Honey, on your knees when you look at me
I'm dressed like a fucking queen
And you're begging, "please"
I rule with the velvet tongue
And my dress undone
And I'll get you lost but I'm having fun
Holy, holy, holy, yeah
Holy, holy, holy, holy
'Cause I could lose it all
Can't watch it fade to black
Can't let it end like that
'Cause I got power over
Won't let it all fall down
I got my guards all around
(Christen - “Holy” by King Princess)
Your eyes, so crisp, so green
Sour apple baby, but you taste so sweet
And I said
Beautiful stranger, here you are in my arms and I know
That beautiful strangers only come along to do me wrong
And I hope
Beautiful stranger, here you are in my arms
But I think it's finally, finally, finally, finally, finally safe
For me to fall
I've never recognized a purer face
You stopped me in my tracks and put me right in my place
Used to think that lovin' meant a painful chase
But you're right here now and I think you'll stay
(Tobin - “Finally // Beautiful Stranger” by Halsey)
Christen had missed this, the intensity and the level of camp. She’d missed the demanding days and the long practices, the funny moments in the locker room, and the team bonding in the moments in between. But this camp was different. It was different because every chance she got, she was darting into a side room or into the hallway or walking behind everyone on the way back to the team vans and pulling out her phone to text or call or FaceTime Tobin and Scottie.
It was hard to describe how much they were helping her. It was her first camp back since her parents, and she knew it wasn’t going to be easy. There were still tough moments, moments where it felt like her chest was too tight and she’d never catch her breath, moments where her body felt so weighed down that she wondered if she’d ever feel light again. But then she’d get a sweet text or a cute selfie, or she’d get to see Tobin’s lopsided grin or hear Scottie’s laugh, and things got a bit better.
So much better that she wasn’t even all that nervous about starting against Canada tonight. How could she be nervous when she’d gotten a picture right before heading out for warm-ups, with Scottie and Tobin cheesing for the camera, in their matching jerseys, the ones she’d gotten U.S. Soccer to specialty ship back to New York.
Christen kept her girls in her heart the whole game, as she played better and ran faster and took better shots on goal than she’d ever remembered doing before. She felt like she was flying, like she was untouchable, and she wondered if it would always feel like this now. If she’d always enjoy the game just a bit more, knowing there were two people watching who wanted her to succeed.
In the 62nd minute, Christen felt her goal coming. They were tied 1-1 after a hard-fought hour of football, and she knew she was scoring tonight. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when. So when Alex laid a ball off to the outside to Megan, Christen took off toward Canada’s eighteen-yard box.
Megan sent a slotted pass across the backline, right into Christen’s path. Without taking a touch, Christen sent a one-time shot into the bottom corner of the net, right past the glove of the Canadian goalkeeper.
Christen pumped her fists at her sides and ran right over to Megan, wrapping her in a tight hug. After accepting the sweaty hugs and pats on the back, Christen looked up and pointed at the sky, knowing she was scoring not just for herself, but for her parents too. This goal was as much for them as it was for her.
But it wasn’t just for them either. After pointing at the sky, Christen looked right at the camera on the sidelines, the one that had been trained on her since she’d scored. She kissed two fingers and touched them to her chest, right over her heart and her heartstrings, and then she pointed at the camera, sending Scottie and Tobin a message as well - That goal was also for you two .
On the opposite coast, Scottie was jumping up and down on the couch, telling Tobin to look over and over, despite the fact that Tobin hadn’t taken her eyes off the screen since Christen got the ball.
“Mommy! Those were heartstrings!” Scottie squealed, pointing at the TV.
“I know, buddy,” Tobin grinned, her heart feeling like it was about to burst out from her chest at the love that Christen had for Scottie, at the care that she showed in every single thing that she did. She made Scottie feel seen and special, and it was all that Tobin ever wanted. Not only that but...Christen made her feel seen and special too. Christen made her feel cared for, like she wasn’t a lonely island, just trying to stay afloat.
There was absolutely no doubt in Tobin’s mind that what she had with Christen was serious, that Christen was just as serious about her as she was. Suddenly, the words felt like they were sitting on Tobin’s tongue. Suddenly, it felt like she was going to let them spill from her lips at any minute. Christen and I are together. We’re going to see a lot of Christen. She’s going to be around whenever she can and wants to. She’s going to be with us. The only thing that kept the words in was knowing that Christen would want to be a part of the decision and of the day.
“This is the coolest thing ever,” Scottie sighed, collapsing back on the couch with a happy smile.
“You’re so right, little bit. This is the coolest thing ever,” Tobin whispered, and she didn’t mean the game or the goal or the celebration.
“I’m never taking this jersey off,” Scottie announced, popping back up and sitting on the edge of the couch to watch the kick-off.
“Uhhhh…that’s probably not the best idea. Even Christen washes her jerseys,” Tobin laughed.
“But it’s got our name on it, Mommy,” Scottie replied, hooking a thumb over her shoulder and pointing at the ‘HEATH’ on the back of the jersey, right above the number 17.
“You’re right. It does have our name on it, but you won’t wash the name off. I’ll tell the washing machine to be super gentle,” Tobin grinned.
“I guess that’s okay. But can we wash it, so I can wear it to the airport in two days?” Scottie asked, her eyes still on the screen, small gasps leaving her lips when one of the U.S. players made a good pass.
“Of course,” Tobin nodded. “I bet Christen will love that. You want to go to our place after we pick her up?”
“Duh,” Scottie laughed.
“If she isn’t too sleepy,” Tobin added, kissing the top of Scottie’s head.
“Megan told me that Christen’s been getting plenty of sleep. And Alex and Crystal said that Christen is really happy,” Scottie said, tapping her feet on the ground. She covered her face with her hands and groaned dramatically when Alex Morgan missed a shot.
“Well, that’s super good to hear,” Tobin hummed, wrapping her arm around Scottie and squeezing her gently.
“I can’t believe you didn’t want to meet everyone with me, Mommy,” Scottie sighed, almost unable to comprehend it.
“I will sometime soon, but I wanted you to have your moment with them all,” Tobin said. Christen had FaceTimed from the bus, walking Scottie up and down the aisle to meet everyone. Christen had even stopped to make sure their head coach, Vlatko, got to say hi to Scottie.
Tobin had been in the middle of making dinner, in a dirty apron and a messy bun, and she’d decided that an adorable almost 8-year-old was a lot better company than a messy looking, exhausted adult. Not only that, but she also really didn’t feel like she needed to fangirl over anyone when Christen was and always would be the only player that mattered.
“Alex Morgan was really pretty, but she’s not as pretty as Christen,” Scottie observed, jumping to her feet when Becky slide tackled a Canadian forward. “Oh gosh,” she whispered, dramatically wiping her brow when the ball went out for a throw-in.
“You’re right, buddy,” Tobin nodded. “Christen is the prettiest.”
Christen had never been one of those people to rush through an airport. She’d always ambled off the plane, slowly made her way through baggage claim, not really ever having anything to rush for.
But the minute she’d landed at LaGuardia, she’d started fidgeting in her seat next to Becky, just itching to get off the plane. She knew Tobin and Scottie were waiting for her at baggage claim and she couldn’t wait to see them.
She felt like she hadn’t seen them in weeks, in months. Which was ridiculous, since it had barely been a week and a half, and she’d only known them for two and a half months. But the two of them had wormed their way into her life and her heart and were now such a permanent fixture, Christen wondered if her life would ever feel complete without them in it.
“They waiting for you?” Becky asked softly.
“Yeah,” Christe replied, smiling a bit. “This is crazy right?” she asked, a little overwhelmed at how fast but how right it all felt. She’d been with Tobin since early June. Scottie didn’t even know about them yet. But it felt like it had been years. It felt like they’d done this airport routine before. It felt so natural it made Christen’s heart feel the closest to whole it had since her parents had gone.
“It’s not crazy if it feels right,” Becky hummed, patting Christen’s hand. “I’ll see you at practice in a few days. Enjoy your time with them.”
