaning down to kiss Tobin’s lips, before nestling her face into her neck.

 

Tobin paused the game and hugged Christen tightly. “How’d your first day go?”

 

“So well.” Christen hummed happily.

 

Tobin could feel Christen's smile against her neck, breaking out into a grin of her own.

 

“Yeah?” Tobin asked again. “That’s awesome.”

 

“It was a lot to process but yeah, it was really good.” Christen added, lifting her head to make eye contact with Tobin again.

 

It was her first day with the Oregon Adoption Agency as a Case Manager for Infant and Toddler Family Adoptions. She had accepted the job after she and Tobin made the decision to move to Portland full time. No longer wanting to do the traveling that was required to stay with UNICEF out of LA.

 

They wanted to be together all the time, outside of Tobin’s away games and knew that it was the best thing for their family as they moved towards the future. It wasn’t an easy decision but Christen’s bosses at UNICEF willingly kept the door open for her down the line and she left on great terms with everyone there.

 

Now she would get to be local and work in Portland and the surrounding metro area exclusively, getting back to the work that she started with out of college. Finding loving and suitable homes for children in need.

 

“I’m really glad you had a good day.” Tobin kissed her again.

 

“Me too.” Christen nodded, pushing herself up from Tobin’s lap. “I’m gonna go change and get comfy.”

 

Christen changed into a t-shirt and some yoga pants and she and Tobin stood in the kitchen making a late dinner together before they sat down on the couch to eat while the tv played quietly in the background.

 

“So tell me about your day.” Tobin questioned between bites of food.

 

“Well I got to go to my first group home today, it’s one of the main locations I’ll be working, so I’ll be there pretty regularly. They just wanted me to meet everyone and introduce myself to the kids.” Christen explained.

 

“I met the two cutest little girls there.” She smiled as she set her fork down and looked over at Tobin. “They are one and a half and ten months old, and they are literally so adorable. My heart just melted the whole time watching them.”

 

“Awwww” Tobin hummed as she listened. “What were their names?”

 

“Oliva is the older one and Lainey is the younger one.” Christen spoke again. “I guess they’ve been inseparable since they were brought into the home only a few days apart from each other. They’ve been there for a couple months now.”

 

“So you’ll get to see them a lot then?” Tobin wondered.

 

“Yeah, at least until they are adopted by their forever families.” She nodded, picking her fork back up to keep eating. “I can’t imagine them being separated though. I hope it isn’t too long until we get them placed, so they don’t get too dependant on each other only to be split apart again.”

 

“Well, I’m sure you’ll look after them well until they are.” Tobin smiled, giving Christen’s leg a squeeze.

 

And Christen did. At least twice a week for the next six months, she would visit Oliva and Lainey’s foster home to check up on them. Drawing out their time together longer and longer with each visit.

 

She even got Tobin to meet them at a meet and greet event that the Adoption agency sponsored for prospective parents. It was a way for families that were looking to adopt to spend time with the children and see if any connections or bonds were formed in the process. Hoping to place children as a result of the afternoon.

 

One look at Christen and the girls playing together and Tobin was pretty hooked too.

 

After that, she would meet Christen for lunch once a week or so, and then they would spend the afternoon at Olivia and Lainey’s foster family’s home or they would all go to a park and play for a few hours just to spend time together.

 

Christen didn’t acknowledge it too much at first, but Tobin could tell she was getting attached to the girls. Tobin was too when she really thought about it.

 

It didn’t take long before they could notice it from both Olivia and Lainey as well. All of them feeling a strong bond with each other rather quickly.

 

So Tobin wasn’t all that surprised when Christen rolled over one night after they had gone to bed and gave her an audible sigh like she wanted to talk about something. Tobin just rolled over into her and smiled, silently telling her to go ahead. Knowing so easily that something was on Christen’s mind.

 

“How soon do you see us being parents?” Christen practically whispered into the darkness.

 

They’d only been married for a little over a year and Christen used to think they’d at least have a few years of newly wedded bliss before they expanded their family.

 

Now she wasn’t so sure.

 

Tobin let out her own sigh, trying to think over her answer very carefully, knowing her response mattered a lot to both of them.

 

Christen took Tobin’s pause as a bad sign, continuing her thoughts before Tobin could respond.

 

“I know it’s crazy to think about right now, but baby, I can’t stop thinking about it.” She almost sounded like she was wishing it would go away.

 

Tobin smiled at her, calming Christen’s anxious thoughts quickly.

 

“It’s not that crazy.” Tobin shrugged, pulling Christen in closer to her. “Not really when I think about those two little girls.”

 

She knew which kids Christen was thinking of. It wouldn’t have been anyone else. She was thinking of them too.

 

“I love them.” Christen murmured quietly, looking over at Tobin after a moment.

 

“I know you do.” Tobin nodded seriously. “I do too.”

 

“They need to grow up together.” Christen said again as the thoughts of their situation continued to stress her out. “They’re sisters in every sense of the word, except for who gave birth to them. They’re all each other has.”

 

There was a long moment of silence before Tobin let out another breath and spoke again.

 

“We could be who they have.” Tobin suggested. “We could be their family.”

 

She was echoing Christen’s thoughts of the past few months out loud. Finally.

 

Christen’s eyes were tearing up as she moved over onto Tobin, lifting herself up on her elbows on top of her wife and looking down at her eagerly.

 

“I’m being serious, Tobs.” Christen said with an urgent voice, needing her to know this wasn’t a joke or a hypothetical conversation.

 

She was pretty sure Tobin was being serious too, but she needed to double check.

 

“I am too, Chris.” Tobin returned softly.

 

She pulled Christen down into her chest fully, hugging her tightly and rubbing her back as she spoke again.

 

“Baby, we love them and they trust us and you know we’d give them a good, loving home.” Tobin continued to soothe her with the only words she could think of.

 

“Are we ready to be parents, though?” Christen asked almost rhetorically.

 

Tobin thought on it for a moment before answering.

 

“Well, I mean.. We’re married and there is no doubt in either of our minds that we are gonna have kids together eventually...” Tobin shrugged easily. “As for being ready now, well, I’m sure nobody is ever completely ready. But we’ve always wanted this together and we would make it work. I know us and I know how much love there is in this house; so yeah, I guess I’m pretty damn confident in that. I’m confident in us.”

 

Tobin’s small speech moved Christen. How amazing her wife was, one hundred percent of the time. She’d never get over how lucky she was that Tobin was hers.

 

“I am confident in us too.” Christen admitted, looking Tobin right in the eyes as she did. “And I really want us to be their moms.”

 

“Me too.” Tobin smiled. “So, let’s start that process and make it happen.”

 

“I love you so much.” Christen grinned into Tobin’s lips. “You’re my whole world. I don’t know what I would do without you.”

 

“I love you too.” Tobin swallowed, wiping a tear that was about to run down Christen’s cheek.

 

It took them eight months of paperwork and home visits and background checks and countless hours of unknowns about whether Olivia and Lainey could be adopted together; but in the end, with the help of Christen’s coworkers and her having a vast knowledge of how the system worked, they finally got to bring their girls home.

