Most days I wake up with a pit in my chest
There are thoughts that I can't put to rest
There's a worry that I can't place
Most nights, I am restless and quiet won't come
So I lay there and wait for the sun
There's a trouble that won't show its face
You came out of nowhere
And you cut through all the noise
I make sense to the madness
When I listen to your voice
Darling, only you can ease my mind
Help me leave these lonely thoughts behind
When they pull me under,
And I can feel my sanity start to unwind
Darling, only you can ease my mind
I'll admit, for a moment I felt so afraid
Just to show you the mess that I made
There are pieces I usually hide
But when you collect me with your steady hand
With a language that I understand
I feel put back together inside
(Christen - “Ease My Mind” by Ben Platt)
You're afraid to need someone
'Cause you've been burned, you've been burned, you've been burned
Love is good until it's gone
That's what you learned, what you've learned, what you've learned
You don't have to hide your love away and
I know that I'm gonna make mistakes, but
Leaning on somebody isn't easy
I'll do what I can to make you see that
This is not a temporary love
This is not a temporary love
Now your heart is in my hands, I won't give it up
This is not a temporary love
(Tobin - “Temporary Love” by Ben Platt)
“Christen, look at Mommy!” Scottie said, handing Christen a framed picture that she’d found in Tobin’s parents’ room. It was a tiny Tobin dressed for Halloween in a Batman costume.
“Wow, your mom is a superhero ,” Christen teased, poking the tip of Scottie’s nose with her finger and making the girl scrunch up her face adorably.
“She looks silly,” Scottie laughed, squealing a little when Tobin tried to tickle her as she walked past with some dirty dishes from dinner.
“What do you want to be for Halloween?” Christen asked, knowing the holiday wasn’t for another few months, but wanting to ask anyway. She felt like she could ask, knowing she wanted to be around for this Halloween, and the next, and many more after that.
“I don’t know. Maybe Batman,” Scottie shrugged. “Or a unicorn. Or a soccer player.”
“Those are all super-duper ideas,” Christen replied, helping Scottie up into her lap.
“What are you gonna be?” Scottie asked.
“Oh, I-'' Christen faltered, not having the slightest clue what to say. She hadn't dressed up for Halloween in years, not even participating in Halloween practices at Gotham really. “I don’t know, sweetheart. Maybe I’ll just go as a soccer player too or something.”
“That’s really original,” Tobin teased.
“What are you going as?” Christen replied, arching a brow in Tobin’s direction.
“That’s easy,” Tobin laughed. “I go as whatever Scottie asks me to go as.”
“How original,” Christen quipped, earning her a laugh from Cindy.
“Don’t worry. I’ll think of your costume too,” Scottie offered
Christen melted at the offer, smiling down at Scottie. “That’s very sweet of you. But if you and Tobin just want to do a costume together, I can go as a soccer player. I know just where I can get the costume and everything.”
“But three-person costumes are fun,” Scottie said, sliding out of Christen’s lap and turning around to look at her.
“Got any good ideas?” Christen grinned, her heart fluttering at the thought of doing a group costume with Tobin and Scottie, at the thought of having a reason to dress up and celebrate this holiday.
“Three blind mice,” Jeff suggested, starting the dishwasher with all the dirty dishes.
“The three stooges!” Cindy called out, pulling out ice cream from the freezer.
“Three musketeers,” Tobin joined in, like this was a word game.
“Ooooooh, I know,” Scottie said, her eyes growing wide with excitement. She leaned toward Christen and whispered in her ear, so that Tobin wouldn’t hear.
“Hmm...I think we could make that work,” Christen murmured, her lips pulling into a slight smirk.
“Why am I being excluded?” Tobin asked, walking to the table and wrapping her arms around Scottie.
“It’s a surprise, babe,” Christen replied with a wink for Tobin.
“Mommy, I have to ask you a serious question,” Scottie said, turning in Tobin’s arms to look up at her mom.
“What’s that?” Tobin asked, already knowing that Scottie was about to ask about sleeping over with Grandma and Grandpa.
“Grandma has Disney plus now, and I want to watch Big Hero 6 with her so...can she and I have a sleepover here?” Scottie asked, holding up her hands in a pleading gesture.
“That sounds fun, little bit. It’s cool with me. I can pick you up tomorrow,” Tobin said. She was relieved that Scottie seemed to be doing just fine, despite the Roni sighting. She still seemed to feel comfortable and safe and happy, and that’s all Tobin could ever ask for.
“YES!” Scottie cheered, throwing up shaka signs with her hands and skipping out of Tobin’s arms. “Grandma, Mommy said yes!”
“YES!” Cindy parroted. “I’ve already put the 3 Musketeers bars in the freezer, and Grandpa’s gonna make popcorn.”
“The mini 3 Musketeers I hope,” Tobin said, lifting an eyebrow at her mom as she settled down at the table next to Christen.
“Of course, only the best for my granddaughter,” Cindy replied with an affectionate eye roll.
“The freezer?” Christen whispered, leaning into Tobin just a bit and dropping her hand to Tobin’s thigh.
“My mom’s convinced they taste better cold,” Tobin laughed, wrapping an arm around Christen’s waist.
“Mommy, will you make me my super-secret drink before you leave?” Scottie asked.
“I think I need closed captioning when it comes to you two,” Christen chuckled, tucking her face into Tobin’s shoulder.
“You can come watch me make it. It isn’t that secret,” Tobin murmured before answering Scottie. “Of course, little bit. You and Grandma can get the movie started, and I’ll make you a super-secret drink.”
Christen watched Tobin heat up a glass of milk and pour just a bit of honey into it, giving it a quick stir to mix it up. Tobin then delivered the not-so-secret drink to Scottie and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
After a long goodbye, with even longer hugs and promises to come pick Scottie up tomorrow afternoon, Tobin and Christen managed to sneak out the door right as Big Hero 6 was starting.
