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Paradise

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Tobin Heath has always had life laid out for her. She knew from a young age what she wanted to do with her life. She found comfort in that. Aside from soccer, she had God leading the way. She found comfort in that as well. Without soccer and God, Tobin’s life would be meaningless, or so she thought. Never once did it occur to her that someone could bring new meaning into her life. It never occurred to her because she didn't want it to be true. All she ever knew was the joy of kicking a ball around and religion and she was fine with that. She enjoyed being that carefree nomad who jumped from couch to couch, it was such a simple life. Tobin believed the best things in life were simple. Little did she know that one of the best things to come into her life was so complicated, so intricate, so complex. When this uncertainty first came into her life, she was intrigued. Never before had she met someone like this, someone who can take your breath away without even saying a word, someone who can ease away all your pain with a smile, someone whose laughter can heal your soul. From the moment she saw her, she knew she was going to be an important part of her life, but couldn't have imagined in what way. It started with small glances, looking to see if the other was looking at them, smiling and putting their head down once they realized they were caught. Then it was small touches, fingers slightly brushing up against each other, causing the two to jerk back but quickly putting their fingers back once they realized the other enjoyed the contact as much as they did. Next, it would be holding hands under the table during team meetings and small, delicate kisses on the hand and cheek out of sight from anyone else. It moved to cuddling together in bed, holding each other close as the rain hit the outside of the window on a stormy night. They evolved to slow and rhythmic straddling, kissing each other with a newfound passion, but not going too far. When they were both ready, they took their time making love to each other with such delicacy. They took in each other’s bodies, satisfied with the feeling of being close to one another rather than worrying about rushing to a climax. This progression over time was comfortable enough for both of them, not too fast and not too slow.

 

At one point, Tobin realized when she truly fell in love. It wasn’t magnificent, it wasn’t spectacular, it wasn’t what she dreamed it would be. She didn’t exactly know how she thought it would happen. She was watching a friendly between Brazil and Argentina on the tv in their living room, fully engrossed in the clever and smooth movements of Neymar and Messi. It was late in the afternoon, the two decided to stay in today as it was raining. Christen was next to her, reading a book snuggled under the covers to escape the cold. At one point, Tobin looked over at Christen, she didn’t know why she looked over at her, she was so invested in the game to be distracted, but something pulled her away. As she watched her, she felt her heart sink, she suddenly became overcome with emotion and she didn’t know why. Tobin imagined this moment would happen when Christen was all dressed up, straight hair, makeup, looking like a goddess. But here she was, her hair disheveled, wearing shorts and a tank top, with her glasses on. Even in this state, she looked so beautiful to Tobin. Her heart began to swell even more.

 

“What, babe?”

 

Tobin was shocked that Christen had noticed her staring at her. She thought Christen was fully immersed in her book, but obviously not.

 

“Nothing.”

 

Tobin put her hand on her cheek and it was warm to the touch. She wasn’t embarrassed that Christen had caught her, but what she was feeling inside was starting to come out. She didn’t say anything in the moment, keeping her feelings down in favor of finishing the game. When they went to bed, Tobin crawled in next to Christen, who was lying facing away from Tobin. She leaned into Christen, putting her arm around her waist and pulling her in close. She was still uneasy from not telling her girlfriend how she felt earlier. When Tobin thought Christen was surely asleep, she whispered I love you into her ear. She didn’t need Christen to respond to her words, she was fine with just getting it off her chest. She closed her eyes and started falling asleep. Christen moved a little in Tobin’s arm, but it didn’t stir her too much, Tobin just moved more closely into Christen’s neck. I love you too, Tobin.

 


 

 Just like she didn’t know when she was going to fall in love with Christen, Tobin didn’t have a clue when she knew she would be the one. It happened after the national team won their World Cup Qualifying match against Mexico, winning 3-1, which was what they needed to qualify for France 2019. The team was excited to have finally qualified for the World Cup after having a dismal showing at the Olympics. The locker room was vibrant, the pressure of qualifying was lifted off of their shoulders. A year out from the World Cup, they didn’t have to worry too much about results, but could focus on building team chemistry. Tobin and Christen were the last ones to leave the locker room, enjoying the peace and quiet away from their teammates.

 

“So how about that game, babe? You were on fire,” Tobin laughed. She swung her girlfriend around in her arms and eventually put her back down. Christen smiled.

 

“Speak for yourself. You were in your own little world. I love when you get like this.” The younger girl leaned in and placed a quick kiss on Tobin’s lips.

 

“Like what?” Tobin smiled as well. She knew what Christen was hinting at, but she really wanted to hear her girlfriend say it.

 

“Like the game consumes you. You put your all into every game and it shows when you play. You aren’t too worried about performing. You always go out there and just play how Tobin plays, smart and simple soccer. And with some tricks thrown in. My point is that every time you touch the ball, I know you’re gonna do something brilliant with it. I love that about you.”

 

The way Christen was staring into Tobin’s eyes made her feel weak. These words that poured out of her mouth were so genuine and comforting. When her teammates and fans would relay these sentiments, it didn’t really strike her as significant, she was just doing her job. But when Christen spoke those words, they meant the world to her. She never seeked approval and praise from her girlfriend, but this was different. It was because Christen knew how hard Tobin has been working. Training with the team wasn’t good enough for her. She would go out at 2 in the morning and practice her technique until she knew exactly how the ball was going to react. Every touch she took had a purpose, every body movement was done with so much skill and grace, every step was calculated. Christen would just watch from the side, not wanting to interrupt her flow. No one knew she did this but Christen. That’s why those words were so special. Tobin began to cry, not from sadness, but from happiness. She had everything she needed in life, her faith, soccer, and her girlfriend. When she looked into Christen’s eyes again, she began to cry even more. She was once again so overcome with her emotions, she didn’t know how to exactly to formulate her words. She just burrowed herself deeper into Christen’s chest. Christen thought Tobin was crying because of their win, unaware of what she was truly feeling on the inside. For a long time, Tobin knew she wanted more with Christen, but whenever the thought crossed her mind, she would quickly shut it out. However, she didn’t feel that way tonight. She wasn’t afraid to think that she could marry Christen and make her her wife. She didn’t want to ask her in this state, but she would do it soon.