 

Together. For good. To stay forever.

 

And soon enough, their lives were infinitely more hectic and chaotic and so much more full of love from now having a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter and a two-year-old daughter.

 

Luckily, Zoey was there to watch over both of them like the good big sister she was.

 

Christen only lasted another month at work, before she and Tobin made the decision together that she should stay home with their daughters full time. At least until they were old enough to go to school.

 

Between the National Team, the Thorns, her Development Academy coaching and all of her sponsorships, Tobin made more than enough money to support their family; and neither of them wanted the girls to have to go to daycare when Christen could be home with them.

 

Tobin’s favorite thing in the world quickly became coming home to her full, loud, messy house at the end of each day. Kissing her daughters and tucking them in before bed and falling asleep next to her perfect wife every night.

 

She never knew she could be so in love.




xxx

 

“Yo, Tobs...”

 

Tobin looked up from where she was bent down in front of her locker, dropping her cleats in the bottom of it, so they’d be ready for practice come Monday morning. 

 

“Yo?” Tobin yelled back, turning around to face Kelley a few lockers down.

 

“We’re heading to the bar, you coming?” Kelley wondered as she picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder.

 

Tobin just smiled. Kelley knew better, but she was just being nice. It was the same conversation they’d had after almost every game, home or away, since Kelley had been traded to Portland at the start of the season.

 

“Nah, I’m good.” Tobin responded. “My beautiful, and very pregnant, wife would literally murder me if I went to the bar instead of going home after being gone for the last few nights.”

 

They both laughed, knowing it was true. Not that Kelley actually expected Tobin to say yes anyway. She knew Christen had her hands full with two little kids on her own when the team was out of town.

 

“You’re more blessed than the rest of us." Kelley agreed. "Chris is super hot, even when she’s about to pop.”

 

“Thank you?” Tobin responded with another small laugh.

 

Kelley wasn’t finished with her teasing.

 

“Honestly, it still blows my mind. The Tobin I met when we were like, 12, I would have never guessed she’d have a bangin’ wife and two adorable kids, with another on the way. Who even are you?”

 

“I feel like these half-compliments you always give me are really just you finding ways to tell me how hot my wife is..” Tobin returned. “I definitely agree, but you don’t have to be so jealous.”

 

“Oh, I’m not jealous." Kelley refuted. "She’s basically my wife too, with how much time I spend at your house. I guess the only downside is no sexy times, but what can you do… Plus, I’m your kids’ favorite person, AND, I still get to go to the bar after games. It’s a Win-Win-Win for me.”

 

Tobin just rolled her eyes, picking up her bag and fishing her car keys out of it. “You’re crazy Aunt Kelley and my kids are onto you. Liv told me to tell you, ‘three presents next time. Otherwise, Allie is back in the lead for favorite Auntie’.”

 

“Three!” Kelley fake gasped. “Dammit, that kid is tough to please..”

 

She was having an internal battle with herself for a moment before she made up her mind without Tobin even asking.

 

“Ugh, fine. I’ll be over tomorrow. Send me some ideas though, it’s getting harder and harder to think of things to buy them.”

 

“No way.” Tobin chuckled, walking towards the locker room door. “Stop bribing my children. They don’t need any more presents.”

 

“I’m doing it.” Kelley insisted. Her voice raising enough so Tobin could hear her.

 

Tobin just shook her head without looking back.

 

“Tell our wife I love her!” Kelley yelled again as Tobin pushed the door open, disappearing out of it without another word.

 

Twenty-five minutes later, Tobin was stepping inside the door from the garage to walk into her house, happy to be home after three nights on the road for a game in Orlando.

 

She hated away games now. She hated being away from Christen and her daughters even for one night, not to mention she was actually worried about leaving Christen alone right now since it was getting so close to her due date.

 

After they had adopted Olivia and Lainey and settled into their lives as Mothers, Christen got an overwhelming desire to experience a pregnancy of her own.

 

They decided they’d try In Vitro Fertilization a couple times, and if it didn’t work, well then they’d be content with what they were already blessed with. Two beautiful daughters and a loyal and happy dog to round out their family.

 

Really, it worked too easily.

 

Christen got pregnant the first time they tried.

 

It had caught them both off guard a little bit, and to be honest, they hadn’t been expecting it to be so simple.

 

Now Christen was due while Tobin was still in season, instead of during the offseason like they had  kind of  tried to plan for. It was making their lives more hectic than ever, but they couldn’t be happier.

 

Tobin put her bags down in the laundry room and kicked her shoes off, before making her way further into the house. It was quiet, which Tobin had been expecting, with it being past the girls’ bedtime, but she at least expected a little noise from Christen or Zoey.

 

She found Christen asleep on the couch in the living room, curled up as best as she could with her belly in the way. Zoey was snoring softly on the couch at her feet.

 

The kids' toys were scattered in various parts of the room, obviously not having been cleaned up before they went to bed. It made Tobin’s heart ache just a little to think of them playing together without her being there to join in on the fun. After dinner play time was always their thing.

 

She hated away games now.

 

Tobin sat down on the edge of the couch and leaned into Christen, kissing her temple softly, trying to wake her up.

 

Christen’s eyes quickly fluttered open. She was surprised to see Tobin sitting there, with not having heard her come in the door. She must have been more worn out than normal.

 

“Hi, beautiful.” Tobin hummed out, smiling down at her wife.

 

“Hi, baby.” Christen smiled tiredly. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

 

“Yeah, I noticed.” Tobin grinned. “How are you feeling?”

 

“Pretty tired, I guess.” Christen yawned, speaking slowly as she did. “Otherwise I still feel pretty normal.”

 

She turned her head enough to look up at Tobin fully, puckering her lips, asking for a kiss. Tobin leaned down and pressed a kiss to Christen’s lips without question.

 

“I missed you so much.” Tobin sighed when she pulled back.

 

“We missed you too.” Christen nodded, her eyes drifting quickly to the living room floor and everything scattered across it. “Sorry the house is a mess, I was going to pick up after I got them to bed, but I sat down for a few minutes and I guess I just drifted off.”

 

Tobin waited for her to finish before she just leaned down and kissed her again. “Babe, you know I couldn’t care less. You’re the one who loves a clean house. I’m usually just the one messing it up.”

 

Christen grinned slowly. “Oh yeah.”

 

“I’ll get it cleaned up, okay.” Tobin insisted. “Don’t worry about it.”

 

“Okay.” Christen nodded with a soft smile. “There is leftover dinner in the fridge, if you’re hungry.”

 

Tobin’s stomach growled lightly just then as if on cue, making them both smile.

 

“Go kiss your daughters, they made me promise I’d send you up when you got home.” Christen instructed, sitting up so she was eye to eye with Tobin. “I’ll warm up a plate of food for you.”

 

Tobin just held eye contact with Christen for a moment, not standing up yet. She reached out and cupped Christen’s cheeks softly with her hands, running her thumb over her bottom lip, before kissing her again.

 

“You take such good care of me.” Tobin whispered into Christen’s lips. “I love you.”