“Milk and honey? How’d you think of that?” Christen asked as they got settled into the car and headed back to the city. She ran her fingertips across Tobin’s palm which was sitting on top of the center console, and turned to face Tobin, curious as to the origins of the super-secret drink.
“Oh- uhhh, when Scottie was almost four, she had a really bad cold, and when your kid is sick you get sick. So, both of us were miserable, and she hated the taste of hot tea. I just wanted her to drink something warm, something more than just water,” Tobin said, catching Christen’s fingers in her hand a few times as she spoke. “Since then, it's been her comfort drink of choice.”
Christen recalled the conversation she’d had with Scottie, the one where Scottie had mentioned being super sick at the same time as Tobin right when Roni had left them.
“Was that when Roni left?” Christen asked, choosing to tangle her fingers with Tobin’s as she asked the question.
“Yeah,” Tobin said, her jaw feeling a little tighter at the mention of her name.
“Scottie told me a bit about it the other day,” Christen replied softly, squeezing Tobin’s hand in her own.
Tobin’s heart sank at that information. She’d always thought that Scottie had forgotten. Scottie had only been just shy of four, and Tobin had always hoped that Scottie’s memory didn’t track back that far. Of course she remembered it, though. It had been the most stressful time of her life with Tobin. It was memorable in its own dark, miserable way.
“I still don’t fully get what she was trying to tell me, but whatever happened, she seems to be doing just fine now,” Christen added, reaching with her free hand to trace the hard line of Tobin’s jaw, hoping to soothe it with her gentle touch.
“Still makes me wish I could wipe her memory,” Tobin admitted, squeezing Christen’s hand in her own.
“I know, baby,” Christen sighed, continuing to trace her fingertips along Tobin’s jaw.
“Hi,” Tobin said, breaking the quiet in the car after a few moments of silence.
“Hi works,” Christen replied with a small smile.
“I feel like a kid with a crush right now being alone with you, and as much as I love talking about Scottie and telling you everything you want to know, I also want to pretend that the past few days haven’t been stressful. Or maybe just forget about them for the night,” Tobin breathed out, sinking into the feeling of Christen’s hand in her own.
“What do you want to do to forget about the stress, Tobin?” Christen said, surprising even herself with how quiet and low her voice sounded. Her fingertips moved below Tobin’s jaw, ghosting along the side of Tobin’s neck, up and down in an unhurried way.
“Is that a serious question?” Tobin asked, heat rushing through her body at Christen’s tone of voice.
“Maybe I just want to hear you say it,” Christen hummed, dipping her fingertips under the neck of the Gotham jersey.
“Having you for only one night isn’t enough, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since,” Tobin husked, keeping her eyes on the road, despite wanting to pull over and put the car in park.
Christen felt every part of her body respond to the tone of Tobin’s voice, to her words and the desire dripping from every single one of them.
“Me neither,” Christen managed to say, her breaths coming slightly faster now.
“Your place?” Tobin asked, gripping the steering wheel a little tighter with her left hand.
“Oh, really?” Tobin asked. “It’s my mattress isn’t it?”
“That, and I’ve wanted you to fuck me against your fridge for weeks ,” Christen whispered, letting her fingers leave the neck of the jersey and skim across Tobin’s collarbones.
“Baby,” Tobin groaned, glancing over at Christen for the briefest of seconds. “We still have twenty minutes left in this drive.”
“This will be a good test of your patience then,” Christen chuckled, moving her hand even lower.
Tobin considered herself a very patient woman. She was an extremely patient parent, hardly raising her voice at Scottie. She was a patient artist, letting people suggest changes to commissioned work if they really desired something else. And previously, she would have described herself as a patient lover, but now she was starting to question that.
She’d prided herself on being able to tease and care for the women she slept with, making them beg for her to take them to the edge as fast as possible but never relenting. Now, though, with Christen pressed against the fridge and magnets all over the floor, Tobin didn’t want to be patient or tease. She wanted Christen to feel good right now, and she wanted to be the one to do it.
Tobin didn’t want to tease Christen over her clothes. She didn’t want to touch her over her jeans or her shirt. As soon as they were in the kitchen, Christen’s purse hanging on the hook near the stairs, Tobin’s hands were under her shirt and tracing every inch of Christen’s skin she could find. She wasn’t patient tonight. Instead, she tugged at Christen’s shirt and waited for a nod from Christen to pull it off completely before connecting her lips to Christen’s chest.
“Fuck, Tobin,” Christen husked, threading her fingers in Tobin’s hair. She was grateful for Tobin’s weight pressing her against the fridge, for the strong thigh pressed between her own because she wasn’t sure she’d be able to stay on her feet otherwise. She was completely under Tobin’s spell, lulled into compliance and submission by the feeling of Tobin’s masterful hands desperately clinging to her, by the feeling of Tobin’s teeth dragging along the side of her throat and across her collarbones.
“I missed this,” Tobin mumbled before slipping her tongue under the top of Christen’s bra and sliding her hands lower over Christen’s hips.
“How do you-” Christen felt the question die on her lips when Tobin ran her tongue across the material of her sports bra, right over her hardened nipple. “How do you say such sweet things, when your hands are doing- are doing things like-” a broken moan left Christen’s mouth when Tobin popped open the button of her jeans.
“Because I don’t just lust after you. I don't just want you like this. I want all of you,” Tobin whispered back. “May I take these off?”
Christen didn’t even have the words to answer, she just wrapped her free hand around Tobin’s and pushed it against the front of her jeans, silently begging for Tobin to take them off, to take it all off.
Tobin couldn’t stop the beaming smile that spread across her lips at Christen’s physical response. She paused to press one more kiss to Christen’s lips before kneeling down on the floor in front of her. Tobin pulled Christen’s jeans off, helping her step out of them.