 


 

 The entire plane ride from LA to Cancun, Tobin was jittery. She kept bouncing her leg or fidgeting with her phone in her hand. Christen would ignore it and just look out the window. After a while, she couldn’t handle her girlfriend’s uneasiness and put her hand on her knee to keep her from bouncing it anymore. Christen turned to face Tobin.

 

“Are you ok, Tobs? You’ve been jittery since we got to the airport.”

 

“Yeah, I’m fine babe. I’m just excited to go back to Mexico. It’s been a while.” Christen nodded her head, satisfied with her answer and turned back to the window.

 

Tobin hated lying to her girlfriend. She wanted to keep everything a secret as much as possible. She wasn’t exactly nervous that she was finally gonna propose to Christen on their little getaway, but more so that she didn’t want to embarrass herself. A couple weeks ago, she went to visit her parents back home in New Jersey. She couldn’t leave without mentioning her intentions to marry her girlfriend. Her mother broke down in tears, happy that her last daughter was finally getting married, or at least engaged. When her mother asked how she planned on doing it, Tobin just shrugged her shoulders. Her father suggested that she do it while the couple was on vacation. Her mother liked the idea enough, but also suggested that the families be there as well. Before Tobin could protest, her mom was already on FaceTime with the Press family, telling them about Tobin’s plan. The Press’s were more than happy to join along on the trip. At this point, Tobin couldn’t turn her family and her soon to be family down, so she relented. Now they were all on a plane heading to Cancun. Tobin’s mom, dad, sisters, and brother were here as were Christen’s mom, dad, and sisters. Tobin reasoned with Christen that they all needed to get away together as a big family. In all honesty, Christen didn’t need a reason, she enjoyed hanging out with Tobin’s family and vice versa. Tobin took a nap to calm her nerves and not think anymore about the proposal. A couple hours later, she was woken up by Christen lightly shaking her shoulders.

 

“Babe, we're here.”

 

Tobin looked around to get her bearings and saw everyone grabbing their luggage from the overhead bins. She got up from her seat and took Christen's purse and carry on and put on her backpack.

 

“Tobin, don’t carry all of that. You’re gonna hurt yourself.” Christen tried to take her things from Tobin, but she moved out of reach.

 

“No way, Chris. I’m treating you like a princess this whole trip.”

 

“Ooo, do you have something planned for me?” Tobin got nervous all of a sudden. Did she figure out why I’m bringing her here? Damn it. “I’m just kidding, babe. Thank you.” The older girl let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding and continued walking down the aisle and out of the plane.

 

After the families retrieved their baggage from the carousel, they exited the airport into the fresh air. Tobin took in the clean air and the Mexican sun that hit her skin. All of her nerves seemed to have melted away. This wouldn’t be as bad as she thought.

 


 

 So apparently this was going to be worse than Tobin thought. They had spent a few nights in Cancun already and the families had been enjoying themselves. Whether it was going to the beach, trying out new water sports, or eating authentic Mexican food, it was an enjoyable experience. Tobin didn’t want to propose on the first or last night, wanting to just enjoy being together, but also enjoy being engaged in Mexico. They were staying in Cancun for two weeks. Tobin thought the 6th night would be the best time. On the morning of the sixth day on their vacation, the two families went to breakfast and afterwards went out on the boat Cody had rented for the day. Cody docked the boat close to Isla Mujeres and let the group do some swimming before they reached Playa Norte. Cody, Stacy, Cindy, and Jeff were chatting in the front of the boat. Perry, Jeffrey, Channing, and Christen had jumped into the water already, leaving Tyler, Katie, and Tobin alone.

 

“So, you’re doing it tonight Tobs, right,” her sister asked.

 

“Yeah, I am.”

 

“Can I see the ring again,” the older Press sister questioned.

 

Tobin walked over to her clothes and pulled a small box out of the pocket of her joggers. She sat back down and looked over her shoulder to see if Christen was looking. She waved at Tobin, who waved back at her. Tobin focused her attention back to the box in her lap. She slowly opened it, revealing a ring with a silver band and small diamonds arranged in a square pattern. It was simple and Tobin knew it was perfect for Christen. A couple days before they were leaving for Mexico, Tobin went ring shopping with Allie, Alex, Channing, and Perry. She promised she would take Katie and Tyler with her to find a wedding ring.

 

“It’s so beautiful, Tobin.” Tyler clasped her hands on mouth and let a few tears  trickle down.

 

“Chris will love it, I know she will,” Katie added.

 

“I know.” Tobin wiped the tears from Tyler’s cheeks. “Keep it together, Ty. I should be the one crying. I know I will be later.”

 

For the rest of the day, the families enjoyed the beach at Playa Norte. They walked around the island, taking in the scenery. Once night fell, they went to one of the local restaurants on the island. Throughout dinner, Tobin was getting more and more anxious. She kept playing with the ring box in her pocket. She didn’t want to dress too formal to tip off Christen. She opted for a pair of ripped white jeans, a loose fitting white shirt, and a pair of white high top sneakers. Christen grabbed and held Tobin's hand under the table, easing her a little. Once dinner had finished, Tobin was thankful, she somehow made it through without passing out. They got back on the boat and headed back to Cancun on the mainland. Once they had arrived back at the hotel, the families started to head up to their rooms, congregating in the lobby first and saying goodnights.

 

“Hey, babe. Can you just wait for me? I’m coming.”

 

Christen was a little confused as to why her family was heading up without her and Tobin. Usually before the couple would head to their room, the two families would all spend time together before calling it a night.

 

“Yeah sure.” She turned her back and started heading towards the chairs near the beach.

 

Before Tobin left to join Christen, everyone wished Tobin quiet good lucks.

 

“I see you’re going for the wedding look. We’re not even there yet,” Tyler chuckled. “I’m kidding, sweetie, you look great and she’ll say yes.”

 

Cindy grabbed her daughter’s face and placed a kiss on her forehead “Honey, don’t stress out. Christen is the love of your life. She won’t turn you down. We’ll be in the room waiting for you two.”

 

Tobin simply nodded, collected herself, and headed towards her girlfriend. Christen looked up and smiled when she  saw Tobin approaching. For a second, the brunette lost her breath when she saw Christen. She wasn’t wearing anything special, a pair of dark skinny jeans, accompanied by a white crop top, a pair of brown wedges and her hair down with a small bun on the top of her head. Tobin grabbed Christen’s hand, intertwined their fingers, and lead her girlfriend to the beach.