 

“I love you too.” Christen smiled against Tobin’s lips and then pushed her shoulder back lightly, “and I really have to pee.”

 

Tobin chuckled and stood up, offering a hand to pull Christen up off the couch.

 

“Honey, look at how tight this shirt is on my belly.” Christen mused as she started to walk towards the bathroom, turning back towards Tobin as she was fixing the shirt enough so it wasn’t bunched up over her baby bump. “Your t-shirts barely fit me anymore.”

 

Tobin laughed a little harder as she watched Christen, before shrugging. “You still look hot in them..”

 

“I’m not trying to look hot.” Christen yelled from the bathroom, not bothering to shut the door as she peed. “I just wanna be comfy.”

 

“Yeah, I suppose that would help.” Tobin agreed. “I’ll get you some bigger shirts, babe.”

 

Tobin didn’t wait for Christen to respond again, instead jogging upstairs quickly to change her own clothes that were gross from traveling all day and then quickly kissing Olivia and Lainey good night.

 

After she had successfully made it out of both of their bedrooms without waking either of the girls, she made her way back down to the kitchen, finding Christen leaning against the sink, watching the microwave reheat Tobin’s dinner. She was holding a tub of chocolate ice cream in her hands, with a spoon digging right into the container.

 

Tobin mosied up to her and leaned in for another kiss, not even waiting for Christen to swallow her mouthful of ice cream, getting some of the chocolate on her own lips in return.

 

“Yummy.” Tobin licked her lips when she stepped away. “That ice cream tastes almost as good as you do.”

 

Christen took one more spoonful before she put the lid back on the container and put it back in the freezer, as Tobin took her plate out of the microwave.

 

“Did they go down for you okay?” Tobin wondered as she sat down on one of the stools at the kitchen island, blowing on her plate of food to cool it down a bit.

 

Whenever Tobin had away games, she would always FaceTime with the kids and Christen before bed, to ask about their day and say goodnight. Since the team was flying across the country, she didn’t get a chance to do that tonight.

 

“Ah, Liv did.” Christen nodded. “Lainey was a little more work, like usual. She actually cried tonight.”

 

“Like a real cry?” Tobin wondered as she chewed.

 

Their youngest daughter had been difficult to put to bed almost every night since about the time she was two-and-a-half. She just didn’t want to go bed ever, no matter how insistent and stern Tobin and Christen were with her.

 

They had started joking about how their toddler had Baby Fomo, like she hated to sleep for fear of missing out on something important.

 

Putting her to bed was usually a job best handled by two people now.

 

“Yeah.” Christen answered. “I don’t think she was feeling the best and she didn’t want me to leave the room. Different than her usual pouting though.”

 

“Huh.” Tobin hummed. “Well, hopefully she feels better in the morning and we won’t have to worry about it.”

 

“Yeah, I hope so too.”

 

Christen made her way around the island to stand behind where Tobin was sitting, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s stomach and leaning forward so she could rest her chin on Tobin’s shoulder from behind.

 

She whispered in Tobin’s ear, hugging her tightly before she sighed. “I’m so glad you’re home.”

 

“Me too.” Tobin nodded, setting her fork down and turning her head to kiss Christen at an awkward angle.

 

Christen released her grip on Tobin to let her finish eating. “I’m gonna go upstairs. You gonna stay up for a while?”

 

“No.” Tobin shook her head. “I’ll be up as soon as I’m done.”

 

Christen kissed Tobin one more time and then left the kitchen and made her way upstairs to their bedroom. Tobin finished her food and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, before letting Zoey out to pee and making sure the house was locked up.

 

When she made it up to their room, she found Christen in their bathroom, putting lotion on her freshly washed face. Her hair tied up in a tight bun on top of her head.

 

Tobin wrapped her arms around Christen from behind and kissed her shoulder a couple times, before letting her face rest in the crook of Christen’s neck, inhaling her scent.

 

“You’re so beautiful.” Tobin whispered, lifting her head so they could make eye contact in the mirror, not releasing her grip on Christen.

 

“No, I’m not.” Christen sighed, leaning in closer to the mirror so she could make sure she got all the lotion rubbed in on her face. Tobin loosened her grip just enough so she could move.

 

“Yes, you are.” Tobin insisted. “You’re the most beautiful.”

 

“I’m your wife... You have to say that.” Christen returned, wiggling out of Tobin’s grip and heading out of the bathroom again.

 

Tobin stood planted in place for a moment, trying not to let Christen’s reaction frustrate her.

 

Christen made it to their walk-in closet and took her t-shirt and bra off, before pulling her yoga pants down and tossing them into the hamper. She started to look for a bigger t-shirt to put on, trying to find one that was more comfortable to sleep in. Before she found one that would be baggy enough for her liking, she gave up and decided to just sleep naked. Walking back towards the bed, before Tobin tried again.  

 

“Come here, babe.” Tobin requested, this time standing in front of Christen and wrapping her arms around Christen’s shoulders.

 

Christen let Tobin pull her in as much as possible, standing still while Tobin started to kiss down her neck. Her hands found Christen’s baby bump and she looked down at her pregnant wife.

 

“How’s our baby boy doing tonight?” Tobin wondered as if her unborn son could respond.

 

“He’s too big and over-active, and he keeps kicking into my bladder.” Christen responded, knowing that’s actually what Tobin was wondering.

 

She felt bad instantly at how annoyed her voice sounded out of nowhere.

 

Tobin let her hand rest there on Christen’s stomach for a long moment, until Christen reached down and grabbed her wrist, moving it up and to the left just slightly, until Tobin felt the baby kicking where Christen had placed her hand.

 

“That was a big one.” Tobin smiled happily when she felt the baby’s movement.

 

Christen just nodded. They stayed like that for a few minutes, until the baby calmed down again.

 

Tobin leaned in and kissed Christen’s lips as they stood there, letting her hand wander from the top of Christen’s stomach, down over her bump, on path down between her legs.

 

Just before Tobin reached the place she was trying to get to, Christen pulled back from the kiss.

 

“Don’t, Tobs.” She spoke, stopping Tobin’s hand before it could go any further south.

 

“I can’t touch my wife?” Tobin asked softly without accusation. Her tone was understanding but curious.

 

Christen shook her head no, her eyes looking up to find Tobin’s.

 

“Are you okay?” Tobin questioned, noticing the worn out look on Christen's face.

 

“Yeah.” Christen nodded, making it too obvious that she wasn’t.

 

“What’s wrong, baby?” Tobin wondered, the concern evident in her voice. She could tell Christen wasn’t being completely honest and that something was bothering her.

 

“Nothing.” Christen lied. She let out a breath and then dropped her forehead to Tobin’s shoulder, suddenly fighting back tears that had come out of nowhere.

 

“Hey..” Tobin wrapped an arm around her shoulders, holding her close. “Talk to me.”

 

“I just..” Christen started. “I”m so gross and uncomfortable and I promise you don’t want to touch me right now.”

 

“You are not gross, Christen.” Tobin sighed. “Don’t say that.”

 

Christen was without a doubt the fittest pregnant person Tobin had ever seen. And she didn’t just think that because Christen was her wife that she was in love with. 

