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Been waiting for you...

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Blue jean shorts and a sweater

I didn't know if she was hot or cold

I told her on the day that I met her

I was never gonna let her go

There's a spark in her eyes when she's smiling

Lights a fire in my soul

When she touches me the flames get higher

And it's burning out of control

The years go by

My heart knows I

Miss California

Highway one

Halfway to Hollywood

Miss California

Sunset dipping in the water never looked this good

I just wanna watch her all day

But she comes in and out like a wave

She puts her moonlight lips on my face

And she goes

There she goes

Miss California

(Tobin - “Miss California” by Hootie and the Blowfish)


I'll be kind, if you'll be faithful

You be sweet and I'll be grateful

Cover me with kisses dear

Lighten up the atmosphere

Keep me warm inside our bed

I got dreams of you all through my head

Fortune teller said I'd be free

And that's the day you came to me

Came to me

Come to me my sweetest friend

Can you feel my heart again

I'll take you back where you belong

And this will be our favorite song

Come to me with secrets bare

I'll love you more so don't be scared

And when we're old and near the end

We'll go home and start again

(Christen - “Come to Me” by The Goo Goo Dolls)


Tobin cleared the plates off of the table, rinsed them, and put them into the dishwasher, all the while watching Christen at the table. She was starting to think that her stomach would never stop doing somersaults around Christen. 

It had been a month and a half, and Tobin was completely captivated by the dark-haired woman. It made staying focused on anything else a little difficult. So, even though she was telling Christen a story, she was still having trouble keeping her facts straight and her eyes off of Christen. 

“I’ve never seen Abby that nervous. Her last NCAA Tournament was a cakewalk compared to getting married,” Tobin laughed. 

Christen chuckled lightly and took a healthy sip of wine, only half-listening to Tobin’s story. It wasn’t that she didn’t care, she did. She was just still replaying Kelley’s words in her mind, still entirely too focused on the comment Kelley had made to her at training earlier in the day.

Kelley had picked up a knock in their training a few days ago, so she was on the sidelines cheering the team on during a 3v3 tournament. Christen had been on fire, scoring goals left and right. After a particularly pretty goal, Kelley had yelled, “I should have filmed that for your girlfriend!”

Her teammates teased her mercilessly as the 3v3 tournament continued. But in addition to the blush on her cheeks and the smile on her face, Christen felt a slight flicker of trepidation. She knew that she and Tobin were dating, that they were seeing each other. Tobin’s family knew, Christen’s friends and teammates knew. Scottie was definitely the next person to know. But they had never formally addressed one another, or introduced one another, as their girlfriend. They hadn’t even had a conversation about whether or not they were exclusive; although, Christen didn’t think that Tobin was seeing other people. 

Christen had left training with her thoughts swirling around in her mind, thoughts about the girlfriend label, the exclusivity of this whole thing, and the fact that they’d nearly jumped each other’s bones at her apartment last week without ever having had the ‘what are we’ conversation. She knew she wanted to be Tobin’s girlfriend, and for Tobin to be hers. She wanted the weight behind the label, the solid ground it offered. She wanted that and more, she just didn’t know how to broach it.

“It poured the whole day before, so she was really stressed about that, but then the sun magically came out, and-” Tobin stopped looking at Christen’s glazed-over face. “You okay?”

“What?” Christen replied, blinking back into the moment with a slightly sheepish expression on her face.

“At what point did you zone out?” Tobin laughed, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. 

“I’m sorry,” Christen sighed, running a hand through her curls and tousling them a bit as nerves flitted around in her stomach. She wanted to ask if they were exclusive, if they were girlfriends, but she wasn’t quite sure how to broach the subject.

“It’s okay. What’s going on?” Tobin asked, feeling her own body fill with nerves at the hesitation on Christen’s face. She hadn’t seen that hesitation much since they’d started dating, and definitely not when they were hanging out, just the two of them. 

Christen chewed on her lip for a moment, dozens of phrases and sentences running through her mind. 

“This isn’t a fling to me,” she finally blurted, her cheeks turning slightly red with the way she basically yelled the words at Tobin.

Tobin walked around the kitchen island toward the table where Christen was still sitting. “ isn’t a fling for me either,” she said softly. 

“Great because I’m not seeing other people,” Christen continued, her words still rushed and tight.

“I would hope not, since I haven’t been,” Tobin hummed, reaching out a hand to hold onto Christen’s. 

Christen nodded, her eyes on their clasped hands. “And I think I’m a little out of practice, but I would really like you to be my girlfriend, I just don’t know how to go about asking that,” she added, her stomach tightening at the admission.

“You just did,” Tobin smirked. “I don’t think you’re that out of practice.”

Christen looked up, finally meeting Tobin’s gaze. “I...I did?” Christen asked, tilting her head to the side.

“I’d love to be your girlfriend. I kind of assumed we were,” Tobin grinned, feeling butterflies erupt in her stomach at the sweet, nervous way Christen had approached this topic. 

“Oh. Great. Cool. It’s just that Kelley called you my girlfriend today and I guess I just wanted to...check?” Christen replied, scratching at the corner of her jaw with her free hand.

“I’m glad you checked,” Tobin hummed, leaning down and pressing her lips to Christen’s gently. “And Kelley can keep calling me that.”

Christen chased Tobin’s lips, giving her another kiss. “I’ll let her know,” Christen hummed, kissing Tobin one last time before letting the brunette lean away.

“So, this means that you’ll be calling your girlfriend when you’re away at camp?” Tobin smirked, her heart racing at the word and at Christen’s adorable reaction to the new label. 

Christen blushed and tucked a curl behind her ear, almost feeling a bit shy at the sound of that word rolling off Tobin’s tongue. 

“I’m going to get so much shit from everyone. Especially Megan and Kling. Especially when I talk about my girlfriend and her adorable kid,” Christen replied.

“Kelley texted me about that today,” Tobin said, sitting down in the chair beside Christen. 

“Oh yeah she said she was going to bug you to hang out, since she’s stuck here,” Christen grimaced. “I’m so sorry,” she added with a laugh.

“That wasn’t what she texted me about,” Tobin snorted, remembering the text she’d read that morning. 

Christen’s brow furrowed. “What did it say?”

“She sent me a screenshot of a group text she’s in with Megan, Kling, Becky, and some person she called Kriegs,” Tobin said, her smile only growing at the subject they’d been talking about. 

“I hope you didn’t open it around Scottie, that group chat is a recipe for disaster,” Christen laughed, her cheeks still warm and one hand still clasped in Tobin’s, the fingers of her free hand playing with the watch band around Tobin’s wrist.

“Scottie was busy with her French toast sticks,” Tobin hummed. “It wasn’t that inappropriate. Plus, Scottie doesn’t know what a MILF is, and I could probably come up with a good fake definition if put on the spot.”

Christen groaned and dropped her head, shaking it slightly. “Oh my god,” she grumbled. “Maybe I should just stay here with you guys. That way I can avoid any and all MILF comments.”

“Baby, one nation, one team, but only if you’re there,” Tobin teased, her cheeks starting to ache with her huge smile. 

Christen scrunched her nose adorably at the look on Tobin’s face and the lightness in her words. 

“I’m excited to get back into camp, MILF comments notwithstanding. But a week and a half is a long time to be gone,” Christen sighed, her smile growing a little sad.

“Do you not think I’m a MILF?” Tobin asked, cocking her head to the side. 

“That was your takeaway there? I was all sappy, talking about missing you and you’re focused on the MILF thing,” Christen teased, letting her fingertips trail up Tobin’s forearm, from elbow to wrist.

Tobin winked and then grew serious as well, thinking about Christen’s impending departure. “A week and a half is a long time to be gone, but Scottie’s really good at FaceTiming people, and I plan on seeing your face pretty regularly,” Tobin said, lifting Christen’s hand up to her lips and kissing the back of it. 

“I think I’ll need a Heath fix every day,” Christen agreed. “Even if I am beyond excited to be getting back into camps, I’m sad to leave.”