Normally, she’d tease. She’d leave Christen’s underwear in place and kiss Christen’s legs until they started to shake, but she didn’t feel patient this time, not when she knew she had all night to be patient. Tobin slipped Christen’s underwear down and hooked one of Christen’s legs over her shoulder, glancing up to look at Christen’s dark, hooded eyes.
“You’re going to be the death of me, Tobin Heath,” Christen husked, wetting her lips and tightening her hold on the back of Tobin’s head.
Tobin smirked up at Christen before leaning in to taste her, letting out a soft groan at how wet Christen already was for her. She knew it wouldn’t take long, so she moved her hands up to Christen’s waist to help hold her up against the fridge while she set a steady pace with her tongue.
A choked chorus of expletives, interspersed with Tobin’s name, fell from Christen’s lips as she was quickly built up and lovingly pushed over the edge. The only thing keeping Christen grounded was the feeling of the cool metal of the fridge behind her and the feeling of Tobin’s hands on her hips.
Tobin could feel the heat between her own legs, but right now she took her time. She helped Christen slowly ride out her orgasm, enjoying every single sound that left Christen’s lips. She’d never wanted to make someone feel as good as she wanted to make Christen feel. She’d never wanted to worship someone’s body as much as she wanted to worship Christen’s. When Christen finally tugged on the back of her neck, Tobin took the hint, only pausing to kiss Christen’s inner thighs before she stood up and met Christen’s lips with her own.
The kiss took them from the kitchen, toward the stairs, a trail of clothing left in their wake.
“You’re the most beautiful woman in the world,” Tobin murmured against Christen’s lips when they reached the top of the stairs and the hallway that led to Tobin’s bedroom.
Christen grinned into the kiss, pulling Tobin further down the hallway, already knowing exactly where she wanted to go.
“I’d argue with you, but I have a feeling I can find a better use for my mouth right now,” Christen whispered, nipping at Tobin’s bottom lip as they finally crossed the threshold into Tobin’s bedroom.
Tobin let out a soft moan, surrendering completely to whatever plans Christen had in store.
“Is this where you want it?” Christen hummed, moving her lips down the side of Tobin’s throat, nipping and sucking as she pushed them back towards the bed.
Tobin let out a groan before tangling a hand in the back of Christen’s hair and gently tugging. “Maybe lower,” she choked out.
When the backs of Tobin’s knees hit the bed, Christen gently pushed Tobin down to the mattress, her lips never leaving Tobin’s neck.
“Maybe?” Christen parrotted in a low voice, settling above Tobin as they moved in sync into the middle of the bed.
“Definitely,” Tobin husked, forcing herself to keep her eyes open despite the warm desire in her body, not wanting to miss a second of this moment with Christen.
“How about here?” Christen hummed, her lips placing small kisses between Tobin’s breasts.
“That’s nice, but lower,” Tobin whined, her hips twitching upward, longing for some kind of friction.
Christen pushed her palms against Tobin’s hips to keep her still as her lips continued their downward trajectory.
“Is this low enough?” Christen husked, nipping gently at the smooth, tanned skin of Tobin’s stomach.
“No, baby,” Tobin nearly begged, not even caring that she sounded desperate. She was sure that she’d never sounded this needy with anyone ever before, but she couldn’t find it in herself to feel embarrassed, not when Christen was looking at her with dark eyes full of desire and kiss swollen lips.
Christen smirked into Tobin’s skin and moved even further down Tobin’s body, pressing her lips against Tobin’s hips. She looked up through her lashes at the undone mess she’d made out of Tobin, her tongue tracing a slow line up the inside of Tobin’s thigh as her green eyes met brown ones.
“Getting warmer?” Christen whispered, arching a brow.
“Mhm,” Tobin moaned, trying to lift her hips up against Christen’s strong hands.
“I like you like this,” Christen murmured, using her tongue to even the field and trace up the inside of Tobin’s other thigh.
“Who knew you-” Tobin breathed out with a huff, arching off the bed. “Who knew you were such a tease,” Tobin choked out.
“There is so much you don’t know,” Christen grinned, finally ending her tortuous path where she was always meant to end it. She used her hands to spread Tobin’s legs even wider as she dragged her tongue through the molten heat at the apex of Tobin’s thighs.
Tobin matched Christen’s profanity from earlier. Her hips and legs twitched uncontrollably, matching Christen’s pace and tightening around Christen’s shoulders. In her blissed-out state, three words spun through Tobin’s head.
She’d never been the kind of person to fall for someone quickly. She’d always taken her time, but spending time with Christen and watching her spend time with Scottie had completely sped up the process. Christen was different and special and amazing, and it didn’t hurt that the sex was the absolute best of her life. It took all of her remaining focus to bite her bottom lip and hold the words in when she tipped over the edge and completely fell apart against Christen.
If only Tobin knew Christen was thinking the exact same thing. If only she knew that Christen kept her tongue and lips moving, ushering Tobin toward another orgasm so that Christen wouldn’t do something foolish like say those three little words right now either.
“Um...weirdest place you’ve ever had sex?” Christen asked, tracing her fingertips in circles across Tobin’s bare stomach.
“Under the bleachers at UNC,” Tobin mumbled lazily. “You?”
“A Ferris Wheel at Coney Island,” Christen admitted with a blush, hiding her face in the crook of Tobin’s neck.
“You win,” Tobin snorted. “I didn’t realize you were into doing that in public.”
“I mean, I’m not. Not really,” Christen replied, getting a little lost in the feeling of Tobin’s naked body pressed against her own. “That was a little too public for my taste.”
“Hmm…” Tobin sighed in thought, running her fingers up and down Christen’s side. “Your most frequent sexual fantasy?”