 

The dark haired woman barely had an excess amount of fat on her anywhere. If you saw her from behind, you wouldn’t even be able to tell she was eight months pregnant.

 

She just had a giant baby bump sticking out front and she was a cup size bigger in her boobs.

 

“Yes, I am. I’m huge.” Christen spoke again. “I hate that I don’t feel sexy for you anymore. I’m so over lamely getting you off with a hand between your legs and not being able to have the fun sex we used to have.”

 

“Okay, first of all.” Tobin stopped her. “I am definitely not complaining about you ‘getting me off’ - if that’s what we're apparently calling it now -anyway that it happens.”

 

She was trying not to get upset about Christen’s words. She really did feel like it was a declaration of love every time they had sex.

 

It had meant so much more to her now, ever since they were married, even if she couldn’t put into words why.

 

“I love and appreciate it every time you touch me.”

 

She paused for a moment.

 

“And second of all. You are incredibly sexy to me. You’re my wife and the mother of my children and I want you all of the time. You’re so hot and beautiful and perfect, Chris.”

 

Tobin’s tone had almost turned begging, like she needed Christen to believe her.

 

“Baby, I’ve seen every part of you over the last four years and I love every single piece of you. You would never be unwanted or gross to me.”

 

Christen lifted her head to look Tobin in the eyes again, softening at her words.

 

“Plus, you do yoga every day and your ass is in the best shape it’s ever been in.” Tobin smiled softly. “And that’s really saying something, because it’s always been amazing. And your boobs are so big now, look at them. I love them.”

 

Tobin was trying to lighten the mood and it was working, a small but believable smile spreading across Christen’s face.

 

“I know, feel them. They seem even bigger when you actually touch them.” Christen grinned, grabbing Tobin’s hands and bringing them to her breasts, almost as if she was showing off a surprising trait.

 

“I know.” Tobin laughed as she palmed them, obviously already having realized how great they were every time she copped a feel. “I really love them.”

 

Christen placed her hands over Tobin’s hands on her breasts and then let out a long breath, looking at Tobin in the eyes again.

 

“Thank you, honey.” Christen murmured. “Sorry I’m so up and down. You never make me feel bad about myself, I didn’t mean it like that. I can’t wait to meet our little boy and I really have loved being pregnant, it’s crazy and amazing.”

 

“It’s been amazing to watch you every day.” Tobin nodded. “You’ve done so well.”

 

“We’ve done well. I couldn’t do any of this without you. But as great as it’s been, I also can’t wait to be done with it. Then we can have all the crazy fun sex we used to have again. I miss being so adventurous with you.”

 

Tobin laughed a little more. “We will get back there, babe. And in the meantime, we can still have boring old regular sex. That’s still important too. And it still feels really good.” Tobin winked at that last part.

 

Christen just bit her bottom lip.

 

“The kids are in bed and we have all night.” Tobin hummed. “How about we go take a bath? I want to hold you and make you feel good. I’ve been dying without you the last three nights.”

 

“I’m sure those naked pictures you took of me on your phone have held you over.” Christen teased. “You probably look at them all the time and remember back to when I was actually hot..”

 

Tobin chuckled with a shrug. “Well, I’m not gonna lie and say I never look at them. They are really nice. But you’re still just as hot now, too.”

 

“Tobs..” Christen narrowed her eyes, leaning in to press a quick kiss to Tobin’s lips to keep the mood light. “Please don’t undermine my actual hotness by saying I look just as good now. My non-pregnant self would be offended by that.”

 

Tobin laughed into Christen’s lips.

 

“Okay, maybe like a tenth of a percent hotter before, but only because you could do that thing where you could put your leg up in the air..” Tobin joked, before trailing off on that thought. “You’re probably not as flexible right now..”

 

“I definitely am not.” Christen agreed.

 

“Remember how the doctor said it was healthy and encouraged to have sex while pregnant?” Tobin wiggled her eyebrows a little, trying another angle.

 

“She did say that.” Christen laughed and nodded.

 

“So we should probably take her advice, right?” Tobin suggested, smiling even wider.

 

“I suppose so.” Christen laughed.

 

Tobin grabbed her hand and drug her back towards the bathroom, filling the tub while Christen decided which bubble bath to use. Both of them climbing in slowly once the tub was full and bubbly.

 

Christen fell asleep that night feeling more relaxed and loved up than she had been in too long.


xxx


Tobin squatted down in front of her daughters in the hospital waiting room, pulling them both into her arms so she could talk to them without them being distracted.

 

Lainey sat down on her knee and Olivia wrapped her arm around Tobin’s neck, all three of them huddling close together.

 

“Mommy awake?” Lainey asked in her tiny voice, looking up at Tobin with hopeful eyes.

 

The two little girls had been asking their Grandparents that over and over again for the last hour, eager to see Christen again after almost two days of being apart from their Mom.

 

“Yeah, she is, sweetheart.” Tobin nodded with a big smile.

 

“And our brother is here now?” Olivia asked next, making sure she understood what was going on.

 

“He is.” Tobin grinned and nodded again. “Would you like to meet him?”

 

“Yeah!” Both little girls clapped their hands together quickly, leaning their weight fully into Tobin in excitement.

 

“Okay, we can go in there but you have to be careful, okay? Mommy is really sore and tired and your brother is brand new, so we have to be gentle.”

 

“Is he small like my baby?” Olivia asked again, referring to her toy doll.

 

“Kind of.” Tobin responded. “But he’s a real baby, so we have to be extra careful with him.”

 

“Okay!” Lainey smiled excitedly.

 

The two-year-old and three-year-old had been practicing for a month now, playing House in their toy room with Olivia’s baby doll, who they pretended was their brother, just so it felt real.

 

Now it was real.

 

Christen gave birth to a baby boy, Luca John Heath, at 3:57 am, after close to twenty hours of labor.

 

Tobin didn’t leave her wife’s side once until their son was born, sleeping on the small roll away cot next to Christen’s hospital bed. Holding her hand through the contractions and trying to help her relax in between; until it was time to push.

 

Kelley had been watching the girls since Christen’s water broke when she got up to pee in the middle of the night two nights ago, and she stayed with them until Cody and Stacy and Jeff and Cindy could get flights to Portland.

 

Both sets of parents were here now and they were all in the hospital waiting room this morning, ready to meet the newest addition to the family.

 

Tobin scooped both girls up in her arms and carried them to the door of Christen’s hospital room, pushing the door open slowly as they entered.

 

Lainey’s eyes went wide in shock when she saw all the machines around the bed, noticing the IV in Christen’s arm and the medical bracelet around her wrist.

 

“Mommy?” Her voice started to waver like she was upset or scared.

 

“Hi, my loves.” Christen smiled tiredly, sitting up more so Tobin could set them down on the edge of her bed.

 

“You is okay Mommy?” Lainey asked timidly.

 

“Yeah, Mommy is okay.” She smiled quickly so her child wasn’t scared.

 

Tobin walked over to the small bassinet that Luca was sleeping in and picked her son up gently, moving back towards the bed so she could show him to the girls.