Christen offered Becky a nod before shooting to her feet once the seatbelt sign had been turned off. She grabbed her bag and made her way to the door, barely waiting for the door to be opened by the flight attendant before hurrying up the jet bridge and through the terminal. She didn’t run exactly, but she definitely hustled. She had two people she had waited a week and a half to hug and she was dying to get the chance to do so.
Scottie ran ahead, peeking up the escalators to see when Christen would appear at the top. She was bouncing from foot to foot in excitement and anticipation, her tongue sticking out to the side with the way she was intensely focused on each passengers’ shoes at the top of the escalator. When she finally saw a pair of white Nikes and Christen’s duffel bag, she started to climb up the escalator, pushing past passengers with Tobin trailing right behind, apologizing to everyone she passed.
“Christen!” Scottie called, throwing herself against Christen’s stomach and wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist before she even got off the escalator, the two of them riding down the rest of the way together.
“Scottie Heath,” Christen grinned, wrapping an arm securely around Scottie’s shoulders as they made their way down the escalator. They stepped off together and Christen moved them to the side, over to where Tobin was waiting. She met Tobin’s gaze, softening at the adoration she could see nestled in those warm brown eyes.
Tobin immediately wrapped Christen in a hug, not concerned about what Scottie would think. Scottie already knew that she cared about Christen, even if she didn’t understand the capacity just yet.
Christen kept one arm around Scottie, dropping her duffel bag and wrapping her other arm around Tobin’s back, keeping the three of them together. She pressed her face against the side of Tobin’s neck, the floral and sandalwood scents smelling so much like home.
“Hi,” Christen mumbled, running her hand up and down Tobin’s back.
“Hi back,” Tobin whispered, pressing a discreet kiss to Christen’s head.
Christen pulled away and smiled up at Tobin, a slight blush in her cheeks. At the feeling of Scottie’s arms tightening around her, Christen finally turned her attention to the girl. She bent down, causing Scottie’s arms to drop away from her.
“That is a good-looking jersey, cutie,” Christen hummed, tugging at the U.S. crest on the small, white U.S. jersey she’d gotten for Scottie.
“Thank you for giving it to me,” Scottie said, wrapping her arms around Christen’s neck.
“You’re welcome,” Christen hummed, hugging Scottie back.
“Thank you for coming back,” Scottie added quietly.
Christen felt her throat close up, a shaky breath leaving her lips at the surprised sound in Scottie’s voice.
“I’ll always come back,” Christen promised softly, pressing a kiss to Scottie’s temple. She then stood up slowly, Scottie immediately pressing against her side again.
“How sleepy are you on a scale from 1-10?” Tobin asked, picking up Christen’s duffel bag, taking Christen’s backpack off her shoulder, and putting both of the bags on her own.
Christen chuckled and smiled over at Tobin. “I’m so awake,” she replied.
“Are you hungry?” Scottie asked, slipping her hand into Christen’s.
“You know what I could totally go for right now?” Christen said, squeezing Scottie’s hand as all three of them walked over to baggage claim.
“What?” Scottie asked, grabbing onto Tobin’s hand as they walked.
“Garlic bread,” Christen grinned. “Know a good place where I can get that?”
“That was our plan!” Scottie said, her excitement infectious.
Christen shared a smile with Tobin as they waited for the bags to come around, swinging Scottie in the air between them. After getting her roller bag, they headed out to the car and made their way back into the city.
“Can Christen sleep over?” Scottie asked, tugging on Tobin’s hand as she tried to get up and turn the TV off.
Christen choked on her water, some of it spilling onto her U.S. soccer travel t-shirt. She set the glass down on the coffee table and wiped at her shirt, hoping that focusing on the spilled water would get her out of answering the question.
“You know, buddy. I bet she will some time, but she’s probably a little tired and wants to go home and sleep in her own bed,” Tobin said, trying to be diplomatic. She didn’t want Christen sleeping over until Scottie knew that they were together.
“Maybe for my birthday. We can build a pillow castle!” Scottie said with a smile, unfazed by Tobin’s answer or the fact that Christen was still coughing slightly after choking on water.
“You okay?” Tobin asked, glancing over at Christen.
Christen held a thumbs up in the air, finally getting her coughing under control.
“I think we’ll have to see how Christen feels on your birthday,” Tobin hummed.
“She can sleep on the top bunk if she wants,” Scottie added, thinking that would sway Christen.
“I think that sounds super fun. So maybe, okay? I’ll see what kind of soccer stuff I have to do the next day,” Christen replied, smiling over at Scottie.
“Okay,” Scottie nodded.
“Bedtime. Let’s go,” Tobin said, turning off the TV and taking Scottie by the hand.
Scottie grabbed Christen’s hand, repeating Tobin’s words. “Let’s go,” she said, pulling Christen off the couch.
“Are you sure you want me to come?” Christen asked, shooting a questioning look in Tobin’s direction. She didn’t want to intrude on the nightly ritual, very used to waiting downstairs on the couch as Tobin put Scottie to bed.
“Yeah,” Scottie nodded. “Mommy does the best voices.”
“Well then I’m excited to hear them,” Christen replied, winking over at Tobin.
Tobin let out a slightly nervous laugh as she climbed the stairs since no one had actually ever seen her put Scottie to bed aside from Roni and her mother. It was her time with Scottie, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t prepared to share it with Christen.
Christen was in charge of flipping over the timer so Scottie could brush her teeth for a full two minutes. She got to help Scottie pick between the unicorn and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas, which resulted in Scottie putting on the latter of course. She then settled on the right side of the bed while Tobin was on the left, both of them sitting up near where Scottie was nestled beneath the covers.
Tobin read from one of Scottie’s shorter books, none of them awake enough to read a whole chapter of Harry Potter. She tried not to be self-conscious when she did the voices that made Scottie laugh. When she realized that they also made Christen laugh, she had no problem doing each voice as well as she possibly could. By the time the book was closed and Tobin and Christen were standing up, Scottie’s eyes were drooping heavily.
“I love you, Mommy. You’re the best Mommy in the whole, wide world. Good night,” Scottie whispered, yawning a little and smiling sleepily at Tobin.
“I love you too, buddy. You’re the best kid in the whole, wide world. Sleep tight,” Tobin mumbled, pressing a kiss to Scottie’s head and brushing her hair away from her forehead.
Scottie turned to look at Christen and smiled at her too. “I love you, you’re the best Christen in the whole wide world. Good night,” Scottie mumbled, her eyes completely shut now and her breathing slow.
Christen worked through the emotion in her chest and bent down to kiss Scottie’s forehead, mirroring Tobin’s action. “I love you, you’re the best Scottie in the whole wide world. Good night.”
Tobin turned off the bedroom light, leaving Scottie’s night light on and waiting for Christen to exit first before she cracked the door. She slipped into her own bedroom and turned on the light, just like she did every night so that she could turn the hallway light off but still make it into her room without tripping.
“She’s right,” Tobin mumbled, walking down the hallway to the stairs.
Christen followed close behind, her hand on Tobin’s back. “About what?” she asked, keeping her voice quiet.
“You are the best Christen in the whole wide world,” Tobin hummed.
Christen felt her heart flutter in her chest at Tobin’s words. She leaned into Tobin’s side, pressing a kiss to her temple as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
“I really missed you,” Tobin sighed, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist in the kitchen.
Christen melted into the embrace, her arms wrapping around Tobin’s shoulders. “I really missed you ,” Christen murmured.
“So...Scottie’s best friend from school always goes on vacation to the Hamptons during June and July, and her family just got back to the city a couple days ago,” Tobin said, running her hands along Christen’s back.
“That’s nice,” Christen replied, too caught up in the feeling of Tobin’s arms around her and the warmth of the embrace to really focus on Tobin’s words.
“Well, yeah...sure. What’s nice is that her friend really wants to have a sleepover,” Tobin continued.
Christen sighed and bobbed her head. “So you’ll have two almost 8-year-olds running around here?”
“No,” Tobin shook her head, a smile growing on her lips. “I’ll have zero almost 8-year-olds here.”
That had Christen leaning back and fixing Tobin with a curious look. “Wait, you mean-”
“She invited Scottie over,” Tobin clarified. “So the Jacksons will have two almost 8-year-olds running around their apartment.”