“We can do that,” Tobin said, squeezing Christen’s hand gently. “I’m excited for you to get back to the National Team.”

Christen tilted her head to the side and fixed Tobin with a curious look. “Is it hard to talk about soccer? I know you got hurt, and from the YouTube videos I watched, it looked pretty bad, but-”

“It isn’t hard for me to talk about soccer anymore,” Tobin said honestly. “It used to be really hard, but everything happened for a reason, and I probably wouldn’t have Scottie if I hadn’t been injured.”

“I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t hurting your feelings or anything,” Christen replied gently. 

“You aren’t. I like talking about it with you; it’s exciting. But...let’s backtrack. You looked me up on YouTube?” Tobin asked, a smirk growing on her face. 

Christen smiled coyly and shrugged. “You’re not the only one allowed to use a search engine to figure out more about the person you’re dating.” 

“And what did you find?” 

“Your messy buns used to be messier look really hot when you play,” Christen smirked, adding a bit more pressure to the touch she was still running up and down Tobin’s forearm.

Heat rushed through Tobin’s body at those words. She couldn’t deny that nearly everything Christen said lately could set that heat off. It was almost a little embarrassing just how attractive she found Christen, just how turned on she got when she spent time with Christen. 

“Now you know how I feel on a regular basis,” Tobin husked, her eyes trailing over Christen’s body. 

Christen’s eyes sparkled at the rough timbre in Tobin’s voice, her throat bobbing as she swallowed thickly. “Will you join me in the kitchen please?” Christen asked, removing her hand from Tobin’s and getting up quickly. 

Tobin followed much more eagerly than she ever had before, but she couldn’t help herself when Christen looked at her like that and when her voice deepened just a bit. 

Christen turned to face Tobin and quickly stepped into her space once they were both in the kitchen. She placed her hands on Tobin's sides, pushing the brunette gently backward until she hit the fridge. 

“It’s not the same without magnets to knock over, but…” Christen trailed off with a smile.

She slowly leaned in and kissed Tobin, aching and wanting and a little desperate. She loved kissing Tobin, loved the way Tobin’s body responded to hers, loved the way Tobin touched her with strong, purposeful hands. Christen especially loved getting to push Tobin up against the nearest surface and kiss her senseless. 

“MILF is definitely the right thing to call you,” Christen husked, nipping gently at Tobin’s bottom lip and then diving back in for another kiss.

Tobin responded easily, no hesitation in her hands or in her lips. They’d done this dance dozens of times since their first date. She tangled one hand in the hair at the base of Christen’s neck, holding her close. Christen’s body was flush against hers, and Tobin suddenly felt warmer than she’d ever felt in her life. She didn’t want to be in the kitchen. She wanted to walk Christen through the studio, around the partition, all the way to her bed. She wanted to hear Christen and feel all of her. 

Instead, she pulled her lips away from Christen’s and placed them on the soft skin of her neck, kissing up and down, sucking gently, leaving soft bites. Each and every sigh that she heard come from Christen’s lips only pushed her forward. 

Christen’s hands grew greedy, pulling up the tight white t-shirt Tobin had tucked in her dark jeans, sliding her hands beneath the shirt and gripping Tobin’s bare sides. Her fingers dug into Tobin’s warm skin as she let her head loll to the side, giving Tobin more room to work.

Tobin kissed down to Christen’s collarbone, letting her tongue brush into the hollow of Christen’s neck. Her hands trailed over Christen’s back, her thumbs slipping under the hem of Christen’s shirt and brushing along her skin. 

“Fuck, Tobin,” Christen husked, her hips involuntarily rolling into Tobin as Tobin’s tongue and lips worked literal magic. She was almost gasping, her breathing coming out short and fast, as she felt a blazing fire of want burn beneath her skin.

Tobin moved to kiss the underside of Christen’s jaw, the same spot that Christen scratched when she got nervous. She sucked gently, her hands moving up Christen’s body, pushing her shirt up with the movement. 

As much as she loved their current position, Christen wanted more. She wanted Tobin above her, looking down at her with those dazzling brown eyes. So she pulled a hand out from beneath Tobin’s shirt and used it to grab onto Tobin’s jaw, pulling Tobin up. She reconnected their lips in a messy kiss, pulling Tobin off the refrigerator and walking them backward toward her navy blue velvet couch. 

Christen only separated her lips from Tobin’s long enough to step back from Tobin and pull the tight crop top over her head, dropping it onto the floor with a smirk. 

“Holy shit,” Tobin mumbled under her breath, even more heat rushing through her body at the sight of a shirtless Christen Press in front of her. 

Despite the desire and the want dripping from the moment they were in, Christen blushed, a little shy at the slack-jawed look on Tobin’s face. Tobin had obviously seen much more of her on the cover of the Body Issue, but this felt different. Standing in a pair of blue jeans and a simple black bra, it felt even more revealing.

“I knew you were beautiful, but you’re beautiful,” Tobin whispered reverently. 

Christen’s blush deepened as she shook her head slightly at the compliment. She stepped forward and kissed Tobin soundly. “Thank you,” Christen mumbled against Tobin’s lips, her hands traveling under Tobin’s shirt again as she let her fingertips trail up and down her sides.

“You can take it off,” Tobin whispered, lifting her arms for Christen to pull it off. 

Christen groaned into the next kiss, her hands fisting in the shirt. She leaned back, relishing in the hooded look Tobin was giving her, and pulled Tobin’s shirt up and over her head. 

She didn’t even bother to look where she’d dropped it, too mesmerized by the expanse of tanned skin before her, by the hard lines of Tobin’s abs, by the simple gray sports bra she wore, by the way Tobin’s jeans hung low on her hips and the hem of her boxers just peeked out over the waistband of the jeans. 

Christen reached out and placed her hands back on Tobin’s sides, her touch light, as her eyes rose to meet Tobin’s. 

“You are the sexiest woman in the world,” Christen whispered, nuzzling her nose along Tobin’s as she pulled them slowly back toward the couch again.

“Agree to disagree,” Tobin husked, her eyes trailing up and down Christen’s body, stopping for a beat longer when she reached Christen’s chest. 

“If you just look, it’d be such a shame,” Christen smirked, pulling them down onto the couch, Tobin landing on top of her, their legs tangling together.

Tobin didn’t need to be told twice. She pushed herself up off the couch slightly, so that she could kiss the newly revealed skin. 

She tried her best to ignore the tiny voice in the back of her head that kept reminding her that she was seriously out of practice, that she hadn’t had sex in a year and a half, that she’d hardly even helped herself out for a year and a half. She tried not to think about what expertise Christen was accustomed to. She tried to let the desire drive her, especially when she slid her tongue just underneath the edge of Christen’s bra and heard a loud moan slip from Christen’s lips. 

But then that little voice said that Christen would want to know, and Tobin suddenly felt like she couldn’t ignore it any longer. She felt a sense of embarrassment flood her system at the prospect of telling Christen, slowing her kisses until her lips were barely brushing against Christen’s ribs. There was no way she could tell her and look at her at the same time, not when she knew exactly what surprised look Christen would have on her face. 

“I haven’t had sex in a year and a half,” Tobin mumbled, resting her forehead against Christen’s stomach. 

The words barely made it through the thick haze of desire that had descended upon Christen, but at the feeling of Tobin stopping her path downward, of Tobin resting against her stomach, Christen blinked her eyes open. 

“Wha- what’d you say?” Christen said a little breathlessly, one hand still overhead, pushed against the arm of the couch, and the other threaded in the hair at the nape of Tobin’s neck. 

“I really have to repeat that?” Tobin asked, cringing internally at the entire situation that she’d just created by opening her mouth. 

“I didn’t hear much when you were kissing me like that,” Christen chuckled lightly, looking down at the top of Tobin’s head. She tried to tug gently on Tobin’s hair to get her to lift up, but Tobin refused to move.

Tobin blew out a short breath and shut her eyes before she tried again. “I said I haven’t had sex in a year and a half,” she murmured quietly. 