 

He had the sharpest green eyes that Tobin had ever seen.

 

Just like his Mommy.

 

She was in love with him the moment she met him. Holding him even before Christen did, right after the delivery.

 

Mama and Baby were both healthy and everything went smoothly, all things considered, and damn, were they blessed.

 

“This is your baby brother, Luca.” Tobin grinned, speaking softly to the little girls as she got to the bedside again.

 

She handed Luca to Christen and both girls’ jaws dropped a little. They both sat up on their knees with their hands resting on Christen’s lap, to get a good look at him in her arms.

 

“Wow.” Olivia whispered, making both Tobin and Christen laugh softly.

 

“Our new baby!” Lainey looked up to meet Christen’s eyes like she was looking for confirmation that she was right.

 

Christen grinned and ran her hand over her youngest daughter’s hair.

 

Both little girls looked at each other and giggled.

 

Tobin sat down on the other side of the hospital bed from the girls, putting her arm around Christen and kissing her head as they all stared at the baby.

 

“Is he going to live with us?” Olivia asked after a moment.

 

“Yeah, sweetie.” Christen nodded. “Remember when you helped me pick out paint for his new room and we set up his crib? That’s where he is going to sleep now, as soon as we get to go home.”

 

“I really like him.” Olivia grinned. “He’s really small.”

 

She then leaned down and kissed his forehead, so softly.

 

Tobin forced herself to be still, panicking internally until she knew Olivia would be gentle enough with the new baby. Letting her be as affectionate to him as she wanted.  

 

Of course she was gentle, she had been practicing.

 

After a few minutes, the nurse came in to check on Christen, smiling at them all sitting on the bed together.

 

“Okay, this is the perfect opportunity!” The nurse, Jackie, insisted on right away. “First complete family picture, right now.”

 

Tobin handed her phone over to her and then got Olivia and Lainey to turn around on the bed, as everyone smiled for the camera. All five of them huddled together closely.

 

Jackie beamed as she handed Tobin’s phone back over to her.

 

“Honestly, you’re without a doubt the cutest family I’ve ever seen.”


xxx



“Momma!” Oliva strode around the edge of the couch where Tobin was sitting, just having put her shoes on. The little girls long blonde hair swaying as she ran.

 

“What’s up, monkey?” Tobin responded, looking up from the phone in her hands to where her daughter had come to a stop in front of her.

 

Tobin was just about ready to head out for her game, and the rest of her family was getting ready to head to the stadium in a little while. The Thorns had a National TV game on this Saturday afternoon and Tobin had to get there early enough for a pre-game interview before warmups. She was already cutting it close.

 

“Can I have two braids today?” The four-year-old questioned, holding out two ponytail holders in her tiny hands for her Momma to take. “I wanna look really pretty.”

 

Christen was currently getting Luca dressed in his bedroom and Oliva didn’t want to wait any longer, deciding she’d ask Tobin to do her hair instead.

 

“Yeah, of course you can.” Tobin nodded. “But go ask Mommy, okay? I have to leave for my game right now.”

 

Olivia’s face scrunched up a bit. “Okay..” she put her head down and turned around, walking back out of the room again defeatedly.

 

Tobin finished typing the text she was sending to Mark about a couple of game tactics she had thought over, not really noticing that her daughter had disappeared again.

 

Her mind was in pre-game mode for better or worse.

 

A minute later, Christen yelled down the stairs for her wife.

 

“Tobin?”

 

Tobin’s head lifted from her phone again, quickly realizing that was Christen’s pissed-off tone and having no idea what it was about.

 

“Yeah?” Tobin hollered back, waiting until Christen came downstairs into view to confirm her suspicions.

 

Yep, she was upset about something.

 

“Why can’t Liv have braids?” Christen questioned, wondering what reason Tobin could have given the little girl. “What did you tell her?”

 

“She can?” Tobin returned. “I told her she could.”

 

“Why is she crying in our bedroom right now?” Christen asked again. “I couldn’t understand a word she was saying except that ‘Momma said no’...”

 

Tobin shouldn’t have dismissed Olivia’s question so easily. She knew how over-sensitive their oldest daughter was.

 

Tobin shrugged. “I didn’t say no. I told her of course she could, and to go ask you to do them.”

 

Christen rolled her eyes. “You couldn’t have just done them quick? I’m in the middle of getting the other two ready and I’ve got my hands a little full here...”

 

“Babe, I have to leave right now.” Tobin explained, holding up her phone like Christen could see the time on it. “I’m already probably gonna be late.”

 

“Big deal. It would take two minutes.” Christen said again as she turned around to walk away. She was clearly more than a little annoyed with Tobin.

 

“Chris. It takes twenty-five minutes to get to the stadium and I have to be there in twenty. I can’t just be late. It’s my job, you know.”  

 

That one line of condescending over-explanation hit a nerve with Christen, and she was suddenly fuming a little.

 

“Well, Tobin, sometimes parents have to be late for work when their kids need something.” Christen chided. “You think you're the only parent who’s ever had a job?”

 

Tobin didn’t know why she wanted to argue back, but something about the way Christen was yelling at her made her want to defend herself.

 

“It’s just her hair.” Tobin quickly responded, her voice exasperated.

 

She had no idea why this small thing was suddenly such a big deal today.

 

Christen turned back around to face Tobin again, her face now completely angry.

 

“Oh my god, that is not the point at all.”

 

Tobin just swallowed, now a little taken aback by Christen’s demeanor. “What is the point then? Why are we fighting about this?”

 

“The point is that when your daughter needs help from you, you give it to her. It doesn’t matter that it’s just her hair. You obviously brushed her off without even trying to help and,  of course , you just expect me to take care of it, like usual.”

 

“Christen, what the fuck?” Tobin had lost her composure now too. “Are you kidding me right now?”

 

They very rarely fought, and they definitely never fought over their kids. It was always such a conscious effort of both of theirs to be a team and do everything equally when it came to them.

 

All of this was catching Tobin completely off guard.

 

Christen just stood there looking at Tobin with her eyebrows raised in anger. She wasn’t kidding at all.

 

“Fine, I’ll do it.” Tobin yelled again before her wife said anything else. She started to walk towards the stairs before Christen shook her head sternly.

 

“You know what.. Just go.” Christen waved her off, “But if your job is more important to you than your family, maybe you need to get your priorities in order and figure out what actually matters.”

 

She turned around and actually left the room this time, leaving Tobin frozen in her spot until she heard their bedroom door shut loudly upstairs.

 

Tobin was dumbfounded. She felt like this had come out of nowhere and that Christen was being irrational about the whole situation.

 

Fuck.” Tobin whispered to herself.

 

She bent down and picked her phone up from where it had landed on the couch, looking at the clock on it again. She now had fifteen minutes before she was expected at Providence Park.

 

Without another word, she grabbed her duffle bag from the entryway and made her way out to her car.

 

She cried the whole way to the stadium.

 

A quiet stream of tears staining her face that she didn’t even bother to wipe away.

 

Christen’s words about questioning her priorities replaying over and over in her mind, cutting her deep to the core.