Christen felt a smile grow on her face, her eyes inadvertently dropping to Tobin’s lips and lifting back to her eyes.
“When?” Christen whispered, her voice dropping a little with the question.
“Two days,” Tobin hummed. “Why are you busy?” she asked, looking into Christen’s eyes to make sure she wasn’t trying to mentally re-organize a schedule.
“Absolutely not. I am so free,” Christen rushed out.
“She has no loose teeth,” Tobin promised.
Christen leaned in and hovered a breath away from Tobin’s lips. “I can’t wait to pick up where we left off,” she whispered.
“You and me both,” Tobin sighed, resting her forehead against Christen’s.
“I’m having a little trouble remembering where that was, though...maybe you could refresh my memory?” Christen teased lightly, running her fingertips along the back of Tobin’s neck.
Tobin nodded enthusiastically, backing Christen up across the room and toward the couch in the living room.
After consulting with both Becky and Kelley, Christen had chosen the pale blue dress she didn’t wear for the first date. Kelley had affirmed that the dress said “ Take me off,” and since that was definitely the end goal tonight, it had been an easy choice.
As she stood on the front stoop of Tobin’s place, she fiddled nervously with the hem of the dress, feeling the same anticipation in her stomach that she’d had for the past 48 hours.
Tonight was the night. She’d vacuumed and put the nicest sheets on her bed. She’d set candles out to light later and made sure every available surface was clean, from her kitchen counters to the couch...just in case. Tonight was the night and she was both insanely ready and insanely nervous all at the same time.
Tobin had never thought about what she was going to wear more in her life, sifting through all of her clothes, even some that she hadn’t touched since adopting Scottie. She settled on a pair of black dress pants, wanting to look a little more dressed up than usual, and a gray, short-sleeved button-up. She’d tucked the shirt into the dress pants, pairing the whole outfit with a black belt and black loafers. The pants were slightly tapered at the bottom, letting her ankles show, and she spent way too long deciding if she should cuff the sleeves of the button-up or leave them be.
By the time she heard the buzzer to the apartment, she let out a nervous sigh and simply let the sleeves of her button-up be. She raced down the stairs, hating, for the first time, that the house was so vertically spacious and that her bedroom was all the way on the top floor. She stopped in the kitchen and grabbed the yellow tulip that she’d picked up for Christen, something to mirror their first date, something a little sentimental, and then she let out another nervous breath and hurried down to the studio where Christen was waiting at the front door.
When she opened the door, Tobin’s mouth went completely dry. She couldn’t stop herself from taking in Christen’s entire appearance, her eyes trailing over Christen’s tan, muscular legs, the very fitted dress that highlighted every curve, the natural curls in her hair. She grinned when she noticed Christen was looking at her in a similar way, loving that Christen’s green eyes were moving up and down her body.
“Damn,” Christen whispered, shaking her head a little. She let her eyes move leisurely down Tobin’s outfit, drinking in every detail, then slowly back up to meet Tobin’s gaze, a slow smile making its way onto her face. “You look great.”
“You look amazing,” Tobin breathed out, her eyes still drifting over Christen’s entire outfit.
“Are you trying to one-up me with the compliments?” Christen teased.
“No,” Tobin grinned, looking up at Christen’s eyes. “I’m just being honest about what I’m seeing,” she added, pulling the yellow tulip out from behind her back and holding it out for Christen.
Christen melted at the sight of the flower, moving to take it from Tobin’s hand while also moving just a bit closer. “You’re sweet,” she hummed, placing a quick kiss on Tobin’s lips. “Thanks for the flower. I’m guessing it’s happy yellow?”
“Yeah, I realized I have no idea what your actual favorite color is because Scottie just gave you one and forced you to take it,” Tobin blushed.
Christen chuckled and kissed the blush on Tobin’s cheek. “I actually have never had one before. I loved all the colors when I was a kid, and I guess I just forgot to figure out a favorite once I grew up.”
“I’ll ask if they make rainbow tulips next time,” Tobin teased.
“Happy yellow is quickly becoming my favorite, actually,” Christen replied softly.
“Well, then it’s good I listened to an almost 8-year-old,” Tobin nodded, stepping out onto the stoop. “You ready to go?”
“Oh, do I actually get to know where we’re going now, Miss Secretive?” Christen chuckled, sliding her hand into Tobin’s.
“Well, we’ve been there before,” Tobin said, pulling her door shut and locking it with her house keys. “Does that help you guess?”
“No,” Christen laughed. “We’ve been to a lot of places these past few months.”
“Hmm...I guess you’ll just have to be surprised then,” Tobin shrugged, taking Christen’s hand in her own and leading her down the front steps.
In hindsight, Christen should have guessed. Tobin was a sentimental sap, so of course, their date night was at MoMA. But what Christen never would have guessed was what Tobin told her once they reached her exhibit.
“Take your pick,” Tobin said, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist from behind and setting her chin on Christen’s shoulder.
“I already told you which one I want. The one in your studio,” Christen replied softly, leaning back into Tobin’s embrace.
“Well, that one’s not finished, so if you want one now, take your pick,” Tobin mumbled, feeling slightly shy about offering Christen a painting, despite literally selling them for a living.
“Don’t you want to sell these? Or give them to your Mom?” Christen asked, feeling a little unworthy of the artwork in the room.
“Nope. The only one you can’t pick is the pink one. Scottie claimed it when I was making it,” Tobin hummed.
“Right, I remember,” Christen replied. With a nervous little sigh, she stepped out of Tobin’s arms.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want one, though. Some people really don’t like abstract stuff. I didn’t even realize you might be one of those people since you did pick the realistic Scottie painti-”
Christen interrupted the adorable ramble with a quick kiss. A kiss that hopefully assuaged Tobin’s worries, that told her how much Christen did like her art and wanted a piece of it, even if she didn’t feel entirely deserving of it.
“Let me peruse,” Christen whispered, kissing Tobin once more before moving to the first painting.
Tobin watched Christen look at each painting. She watched her lean forward and step back from a few of the pieces, likely thinking about what colors she liked and where she’d put it in her apartment.
Tobin had never done this. She’d given her mom paintings. She’d even sent a couple to her sisters and brother, but she’d never let them choose. She’d never told someone she cared about to pick a painting that they wanted.
Watching Christen made Tobin feel this strange mixture of nerves and excitement. A tiny part of her was worried that Christen was humoring her, that she really didn’t have space or desire for one of the paintings. But then she saw the smile on Christen’s face and thought better of it. She wanted Christen to have one of these because they were going to be sold at the end of the summer. Tobin didn’t want all of them to go away, not when this was the exhibit that had changed their relationship. She was keeping the pink one for Scottie, but she really wanted Christen to have one. She was sappy and sentimental, and she wanted Christen to remember that night at MoMA when they’d finally talked and decided to give this a shot.
It wasn’t until Christen stopped leaning forward and stepping back, until she was stuck still in front of a painting right next to the stained glass window that Tobin knew she’d picked one.
Christen tilted her head to the side, completely losing herself in the swirls and patterns on the canvas in front of her. She had an arm wrapped around her middle, and her other lifted to run her pointer finger along her nose, tapping the tip of it occasionally as she took in the painting before her.
It was breathtakingly exquisite and heartachingly simple. That was the only way Christen could think to describe it.
The canvas was littered with pastel yellows, purples, teals, and reds. The painting’s texture was varied. Some places were ridged as if Tobin had run some sort of tool over the thick paint. A few of the spots of color almost looked like tissue paper was under layers of paint. Christen couldn’t quite figure out what all Tobin had used, but she couldn’t deny that it was difficult to stop staring, to stop trying to figure it out.
The way she felt about the painting was the way she felt about the artist behind it. Tobin was this tantalizing combination of laid back and put-together, made up of jagged edges and soft curves. She hadn’t figured everything out about Tobin just yet. There was still so much more to know and learn. But she knew, just like she knew about this painting, that she was never going to stop trying to figure it out.
“You want to know something about all of these paintings?” Tobin asked, stepping up next to Christen.
“What’s that?” Christen murmured, turning away from the painting to gaze softly over at Tobin.