 

“Is there a reason we’re out here, Tobs?”

 

“Actually, yeah babe.” Tobin let go of Christen’s hand.

 

Christen could sense the change in Tobin’s demeanor. Tobin had her back facing to her girlfriend. She was trying to calm herself down. You can do this Tobin. She loves you. She’s the love of your life. Tobin can’t remember the last time she was this nervous about anything, not even in the 2015 World Cup final. She believes that the last time she was this nervous was when she took her penalty against Japan in the 2011 final. But even that didn’t even come close to how she was feeling now. She sent a quick prayer up to God and turned around after mustering up enough courage. She took both of Christen’s hands in hers.

 

“Christen, you know I love you, right?” Christen gave Tobin a questioning look.

 

“Of course, Tobin.” She also found it weird that Tobin called her by her full name. It was usually just Chris, babe, or any other form of endearment.

 

“I just love you. I just…” Tobin let out a heavy sigh in frustration as she couldn't properly verbalize her feelings. Christen just squeezed her hands to let her know it was ok to take her time. “You're the love of my life, Christen. I've never felt this way with anyone before. You're so special to me.” Christen simply nodded, encouraging her girlfriend to go on. “When I first met you, you took my breath away. You had something about you that I've never seen in anyone else. I knew from that point that I wanted to have you in my life, I couldn't have ever imagined this would be the way it would turn out, but I'm glad it did, I wouldn't have it any other way.” A few tears started to run down Tobin’s face, but she still continued. “I prayed every night that God would keep you in my life. I didn't want you to go. You brought me so much happiness at a time when I was feeling down.” It was Christen’s turn to let out a few tears. “You're the main reason why I believe in Him so much, cause he answered my prayer, you're still here after all this time. I thank Him every night for blessing me with you.” Tobin's voice faltered a little, but she took a deep breath. She finally let go of Christen's hands and dug in her pocket as she got down on one knee in the sand and looked up at Christen.

 

“Tobin?”

 

Christen could barely get her name out without choking on the words. She froze to the spot and covered her mouth as she figured out what Tobin was doing. She couldn't believe this was happening. A stream of tears started running down her face.

 

“Christen, I don't want to ever lose you. I couldn't live with myself if I did. I've loved you since the day we first met. I just knew we were meant to be together from that moment. I always wondered when He would send me someone, someone who could understand and accept me the way I am. I had to wait a while, but it was worth it. I love you, Christen. I am so lucky to have you in my life, I don't deserve you, you show me so much compassion and love, I feel sometimes like I'm undeserving. I've wanted to do this for a long time, but it would always scare me. There came a point where I wasn’t scared anymore,  I wasn't afraid of realizing I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” She took another deep breath. “Christen Annemarie Press, will you marry me?” Tobin was relieved that she was able to say everything she wanted to say, but was getting anxious waiting for Christen’s answer. She didn't have too wait long, as Christen nodded her head vigorously.

 

“Yes, yes of course I'll marry you Tobin,” she said through sniffles.

 

Tobin got up and kissed Christen. Once they separated from each other, Tobin slipped the ring onto Christen’s finger. They embraced for a while, separating again as Christen looked more closely at the ring.

 

“Tobin, it's so beautiful. Thank you.”

 

“Anything for my one and only.”


The couple made their way back up to their room, when they were surprised by their families, or at least Christen was. Tobin had told the two families to wait in their room while the couple was downstairs. They had ordered a couple of bottles of champagne to celebrate the engagement and patiently waited for the couple's return. Once they came into the room, shouts of congratulations were given and warm hugs were exchanged following a few tears of joy. Later that night once everyone had left, Tobin and Christen’s soft moans filled the air, celebrating a new chapter in their lives. The next day, Tobin took a photo of the ring on Christen’s hand and sent it to her teammates and friends. Everyone was excited for the couple, knowing it was a long time coming. The rest of the vacation went without a hitch, the pair content with where they were. The families had already  started talking about wedding plans, much to the amusement of the couple. They didn't mind it, more than happy to not have to come up with their own plan. Tobin never imagined this would be how she would propose to Christen, but some of the best things in life are unexpected.

Chapter Text

 

January 2020

 

A few months had passed since the team won the World Cup in France. The team had four World Cups in hand, four stars above the crest, it was unheard of in women's soccer. The gals were on such a high, it was hard to come back down. With all the fanfare that followed their return from the World Cup, the couple had barely thought about their wedding. They not only had to be with their clubs for the playoffs, but the subsequent victory tour in December. Now, it was January and Christen was getting antsy. She loved to have everything planned to a tee, while Tobin would just plan it a day in advance if she had her way. The duo had a wealth of choices to choose from, with what their families came up with in Cancun. But even with all the choices, it was difficult to narrow down the options. They did agree to get married in June of the following year. The couple were currently in New Jersey visiting the older woman’s family. They had stayed with them for the holidays and were getting ready to head to the West Coast for February camp. It was a cold, snowy Tuesday night, so the pair chose to find a coffee shop and discuss their plans more. It was good to get out of the house, even for a minute. As much as the younger woman loved the Heaths, this was a nice escape from all the craziness. Tobin ordered a coffee for Christen and a hot chocolate for herself. She came back to table holding both cups, setting them on the table and taking a seat across from the dark-haired woman.

 

“So, where is this wedding of ours gonna be,” Christen asked as she took a sip of her coffee.

 

“Hmm, that is a very good question, my love. I'm not sure, I'm kinda conflicted. I’m stuck between just having it in a church or having it on like the beach or something.”

 

Christen smiled at her fiancée. She knew the internal conflict she was having with herself and thought it was best to just let the brunette decide on this one.

 

“Whatever you want to do is fine by me, babe.”

 

Tobin thought about it. She really wanted to have her wedding in church, but at the same time, she didn't have to. Even with a wedding at the beach, God would still be with her. After the two talked about it, they decided to have their wedding on the beach, but they still didn't know where. They left the coffee shop, disappointed in their progress, only inches closer to completing their plans.

 


 

 

March 2020

 

Tobin plopped onto the couch and groaned into one of the plushy, white throw pillows. Allie and Alex just watched and chuckled at their friend. They had just returned home after a long day at the beach, still dripping with seawater and sand covering various parts of their body.