 

She had to take another few minutes in the parking lot to compose herself before she even went inside, not wanting her teammates to know she was upset.

 

She played one of the worst games of her career. Every touch was off. Every reaction just a step too slow. She wished right away that she could just forget the whole day had ever happened and wake up and start over again tomorrow.

 

If Tobin was expecting Olivia to still be upset after the game, she was quickly corrected. The blonde haired girl skipping down the two rows of steps and reaching out for Tobin as soon as she came to the sideline after the team had made their way around the pitch to thank the Providence Park faithful.

 

“Momma!!” Liv yelled and reached her arms up, asking for Tobin to pick her up.

 

Tobin bent down and lifted her over the advertising boards, holding her in her arms.

 

“Hi, sweet girl.” Tobin hummed, kissing her daughter’s cheek and then hugging her close.

 

It was the most comforted she’d been all afternoon.

 

“You won, Momma!” Liv said again. “You always win!”

 

Tobin smiled, kissing her cheek again as some of her other teammates were approaching.

 

“Love you, monkey.” Tobin whispered for her daughter to hear, quickly before the little girl got distracted.

 

“I love you too, Momma!” The blonde girl smiled. She then wiggled her legs to get down, wanting to run to where Kelley and Allie were standing on the field.

 

Tobin set her oldest daughter down and glanced up at Christen, where she and the other two had come to stand at the edge of the advertising boards. Lainey reaching up then too, even though she couldn’t see over the short wall to the field.

 

Tobin quickly moved to pick up the dark haired girl and kissed her too. “Hey, Lain.”

 

Lainey was already distracted, wanting to be where her sister and Auntie’s were in the middle of the pitch. So Tobin set her down again and watched her run off, finally turning back to Christen and Luca in her arms.

 

“Hi, Bubba.” Tobin smiled, taking her ten-month-old son from Christen and holding him close.

 

She then leaned in and kissed Christen’s cheek quickly, neither of them saying anything to each other, but also not wanting anyone else to know they were fighting.

 

Christen stood at the edge of the stands and watched her wife and kids run around on the field until Kelley came over to chat for a few minutes. Finally, Tobin was ready to shower, dragging the kids back over to where Christen was patiently waiting. She lifted them up one by one to the other side of the stands again.

 

“I’m gonna shower.” Tobin mentioned to Christen. “You guys wanna wait or should I just see you at home?”

 

“Momma, let’s get pizza!” Liv yelled before Christen could answer. “Auntie Harry said!”

 

“Did she?” Tobin smiled down at the little girl, before turning around to watch Allie wave at them suspiciously.

 

“Uh huh!” Lainey nodded with a big smile.

 

“If Mommy says it’s okay, then we can.” Tobin responded, leaning down on the ad boards so they were close to eye level, as the girls looked up at Christen.

 

“Pizza sounds nummy.” Christen smiled for what felt like the first time all afternoon. Not letting her mood affect her kids.

 

“Okay, but Allie’s buying.” Tobin grinned at the kids too.

 

Allie and Bati took them out for pizza and hung out for a while before they all went home for the evening. The kids watched a movie when they got home while Christen and Tobin both did their own things around the house before Tobin put the girls to bed and Christen put Luca to bed.

 

Christen found Tobin on the couch in the basement after that, quietly flipping through channels on tv. She watched Tobin from behind on the stairs for a moment, her heart softly aching at the lack of contact they’d had all day.

 

Outside of Tobin’s kiss to her cheek after the game, they’d barely even interacted at all.

 

They were always so affectionate with each other and now Christen craved Tobin’s touch so badly, wanting to just be held by her wife.

 

Knowing it was her fault in the first place that they hadn’t done that all day.

 

She overreacted to one bad moment this morning and it had ruined the whole day for both of them.

 

She knew it was on her to stop being stubborn and give in. Because Tobin could be just as stubborn when she wanted to be, and they only had a little time left before the day was over completely.

 

Christen wasn’t going to break their rule now, though.  

 

They really only had one to begin with.

 

Never go to bed mad.   

 

So Christen swallowed her stubborn pride and quietly moved down the last couple steps into the basement, walking around the couch to where Tobin was sitting.

 

Tobin looked over at her as soon as Christen came into view, uncrossing her leg and sitting up a little at the sight of her.

 

They peered at each other hesitantly before Christen spoke.

 

“I’m ready to talk if you are..?” She murmured softly.

 

Her stomach a small bundle of nerves around the one person who she could say anything to.

 

“Yeah, I would like that.” The brown eyed woman practically whispered in response.

 

Christen relaxed a tiny bit and stepped forward, slowly sitting down in Tobin’s lap. Hugging her tightly and burying her face in Tobin’s neck for a moment, feeling Tobin’s arms wrap around her.

 

Even when they were mad or fighting, the only people who could make them feel better about it was each other.

 

They were each other’s safe place.

 

They sat like that for a minute before Christen cleared the lump in her throat and looked up to meet Tobin’s tired eyes.

 

“I cried for twenty minutes after you left.” Christen whispered, laying her head back down on Tobin’s shoulder for comfort. “I couldn’t stop, even when the girls asked me what was wrong, it just kept coming.”

 

“I cried the whole way to the stadium.” Tobin returned just as simply. “I skipped my pregame interview because  I  couldn’t stop.”

 

They just gave each other sad smiles. Knowing they were both equally as miserable all day long.

 

“I hate when we fight.” Christen sighed.

 

“So do I.” Tobin agreed.

 

“I shouldn’t have gotten so upset with you and I’m sorry.” Christen looked up at her again.

 

“I know. Me too.” Tobin nodded, kissing Christen’s head before pausing to say what was on her mind.

 

“Look, Chris... If you think my priorities aren’t where they’re supposed to be, then you’ve got me all wrong. Because I would give it all up in a heartbeat for you and for our kids.”

 

“I know you would.” Christen shook her head to stop Tobin’s words. “You know that’s not what I think at all.”

 

She already knew that questioning Tobin’s priorities and commitment to their family was just about the worst thing she could do to her wife, and she felt terrible about it all day.

 

That was the whole reason she cried after Tobin left in the first place.

 

“That really hurt me, babe.” Tobin swallowed down the lump in her own throat. “I mean, it kinda killed me.”

 

“I know. And I’m so sorry.” Christen hummed. “I never should’ve said that to you. It’s not what I believe at all.”

 

Tobin nodded, forgiving Christen easily before she took her turn to apologize.

 

“I’m sorry too. For not being more helpful this morning. I don’t know why I did that. I guess I was just too focused on the game and that was my bad. I’ll try and do a better job of keeping my work life at work. When I’m here, I need to be present for you and especially for the kids.”

 

“Thank you.” Christen murmured, lifting her head enough so she could press a kiss to Tobin’s lips. “For everything, I mean. You are my rock and the foundation of this family and you mean the world to us.”

 

Tobin kissed her back and they both smiled for real.

 

“You guys are everything to me.” Tobin shrugged. “I’m serious babe, if you wanted me to, I would call Mark tonight and tell him I quit. Nothing is more important to me than being here for you.”