“Oh that’s a good one,” Christen hummed, letting her eyes fall shut as she pondered her answer. As she thought, she pressed a few kisses to the base of Tobin’s throat. “I’ve recently been thinking a lot about you...in my jersey...in just my jersey,” Christen whispered, an involuntary shudder running through her at the admission.
“I can do that,” Tobin husked, pressing a kiss to Christen’s temple.
“What about you?” Christen murmured, flattening her hand on Tobin’s stomach.
“Well...it involves you,” Tobin grinned. “And my studio.”
Christen propped herself up on her arm so that she was hovering above Tobin. Her green eyes danced with curiosity as a slow smile made its way across her face.
“And?” Christen wondered.
“Umm…” Tobin sighed, feeling a slightly embarrassed blush slip up her neck. “Some non-toxic paint and a canvas.”
Christen swallowed thickly, her body already reacting to the mental images Tobin’s words evoked. “And?” she repeated, moving her hand lower, down across Tobin’s hip and between Tobin’s legs as she looked deep into Tobin’s eyes.
“You completely naked against said canvas,” Tobin added, her throat bobbing as she swallowed, her hips jolting slightly at the contact.
Christen nodded, encouraging Tobin to continue as she began to touch Tobin languidly, her fingers barely adding enough pressure to do more than tease.
“I- uh-” Tobin gulped.
“Use your words, baby,” Christen whispered, a smirk tugging at her lips.
“I want to paint your back and your arms and fuck you against the canvas,” Tobin rasped, her jaw clenching at the fantasy she’d had since Christen had first stepped foot in her studio.
“Jesus,” Christen choked out, lowering herself to capture Tobin’s lips in a bruising kiss. It took everything inside of her to finish what she’d started, instead of dragging Tobin down to the studio right now. She added pressure, moving her fingers with purpose, determined to show Tobin just how much that fantasy wasn’t just Tobin’s now. It was hers as well.
“I’ll take that as you’re interested,” Tobin whispered, feeling every inch of her skin start to heat up with each of Christen’s touches.
“Very,” Christen agreed, almost too enthusiastically. Her kisses turned sloppy, needy, hot, and desperate as she picked up her pace, finally finding that one spot that made Tobin gasp in the most exquisite way.
“Fuck,” Tobin moaned, feeling Christen take her to the edge way faster than she’d ever experienced. “Baby, don’t stop.”
And Christen couldn’t deny Tobin’s wish. She didn’t stop; if anything, she increased her pace, her pressure. She kept it up until she swallowed Tobin’s keening whine, until Tobin’s body went still beneath her own, until Tobin’s hips stopped twitching.
“How awake are you on a scale from 1 to 10?” Tobin sighed, holding Christen close.
Christen chuckled, bringing her fingers up to her lips and licking them clean. “I’d say very awake.”
“Awake enough to go downstairs?” Tobin asked, her voice coming out way raspier than she intended.
“The studio?” Christen wondered, a delicious sort of warmth flashing through her at the thought.
“If you want,” Tobin nodded, her mouth already going dry at the idea.
“I want all of you and I want everything with you,” Christen murmured with a small smile, one that felt far too sweet and out of place in the sultry, sex-filled moment they found themselves in.
Tobin tried to ignore the way her heart raced at a possible deeper meaning behind Christen’s words. She tried desperately to take things slow, to keep from freaking Christen out with anything a little too serious. She released her tight grip on Christen and slipped out of bed, offering a hand to help Christen out of bed after her. Together, they climbed down the stairs, trading kisses and shy smiles and the occasional laugh, not bothering to slip anything on over their naked bodies. Tobin paused in the kitchen to offer Christen something to drink, and once the two of them had water, they made their way into the studio.
“I think, logistically, I’m still a little curious as to how this whole thing will work. But I trust you,” Christen chuckled, wrapping her arms around Tobin from behind and ghosting her lips across her bare shoulder.
“I mean the actual paint part of this might end up looking horrible,” Tobin laughed.
“I don’t think the end product is the point,” Christen hummed, her hands dancing across the bare skin of Tobin’s stomach.
Tobin turned around in Christen’s arms and ran the tip of her nose against Christen’s. “I worked in here super early the morning after our first real date, and I thought about this,” Tobin admitted.
“Show me,” Christen whispered with a shy smile.
“Pick a color,” Tobin grinned, glancing over at the tubes of paint she could use on Christen’s skin.
“Goofy orange,” Christen murmured.
“Cute,” Tobin chuckled, taking Christen by her shoulders and turning her around. Tobin carefully piled Christen’s hair into a messy bun, using a ponytail to keep it off of her back and out of any paint.
She stepped away from Christen, finding a blank canvas in a pile near the door to the garage. It was a larger canvas that had originally been meant for someone’s commissioned piece, but she didn’t care about using it for this. She preferred using it with Christen, even if it meant going to an art store later in the week.
She hung it on the wall, knowing she’d have to be careful not to knock it over when she pressed Christen’s back against it. She wasn’t even sure this would work like it had in her head, but she had Christen staring at her with those green eyes completely full of want, and she wasn’t about to give up an opportunity to try it.
With one of her softest, largest brushes, she spread a generous amount of orange paint on Christen’s back and on the back of Christen’s arms. She added a few different shades of orange and a few pinks, working quickly, knowing that it needed to be wet to actually end up on the canvas. As soon as she tossed the brush onto a nearby table, Christen’s eyes grew even darker. Tobin’s hands seemed to have a mind of their own, trailing over Christen’s hips and chest and legs as she walked Christen back toward the canvas and pressed her against it gently.
“I get it now,” Christen husked, pushing her back and arms as much as she could into the canvas and hooking her leg around Tobin’s waist, pulling Tobin against her.