 

“Harry, stop being a drama queen. It's not that bad,” the tall blonde said from behind the kitchen island. The trio were in Alex’s home in Orlando. They were pretty excited to all be able to spend time together, a month before preseason in early April. The brunette spoke into the pillow, her words obviously muffled.

 

“Ah now, use your words Tobin,” Alex demanded. The older woman turned over and groaned loudly, putting her hands on her face.

 

“This is too hard, guys. I can't plan a wedding, much less my own. Can't we just elope?” Allie moved from the kitchen to a spot next to the midfielder. She sat down and put a hand on her best friend’s shoulder.

 

“Harry, you actually believe Christen would let you guys do that? Even I know that's not happening.”

 

“But, it's just like so much I didn't even think about. We have to figure out things like which silverware we want, like should it be gold, should it be silver, I hate it.” Alex threw a comforting arm around the brunette’s shoulder. She understood how tedious the planning process was and how someone like Tobin wouldn't be having the most fun with it.

 

“Sweetie, Allie and I have been through this before. We know how hard planning a wedding is. But for Christen’s sake, try to enjoy it a little. Find something you like and roll with it. It makes the whole process so much easier. And make sure to add your personal touch to it, it makes it all the better.” The brunette nodded, appreciating the advice from her friend.

 

“So then, where is this shebang,” Allie asked.

 

“Ha ha well, it’s on a beach.”

 

“And?”

 

“It’s in June of next year.”

 

The blonde moved her hands in a circular motion, asking Tobin to continue filling in the details.

 

“That’s about all we have.”

 

“How are you and Christen even together? You guys are polar opposites.” Allie shook her head, playfully. “Anyways, we need to go dress shopping soon.”

 

“Ugh, don’t remind me. There’s so much we have to do.” Tobin fell back into the pillow.

 

“Well then, let’s help you get a head start on some of that planning,” Alex said.

 

The trio spent the rest of the week planning out the basics for the wedding. Every evening, they would spend time with Christen on FaceTime discussing ideas, shooting down the ones that they didn’t like and noting the ones that seemed to fit. As the wedding was beach-themed, the color palette ranged from white to shades of blue and green. The tables and chairs would have white cloth with seafoam green and baby blue accents. The tent for after the reception was also white. Throughout the tent, they would have string light bulbs hung. Outside of the tent, there would be pillar candles arranged in a large square for people to congregate in. They also had to figure out how to deal with the threshold. They just put it aside for now, as it wasn’t too much of a worry. By the end of the week, they were all satisfied with what they had agreed upon. There was work to be done still, but progress was being made.

 


 

 

June 2020

 

It was Saturday night and Christen and Tobin were laying in bed after playing a match earlier in the day. The season was starting to ramp up as the end of June was quickly approaching. The Thorns played against the Red Stars in Chicago, losing 2-1. The pair couldn’t wait to see each other, even though it had only been a week or so since they last spent time with each other. Once the two arrived back at the younger woman’s apartment, the couple wasted little time disrobing each other and enjoying the other’s body. The couple were cuddled naked under the blankets, drifting off to sleep. Tobin felt herself about to fall asleep when she heard Christen saying something sleepily.

 

“Puerto Rico…” The brunette hovered over her fiancée, brushing the hairs out of her face. The dark-haired woman turned on her back and looked up to Tobin in the dark. “I want the wedding in Puerto Rico, Tobin.” Even though Christen couldn’t see the midfielder’s features clearly, she could feel the smile creeping on her face.

 

“Well, it took you long enough to come up with something, babe.” Tobin chuckled to herself.

 

“I just feel like it fits us, the island is beautiful, the people are beautiful, I’ve been in love with the island since we went there two summers ago.”

 

“I totally agree. Great choice, Chris. One less thing off our list.”

 

“I’m glad you agree. Now let’s go to bed. I know you’re probably tired after we kicked your asses today,” the forward smirked. Tobin gasped and began tickling Christen’s sides, causing her to laugh uncontrollably.

 

“This is like the first time you guys have ever beaten us. And you were at home! You had an advantage.”

 

“Stop making excuses Toby,” the tanned girl breathed out in between laughs. Tobin wasn’t stopping anytime soon, increasing the intensity of her tickles, making Christen squirm and laugh even more.

 

“Say the Thorns are the best team in the league. I’ll stop tickling if you do.”

 

“Ok, ok, I will!” Tobin moved her fingers from Christen’s sides and waited for her response, pleased with herself. “The Thorns are the best team in the league… at sucking ass.”

 

The couple both let out hearty laughs at Christen’s statement. Tobin wanted to keep tickling Christen, knowing the teasing  was all in good fun. Instead she began peppering her neck with kisses. They both laughed at what they were doing, loving the simplicity of the moment. Tobin snuggled more into Christen’s neck, their breathing evening out after a while. They treasured nights like this, especially during the season when they had to be apart for extended periods of time. Tobin had to leave soon, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were together again.

 


 

 

September 2020

 

Sky Blue and Portland had just finished playing a match at Providence Park, with Portland winning 4-2. It was an unusually, hot September night in the Pacific Northwest and Tobin was beyond tired. Her legs felt heavy and her shoulders felt like they were carrying a large amount of weight. Even though she was exhausted, she did her rounds of signing autographs and taking photos with fans. As she made her way through the tunnel, she felt a pair of arms wrap around her waist. For a split second, the thought of Christen coming to Portland to surprise her a day early was running through her mind. She leaned back into the body behind her, relaxing at the touch.

 

“Oh I can't wait for Press to hear about this.”

 

Tobin whipped her head around once she heard the voice which definitely wasn’t Christen’s. Standing behind her was Kelley with a huge smirk on her face. Tobin wasn't amused.

 

“Kelley, fuck. I thought it was Chris behind me. Why’d you do that?”

 

“I love seeing you squirm, Tobito.”

 

The two women embraced after their greetings. The friends hadn't seen each other in weeks, but since they were finally together, they had things to accomplish. Tobin promised Kelley that she could join Katie and Tyler with her and Christen to go ring shopping. After the engagement, Kelley kept sending Tobin weekly reminders that she wasn't involved with picking out the engagement ring even though Allie and Alex were. Tobin finally relented, even though that was the plan all along to bring along Kelley. They were planning on doing it tomorrow afternoon once Tyler, Katie, and Christen’s flights arrived. The two separated to freshen up in their respective locker rooms.  As they left the stadium, they talked a little bit about the game. The shorter woman was still upset that Tobin nutmegged her three times in the first half. Tobin just laughed and continued walking towards her car. As she got closer she saw the figures of two women leaning against her car.