Whatever momentary surprise Christen had, she quickly packed away. She also pushed aside any quippy joke or smart remark. Instead, she focused on the slight insecurity lacing Tobin’s words and tried to figure out what to do with it. 

“Okay,” Christen replied softly, running her fingers through Tobin’s hair. “And I haven’t had sex in two and a half months.”

Tobin let out a slight huff, a not-so-small part of her loving that what Christen was saying was that she hadn’t slept with anyone since they’d met. 

“Babe, your ears are turning red. Which means you’re embarrassed, and I’m just trying to figure out why,” Christen continued gently.

Tobin finally looked up at Christen, seeing the softest version of her green eyes she’d possibly ever seen. “That’s a while,” Tobin said quietly. 

“It’s just an amount of time that has no meaning unless you give it one,” Christen shrugged, tugging on the back of Tobin’s head again. She let out a small sigh of relief when Tobin listened this time, moving back up to lay on top of Christen. 

“I don’t have expectations. I’m not accustomed to anything. I spend my Saturday nights watching Frozen until my kid falls asleep,” Tobin sighed, thinking about the seriously different worlds the two of them were coming from. 

“Do you think I have some insane list of sexual boxes to check and if you don’t fulfill each one, I’m going to stop being with you?” Christen asked, moving her other hand to Tobin’s lower back, moving her fingers in slow, soothing circles.

“I think you have more experience. At least, more recent experience,” Tobin answered. 

“They weren’t you, so they don’t matter,” Christen replied, her brows knitting together slightly. “What matters is this and us and whatever we want to happen tonight, and tomorrow, and next month, and every one after that. Just that and only that.”

Tobin couldn’t help suddenly wanting to kiss Christen again. She was always kind, but this was a new side, a new moment for the both of them. She pressed her lips to Christen’s gently, purposeful but slow, wanting to express just how much she cared about Christen and just how safe and comfortable she felt in moments, even somewhat embarrassing ones, with Christen. 

“Thank you,” Tobin mumbled softly. 

“You don’t have to thank me for that,” Christen hummed, smiling up at Tobin. “And can I just say...even if you think it’s been a long time, you very much know what you’re doing. You’re not out of practice.”

“I haven’t done anything more than kiss you,” Tobin laughed, smiling down at Christen. 

“I feel more from kissing you than I did from anything else, with anyone else,” Christen admitted quietly. “Kissing you is- it sets my whole body on fire.”

“So it’s not just me burning up over here?” Tobin grinned. 

“Definitely not,” Christen whispered, leaning up to reconnect their lips in a brief kiss, one that quickly turned far less brief. 

“Can we not do this on the couch for the first time, though?” Tobin asked, her lips brushing against Christen’s as she spoke. 

Christen’s stomach flipped at the question. “Yeah? Are you sure?” she asked, more than a little breathless.

“I’ve been sure since our first date,” Tobin mumbled, pressing another kiss to Christen’s lips. “Obviously, only if you’re ready.”

“I’ve been ready since you figured out my coffee order,” Christen whispered, leaning back with a playful smirk on her lips.

Tobin couldn’t help the laugh that left her lips and the huge smile that spread across her face. She climbed off of Christen and scooped her up off of the couch, making her way to the bed on the far end of the studio. 

“Ooh, so strong,” Christen teased in a husky voice, ghosting her lips across Tobin’s jaw, nipping gently then soothing with her tongue.

Tobin rolled her eyes at the teasing but couldn’t help that heat flooded her body making her stomach flip and something coil low in her body. She gently placed Christen onto the bed and quickly followed, hardly finding time to admire the soft sheets and the comfy mattress, not when Christen was sprawled across said mattress looking at her with dark, hooded eyes. 

Tobin leaned down and captured Christen’s bottom lip between her own, not hesitating to brush her tongue across it and wait for Christen’s lips to part. She ran her tongue along Christen’s and let her hands wander, brushing over the front of Christen’s bra and feeling Christen arch up into her hands. 

It felt like entirely too much and entirely not enough, all at the same time. Christen loved the feeling of Tobin’s warm skin pressed against her own, but she wanted more. She loved the barely-there touches and the teasing, but she wanted more. She loved the way Tobin moved and kissed and touched with a quiet confidence, like she knew exactly what she was doing, but she still wanted more. 

Christen hooked her leg around Tobin’s waist, pulling Tobin flush against her. She let her hands travel down Tobin’s back, sliding them into the back pockets of Tobin’s jeans as she rocked her hips up against Tobin’s. She was seeking the kind of friction and release that Tobin seemed to promise. 

“Jesus,” Christen husked, wrenching her lips from Tobin’s when she felt those gifted hands tease at the band of her bra. 

“Can I take this off?” Tobin murmured. 

Christen nodded and reconnected their lips, pushing herself up from the mattress by propping herself up on her elbows

Tobin quickly unclasped Christen’s bra and tossed it somewhere near the foot of the bed. She pulled away from the kiss, taking a moment to look, sending even more heat coursing through her body. 

“What?” Christen whispered, tilting her head to the side a little bit when she saw the stunned look on Tobin’s face.

“You’re exquisite,” Tobin husked. 

“You’ve already seen most of this on the cover of ESPN,” Christen replied, her cheeks heating at the timbre in Tobin’s voice.

“It’s different when you’re letting me undress you,” Tobin hummed, brushing her fingers along Christen’s ribs. 

Christen felt her eyes flutter shut at the touch, a moan spilling from her lips when Tobin’s touch went higher than her ribs. She fell back, off her elbows, and down onto the bed, Tobin falling with her.

Tobin leaned down and pressed her lips to the newly revealed skin on Christen’s chest, letting her lips and hands explore simultaneously. Her right hand was busy tweaking one of Christen’s nipples, and her mouth had just slipped over the other when her phone started ringing from her back pocket. 

“Absolutely fucking not,” Christen gasped, her hand in Tobin’s hair keeping her in place. 

“Chris,” Tobin sighed, moving her hands down to Christen’s waist. She’d only left her ringer on, just in case something went wrong at Abby and Glennon’s, just in case Scottie needed her.

“No, babe,” Christen groaned, loosening her hand in Tobin’s hair even though she was desperate not to. She knew she shouldn’t protest, it could be about Scottie, but she was so hot and bothered right now that she wished like hell the phone had stayed silent.

“Just give me a second,” Tobin huffed, once she saw that it was Abby calling her. 

Christen nodded, running her hands over her face and through her hair as she tried to get her breathing under control, as she tried to ignore the pressure between her legs that begged for attention. 

“Hello?” Tobin said, her voice a little more strangled and hostile than she meant it to be. She kept one arm on the bed beside Christen’s head to keep herself upright but also to stay close to the woman beneath her. 

“I am so, so, so sorry Heath but-” Abby started, her tone beyond apologetic.

“Yeah,” Tobin huffed. “Is she bleeding?” 

Christen’s eyes flew open, alarm flashing across her face as she lifted back up on her elbows, bringing her closer to Tobin and the phone.

“Technically, yes? She lost a tooth. Not a front one, just a small one on the top,” Abby replied.

“Give her a tissue,” Tobin mumbled, closing her eyes and clenching her jaw tightly. 

“Glennon is making her chug milk. She swears it’ll get her to stop bleeding since it worked for our kids, but Scottie isn’t too happy about it,” Abby sighed.

“It sounds like you guys have it under control. She’s lost teeth before. Why is she upset?” Tobin asked, sitting up and running a hand over her face. 

“She’s asking for you, She says the Tooth Fairy won’t know where to find her if she sleeps here,” Abby said, her words quiet and full of every kind of regret and apology possible.

“Can you put her on?” Tobin asked. 

Christen’s eyes widened in surprise. She leaned over and grabbed a shirt from beside the bed, slipping it on quickly. She was not about to be topless if Scottie was on the phone, even if it was just her voice. She held up a thumbs up to Tobin, silently asking if Scottie was okay, having not caught too much of what Abby had said.

Tobin nodded softly, trying to push her frustration down, even though all she wanted was to continue what she’d been doing before her ringing phone had interrupted. 