Tobin pushed Christen’s arms up, almost over her head, leaving a smear of paint on the canvas on either side of Christen’s head. She didn’t even look at the paint job, too consumed by Christen’s rising chest and the way Christen’s tongue kept wetting her bottom lip. Tobin pressed kisses up Christen’s neck, likely getting paint in her own hair but not caring at all. She sucked gently, pushing her own body flush against Christen’s.
“Where are you going to put this?” Christen rasped, feeling like every single part of her was on fire. She almost didn’t know what to focus on, from the feeling of the wet paint against her skin, to the rough canvas at her back, and the warmth of Tobin’s skin on her own.
“Where do you think?” Tobin hummed, letting her left hand trail down Christen’s body to her thighs.
“God, Tobin,” Christen groaned, rolling her hips up into Tobin’s and trying to pull her hands out of Tobin’s tight grasp. She wanted to wrap her arms around Tobin’s shoulders and kiss her senseless. She wanted friction, she wanted release.
“My bedroom doesn’t have any art in it yet,” Tobin mumbled against Christen’s throat, letting her fingers inch higher against Christen’s inner thigh. She didn’t mind that Christen was moving against the canvas. She didn’t mind that Christen was jerking up into her hand and spreading wet paint across the canvas, getting some on both of them, in their hair, on Christen’s neck, somehow on Tobin’s chin.
“You want me in your bedroom?” Christen asked breathlessly, her eyes fluttering open. She took in the pale moonlight streaming through the windows, the shadows and light playing across the paintings, the artwork littering the studio space, and Tobin, always Tobin.
“All the time,” Tobin whispered. She dropped her right hand, letting Christen’s hands go, just barely noticing that they left even more streaks along the canvas before landing around her own shoulders.
Tobin took her hands away from Christen, getting a whimper in response. But the whimper turned into a guttural moan when she lifted Christen’s other leg around her waist, so that she was holding Christen up against the canvas. She then moved her right arm around Christen’s waist and dropped her left hand back between Christen’s legs, sliding a finger inside of her.
“Fuck, baby,” Christen managed, burying her hands in Tobin’s hair and crashing their lips together. She rolled her hips down into Tobin’s hand, a wave of pleasure crashing through her.
She felt Tobin moving them against the canvas, and knew she was getting paint in places she never thought she would. But she couldn’t care about anything except the feeling of Tobin holding her up, of Tobin’s hand between her legs, of Tobin inside of her.
“More,” Christen husked, the word coming out almost in a whine, vaguely pleading. She mumbled it into the bit of space between their lips before diving back in for another kiss.
Tobin could never deny Christen anything she asked for in that tone of voice, so she added another finger and more pressure with her palm, whispering soft words against Christen’s lips. She increased her pace, ignoring the slight cramp in her wrist in favor of hearing the noises that slipped from Christen’s lips.
When she felt Christen clench around her fingers, she knew Christen was seconds from falling apart. Tobin relished in the loud moan that wrenched itself from Christen’s lips when Christen toppled over the edge. She slowly and softly helped Christen ride out each shuddering breath and tensing muscle. She kept Christen in her arms until Christen slumped forward, resting her forehead against Tobin’s shoulder and smiling against her skin.
“Got any more fantasies you want to share?” Christen mumbled. “Because, holy .”
“I’ll keep you updated,” Tobin hummed, pressing kisses along Christen’s neck as she lowered her onto a nearby table, not necessarily trusting Christen’s legs to stand up on their own.
Christen kept her legs around Tobin’s waist but leaned back so she could look at Tobin. She felt her blissed-out smile grow at the sight of orange paint on Tobin’s chin and ear and neck. She reached out and traced her fingertips over the now dry paint.
“I’m no artist…” Christen trailed off, her eyes flicking up to meet Tobin’s. “But I think that orange over there would look great with some happy yellow added to it.”
Tobin’s eyes widened at Christen’s suggestion. “Oh, really?” she asked, her voice raw with desire.
“Yeah,” Christen hummed. “I think we should try it out in the pursuit of artistic expression.”
“I’m all about artistic expression,” Tobin husked, leaning down to capture Christen’s lips. It seemed that no matter how many times she tasted Christen or felt Christen’s skin against her own, Tobin just couldn’t get enough. She could do this all night long for the rest of her life. “Who’s painting this time?”
“I can’t let you have all the fun,” Christen grinned.
Tobin ran a wet washcloth over Christen’s back, letting the warm water cascade over her own back as she scrubbed softly at Christen’s skin. The orange paint came off easily, ending up on the washcloth with each swipe. She kissed every inch of skin as the paint disappeared, wanting every inch of Christen to know just how much she cared, how much she loved, even if she couldn’t say the words just yet.
“This can’t be real,” Christen whispered, bracing her hands on the tile wall as she felt the warm washcloth and Tobin’s lips move across her skin.
“What do you mean?” Tobin laughed softly, rinsing the washcloth before going back to get the last bits of paint off of Christen’s shoulders and neck.
“You can’t be this good ,” Christen replied, her words unhurried and slow.
“In bed? Well...in studio?” Tobin teased.
“In everything,” Christen hummed. “You’re just so good, Tobin.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m so good,” Tobin whispered. “But I’m glad you think so.”
“Babe, we just made sweet, sweet love against a canvas with paint on our bodies. That is like, the epitome of good,” Christen chuckled, turning to shoot Tobin a smile over her shoulder.
Tobin didn’t call Christen out for saying ‘made love.’ She didn’t want to scare her, but she was glad that Christen thought of it like that, since she’d poured every ounce of love she could into every touch. She connected her lips to Christen’s neck, kissing a soft trail down to the base of Christen’s neck and across one of her shoulder blades.
“I think you’re so good too,” she murmured into Christen’s skin.