“Did you catch the collection’s name?” Tobin asked, pointing at the sign near the front of the room.
Christen squinted her eyes, reading the sign that said “Sweetest Devotion” and feeling her heart melt. She looked back at Tobin with a smile on her face.
“Scottie and I painted every single base coat on all of these,” Tobin whispered. “It’s funny that you chose this one.”
“Why?” Christen wondered.
“Scottie wrote her name over and over and over again when we were doing the base coat for this piece,” Tobin hummed, remembering when they’d done this painting in November the last year.
If at all possible, Christen felt even more certain about her choice now. Something about this painting had called to her, had made her stop and stare, and now she realized it was because she hadn’t just recognized Tobin in the patterns and colors, she’d recognized Scottie too.
“So I didn’t just pick you, I picked the both of you,” Christen replied softly, her heart thrumming in her chest with her words.
“That’s what it looks like,” Tobin murmured, taking a sheet of red, circular stickers out of her pocket and placing a sticker on the placard that sat on the wall next to the piece to mark that it wasn’t for sale and needed to be packed away for the final exhibition night when people could buy the pieces.
“That’s what it is like,” Christen corrected.
Tobin couldn’t help but lean into Christen and press a kiss to her cheek. “Thank you.”
Christen slid an arm around Tobin’s waist, squeezing her hip gently. “You don’t have to thank me when I should be thanking you for the painting.”
“You hungry?” Tobin asked, an easy smile sliding onto her lips.
“Are we doing dosas round two?” Christen grinned.
“I’m not that sentimental,” Tobin scoffed.
“I disagree,” Christen teased, ghosting her lips across Tobin’s temple.
“I was thinking something a little more formal. You don’t need to be eating a dosa in a dress like this,” Tobin smirked.
“Oh, do you like it?” Christen whispered, making sure her words came out a little huskier than they had before.
“Baby,” Tobin groaned. “You have no idea.”
Christen felt a small shiver run through her, Tobin’s words making heat pool low in her stomach and her hand tighten reflexively on Tobin’s hip.
“I think I have some idea, babe ,” Christen hummed in a low voice. She pressed a lingering kiss to the corner of Tobin’s jaw and then stepped away, grabbing ahold of Tobin’s hand. “So, dinner?” she asked, her voice returning to normal.
“Mhm. Yes,” Tobin said, shaking her head a little to focus on actually treating Christen to a nice meal.
Tobin led Christen to the elevator and out onto the street. Christen stepped forward, ready to hail a cab, but Tobin tugged on her hand to the door right next door to the museum.
“This way,” Tobin hummed, tilting her head to the entrance of The Modern.
“Holy shit,” Christen whispered as they walked inside. “This place is really expensive,” she added, taking in the low-lighting and the crisp white tablecloths.
“I’ve wanted to try it for a while, but you don’t bring a seven-year-old to this place,” Tobin grinned, keeping her hand on Christen’s back as she gave her name to the hostess.
“You mean Miss ‘I think Mac N’ Cheese is fancy food’ wouldn’t like a Michelin star restaurant?” Christen teased.
“Two Michelin stars actually,” Tobin smirked. “And no, I don’t think she’d be into it.”
Christen chuckled and leaned into Tobin’s side as they were led through the restaurant, toward a small table along the glass wall. It offered a view of a courtyard with gorgeous sculptures in it, with the setting sun a beautiful backdrop to the garden.
Christen smiled as Tobin pulled her chair out for her, dropping into it and offering Tobin a soft, “Thank you,” in reply.
Tobin moved to sit across from her, her smile never faltering. She really had been wanting to eat here for a while, and she was glad that she’d waited for the right company.
“Don’t be scared, but I got the six-course menu,” Tobin said, her smile only growing at Christen’s shocked face. “They’re really small courses.”
“I...I trust you,” Christen laughed, holding up her hands in mock surrender. She dropped her napkin in her lap and then moved her hand to the middle of the table, as was the tradition during their date nights.
Tobin reached across and took Christen’s hand, squeezing it gently. “You’re doing mental math right now, aren’t you?” Tobin snorted.
“Not every Stanford grad does mental math,” Christen teased.
“Bleh, gross,” Tobin mumbled, sending a wink across the table to Christen.
“You know what would be hilarious?” Christen asked softly, leaning forward a bit, just to get closer to Tobin.
“Don’t you dare say what you’re about to say,” Tobin warned, her smile teasing.
“If Scottie went and played soccer for my alma mater, that would be hilarious ,” Christen chuckled, the sound warm and light.
“I refuse to wear a Stanford Mom shirt. That’s where I draw the line,” Tobin grinned.
“I would make it worth your while,” Christen replied, moving her thumb slowly across the backs of Tobin’s fingers.
“Wooow,” Tobin hummed, surprised that Christen was maybe thinking about being around when Scottie was going to college. “You really like me.”
Christen just nodded, her cheeks warming a bit. “You could say that,” she replied softly.
“I really like you, so that’s good to know,” Tobin whispered.
They were interrupted politely by a kind waiter, who took their drink orders and their preferences for the tasting menu. He returned with the bottle of white wine Tobin had ordered, pouring both women a glass before drifting off.
Christen promptly picked up her glass and held it up. “To seventieth impressions and sleepovers,” she said quietly, winking slightly.
Tobin chuckled a little at Christen’s toast and clinked her glass with Christen’s. She couldn't wipe the smile off of her face the entire night, watching Christen talk with her hands and laugh about people’s teasing at camp and eating delicious food. She felt light and happy, stress-free maybe for the first time in four years.
Two servers appeared at their table, placing the third course in front of them with a flourish.
“This is the hand-cut tagliolini with aged parmesan and shaved black truffles,” the primary server said before asking if they needed anything else and then leaving their tabl e.
“That’s a very fancy way to say pasta,” Christen teased.
Tobin couldn’t hold back the soft laugh that almost all of Christen’s teasing evoked. She loved that Christen could be silly and sweet and even a little sassy, even in a fancy restaurant. That she had a sense of humor that didn’t fade, that she was kind. Everything with Christen felt natural and comfortable like she’d been a part of her life for years, not just months. She wanted this all the time. She wanted this with Scottie, at home, at Gio’s, at her parents’ house.
“How freaked out would you be if I said I wanted to tell Scottie soon?” Tobin asked.
Christen paused with a bite of tagliolini hovering in front of her mouth.
“Sorry, eat first,” Tobin laughed.
Rolling her eyes affectionately, Christen dropped her fork back down to her plate and fixed Tobin with a soft smile.
“I would say that even though I’m a little nervous, I feel good about where we are, and if you think it’s time, then I agree,” Christen replied, running her thumb across Tobin’s fingers. She was nervous, she was insanely nervous. She didn’t want Scottie to treat her differently, she didn’t want to disappoint Scottie. Most of all, she didn’t want to lose Scottie or Tobin, and the more people who knew, the higher that chance became.
“Ooookay, that’s good to know,” Tobin nodded. “Because I might have told her that she and I are doing something tomorrow, just the two of us,” Tobin blurted out quickly.
Christen laughed, a little too loudly, and drew some stares from people around them. She quickly covered her mouth with her hand, quieting her laugh.
“You really don’t waste time do you?” Christen teased.
“I wanted to tell her a week ago,” Tobin shrugged. “I just wanted to make sure you weren’t gonna freak out and run the opposite direction.”
Christen shook her head. “If you’re ready, I’m ready,” she replied. “Can I eat this pasta now? Because holy shit it smells good. But if you have any other things you’d like to ask...”
“Bon Appetit,” Tobin grinned, sticking her own fork into the pasta.
It was during their second-to-last course, while they were trading shy smiles over tangerine sorbet, that a young man approached the table. He looked giddy and nervous all at the same time and stopped a few feet away from the table.
“Christen Press?” he asked, a cocktail napkin and a pen held in his trembling hands.
Christen fixed a smile on her face and casually slid her hand out of Tobin’s. She turned to face the young man.
“Hi there,” Christen replied.
“Can I get an autograph? Maybe a picture?” he asked in a shaking voice, clearly in awe of Christen.