“Mommy?” Scottie’s voice came over the phone, the tears evident in her words as she sniffled.

“Hey, buddy,” Tobin cooed. 

“Can you come get me?” Scottie sniffled.

“You know that the Tooth Fairy visits Glennon and Abby’s kids too, right?” Tobin said, trying to appeal to Scottie’s Tooth Fairy logic. 

“But Pearl won’t know to come here, Mommy. She has only ever come to our house,” Scottie replied, her voice still quiet.

Tobin silently cursed herself for telling Scottie that kids had personal tooth fairies, for making an elaborate story about her tooth fairy named Pearl. 

Christen managed to catch just a bit of what Scottie had said, and despite the lingering disappointment for what the night could have been, she sat up and placed her hand on Tobin’s shoulder. She squeezed it gently and did her best to smile reassuringly. She knew that Tobin was going to leave, that she had to leave, and Christen supported that decision completely. 

“You really want to go home?” Tobin asked, trying to hide her disappointment. 

“Yes, please,” Scottie whispered

“Okay, I’ll be there soon, little bit,” Tobin whispered, waiting for Scottie to hang up before she flopped backward onto Christen’s bed.

“So...she lost a tooth?” Christen asked, gazing down at Tobin and feeling her smile grow at the pout on Tobin’s face. 

“Yes, and I’m the idiot who told her that every kid has a personal tooth fairy who knows where they live,” Tobin grumbled. 

“That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard,” Christen hummed, leaning down and pressing herself against Tobin’s side, brushing the baby hairs on Tobin’s forehead back.

“Is it cute right now?” Tobin asked, her pout still very prominent on her face. 

Christen leaned down to kiss that pout. “It’s a little less cute,” she chuckled. “But this will still be here later; the Tooth Fairy is needed tonight.”

“She’s only getting a quarter,” Tobin sighed. 

Christen laughed, nuzzling Tobin’s nose with her own, feeling herself fall just a little bit harder for the brunette lying on her bed beneath her.

“Make it two quarters, babe. No need to be stingy,” Christen teased. 

“You’re a pushover. I can already tell,” Tobin mumbled, leaning up and pressing a kiss to Christen’s lips. 

Christen shrugged with a smile and kissed Tobin back, knowing she couldn’t linger since Tobin had to go. 

“We can come back to this when I’m back from camp?” Christen asked, her eyes dancing between Tobin’s.

“Please,” Tobin nodded. “And we can still take you to the airport?” 

Christen softened at the question, feeling any last lingering disappointment leave her. “Of course. Even if taking me to the airport at 6:30 in the morning is way too early for either of you two to be going anywhere.”

“I’m gonna miss you,” Tobin sighed. 

Christen swallowed the lump in her throat and forced a small smile onto her face. “I’m going to miss you, too. More than you know.”

“I don’t know about that. I think I have a pretty good idea,” Tobin mumbled, reaching into her back pocket and pulling out her wallet. She thumbed through it quickly before putting it back in her pocket. 

“Do you need two quarters?” Christen chuckled.

“You know I’m a softie. I needed to make sure I had a dollar,” Tobin sighed, rolling off of the bed and making her way toward the couch to get her shirt. 

Christen let out a long breath, making peace with the fire prickling beneath her skin and the ache between her thighs that wouldn’t be getting the attention it wanted. She got up from the bed and walked out from behind the partition, finding Tobin tucking in her t-shirt into her jeans.

“I’m really sorry,” Tobin sighed. 

“Don’t apologize. But if you’d gone any further...then maybe you’d need to,” Christen chuckled.

“It would have been very hard to force myself to answer the phone if I’d gone further,” Tobin whispered. “I’ll call you later?” 

Christen nodded, grabbing onto Tobin’s hand and following Tobin to the front door, scuffing her bare feet across the hardwood floor as she went. “Get home safe,” she hummed, squeezing Tobin’s hand gently.

“I better,” Tobin nodded. “Gotta be able to drive my girlfriend to the airport in a couple days.”

Christen beamed, leaning in for a brief kiss. “I really like how that sounds,” she whispered against Tobin’s lips.

“Me too,” Tobin nodded. 

“Good night,” Christen hummed, pressing one final kiss to Tobin’s lips.

“Good night,” Tobin sighed, wishing she could have a few more final kisses but knowing that Scottie had probably already packed her overnight bag and was waiting at the front door. 

So, with as much strength as she could muster, Tobin walked down the hall and toward the elevator, her shoulders slumping a little with a tiny bit of leftover disappointment. 

Christen was surprised Scottie was even awake this early, let alone talkative and very energetic. But then again, Scottie was always full of surprises.

“You know that you’re on my wall?” Scottie said, her feet bouncing against the booster seat. 

Christen shook her head, spinning one of Scottie’s curls around her finger. “What do you mean, cutie?” she asked, keeping her voice quiet even if she didn’t really need to.

“Mommy got me a poster. You’re on my wall,” Scottie hummed. 

Christen was a little taken aback at that and turned to look at Tobin in the rearview mirror with an arched brow.

“That’s not entirely true,” Tobin laughed. “I bought it a couple years ago as a joke because Abby’s on the front. Scottie just realized yesterday that you’re on it too.”

Abby was definitely the largest player on the poster, each other player varying in size behind her. Christen had been brand new to the National Team at the time, her picture dwarfed compared to Abby’s. 

“I bet it’s the team one from the Olympics,” Christen said, realizing which poster it was and blushing a little at the knowledge that she was literally on her girlfriend’s kid’s bedroom wall.

“It’s pretty cool,” Scottie mumbled. 

“Do you have a favorite player on the National Team? I can see if they’ll get me their autograph at camp this week,” Christen offered smiling over at Scottie.

“You, duh,” Scottie said, rolling her eyes at Christen’s question. 

Christen laughed, feeling her chest ache at the knowledge that she wasn’t going to see that eye roll or that smile for almost two weeks. 

“Anyone else? Maybe Megan Rapinoe or Alyssa Naeher?” Christen asked.

“Mommy thinks Alex Morgan’s pretty,” Scottie sing-songed. 

Christen scoffed and raised her eyebrows in Tobin’s direction, catching sight of the embarrassed flush creeping up her neck. 

“Is that so?” Christen wondered, her tone slightly teasing and not at all jealous. Nope, not one bit.

“Absolutely not,” Tobin said, shaking her head emphatically. “I only like one player on the team. Everyone else is irrelevant.”

“And who’s that?” Christen asked challengingly, her smile growing.

“The most talented one. Christen Press,” Tobin said confidently, winking in the rearview mirror. 

Christen blushed, holding Tobin’s eyes in the mirror for a moment before turning back to Scottie. 

“No,” Scottie said, sitting up straighter in her booster seat. “Mommy, you said Crystal Dunn’s the most talented player.”

“Scottie,” Tobin groaned. “You’re gonna get me in trouble.”

Christen burst out laughing, excited to tell her long-time friend and teammate that her girlfriend thought she was the best. 

“I actually agree with you on that one. She is the best,” Christen replied. “She will love knowing that you think so,” she added with a teasing lilt in her voice.

“I don’t think she’s the best anymore. I think the two of you are both the best, and together...woooow, right buddy?” 

“Yeah, wooooow,” Scottie parroted in the same tone of voice as Tobin’s. 

Christen’s cheeks ached from smiling so much, and she felt a pang in her chest, knowing she was going to miss moments like these more than anything. She scooted just a bit closer to Scottie and took her hand.

“Well, then how would you like to meet her on FaceTime? And maybe some other players too?” Christen asked, smiling at Scottie.

“Really?” Scottie asked, bouncing Christen’s hand in her lap. 

“Really, really,” Christen nodded.

“That’s so cool,” Scottie whispered reverently. 

The car grew quiet as they got closer to LaGuardia, as Tobin parked the car and the three of them got out.

“You really don’t have to walk me in,” Christen assured, tightening the straps on the new Nike backpack the team had sent her last week.

“Yes, we do. It’s tradition!” Scottie said, holding onto Tobin’s hand and swinging Tobin’s arm with her own. 