 

“Honey, I know, okay…” Christen started to smile at Tobin’s words. “And of course I don’t want that.”

 

“Okay. Just making sure.” Tobin grinned back, kissing her wife again.

 

“Plus, you’re the only one who pays our bills now so you can’t quit your job.” Christen added in a lighter tone. “I like our life too much how it is to go back now.”

 

“I like it too.” Tobin agreed with a laugh. “I just want you to be happy because I love you a lot.”

 

“I love you a lot too.” Christen hummed. “And I’m hoping you’ll come to bed with me so I can show you just  how much  I love you.”

 

Christen’s sultry eyes looking at Tobin with so much want all of the sudden.

 

Tobin sighed audibly and bit her bottom lip. “You’re so sexy, Mommy.”

 

They held eye contact for another moment until Christen squealed through a laugh as Tobin stood them up with Christen cradled in her arms.

 

“I love how strong you are.” Christen husked out. “It's so hot.”

 

They were both already turned on.

 

“I’m just trying to be worthy of you.” Tobin grinned sensually.

 

Christen started to giggle, hanging on tightly with her arm around Tobin’s neck.

 

Her laughter quieted only by Tobin’s mouth on hers as they made their way to their bedroom.

 

Working to make up with each other for the rest of the night.


xxx



“Grandpa Cody?..” Olivia’s cartoon voice rang out from behind Tobin where she was sitting at the kitchen island, as the little girl ran into the room.

 

Tobin watched her make her way around to where Christen’s dad was standing at the sink, downing a glass of water.

 

“Hi, Liv.” Cody beamed at his granddaughter, setting his glass down and bending down to pick her up. “What’s up, princess?”

 

Olivia smiled suspiciously, looking over at Tobin and then back up at Cody.

 

Christen’s parents were in Portland to babysit the kids while Christen and Tobin went on vacation to celebrate their five year wedding anniversary. They had arrived the day before and were staying until midweek when Jeff and Cindy were coming to town to take care of the other days.

 

Splitting the ten days evenly so nobody got too worn out.

 

Christen walked into the kitchen at the same time, putting an earring in her ear as she came to stand next to where Tobin was sitting.

 

“Can you get me a new puppy while Mommies are gone?” Olivia asked then, with a big smile on her face. Giving it her best, most adorable shot.

 

She was a smart kid and knew how much she had Grandpa and Grandma wrapped around her finger.

 

All the kids did, of course, but Liv was definitely the one to try and take advantage of it the most.

 

“A puppy?” Cody busted out in a big, gentle laugh, not actually answering her question yet.

 

Tobin gasped teasingly, letting Olivia know she had heard her.

 

“Liv, you already have a doggie.” Tobin took the question quickly before Cody had to answer, speaking as she chewed her breakfast. “What’s wrong with Zoey?”

 

“Yeah, sweetie, what’s wrong with Zoey?” Christen seconded Tobin’s question.

 

“She’s so old!” Olivia countered like it should have been obvious.

 

Tobin started to laugh at her child’s bluntness, covering her mouth with her hand to stop herself, looking over at Christen who was trying to not be actually offended by their almost five-year-old's statement.

 

Zoey was eight or nine now if they guessed correctly with the vet all those years ago, but she was far from an old dog. She still went on morning runs with Christen and easily played with the kids every day and was full of energy.

 

Christen put her hand over her own heart, looking back at Liv.  “I think you just broke Zoey’s heart.”

 

Zoey came trotting into the kitchen at the mention of her name, wagging her tail happily as Christen bent down to hug her close.

 

“How come Mommy?” Olivia asked softly.

 

“Because Zo loves you so much.” Christen explained. “She’s not old. She plays with you and sleeps with you all the time. She doesn’t want to be replaced.”

 

“But Lainey and Luca always hog her!” Olivia said again. “I want my own puppy, like Madison has.”

 

Olivia’s best friend, Madison, and her family just got a new puppy who was ten weeks old, and the girls had been playing with him after their soccer game the night before.

 

That’s obviously where she got the idea from and she had been thinking about it since last night.

 

“Zoey likes to share her love with all of you.” Tobin said again. “Take turns with your brother and sister, okay?”

 

Olivia just turned her head in Cody’s arms and hugged him over his shoulder, ignoring her mothers' refusals.

 

She’d try again after they left.

 

“Honey, our car will be here in fifteen minutes.” Christen said then, standing back up and walking back through the kitchen.

 

Tobin nodded and stood up too, discarding her empty plate in the dishwasher and heading upstairs to grab their suitcases and luggage.

 

They had a mid-morning flight from PDX to JFK for a short layover, before their overnight flight to Rome.

 

They were going to spend their five year wedding anniversary in the place where it all started.

 

Cody and Stacy shuffled the kids to the front door as Tobin darted out to the waiting car, handing their luggage off to the driver before they said goodbye.

 

“Don’t you dare get them a puppy while we’re gone.” Christen whispered in her dad’s ear as they hugged, making him laugh.

 

“Well, we’ll see, Mo.” Cody shrugged like his mind wasn’t totally made up. “Those kids are hard to say no to when they use their cute faces.”

 

“Dad, I’m serious.” Christen gave him her best Serious Mom face. “If Tobin and I come home to another member of the family, you’re gonna in trouble.”

 

Christen turned to her wife with narrowed eyes, giving Tobin the look that said  back me up here.

 

“You heard the boss.” Tobin shrugged to her father-in-law. “No dogs this week.”

 

She then bent down and pulled all three of her kids into a giant hug at once, making them all giggle.

 

“I love you all so much. Be good for Grandma and Grandpa and give Zoey lots of kisses every night, okay?” Tobin made eye contact with all of them, getting them all to nod in agreement before she kissed each of them.

 

Christen hugged and kissed them all too for a long moment until Tobin gently urged her on.

 

“Babe, we gotta get going.” Tobin hummed with her hand on Christen back as she was setting Lainey back down.

 

Their kids, Zoey and Grandma and Grandpa all watching from the driveway as the car pulled out of the driveway, heading for the airport.

 

It was just them for the next ten days.

 

Once they were on board the airplane, Tobin leaned over into Christen who was sitting in the window seat, pulling her out of her thoughts.

 

“You okay, babe?” The brown eyed woman questioned after she watched Christen look out the window for a long moment in silence.

 

Christen wasn’t nearly as used to being away from the kids for extended periods of time as Tobin was. She hadn’t even really spent more than a weekend at a time apart from them since Luca was born a year and a half ago.

 

It was more normal for Tobin since she traveled with the National Team and the Thorns all the time. She just wanted to make sure Christen wasn’t too anxious about leaving them now, knowing first hand that it wasn’t an easy thing to do.

 

Christen turned to look over at Tobin sitting in the aisle seat, nodding with a big smile. “I’m great. I’m so excited.”

 

She grabbed Tobin’s hand and linked their fingers together as they looked at each other.

 

“I hope you’re ready for ten days of no clothes. I can’t wait to be naked with you.” Christen wiggled her eyebrows.

 

Tobin started to laugh, leaning in a little closer to Christen’s ear so they could be a little more private with their conversation.