“Yes to the autograph, but I’m gonna say no to the picture,” Christen said, trying not to feel bad for turning down a picture. But she was out to eat with Tobin, she was in a moment of vulnerability and privacy, and she didn’t exactly want that invaded.
She took the napkin and the pen, signing her name completely on autopilot, not even having to think anymore. She was actually surprised this hadn’t happened more often. It wasn’t like she and Tobin were always hiding away in apartments or taxi cabs. They went out. To the movies, to the park, to museums and dinners. But this was the first time she’d been recognized in front of Tobin, the first time they’d been interrupted.
Christen handed the autograph back to the young man and turned back to Tobin, her brow furrowing at the curious look on Tobin’s face.
“What?” she asked, scratching at the corner of her jaw.
“You’re like...famous,” Tobin said, cocking her head to the side.
Christen snorted and shook her head. “Not really. I mean, I sometimes get spotted out and about and asked for stuff like that.”
“So...you agree. You’re basically famous,” Tobin smirked.
Christen slipped her hand back into Tobin’s on top of the table. “I mean, I do have a Wikipedia page so…” she trailed off with a half-smile. “Does that bother you?”
“I have a Wikipedia page too, but no one asks for my autographs,” Tobin laughed, squeezing Christen’s hand in her own. “No, it doesn’t bother me.”
“Will it bother you when people start to photograph us together? If I take you to events and people get a hold of your name? When we’re out in Central Park with Scottie and someone snaps a picture that ends up on Twitter later?” Christen wondered, knowing she probably should have talked about this a while ago. But she’d honestly forgotten just a bit. She’d found herself in this bubble of privacy these past few months, and while atypical, it wasn’t going to last.
Tobin’s brows scrunched together a little bit at the mention of someone taking a picture of Scottie. She hadn’t thought about any of that. In hindsight, it was a little naive to forget about tabloids, especially considering Tobin had looked at them when she’d googled Christen. Of course, there were tabloids. Of course, there was the possibility that someone would take a photograph of them or of Scottie with them.
This was Christen, though. Christen tried to take care of Scottie as much as she could, and if she knew there was a photograph being taken, she’d protect her as much as possible.
Christen was important to both of them. She was thoughtful and kind, and they could handle fans asking for autographs. Tobin could cover Scottie’s face in the park if she saw someone trying to take a picture. And if a picture ended up on Twitter, they’d work through it and figure it out.
“I should have brought this up a lot sooner, I’m sorry. I just- I kind of forgot about this. I got to just be Christen for a little while, wiping Van Leeuwen’s ice cream off Scottie’s face and crying at family barbecues,” Christen sighed.
“You still get to be Christen, wiping Van Leeuwen’s ice cream off of Scottie’s face. It isn’t like you’re taking the pictures or asking people to interrupt your private life,” Tobin said softly, rubbing her thumb along Christen’s hand. “You can’t help that people try to pry.”
“So you’re okay with not just Scottie knowing but with...like everyone in the soccer world knowing?” Christen asked with a tight chuckle.
“Knowing that I managed to convince you to date me?” Tobin asked, raising her eyebrows like it was the most impressive thing she’d ever done. “Yeah, I’m okay with it.”
They decided to take a small detour through Bryant Park on their way back to Christen’s apartment, ambling slowly along the paved path as the sun dipped below the city skyline.
They walked hand-in-hand, neither feeling the need to fill the silence as they watched dog-walkers wrestle with a dozen leashed dogs, families packing up their picnics, and young adults enjoying the warm night seated around the tables lining the space.
As they passed the fountain, they came upon a small crowd surrounding a pop-up jazz band. Christen dragged Tobin over, pausing on the outskirts of the crowd to listen.
She loved jazz music, always had. There was something about the combination of a saxophone and a trumpet, with a piano and the drums, that just got to her. She leaned into Tobin’s side, tilting her temple against Tobin’s shoulder as she listened with a smile on her face.
“You’re right,” Tobin mumbled.
“About?” Christen hummed.
“I am really sentimental, and I really want to dance with you,” Tobing whispered.
Christen’s smile grew as she leaned her head off of Tobin’s shoulder. “Here?” she asked, looking around at the small crowd and the smattering of people milling around the park.
“If you want,” Tobin shrugged. “I’m sure I can reenact this at your apartment, though.”
“Let’s dance,” Christen replied softly, squeezing Tobin’s hand in her own.
Tobin turned toward Christen, resting her hands on Christen’s hips and pulling her a little bit closer, not too close, just in case Christen felt uncomfortable with people around. Which she didn’t, because Christen quickly stepped even closer, looping her arms around Tobin’s neck.
“You can play soccer. You can sing songs from Moana. You can dance,” Tobin sighed. “Wooow, I’m a lucky lady.”
Christen blushed as they continued to sway to the slow jazz music. She let one of her hands move to brush a few strands of hair behind Tobin’s ear, trailing her finger down Tobin’s jaw.
“Just wait until you see what else I can do,” Christen whispered with a coy smile.
“I think I’ve done enough dancing,” Tobin hummed.
Christen laughed as she felt Tobin all but pull her away from the crowd and out of the park, their pace significantly quicker as they walked toward her apartment.
“You decorated,” Tobin grinned, taking in the unlit candles and the silky sheets that had definitely not been on Christen’s bed last time they’d been over.
“Romance isn’t dead, you know,” Christen teased, tossing her purse onto the couch and spinning around to drape her arms over Tobin’s shoulders.
“Do you want anything to drink? Not that I should be offering in your apartment,” Tobin blushed, feeling slightly nervous now that they were actually back in Chelsea.
“Do you ?” Christen replied, arching a brow in amusement.
“Not really,” Tobin shook her head. “I was trying to make you more comfortable because you’ve scratched your jaw six times since we’ve come inside.”
Christen scrunched her nose and shrugged. “And here I was, thinking you weren’t going to notice my slight nerves about this part of the evening.”
“It’s not a bad thing to have slight nerves,” Tobin said.
Christen felt the tension in Tobin’s shoulders beneath her arms and realized Tobin was probably just as slightly nervous as she was. “You know that I’d be perfectly happy with waiting,” Christen said quietly.
“You don’t want to…?” Tobin asked, her eyebrows furrowing at Christen’s words.
“Oh my god, I do. I really do,” Christen corrected quickly, flushing slightly with the admission. “I just wanted to let you know I wasn’t expecting it if you decided you wanted to wait.”
“I don’t need an out. I’ve been thinking about this for an embarrassingly long time,” Tobin murmured.
Christen felt her stomach flutter at Tobin’s words. She leaned forward and pressed the lightest of kisses against Tobin’s lips, hovering there once she had.
“In that case, let me light these candles,” Christen whispered.
Tobin grinned, letting Christen lead her the rest of the way behind the partition. She watched Christen walk around the bedroom and light the candles on her dresser, all the while admiring the soft smile on Christen’s lips and the way she tucked strands of hair behind her ears.
“Do you light candles every time?” Tobin asked with a smirk.
Christen shook her head, dropping the lighter to the dresser. “There was never any need to, before. Or a desire to...until you.”
Tobin nodded, her heart already racing at the admission. She stepped forward, wrapping her arms around Christen’s waist and leaning forward to press a kiss to her lips.
Right away, Christen tasted the difference in this kiss. It was still sweet, just like all of Tobin’s kisses were. But there was a purpose behind it tonight that had been there in flashes and in moments, but never with this much certainty. There was a purpose behind Tobin’s touches as well. In the caress against her cheek, in the trails her fingertips made down the length of her arm, in the tug against the zipper at the back of her dress.
Tobin hadn’t even really touched her yet, her lips hadn’t even left her own, but Christen already felt hot, all over. Her skin was prickling and her hands were tingling and she wondered how she was going to survive the night.
When she felt Tobin pull the zipper down between her shoulder blades, Christen pulled out of the kiss. She looked deep into those brown eyes she’d come to like so much, feeling a small thrill run down her spine at the hooded look within them.
“I just- I really like you,” Christen husked, a blush rising to her cheeks, her hands toying with the material of Tobin’s shirt where it was tucked into her dress pants.
“I really like you too,” Tobin whispered, pausing her movements to look at Christen’s face and make sure that she was sure.