Tobin nodded in agreement, remembering all the times that she and Scottie had walked her sisters and brother and...Roni into the airport when they left. 

“Who am I to argue with tradition then?” Christen winked.

“Here, let me,” Tobin offered, grabbing Christen’s suitcase from the back of the car. 

“I can help too,” Scottie said, picking up Christen’s water bottle. 

“Thank you, guys,” Christen replied with a soft smile, watching the Heath girls take such good care of her. It made the pang in her chest tighten just a bit and her eyes sting.

“I left you some things. Mommy helped me sneak them into your bag,” Scottie mumbled as the three of them started walking to the entrance of the airport. 

“I thought you were keeping that a secret, little bit,” Tobin laughed, remembering how Scottie had whispered about it to Tobin all last night and this morning. 

“I got excited,” Scottie shrugged. 

“Well I’m excited to find the surprises,” Christen managed in a tight voice, her throat thick with emotion. She gripped tightly onto Scottie’s hand as they crossed the street and made their way to the ticketing gate.

“Press! Heaths!” Beckey greeted them with a smile and a wave, looking a little more awake than they were, even at the early hour.

“Coach Becky!” Scottie called, waving excitedly. 

Becky crouched down and accepted the hug from Scottie easily, now very used to the girl’s proclivity for greeting the people she cared about with hugs.

“Are you and Christen going to have fun?” Scottie wondered. 

“We’re going to have so much fun. But we’re going to miss you and the other girls a lot. You’ll only have Coach Kelley to hang out with,” Becky replied, ruffling Scottie’s hair.

“I’m sorry, Kelley’s flying solo?” Tobin mumbled next to Christen, suddenly terrified about Christen and Becky leaving Kelley in charge by herself. 

“Morgan and a rookie are stepping up and helping her out. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave Scottie with just Kel,” Christen whispered. She took advantage of Scottie’s momentary distraction and got just a little closer to Tobin, sliding her hand into Tobin’s and giving it a small squeeze. “It’s going to be really hard not to kiss you goodbye,” she added softly, squeezing Tobin’s hand again.

“You’re telling me,” Tobin hummed, rubbing her thumb along the side of Christen’s hand. 

“I’m going to miss you,” Christen murmured, smiling just a bit at how Becky kept trying to keep Scottie distracted to give them a small moment alone.

“I’m going to miss you too,” Tobin sighed. “I made a countdown, and I pretended that it was for Scottie, but it was totally for me.”

Christen knew she was risking it, pushing it maybe a bit too far, but she quickly stepped into Tobin’s space and pulled her in for a hug. How could she not after Tobin said something so impossibly sweet like that? She tightened her arms around Tobin’s neck, feeling Tobin’s arms encircle her waist. “I- I can’t wait for the countdown to reach zero,” Christen whispered.

“Me too, but in the meantime, kick some ass,” Tobin grinned. 

Christen chuckled and stepped out of Tobin’s arms quickly, hoping the tears pooled in her eyes went unnoticed. She had perfect timing, because Scottie immediately turned around, her mouth forming a little ‘o’ when she heard Tobin swear.

“That’s a bad word!” Scottie said.

“Yeah, Tobin, that’s a bad word,” Becky teased, standing up. “I’m going to go check us in, want me to get your bag for you?” she asked, inclining her head in the direction of Christen’s bag, still next to Tobin. 

“Sure, I’ll be there to show my I.D. in a second,” Christen nodded, a grateful smile on her face. 

Scottie drifted back over to Christen, her mouth forming a small pout. 

“What’s with the long face, cutie?” Christen asked, kneeling down on the linoleum floor to bring herself to Scottie’s eye level.

“You’re going away,” Scottie murmured. 

“But do you know the best part about going away?” Christen asked, reaching out to wipe a tear off of Scottie’s cheek.

“No,” came Scottie's mumbled reply.

“I’m always going to come back,” Christen replied softly.

“You promise?” Scottie asked, holding onto Christen’s wrist where it was lifted up to wipe tears away. 

Christen swallowed thickly. She knew whatever she said was going to be big and she knew it would hold weight, not just for her and Scottie, but for Tobin as well. So, she made it count. 

“I promise,” Christen whispered.

Tobin brushed loose hair off of Scottie’s face, willing away the lump in her throat that had been forming all morning but was unmanageable now that Scottie was talking about missing Christen. Scottie knew airports well. For the first year of her life with Tobin, Scottie waited with Tobin at baggage claim, hoping that she didn’t have to miss her other mom again. 

Scottie’s question was valid. Wanting Christen to promise was valid because people didn’t always come back. Roni didn’t come back, and Scottie wasn’t going to forget that, no matter how young she was when she saw Roni off at the airport for the last time. No matter how little she still was, waiting for Roni to visit at Christmas or drop by for a weekend and she never did.  

“I’m going to come back, Scottie. I promise,” Christen repeated, her words full of conviction.

“Okay,” Scottie nodded, reaching up and tangling one of her hands in Tobin’s as an anchor, just like she always had at every airport goodbye. 

“I have to go to the ticket counter really quick, but I’m going to come right back, and then you can walk me to security okay?” Christen murmured, her hand still on Scottie’s cheek because Scottie hadn’t let her go just yet.

“We’ll be here,” Tobin said, squeezing Scottie’s hand gently. 

Scottie nodded in agreement before letting go of Christen’s wrist and turning into Tobin’s body. 

Tobin watched Christen walk away to check-in, making sure that she was busy talking to the airport employee before she knelt down in front of Scottie. 

“I know airports aren’t fun,” Tobin sighed. “Not unless we’re going somewhere.”

Scottie didn’t really register the question, too focused on where Christen had walked to. “You can’t break a promise right?” Scottie asked in a small voice, her brow furrowed.

“Sometimes people break promises,” Tobin said honestly, not wanting to give her a false impression of the word promise, especially when Roni still broke them regularly. “But, I don’t think Christen’s going to. We’re gonna be right here in a week and a half, super happy to see her back in the city.”

“Okay,” Scottie replied, still withdrawn and sad, but with a small light back in her gray eyes with the prospect of seeing Christen come back.

“I bet if you ask really nicely she’ll call you to say goodnight tonight,” Tobin whispered, just wanting to get a smile back on Scottie’s face. 

“She already said she would call me every night. We talked about it at practice,” Scottie replied.

“See,” Tobin smiled, “how could someone who loves you that much not want to come back?” Despite her words, despite knowing, with full certainty, that Christen would come back, Tobin couldn’t help the heaviness she felt on her chest. This conversation was one she’d had before. One that hadn’t ended well. 

Scottie nodded thoughtfully. “How far is California?” she asked, her eyes tracking Christen as she made her way back over to them.

“It’s pretty far, buddy,” Tobin said, holding onto Scottie’s hands. 

Scottie turned to look back at Tobin. “Can heartstrings stretch to California?”

“Totally,” Tobin nodded. “I told you that heartstrings can stretch all the way around the world. Around and around and around,” she said, forcing her words out around the lump in her throat. She leaned forward and kissed Scottie’s cheek gently. 

Christen walked up and caught the tail-end of Tobin’s comment, her forehead slightly furrowed at the talk of something stretching all the way around the world. She bent down to join Tobin on the ground. 

“What goes around the world?” she asked softly, not wanting to pop the small bubble the three of them found themselves in at the ticket counter in LaGuardia.

“Heartstrings,” Scottie said simply, kissing Tobin’s cheek and then leaning back to look at Christen. 

Christen looked to Tobin, her forehead still furrowed, Scottie’s one-word explanation not really explaining much to her. 

“I don’t think Christen knows what heartstrings are, little bit,” Tobin whispered. 

“You don’t?!” Scottie asked, her eyes growing wide when Christen shook her head.

“Everyone has someone or someones that they love, right Mommy?” Scottie started the spiel that Tobin said to her all the time, waiting for a nod from Tobin before she continued. “But sometimes the people you love have to go away, but just because they go away, it doesn’t mean they aren’t with you. We all have heartstrings that stretch all the way around the world. Mommy and my heartstring is loose. We could jump rope with it. But your heartstring  and mine is going to be stretching from here all the way to California.” 