 

“Tyler? Katie? What are you doing here so early?” She went to hug her sister and her soon-to-be sister-in law. The defender followed suit.

 

“Well sorry that we were so eager to see you. We couldn’t wait to get here,” Katie replied.

 

“Great! Are you guys staying at a hotel or what? You want me to drop you off?”

 

“Actually we were hoping that we could crash at your place.” Tyler hesitated once she saw Tobin shift her weight from one foot to another. “... or we could book a hotel instead.”

 

“No, no. It's fine. You and Katie can take the bed. I'll take the couch and Kelley can sleep on the floor.” Everyone laughed, except for Kelley who didn’t take kindly to the suggestion of having to sleep on a cold, hardwood floor. Tobin laughed even more when she saw Kelley’s expression. “I’m kidding Kels, you can cuddle with me on the couch.”

 

“Ha, just like old times. I really can’t wait for Pressi to hear about you today.”

 

The group drove home to Tobin’s apartment in downtown Portland. They quickly fell asleep, eager to get to tomorrow but also from the exhaustion of running up and down the pitch or from travelling.

 

----

 

The four women got up early so they could pick up Christen at the airport. Once they picked her up, they had to drive a while before finding a store. There wasn’t that many cars in the parking lot, which was a relief. They could shop in peace and quiet. Once they entered the store, the group was greeted by a young, blonde woman named Sarah.

 

“Good morning guys. How is everyone doing today?” The women murmured some goods and greats. “Great, is there any I can help you gals with today?”

 

Tobin went to speak but she started to stutter. Christen put her fiancée out of her misery and spoke for her.

 

“We’re looking for wedding rings.” She grabbed and squeezed Tobin’s hand, calming her nerves a little bit.

 

“Well, fabulous. You’re in the right place.” Sarah chuckled at her own joke. “What are you two looking for?”

 

Tobin swallowed the lump in her throat and spoke up.

 

“Just like a silver band to complement her engagement ring.” She held up Christen’s hand so Sarah could take a look.

 

“What were you thinking in terms of the carat,” Sarah asked, looking at the ring more closely.

 

“Her engagement ring was 1.5 carats. So maybe just a .5 carat for the band?”

 

“Holy shit, Tobin. Can you marry me too?” Everyone laughed at Kelley’s statement.

 

“I couldn’t share you and Christen, Kelley. It just wouldn’t be fair to you.”

 

Sarah lead the couple and their small entourage around the store to pick out a ring. After about an hour or so, they finally landed on something they both liked. They left the store satisfied with their work, checking another box on their to-do list. They had a little less than a year to finish planning, but they had most of the major items squared off already.

 


 

 

May 2021

 

It seemed like time had flew by. It was already May, just a month before the wedding. The couple wanted to make sure everything was perfect. They flew down to Puerto Rico during the week to make sure everything would be ready in a month's time. The short trip was only for two days, as they had to return home to practice with their clubs. Once they arrived and settled down, they headed to various locations, such as the florist, the bakery, the catering company, and the little shop that was assembling the threshold. Thankfully, everything was in order. They were confident the wedding would go off without a hitch. The couple spent the rest of the day lounging on the beach. After the sun set, they returned to their room, sitting on the patio overlooking the ocean.

 

“Are you ready babe,” questioned Christen. Tobin looked over at Christen with a confused expression on her face. “For the wedding silly,” she clarified.

 

“As ready as I can, I guess.”

 

“I am too. A little nervous though.”

 

“Me too. I just want to get it over with so I can just call you my wife from now on,” Tobin mused aloud. Christen smiled at the thought. She couldn’t wait to call the brunette that either. “So, we are spending tomorrow at the pool and the beach, right?”

 

“That’s the plan. Nice to get away from training, even if it’s just for two days.”

 

“Agreed. I still can’t believe it’s only a month away.” Christen moved closer to Tobin, leaning her head on her shoulder.

 

“Well, believe it babe. It’s gonna come a lot sooner than you think.”

 


 

 

June 2021

 

The sun was slowly creeping through the sliding glass doors overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The doors were slightly cracked, the sounds of the crashing waves and the saltiness of the ocean filling the bedroom. It was tempting to just stay in bed and spend the rest of the day curled up together. But they didn’t have time for that today, that was reserved for tomorrow. Today was the day they had been waiting for for months, their wedding day. The couple remained in bed for a while before getting up.

 

“Is it too late to elope, babe,” Tobin pondered sleepily.

 

“I don’t think our families would appreciate it too much, Tobs.”

 

“Have you met our families? They wouldn’t mind, this could just be another vacation in a beautiful place.” Christen shook her head lightly.

 

“I don't think so babe.” She kissed Tobin’s forehead. Tobin sighed and relented.

 

“Are you ready, babe?”

 

Tobin got up from her position on the bed and headed for the bathroom. As she got up, the sheet that was covering her fell to the ground, revealing her tanned skin. Christen rolled over to look at Tobin, a smirk growing on her face.

 

“Oh, absolutely.” Christen got up and embraced her fiancée from behind.

 

“That’s not what I meant, ya goof. We’ll get to do that later on.”

 

“I don’t know Tobs. We might be too exhausted to do anything else after the ceremony.”

 

“That just means we get to spend tomorrow doing it all day. Sounds better to me.” Tobin turned on the water in the shower and stepped in. “Are you coming in or not?” Christen stepped in the shower as well.

 

“Can we makeout a little, not too much though. I just can’t get enough of you.” She leaned against the cold tile in the shower, waiting for the midfielder’s response. Despite her mind telling her not to, as these shower sessions went on longer than they should, Tobin’s body had a different idea. God, I really can’t resist this woman.

 

“Definitely. Let’s just try not to be late for breakfast.”

 

30 minutes later and Christen and Tobin were scrambling to get dressed to go with their respective entourages. They spent a little too much time in the shower, even though they promised they wouldn't. Once they were outside, Christen deeply kissed Tobin and wrapped her in a tight embrace.

 

“I’ll see you in a few hours, Tobs. I can’t wait to see how beautiful you’ll look. I love you so much.”

 

“I can’t wait to see you too, babe. I love you too.”