“I still want this. I just wanted you to know it means something to me,” Christen hummed, the corner of her mouth lifting up in a small, shy smile.
“This means so much to me, too,” Tobin echoed, running the tip of her nose along Christen’s. She held tightly to the woman in front of her, wanting her to know that this was important and real and wouldn’t be fleeting.
Christen felt a stuttered breath leave her lips when Tobin’s fingers returned to the zipper on the back of her dress.
“You can finish unzipping me now,” Christen said softly.
Tobin smirked before she pressed her lips to the side of Christen’s neck and did just what Christen had suggested. She pressed her fingers along the now revealed skin on Christen’s back, completely in awe of how soft Christen’s skin was and also how strong her back was beneath her touch. Tobin had the sudden urge to kiss the skin there, to press her lips to every inch of Christen’s body.
So, she did.
She slowly turned Christen around, pushing the dress aside a little more and pressing her lips along Christen’s spine, over each and every bit of skin that she could reach on Christen’s back and shoulders and the back of her neck. She listened to Christen’s shaky breaths, loving that it sounded like Christen was feeling the same way that Tobin had been from the very beginning.
Once Christen’s breaths were just too noticeable, too enticing, Tobin turned her back around, missing her lips and the way she looked at her with her strong, focused, green eyes.
Christen almost knocked Tobin over with the force of her kiss, her hands cupping Tobin’s jaw as she backed them up toward the bed. She’d been patient while Tobin had explored, but the fire within her was reaching uncontrollable heights. Her hands fell to the buttons on Tobin’s shirt, making quick work of them as she ran her tongue along Tobin’s bottom lip, begging for entrance.
Tobin knew she would never deny Christen anything, least of all that. She opened her mouth slightly, letting out a soft sigh when Christen’s tongue met her own. She reached up to Christen’s shoulders, tugging the dress down as much as she could with Christen’s hands holding onto her shirt.
Once she’d gotten the last button undone, Christen leaned back, feeling Tobin’s insistent tugs on her dress. With a smile playing at her lips, Christen took a small step back, working the dress down her arms and then down her body, stepping out of it and kicking it off to the side. She stood there for a moment, letting Tobin look all she wanted. At her, at the matching white lingerie set she’d put on. And boy, did Tobin look .
“Holy…” Tobin husked, her voice raw and full of desire. She’d expected her voice to sound like that. How could it not when Christen was standing in front of her in thin, lacy lingerie, smirking at her?
She’d never seen someone as beautiful as Christen. She’d never been with someone with a heart as loving and open and amazing as Christen’s. Yes, she was sexy and beautiful, but there was something more that made Tobin want to take all the time she could, that made her want to worship the woman in front of her.
Christen had never felt desired like this before. Sure, she’d been wanted, she’d been lusted after before. But there was something behind the desire in Tobin’s voice and in her eyes. There was something deeper there, something real and serious. It was something that scared her in the very best way.
Christen let that real and serious desire carry her back to Tobin, her hands softly pushing the shirt from Tobin’s shoulders, her hands falling to Tobin’s belt buckle. She never looked away from Tobin’s eyes as she painstakingly undid the belt, as she undid the clasps and unlooped it from around Tobin’s waist.
“May I?” Christen whispered, her fingers hesitating at the button of Tobin’s dress pants.
“Please,” Tobin nodded.
The pants quickly joined the shirt and the belt on the floor, leaving Tobin standing before her in a set of maroon lingerie.
“Is it corny if I say holy now?” Christen whispered, tracing her fingertips along the hard lines of Tobin’s stomach, her eyes drinking the absolute vision that was Tobin Heath in lingerie.
“I wouldn’t mind even if it is corny,” Tobin hummed.
“Good. Because... holy ,” Christen murmured, smiling just a bit as she leaned in for another kiss.
Tobin wrapped her arms around Christen, deepening the kiss and letting her hands wander along Christen's back and over the bottoms of her lingerie set. Without hesitation, Tobin lowered her hands even more, hooking them around the backs of Christen’s thighs and lifting her off the floor, so that she could lay her on the bed.
Christen let out a surprised huff as her back hit the mattress, pulling away from Tobin’s lips to smile up at her.
“So strong,” she teased breathlessly, just like she always did whenever Tobin picked her up, or pushed her up against something, or just showed off her physical side.
Tobin rolled her eyes before she leaned down and pressed her lips against Christen’s chest, sucking gently on the skin above Christen’s left breast. She let her teeth scrape over skin and her tongue soothe each mark that she left, spurred on by Christen’s reactions.
As Christen threaded her fingers in the hair at the nape of Tobin’s neck, she felt her breathing quicken again, soft moans and gasps leaving her lips without permission with every suck or bite Tobin left in her wake.
She had never considered herself a compliant lover. She liked to take control, to set the pace, to be the one to write the rules. It let her keep one foot out the door, let her be ready to gather her clothes once she was done and leave.
But tonight was different because Tobin was different. Tobin was taking control, Tobin was setting a delicious, delirious pace. Tobin was writing every rule and Christen was helpless to resist. Christen was along for the torturous, alluring, world-rocking ride.
Tobin reached her arms around Christen’s back and thumbed the clasp of the top piece of Christen’s lingerie set, lifting her head up slightly to ask permission to take the bra off.
Christen arched into the touch, her wide green eyes fixed on Tobin. “Jesus, fuck, yes . Just take it off, babe.”
Tobin smirked, loving that she was making Christen sound like this, that she could make her sound like this. Tobin unclasped the bra and pulled it off quickly, tossing it over her shoulder and likely off the bed.
“If you just threw that on a candle, I’m gonna smack you,” Christen choked out, pushing her bare chest up off the bed, her tongue darting out to wet her lips.
Tobin laughed but turned around to make sure it was on the floor and not on fire somewhere in the apartment.
“No need,” she husked, leaning down and taking one of Christen’s nipples into her mouth, swirling her tongue around it and tugging on it gently between her lips. She reached a hand up, trailing her fingers slowly up Christen’s side and cupping the unattended breast in her hand.
Christen’s hips bucked at ministrations, a choked groan wrenched from her throat at the way Tobin was lavishing her with attention, at the way Tobin was building her up quickly, far quicker than anyone ever had before. She’d be embarrassed by her grasping hands and needy moans if she wasn’t so far gone already.
Tobin switched sides, focusing on the other nipple. Instead of cupping the other breast, Tobin moved her hand down Christen’s side, slipping her thumb just under the waistband of Christen’s underwear and rubbing soft circles into the skin over her hip, all the while keeping her tongue moving at a steady pace.
“Oh fuck me,” Christen gasped, almost losing it at the barely-there touches being littered along the sensitive skin of her hips and right above where she desperately needed.
“I will,” Tobin mumbled, releasing Christen’s nipple with a pop of her lips. “You’re not very patient, are you?” Tobin teased, kissing across Christen’s collarbones, her fingers moving over the waistband of the underwear still.
Christen aimed for an annoyed huff or maybe even a grumble, but it came out more like a desperate whimper.
“Who could be patient when you’re- fuck Tobin- when you’re doing that ?” Christen managed through heaving breaths, her eyes screwed tightly shut.
“This?” Tobin asked, running a finger over the wet spot on Christen’s underwear.
Christen’s hand tightened in the hair at the back of Tobin’s head, her back arching off the bed. She forced her eyes to open, to meet Tobin’s. Those brown eyes were already looking up at her, swimming with mirth and want.
“I did not have you pegged for a tease,” Christen husked, biting back the guttural moan that begged to be set free at Tobin’s touch.
“People can be surprising,” Tobin shrugged, making her touch a little more purposeful as she brushed two fingers over the wet spot.
Christen’s jaw tensed as she fought a losing battle, trying to keep the moan at bay. It was the moan Tobin wanted from her, and she didn’t want to give it. She might have submitted, but she was still stubborn.
“ People can be surprising later,” Christen panted.
“Hey, baby?” Tobin asked, pushing the underwear aside a little, enough to slide one finger underneath and feel just how wet Christen was.
Christen’s head dropped back down against the bed, that goddamn moan finally leaving her lips as she felt a delirious haze settle over her, as she felt like every part of her was on fire.