Christen felt her eyes fill with tears as a shaky breath left her lips. She’d never really thought about her future having room for kids in it. Sure, when she was younger, she’d dreamt of a big family with lots of kids. But losing her parents had made that dream shrink and shrivel up. 

Yet, as she knelt down on the hard tile floor of this airport, and Scottie moved her small hand between where her heart was in her chest and where Christen’s was, Christen wanted her future to have this kid in it. She hoped and prayed and wished to have Scottie in her life. She hoped for it desperately, because she’d never known love like this and she never wanted to unknow it. 

“Did I tell it right, Mommy?”

“Yeah, you did a great job,” Tobin nodded, placing her hand on Christen’s back, not fully knowing how Scottie’s words had landed. 

Christen blinked away the tears in her eyes and poked her finger against the tip of Scottie’s nose, making the girl scrunch up her face adorably.

“I get it now, and I love you, Scottie,” Christen whispered.

“I love you too,” Scottie said, stepping into Christen’s space and wrapping her arms around Christen’s neck. 

Christen accepted the hug like she always did, with a smile on her face and a warmth in her heart. She picked Scottie up, keeping her arms around the girl as she got back to her feet. She shared a look over Scottie’s shoulder with Tobin and then nodded in the direction of security with a sad grimace.

Tobin kept a hand on Christen’s back and carried her backpack for her to security, wishing that their steps could be even slower than they already were. 

“We’ll see you soon,” Tobin said, running a hand over Scottie’s back, so that she knew it was time to say goodbye. 

“It’ll go by really fast because I’ll call you every night,” Christen promised, trying to let Scottie out of her arms, but Scottie just tightened her grip. With a small, stuttered breath, Christen tightened her hold on Scottie as well.

“Scottie,” Tobin hummed, wrapping her hands around Scottie’s waist to pull her into her own arms. 

“Not yet. One more hug,” Scottie whispered, making both women’s hearts all but break.

“I’m coming back, cutie. I made a promise and I won’t break it,” Christen hummed, rubbing a hand up and down Scottie’s back, her face buried in Scottie’s shoulder.

“Okay, okay,” Scottie sniffled, finally releasing her hands from behind Christen’s neck and leaning back into Tobin’s outstretched hands. 

Tobin helped Scottie slide down to the ground, where she promptly leaned against Tobin’s leg and fisted a hand in the baggy fabric of her sweatpants. 

“I should go, we’re boarding in 30 minutes,” Christen mumbled, wanting like hell to do the opposite of go. 

“Hey, Chris?” Tobin breathed out. 

“Yeah?” Christen replied, cocking her head to the side a bit.

Tobin reached down and covered Scottie’s eyes with one of her hands, not moving it when the little girl tried to pull it away with a giggle. She quickly tugged on Christen’s sweatshirt, pulling her in for a quick kiss goodbye. It was barely more than a simple brush of lips, barely long enough to even be considered a kiss, but it was more than either of them thought they were going to get this morning, so it was perfect.

“Mommy!” Scottie laughed, finally getting Tobin to move her hand. 

Christen stepped back with a blush in her cheeks, the pang in her chest not as painful as it had been a moment ago. She had someone to come back to, two someones, and that made leaving just a little bit easier. 

She looked down at Scottie and offered the girl a smile. She touched two fingers to her chest, right above her heart, and then moved them to Scottie’s heart, just like Scottie had done earlier. 

“These heartstrings are super strong, and they won't’ have to stretch for too long. I love you,” Christen hummed with a small smile. 

“I love you too,” Scottie whispered. 

Christen offered Scottie one last smile, one last brush through her blonde curls, before she looked up at Tobin. 

“I’ll see you soon,” Christen murmured, the words not feeling like enough.

“Have a great camp,” Tobin replied, wanting to say more. 

Christen nodded and backed away from Tobin and Scottie, offering them both one last smile.

“WE LOVE YOU!” Scottie yelled, wrapping her arms around Tobin’s waist and resting her head on Tobin’s side, watching Christen go through security. 

Christen’s stomach jumped at the use of ‘we’, her heart hammering in her chest. She managed a smile and a wave before handing her boarding pass and ID to the security agent.

Tobin flushed a dark shade of red, looking down at Scottie and then scooping her up into her arms, so that she could distract herself from the declaration that Scottie had just made for the both of them. 

“PRESSY!” Megan Rapinoe bellowed, striding into the hotel room with a large grin on her face.

Christen set aside her book and got up from the bed, accepting the hug and offering one in return. 

“How the hell did I beat you? I came from New York!” Christen laughed, stepping out of her friend’s arms and dropping down onto the hotel bed. “It’s almost dinner time.”

“I missed the first flight and caught a later one,” Megan shrugged. 

Christen rolled her eyes good-naturedly. “Classic,” she replied. 

“Late night with Sue,” Megan grinned, tossing her bag onto the free bed. 

“Even more classic,” Christen laughed. She grabbed her phone from the bed and checked it. She’d been glued to it ever since she’d landed, texting Tobin and Scottie from the moment her plane touched down this afternoon until Megan had shown up just now. 

“I’m so glad to finally be here and learn about your mystery woman,” Megan sighed, dropping down onto Christen’s bed with a huff. 

Christen handed Megan her phone after clicking on the most recent selfie Tobin and Scottie had sent her. They were in the kitchen, evidence of their baking escapades littered behind them. Scottie was stuffing a ball of cookie dough into her mouth and Tobin was smiling hard for the camera, a swipe of flour on her cheek.

“Daaaamn, Kelley said you were seeing a MILF, but that’s a MILF, ” Megan said, her eyes growing at the picture of Tobin. 

Christen laughed, a blush heating her cheeks as she locked her phone and dropped it into her lap. “She’s great, yeah,” Christen replied, a little dreamily.

“Kid’s cute too,” Megan added. 

“Oh god, the cutest. She snuck some drawings and this into my suitcase,” Christen replied, lifting up her wrist and showing Megan the braided bracelet she assumed Scottie had made. It was made with purple, orange, and yellow string, and according to the note, it was made with their colors.

“Wow,” Megan said quietly, looking at the bracelet and her friend’s dopey face. “You’re really in it.”

Christen nodded, her smile growing a little sad. “I didn’t expect to be. But they...they showed up right when I needed them to. They saved me a little bit, not that I needed saving or anything. But they helped me save myself, I think,” Christen replied thoughtfully. Megan knew about her parents, and she had a feeling Megan also knew about how she’d dealt with their loss. But she wanted to make sure Megan knew this too. 

She'd been in a bad place, possibly the worst one she'd ever been in. But she'd gotten herself out of it. She'd done it on her own, but with some help from Scottie and Tobin. She still had tough days, but they were a little less tough with Scottie's laugh and Tobin's lopsided grin. She was healing herself, she just wasn't healing herself on her own. 

“I imagine they needed you too,” Megan said thoughtfully. 

“Eh, I don’t know about that,” Christen shrugged. 

“I just never pegged you for step-mom,” Megan sighed, flopping onto her back. 

Christen’s stomach did somersaults at that and she had to force herself to breathe. “We are so far from that,” Christen said with a small shake of her head. “She doesn’t even know we’re together yet.”

“Yet is the operative word,” Megan smirked. “Tell me she’s adopted or something, though. That woman does not look like she’s even kissed a guy.”

Christen chuckled, flopping down on the bed next to Megan. “She is. It’s a long, not-so-happy story that is not mine to tell. But yeah, Scottie’s adopted and Tobin is very, very gay.”

“Do you have to like...navigate the whole other parent thing?” Megan asked, turning her head to look at Christen. 

Christen’s face darkened and her jaw clicked shut as thoughts of Roni swam through her mind. “She’s not in the picture and doesn’t deserve to be,” Christen replied coolly.

“Ooooh protective Pressy,” Megan laughed. 