 

The women began to get choked up at the thought of the impending ceremony in the evening.  They got into their cars and went on their separate ways to get ready. Christen’s entourage consisted of her mother, Channing, Tyler, Julie, Alyssa and a few of her other friends. Tobin had her mother, Katie, Perry, Alex, Kelley, Allie, Amy, and Lauren. They first went to breakfast  and then soon after went to get their hair and nails done. By the time they had their hair and nails done, it was around noon. The two had only been apart for a couple of hours but Tobin was dying to check on Christen. Katie saw Tobin sneaking off to take a call, but stopped her before she could. Katie tried to explain to her sister that it was more fun not knowing what the other was doing. She knew her sister was just anxious, but it would be worth it. Jeff, Jeffrey, Cody, and Nima were already at the beach making sure everything was being set up properly. At around two, Cody called Cindy and Stacy, telling them that everything was ready and the guys were going to get dressed themselves.

 

-----

 

It was around 4:30 and the families went to different locations to take the bridal photos with the families. They spent around 30 minutes taking a range of serious, silly, and candid pictures. Once they were satisfied with the pictures, they started heading to the location of the ceremony. The beach Tobin and Christen had picked out was somewhat isolated. There was a public beach a couple hundred feet away but it was secluded enough that they were able to have the wedding in peace. The sand on the beach was white and the water was a light blue, something you would find on a postcard, picturesque. It seemed too good to be real. The setup was beautiful, the white folded chairs  were arranged in 8 neat rows, with 8 chairs in a row. Every chair had either a baby blue or seafoam green ribbon tied behind it. The threshold was made from local wood with flowers adorning the top. At the informal entrance, there was a bin with a sign labeled Shoes Optional , one of the personal touches Tobin wanted. It was all so simple, but it was perfect. The guests had already filled in their seats, mainly family, close friends, and a large number of teammates, whether they were from the national team or their club team. The couple profusely apologized to their teammates as the season had already started and they were forced to miss games due to the wedding, though their teammates didn’t mind. The bridesmaids got into position, Tyler, Channing, Julie, Alyssa, and one of Christen’s old friends lined up on the left and Katie, Perry, Lauren, Amy, and Alex lined up on the right. Cole, Tobin’s nephew, was the ring bearer and Jrue, Lauren’s daughter, was the flower girl. The two children followed after the bridesmaids, earning awws as they made their way to the front.

 

Once the children had settled down, everyone turned their heads to the back. Tobin was standing with her father, ready to make their way down the “aisle”. Tobin’s dress was a traditional, lacey dress. Her hair was mainly straight, but had some loose curls in it, pushed over one shoulder. She had some silver bobby pins to accentuate her hair.  Her earrings were a pair of diamond studs. She didn’t want to go too extravagant, wanting to keep it simple. As she passed the first row, she caught a glimpse of her mother crying. She didn’t pay much attention to her, as she would also start to cry prematurely. She took a deep breath and went to stand next to the priest, awaiting Christen’s arrival.  

 

Everyone turned to the back again to look for the other bride. Christen was standing with her arm interlinked with Cody’s, ready to go down the “aisle”. Tobin was breathless watching Christen. A few tears started to form in her eyes at how beautiful Christen looked. Her tan skin was glowing under her white lace, white dress. There wasn’t a long train on the dress, but the best part Christen believed was that it was backless. Her hair was curled, simply natural, the way Tobin loved it the most. She went with simple diamond earrings and a silver necklace. She was happy to hear Tobin’s suggestion of no shoes, one last hassle she had to think about. She made her way forward with her father next to her. As she got closer, she could see the tears Tobin was holding back and began to let out a few tears herself. She let go of Cody’s hand and took her place in front of Tobin. They squeezed each other’s hands and prepared themselves for the ceremony. A short while later, they exchanged their vows and their rings. When they were officially wife and wife, they shared a chaste kiss until Tobin’s brother yelled for them to do better, which just encouraged the guests to follow suit. The couple laughed and kissed with a little more intensity, to the delight of the crowd. Christen swore she heard Kelley, Kling, Emily, and Allie hooting in the crowd, something she would talk to them later about. As they walked back down the aisle, hands intertwined, the guests started throwing rice at the couple. Tobin believed that Rose and Mal had literally bowls of rice that they were throwing at the two, she didn’t mind though, she was too blissed out at being finally married to the love of her life.

 

The sun had set and the place was illuminated by the candles set up in the sand. Everyone was enjoying themselves, between the food, the toasts and the music. Tobin and Christen had changed out of their dresses into white rompers, which were immensely more comfortable. They danced with their parents and then with each other for the couple’s first dance. After their dance, they both cut the cake and proceeded to thank all of their guests for coming. To end the night, Tobin and Christen danced with their friends to Despacito on the sand “dance floor” until their feet and legs got tired. Once they got back to their hotel, Tobin carried Christen to their suite, falling nearly every second, with Christen giggling in her arms. They each drank about a full bottle of champagne, feeling the buzz as the hours drew on. Once they both fell on the bed, the started to sloppily kiss each other, fumbling to shed the other’s clothes. Eventually sleep won over and they laid next to other, half dressed and forgetting what they had intentioned to do when they walked in the door. They spent the next day loving each other, similar to the first time they did, slow, passionate, and fueled by pure love for one another. At the end of the night, they laid together, limbs tangled under the sheets. The couple were slowly drifting to sleep, exhausted from their earlier activities.

 

“Goodnight, Christen. My beautiful wife.” Tobin kissed her nose and snuggled back into Christen’s neck. Christen chuckled.

 

“Goodnight, my beautiful wife, Tobin.”

Chapter Text

Breathe. Just breathe. You can do this, you're Tobin Heath. Nothing scares you. Breathe. You've waited for this moment for a long time. You're ready for this. Christen has this. I know she does. She can do anything. Breathe. You're strong, she's strong. You're both gonna get through this. Breathe. We'll get through this.

 

The Californian sun was creeping its way into the Press-Heath household. The house was silent, except for the occasional snore coming from one of the two women sleeping in the upstairs master bedroom. The sun’s  ray continued to make a path up the bed as the minutes ticked on. Eventually, the beam of light crept onto Tobin’s face, pulling her away from slumber and wincing at the sensation.

 

“Why didn't we close the blinds last night,” she sighed.

 

She rolled over, trying to escape the heat. When she looked at Christen, she could see that she wasn't asleep anymore. Her eyes were still closed but she was struggling to get back to sleep. She's so beautiful. I can't believe she's all mine. Tobin stroked her wife’s cheek with the back of her hand, gently waking up the woman at the touch.