“Wha- what?” she gasped.
“Do you mind if I take this off?” Tobin asked, innocently.
“Such a- a smartass,” Christen groaned, pushing her hips up, seeking more contact than Tobin was offering.
“That wasn’t a yes.”
“God, yes. Off. Take them off. Just take them off ,” Christen begged.
“I was hoping you’d say that,” Tobin whispered, leaning down and pressing her lips along Christen’s hips, moving the underwear down Christen’s legs slowly. She slid off the bed, taking the underwear with her and dropping them on the floor. Tobin couldn’t help but pause and look at Christen sprawled across the bed, her chest heaving and her body completely bare.
“You’re stunning,” Tobin said, stepping forward and running her hands up and down Christen’s shins.
Despite how far gone she was, despite how desperate she was for Tobin to touch her, Christen had the audacity to blush at the innocent compliment.
“So are you,” Christen replied, pushing a hand through her hair and forcing her eyes to stay open, to stay locked on Tobin, to immortalize the raw need on Tobin’s face in her mind forever.
“I’d like to make you feel good now,” Tobin hummed, climbing onto the bed and crawling up Christen’s body so that she could see Christen’s face.
Christen wrapped a hand around the back of Tobin’s neck, a smile making its way onto her face at how soft Tobin had suddenly gone.
“Please,” Christen whispered, nuzzling her nose along Tobin’s.
Tobin pressed a kiss to Christen’s lips, sliding a hand down Christen’s body, her fingers landing exactly where Christen wanted her.
She felt Christen’s hips jerk up into her hand and leaned back so that she could watch Christen’s face change with each touch. Tobin wanted to make sure that Christen enjoyed every single second. She wanted to watch Christen’s face so that she knew exactly what Christen liked best.
Tobin found a steady rhythm, enjoying the way Christen’s eyes fluttered with each touch. It wasn’t until Christen’s skin was starting to flush and her hips were jerking a little more forcefully that Tobin saw Christen biting her bottom lip.
“You can be loud, baby,” Tobin whispered, not wanting Christen to hold anything back, to bite back moans or words.
Christen loosened her hold on her lower lip, finally letting herself do exactly that. She let herself be loud, to swear and beg and curse and enjoy every moment and every touch. She let herself vocalize her want, her need. And when she felt herself getting close, faster than she ever had before, she tightened her hold on the sheets and on the back of Tobin’s neck.
“I- I’m-” Christen gasped, feeling her entire body start to shudder.
“I know,” Tobin whispered, slipping two fingers inside, heat coiling low in her stomach when she felt Christen clench around her fingers.
Tobin had never seen something as beautiful as Christen Press coming apart beneath her. She’d never imagined that watching someone in the throes of pleasure would affect her as much as it did right now, with Christen. But it did.
She helped Christen ride out her orgasm, whispering soft words and brushing her lips over Christen’s skin. When Christen’s eyes fluttered closed and her breathing steadied, Tobin flopped onto the bed beside her.
“Holy fuck,” Christen rasped, still seeing stars behind her closed eyes as she forced air back into her lungs.
Tobin didn’t respond. Instead, she brought her fingers up to her mouth and sucked on them, tasting Christen for the first time.
Christen turned her head at the soft moan that left Tobin’s lips. When she caught sight of Tobin’s tongue licking her fingers clean, Christen felt her mouth go dry. She’d never seen something sexier, never heard anything sexier than that soft moan.
She rolled over and caught Tobin’s wrist in her hand, pulling it away from Tobin’s mouth so she could lean down and kiss Tobin soundly.
“You’re incredible,” Christen hummed against Tobin’s lips.
“You taste amazing,” Tobin replied with a smirk.
Christen moaned into Tobin’s mouth, rolling more firmly on top of her. She lifted herself off of Tobin’s chest with a hand on either side of Tobin’s head, her curls cascading down around them.
“I bet you do too,” Christen smirked, intent on finding out the answer.
They didn’t leave the bed for hours. The candles had burned out, the moon was high in the sky, and a new day had nearly begun. When they finally did, it was in search of the cookie dough sitting in Christen’s fridge.
With t-shirts tugged over their sated and warm bodies, they took the tub of cookie dough over to the window seat along the far, floor-to-ceiling window Christen had in her apartment. Christen sat with her legs draped over Tobin’s lap, the tub resting atop her thighs and Tobin’s arm around her waist.
Christen leaned her head against the window, watching as Tobin swiped her thumb across her bottom lip, getting the bit of cookie dough that had gotten left there. She was mesmerized by the simple movement of Tobin’s thumb moving into her mouth, of Tobin’s tongue snagging that small bit of cookie dough off her finger. She was just mesmerized by Tobin, by everything she did.
“You’re really good in bed,” Christen said quietly, smiling a little with the admission.
Tobin let out a soft laugh, abandoning the cookie dough that sat between them and focusing on Christen. “Thank you. Were you expecting something subpar?”
“Not at all,” Christen shook her head, reaching up to brush some hair away from Tobin’s forehead. “You’re just- you’re like really good,” she chuckled.
“Phew,” Tobin teased, wiping her forehead.
“I had no idea you’d be so…” Christen trailed off, searching for the right word.
“Soooo?” Tobin asked, tilting her head a little in question.
“You’re a total top,” Christen laughed, lifting her hand to the side of Tobin’s jaw and running her thumb along Tobin’s cheekbone.
“Hmm…” Tobin sighed with a soft nod. “I suppose so.”
Christen grinned at Tobin’s thoughtful response to her teasing remark.
“I think…” Tobin said, her lips pursing a little in thought. “I think that’s the best sex I’ve ever had.”
Christen felt those words hit her right between her legs, stoking the coals of her desire and reigniting the flame. She grabbed the cookie dough, moving it to the ground. She then repositioned herself so she was sitting in Tobin’s lap, her hands pressed to the cool glass of the window behind them.
With a smirk, Christen leaned in for a kiss, a kiss Tobin eagerly lifted toward. But Christen smirked and dodged the kiss. She simply brushed her lips right by Tobin’s, across her cheek, to her ear.
“I’m just getting started,” Christen whispered, her breath ghosting across the shell of Tobin’s ear.
She moved her lips down the side of Tobin’s throat as her fingertips painted paths up and down Tobin’s bare sides. She pushed the t-shirt up with every touch, wanting more room to work.
“I know it’s mine, but I’d still like to ask your permission to take it off,” Christen hummed into Tobin’s skin, nipping gently at the base of her neck.
“If you don’t, I will,” Tobin groaned, tilting her head to the side, so Christen had more room to work.
After finding a particularly sensitive spot, one that had Tobin gasping and pushing up into her, Christen pulled away with a slight smirk. She quickly divested Tobin of the shirt and then reattached her lips to Tobin’s neck, sucking hard, hard enough to leave a mark.
“I’ve been thinking about this since our first kiss. Having you like this, against this window,” Christen murmured. She switched sides with her lips, lavishing the other side of Tobin’s throat with attention as her thumbs brushed across hardened nipples.
She’d never talked this much in bed. She never felt the need to whisper words or divulge desires before. This was just another thing that Tobin brought out of her.
Tobin let out a low moan, her hands gripping Christen’s ass and pulling her even closer. Tobin hadn’t imagined that Christen had felt that way even during their first kiss, and knowing that sent even more heat between her legs.
Tobin had never felt this comfortable with anyone before, this willing to talk and feel and have sex against a window, not in a dark bedroom. She firmly believed that if Christen suggested anything, she’d nod her head and say yes, and that was terrifying and exciting and overwhelming. She felt her heart race for the woman in her lap, radiating a warm feeling through her body that felt more serious than just liking someone.
With an ease that came from loving Tobin for hours, Christen moved down Tobin’s chest, her tongue and lips and teeth marking the path. She didn’t linger too long on Tobin’s breasts, having learned that the other woman was far less sensitive there than she was.
When she’d gone down as far as she could while still seated in Tobin’s lap, Christen pulled away from Tobin’s chest, moving back up to leave a kiss on Tobin’s lips. It was a little sloppy and tinged with need, it was a kiss Tobin was eager to return and make last.