Christen sank into the feeling, letting herself melt back into Tobin’s arms, her hands falling from the tile wall. As Tobin’s arms tightened around her middle, as Tobin’s lips continued to move across her back, whispering things like So good and You’re amazing into her skin, Christen felt her love for Tobin grow tenfold. She felt like whatever love she’d had inside of her heart before this moment paled in comparison to the love she now felt. She’d never felt this cared for, this adored, this cherished.
“I- I really like you,” Christen whispered, catching herself at the last moment, reminding herself not to say what she wanted to, not with Roni still lingering in the city. She’d say it soon, but not now. This was as close as she could get for now and that was okay.
“I really, really like you,” Tobin hummed, tightening her hold around Christen and stilling her lips. She held Christen in her arms, just taking in the warmth from the other woman’s skin and the sweet smell that seemed to constantly be present in Christen’s skin and hair.
“So competitive,” Christen teased, her voice airy and light.
“I don’t think telling the truth has anything to do with being competitive,” Tobin hummed softly.
“So you won’t mind if I said I really, really, really like you?” Christen asked with a small laugh.
Tobin couldn’t stop the smile that grew on her lips. “I really, really, really like you too. How’s that?”
“Enough reallys for now,” Christen replied, angling her head so she could ghost her lips along the hard line of Tobin’s jaw.
“For now,” Tobin agreed, pressing her face into Christen’s shoulder.
“Not to break up the really fest, but can we get in bed?” Christen murmured, feeling her eyelids droop just a little bit thanks to the warm body wrapped around hers and the warm water cascading down around them.
“Of course,” Tobin nodded, getting one last tiny spot of paint off of Christen’s jaw and draping the washcloth over the bathtub faucet. She shut off the water and pushed the shower door open, reaching around for one of the clean, gray towels she’d set out before getting in the shower. She wrapped Christen up in the towel before grabbing the other for herself.
It was almost easy the way they got ready for bed in tandem, brushing their teeth together, alternating using the sink to wash their faces. Tobin held Christen’s hair back while she rinsed her face, and Christen wiped a bit of toothpaste off of Tobin’s chin that Tobin had missed. It was easy and natural, something neither of them had expected but, in hindsight, should have. It was easy and natural, just like everything always was when they were together.
With a happy little sigh, Christen burrowed deeper under the covers, just her face poking out from the top of them.
“Why are you taking so long? I’m freezing,” Christen grumbled, watching as Tobin walked around the room, shutting off the lights. Despite the grumble, and the slight shiver, Christen still smiled. She hadn’t stopped smiling all night.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Tobin teased, turning off the hall light and making her way to the bed. “I can fix that,” she hummed, crawling under the covers and pressing her body against Christen’s.
Christen let out another happy sigh and cuddled closer to Tobin, burying her face in the crook of Tobin’s neck. “So warm,” Christen hummed, wrapping her arm around Tobin’s waist.
“Your feet are freezing,” Tobin said, pressing a kiss to Christen’s head.
“They won’t be if you warm them up,” Christen replied.
Tobin positioned her feet on either side of Christen’s, appreciating the icy feeling of Christen’s feet on her own since she typically ran hot. “You’re an ice cube. Your nose is cold,” Tobin murmured.
“Keep complaining and I’ll scoot over,” Christen teased, her arm tightening around Tobin, showing that despite her threat, she wasn’t going anywhere.
“No,” Tobin whined, tightening her own grip on Christen. “You’re the best ice cube. Honestly, I sleep better with you here because you cool down the entire temperature of this bed with your cold feet.”
Christen ran her fingers up and down Tobin’s side as she thought about how much better she slept next to Tobin as well. It wasn’t just the body temperature thing, it was the fact that sleeping with her arms around Tobin, or Tobin’s arms around her, made her feel so safe and whole and peaceful. It made her never want to sleep alone again. It made her feel like she’d found her place, where she was meant to be.
“My mom would have loved you,” Christen whispered, her voice catching just a bit with the admission. She had no idea where that had come from, she hadn’t meant to say something of that magnitude at this moment. It just slipped out, tumbling from her lips and her heart without permission or preamble.
She almost took it back, almost stumbled over herself to apologize and change the subject. But then she realized she didn’t need to do that. The words had left her easily for a reason, so maybe she should just lean into that reason.
Tobin’s arms held Christen securely, and her hands rubbed small circles on Christen’s bare back. She knew how meaningful Christen’s words were. She knew how incredibly big it was for Christen to offer up any kind of information about her parents because she knew Christen was hurting, that she would always hurt, always feel an ache in her chest, no matter how much time passed.
“What was she like?” Tobin asked, keeping her voice soft and low, just in case Christen wanted to pretend like she hadn’t heard, just in case Christen wasn’t ready to fully talk about them.
Despite the pain in her chest and the way it got just a little bit harder to breathe, Christen felt a small smile make its way across her face. She pulled back just a bit and settled her head on the pillow that had quickly become her own, her eyes tracking across Tobin’s face. She felt her heart settle just a bit at the open expression on Tobin’s face and the warmth in her brown eyes.
“Funny. God, she was so funny, Tobin. And she had the best laugh in the entire world. It would just light up whatever room she was in,” Christen replied softly, her eyes stinging just a bit.
Tobin brushed a strand of hair behind Christen’s ear, letting her hand trail slowly over Christen’s cheek and jaw and neck before she rested it on Christen’s back again.
“She was passionate about whatever she was doing. Whether it was work or helping us set up a lemonade stand on the corner, she just cared . She was smart too, and not just the nerdy New York Times Sunday crossword smart either. She was smart, and she dreamed big. She was always dreaming about vacations or the future,” Christen continued. This was the first time she’d really talked about her mom and even if it felt like there was an elephant sitting on her chest, she also felt lighter than she had in a long, long time.
“She came to every single one of my practices growing up. Every single game. Even in college. She might have cared more about soccer than I did, but she always believed in me. She always knew soccer was it for me,” Christen said, her lips twitching up into a sad, half-smile.