 

“Morning, honey,” the dark haired woman yawned. Christen scooted closer to Tobin.

 

“Morning, my angel. You had a good sleep?”

 

“Of course, because you’re here with me and she didn’t wake me up. She stopped kicking, thank goodness.” The younger woman rubbed her tummy as Tobin placed a kiss on her bump. As soon as Tobin’s lips lifted herself from her wife’s stomach, Christen felt a small kick inside. They both laughed.

 

“I’m gonna need you to stop doing that. I swear every time you kiss my belly, she kicks.”

 

“She’s just excited to see us. It’s only a matter of time now. The due date was last week, right?”

 

“Yep. She’s just taking her time.”

 

“Well, I can’t wait anymore. I want to see our precious baby girl soon.” Christen looked lovingly at her wife, who looked lovingly back at her.

 

Ever since the couple found out Christen was pregnant, Tobin did everything in her power to make sure her wife was taken care of. Whether it was making crazy creations in the kitchen to satisfy her cravings, going to at least 3 grocery stores to find all the exact brands the forward wanted or running to the McDonald's at two in the morning to get Christen some chicken nuggets that she begged for, she would do anything to please Christen.

 

Tobin got up and started walking down the stairs and Christen followed soon after.

 


 

“Do you want something to eat, babe?”

 

“Yeah, could you make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but make it with french toast please.” Tobin laughed nervously and rubbed the back of her neck.

 

“Another one of your weird cravings, huh? You know I’m not good at making french toast.” When Tobin turned to look at Christen, her wife had a pout on her face.

 

“But, I really want it. Don’t you love me enough to that for me?” Tobin laughed again.

 

“Haha, uhh…” There was a loud knock on the front door. Thank God. “Great, Tyler’s here.” The brunette rushed to the front door to meet her sister-in-law.  

 

“Hey Ty! I’m so glad you’re here,” Tobin said as she hugged Tyler, “she’s being needy again.”

 

“Haha in any other context, I’d probably be mad at you. What does she want now?”

 

The two made their way to the kitchen area, where Christen was sitting, looking, expectantly at the pair. The older Press sister went up to and hugged her younger sister.

 

“She wants a PB&J, and before you say anything, make it on some french toast.”

 

“But Tobin!”

 

By the time Tyler finished her sentence, the midfielder was already up the stairs. She let out a heavy sigh and relented, chuckling to herself, moving into the kitchen to fix her sister some breakfast. 30 minutes later, Tobin finally came back down, showered and ready to go about her day.

 

“Alright ladies, I have to leave. Got an important day ahead of me. Is the rest of the Press Pack here yet?” Christen looked at her phone.

 

“Mom just texted and said they just passed Bakersfield, so in three hours, they should be here.”

 

The National Team had a series of games throughout the west coast and one of their stops included San Jose. The couple had rented a nice HomeAway home in the city and had spent the last week enjoying everything northern California had to offer. The Press Pack was on their way up to support their daughter-in-law. The Heaths had already arrived, staying at the Holiday Inn in Santa Clara, about 10 minutes away from Avaya Stadium.

 

“Good stuff. I can’t wait to see them again.” Tobin kissed her wife softly on her forehead and made her way to the door. “I’ll see you guys later on tonight. Don’t have too much fun without me.”

 

“Have a good game babe. Score a million goals for us.”  Tobin laughed and smiled.

 

“Then I’ll score a million and one goals, babe.”

 

“Ok you guys, stop being cute. Tobin get out of here.” And with Tyler’s encouragement to leave, Tobin finally left the house and headed down to the stadium.

 

Tobin joined her teammates in the locker room and went to the pre-match meeting Jill had arranged. The meeting only lasted around an hour and the women were free to go to lunch and do a few things before they had to meet back at the stadium at 4. Allie, Alex, Tobin, and Kelley went to a small coffee shop in the center of San Jose and parked themselves at one of the outdoor tables, enjoying the weather. Tobin was sipping on her iced coffee when she noticed her three friends watching her. She squinted her eyes wondering if there was something wrong she didn’t know about.

 

“Uhh guys, is everything ok?”

 

“Tobin, you always act dumb every time we meet up. How is Christen doing? We need to know how the baby mama is doing at all times,” Allie said almost annoyed. This always happens when the group meets. Tobin is clueless as to why her friends are staring at her and Allie, Kelley, and Alex are always annoyed. As of recent, the midfielder has been acting clueless on purpose just to mess her friends.

 

“Haha, she’s great, as always. Tyler’s at home with her.”

 

“Good. Still preggo,” Kelley asked.

 

“Yepper. Any day now. We’re kinda getting anxious. She could come today, tomorrow, next week. ”

 

“Wouldn’t it be crazy if Chris went into labor tonight, that would be a night,” Alex added.

 

“Ok let’s not get ahead of ourselves please. I don't need that type of stress to worry about.”

 

The women spent the next twenty minutes talking about other new developments in their lives before they had leave for Ayava. Once they got to the stadium, they headed their separate ways to begin their pre-game routines. Before they knew it, it was already 7, thirty minutes from kickoff. The players had already started lining up in the tunnel with their mascots, waiting to be lead out onto the field. Tobin was in her head when she heard her name being called she looked over her left shoulder to see, Allie running up with Kelley and Alex trailing behind her.

 

“Tobin! I almost forgot.” Allie showed the inside of her wrist to the brunette. In Sharpie, Allie had wrote CP23 and Little Pressi as did Alex and Kelley. The trio had done that for every game they've had during Christen’s pregnancy and Tobin appreciated it every time.

 

“Thanks guys. You guys are the best.”

 

The midfielder also had something written on her wrist but it was a little more detailed. To my beautiful wife and my baby girl that's coming soon, may God bless you. You are the best things to have come into my life. I am so grateful for everything I've been given. She always had to stop herself from writing an essay on her arm , but she thought it summed up everything perfectly. She was brought out of her thoughts once again when her teammates in front of her started moving towards the field. After the anthems had played and the captains decided which side of the field to start on, it was only a matter of time before kickoff. Tobin closed her eyes and said a little prayer. She did a couple more stretches and looked towards the center circle where Alex and Crystal were. Once Alex touched the ball and Crystal passed it back to Sam, the game was off and running.