Christen didn’t let it last though. She leaned away, moving out of Tobin’s lap and down onto the floor. She knelt on the plush carpet and pushed Tobin’s legs open, her green eyes lifting to meet Tobin’s. She marveled at how dark those brown eyes were, at how the moonlight was like a halo around Tobin’s sex-mussed hair, at how absolutely gorgeous Tobin looked, thoroughly kissed and desperate for more.
“Oh my god,” Tobin groaned, already feeling how wet she was.
Christen pressed her lips together, her fingertips gliding along the tops of Tobin’s thighs. “I haven’t even done anything ‘oh my god’ worthy yet,” she teased, her voice deep and dripping with want.
“Have you seen yourself?” Tobin husked. “This is a view I’m never forgetting.”
“I plan to spend a lot of time here, so you wouldn’t be able to forget anyway,” Christen hummed, wrapping her hands around Tobin’s lower back and pulling her to the edge of the cushion. She grinned up at the awestruck look on Tobin’s face for a moment longer before dropping her lips to Tobin’s hip bone, sucking gently as her hands pushed Tobin’s legs even further apart.
Tobin’s entire mind clouded with pleasure. Christen’s tongue moved over her hip bones, making her legs shake and her hands tighten on the edge of the window seat.
Christen took her time, wanting to draw this out as long as possible. Another thing she learned was that as much as Tobin liked to tease, she loved to be teased. And Christen Press was an excellent tease.
Once Tobin’s hand had found purchase on the back of her head, as that strong grip tried to guide her to where Tobin wanted her, Christen decided to give in just a little. She ran her tongue slowly through Tobin just once, humming at the taste she’d immediately fallen for hours ago.
“Fuck,” Tobin rasped.
“That’s a bad word,” Christen smirked, leaning back to look up at Tobin through her lashes.
“Do not do that in this situation,” Tobin said, her eyes snapping open.
“Or what?” Christen challenged, arching a brow.
“Baby, I swear. That phrase haunts me,” Tobin whined.
“Well we can’t have that,” Christen murmured, leaning back in to make it up to Tobin in the way she knew Tobin wanted her to.
Christen loved each and every noise that left Tobin’s lips when she tasted her. They were louder, more unrestrained than usual. Whatever tenuous control Tobin tried to maintain was thrown out the window whenever Christen had her tongue between her legs. Tobin Heath was a gorgeous mess when Christen worked her up like this, and Christen had never enjoyed something more.
But all of that paled in comparison to how much Christen loved pushing Tobin over the edge. She adored the way Tobin’s mouth parted slightly, the way her eyes screwed shut and her forehead got this little wrinkle in it. She was obsessed with the way her chest flushed a dark red, the way her grip tightened almost painfully on the back of Christen’s head. Everything about Tobin coming undone had Christen falling even harder for her.
She’d only gotten to do this a handful of times tonight, but she knew she would never get enough of it. She could do this every day for the rest of her life, and while that thought would normally scare the living shit out of her, right now it didn’t. It couldn’t when her name was tumbling from Tobin’s kiss-swollen lips as she pushed Tobin over the edge.
“Shit!” Tobin hissed under her breath, the steam from the coffee maker hissing at her. She pressed a different button this time, only making the machine angry, a red button blinking slowly at her and a gurgling sound coming from the back of it.
Christen groaned and blearily blinked her eyes open. “What’re you doing?” she called out in her deep, raspy morning voice that she absolutely hated but couldn’t do anything about until coffee was had.
“Nothing,” Tobin called back, her eyebrows furrowed in thought. “You can go back to sleep.”
With another groan, this time a happier one at the sated feeling in her limbs and the soreness that was very welcome, Christen got up and pulled on a t-shirt. She padded into the kitchen, a sleepy smile breaking out across her face at the sight of Tobin fighting against her coffee machine, one of her old Stanford soccer t-shirts doing a lovely job of barely covering her up.
“You have to be nice,” Christen teased.
“I was being nice. I asked it to give me coffee, and it said no and spat at me,” Tobin pouted. “I even put on this horrible shirt to convince it that I was you.”
With a breathy laugh, Christen joined Tobin by the coffee maker, her arms encircling Tobin’s waist. “Good morning,” she hummed, pressing her lips to the corner of Tobin’s jaw.
“Good morning, beautiful,” Tobin grinned, forgetting about the coffee maker in favor of the woman holding her.
Without leaving the embrace or even opening her eyes, Christen reached out and pressed three buttons in quick succession, causing the machine to hum and start spitting coffee into the mug Tobin had placed under it.
“This is the sexiest you’ve ever been,” Tobin teased, turning in Christen’s arms so that she could wrap her arms around Christen. “I was going to bring you coffee in bed.”
“But now I get to kiss you in the kitchen while the coffee maker does its sexy thing,” Christen replied with a laugh.
“That beast isn’t sexy,” Tobin grumbled.
“Hey, Janice is not a beast,” Christen protested, pressing a kiss to the tip of Tobin’s wrinkled nose.
“Janice doesn’t do it for me,” Tobin mumbled, leaning in and catching Christen’s lips.
Christen hummed into the kiss, trying not to smile too hard and break it, but failing in her efforts.
“Last night was amazing,” Christen whispered, her cheek filling with a pretty blush.
“Very amazing,” Tobin agreed. “I’d totally do it again sometime…”
“Me too. I’m glad we’re on the same page,” Christen chuckled.
“So...does Janice make dirty chais?” Tobin asked, lifting an eyebrow at the machine.
Christen wrinkled her nose and sighed. “Sadly, no. But she makes great coffee.”
“And when you don’t drink dirty chais, you put what in your coffee?” Tobin asked, stepping back toward the fridge.
“Wow, she gets me naked one time and suddenly doesn’t want to guess anymore,” Christen winked, leaning back against the counter with her arms crossed over her chest.
“Okay, okay,” Tobin said, dropping her hand away from the fridge. She stood in front of it and closed her eyes, pretending to be deep in thought. “Well, when I get you dirty chais, it’s real milk...hope that’s not an issue, otherwise sorry…” Tobin grinned.
“Not an issue. And this whole thing is adorable, so please continue,” Christen grinned, pulling her lower lip between her teeth as she watched Tobin try to figure out the right answer.
“Okay, but you also accepted creamer on the first day when I offered, so you might be a half and half girl when it comes down to regular coffee. But I doubt that because you’re a professional athlete and super conscious about what you put in your body.”
“Logical assumption,” Christen mused, her smile growing wide enough to make her cheeks start to hurt. It was just too much to see Tobin standing there in her Stanford Soccer t-shirt with that wrinkle between her brows that meant she was thinking hard.
“I’m going with regular milk...maybe a flavored creamer on special occasions if you’re feeling fruity,” Tobin finally said, pulling open the fridge and revealing no creamer or half and half, only a carton of milk.
“I’m impressed,” Christen murmured, feeling herself fall just a little harder at the goofy grin on Tobin’s face when she pulled the milk from the fridge triumphantly.
“I was really pretending to be confident just then. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was about to see in the fridge,” Tobin smiled.
“You had me fooled,” Christen chuckled.
“I’m not a half and half person either,” Tobin hummed, walking over to the coffee machine.
“I know. You like Hazelnut creamer and I have some. It’s in the back of the fridge,” Christen said softly, nodding at the now-closed fridge.
Tobin placed the carton of milk on the counter and turned around, her mouth flopping open a little at Christen’s admission.
“I didn’t just set out the candles and the sheets, babe. I prepared,” Christen chuckled.
“I really really like you,” Tobin said, pressing a kiss to Christen’s cheek. No one had ever done that for her. No one outside of her family had tried to make her feel at home in their space. No one had prepared for things that she might want.
Christen’s heart fluttered in her chest at Tobin’s words. “Feeling’s mutual,” she murmured.
But the truth of it was, the feeling wasn’t just mutual. Christen was in danger of feeling more than that already. Which was reckless and foolish and silly, but she couldn’t help it. She was in desperate danger of falling in love with Tobin Heath, with her goofy grin and warm brown eyes and giving heart. In reality, she was in danger of already having fallen in love.