“She sounds like an amazing mom,” Tobin whispered.
Christen swallowed thickly, her vision of Tobin blurring a bit with the unshed tears pooling in her eyes. “She was, yeah,” Christen replied, her voice quiet and fragile.
“She sounds a lot like you,” Tobin added, keeping her eyes on Christen’s as she spoke. She could see just how watery Christen’s eyes were becoming, and she was prepared to brush them away with her thumbs or a few small kisses or one of the handkerchiefs in the drawer of her bedside table.
“I don’t know about that,” Christen murmured, blinking away the tears in her eyes, not feeling like she was much of any of those things.
“Well, I do. You’re also very smart, and it isn’t just book smart. You’re empathetic and smart when it comes to other people,” Tobin murmured. “You’re so funny and you're passionate about playing and about coaching. I’ve never met someone who cares as much as you do. I called you a natural, but you had to learn it from somewhere...how you are with Scottie.”
Christen reached out and ran her thumb beneath Tobin’s eye. “I’m glad you see me that way,” she replied softly.
“I will always see you that way. I can be patient and wait for you to see it too, though,” Tobin hummed. “Until then, I’ll keep reminding you.”
The first tear slipped out from the corner of Christen’s eye as a wobbly breath left her lips. “Yeah, she really would have loved you, Tobin Heath.”
Tobin was quick to brush the first tear from Christen’s cheek. If at all possible, she held Christen even more securely, keeping their bodies as close as possible without going cross-eyed. “I wish I’d gotten to meet her. Both of your parents. The people who made you you, ” she said softly.
“Me too, baby,” Christen breathed out.
“I will never not be grateful to them,” Tobin whispered.
“You’re gonna make me cry,” Christen warned with a huff and a small smile. “And there are no clothes to ruin with my tears this time.”
“You’re allowed to cry,” Tobin said gently, brushing her fingers along Christen’s cheek. “Skin is waterproof, and I also have a collection of handkerchiefs within three feet that are all at your disposal.”
Christen caught the only other tear that slipped out and wiped it away, willing away the rest of them despite Tobin’s offer.
“I’ll let you know if I need one,” she replied, her smile growing. “But right now, I’m picturing how my dad would have tried to be all tough Papa Press with you, and he would have epically failed.”
“He probably still would have intimidated me,” Tobin replied, a smile slipping onto her lips. “I would have wanted him to like me so badly that I would have worked myself up into some stressed out mess.”
“He and my mom would have watched you interact with Scottie for all of two seconds and just like that, they would have been wrapped around your finger,” Christen replied with a small shake of her head, her eyes growing a tad wistful.
“They wouldn’t have been worried about the single mom thing?” Tobin wondered aloud.
“Not even for a second,” Christen hummed. “Because they would have watched all three of us together and seen what everybody else seems to see.”
“And what’s that?” Tobin asked, tilting her head just slightly against her pillow.
“We...fit,” Christen murmured, her cheeks filling with a small blush. “I don’t even fully understand it sometimes, but we just...work. The three of us. Becky and Kel see it, Abby and Glennon see it, your family sees it. We...fit,” Christen repeated, her heart hammering in her chest at the serious implications behind her words.
“We do fit,” Tobin agreed, feeling her own eyes sting slightly at the power behind those three tiny words.
“Thanks for bumping into me,” Christen murmured, feeling that familiar feeling again. She felt the love filling her up and begging to be acknowledged. She knew the love was in her eyes and in her words, and she didn’t do anything to mask it. She just let it exist, knowing she’d acknowledge it and vocalize it soon.
“Thanks for letting me give you that first cup of coffee,” Tobin whispered back, matching her own words to Christen’s so that they carried the same kind of meaning and power that she interpreted from Christen’s words.
Christen leaned in and pressed a lingering kiss to Tobin’s lips and then settled against her chest, the sound of Tobin’s heartbeat lulling Christen into a state of peace.
“Thank you,” Tobin murmured quietly, continuing to run a hand up and down Christen’s back.
“For what,?” Christen hummed.
“For telling me about them,” Tobin answered, pressing her lips to Christen’s forehead. She wanted Christen to know that she wanted her to talk about anything and everything she needed to. She wanted Christen to know that she was more than welcome to bring them up anytime she wanted. Tobin would listen to absolutely anything Christen needed or wanted to share.
“I want to tell you everything, just- just give me time,” Christen whispered, her arm tightening around Tobin’s middle.
“You have all the time in the world,” Tobin mumbled back, trailing her fingers over Christen’s spine until she finally felt Christen’s breathing even out. She felt Christen’s grip loosen and Christen’s breath puff across her collarbones, signaling that she was asleep.
Tobin didn’t consider herself a coward. She didn’t shy away from speaking her mind or telling people what she wanted. She was courageous when Scottie needed someone to check under her bed for monsters, and she could bravely dive into the deep end to get Scottie’s goggles when she accidentally dropped them in the pool.
She’d been feeling stronger feelings for Christen than she had for anyone else she’d ever met. There was an undeniable warmth in her chest whenever she looked at Christen or talked to her or touched her, and she knew exactly what it was. She knew it was love. She knew she was in love with Christen Press.
But it wasn’t the time to tell Christen. Tobin didn’t want Christen to feel like the ‘I love you’ came because of the Roni reappearance or because of her opening up about her parents. She wanted the ‘I love you’ to come in a moment that was only about the two of them, a moment when love couldn’t be confused with anything else. She wanted Christen to feel as special and loved as she truly was.
Tobin didn’t consider herself a coward, but for the first time in her life, Tobin did something that she considered cowardly.
“I love you,” Tobin whispered to the woman sleeping on her chest, letting the warmth in her heart radiate throughout her entire body, letting it consume her until she fell asleep.