Christen shrugged, knowing Megan was right. She felt insanely protective not just of Scottie, but of Tobin as well. Tobin had told her about Roni, about what she’d done, how she’d left them, about the wounds she’d left in her wake. It made Christen’s blood boil.

“Well, they’re adorable. The whole team’s dying to talk to you about them,” Megan smirked. 

Christen huffed out a laugh. “I had a feeling once Kelley got a hold of you, the word would get out.”

“New relationship gossip spreads around here faster than an STD in the Olympic Village,” Megan chuckled, sitting up and patting Christen’s knee. “Let’s get some grub and show that cute picture around to the rest of the team.”

Christen sat up in bed, taking just a moment to send a quick text back to Tobin. 


[Christen 6:15PM]

You two are adorable! Off to dinner, I’ll FaceTime you after to wish my favorite player goodnight!


“Ready, set, go!” Tobin said, flipping the sand timer on the bathroom counter and brushing her teeth alongside Scottie. 

Scottie had started brushing her teeth on her own when she turned seven, and the entire year had been full of Tobin arguing with her about actually brushing them. It wasn’t until she bought a timer and made it a game that Scottie started looking forward to brushing her teeth. The two of them would start the timer in the bathroom, making sure to brush for at least two minutes. The challenge came when each of them tried to talk. Whoever ended up with the least amount of toothpaste around their mouths won. 

“My bir-day’s soon,” Scottie mumbled around a mouth of toothpaste, swinging her legs back and forth from where they dangled over the edge of the counter.

“That’s right. Any re-wests?” Tobin asked, trying to keep the toothpaste from slipping from her bottom lip. 

“Bir-day pancakes,” Scottie replied, tilting her head back to keep the toothpaste in her mouth as she talked.

“I can do that,” Tobin nodded, pointing at where the toothpaste was starting to slip from the corner of Scottie’s mouth. 

“Spen- time wit- Chri-ten,” Scottie continued.

“Mhm,” Tobin nodded. “Chri-ten is free on your bir-day.”

“Fam-ly din-r,” Scottie finished, leaning her head back down and continuing to brush her teeth, her mouth rimmed with white foam and some dripping down onto her chin.

“You’re messy,” Tobin smirked, inadvertently letting a drop of toothpaste slip over her bottom lip. 

Scottie rubbed some toothpaste off her mouth and wiped it onto Tobin’s cheek, her gray eyes dancing with playfulness. 

“Hey!” Tobin complained, grabbing the towel off the rack in the bathroom and wiping her face. “Wha- else?” Tobin mumbled, trying to suck the toothpaste back into her mouth. “Think big.”

Seeing the last of the sand fall through the timer, Scottie leaned over and spit into the sink. “I want to play soccer with you and Christen in my Christen jersey,” Scottie said, leaning down to get some water in her mouth, swish it around, and spit it back out. Wiping her mouth with her sleeve, she turned back to Tobin. “I just want to spend the day with you guys and be happy. Oh, and I want a unicorn for my present. But if you can’t get a unicorn, I want a bike with no training wheels.”

“Ohhh a unicorn is big,” Tobin said as soon as her toothpaste was out of her mouth and in the sink. “I’ll see what I can do, but Christen and I will definitely spend the day with you.”

“I like spending time with Christen when she’s not my coach,” Scottie observed, putting her toothbrush back in its spot.

“Yeah?” Tobin asked, her heart surging at Scottie’s words. For a moment, Tobin thought about just telling her. She thought about just letting it slip that Christen was more than her coach, that she and Tobin were spending time together, that they were girlfriends, sort of like Glennon and Abby. But then she thought about Christen and how caught off guard she’d be if she told Scottie without them discussing it first. 

“Yeah. I love her. She makes me laugh, and she calls me kid and cutie and it makes me happy. And she makes you happy and that’s the best,” Scottie nodded.

“She does make me happy; you’re right. I’m glad she makes you happy and that you like her hanging out with us because I like it too,” Tobin said, putting her toothbrush away and lifting Scottie off the counter, so that she could jump into bed. 

“Do you think she likes hanging out with us? She’s been doing it more,” Scottie replied.

“I know she likes hanging out with us,” Tobin said with a smile. “She told me she does. Are you happy that she’s hanging out more than usual?”

Scottie nodded and ran over to Tobin’s bed and launched onto it, landing in a belly flop onto the mattress. “I’m the happiest happy ever!”

“Thank goodness! I’m the happiest happy ever too!” Tobin echoed, jumping onto the bed and tickling Scottie’s sides. 

“Mommy!” Scottie giggled, wiggling away. She looked at the clock and saw it was already 10:03PM. “Christen’s calling soon!” she exclaimed excitedly, scooting back against the pillows.

“Are you just going to sit there until she calls?” Tobin chuckled, looking at Scottie’s excited face. 

Scottie tucked herself beneath the comforter and folded her hands in her lap. “Yup,” she replied, popping the ‘p’ with a smile.

“Well let’s hope she’s not busy for too much longer then. It’s past your bedtime,” Tobin hummed, crawling under the covers to join Scottie. 

“But it’s only…” Scottie trailed off, counting on her fingers, “7:03 in California. So it’s not bedtime for Christen.”

“That’s true, but you’re gonna be a grumpy girl tomorrow if we stay up too late,” Tobin sighed, grabbing her phone off of the bedside table and making sure the volume was on. 

Scottie looked at the clock again. “She said 10:15 right?” she asked.

“Yes, buddy,” Tobin nodded. 

“Why can’t it be 10:15 now?” Scottie grumbled with an adorable, sleepy pout.

“We’re so close. Why don’t you tell me what kind of unicorn and what kind of bike you want for your birthday? What color bike?” Tobin asked, trying to calm Scottie’s anticipation...and her own. 

“I want my bike to be purple and orange and yellow, and I want my unicorn to be my color purple,” Scottie replied, tapping her fingers along the comforter, her eyes on the clock.

“Hmmm...that’s a tall order,” Tobin teased. 

Scottie was quiet for a few moments. “I miss her, Mommy,” she finally sighed, leaning against Tobin slightly. 

“I know, little bit,” Tobin sighed, opening her arms so that Scottie could squirm even closer. “I miss her too.”

Just then, Tobin’s phone started ringing, the tell-tale FaceTime ringtone echoing around the bedroom. 

“SHE’S CALLING! ANSWER! ANSWER! ANSWER!” Scottie cheered, launching out of Tobin’s arms and jumping on top of the bed in her excitement, her loose blonde curls bouncing around her head.

Tobin laughed at the way Scottie almost sounded like a teenager waiting for a crush to call. She reached out and swiped her finger across her phone to accept the call. 

“Hi,” Tobin said, a smile stretching across her face when she saw Christen’s face on the other side of the call, on the other side of the country. 

“Hi works,” Christen teased, with a grin. She was sitting in the hallway outside the dining room, crouched down on the floor. Technically, dinner was still going on nearby, but she knew it was getting late on the East Coast, so she snuck out for a few minutes to say good night to her girls.

“Christen,” Scottie said, shoving into Tobin so much that Tobin was almost out of the screen. 

“Scottie Heath!”  Christen greeted, laughing a bit as the image of Scottie came onto her screen, effectively pushing Tobin out of it.

“I missed you soooooooo much,” Scottie said, touching her hand to her heart and then touching the phone, alluding to the heartstrings stretching between her and Christen.

Christen did the same, tapping her fingers to her chest and then tapping the phone camera. “I missed you too, cutie. How were the cookies? They looked super-duper yummy.”

“Mommy only let me have two,” Scottie pouted. 

“She means they were delicious,” Tobin laughed, handing Scottie her phone so that she wouldn’t be pushed off the mattress.

“Scottie, do you think you and Tobin can be on the screen at the same time? I missed you both,” Christen replied with a smile.

“Oh, yeah,” Scottie nodded, holding her hand out a little more so that her face wasn’t up against the screen and Tobin could now be seen. 

“Much better,” Christen grinned. “So, Scottie, guess who I ate dinner with tonight?”

“Who?” Scottie asked, nearly vibrating with excitement. 