 

“You mean we won’t have to get up and put clothes on right away after we have sex?” She wondered sarcastically.

 

She loved having three kids under the age of five, but that meant there was very rarely a night at home where they weren’t woken up at some point in the middle of the night.

 

They didn’t get a lot of time to enjoy their intimacy before or after sex these days.

 

Sometimes they woke up in the morning to all five of them, plus Zoey, in their king sized bed.

 

Those mornings were secretly Tobin’s favorite.  

 

“Nope.” Christen grinned. “I don’t even know why I packed so many clothes.”

 

Tobin leaned in and kissed her quickly with a happy smile. “Vacation, here we come.”



xxx



Christen was staring at her wedding ring as she was running her left hand through Tobin’s long brown hair, lying underneath her wife as they were buried under a heap of covers.

 

Tobin’s face was pressed into Christen’s neck as she caught her breath on top of Christen. Both of them covered in a light sheen of sweat.

 

They had landed in Rome earlier that morning and had taken a taxi to The St. Regis hotel. Having booked their stay at the same place they had met at all those years ago.

 

Knowing they really couldn’t have stayed anywhere else.

 

It seemed just as familiar as Christen remembered, as soon as they walked into the lobby to check in.

 

The beautiful chandeliers hanging from the high arching ceilings, completely unchanged.

 

They had spent most of the day in bed; having sex in between naps, trying to get themselves on Central European time as quickly as possible.

 

Wasting their day away without it feeling like a waste at all. They were just enjoying the time alone.

 

Tobin let out a long, content sigh and let her eyes close again, snuggling a little deeper into Christen, as the fingers running through her hair lulled her back towards sleep.

 

“Are you gonna fall asleep on me again?” Christen whispered softly in Tobin’s ear when she felt Tobin’s breaths getting slower against her skin.

 

They had just finished round three and Christen couldn’t sleep anymore. Her body almost too restless now after an overnight flight and being in bed all day.

 

“Mmmm.” Tobin just hummed, not forming any actual words. She was too blissed out to think right now.

 

“Honey..” Christen whispered through a big smile, pulling her hand out of Tobin’s hair and rubbing her back now instead. “We should shower and go eat somewhere.”

 

“You wore me out, woman.” Tobin mumbled in her slow, gravelly voice. “I need sleep.”

 

Christen laughed softly. “You didn’t seem that tired a half hour ago…”

 

Tobin started to chuckled into Christen’s neck, lifting her face finally to look at her wife with sleepy eyes and a dopey grin.

 

“You’re the cutest.” Christen murmured, kissing Tobin’s forehead. “But I know you, and I know you need food soon before you get grumpy.”

 

Tobin smiled and caught Christen’s lips with her own before she nodded.

 

“Yeah, we should probably go eat soon. I can’t survive off of you alone.”

 

Christen let another laugh escape from her chest as her mind flashed back to Tobin’s tongue between her legs a few minutes ago.

 

She felt a surge of butterflies run through her body just from the thought.

 

Tobin pushed herself up on her elbows so she could breathe a little easier, shaking her head at Christen’s adorable smile.

 

“Remember when I was the one with all the stamina?” Tobin wondered between kisses. “You put me to shame now.”

 

Christen shrugged. “It’s not my fault sex feels even better after having a baby. I can’t get enough of you.”

 

“Don’t worry, I’m not complaining.” Tobin grinned, looking at her wife with so much love.

 

Christen ran her hand through Tobin’s hair again as she held herself up above Christen.

 

“You could try it too, ya know…” Christen suggested of her previous thought, mostly as a joke.

 

“Yeah…” Tobin rolled her eyes playfully. “We don’t need another kid, babe.”

 

“I know we don’t..” Christen smiled. “But if you wanted to, I wouldn’t say no.”

 

Tobin fell onto the bed next to Christen, leaning up on her forearm to continue the conversation.

 

“Does that mean you want another one?”

 

Sometimes Christen had a roundabout way of telling Tobin what she wanted.

 

“No, not really.” Christen shook her head easily. “I was just throwing it out there.”

 

The casual way Christen brought it up made Tobin laugh quietly.

 

“I’d give you anything you want..” Tobin looked at Christen softly. “But honestly, three is kinda perfect for me.”

 

“Yeah.” Christen thought of their three kids then, knowing newborn babies and up-all-nights were behind them. “Three is perfect.”

 

Tobin leaned in and kissed her again and Christen broke into a grin when they pulled back, whispering in Tobin’s ear.

 

“We could get another puppy though…”

 

Tobin dropped her forehead to the bed in a fit of laughter, rolling over onto her back in the king sized bed.

 

Christen had been the one to tell Olivia no yesterday and now, of course, here she was, letting that thought fill her mind.

 

She was such a softy.  

 

Tobin sat up and looked over at Christen again. “Whatever you want, babe.”

 

Christen sat up too, moving to crawl over Tobin towards the edge of the bed, kissing her quickly as she did.

 

“Right now, I want a hot shower.” She murmured against Tobin’s lips, before continuing on her way.

 

Tobin slapped Christen’s bare ass as she kneeled on the edge of the bed, earning a swat on her arm in return, as Christen slid off the bed.

 

Christen laughed and padded across the carpet towards the bathroom, waiting for Tobin to follow her. Tobin got out of bed too as soon as she heard the water in the shower running.

 

Before she could make it to the bathroom, Christen popped back out with the happiest smile on her face.

 

“What?” Tobin wondered when she noticed her expression.

 

“There's no shampoo or anything stocked in the shower.” Christen stopped walking and just looked at Tobin a little in shock at the coincidence of it all.

 

The same hotel in Rome where they met seven years and twenty-two days ago, still giving Christen the same problem.

 

Some things never change.

 

“Seriously?” Tobin wondered with an unbelieving laugh, thinking her wife was actually joking.

 

Christen nodded her head.

 

“Do we need to go get some?” Tobin asked then, looking down at both of their naked bodies and hoping that wasn’t the case.

 

“Nope, I brought ours.” Christen smiled, moving over to her largest suitcase and digging through it quickly.

 

Tobin just watched her, standing in the doorway of the bathroom as the room filled with steam.

 

“I learned a long time ago to always bring my own.” Christen smiled wickedly when she stood back up with the shampoo and conditioner in her hands. “Traveling without shower products could lead to a whole lifetime of trouble, if you’re not careful…”

 

They were both laughing as Christen brushed past Tobin in the doorway.

 

“Oh, I’ll show you trouble..” Tobin husked out, wrapping her arms around Christen from behind and walking them to the shower with their bodies pressed together.

 

They stepped in and Christen squealed a little as she ducked under the hot water, waiting for Tobin to get under the waterfall with her. Tobin bobbed under it and pulled Christen in close again, whispering in her ear as the water cascaded down over them.

 

“Giving you my shampoo is the best thing I’ve ever done.” She hummed. “I thank God every day that he gave you that one minor inconvenience.”

 

Christen pulled back just enough to look at Tobin, seeing her whole world in those brown eyes that were staring back at her lovingly.

 

“Me too.” Christen nodded adamantly. “Every single day.”

 

 

xxx