“Tobin, phone,” Christen grumbled, pulling the comforter tighter around both her and Tobin and pressing her face into Tobin’s back.
“No,” Tobin mumbled, burying her face in her pillow and gripping Christen’s leg that was wrapped around her waist.
The phone kept buzzing, the sound loud and obnoxious and continuing, despite Christen’s silent pleas for it not to.
“Babe,” Christen tried again, squeezing her eyes tightly shut at the sunlight filtering in through parted curtains as she wished for just another hour of sleep.
Tobin reached out an arm, fumbling for her phone on the bedside table and seeing that she only had one notification, and it was a text from Abby. She didn’t even bother reading it, choosing instead to roll over and bury her face in Christen’s neck.
“It’s not mine,” Tobin mumbled, pressing a few soft, lazy kisses on Christen’s neck.
Knowing it wasn’t Tobin’s meant that whatever was causing her phone to buzz was not important, nor an emergency. It was nothing Scottie related, so there was no rush.
“If we just ignore it, it’ll stop,” Christen mused, feeling a smile tug at her lips.
“Sounds like a good plan,” Tobin agreed, wrapping her arms around Christen and snuggling even closer. She was a huge fan of morning cuddles, and she wasn’t about to squander a morning that she had with Christen, alone and naked in her bed.
“You’re cuddly this morning,” Christen said, letting out a small yawn as she held Tobin close, her arms wrapped around Tobin’s back.
“You’re easy to cuddle with,” Tobin murmured, turning her face slightly and kissing the underside of Christen’s jaw. “And you smell really good.”
“I smell like your body wash,” Christen chuckled, ignoring the buzzing phone in favor of the woman in her arms.
“No, you smell better than just my body wash. You always smell good,” Tobin admitted sleepily.
Christen’s phone finally stopped buzzing, causing her to let out a sigh of relief. “Finally,” she mumbled, ready to hold Tobin close and fall back asleep.
And then Tobin’s phone started buzzing.
“Noooo,” Tobin whined, blindly pushing the button on the side of her phone to silence the call and ignore it.
Christen laughed, the sound a little raspy because of the early morning hour. “You really aren’t a morning person, babe.”
“No coffee, no talky,” Tobin replied simply, repeating the line that Christen had told her in the very beginning of their relationship.
Christen had to press her lips to Tobin’s head, dropping a kiss to her creased forehead to keep herself from saying something silly like I love you . She was saved from having to come up with a reply when Tobin’s phone started buzzing again.
Tobin let out a growl before looking at her phone screen. She silenced it again and then turned her phone on do not disturb, so that only her mom’s calls would actually come through.
“Kelley fucking O’Hara,” Tobin huffed, pulling the comforter back up over her shoulders and burrowing into Christen’s body again.
Christen felt her brow furrow, not entirely sure why Kelley would be calling Tobin. She reached out and grabbed Tobin’s phone from where Tobin had left it on the bed.
“Baaaaabe,” Tobin sighed, not liking that Christen was moving and possibly getting up and leaving their warm, cuddly cocoon.
“Kel doesn’t call you, ever. Just let me check these three texts she sent you,” Christen said softly, running the hand that wasn’t holding the phone through Tobin’s hair gently.
Christen saw the words Pancake Sunday and Team will be at your place in an hour and a half and immediately dropped the phone back to the bed.
“We gotta get up,” Christen rushed out, kicking at the mountain of covers on top of them.
“No, we don’t. My mom said Scottie’s fine until the afternoon,” Tobin hummed, trying to hold onto Christen.
“It’s pancake Sunday,” Christen replied, attempting to squirm out of Tobin’s arms.
“She can eat pancakes with my parents,” Tobin grumbled.
“Baby, the entire Gotham team is coming over for pancakes in less than two hours,” Christen deadpanned, finally extricating herself from Tobin’s arms so she could sit up in bed.
“Ha. Ha,” Tobin huffed into the pillow that her face was now buried in.
“I’d recommend some pants...and a high-necked shirt,” Christen said, kissing Tobin’s shoulder and hopping out of bed.
“I don’t remember inviting thirty adult women to Pancake Sunday,” Tobin said, cracking an eye open.
“Scottie and I might have done that for you…” Christen trailed off with a sheepish smile.
“Christen Press!” Tobin groaned, finally sitting up in bed.
“I’m sorry! You’re the most beautiful woman in the world and I like you soooo much!” Christen replied, darting into the bathroom and grabbing her toothbrush from its spot next to Tobin’s.
“No, no, no, you can uninvite them,” Tobin argued.
Christen stuck the toothbrush in her mouth and just shrugged back at Tobin, her eyes pleading.
“Do you realize how much batter you need to feed thirty people?” Tobin sighed in exasperation.
Christen’s green eyes danced with amusement as she held her arms out at her sides, gesturing a lot in response to Tobin’s question.
Tobin pressed the palms of her hands against her eyes before rolling out of bed. “You’re lucky I like you,” she grumbled, wrapping an arm around Christen’s waist as she leaned around her to get her own toothbrush. “And this is not going to become a weekly team thing.”
Christen took the toothbrush out of her mouth and pressed a toothpaste kiss to Tobin’s cheek before shaking her head, silently communicating that ‘ No this will not be a weekly thing’ .
“So-wy,” Christen said with a smile and a mouthful of toothpaste as she continued to brush her teeth.
Tobin was far far far gone for the woman in front of her. Her heart melted at Christen’s toothpaste-covered mouth and her adorable ‘sorry’ and the way she seemed to feel completely at home in Tobin’s space. Whispering ‘I love you’ in the dark hadn’t been enough to quell that warm feeling in her chest, and it was threatening to explode right out of her. Tobin shoved her toothbrush into her mouth, making faces at Christen as they brushed their teeth in tandem and wondering how long she'd be able to keep those three little words to herself.