“Your mom thinks she’s really pretty,” Christen teased.

“I do no-”

“Alex Morgan?!” Scottie asked, interrupting Tobin’s response. 

Christen nodded, laughing at the slight flush creeping up Tobin’s neck, visible even over FaceTime.

“Mommy told me that it was just a...a phase. She said I should tell you that,” Scottie said. “Was that all?”

“You weren’t supposed to tell her that I told you to say that,” Tobin mumbled, her face getting even redder. 

Christen snorted and hid her beaming smile behind her hand. She missed them so much her chest ached. Sure, she’d loved getting back into things today with some of her oldest friends, and meeting some new ones. But even if she’d smiled and laughed, she didn’t smile and laugh like this.

“Maybe tomorrow I can get Alex and Crystal to FaceTime with me,” Christen chuckled.

“Oh my god,” Tobin groaned, flopping back into her pillow. 

“Yes!” Scottie said, beaming at Christen’s suggestion. 

Christen just laughed, catching movement out of the corner of her eye. She saw their team manager poke her head out of the conference and beckon her back inside. Christen deflated just a bit, knowing she had to cut this short. She held a finger up to the manager, signaling she needed a minute more.

“I have to go pretty soon, but I’ll call you again tomorrow, okay?” Christen said quietly. 

“Okay…” Scottie said, a little saddened at the looming goodbye.

“Hey, I want you to keep an eye out for a special package coming from L.A. The team might have heard about a pretty special birthday coming up,” Christen hummed, dropping her chin onto her hand and smiling at the images of Scottie and Tobin on her phone screen. 

Scottie’s eyes grew even rounder. She turned to look at Tobin as if she had anything to do with this, but Tobin only shrugged. 

“Thank you,” Scottie said, her mind already reeling with what it could be. 

“You don’t even know what it is yet. We could have sent you like, a rock, or something,” Christen chuckled.

“Mommy says thank you’s are important,” Scottie said. 

Christen nodded, feeling her heart melt just a little. “They are, you’re right. And you’re very welcome. Make sure to let me know when you get it okay?”

“I’ll keep an eye out for Scottie’s rock,” Tobin laughed. 

“There’s something in there for you too,” Christen murmured, her eyes softening as she looked at Tobin.

“Mommy, now you have to say it,” Scottie said. 

“Thank you,” Tobin said, having trouble even paying attention to what was being said with Christen looking at her the way she was with so much sweetness and softness and care. 

“I have to go now, you guys,” Christen whispered, her smile faltering just a bit. 

“Go finish dinner,” Tobin nodded. 

“And then sleep tight,” Scottie added. 

“Good night, cutie,” Christen said, blowing a kiss at the phone screen.

“Good night,” Tobin said, wishing that she could teleport for a quick minute. 

“I love you, Christen!” Scottie replied, catching the kiss Christen blew and then blowing Christen a kiss of her own. 

“Love you, bye,” Christen replied, waving one more time before ending the call, her image disappearing from Tobin’s phone screen.

“All right, little bit, time for bed,” Tobin sighed, pressing a kiss to Scottie’s head. 

Scottie sighed, but got back under the covers and burrowed close to Tobin. Her breathing was already heavier, her eyelids fluttering as she succumbed to sleep.

“I love you, Mommy. You’re the best Mommy in the whole wide world. Good night,” Scottie mumbled.

“I love you, buddy. You’re the best daughter in the whole wide world. Good night,” Tobin whispered back, turning off the bedside lamp but keeping her phone in her hand. 


[Tobin 10:10PM]

Thank you for calling

[Christen 10:15PM]

I promised I would. Couldn’t turn down the chance to see you two looking all sleepy and adorable 

[Tobin 10:15PM]

It was really really good to see your face

[Christen 10:15PM]

I was thinking the same thing. Those glasses on you, babe? *fans self*

[Tobin 10:15PM]

Yeah right 🙄

[Christen 10:15PM]

I’m serious 🥵 It’s a LOOK

[Christen 10:15PM]

Megan Rapinoe just caught me literally fanning myself...

[Tobin 10:15PM]

What a casual name drop 

[Christen 10:16PM]

We’re rooming together, so expect to see her pop into a FaceTime sometime this week. She thinks you’re a MILF by the way

[Tobin 10:16PM]

Oh nice. Cool cool cool cool cool

[Christen 10:16PM]

Is someone starstruck?

[Tobin 10:16PM]


[Tobin 10:17PM]

I almost did something tonight...

[Christen 10:17PM]

Did you pretend to lose the other copy of the Frozen CD?

[Tobin 10:17PM]

I wish, but no...I almost told somebody something

[Christen 10:17PM]

I love how you drop this on me right when dinner’s being served 

[Tobin 10:17PM]

Pretend I said nothing then 

[Tobin 10:18PM]

Have lovely dreams, babe

[Christen 10:18PM]

Oh hush. You know you’re going to be awake when I’m getting ready for bed later. I’ll call you and you can tell me all about how you almost spilled the beans to Scottie tonight, okay?

[Tobin 10:18PM]

Sounds good. Enjoy your dinner 

[Christen 10:18PM]


[Tobin 10:18PM]


Christen used a piece of athletic tape to hang Scottie’s rainbow painting to the inside of her locker. She traced her finger across the small clouds Scottie had created using her own fingerprints, feeling her heart grow three sizes just thinking about the girl. With a smile, she dropped back down onto her chair and pulled on her socks. 

“You’re oozing mommy hormones,” Ashlyn laughed, patting Christen on the shoulder as she walked past. 

“You’d know,” Crystal called out.

“Wow, what a comeback!” Ashlyn snorted, rolling her eyes playfully. 

“Is she wrong?” Ali Krieger teased, winking at her wife.

“No, but I ooze for my kid,” Ashlyn said, grabbing her bag from her locker and digging in it for her gloves. 

“Pressy’s like halfway there,” Megan teased. 

“I think it’s sweet,” Becky yelled from her corner of the locker room, sending a smile at Christen.

“Wooow art in the locker,” Alex joined in, peeking over Christen’s shoulder to see Scottie’s painting. 

Christen just shook her head, taking all of the teasings in stride. If anything, it made her even happier. She was proud to have a reason to hang this painting in her locker. She was lucky. She was oozing and she didn’t even care if her teammates noticed or called her out on it.

“Her mom must be really good in bed, right?” Kristie smirked. “No way would anyone go for a single mom if she wasn’t great in bed.”

Sydney smacked the back of Kristie’s head with her towel as she walked past, in honor of all mothers everywhere. 

Christen just kept her head down, intently focused on sliding her feet into her cleats and lacing them up, knowing if she looked up, everyone would notice the blush in her cheeks.

The locker room went silent, everyone waiting for Christen to answer. And when she didn’t...

“Pressy?” Megan asked, her voice eerily quiet. 

“You guys haven’t fucked?” Ashlyn mumbled, the question making Kling drop her entire bag on the floor in shock, not having caught the rest of the conversation. 

“That is literally none of any of your businesses,” Christen replied, finally sitting back in her chair and crossing her arms over her chest.

“You’re hanging her kid’s art in your locker and you haven’t had sex yet?” Ali cooed, finding the entire thing absolutely adorable. 

“It’s impossible to find the time when there’s a kid who calls and requires a visit from the Tooth Fairy at a really inopportune time,” Christen replied, shaking her head at the memory.

“Tell me about it,” Ashlyn groaned, getting a nod of agreement from Ali.  

“Woooow getting clam jammed by the Tooth Fairy,” Kristie sighed. “Glad I’m not into MILFs.”

“Don’t knock ‘em until you try ‘em,” Christen chuckled, taking the heat in her cheeks in stride. She was going to be a blushing mess this whole week if her teammates continued to tease her, so she might as well just accept it.  

“No, you should totally knock her...if you know what I mean,” Megan smirked. 

Everybody knows what you mean,” Kling laughed.

“Okay guys, let’s roll,” Becky announced, getting up from her chair. Everyone filed out of the locker room and made their way down to the fields, still teasing Christen about Scottie and Tobin the entire time.