 


 

 

Tobin scored two goals in the game against Brazil, winning the game 3-0. She was on tear during the game, leaving defenders in her wake. After she scored her brace off a brilliantly taken free kick, she ran along the sidelines, making a “C” with her left hand to celebrate. She hadn't been this happy during a match in a while and she did it all for Christen and their family. For her performance, she was woman of the match and took home the match ball. Thinking quick on her feet, she had the whole team sign the ball, noting that it would be a great gift for her daughter when she grows up. As she was headed toward the tunnel, FS1 had a sideline reporter waiting to interview Tobin. As much as she dreaded these things, she was glad to have one tonight. The interviewer, Sarah, began the interview, with a simple question.

 

“So first, I want to congratulate you on the great win tonight. A really great performance by you and the team. After that second goal, you made a “C” with your hands as a celebration. Can you tell us what that was about?”

 

“Thank you very much, Sarah. Oh, definitely. That celebration was for my amazing wife, Christen, I love her and I was a little sad that she couldn't be here in the stadium to see me play. But I dedicated that goal to her.”

 

“How many months along is Chris again?”

 

“Nine. Her due date was actually a week ago. Crazy I know.”

 

“Speaking of Christen, the US attack has fallen a little flat during her absence, don't you think?

 

“Ehh, I definitely think in certain aspects, you miss her. Like her pace, her technical ability, her decision making, her presence in front of goal. She's an amazing forward and when she comes back, she'll be better than ever. But we have plenty of great forwards here so, it's not a huge problem.”

 

Tobin kinda blanked out with the rest if the questions and was glad when it ended. She didn't realize how tired she was. Tobin looked around for her family when she noticed the Presses and her family in the section by the tunnel. As she approached the railing she smiled, but that smile quickly faded once she saw that Stacy, Cody Channing, and her mom were missing while the others were all on their phones looking a bit weary.

 

“Hey guys. What's going on, where's Stacy and Chan, and mom? Did something happen?”

 

Jeff went up to her daughter and tried to relieve some of the anxiety.

 

“Nothing to worry about sweetie, but we gotta get out of here now.”

 

“Why?” Tobin started to get very nervous at her dad’s words. What the fuck is going on?

 

“Tobs, Chris is in labor at the hospital,” Tobin was about to pass out when her dad continued speaking, “she went into labor around half time,” Holy shit. This can't be real. “ C’mon Tobs. We gotta go see Christen.”

 

Tobin was dumbfounded by the revelation that Chris was in the process of giving birth right now. Why couldn't this have waited? I hate Alex. She jinxed this. Somehow, the brunette got her legs to move her towards the tunnel. As she made her way through the tunnel, she felt bad for the fans. There was no way she would be able to interact with the fans with how she was feeling now. She sent a quick tweet out to inform the fans about her situation.

 

Thanks to all the fans that showed up at Avaya. Y'all are dope. I had to leave early for an emergency so I apologize. More details to come.

 

Once she was outside of the stadium, she hopped in her dad’s car and they headed down to the hospital. They rushed in the doors and asked the receptionist where her wife was located. After they found out where Christen was located, they hustled to find her room. When Tobin opened the door she didn't know what to expect. The whole time she was running around the hospital, she had a million thoughts running through her mind. Breathe. Just breathe. You can do this, you're Tobin Heath. Nothing scares you. Breathe. You've waited for this moment for a long time. You're ready for this. Christen has this. I know she does. She can do anything. Breathe. You're strong, she's strong. You're both gonna get through this. Breathe. We'll get through this. Once she opened the door, she say Chris laying in the hospital bed surrounded by her parents and sisters. The midfielder’s mom was off to the side of right as much support as she could but understanding that the younger woman's family would have to be right there.

 

“Well it took you long enough. I thought you were never coming,” Christen laughed. Tobin walked up to the right side of the bed and caressed her wife's face.

 

“I was always gonna find my way here. No matter what. I'm glad you're ok.”

 

“Yeah, I've been having contractions on and off, but I'm good now. Uhh Tobs, do you mind?”

 

“Mind what?” The dark haired woman pointed at the brunette’s jersey and shorts. Tobin realized she never changed out of her uniform and was still covered in sweat, dirt, and grass. She excused herself to the bathroom. She had to use the bathroom soap and the tap water to wash some of the dirtiness off as there wasn't a shower. After she changed into a fresh pair of clothes her dad had gotten her from her duffle bag, she resumed her place next to Christen. For the next three hours, they waited, letting Christen ride out her contractions until they started to come more frequently.

 

At one point they became too much and she felt her water break. Her parents quickly called the doctors into the room and they got to work. After a great deal of time and Tyler holding up Tobin so she wouldn't pass out, they all heard a tiny cry. Tobin's heart almost stopped as everyone turned their attention directly on Christen, but more importantly on the small human that was being pulled out of her body. The doctor lifted up the baby some more as one of the nurses cut the umbilical cord. The doctor handed off the baby to one of the midwives who helped clean off the little girl. Christen was so exhausted but was in awe of what just occurred. The same could be said about Tobin. Once the midwife returned with the baby girl in her little blanket and cap and placed her in Christen's arms, everyone started to get a little teary eyed, none more than the brunette. They're both angels. Look at them. Thank you God. The midfielder made her way to her wife and daughter and crouched down next to the bed. 

 

"What's her name, guys,” Stacy asked.

 

The couple looked at each other and nodded.

 

“Sofia,” they said simultaneously.

 

“How beautiful.”

 

“Can you guys take some pictures please? I want to document this,” the older woman questioned.

 

They took a few photos but Tobin had choose four she really liked. The first was one with just Christen and Tobin smiling while little Sofia was in Chris’s arms. The second was one with Tobin and Christen kissing in the hospital bed. The third was a family photo with the Heaths and Presses crammed together. The last one was a candid that Tobin really liked. It was taken from the side and it had Christen looking at Tobin as she placed a small kiss on her daughter's cheek. She doesn't know why she loved that in so much but it might be due to the fact that she still can't believe she's real. After she picked the photos, she composed a tweet.

 

I would like to introduce the world to my beautiful baby girl Sofia Alexandra Press. Thank you for giving her to us, Christen. :)


She added the photo set to the tweet and pressed send, excited to share her joy with the world. Tobin can't think of a time when she was this happy, but she can think of a few that come close.